Okay, everybody, you should know the drill by now. Ethan’s got a new Aliens toy and he’s all excited. Were he not showing restraint, every sentence in this review would be all caps and end in 34 exclamation points. Because this sucker’s pretty darn fantastic.
Two years ago, when NECA’s Aliens line was only just two series into its run, before we had any large items and before the Sigourney Weaver likeness rights were secured, NECA teased fans at how great this line could be. They confirmed that the Alien Queen would be joining the line, but when Toy Fair rolled around, the Queen’s sculpt wasn’t ready to go, so they put something else in the case. The Power Loader, the exo-skeleton perfect for telling female dogs to get away from people. It was the first real indication that NECA might be working on securing Weaver’s likeness and succeeding where every Aliens line before had failed. I mean, why make the Loader without Ripley? Then the Queen and Ripley were shown and solicited and released, and this one just seemed to slip through the cracks. Fortunately, NECA had not forgotten, and was hard at work getting the Loader released. And now it’s here. Let’s do this!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Like the Alien Queen, the Power Loader has been released as a deluxe entry in NECA’s Aliens line, filling the gap between Series 6 and 7 of the main figure line. The Power Loader has made its way into several pieces of Aliens media over the years, but this one is definitely based on its debut appearance in the 1986 movie. After getting the downright enormous Queen figure, the Loader is actually a little more compact than I had expected. Once I placed it next to Ripley, I was certain that it was properly scaled, but it is definitely compact. It stands roughly 10 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation, as well as eight actual, working pistons. The range of motion on anything outside of the arms is mostly pretty limited, but that’s true to the film design as well, so one can hardly complain. The sculpt on this piece is nothing short of amazing. For starters, it’s a really great recreation of the machine from the movie. But, just looking at it from a purely aesthetic standpoint, every piece of it is carefully crafted and full of tons of detail; it looks like a working machine. Adding to that, a variety of different materials have been used to craft it. The main base is hard plastic, but the hoses and tubes, as well as the padding and straps in the spot for the operator are made from a soft rubber, and the tracks on which the pincers move are all made from metal, so you don’t have to worry about breaking them. If there’s one negative, it’s the netting material used on the top of the harness part. In the film it’s a metal grate sort of piece. It’s forgivable, though, since that sort of piece seams infeasible at a smaller scale, and I definitely prefer slightly inaccurate to broken. The paint on the Power Loader does a great job of accenting the already awesome sculpt. The various small details are all nice and sharp, and there’s plenty of weathering to help make it look more like an actual machine and less like a hunk of plastic. It’s truly outstanding work. The Power Loader is designed with NECA’s Series 6 Lt. Ellen Ripley in mind, so it fits to her pretty well. Getting the harness to fasten is a bit of a pain, but it stays alright once you get her properly placed. Also, although the Loader includes a spare set of hands for her to hold the controls, getting her hands to hold said controls without popping off of the wrists is virtually impossible. I managed to get the left hand alright, but I just let the right sort of hover there. It makes for easier posing anyway. For those curious, the Loader is really only designed with this particular Ripley figure in mind, so other NECA figures won’t fit right. I’ve included a shot of their recent Adam West Batman operating it, and you can see he’s really squished in there.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This was meant to be my main birthday present from my parents this year, but it ended up getting delayed a few times (which I was actually kind of expecting). It just arrived last week, and I can happily say that it was absolutely worth the wait. Ripley looks right at home piloting it, and the Alien Queen’s shelf presence increases ten-fold when facing off against it. If there’s one must-have item from NECA’s Aliens line, this is definitely it!