#1035: Ellen Ripley – Fiorina 161 Prisoner

ELLEN RIPLEY – FIORINA 161 PRISONER

ALIENS (NECA)

RipleyCubed1

Hey, you know what movie I love? Aliens! By extension, you know what movie I hate? Alien3 of course! Now, I know what you’re thinking: If I hate Alien3 so much, why do I keep buying figures from it? Well, there’s at least a part of it that’s about it giving me more time to air my grievances with the movie. It could also have something to do with that fact that, as bad as the movie may be, there were still a few interesting designs. Mostly, though, it’s due to the fact that I have an action figure addiction which cannot be stopped. That seems to be the cause of a lot of things in my life, if I’m honest. Anyway, today’s particular figure is NECA’s fifth version of Ellen Ripley, based on her appearance in the aforementioned film.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

RipleyCubed2This version of Ripley was released in the 8th series of NECA’s Aliens line, which, as I noted in my Weyland Yutani Commando review, is a series totally devoted to Alien3. The figure is just shy of 7 inches tall and she has 25 points of articulation. Rather than giving us different figures based on various parts of the film (like the Alien Ripleys), this figure kind of rolls her two main prison looks into one. She has two sets of arms and a removable vest for both jacketed and unjacketed looks. The pieces swap out well enough and provide two nicely distinctive looks, making it almost a bit surprising that NECA didn’t go for two separate figures. I’m hardly complaining, though. The inclusion of two sets of arms was fortuitous for me, since the left hand broke off the jacketed arm while I was removing Ripley from the box. Nothing a quick dab of superglue couldn’t fix, but be careful unpacking her. This Ripley gets an all-new sculpt, which is, overall, pretty good. Perhaps it’s a bit of personal bias, but I don’t find this sculpt to be quite as good as the Series 5 Ripley, especially when it comes to the facial likeness. While I won’t deny that there’s a lot of Weaver in there, the whole face seems just a bit pinched. That said, there’s still some awesome detail work on her shaved head, and the rest of the body is both well-proportioned and very impressively textured and detailed. This definitely feels like the same person from the last two figures. Let’s talk about the paint. So, overall, the paint on the figure is quite good. The clothes all have lots of subtle work to bring out the sculpted textures, and the overall work is very clean and sharp. The skin even has the tiniest bit of airbrushed red to make her look a bit more lively, which is a fantastic touch. There’s one major issue with my figure, and it’s one I didn’t actually notice until partway through writing this review: her face detailing is skewed just the slightest bit downward. It’s seriously slight. So slight that, like 99% of people wouldn’t even notice. However, it’s enough to throw off the likeness a bit, which may be at least part of why I haven’t warmed to this sculpt like I did the prior Weaver sculpts. In addition to the spare arms, Ripley includes a flashlight and the torch used to lead the Dog Alien to its demise. Both pieces are very impressively sculpted, and both fit nicely into her right hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually found Ripley at the same time as the Commando, but I ended up passing on her at that time. Of course, then I found the remnants of the series at a couple of TRUs, and was kicking myself for not picking her up the first time. Fortunately, my closest TRU got in a case and I was able to score the last Ripley they had. I don’t like this figure as much as the Aliens version, but then again, I never really expected to. As a figure on her own merits, she’s pretty solid. If nothing else, I’ve got a nice little set of Alien3 figures that I can just pretend are a few more “concept figures.”

RipleyCubed3

#1011: Weyland Yutani Commando

WEYLAND YUTANI COMMANDO

ALIENS (NECA)

WYCommando1

Frequent readers of the site will no doubt be familiar with the fact that Aliens is, like, my favorite movie ever, since I think I’ve brought it up once or twice. Now, there’s a lot of contenders out there for my least favorite movie ever, but I’d say one that’s consistently high on that list is Alien3, the direct successor to Aliens. It’s a movie that goes out of its way to bury just about every trace of its predecessor, which kind of doesn’t fly with me. The movie isn’t entirely without merit, though. It does have a sort of cool Xenomorph design, and it also gave us the subject of today’s review, the Weyland Yutani Commando. For those of you with less of the Aliens mythos memorized than me, Weyland Yutani is the universe’s resident evil corporation, who spend the first three movies ruining people’s lives for the sake of capturing an alien specimen. At the end of Alien3, the commandos are sent in to acquire the alien embryo that’s been gestating inside of Ellen Ripley.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

WYCommando2The Weyland Yutani Commando was released in the Alien3-themed eighth series of NECA’s Aliens line. The figure stands 7 ¼ inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation (counting the articulated arms on the backpack). The figure’s look is based on the handful of commandos we see at the end of the movie. They all had more or less the same look, and this figure has been designed to allow some slight tweaks seen on the movie’s commandos. The Commando’s look is certainly a different one. He combines design elements from both of the prior films. The overall design of the suit is similar to the pressure suits from Alien, though this figure shares no pieces with any of the pressure suited figures, which actually surprised me a little. The sculpt does an awesome job capturing all the little details in the quilted patterns of the suit, as well as all of the stitching and wrinkles. It’s very impressive. In addition to the Alien-inspired cloth bits, there’s also a few armored bits. While they’re fairly unique, there’s a few bits that definitely look like the Marines from Aliens (which makes sense, since they’re paid by the same parent company). The shoulder armor in particular looks similar, but even the two grenades on his torso look like beefed up versions of the ones carried by the Marines. The helmet is the figure’s most unique trait. Despite being seen on WYCommando3numerous commandos, the helmet is remarkably hodge-podged-looking. The helmet is done via three separate pieces attached to a fully-sculpted underlying head, which looks quite impressive, and makes the whole thing look quite realistic. It would be nice if the face guard were removable (since I think it looks kind of doofy), but seeing as there’s no on-screen examples of it removed, it’s perfectly excusable. NECA figures are generally very well painted, and this guy is no exception. Not only is the base color work pretty clean, but there’s also a lot of really great accent work, which really makes the details in the sculpt pop. The Commando includes two goggle pieces, for both open and closed configurations, as well as a pulse rifle done in all black, and a knife. To aid in customizing the figure a bit, there’s also a sheet of decals, to give the figure a bit more personality.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t sure I wanted this figure, what with not being much of a fan of the movie it comes from. However, I came across him at a Toys R Us while I was out and about, and I liked him enough in person to warrant picking him up. He’s got an interesting design, and he ends up making for a pretty awesome figure. I guess I can just pretend he’s some sort of expanded universe character….

#0625: Dog Alien

DOG ALIEN

ALIEN3 THE VIDEO GAME

DogAlienVG2

If there’s a theme to any of my recent reviews, I’d say it’s “figures that are almost identical to figures I reviewed not long ago.” First Superman Red, then Ultron 2.0, and now it’s the Dog Alien. Of course, most of these figures have a pretty good reason for being so similar to each other, and as an added bonus, the reviews are also a heck of a lot easier for me to write. Yay for Ethan being selfish and lazy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DogAlienVG4The Dog Alien is the latest release in NECA’s subset of figures based on licensed video games. The idea behind the line is applying the more limited color palettes of vintage video games to some of NECA’s more realistic sculpts, affording them a chance to get an additional use out of some of their molds. The Dog Alien is over 9 inches tall (standing straight up) and features 39 points of articulation, plus a bendable tail. The figure is based on the appearance of the titular character in 1992’s Alien3 tie-in video game. Sculpturally, the figure is identical to the Aliens Series 3’s regular Dog Alien. Though it isn’t my favorite of the Xeno designs, there’s no denying that this is some of NECA’s finest Xeno work. Seeing as there are far less chances for re-use on the Dog Alien, I’m glad to see NECA found another use for this tremendous sculpt. Obviously, the real draw of this figure is the all-new paint scheme. The game which the figure is based on was a 2D side-scroller. Depending on which direction the alien was moving, it would be either blue or brown. The figure has replicated this idea quite expertly. When viewed from the right, the figure is blue, and when viewed from the left, he’s an orange-ish brown. The paint is handled in such a way that you can get a surprising amount of range without seeing the opposite side’s color. In addition, the paint is applied in such a way to really accent the strengths of the sculpt, and highlight many of the cool details that were easily missed on the regular version. The colors are bright and vibrant, and contrast quite nicely with the underlying black. The Dog Alien is packed with the same stand included with the standard version. I don’t find I need it, but it’s nice to have in case you want to do some more extreme posing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this figure was first announced, I really wasn’t sold on it. I’m already pretty iffy on the Dog Alien in general, so I wasn’t sure I wanted to have yet another one. But, up to this point, I’ve picked up every figure from NECA’s Aliens line, and it would suck to just skip one. So, I had quite the dilemma on my hands. A few weeks ago, I stopped by local toystore All Time Toys, just to look around, and they had happened to get their shipment of these guys in. In hand, my opinion of the figure changed completely. This figure really pops. It could have been really gimmicky, but the paint here is top notch, and produces an incredibly unique figure. This has gone from an item I thought I might skip to the highlight of my collection.

DogAlienVG3

#0457: Dog Alien

DOG ALIEN

ALIENS (NECA)

So here we are with the third and final part of the Aliens Series Three reviews. It occurred to me after getting the figures that there was in fact one from each of the first three movies in this particular assortment. For whatever reason, I felt compelled to review them in the proper order (although, to be truly proper, I’d first review Kane, then Bishop, and then the Dog Alien wouldn’t exist, but that’s splitting hairs I guess).

Since I’ve made it no secret that Aliens is perhaps my favorite movie of all time, it’s probably not a surprise that I don’t really care for Alien3, a film which did just about everything it could to murder its predecessor and piss on its grave. Were it not for a little film by the name of Man of Steel, Alien3 would easily get my vote for the worst movie ever. All that said, the movie didn’t get everything wrong. The movie’s redesign of the creature managed to not suck (though it’s still not up to par with its predecessors.) Plus, it offered another possible Xenomorph for NECA to include, so that works pretty well. Let’s see how said figure turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Dog Alien (which, by the way, is the first NECA alien not to use “Xenomorph” in the title) was released in Series 3 of NECA’s Aliens line. It’s based on the creature from Alien3, which was either spawned from a dog or an ox, depending on which cut of the film you watch, and is known as the Dog Alien, the Runner, or the Dragon, depending on who you ask. Dog Alien seems to be the one that stuck. The Dog Alien is a whopping 9 inches tall when standing up straight and it has 39 points of articulation. Structurally, the Dog Alien is all-new. Previous NECA Xenos, including the Big Chap, all made use of at least some of the basic Aliens Warrior pieces, but that’s not the case here. From what I can tell, the details of the sculpt are an incredibly close approximation of the prop suit from the movie. The tail is incredibly long and very intricate, and the head dome rivals the Big Chap in terms of execution. As far as proportions go, it seems NECA has gone more for proportions based on the initial design and the rod puppet, which gives the creature a more inhuman appearance. NECA also seems to have toned down some of the more “gooey” aspects of the film’s design, which results in a creature that fits in better with the other Xenos and is overall sleeker looking (which further emphasizes the creature’s streamlined design.) In the movie, the Dog Alien is a bit more “colorful” than previous creatures. Like some of the design elements of the sculpt, NECA has toned this down a bit with the paint work, though the creature is still one of the more intricately painted Aliens NECA’s done. The Dog Alien is molded in back, with lots of brown used to bring out the details on the main body. It’s more than we’ve seen on previous Aliens (even the heavy handed Series 1 version) but not quite as brown as the actual prop Dog Alien. My favorite bit of paint is the work on the creature’s dome, which goes from opaque black at the front to almost completely clear on top with the perfect amount of gradation. The Dog Alien includes a special display stand, allowing its more “canine” poses to be carried out a bit easier.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the other two figures in Series 3, the Dog Alien was a slightly delayed Christmas gift from my parents. On the outset, this was the figure I was the most skeptical about. I’m not a fan of the movie, and I don’t really care for how the creature looks in the film proper. In hand, this figure’s a very different story. NECA’s remained faithful to the design, while at the same time making some tweaks that result in a better overall figure. The end result is that the Dog Alien might just be the best figure in the series, which is a sentence that really surprises me.