#0868: Space Marine Power Loader

SPACE MARINE POWER LOADER

ALIENS (KENNER)

PowerLoaderK1

Hey guys! Do you know what my favorite movie is? You should, because I talk about it like an excessive amount. But maybe you’re new here, or bad at paying attention, so I’ll remind you that it’s Aliens, aka the greatest film of all time! The movie has gotten quite a few action figures in the last few years, but it’s very first action figure line came from Kenner in the early 90s, and it was the result of a failed Saturday morning cartoon adaptation. I’ve looked at a fair number of the figures, but there were also a number of vehicles in the line. Most were made up, but they did get make the Power Loader, allowing kids of the ‘90s to proudly say “Get away from her you…female dog.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

PowerLoaderK2The Power Loader was released just after the first assortment of items from Kenner’s Aliens line, alongside the first version of the Alien Queen. The base Power Loader body stands about 7 inches tall (the “alienator” missile launcher adds another inch or so, depending on its orientation) and its articulated at the shoulders and has an opening cockpit, and there is also movement on the two side guns on the arms and the base of the missile launcher. The claws can also move, but they are worked into a spring-action feature, and therefore cannot hold a pose on their own. The Kenner line can be best described as “inspired by Aliens,” more so than being a straight recreation of the movie’s designs. While it certainly fares a bit better than a lot of items in the line in terms of film accuracy, there’s no denying that this Power Loader is an entirely different beast than the film version. The basic shape is more or less the same, especially when the missile launcher is in its away position; this thing will definitely pass the squint test. The claws are the first real change, being a more conventional Sci-fi claw design than the more forklift styled claw from the movie. The legs have also been changed from more typical human-style legs to a treaded design that looks fairly similar to the Robot from Lost in Space, presumably to allow the torso and legs to be one solid piece. There are also the added guns, one on each arm, which make the Power Loader more of an offensive machine (one has to wonder if Kenner was aware that these weapons and such resulted in the Power Loader’s name becoming something of an artifact). From there, most of the changes are small and aesthetic, in order to make the overall design a bit more streamlined and in keeping with the more simplistic nature of the whole Kenner line. The end result is PowerLoaderK4actually not a bad looking toy, and certainly one that bridges the gap between toyline and movie quite well. A fair number of these changes have been made in order to better facilitate placing the Kenner Ripley figure in the loader. She doesn’t fit perfectly, due to her rather limited articulation, but she manages to look decent enough. For the most part, this thing’s just molded in bright yellow, with minimal paint for the elbow joints and the treads on the feet. The yellow is a bit on the warm side, but not terrible, and what paint there is has been handled cleanly. The rest of the details are handled via a sheet of decals included in the package, which add a ton of cool little details. Aside from the missile for the “alienator” the Power Loader has no real accessories, but being a glorified accessory itself, that’s not really a problem.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Kenner Power Loader is an item I’ve wanted for quite some time. When I saw it on the back of my first Ripley’s card, I was immediately impressed. Unfortunately for me, it’s not quite as easy to find as the figures, so I was never able to find one. At Farpoint this year, I found it at the table of one of the dealers (the same guy who has been selling me a steady supply of other 90s toylines at the last several cons I’ve attended). It ended up being the most I’ve spent on a single item from the Kenner line, but certainly not outside my price range. This toy definitely she’s its age, and one can hardly compare it to NECA’s recent masterpiece, but this is a really fun take on one of the film’s most memorable moments, and it looks awesome with the rest of my Kenner figures.

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#0741: Power Loader

POWER LOADER

ALIENS (NECA)

PowerLoader1

Okay, everybody, you should know the drill by now. Ethan’s got a new Aliens toy and he’s all excited. Were he not showing restraint, every sentence in this review would be all caps and end in 34 exclamation points. Because this sucker’s pretty darn fantastic.

Two years ago, when NECA’s Aliens line was only just two series into its run, before we had any large items and before the Sigourney Weaver likeness rights were secured, NECA teased fans at how great this line could be. They confirmed that the Alien Queen would be joining the line, but when Toy Fair rolled around, the Queen’s sculpt wasn’t ready to go, so they put something else in the case. The Power Loader, the exo-skeleton perfect for telling female dogs to get away from people. It was the first real indication that NECA might be working on securing Weaver’s likeness and succeeding where every Aliens line before had failed. I mean, why make the Loader without Ripley? Then the Queen and Ripley were shown and solicited and released, and this one just seemed to slip through the cracks. Fortunately, NECA had not forgotten, and was hard at work getting the Loader released. And now it’s here. Let’s do this!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

PowerLoader3Like the Alien Queen, the Power Loader has been released as a deluxe entry in NECA’s Aliens line, filling the gap between Series 6 and 7 of the main figure line. The Power Loader has made its way into several pieces of Aliens media over the years, but this one is definitely based on its debut appearance in the 1986 movie. After getting the downright enormous Queen figure, the Loader is actually a little more compact than I had expected. Once I placed it next to Ripley, I was certain that it was properly scaled, but it is definitely compact. It stands roughly 10 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation, as well as eight actual, working pistons. The range of motion on anything outside of the arms is mostly pretty limited, but that’s true to the film design as well, so one can hardly complain. The sculpt on this piece is nothing short of amazing. For starters, it’s a really great recreation of the machine from the movie. But, just looking at it from a purely aesthetic standpoint, every piece of it is carefully crafted and full of tons of detail; it looks like a working machine.  Adding to that, a variety of different materials have been used to craft it. The main base is hard plastic, but the hoses and tubes, as well as the padding and straps in the spot for the PowerLoader4operator are made from a soft rubber, and the tracks on which the pincers move are all made from metal, so you don’t have to worry about breaking them. If there’s one negative, it’s the netting material used on the top of the harness part. In the film it’s a metal grate sort of piece. It’s forgivable, though, since that sort of piece seams infeasible at a smaller scale, and I definitely prefer slightly inaccurate to broken. The paint on the Power Loader does a great job of accenting the already awesome sculpt. The various small details are all nice and sharp, and there’s plenty of weathering to help make it look more like an actual machine and less like a hunk of plastic. It’s truly outstanding work. The Power Loader is designed with NECA’s Series 6 Lt. Ellen Ripley in mind, so it fits to her pretty well. PowerLoader5Getting the harness to fasten is a bit of a pain, but it stays alright once you get her properly placed. Also, although the Loader includes a spare set of hands for her to hold the controls, getting her hands to hold said controls without popping off of the wrists is virtually impossible. I managed to get the left hand alright, but I just let the right sort of hover there. It makes for easier posing anyway. For those curious, the Loader is really only designed with this particular Ripley figure in mind, so other NECA figures won’t fit right. I’ve included a shot of their recent Adam West Batman operating it, and you can see he’s really squished in there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was meant to be my main birthday present from my parents this year, but it ended up getting delayed a few times (which I was actually kind of expecting). It just arrived last week, and I can happily say that it was absolutely worth the wait. Ripley looks right at home piloting it, and the Alien Queen’s shelf presence increases ten-fold when facing off against it. If there’s one must-have item from NECA’s Aliens line, this is definitely it!

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#0685: Lt. Ellen Ripley

LT. ELLEN RIPLEY

ALIENS (NECA)

RipleyAliens1

Okay, guys, you read the title. You saw that picture. You know what I’m reviewing today. Are you prepared for what is about to happen here? I mean this totally seriously. Are you prepared? Okay, let’s give it ago. I think I’ve maintained my composure for a while, without freaking, so I’ve lulled everyone into a sense of ease. Good. Let’s move on.

*Ahem*

HOLY CRAP, NECA TOTALLY WORKED OUT THE LIKENESS RIGHTS DEAL WITH SIGOURNEY WEAVER AND NOW THEY’VE MADE RIPLEY FROM ALIENS AND I TOTALLY HAVE IT IN MY POSSESION AND I’M REVIEWING IT AND THIS SOOOOOO AWESOME!!!!!!

I think I’m good now. Sorry, I’ve been holding the excitement in for a little while. Umm, so I’ve just gotten my figure of Ripley from Aliens, my favorite movie of all time, and now I’m gonna review it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

RipleyAliens2Lt. Ellen Ripley is part of Series 5 of NECA’s Aliens line. After going completely to Alien for Series 4, they’ve switched back over to figures from the second movie for Series 5. Yay, more Aliens toys for me! Ripley is presented here in her Xeno-hive-exploring get-up, from the climax of the film, when she goes to save Newt. It’s really the go to look for Ripley from Aliens, so it’s definitely the one to lead with. The figure stands roughly 7 ¼ inches tall and has 26 points of articulation. Like Series 4’s Jumpsuit Ripley, this puts her at the same height as all of the Marines produced so far, and a little bit taller than Series 3’s Bishop. That’s definitely appropriate for a figure representing Sigourney Weaver, who is 6 feet tall. Ripley’s sculpt appears to be mostly new; the only parts that look to be re-use are the forearms, which are from Jumpsuit Ripley. And, seeing as they’re the same actress’s forearms, that seems pretty excusable. The rest of the sculpt is really, really good. It’s not perfect; the arms seem just a touch lanky and the neck’s a little on the thin side. However, those are minor issues, especially compared to what the sculpt gets right. The overall proportions are pretty spot on, and the figure is covered in detail work and texture. The ammo-belt and watch are both add-ons, which actually surprised me a bit, especially on the watch. Now, the key piece of a Ripley figure in this day and age is the likeness. NECA did a pretty great job on both Series 4 Ripleys, so the pressure was definitely on here. Prototype shots had me a little worried, but the final product blows all that away. Easily the best likeness in the line. This IS Ellen Ripley. Well, facially, anyway. The one thing that holds it back just a little is the hair. It’s not bad, but it seems just a tad too big. Hair is difficult, so NECA’s still done an admirable job here, getting it as close as they did. Moving onto paint, I feel it RipleyAliens3important to note that, while this is the best paintwork we’ve seen in this line to date, it’s not without issue. The biggest issue, for me, is the eyebrows. They’re set too hi, and they’re too at ease, which isn’t appropriate for Ripley at this point in the movie. It’s not enough to ruin the figure, but it is somewhat noticeable. In addition, the right side of the hair ends just a small fraction shy of the sculpted hair. It’s not noticeable from 90% of viewing angles, but when it’s visible, it looks a little goofy. Lastly (and this one’s really minor), the stains on the shirt stand out just a bit too much from the normal shirt color. Some fading would have been nice. Those issues aside, the paint on this figure is truly amazingly handled. This Ripley makes the switch over to the more realistic flesh toned plastic that NECA used on figures like Rambo and Dutch. It has the semi-translucent of real skin, and avoids loss of detail and the extra thickness added by paint. The end result is an astounding improvement to the Marines and Bishop. Ripley is packed with her signature pulse rifle/flamethrower combo. It’s a key accessory for this look, and it’s wonderfully executed. The piece is actually two pieces, bound together, and the pulse rifle even has the tracker taped to the top, just like the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’ve been anxiously awaiting this figure’s release ever since the prototype was first shown off. My wonderfully supportive parents were nice enough to get me Ripley (along with the rest of Series 5) for my birthday. The figure wasn’t here quite in time for my actual birthday, the sheer awesomeness of the figure more than makes up for that. I noted in my review of the Series 4 Ripley that NECA had set the bar pretty high for this figure. Well, I’m happy to say that this figure has cleared that bar with room to spare. This is the finest piece the line’s had to offer!

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#0571: Gipsy Danger – Hong Kong Brawl

GIPSY DANGER – HONG KONG BRAWL

PACIFIC RIM (NECA)

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Certain movies just exude pure awesomeness. Pacific Rim is one of those movies. Seriously, giant robots fighting giant monsters. What more could you want from a movie? Well, if you’re me, action figures of said giant robots and giant monsters. But, that’s just me. Well, not just me, clearly, what with there being a whole line of such figures. So, why not look at another figure of the main giant fighting robot Gipsy Danger.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GypsyHK3Hong Kong Brawl Gipsy Danger was released as part of Series 5 of NECA’s Pacific Rim line. This is the 3rd Gipsy Danger to show up in the line (though the 4th I’ve reviewed here). The figure is just about 7 ½ inches tall and features 27 points of articulation. That’s a whole ten points more than the first two Gipsies, which is certainly impressive. The figure represents Gipsy’s basic look from the film, but if you want to get really technical, this figure is based on Gipsy during her Hong Kong battle with Otachi. Just in case the name hadn’t clued you in. Gipsy’s big selling point here was that she featured an all-new sculpt. Of course, that sculpt went on to be used as the base for the Anchorage Attack Gipsy, so I’ve actually reviewed a fair portion of this sculpt before. The head, upper torso, and left arm are different, of course, but they’re consistent with the pieces we saw on the AA figure. I made it no secret how much I loved the AA Gipsy’s sculpt, and my opinion of it continues on this figure’s sculpt too. The level of detail present in this sculpt is nothing short of amazing. It well and truly looks like someone miniaturized a real Jaeger. Fantastic work all-around. Getting to see the sculpted work on a more clean example of the design is really nice. Things like battle-damage can hide a sculpt’s flaws, so the fact that the sculpt of the cleaned up counterpart is just as great really means a lot. In addition to massive strides in the quality of sculpts, NECA has also made some tremendous strides in the quality of the paintwork applied to said sculpts. Gipsy’s paintwork is, well, maybe not as fantastic as the sculpt, but it’s still pretty darn great. The various insignias and smaller details are nice and clean (though with a touch of weathering, for realism) and the pearlescent blue is just as cool here as it was on the AA Gipsy. There are a few spots where bleed over crops up, most noticeably around the edges of the visor and chest reactor, but they’re relatively minor and only really noticeable under close examination.  This version of Gipsy is incredibly well-accessorized. She includes two sets of hands (gripping and fists), a fully-extended version of the chain sword, and …what was that last thing? Oh, right, a BOAT SWORD!!!!!!!!! Yeah, that’s kind of the winning piece here, not just because it happens to be one of the film’s cooler moments (which is really saying something), but also because the boat features the same level of sculpted and painted detail that the figure itself possesses. And that’s just downright impressive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Yeah, I totally skipped this figure when it was first released. Why would I need another normal Gipsy Danger? Well, then I bought the Anchorage Attack version and realized I was wrong to skip this one. Of course, by that point the HKB Gipsy had disappeared from most stores, so I assumed I had missed my chance on getting one. But then I was out with Super Awesome Girlfriend and we stopped by Toys R Us, because that’s just what we do. Obviously, said TRU had this figure, since I brought it up here. Anyway, I’m glad to have finally found this figure, and it’s just a fantastic update on the first Gipsy.

GypsyHK4

#0523: Romeo Blue

ROMEO BLUE

PACIFIC RIM (NECA)

RomeoBlue1

One of the coolest things about Pacific Rim (apart from giant robots fighting giant monsters) was the rich history of the Jaeger program of which the film gave us a few brief glimpses. Jaegers defeated outside of the confines of the main story had just as much effort put into granting them a unique name, design, and fighting style as those who were front and center. After three series of figures, NECA’s Pacific Rim line had covered all of the Jaegers who had a notable role in the film, so NECA has turned to those more minor Jaegers of which we only get a few flashes. The first was Tacit Ronin, and the second is the subject of today’s review, Romeo Blue! Romeo is one of the more visible of the minor Jaegers, appearing in the opening montage’s parade scene, as well as a brief clip of a fight later. So, let’s see how the figure turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

RomeoBlue2Romeo Blue is one of the two Jaegers in Series 5 of NECA’s Pacific Rim line. Romeo marks the 4th Mark 1 Jaeger that we’ve seen in the line, which makes them the prevailing mark of Jaeger by far. The figure stands about 7 inches tall and features 32 points of articulation (33 if you count the extending left forearm). That marks the most points of articulation we’ve seen on a Jaeger so far, by quite a bit, and the figure puts them to great use, which is always great to see. Romeo has a brand-new sculpt, based upon his appearance in the movie. Initial designs for the Jaeger showed him with a three-legged, tri-pod style design, but the final film went with a more conventional two-legged look, so that’s what we get here. Ultimately, it’s a little less unique, but it makes for a pretty great standard robot design. Romeo’s sculpt is pretty much on par with the last few series of Jaegers. Going by the character’s design sheet and his two brief appearances in the film, the sculpt is very accurate to the source material. It’s all properly geometric, and it manages to look like something that’s actually built out of machined parts. The front fin, which is probably one of the more distinctive pieces of Romeo’s design, is a separate piece, glued in place. The glue on mine didn’t quite hold, requiring me to apply a little of my own. However, that’s a very minor issue, and it was easily fixed. Like yesterday’s Gypsy, the sculpt is handled in such a way as to not interfere with the movement of the articulation, which makes Romeo a lot more poseable than his predecessors (such as Tacit Ronin). It also makes getting him in a standing position a whole lot easier, which is definitely a nice change. No more shelf-diving! Romeo had one of the more exciting color schemes in the movie, and the paintwork here does a pretty great job of rendering that. Generally speaking, the paint is applied cleanly and evenly. The colors are nice and bold, and he’s got that really great pearlescent finish that we’ve seen on the last few Jaegers. The blue is, perhaps, a little too turquoise, but that’s minor, and it still looks pretty great. Romeo includes no accessories, but that’s pretty standard for the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When NECA first announced series 3 of Pacific Rim, and it featured Coyote Tango, my boy Tim and I were discussing the other possible Jaegers that could be made. The one the two of us were most anxious to see was good ol’ Romeo here. At the time, we never thought Romeo would actually show up in the line, given his limited screen time. So, I was thrilled beyond belief when NECA showed this guy in their Series 5 line-up. I ended up finding him at the same TRU where I picked up yesterday’s Gypsy, and I was super happy to get him. If I’m totally honest, he didn’t blow me away in the same way that Gypsy did. However, he’s still a fantastic figure, and he’s one of my favorite Jaeger figures so far!

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#0522: Gipsy Danger – Anchorage Attack

GIPSY DANGER – ANCHORAGE ATTACK

PACIFIC RIM (NECA)

GypsyDangerAnchorage1

Sometimes, a figure has obvious flaws. Things that you might like to see fixed on a future release. Sometimes, you buy a figure, and you think to yourself, “Wow, this figure is just fantastic. I really love this figure, and nothing can replace it.” And sometimes that stands. Other times, you’re dead wrong, in ways you just couldn’t imagine. Today’s review represents one of those times.

If you haven’t seen 2013’s Pacific Rim yet, I urge you to fix that as soon as possible. Unless you don’t like giant robots fighting giant monsters. In which case, you have my pity. Life must be so dull. NECA picked up the license to do the toys and released two series in rather quick succession, before doing a slight retool of the line with Series 3. Main Jaeger (aka fighting robot) Gipsy Danger has been a consistent fixture of the line. Today, I’ll be taking a look at NECA’s most recent version of the character.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GypsyDangerAnchorage2Anchorage Attack Gipsy Danger was released as part of Series 5 of NECA’s Pacific Rim line. She’s the 4th Gipsy to see release and the second of the re-tooled Gipsies. Gipsy stands almost 7 ½ in height and even with the missing arm, she manages to have 21 points of articulation. She’s one arm down and she’s still got 4 more points of articulation than the first two Gipsy figures. Gipsy is based on her appearance following being damaged by Knifehead in the film’s opening fight scene. It’s a pivotal moment in the movie, illustrating the end of the “Golden Age of Jaegers,” while simultaneously giving the lead character a little bit of pathos. It also happens to be a look that Gipsy was seen sporting on a few of the posters for the movie, so it’s a rather key look. The figure uses the Hong Kong Attack Gipsy as a starting point, adding a new head, upper torso, left arm, and lower right arm. Simply put, this figure’s sculpt is nothing short of amazing. The small details are incredibly sharp and defined, the proportions are spot on, and not a single detail is out of place. At a small scale like this, it can be easy to lose some of the finer details (like on the first two Gipsies), but not here. This looks like a miniaturized version of the model in the movie. The new lower arm featuring the plasma cannon looks spot-on. That’s a piece that was worth the wait. In addition, the figure’s articulation has been worked in amazingly well. The figure features a great range of motion without sacrificing the sculpt. In general, this figure just feels really solid. More so than sculpts, paintwork was something that felt a little lacking on previous figures in the line. That’s changed almost completely here. There are a few small instances of bleed over, but in general the paint on this figure is clean and full of lots of layers of detail, making it look like the figure is really built out of iron. If I had one complaint, it would be that I’m not sure how well the bright orange ends on the damage work. From a normal distance, the work well to convey super-heated metal, however, they do just kind of look like orange dots up close. Still, they don’t really detract from the rest of the figure. And I can’t get over how cool that pearlescent finish looks. Gipsy is packed with a spare lower arm, so that she can be displayed sans-cannon. It’s nice to have the option, and it makes that poster look even easier to pull off!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When NECA first announced that they would be re-working their Gipsy Danger sculpt, I was intrigued but uncertain. Seeing the Hong Kong Attack figure in the package, it didn’t seem that different from the Gipsy I already had, so I passed on it for other things. While seeing a friend’s play with Super Awesome Girlfriend last weekend, I came across a Toys R Us which had both Series 5 figures in stock. I knew I wanted Gipsy’s Series-mate Romeo Blue, and I figured this Gipsy looked different enough to warrant a purchase. Having actually taken one of the new Gipsy figures out and messed with it, I can see that passing on Hong Kong Attack was a mistake. Comparing this Gipsy to the Series 2 Gipsy is like comparing night and day. They look like they’re from two different lines. It’s rare for a toy company to top themselves on a figure this quickly, but NECA really shines on this figure. Holy crap, this figure is so cool!

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#0465: Tacit Ronin

TACIT RONIN

PACIFIC RIM (NECA)

This site is in desperate need of some giant fighting robots. Seriously, our quota is way down. It’s been like seven or eight months. Obviously, the go to when you want cool giant fighting robots is Pacific Rim. And, would you look at that, I just so happen to have one of the Jaegers from NECA’s latest series of Pacific Rim figures sitting here, waiting to be reviewed. That’s convenient!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tacit Ronin is part of the fourth series of NECA’s Pacific Rim line. Beginning with Series 3, the line split into two concurrent lines devoted to Jaegers and Kaiju, respectively. Tacit is a member of the former line. If you saw Pacific Rim, you might not recognize Tacit right away.  Unlike all of the previous Jaegers released by NECA, Tacit Ronin does not have any actual scenes in the movie. The Jaeger is only seen briefly during the opening montage of Jaegers. It did, however, serve as a prototype for Striker Eureka, one of the film’s primary Jaegers.  Essentially, Tacit Ronin is the Mk 1 version of Striker Eureka (and early versions of the film’s story even had Tacit in Striker’s role). The figure is roughly 7 inches tall and features 24 points of articulation, as well as dual-piece sliding blades on each forearm. Like the majority of the Jaegers from this line, Tacit is an all-new sculpt. The sculpt is pretty well handled. It’s a little soft in some areas, but not excessively so. In a few cases, the sculpt also impedes the articulation, especially on the lower legs, which can make getting Tacit to stand a very difficult proposition. Going by images I was able to find online, the sculpt is pretty accurate to Tacit’s on-screen appearance. The cool thing about Tacit’s design is that, while it’s none of the individual elements are unique to this Jaeger, a lot of them have been taken a generation or two back, which makes this guy a really cool precursor to the other Jaegers. Tacit doesn’t have the most thrilling color scheme; it’s mostly just white and red. That said, the paintwork is fairly cleanly applied, and NECA’s added a thorough amount of detail to the figure’s armored bits. Tacit includes no accessories, though he does feature a set of slide out blades on each forearm. They’re pretty cool, though they are a little difficult to slide back and forth.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Upon seeing Pacific Rim and receiving the first assortment of figures, I was pretty much on board to buy just about any of the Jaegers NECA saw fit to release. One of my particular favorites was Tacit here, so I was absolutely thrilled to find out NECA would actually be releasing him. I ended up finding the figure at an FYE at my local mall. I actually had to pass on the figure at first (I was buying a few Christmas gifts). After the Christmas season, I went back and was pleased to find that they still had a Tacit left. While Tacit isn’t quite as thrilling as, say, Cherno Alpha (still my vote for the best of the line), he’s still a very strong figure, and he fits in very nicely with the rest of the Jaegers.

#0438: The Alien Queen

ALIEN QUEEN

ALIENS (NECA)

After a bit of a pseudo start yesterday, the Christmas Reviews officially begin today! There was something of a theme to a lot of my Christmas gifts this year, and that them was Aliens. Let’s be honest, though, what better theme could there be? Aliens is, after all, the greatest movie ever made. Today, I’ll be looking at the center piece to all the wonderful Aliens stuff I got this year, the Alien Queen.

The Alien Queen is probably the most distinctive thing from Aliens. Ripley’s Power Loader-aided battle with the beast is one of the best parts of the film, and it’s the kind of thing that a toy collector like me might want to immortalize in plastic. However, the Queen hasn’t been the easiest thing to toy-ify. She’s a pretty massive creature, and she has lots of intricate little details. She’s had a few figures over the years that didn’t totally suck (I even reviewed one of them recently), but none of them quite lived up to the creature seen in the movie. Enter NECA.

NECA has already been killing it with their regular Aliens series based on the normal sized people and creatures from the movie. But if there’s one thing that NECA does well, it’s large scale figures. So, it’s not exactly a shock to see this figure pop up. Still, it took some time. You don’t just start with the Queen; you work your way there. After some waiting, the Queen is finally here! Let’s see how she turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Alien Queen was released as a supplement to NECA’s main Aliens line. She found herself bridging the rather lengthy gap between Series 2 and 3 of the line (Although, as chance would have it, Series 3 is right behind her). Officially, the Queen is billed as a “Deluxe Set,” which is not surprising, given the size. Speaking of size, this sucker is big. She’s roughly 12 inches tall and a whopping 27 inches long (though about 15 inches of that is tail). The figure truly towers over the rest of the line, as she well should. The Queen has the sort of design that can be difficult to articulate, but NECA’s done a pretty amazing job. The figure has 57 points of articulation, as well as a wire armature tail that can bend all along its length. There’s quite a lot of posability, though most of the joints require some very particular positioning if you want the figure to have any sort of balance. The Alien Queen has appeared in three films, all of them based on the same basic design, but this one is very definitely based on the original Aliens design. The figure features an all new sculpt to replicate the design. It’s a little hard to tell, because the creature was generally shot in the shadows, but the sculpt appears to be incredibly faithful to the movie. All of the basics are definitely there, and the figure is definitely the Queen. In addition, the sculpt is loaded with lots of fine details and texturing, all done in a way that perfectly conveys the creature’s meld of biology and mechanics. The details continue on every side of the figure. I was particularly impressed by the volume of detail on the underside of the figure’s head, an area that could have easily been overlooked. Perhaps the only downside to the sculpt (which isn’t so much an issue with the sculpt as it is an issue with implementation) is that the Queen’s back spikes are separate pieces that have to be attached when the figure is taken out of the package. It’s a bit difficult to get them in place, and they have a tendency to pop out of place while the figure is being posed. That said, they’re just as well sculpted as the rest of the figure, and the match nicely when in place. Just like it’s difficult to get a 100% accurate view of the figure’s sculpt due to the film’s lighting, it’s also hard to get an accurate comparison of the paint. At first glance it seems like the figure may be too bright, but upon reviewing the film, it seems accurate to what she looks like when we see her properly lit in the airlock. Generally speaking, the paint is very well handled. The figure was originally black, with a fair share of blue highlights added. There are also a few touches of bronze, so that this figure should match okay with both colored varieties of Xeno Warriors. Perhaps my favorite touch, coloring-wise, is the transparent teeth, which are just plain cool! The Queen is a pretty massive figure, so little to no accessories is fairly acceptable. That said, the figure includes a few items. Since the design doesn’t allow for the sliding version of the inner mouth seen on the Warriors, the Queen includes two of them, of differing lengths, which can be swapped out for the desired look. They’re both very nicely sculpted, and help spruce up the figure well. The figure also includes a much needed display stand. It’s done in three parts, and the actually support piece comes in both short and long varieties, which allows for a nice selection of poses.

   

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Queen was my main Christmas present from my truly amazing parents, given to me this past year. I have anxiously been waiting for this figure for quite some time. I was absolutely thrilled to open her on Christmas morning. This is a figure that could have turned out badly if it weren’t well handled, but I’m happy to say NECA truly hit it out of the park on this one. It makes for a wonderful centerpiece to my collection. Now I just need to figure out where to put it….

#0303: Scunner

SCUNNER

PACIFIC RIM

Scunner4

There’s been plenty of movies that have come out since Pacific Rim that have delivered on the awesome quotient, but it’s a movie that had its own definitive style, and it left a very lasting impression on me. That impression was mostly: Holy crap those robots fighting those giant monsters were SO AWESOME!

NECA picked up the license to do figures for the movie. The first two series of figures weren’t bad, but they weren’t quite as awesome as the movie. Most notably, the monsters, or Kaiju, were lacking in detail, articulation, and especially size. Beginning with Series Three, NECA set out to fix this, going so far as to split the Kaiju off into their own sub-line so that they could truly be the gargantuan creatures they deserved to be. Today, I’ll be looking at one of the Kaiju from the film’s climactic underwater battle, Scunner!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ScunnerWilsonScunner was actually not part of a series-proper. He ended up being a single release in NECA’s Pacific Rim Kaiju sub-line, hitting just a few months after Series One. The figure is about 8 inches standing tall, and it features 29 points of articulation, plus a bendy tail! That’s certainly an improvement over the original Knifehead’s less than 7 inch height and 15 points of articulation. Scunner makes use of the new and improved Knifehead body from the first series of Kaiju. It’s a sensible re-use, as the creature designs used many of the same elements, and it’s also a key plot-point that the creatures are all manufactured by mixing and matching parts. If you’re going to get extra mileage out of a sculpt, this is definitely a good one to do so with. The sculpt is well-detailed, well-proportioned, and well-articulated to boot. In addition to the Knifehead parts, Scunner gets a brand new head sculpt and a torso overlay to reflect his slightly tweaked design. The pieces match the quality of the body pieces very nicely, and accurately reflect the design of the creature in the movie. Scunner has been molded in a dark gray/brown plastic, with paint to add texturing as well as Scunner’s bioluminescent features. The paintwork is mostly good, and is definitely a step up from previous Kaiju offerings, but there are still a few areas of slop, most noticeably around the edges of the bioluminescent green. Fortunately they aren’t too distracting, but it would be nice if it were a bit cleaner. Scunner includes no accessories, but given the lack of any real accessories to include coupled with the sheer size and mass of the figure, this is forgiveable.

Scunner5Scunner7

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Scunner was picked up from a small toy store called All Time Toys, located near where I live. While Super Awesome Girlfriend was visiting, she and I went out and about to explore the area. We stopped by the store, and I was definitely intrigued by their impressive Pacific Rim display. I resisted the urge to buy anything, and we continued exploring. However, we had to pass the store on our way back to the car, and Super Awesome Girlfriend, living up to her name, encouraged me to go back in for one of the Kaiju. I decided on Scunner, as I felt he offered the most unique look of the possible options. He’s really a fun figure, and it’s nice to finally have a Kaiju that matches the quality of the very impressive Cherno Alpha from the most recent series of Jaegers.

Scunner6

#0170: Coyote Tango

COYOTE TANGO

PACIFIC RIM

Coyote4

I’ve talked quite a bit before about my love of the movie Pacific Rim.  Suffice to say, I am obviously picking up NECA’s line of action figures based on the movie.  So far, I’ve looked at three of the Jaegers (Monster fighting robo-suits) from the movie.  Today, I’ll be looking at another: Coyote Tango.  To those of you casual observers of the film, you may not remember Coyote.  Coyote has a small but important role as Stacker Pentacost’s Jaeger in a flashback.  The scene is efficiently awesome, but most of the actual fighting happens off-screen, leaving Coyote with a small amount of screen time.  Still, he’s a cool design.  Let’s take a look.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Coyote3Coyote Tango was released as part of the third, much-improved, series of NECA’s Pacific Rim line.  Coyote stands about 7 inches tall (not counting the cannons), and has 24 points of articulation.  As I noted in my Cherno review, the articulation hasn’t jumped much in number of points, but it has taken a decent up-turn in actual movement.  It’s not quite as impressive as Cherno’s, but Coyote can get some pretty great poses.  Notably, the cannons are also articulated, which is a really great touch and adds a whole new level of play to the figure.  The sculpt is the usual NECA quality.  Lots of really great details, all wonderfully handled.  The paint just adds to the sculpt, bringing out lots of great details, plus it has some great detail work of its own, with logos and letters all over the place.  Coyote includes no accessories, but that’s not really anything new for the line, nor can I really think of anything Coyote should include.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t as excited for Coyote as I was for Cherno, but he’s still a really cool character, and the figure is really high notch.  Getting the Jaegers as a set may be the most economical option if you’re after Cherno, and getting saddled with Coyote is hardly the worst thing to happen.  Coyote will definitely be getting a spot on my shelf!

Jaegers(wCoyote)