Late, great effects artist Stan Winston has summoned forth some of cinema's most awesome monsters, the most memorable among them being the many incarnations of the Xenomorph in James Cameron's 1986 classic Aliens.
The updated chestburster, originally an H.R. Giger design which terrified audiences seven years earlier in Ridley Scott's Alien, is documented in the test footage below, which was recently posted on the Stan Winston School blog. The video is narrated by Stephen Norrington, whom you may know as the director of movies like Blade, but who back in the day designed this smoothly articulated wire-control model for Cameron's film.
The creature in its final incarnation was only slightly altered from Giger's original; Winston and Cameron both thought it needed miniature arms, for functional reasons and to better match the “warrior” aliens Winston's team was constructing. Apart from Ripley's nightmare sequence early in the film, the first legit close-up look at the chestburster in Aliens arrives when one of the cocooned colonists from LV-426 is discovered to be still alive... for the moment.
Two separate puppets were created for this scene: one strong enough to burst through the false torso worn by actress Barbara Coles, and a more mobile “hero” version with intricate cable controls, as shown without its latex skin in the test footage and the image below.
Below is a pic of Norrington at work on Aliens, making adjustments to the cable-controlled guts of a facehugger puppet.