#1647: Colonel James Cameron

COLONEL JAMES CAMERON

ALIENS (NECA)

Okay, so Avengers: Infinity War starts hitting US theatres today, but I’m taking a one-day reprieve from the Avengers stuff to celebrate today’s other notable thing:  it’s Alien Day again!  And I actually remembered to set aside an Aliens-related item for this year.  Of course, the focus of this review, a figure based on Aliens director James Cameron, is rather amusing in light of Cameron’s comments in the last week about hoping for audiences to get “Avengers fatigue” so that we can back to creating new sci-fi ideas.  You know, like those 5 Avatar sequels we’ve all really been clamoring for.  That’s what the people want.  I wonder how he’d feel about his action figure being smack dab in between Avengers figures.  Well, he’d have to read the site for that to apply.  Odds of that seem low.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Colonel Cameron was a Toys R Us-exclusive figure, released as part of NECA’s running 30th Anniversary assortment of their Aliens line.  He started cropping up in stores towards the end of last year/early this year.  As with Sgt. Windrix, Cameron doesn’t represent a character actually from Aliens, but is more of a concept figure instead.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  He uses the long-sleeved Marine body we’ve seen on both Windrix and Frost.  It’s still a very strong sculpt, even five years after its introduction into the line, and I can’t really see any improvements on it at this point.  It remains one of NECA’s strongest sculpts, so their desire to get as much mileage out of it as possible is pretty sensible.  Cameron gets a new head sculpt, which is sporting a pretty darn fantastic likeness of Cameron circa 1986.  The details are sharp, and it’s well-fitted to the base body.  He’ll fit right in with the rest of the crew.  Colonel Cameron’s paint work is on par with what we’ve been seeing on the more recent offerings from this line.  Application is cleaner than most of the line’s earliest offerings, and he makes use of the molded skin-tone plastic, which helps him look more lifelike.  The detailing on the armor matches up with the other Marines, but Cameron has his own unique graffiti-ing.  It’s really just a planet on his backplate.  I might have liked a little bit more personality, but this is a fun touch, and it’s certainly better than nothing at all.  Cameron’s accessories are his most impressive aspect.  The re-used compliment includes the standard issue M41A pulse rifle, the handgun included with Frost, and a motion tracker.  Figure-specific, there’s a clapboard (which admittedly doesn’t make much sense in-universe, but it’s cool nonetheless) and the viewfinder Cameron used when scouting locations.  A lot of fun pieces in there, which show a real commitment to making this release stand out from the standard-issue figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obviously, the odds of me missing a figure like this were always going to be slim.  That being said, I did see him a couple of times in the store before I finally got around to picking him up.  It was ultimately the announcement of Toys R Us’ planned closure that pushed me to pick him up, since I definitely didn’t want to miss out.  He’s another top-notch figure from NECA, and a fantastic addition to the line.  Happy to have the chance to add him to my collection.

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#1557: Ellen Ripley

ELLEN RIPLEY

VINIMATES (DIAMOND SELECT TOYS)

“After surviving the xenomorph attack that killed her crewmates, Ellen Ripley was found and awoken years in the future to learn that the discovery site of the lifeform, planet LV-426, had since been colonized. Joining a military expedition to the planet, Ripley knew that even a single xenomorph would pose a danger to the entire colony, and if any escaped the planet, they could threaten the galaxy.”

Hey, while we’re on the topic of competitors to Funko Pop!, why not take a look over at Diamond Select’s stab at the world of collectible vinyl figures, Vinimates!  My Vinimates collection is modestly plugging along, and so far is only made up of figures just from my favorite properties.  Of course, I’d so far missed my all time favorite movie, Aliens.  Let’s fix that.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ellen Ripley was released in August of 2016, as one of the two Aliens-themed Vinimates (the other being the Alien Warrior).  Like the first proper Ripley ‘mate, this one’s based on her hive-storming look from the end of the movie.  It’s a distinct look, so it’s a good choice.  She stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and she has an articulated neck (a ball-joint, just like the others in the line).  Ripley’s sculpt is, of course, all-new to her.  It’s notably divergent from the smaller-scale take on this same design.  The hair should, in theory, be a little closer to Weaver’s from the movie, since it’s a new piece rather than a straight re-use, but I personally find it to be too close cropped for her hair.  It’s not terrible, though.  She’s posed hunched over, like she is while she explores the hive, holding her combo pulse rifle/flamethrower.  It’s a good look, and pretty standard for this particular look.    Her paint work is decent enough.  The base colors are pretty good matches for the movie, and the application is mostly clean, though there are some fuzzy lines.  The face is a decent enough likeness of Sigourney Weaver, though it’s kind of funny that her eyebrows aren’t filled in.  I would assume that’s not an intentional change, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I kept meaning to pick up Ripley, ever since she was released, but I just sort of kept forgetting.  Admittedly, Vinimates are not usually at the top of my priority list.  I ended up finally getting her because she was marked way down during Luke’s Toy Store’s Black Friday sale, and that was enough to prompt me.  She’s decent enough, though I don’t know that she’s quite as exciting as the other two.

#1499: Carter J Burke & Xenomorph Warrior

CARTER J BURKE & XENOMORPH WARRIOR

ALIENS (NECA)

It’s been a little while since I’ve given Aliens its proper due.  Even longer since I did it by looking at some sweet NECA figures.  In fact, the last NECA Aliens figures I looked at were the re-releases of Hicks and Hudson.  As awesome as those were, there wasn’t a whole lot new to them.  Today’s review is different.

Though the Alien franchise’s most prominent antagonists are the titular creatures of each film, they’re more of a chaotic, not exclusively evil entity.  The real antagonists of the story are mostly employees of the duplicitous Weyland-Yutani company.  Perhaps their most vile operator is Mr. Carter J. Burke, who serves as a major draw of today’s set of figures.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Burke and the Xenomorph Warrior were released just about a month ago as part of the “Hadley’s Hope” two-pack, which is part of NECA’s overarching Aliens line.  These two join the Marine Two-Pack, as well as Vasquez and Frost under the 30th Anniversary banner.

CARTER J BURKE

“I’m Burke. Carter Burke. I work for the company. But don’t let that fool you, I’m really an okay guy.”

Don’t let the quote above about not being fooled fool you: he’s not really an okay guy.  Fortunately, the same isn’t true of his actor Paul Reiser, which is why we have this figure.  Apparently, after being informed during a Q&A that all it would take to get NECA to make a Burke figure was his sign-off on the likeness rights, Reiser made it a point of contacting them and making sure this figure became a reality.  Good on you Paul!  Burke is seen here in his casual attire he sports on LV-426, which is sensible, since he’s there for most of the movie.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  Burke’s sporting an all-new sculpt, and it’s up to par with the rest of the line’s offerings.  Structurally, he reminds me a little bit of Bishop, although they’ve definitely gotten a bit more comfortable with the use of overlay pieces integrated with articulation.  The head has a pretty solid likeness of Reiser.  They’ve gone with a panic-stricken Burke, which I think really works for the character, in the same way that it worked for the first Hudson.  I know some collectors wanted a more sly expression, but I find I prefer this.  Burke’s paintwork is pretty decent overall, apart from a few small nits.  The biggest flaw is the plaid of the shirt ending just a bit too early, thus leaving some un-painted white exposed.  It’s not the end of the world, and honestly isn’t that noticeable if you’re not looking right at it.  Beyond that, the paint’s pretty solid all-around.

XENOMORPH WARRIOR

Apparently, the humans don’t move so well at retail, so Burke needed an Alien to keep him exciting.  I have a lot of Xenos, so they don’t always thrill me, but I’m okay with it if there’s a good gimmick, which I think this one has.  It’s another concept figure, based on pre-shooting design for the Aliens Xeno Warriors.  It’s really just the same design, but with a dome on the head.  For the actual film, the domes kept breaking due to the more strenuous tasks performed by the aliens, so they were ultimately removed, creating the design we all know now.  It’s a neat little what-if.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and has 39 points of articulation.  This Xeno makes use of a number of parts from the Series 1 Xeno Warrior, but not as many as you might think.  The head’s been tweaked to add the dome, the torso’s been tweaked to make the back fin a permanent piece, the hands, pelvis, upper arms, and upper legs are new pieces to add articulation.  It all adds up to a figure that looks rather similar to the prior figures, but is much sturdier and a lot easier to pose.  I loved the old figure, but this is definitely an improvement, and I look forward to seeing more Xenos built on this same base body.  The paintwork on figure is rather similar to the black Genocide alien’s.  It works for me, and I’m just happy it’s cleaner than prior Xenos.

Neither figure really comes with any character-specific accessories, but the set does also include the Hadley’s Hope town sign, which is a pretty awesome backdrop piece, and just a fun idea in general.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set from my usual go-to for NECA stuff, All Time Toys.  I knew it was hitting, and I made a point of stopping by to grab it.  Burke’s obviously the star here, and he turned out very nicely.  The Xeno’s actually one of my favorites from NECA, and I’m happy to add it to the shelf.  All around, and awesome set, which I’m thrilled to add to my collection.

*Want a Carter J. Burke figure of your very own? Our sponsors over at All Time Toys currently have this set in-stock. Click here to check it out!

#1444: Aliens Mega Construx

COLONIAL MARINE & XENOMORPH

MEGA CONSTRUX HEROES

You know, there was a time when being an Aliens fan wasn’t so easy.  Back when I first saw the film (in the early ‘00s), the only real action figure options were courtesy of Kenner’s hardly film-accurate line from the ‘90s.  As late as 2012, I was excited beyond belief that we were getting things like Pulse Rifles included with some of Hasbro’s Pursuit of Cobra figures.  What a difference 5 years makes.  Of course, even with NECA’s plethora of product, I didn’t really expect to be finding new Aliens toys in the building sets aisle of my local Walmart.  And yet, here we are.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Xenomorph and the Colonial Marine are both part of the first series of Mega Bloks Construx Heroes.  The line is taking the basic concept put forward by the Halo Heroes line and applying it to a handful of other licenses.  Also featured in this first series are Picard and a Borg Drone from Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as He-Man and Skeletor from Masters of the Universe.  But those are hardly as cool as Aliens, right?

COLONIAL MARINE

Rather than focusing on one particular member of the Colonial Marines, Mega Construx has instead gone for a more generic Marine…sort of.  In actuality, he’s this odd amalgam of Hicks and Hudson.  He’s got Hudson’s armor graffiti, but Hicks’ shotgun shells and lack of sleeves.  In a pinch, he works as either.  The figure stands about 2 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  This guy uses the same standard construction as all of the ODSTs I looked at, but with more Colonial Marine specific parts, of course.  The lower legs are new, as is the head, and then he’s got removable chest armor and a helmet, which is pretty fun.  The detail work on the armor is pretty solid for the size and style.  It definitely looks the part.  I appreciate the removable nature of the helmet, though I doubt anyone will be displaying him without it.  This will at least make it easier to make other specific Marines should you want to do that.  The paint on this guy is pretty simple, but gets all of the important details down.  There are a few things left unpainted (like the helmet cam), but it’s pretty decent work as a whole.  The Marine includes his standard issue pulse rifle (which is super, super awesome), his shoulder lamp, a knife, and a display stand.

XENOMORPH

Like the Colonial Marine, the Xeno here goes generic army builder.  Of course, I’m hardly going to complain about that.  I don’t need named Xenos (I’m looking at you, Grid!).  The Xeno is a little taller than the Marine, at about 2 1/4 inches tall, and even gets an extra point of articulation at the base of its tail.  The Xeno uses largely new construction, rather than relying on clip-on pieces.  As with most Xenos these days, this one’s based on the Xeno Warrior as seen in the second film.  It looks pretty awesome, actually.  The Xeno definitely translates really well to the style.  The level of detail work seen here is definielt higher than I’m used to seeing on Mega Bloks, and I’m really impressed.  Also impressive is the paint.  They could have just left the figure solid black, but there’s a nice silver airbrushing, which further highlights the awesomeness of the sculpt.  The Xeno includes a pair of clip-on claw pieces, as well as two different face huggers, one crawling, and one that fits over the face of the Marine. That last one is seriously cool, by the way.  There’s also a display stand, so that’s cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These totally snuck up on me.  I genuinely found out about their existence about an hour before I got them.  They were actually my consolation prize from the day I tried and failed at buying the Force Friday figures early.  I gotta say, these two are pretty darn awesome.  I’d like to see a Ripley and maybe a few more specific Marines.

#1317: Corporal Dwayne Hicks & Private William Hudson

CORPORAL DWAYNE HICKS & PRIVATE WILLIAM HUDSON

ALIENS (NECA)

“I’m Hudson, sir; he’s Hicks…”

Ever buy something you don’t actually need?  I know, I’m on dubious ground here, seeing as I run a whole site devoted to things I don’t technically need.  I guess in this context, I’m referring to figures that I more or less already own.  In terms of re-releases and the like, I tend to skip them.  Today’s review sort of violates that rule, in that there’s not *technically* anything new about either of the figures I’m reviewing here.  I’ve reviewed every single piece of both figures before (here, here, here, and here).

A little backstory: I got into NECA’s Aliens line on the ground floor, pre-ordering Series 1 a good couple of months before it hit shelves, and then picked up every single release up until Series 6.  This means I had both versions of marines Hicks and Hudson, who were in the first series and then each packed in a two-pack with a Xeno.  However, there are good number of people who didn’t enter the line until around Series 5 or so, when the Aliens version of Ripley was released.  This caused a significant jump in the aftermarket prices on both Hicks and Hudson, especially as more of the marines have been released.  Not wanting to leave fans missing two major characters from the movie, NECA’s taken advantage of the film’s 30th Anniversary to put out a special two-pack, which offers up both characters again at retail.  As I said, technically speaking, there’s nothing new to these guys.  So, why am I reviewing them?  I’ll get to that.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hicks and Hudson were released as a two-pack within the 30th Anniversary Collection sub-set of NECA’s main Aliens line.  They are meant to compliment Series 9’s Vasquez and Frost figures, and they started hitting in March, wedged between Series 10 and 11.

HICKS

Hicks is perhaps one of my favorite movie characters of all time, so by that grace, he gets to go first.  If you’ve read my two prior Hicks reviews, you’ll know that this figure stands about 7 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  You’ll also know that I’m a pretty big fan of the sculpt, particularly the body.  None of that has changed, apart from the body having slightly sturdier joint construction this time.  This figure has both the un-helmeted and helmeted heads of the single and double-pack versions of the character.  Of the two, my favorite is definitely the un-helmeted head.  It’s more calm expression works better for the character, and lends itself to a more recognizable Beihn likeness.  The helmeted head is okay, but I don’t care for the screaming expression, and I feel the helmet sits a bit too high.  The real, important difference on this figure is the paint.  While it’s just cleaner in general, the major deviation is how the skin has been handled.  The Series 1 figures hit at a transition point for NECA, as they moved from painted to molded skin tones, and due to the size of the production and costs associated, the Series 1 Marines had painted skin.  It was far from awful, but later figures, most notably the recent Ripley and Vasquez figures, had the molded skin.  For the re-releases, NECA’s brought Hicks inline with the newer figures.  It’s really just a simple change on their part, but it makes for a major change in the quality of the figure.  The likeness on both heads is greatly improved by the lack of extra paint, and he looks far more lifelike in general, thanks to how the light hits plastic vs. how it hits paint.  In addition to the pair of heads, Hicks has his M41A pulse rifle, his shotgun for “close encounters,” a holster for the shot gun, a motion tracker, and a removable shoulder lamp.  Most of these pieces are identical to the original releases, but the shoulder lamp has been tweaked to make it much easier to get it placed on his back (a huge issue with the original figures).

HUDSON

Okay, I feel a little bad for Hudson, having just proclaimed Hicks one of my favorite characters of all time.  It’s okay Hudson, I still like you too!  When I reviewed the original figures, I had some issues with Hicks, but for the most part I was pretty solidly happy with both versions of Hudson.  This guy is essentially the same: about 7 inches tall, 30 points of articulation, and a pretty kickass sculpt.  Like Hicks, he has both helmeted and un-helmeted heads.  Unlike Hicks, I don’t really have a favorite of the two, since I find the likeness on both to be pretty solid, and the issue with the high sitting helmet is avoided.  He’s got the same tweaks to the paint as Hicks; everything is sharper overall (though there was a bit of errant paint on his un-helmeted head), and he’s got the new molded skin tone.  If I thought the figures were good before, there’s really no topping them here.  Hudson gets one more tweak on the helmeted head; the original helmet detailing was rather generic, and was missing Hudson’s character-specific graffiti.  This figure adds that back in.  It’s one of those things you don’t realize you miss until you see it, and then you really can’t un-see it.  Now the older figure just looks wrong (I mean, he always was, but now it’s a more nagging wrong-ness).  Hudson has the M41A pulse rifle, motion tracker, and removable shoulder lamp.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t originally plan on getting these, since I had the originals.  Seeing them in person at All Time Toys kind of changed my mind, but I didn’t have the money to buy any figures, much less ones that were so similar to ones I already had.  But, then my Dad offered to get me an action figure or two in exchange for helping to put down a carpet at my Grandmother’s house (both a resourceful bribe and a reference to the fact that he bought me an action figure the last time I helped put down carpet.  I was 4 at the time, but the point still stands).  And I also wanted to buy something slightly bigger than the $4 Gambit figure to help support All Time after the Main Street Flood.  And I was killing time in Ellicott City.  So, these two came home with me.  I didn’t really have super high expectations of either figure going in, but I was very surprised to find just how much of an improvement both figures are over the prior releases.  They almost feel like different figures.  If you missed the initial releases, then you’ll be very happy with these.  If you have the originals?  Well, it’s hard to say.  I might have liked to get a few extras that weren’t seen on the prior figures (headset head for Hicks, non-bandaged arm for Hudson), but I understand why they weren’t included; it’s not doubt to avoid forcing those who have the originals into buying them again, just for a new piece or two.  Ultimately, even without any new pieces, I feel this set is different enough to warrant long-time collectors picking it up, but it really comes down to how much of a Hicks/Hudson fan you are.

Aaaand I just wrote over 1200 words about figures I already reviewed.  Wow.

#1201: Gorilla Alien

GORILLA ALIEN

ALIENS (KENNER)

gorillaalien1

Due to some adverse reactions to the small quantity of merchandise put out for Alien, its sequel Aliens got no merchandise at all at the time of its release.  Instead, fans of the film would have to wait six years, when a failed pitch for a cartoon based on the property resulted in a line of action figures from legendary action figure makers Kenner.  Sure, they were super goofy, and ‘90s out the wazoo, but they were certainly better than nothing.  And you can hardly debate that the line was entertaining.  One of the more intriguing aspects of the line was that handling of the titular creatures.  Rather than simply release a bunch of generic Alien Warriors, Kenner followed the example of the Dog Alien from Alien3 and created some other, non-human-host-based Aliens.  One of the earliest examples is the figure I’m looking at today, the Gorilla Alien!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

gorillaalien2The Gorilla Alien was released in the first series of Kenner’s Aliens line, as one of the three initial Aliens.  The figure stands roughly 5 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation (7 if you count the extra shoulder movement granted by his action feature).  In terms of design, the Gorilla Alien really doesn’t stray from the classic Xeno look all that much.  Really, it just takes the Aliens design and bulks it up a little bit more, to showcase the slightly larger frame of a Gorilla.  The sculpt on the figure is pretty decent; the proportions are rather exaggerated, but it’s a ‘90s figure, so that’s somewhat expected.  He features a ton of really great detail work on the body, with each little bit of the Xeno being carefully outlined.  They even managed to work in the levers for his arm-swinging action feature by The head is a little less impressive, due to being made out of hollow rubber in order to facilitate the “acid spraying” feature (you dunk the figure under water and squeeze the head to fill it.  Then you take it out and squeeze it again to shoot “acid”).  It’s still a perfectly acceptable sculpt, but it just is a noticeable step down from the rest of the figure.  The paint on the Gorilla Alien is actually pretty neat.  The figure’s molded in black plastic, with a nice metallic blue brushed on to help accent all the sculpted details.  Each of the three aliens in the first series had their own color scheme (the Scorpion was brown, and the Bull was red), and I think the blue was the best by far.  The Xenos just look best in blue.  The Gorilla Alien was packed with a metallic blue facehugger, which my figure is sadly missing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I first got into the Kenner Aliens line, I was really only focused on the Marines, but over time I’ve really wanted some more Xenos for them to fight.  I got a good helping of the Xenos through the 10th anniversary Aliens Vs. Marine two-packs, but the Gorilla Alien was sadly not one of the chosen aliens for that set.  I ended up finding him at Yesterday’s Fun this past summer, and was quite happy to finally be able to add him to the collection.  He’s not anything revolutionary, but he’s a solid figure, and he fits well with the rest of the line.

#1191: Ripley & Newt

RIPLEY & NEWT

ALIENS (NECA)

ripleynewtneca1

Here we are at the finish line for the 2016 post-Christmas reviews.  I’m ending things the way I finished them: Aliens!  It’s hardly the Christmas season without a good helping of Aliens merch!

NECA’s a company generally known for doing the “impossible” when it comes to action figure licenses.  When they started off their Aliens line, Hicks, Hudson, and Bishop were the only guaranteed likenesses, and Ripley was most definitely not on the table.  That is, until she was.  But NECA swore up and down there was no way we were getting a Newt figure.  Not only was the likeness not available, but her unique sculpt would make her less than realistic for the line.  No way she was happening.  Until she did.  Yep, during last year’s big Alien Day celebration NECA and actress Carrie Henn unveiled the Newt figure.  She was set for a SDCC release, which made some collectors a bit worried, but NECA assured fans that everyone who wanted a Newt would get one.  They finally made good on that promise, albeit in a slightly roundabout way.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ripley and Newt were released as part of the “Rescuing Newt” two-pack, which is sort of the last major hurrah of the Aliens anniversary product.  It was originally supposed to hit in November, but was pushed back until right before Christmas.

RIPLEY

ripleynewtneca2While clearly not the main focus of this set, NECA used this as an opportunity to get the Aliens Ripley out there one more time, for fans who missed her Series 5 release.  However, for those of us that have been faithfully following the line, they made her different enough to not feel like a total repeat.  The first figure depicts Ripley towards the beginning of her journey into the hive, and this one depicts her closer to the end.  I’ve looked at about 90% of this figure twice before; she shares everything below the neck with both the Series 5 Ripley and the TRU-exclusive Kenner Ripley.  I loved the sculpt the first time, and I loved it the second time, and I still love it the third time.  NECA really nailed the details for this look, and I can hardly blame them for wanting to get as much milage out of these pieces as possible.  But enough about the old, what about the new?  Well, Ripley gets a unique head sculpt, which reflects her more dilapidated appearance late in the film.  The hair’s a lot more pressed to her head, the eyes more tired, and the mouth ever so slightly open, showing she’s catching her breath after kicking all that Xeno butt.  I gotta say, I was a little underwhelmed by the sculpt when I saw it in the package, but after taking it out and looking at it from a few different angles, I’e warmed up to it.  The Series 5 version is still my preferred look, and has the better overall Weaver likeness, but this one’s a solid runner up, and, if nothing else, fixes the minor issue of the neck looking a bit underscaled on the last two uses of this body.   As similar as the two may look, the paint work on this figure is also a bit of a change from her Series 5 counterpart.  ripleynewtneca4The basics are all pretty much the same, but the stains on her clothes have definitely intensified from the last figure.  In particular, I think the sweat stains on the shirt look a bit more realistic this time around, which now that I’ve typed it out seems like a very strange compliment to pay something, but there it is.  My one complaint about the figure is something I feel certain is confined to my figure: they pupils are off center from each other, which makes her look a bit cockeyed from certain angles.  It’s not the worst thing ever but you can see it a bit in the shots here.  This Ripley includes the same flamethrower/pulse rifle combo from the first figure, but this time she also includes a nifty flame effect attachment, which is a nice touch that could have very easily been overlooked (it’s also compatible with Frost and Windrix’s flamethrowers as well, which makes it extra fun).

NEWT

ripleynewtneca3Let’s be honest, nobody was really buying this set for the Ripley figure (okay, that’s probably not true….)  The real star here is Rebecca “Newt” Jorden.  The set’s named after her and everything. This figure is a pretty straight re-release of the SDCC version (which is exactly what we were all expecting and what most people wanted).  Of course, I never got the SDCC version, so she’s all-new to me.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is a pretty solid one.  The face sports a strong Carrie Henn likeness, and the hair’s pretty not-terrible, which is quite a compliment when it comes to long, sculpted hair.  The body feels a touch too lanky to me, but it’s not like it’s really far off, just ever so slightly.  The incredible level of detail seen on the clothes more than makes up for it.  Everything’s got texture on this figure, and it really looks like she’s the character from the movie.  The only slight inaccuracy I noticed is that the tear on the right shoulder of her shirt isn’t quite as large as it is in the movie, and let’s be honest, that’s reaching pretty far.  One area where things could maybe be just a little bit better is Newt’s paint.  It’s far from bad, but there are a few sloppy spots, especially on the transitions from skin to clothing on the knees and wrists.  Her shoes are also not really symmetrical, with a lot of the paint on ripleynewtneca6her left foot missing sculpted lines almost completely.  Of course, each foot is about half an inch in size, so it’s not like it’s the end of the world.  Apart from those issues, the work is generally pretty good, and she’s at the very least on par with Series 1-3 of the line, so she’s not going to stick out or anything.  The SDCC version of Newt included her doll Cassie’s head, Hick’s helmet (which she’s seen wearing in one scene), a flashlight (just like the one included with Bishop), and her citizenship award that the Marines get her name from.  For this figure, everything but Cassie was cut.  While the other extras were certainly cool, Cassie’s really the only essential accessory for Newt, and this way, those that spent extra money on the SDCC version still get a few unique items.  I mean, it’s gonna eat at me from now until the end of time that I’m missing those three pieces, but such is my life.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had originally hoped to be able to get the SDCC version of Newt after the con, as NECA usually finds a few ways of distributing their exclusives, but for a number of reasons, they were unable to do that this year.  This was sort of freaky, because there was something of a delay between the SDCC figure hitting and NECA confirming exactly how they were planning on getting more Newt figures out there, and I almost caved and bought a marked up Newt more than once.  Fortunately, they finally announced this two-pack, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.  This set ended up being a Christmas present from my parents.  It didn’t actually arrive in time for Christmas morning, but it made it just a few days later, which gave me one last little burst of present opening.  Yay!  This is a pretty great way of not only getting Newt to retail, but also offering up another chance for people to get Ripley.  Both figures are strong additions to the line, and I’m beyond thrilled to add Newt to my collection (and, as an added bonus, now I’ve got an extra Ripley to pilot the Power Loader!)

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#1174: Armored Personnel Carrier

ARMORED PERSONNEL CARRIER (W/ LT. GORMAN)

ALIENS MINIMATES

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Okay, I’m kicking off the second week of post-Christmas reviews the same way I kicked off the first: Aliens.  This time around, I’m turning my focus back to Aliens Minimates, because I just haven’t reviewed enough of either of those things in a while.  One of the advantages of the smaller scale of Minimates is the ability to produce vehicles and such to go with the figures.  Due to licensing restrictions, Marvel, DST’s flagship license, is strictly just the figures, but other lines are fair game, including Aliens.  That’s a definite plus, because the Alien-verse has some pretty awesome vehicle designs just begging for some cool toys.  One of my all-time favorite vehicles from the movies is the Armored Personnel Carrier, or APC for short.  I’ll be looking at the Minimate-ized version of that today!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

apcmini3There are two versions of the APC currently available in the Aliens Minimates line. I’ll be looking at the regular version, which is the specialty release, but there’s also a battle-damaged version available at Toys R Us.  The APC measures 2 1/2 inches tall, 7 3/4 inches front to back, and 3 3/4 inches from side to side.  Both turrets rotate, as do all four wheels.  The top turret doesn’t slide up and down like it does in the movie, likely due to the size and price of this set, but it can be popped out and placed on the back, simulating its movement from the movie.  The door also opens.  It’s not as far as in the movie, but it’s enough that it’s a cool touch.  The apcmini7sculpt of the APC is pretty good.  It’s noticeably less deformed than some of the prior vehicles, which I’m quite pleased with.  Obviously, it’s downscaled ever so slightly, but not incredibly so; it’s quite a sizable vehicle.  The top of the Carrier is hinged, allowing access to the interior of the vehicle.  It’s at best an approximation of the actual interior seen in the film.  That being said, it’s totally acceptable, since the interiors we see on screen were a separate set that didn’t actually fit in the vehicle used for exteriors.  Any recreation by definition must make some concessions.  Gorman’s station is there, with a swivel chair and everything.  There are four more seats: the driver, right behind the driver, by the door, and apcmini4towards the back.  All four of them are removable, allowing for some extra space if need be.  There’s also a small weapons rack in the back of the vehicle, which can hold two pulse rifles and two flamethrowers.  It’s a little hard to get to (it can be removed with a bit of finagling), but still a nice little touch.  Paintwork on the APC is minimal, but well handled.  There are also a few small decals to help fill in a few more of the details.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

apcmini2Included with the APC is Lt. William Gorman.  Given that Gorman spends perhaps the most time in the APC of anyone in the movie, he’s a good choice.  This is Gorman’s second time as a Minimate, with the first being as part of the third TRU-exclusive series.  However, that figure was based on his briefly seen dress uniform, where as this one is based on his main fatigues look from the film.  He stands 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Gorman uses the standard Minimate body, with add-ons for his hat and belt.  Both of these pieces are re-used, but they fit very well for the character.  The paintwork on Gorman is overall pretty solid; he’s on par with the rest of the line.  The face is the same one seen on the TRU version, which is good for consistency.  The patch on his shoulder still incorrectly reads “USMC” instead of “USCM,” but at this point, I guess they just want all the patches to match.  More power to them.  Gorman includes an extra head, sporting the bandage he’s got for the second half of the film, as well as a handgun, and a clear display stand.  I wouldn’t have minded getting the jacket he has when they first arrive on LV-426, but I can’t say I’m disappointed by the selection at all. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since Aliens Minimates were announced, this was an item I was looking forward to getting.  When they finally showed off the prototype, my excitement only increased, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting it since.  I ended up getting this set from my parents for Christmas.  I’m quite pleased with the final product, and it’s definitely become the centerpiece of my Aliens Minimates collection!

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#1167: Ripley, Power Loader, & Alien Queen

RIPLEY, POWER LOADER, & ALIEN QUEEN

ALIENS REACTION FIGURES (FUNKO)

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Alright, here we are!  It’s a new year and a new round of post-Christmas gift reviews!  As is tradition, the first review of this round is an Aliens review.  Heck, it’s even an Alien Queen review!  This marks three in a row.  Why do I have so many Alien Queens?  It’s like I like the movie a lot or something….

You may have thought I’d looked at every possible version of the Alien Queen and the Power Loader available, but you’d be wrong.  No, there’s always another out there somewhere.  This time around, it comes from Funko and their line of ReAction Figures.  Let’s see how this set turned out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ripley, the Power Loader, and the Queen were released as a three-pack, and are the first figures from the Aliens ReAction Figures line.  No follow-up figures have been announced as of yet, but here’s hoping that’ll change.

RIPLEY

ripleyloaderqueen3You can’t do an Aliens line without Ellen Ripley.  Okay, that’s not true.  Several lines have been done without Ripley.  But they weren’t any good, so I call party foul on them.  Funko actually got us our first Ripley figure in a good long while when the released the ReAction version from the first movie, so it’s not a huge shock that their doing her second movie look as well.  Ripley is seen here in her “rescue” look that she sports for the last 45 minutes or so of the movie, which is easily her most distinctive look from the film and is the one that matches up with the Loader as well.  This figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and has the usual 5 points of articulation.  She’s an all-new sculpt and it’s definitely one of the strongest sculpts I’ve seen from this line.  In fact, I think she may be my favorite.  She captures the Kenner style pretty well, but also gets all of the important details from the movie down.  She also doesn’t suffer from the overly straight arms and flattened chest that plagued so many of the ReAction items.  The likeness on the head isn’t the spitting image of Sigourney Weaver, but it’s close enough to the general look of the character that you won’t be left scratching your head wondering who it’s supposed to be.  Similar to the sculpt, the paint on this particular figure is pretty good for this line.  It’s pretty basic color work for the most part, but it’s all pretty clean, and, once again, it does a nice job of aping the style that they’re going for.  Ripley doesn’t include any extras, but that’s mostly because this set also includes…

POWER LOADER

…the Power Loader.  It’s marked as being a “figure” on the package, but that seems like an iffy definition at best, if I’m honest.  That being said, it’s made of plastic, vaguely humanoid, and features a whole 4 points of articulation, so I guess that’s as good as anything.  This Power Loader is notably a bit more rigid than prior versions, largely due to being tailored to fit a Kenner-style figure inside.  It also does seem a bit skinnier than it usually is depicted.  That being said, the sculpt is actually pretty decent.  Obviously, this isn’t going to be competing with the NECA version for accuracy, but it’s certainly more accurate than the original Kenner Loader, and at least on par with the Minimates version.  I’ve looked at a lot of Loaders in the last year or so, so it’s gonna be hard to “wow” me, but this one’s certainly not bad.  The paintwork is pretty much what you’d expect.  Once again, closer to the Minimate version that the NECA one, but all the important colors are there, which I suppose is the most important piece.

ALIEN QUEEN

ripleyloaderqueen2You know how I mentioned reviewing a lot of Power Loaders?  Well, the same holds true for the Alien Queen.  In fact, a bit more so.  Here’s another one, I guess.  This particular Alien Queen stands about 5 inches or so tall and is also about 5 inches wide, and she’s got 7 points of articulation.  The sculpt on this figure is…different.  It’s got the silhouette of the Queen down pretty well, but beyond that it takes more than a few liberties.  This kind of looks like the Queen if you squint, I guess.  It’s not bad, I suppose.  It looks somewhat similar to the basic Alien’s sculpt, so I guess there’s at least some consistency.  That being said, I don’t know that I’m getting the Kenner feel from this figure.  She just feels like she’s from another line entirely when compared to the included Ripley.  Not bad, but different enough to be noticeable.  The paint on the Queen is decent, but nothing particularly spectacular.  She’s mostly done up in this dark metallic grey.  Being somewhat nitpicky, the grey feels off for the Queen, who tends to be presented in bluish hues.  I feel I’d prefer the figure that way, but I don’t know.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was given to me for Christmas by my Grandmother, who does her very best to support my collecting habits.  I knew of this set’s existence prior to getting it, but hadn’t gotten around to picking it up, since I’ve got no shortage of Power Loaders and Alien Queens.  The Queen is the definite weak link here.  NECA’s incredibly amazing version has probably colored my opinion there, but it also doesn’t help that the *actual* Kenner Queen is far more exciting figure.  However, this set is totally worth it for the Loader and Ripley alone.  Nothing particularly new or ground breaking, but just a solid, fun toy.  Now, here’s hoping Funko gets around to some of the other cast members!

#1094: Aliens TRU 3

KANE, PHANTOM XENOMORPH, HIVEWORLD RED ALIEN, HIVEWORLD ALIEN, LT. GORMAN, & ATTACKING ALIEN WARRIOR

ALIENS MINIMATES

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After almost two weeks of Star Wars coverage, I’m switching over to another popular sci-fi franchise (and perhaps my favorite sci-fi franchise at that), the Alien franchise!  I’ll be taking another look at the ever growing Aliens Minimates line today, with that latest round of Toys R Us-exclusive ‘mates.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The six figures covered today are all from the third TRU-exclusive series of Aliens Minimates.  Currently, five of the six figures are exclusive to this set, with only the Attacking Alien Warrior being a repeat, though there will also be a slightly differently deco-ed Kane available with the upcoming Space Jockey set.

SPACE SUIT KANE & PHANTOM XENOMORPH

alienstru3eAlthough the whole line is under the Aliens banner, that doesn’t stop DST from including sets based on the first movie from time to time (as a matter of fact, the entire third specialty assortment was Alien themed).  Kane’s shown up as a ‘mate before in the 35th Anniversary set, but this time around, he’s wearing his pressure suit, an important look for the character.  The figure uses the base Minimate body, and as such stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He has add-ons for the helmet, torso, belt, upper legs, shin coverings, and wrist bands.  These pieces are shared with the other pressure-suited characters from the third specialty assortment, but Kane’s my first look at the pieces.  They do a very nice job of translating the movie look into ‘mate form, and there’s definitely some great detail work here.  The generic upper leg pieces look a little strange compared to the more detailed pieces, but they work well, and you do have to draw the line somewhere.  The paintwork on Kane is pretty great, actually.  The design of the helmet doesn’t allow space for anything more than the basic head under it, so Kane’s cap from the film is just painted on, but it actually looks pretty decent.  The face appears to be the same one used on the first Kane, but it’s lower on the head this time, which makes it look a bit better.  The rest of the details are all pretty sharp, and I appreciate that the quilted pattern goes all the way up his chest, rather than stopping at the armored piece.  Kane was packed with a sidearm, a flashlight, and a clear display stand.

alienstru3dThe Phantom Xenomorph is pretty much the same figure as the Xeno included in the Crew of the Nostromo set, but molded in smokey grey tinted translucent plastic.  To that end, he’s a little over 2 1/2 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation.  As far as variants of the Big Chap go, this one’s pretty fun, and certainly a bit more exciting than the slight head variations we’ve gotten before.  His only accessory is a clear display stand.

HIVEWORLD ALIENS

alienstru3bRemember when NECA did these guys?  Well, it’s pretty much the same principle here.  They’re based on the two warring factions of Xenos from Aliens: Genocide, and are really just another inventive way of getting two more Xeno variants out there.  They both use the standard Xeno parts, with the Red one using the “screaming” head, and the black one the closed-mouth one.  The Red Xeno is nice and vibrant, and definitely sticks out.  That being said, the Black Xeno isn’t just a straight rehash of what we’ve seen before; rather than straight black, he’s actually a very dark blue, much like the black drones were in the actual comic art.  It’s a subtle change, but it at least makes him a little different.  These two include clear display stands and nothing else.  If I’m honest, that’s a little bit of a letdown.  I had sort of hoped these might be along the lines of the Red vs Blue Spartan set from the Halo Minimates line, where a number of different pieces would be included to build all three variants of the standard Xeno (closed mouth, screaming, and inner mouth extended), but I can see how that might have not been cost effective.

DRESS UNIFORM LT. GORMAN & ATTACKING ALIEN WARRIOR

alienstru3cLt. Gorman makes his first appearance here, albeit in a more obscure uniform.  The standard Gorman’s going to be packed with the upcoming APC, so this set includes Gorman in his dress uniform from when he and Burke go to meet Ripley about returning to LV-426.  Gorman’s mostly a vanilla-mate, with only a belt add-on.  He’s missing his hat from that scene, but I don’t believe there’s a proper hat available to re-use, and new tooling obviously wasn’t an option.  This figure is mostly carried by the paintwork, which does a pretty good job recreating Gorman’s look from early in the film.  I’m not sure the head really captures William Hope, but it’s a fair attempt.  It’s worth noting that, like both Apones, Gorman’s patch still incorrectly reads “USMC”, not “USCM” like it should.  It’s a minor issue of course, but it might be nice for DST to catch that one of these days.  Gorman includes a handgun and a clear display stand.

We’ve seen this Alien Warrior several times before, starting with the Aliens vs Marines army dump set that kicked off the line.  It’s a pretty standard Xeno, so it’s hard to complain about it showing up again.  It being packed with this version of Gorman seems a bit odd, since he didn’t wear his dress uniform on the planet, but I suppose the Alien is here to make the set a little less stuffy.  The Alien includes two eggs (one opened, one closed) and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this whole set at my local TRU a couple of months back.  They’re a bit of a mixed bag really.  Kane and the Phantom Xeno are by far the winning set here, in terms of both execution and excitement factor.  The Genocide pack is decent, but the lack of any sort of extras makes it feel like a bit of a missed opportunity.  Gorman and the Attacking Alien are perfectly fine, and it’s cool to finally have a Gorman, but nothing about this set is particularly exciting.  All in all, I’m glad to have this series, and there’s a lot to like, but they don’t have the same “wow” factor as previous series.