DRAKE & ALIEN WARRIOR – BATTLE DAMAGED
Aliens is one of those movies where, even though some characters are much more minor than others, to the hardcore fans every character is just as important as the next. This is particularly true of the Colonial Marines, a group that just looks cooler if you have every member, even the ones with no lines or even particularly distinguishing features. However, some of the Marines are more distinct than others, such as Private Mark Drake, one of the squad’s two smartgun-wielding soldiers. Let’s have a look at him as he faces off against yet another pesky Xenomorph!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
These two are part of the specialty assortment of Aliens Minimates Series 1.
When you get right down to it, Drake here is kind of the Boba Fett of Aliens. He’s a character with a limited amount of screen time, who is ultimately inconsequential to the overall plot of the movie. However, he’s a got a certain following, mostly due to the fact that he’s pretty cool looking. Clearly, going by my theory, there’s a whole ton of Expanded Universe stories starring Drake that are just waiting to be written! The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Drake includes two main sculpted add-on pieces. He’s unique in the fact that he doesn’t use the same armor pieces as the rest of the Marines (though, presumably, Vasquez will also be making use of the armor). He does still have the standard issue shoulder lamp, but it’s plugged into an all-new torso piece, which is a pretty great recreation of Drake’s armor from the film. It features two different ports to plug in the smartgun’s arm, allowing a little extra poseabilty. The other piece on this figure is his hat/headset combo, which is another new piece. It’s pretty well handled; the hat is a little on the simple side, but the headset is fantastically rendered, and even features an articulated eye-piece that can be moved away from his eye for the less battle-ready look he sports a few times in the movie. In terms of paintwork, Drake is very well-handled when viewed from a technical standpoint. Everything is nice and clean. The fact that his boots are painted on means that they go around the back of his legs, which makes the lack of camo in those areas stand out less than on the other Marines. The likeness is a pretty good match for actor Mark Rolston, however it seems a little too smiley for Drake. I mean, he did grin a few times in the movie, but a grimace of some sort feels like more his speed. He’s also missing the scar from under his left eye, which is pretty prominent in several shots of the movie. There are a few bits of graffiti missing from the armor, though they’re pretty small and easy to miss in the film. The biggest issue is what’s under Drake’s body armor. He has the same standard fatigue shirt as Hicks and Apone. It’s well-detailed and it looks good, but in the movie, Drake is actually wearing a flak jacket under his armor (you can see it in the hive scene after he ditches the smartgun harness). It’s a minor thing, but it’s one of the character’s more distinctive uniform deviations, and it would have been nice to see it here. For accessories, the main event is, of course, Drake’s smartgun. It’s a very well sculpted piece that is accurate to the source material. It includes an arm with a ball joint at either end, allowing it to be attached to the figure’s chest piece, and once in place, he can actually hold it pretty well. Drake also includes a spare hat without the headset and a clear display stand. It might have been nice to get a hairpiece and an extra acid-burned head, but the smartgun is plenty.
BATTLE-DAMAGED ATTACKING ALIEN
And the award for longest name for an alien variant goes to this guy! Wow, that’s a lot of lead in words. Ostensibly, this alien is more or less the same figure as the battle-damaged Alien from the single-packs, with one notable change. Like all the other Aliens in the line, the Battle-Damaged Attacking Alien has add-on pieces for the torso, head, hands, feet, and tail. This particular Alien uses the open-mouthed head, and what differentiates him from his single-packed counterpart is the presence of the second mouth/tongue piece used on the Attacking Alien. This offers a little bit of variety among the Aliens, so there’s no complaints there. The paintwork on the Battle-Damaged Attacking Alien is almost identical to that of the first battle-damaged alien, which in turn makes it pretty much the same as the regular warrior alien with the addition of the acid blood splatters. The blood splatters here are exactly the same as the ones from before, which is a little disappointing. It would have been nice for the splatters to be on the opposite limbs or something, just to mix things up. This Alien, like all the Aliens, includes only one accessory: a clear display stand.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I picked these two up as part of a full set of series one that I got from my favorite Minimate retailer, Luke’s Toy Store. Drake is the star of the set. He’s a surprisingly well done figure. Sure, there’s a couple of inaccuracies, but the figures is fun enough to distract from these issues, and he’s just incredibly well put together. He makes for a great taste of how Vasquez will turn out. Despite the relatively short review, and slightly disparaging remarks about the paint, the Alien is a very well-handled figure. It’s a little disappointing to those who already have the singles, but on its own, it’s a strong figure, and it accents Drake quite well.