#2313: Xenomorph vs Super Power Loader

XENOMORPH VS SUPER POWER LOADER

ALIEN COLLECTION (LANARD TOYS)

I had my first look at Lanard’s new Aliens line yesterday with the line’s star piece, the Alien Queen.  But, what good is an Alien Queen without a Power Loader to do battle with, and at least one minion to be all Queen-ly with?  Practically no good at all!  Fortunately, the line offers up both of those things in one convenient package!  That’s some fairly smart planning right there.  It got me to buy them, anyway.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Xenomorph Vs Super Power Loader set is part of the next step down from the Alien Queen on the price scale for the Alien Collection line, the “Xenomorph Attacks” sets.  There’s this set, and an APC (which, somewhat amusingly, is the only set at launch to not have a Xeno packed in, despite being in the “Xenomorph Attacks” sub-set).

XENOMORPH

There’s one of these in just about every set Lanard’s put out so far.  Currently, we’ve got two styles of Xeno drone: one based on the Aliens Warrior, and one based on the Alien 3 Runner.  This one is the Warrior.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Stylistically, much of this sculpt matches up with the Alien Queen, which is no surprise.  It’s fairly faithful to the film design, while still dialing things back a bit to make it a little more kid-friendly.  The various Xeno elements are all present, and things are pretty sharply defined.  The articulation is pretty well implemented, though the lack of elbow joints is a little bit restricting.  Additionally, the joints on mine are already starting to get rather loose from regular usage, so I’m not sure how well they’ll hold up to long-term play.  That said, it’s a fairly impressive sculpt, with some cool little touches.  Though he lacks the inner-mouth action feature of the queen (forgivable, given the size), he’s still got the details of the inner mouth sculpted on the interior of his jaw, which is a nice touch.  Like the Queen’s vibrant purple, the smaller Xenos are all privy to some Technicolorization, with this one being a rather eye-catching metallic green.  It looks pretty nice, and it’s something different, so I really don’t mind the change-up.

SUPER POWER LOADER

Though the most unique piece of this set within the context of this line, the Super Power Loader is the most clear-cut re-use (similar to what we’re used to seeing from Lanard), and does feel like more of an after thought to make sure there’s a Power Loader to face off against the Queen.  This release takes a pre-existing mech-suit from Lanard’s Corps! inventory and re-purposes it for something more familiar.  It’s not terribly far removed from the Power Loader of the movies, but it’s not terribly similar either.  It’s big and yellow and one of the hands is a claw.  That’s about where the similarities end.  That doesn’t stop it from being a respectably cool piece, although one that feels more designed for conventional weaponry than the glorified forklift from the film, which I suppose is really just an extension of the slightly more weaponized Loader from Kenner’s line.  It does make the name of the machine feel increasingly like an artifact, though.  The construction is fairly hollow, since it’s really just a shell for a figure, but it doesn’t feel too light weigh or like it’s going to break or anything.  I do like the color scheme a lot, and the caution stripes and bright yellow do a lot to sell this as the genuine article.  Power Loaders don’t always include a pilot, but this one does.  He’s not much to right home about, being one of Lanard’s cheapest figures.  He’s got the basic 5 points of articulation, and is very hollow.  Not particularly impressive, but okay for being essentially a glorified cardboard cut-out that’s only there to fill out the Loader in the box.  He’s armed with a pickaxe of some sort, which doesn’t feel like the best choice of weapon when your opponents bleed acid.  Whatever the case, I fairly quickly replaced him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ll admit, I kind of got swept up in the awesomeness of the Alien Queen, and found myself buying this in the same purchase.  I like having Loaders to face off against my Queens and this one was sitting right there, and was admittedly quite affordable.  The Alien’s the better of the two items here, definitely.  Clearly Lanard’s put their resources into making the Aliens cool, and is filling in everything else as cheaply as possible.  Given that the Loader was not part of the first batch of items we saw, it wouldn’t surprise me that this was a somewhat later addition, which would explain the more blatant re-use for the Loader.  It’s not a piece, mind you, but it’s not nearly as impressive as the Queen.  That said, they still look pretty impressive sparring off against each other.

 

#2312: Alien Queen

ALIEN QUEEN

ALIEN COLLECTION (LANARD TOYS)

An Alien Queen review?  Is it the post-Christmas reviews again already?  No, I’m throwing you for a loop dear readers, and doing something that’s not totally predictable.  Okay, that’s probably not true, because I’m reviewing an Aliens action figure, and that’s pretty darn on-brand for me.  Alas, there goes my plans for spontaneity.  So, in Aliens news, the license got picked up by a new and kind of surprising company: Lanard Toys.  Lanard previously made their name with their G.I. Joe knock-off The Corps!, but first got into the licensing game with Kong: Skull Island, and then followed up with Rampage and Jumanji.  So, while licensing isn’t a *new* thing for them, an R-rated movie from the ’80s does seem a little off for a company that sells exclusively in the toy aisle of Walmarts.  Whatever the case, I’m not going to complain if it means more toys from my favorite movie.  Plus, it’s been forever since I’ve reviewed an Alien Queen.  My skills are getting rusty.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Alien Queen is the central piece of Lanard’s new Alien Collection, which started hitting shelves right at the beginning of the year.  While much of the line is made up of Lanard re-purposing old tooling under a new branding (much like they’ve done with prior licensed lines), the Queen is a brand-new offering, designed solely for this line, and she doesn’t exactly have a lot of re-use potential after the Alien line is done.  The figure is roughly 12 inches tall (with her slight hunch) and has 20 points of articulation.  The articulation and its implementation is all fairly basic, but what’s there works and it works well.  In particular, the ball-joints on the ankles work surprisingly well to help keep the figure balanced in a variety of poses.  At first glance, I didn’t think much of them, but while taking the photos, they really stood out to me, especially in contrast to figures like the NECA Queen, who requires a stand to stay balanced (in their defense, so did the real thing; it’s one of the impossibilities of the design).  Some effort has been made by the figure’s sculpt to cartoonize or kidify the Queen’s design a little bit in order to make a slightly sturdier toy.  Most of this is in the legs, which now are more beefed up to support the rest of the figure.  By and large, though, the figure remains surprising faithful to the source material.  While it’s not got the screen accuracy of the NECA figure, it certainly lands closer than the Funko ReAction, or even the vintage Kenner attempts.  They’ve boiled down all of the important elements and crafted something that immediately captures that spirit of the original design, while not being too horribly terrifying for kids par-oozing the toy aisle.  In a lot of ways, I feel she would pair well with the Kenner Scorpion Alien in this respect.  Another change to the design in the effort of keeping things a little more kid-oriented: the colors.  While classically black with some blue highlights, the queen is now a rather vibrant purple…with some blue highlights.  There’s not actually much paint, just the whites of the teeth and the few traces of blue, but it looks pretty striking, and the purple honestly shows off the sculpt a little better than a straight black might have.  Though the Queen includes no accessories, she does get an action feature.  Pulling her head back will shoot her inner mouth outwards, a surprisingly effective feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I found out that Lanard picked up the Aliens license, I’ll admit I was somewhat perplexed.  However, the Queen was one of the first items to be shown, and I rather liked what I saw.  Thanks to Max, I got a heads up that this figure had hit, and was able to find one just after the new year.  I gotta say, I really love this figure, more than I’d anticipated, especially given the very low price tag.  For the same price as a Marvel Legend, you get a figure more than twice the size, and very, very playable.  I love my NECA Queen as much as the next Aliens fan, but if there’s one thing it was not, that’s playable.  Having a Queen I can feel free to pick up and mess with is really solid, and a great alternative for those not looking to drop over $100 on a Queen.  This is an absolutely fantastic piece for kids and collectors alike, and I hope Lanard can continue with such pieces.

#2063: Dutch & Linn

DUTCH & LINN

ALIEN VS. PREDATOR (NECA)

“Terror grips the city of San Drad as it is overwhelmed by a mysterious outbreak of aliens.  The cybernetically-enhanced Major Dutch Schaefer and Lt. Linn Kurosawa of the USCMC are surrounded by a swarm of Xenomorph drones when a pair of unlikely allies – Predators – appear and offer a temporary alliance.  Now it’s a battle to end them all as human and Predator join forces against unending waves of deadly Xenomorphs!”

In 1994, with the golden years of both franchises firmly behind them, Aliens and Predator decided to meet in the middle, and dive headlong into the world of Alien Vs. Predator, in all its shapes and forms.  While it would take us another decade to actually get a movie made out of that concept, one was in the works, and a script was drafted for a mid-90s release.  Capcom was contacted to make an arcade game to tie-in with the film, and when the film fell through, decided to go ahead and release the game anyway.  Players could choose between four playable characters on their trek to mow down Xenos.  There were two variants of Predator, and then there were Dutch and Linn, who I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Dutch and Linn are a two-pack release as part of NECA’s game-based Alien Vs. Predator line.  They hit shelves between the Predators and the Aliens, which I guess makes some sense.  Both follow NECA’s trend of video game figures filtered through the lens of pseudo realism.

DUTCH

Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer was no stranger to that whole Predator thing, being the main protagonist of the first movie and all.  He’s also no stranger to the NECA thing….being the protagonist of the first movie and all.  And, given Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ’90s stardom, it’s no surprise that there were plans to include him in the film crossover.  Whether he would have actually been cybernetically-enhanced in the movie is anyone’s guess, but it was a cool game concept.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  Unsurprisingly, this Dutch figure makes use of the molds from NECA’s previous Dutch figures.  As I noted when I reviewed the Contra figures that were also built on this body, it’s a strong starting point, and still remains one of NECA’s best bodies.  Dutch gets a new, slightly less Schwarzenegger-looking head, plus a new belt and knee/elbow pads.  And, of course, most notably, he gets a new right arm, replicating his big robot arm from the game.  Boy is this a thing of beauty.  It’s a clean sculpt, and it’s got working pistons and joints in all the proper spots.  It could have easily been badly articulated or overly fragile, but it’s neither one of those things, and it even manages to be pretty well balanced on the figure, so he won’t fall over as much as you might expect.  Man, is that a cool arm.  Dutch’s paintwork follows the usual NECA classic video-game trend, with actual painted shading and lighting, simulating the way the sprites in the game are painted.  It’s surprisingly subtle on Dutch, and adds a pop to the figure without making him look weird from non-highlighted angles.  Dutch is packed with an extra, slightly more relaxed hand for his robot arm, as well as a fire-effect piece to plug onto the end.

LINN

Lt. Linn Kurosawa was a brand new addition for the game, though given that she was given the Aliens connection, one has to wonder if at some point in the process she was meant to be a returning Aliens franchise character.  Whatever the case, she’s just as prominent in the game as Dutch, and a natural choice here.  The figure is 6 1/2 inches tall and has 25 points of articulation (including a balljoint on her pony tail; that’s pretty darn cool).  Though she’s a new character, she’s not all-new pieces.  She’s instead built on some of Pvt Vasquez’s parts.  Given they’re both USCMC, it’s s pretty sensible bit of re-use.  Like Dutch, there are still plenty of new parts, including a new head and torso, as well as new dressing for the arms and legs.  If Dutch is NECA’s best male body, Vasquez is their best female, so Linn’s got another good starting point.  The new parts are all pretty good, though she doesn’t have anything that immediately stands out the way Dutch’s robot arm did.  Still, a pretty solid sculpt all around.  The paint on Linn is certainly bright and eye-catching, though I did notice that it seemed a little more prone to slop and bleed over than Dutch’s.  You might want to keep an eye on that.  Linn is packed with a katana, and a handgun, with right hands to match each of them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve not played the game these two are based on, but I’ve always liked the designs, especially Dutch.  While I passed on the rest of the game figures, I liked these two enough in-person that I didn’t want to pass on them.  Dutch is probably one of my favorite NECA figures, truth be told.  That robot arm is just so much fun!  Linn may not have the wow factor that Dutch is, but I didn’t feel like I was gipped by having to buy her as well.  All-in-all a very fun set.

I picked this set up from All Time Toys, where it can still be purchased here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2017: Scorpion Alien

SCORPION ALIEN

ALIENS (NECA)

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Avengers coverage for a look at another “A” franchise.  Yes, it’s April 26th, or 4-26, also known as Alien Day, or at least it has been for the last few years.  And this year, I did actual manage to flag something special to review for the occasion.  Last month, I took a look at the NECA’s Kenner-inspired take on Sgt. Apone.  Today, I’m following that up with my first look at one of NECA’s Kenner-style Aliens, namely the Scorpion Alien, the closest the original line got to a standard-issue Xenomorph variant.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Scorpion Alien is the second of the three figures in the Kenner-inspired Series 13 of NECA’s Aliens line.  As sort of the quintessential alien of the original line, it was a little bit of a surprise that the Scorpion Alien wasn’t in the first Kenner-inspired assortment, but my guess would be that NECA was looking to space him out a little bit from the other more standard Alien variants.  At this point in the line, a more standard Xeno is a little more appreciated.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 39 points of articulation.  The Scorpion Alien uses the general model of the recently released Ultimate Alien Warrior as a starting point, mostly cribbing the internal workings and articulation scheme of that figure.  Most of the exterior is new; I think the pelvis and maybe the lower legs are the only truly un-changed parts.  Everything else gets a new skin.  It’s not *terribly* different from the film design, just a lot spikier, really.  For the sake of mixing things up a bit, and making him a little more unique, NECA’s also changed up the musculature a little bit, making him ever so slightly bulkier in areas such as the shoulders and the thighs.  It matches better with the slightly stouter build of the old figure, making him a more true adaptation of that figure.  The paintwork on this figure also leans pretty heavily on accuracy to the original’s exact coloring, with a heavy bronze accenting.  It’s a good look, though, as always, I’m slightly partial to blue, so I wouldn’t be opposed to a re-paint.  Still, this is a good look for the figure, and I appreciate the heavy bronze to black ratio.  The Scorpion Alien doesn’t have any accessories, but he does include a reprint of the comic included with the original figure.  I was slightly saddened by the lack of a blast apart feature, but I can’t really blame NECA for leaving that one out.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I was already picking up Apone, the Scorpion Alien was a pretty easy sell for me.  Though not far removed from the original design, he’s always been my favorite Kenner Alien design, so I was happy to see him show up in this line-up.  If you have any of the other Xenos from this line, he may not feel like much new, but I dig the changes they made, and I think he makes for a fun variant.  Hope you didn’t mind the detour.  The Marvel stuff will be back tomorrow!

I picked up this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, who have (or had, at least) the whole series.   If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1989: Sgt. Apone

SGT. APONE

ALIENS (NECA)

“Tough and gritty, Apone keeps the Marines in line. Right arm now bio-mechanical.”

When NECA’s highly-popular Predator line started running out of actual movie-based Predators to release, they started reaching back to the ’90s line of Predator figures from Kenner, a fairly popular move.  Obviously, it’s not a huge shock that the Aliens line would follow suit.  We got the Kenner variant of Ripley back on the first Alien Day, with Vasquez following suit the next year.  There was an assortment of Kenner inspired Xenos released between the two in 2016, and we’ve finally gotten a follow-up assortment just this year.  We’ve also gotten our first main series release for a Kenner human, Sgt. Apone, a character whose movie version we have still yet to see, due to Al Matthews, Apone’s actor, being notoriously protective of his likeness.  But hey, at least we have *some* version of Apone.  And one that’s super ’90s-tastic at that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sgt. Apone is one of the three figures in the Kenner-inspired Series 13 of Aliens from NECA.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  As I noted when I reviewed the original Kenner Apone, his design from Kenner was perhaps one of the most divergent from the source material.  Gone was his uniform and standard military gear, replaced by something I can only describe as “uber ’90s”.  He’s got a backwards baseball cap, fingerless gloves, a bright-colored t-shirt with the sleeves torn off, and even a pair of sneakers inspired by the ones Ripley has in the film (which her Kenner figure didn’t have; I can only imagine that Al stole them from her).  The look is unique to say the least.  For the part of this specific figure, he’s done a pretty amazing job of faithfully capturing the details of the original figure, while still updating him so that he won’t look *too* out of place with the rest of the movie-inspired figures.  There’s a lot of great small detail work going on, from the wrinkles of his pants, to all the little stitches and wear on his boots.  The facial likeness is a tricky area of course, since it’s not officially an Al Matthews likeness, same as the Kenner figure before it.  But, like the Kenner figure, it’s still got a more than passing resemblance to the guy, meaning he still looks like Apone.  For the more resourceful customizers out there, I can see this head leading to a pretty easy movie accurate version of the character.  If there’s one drawback to the sculpt, it’s the way the cybernetic arm impedes the articulation on his right elbow.  It’s not terrible, and you can still get some good poses, but it’s not as good as the left.  In NECA’s defense, the original Kenner figure threw the arm on with no intention to articulate it, so they’re just doing their best to remain faithful to that design.  In the end, it’s not that big an issue, but it did somewhat stick out at me.  Moving onto the paint, Apone’s got some solid work, and is appropriately garish in color scheme.  He’s got his signature “No Bugs” scrawled across his shirt, which definitely looks cool, and as a whole the figure just really pops.  What I like the most about it, however, is that NECA didn’t just do the basic colors, they’ve also gone behind and added some accenting work, especially on those boots, so even though he may be bright and painful, he still looks like a real person.  Apone includes two “grenades” and a shotgun, just like his old figure.  The gun is re-used from one of the Genisys Terminators, but it’s actually a surprisingly good match.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve definitely been wanting an Apone for my NECA Aliens collection, and while I still want a faithful movie version at some point, I really can’t complain about getting this one.  The super ’90s nature adds a lot of charm.  Here’s hoping for some more Kenner Marines to go with him!

I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, who have (or had, at least) the whole series.   If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1877: Ultimate Alien Warrior

ULTIMATE ALIEN WARRIOR — BLUE

ALIENS (NECA)

I have this running gag with my family where we all refer to Aliens as one of my favorite Christmas movies.  It all stems from me setting up some last minute decorations on the 23rd of December one year, and being a little Christmas movie-d out, I threw on Aliens, since it’s kind of my favorite movie.  The thing is, there’s kind of a solid rhythm to it, so it just kind of stuck, and now it feels weird to have a Christmas without it.  So, I guess this review is me starting to get into the holiday spirit?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Ultimate Alien Warrior is NECA’s latest entry in their ever-expanding Aliens line.  It’s a stand-alone, boxed release, just like all of the other “Ultimate” offerings they’ve been doing, shipping in cases split between the two color variants: brown and blue.  Both figures were shown off a ways back (like, more than a year ago), and seemed to be stricken with quite a few delays, but they’re here now, and that’s the important thing.  The figure reviewed here is the blue variant, because that’s my favorite version.  The Xeno stands 8 inches tall and has 39 points of articulation.  He uses the new and improved Aliens Warrior body, which we got a preview of with the Concept Xeno that was packed with the Burke figure last year.  As I noted in that figure’s review, the body is aesthetically very similar to the Series 1 Xeno body, but it’s far more posable, and just generally sturdier than the prior body was.  The details also look to be a little sharper, but this could just be improvements in the manufacturing process.  This figure, of course, trades in the domed head of the last one for a more Aliens-accurate ridged head.  I think it’s just the same one we saw on the earlier figures, which seems sensible enough.  This new Xeno’s paintwork is, of course, heavy on the blue accenting, as I mentioned above.  This replicates the lighting scheme of the movie a bit more accurately.  What’s quite impressive about this particular release is that it’s a lot more subtle than prior offerings, and it melds the blue with some varieties of brown, making it even more clear that the blue is more of a lighting thing.  Essentially, it matches the Warrior to NECA’s Alien Queen figure, which definitely works for me.  Prior Xenos have been sans-accessories, but as an Ultimate release, this one’s actually nicely accessorized.  There’s the egg and face hugger combo like we saw with the half-Bishop, as well as a newborn chestburster, previously seen in the creature pack.  It’s always nice to get some extras of these, and especially nice to see the Xeno actually get something for a change.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When NECA’s Aliens line launched, I was pretty firm on only getting six Xenos total (because that’s the number of Xeno suits used in the film; it’s a very geeky thing).  I long ago surpassed that.  But, back in the Series 2 days, when I had just gotten my first Blue Warrior, I thought I might actually be able to stick to it, because he was my favorite and I didn’t think he could be surpassed.  Then, while I was taking photos for my Queen review, I picked up the blue guy, and his leg didn’t come with him.  At this point, he was rather expensive to replace, so I just solemnly placed him at the back of my display.  Needless to say, when NECA announced the Ultimate offerings, I was thrilled, and now that I have this guy in hand, he’s undoubtedly my favorite Xeno figure.  I’m glad to have a blue leading the pack again!

This guy was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  As of this writing, the figure is still in-stock, so if you’re interested in this figure, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#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.

#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.

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#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.