MOVIE MANIACS (MCFARLANE)
Do you guys know what day it is? It’s Alien Day! Yes, in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Aliens, today, April 26th (it’s 4-26, as in LV-426. Clever girl…) is officially Alien Day. There’s some cool contests and such, plus a whole ton of awesome Alien-themed merchandise, and even some showings of the first two films on the big screen. Obviously, I’d be remiss if I didn’t do something to celebrate. I’ve actually reviewed the vast majority of my Aliens collection, but have no fear; I’ve still got a few aces up my sleeve. Today, I’ll be looking back at one of the earliest examples of a figure based on Aliens’ human characters, with McFarlane Toys’ figure of Corporal Hicks. Buckle up guys; this might be a slightly bumpy ride.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Hicks was released in Series 7 of McFarlane’s Movie Maniacs line. By this point, they had more or less given up on keeping true to the “Maniacs” half of the title, but that was a trend that started in Series 4, so no one was super shocked. Corporal Hicks was available two different ways: there was a basic release with a pulse rifle and un-helmeted head, and there was also a McFarlane Collector’s Club version that included a helmeted head, a motion tracker, a face hugger and egg, and a shotgun. My figure is the regular release, so I don’t get all the fun extras. He stands about 7 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation. Those 9 points don’t really amount to much of anything, though, since the figure is sculpted in this odd sort of leaning back/lunging forward pose (also, thanks to the fragility of McFarlane figures, my Hicks’ right shoulder broke sometime between me putting him in storage and taking him out to write this review). The best you can really do is turn his head and slightly change the pose of the arms. But, hey, the lack of movement’s okay, because the sculpt is really great, right? Well, not exactly. The sculpt definitely has its highlights, to be sure; the general level of detail on his uniform is quite good. There are a few inaccuracies, such as the ridges at the center of his chest armor, where it should be smooth, the fitting of the back of his armor to his shoulder blades, and the lack of one of his two belt pouches, but those are small. The main issue? The body that the uniform is resting on. Looking past the weird pose, the arms and legs are huge, way too huge for the torso. The arms in particular are super massive, and almost look misshapen. On top of that the head is a bit too small. Also, while I guess the face sort of looks like Hicks, it’s far from spot on (in fact, I don’t believe they ever officially got Biehn’s likeness rights; they weren’t very good about doing that sort of thing). He’s wearing his headset from later in the film, which makes him different from the NECA figure, but it also creates a slight continuity error, since he’s still got his shoulder lamp, which he’s ditched by the time he gets the headset. If there’s one area that’s pretty solid on this figure, it’s the paint (well, provided you aren’t comparing him to the NECA version). There’s the glaring issue of him being way too pale. He also lacks Hicks’ name at the top of his chest armor. The armored pieces are nice overall, but the camo is slightly off, and lacks the white elements. The camo on his uniform is pretty well-executed, though, and all of the small detail work is nice and tight, if a bit more basic than the NECA figure. Hicks includes his M41A Pulse Rifle (not quite as good as the NECA version, but not bad for the time), a locator, a knife, and a display stand that looks like the flooring of one of the Hadley’s Hope facilities. Later shipments of the figure also included the motion tracker included with the Collector’s Club version, but mine isn’t one of them.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’d actually seen Aliens when this figure was released, and I saw it at retail a few times, but for whatever reason, I didn’t pick it up (I think I was holding out for a Ripley to go with him). A few years later, I ended up getting him as a Christmas gift from my parents. This isn’t a figure that’s aged particularly well, especially in light of the far superior NECA version. Even when he was new, he felt sort of unfinished, due to neither the regular or exclusive versions offering a complete set of accessories. That said, taking him back out to review has reminded me of a lot of the more endearing qualities of the figure. There was a time when he was the best Hicks figure I owned, and I do still have some very fond memories of that.