#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!

#0447: Aliens Minimates

CARTER BURKE, PVT WIERZBOWSKI, PVT SPUNKMEYER, ALIEN WARRIOR(S), ATTACKING ALIEN WARRIOR(S), & BATTLE DAMAGED ALIEN WARRIOR(S)

ALIENS MINIMATES

Today’s review marks Day Ten of my Christmas Reviews. If you were thinking there hadn’t been enough Aliens stuff, you’re in luck! If you’ve grown tired of Aliens, that’s unfortunate. You may have chosen the wrong action figure review site. Sorry!

It’s my opinion that Aliens is the greatest movie ever made. If I were pressed to pick my favorite toyline, I think Minimates would be the obvious answer. So, how do you make the greatest toys of all time? Well, putting it lightly, Aliens Minimates. There, I was able to get through that all calm. I totally didn’t break into hysterics over the fact THAT THERE ARE TOTALLY ALIENS MINIMATES!!!! THAT’S A REAL THING!!!! HOLY CRAP!!! ….Sorry about that. So, um, yeah. There are Aliens Minimates, and I’ll be taking a look at those today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These figures make up the first assortment of Aliens Minimates to be offered. Typically, I only review Minimates one set at a time. However, they all kind of make up one “set” of figures, so I’ll be keeping them together. These figures were released as the “Aliens VS Marines Army Dump.” The Army Dump is something that’s been done a few times before with Minimates. Essentially, it’s a case of 12 single-packed Minimates, where there are a few variations of an army builder packed in a few times, with a small number of unique characters, each packed one per case. In this set, there are three styles of alien warriors that take up nine of the slots collectively, and the remaining three slots are filled by Marines Wierzbowski and Spunkmeyer, and Weyland-Yutani employee Carter Burke.

CARTER BURKE

Can you get much sleazier than Carter J Burke? Not much. Dude’s just the worst. But Aliens need victims, so here he is! Burke here is easily the highest profile human character in this set, so he’s got that going for him. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. He’s based on the look Burke sports for the majority of the movie. In a world of the coolest looking set of Space Marines imaginable, Burke’s a guy in a flannel shirt a vest. Real winner this one. It’s definitely the definitive look for the character, so it’s a good choice. Burke is assembled from the standard Minimate body, with add-ons for his hair, vest, sleeves, and wrist watch. The hair was previously used on the Ghostbusters Janosz, the sleeves first appeared on The Spirit, and both the vest and the watch are re-used from Knight Rider’s Michael Knight. Seems Burke raided Hasslehoff’s closet! For those of you following at home, you’ll note that Burke has no new pieces. He’s a great example of what you can do with re-used parts, because each piece looks spot on to the character. The figure’s paint fills me with great distress. The general application of the paint is fantastic. The figure’s face is a pretty decent likeness to Paul Reiser’s portrayal of the character, and the work on the flannel shirt is nothing short of astonishing. So, what’s the problem? Well, a combination of things. Seems the plastic on the hip joints is a little on the weak side. Combine that with some sticky paint, and you’ve got a Burke with two broken hip joints, which is what happened to mine. Fortunately, I was able to get a replacement set of legs (shout out to Minimate Multiverse member Bilbofett! Thanks so much!), but it’s a shame that this happened. Burke’s sole accessory (unless you count the ooze coming off his slimey personality) is a clear display stand.

PVT WIERZBOWSKI

Ah, Wierzbowski. The marine that is never actually on screen, but that everyone remembers because of his funny name being shouted several times during the big hive fight. I gotta be honest, the fact that Diamond is leading with Wierzbowski shows a commitment to this line that no other action could. Wierzbowski is about 2 ½ inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation. He’s built on the standard Minimate body, with add-ons for his helmet, chest armor, and boots. The add-ons are new to this figure and they offer the first glimpse at the pieces that will be used on future Marines. Simply put, they’re fantastic. Early images had me worried the armor might be too bulky, but that’s certainly not the case in person. Each piece of armor is a fantastic miniaturization of the movie’s designs. Wierzbowski’s paint work, while very good, does have a few issues that hold it back. The detail work is all nice and sharp (though I can’t speak to the quality of the likeness, not having seen the guy’s face). The fully detailed camo uniform under the armor is definitely a nice touch. However, the camo is only present on the front of the torso, leading to a jarring change when he’s viewed from the side. Also, the green chosen for the armor seems to be a bit too bright, which looks off. Neither of these is really a figure ruining issue. It would be nice if they could fix the camo thing on future marines. I don’t see the shade of green changing, mostly for consistency’s sake. Wierzbowski includes a fantastically sculpted pulse rifle, as well as an alternate hairpiece (originally used on the first Marvel Now! Hulk) and a clear display stand.

CREW CHIEF PVT SPUNKMEYER

Spunkmeyer is probably more notable than Wierzbowski, though not much. He’s totally absent from the definitive hive battle, and he’s nowhere near as memorable as his co-pilot Ferro. Like Wiezbowski, he’s mostly remembered for his odd name. In fact, when I first saw the pictures of these figures, I kinda though he was Lt. Gorman. Spunkmeyer is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. Structurally, Spunkmeyer uses the standard Minimate body, with a sculpted helmet piece. It’s not bad, though it seems a touch too large. We don’t see him wearing it very much, so that might be throwing me off. The rest of Spunkmeyer’s look is done via paint. The detail lines are nice and sharp and he has a passing resemblance to the actor who plays him. The base paint isn’t quite as good. There’s more than a few wavy or fuzzy lines. That said, they got the colors right on this one, which is nice. Under his helmet, Spunkmeyer has a fully detailed shaved head, stubble and all. I wish that he didn’t have a peg hole in his head, but that seems to have been a necessity of the helmet. Spunkmeyer includes a handgun and a clear display stand.

ALIEN WARRIOR(S)

As I said in the into, this set offers three different varieties of the titular creatures. The first one is the basic Alien Warrior. There are four of this particular Alien in the set. The figure is about 2 ¾ inches tall and features 16 points of articulation (the additional two points are courtesy of the tail). Obviously, the Alien Warrior is based on the appearance of the creature in the second film of the franchise. The figure uses the basic Minimate body as a starting point, with all-new sculpted pieces for the torso, head, hands, tail, and feet. All of these pieces are exquisitely sculpted, with tons of small detail work. This version of the Alien has a closed mouth, which looks almost like an evil grin here, due to the stylizing of the character. What’s truly amazing about the sculpt is how it stays true to both the original design and the Minimate aesthetic. It’s very clearly the Alien, but it’s also very definitely a Minimate. That takes effort. The figure’s paint is on par with the sculpt. Diamond could have easily just relied on their sculpt for the creature’s details and left the paint a basic black, but they didn’t. Every flat surface has a plethora of texturing and detailing that perfectly captures the design in two dimensions. The figure also features some silver detailing to bring out the claws, toenails and teeth of the creature. The Alien Warrior includes a clear display stand.

ATTACKING ALIEN WARRIOR(S)

The second variation of the Alien Warrior is the “Attacking” version. There are three Attacking Aliens in the set. Like the regular Alien Warrior, this figure is about 2 ¾ inches in height and it has 16 points of articulation. From the neck down, all of the sculpted pieces on this figure are the same as those on the regular Warrior. The key difference is the head. While the regular version had a closed mouth, the Attacking Alien has its mouth open and its inner mouth sticking out. This depicts the Alien in one of its most distinctive looks, which is definitely cool. For the most part, the paint on this figure is the same quality as the first alien. The only difference is the addition of gray for the inner mouth. It might have been nice to get something other than a flat gray, but it’s not too bad. The Attacking Alien Warrior includes a clear display stand.

BATTLE DAMAGED ALIEN WARRIOR(S)

The last version of the Alien Warrior is the Battle Damaged version. There are two Battle Damaged Aliens in the set. The Aliens have a tendency to take some damage, so it’s a reasonable variant. The figure has the same height and articulation as the previous Aliens. Sculpturally, this one’s a little different. The hands, feet, and tail are the same as the other two Aliens. The head is that of the Attacking Alien, with the inner mouth removed, and the torso is the same as the previous two aliens, but with the back tubes shortened, as if they’ve broken off. The other key difference on this figure is the paint. The starting point is pretty much the same as the other two, but they’ve added splashes of bright green all over the figure, depicting the creature’s acidic blood. It’s a cool effect on one figure, but I’m not sure it’s very practical for an army builder. The Battle Damaged Alien Warrior includes a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These figures were another Christmas gift from my always awesome parents. I’m over joyed to have these figures in my possession. About 5 years ago, I was really into customizing Minimates, and I made my own set of Aliens ‘mates, which I was quite proud of. I’m thrilled to say that these blow those out of the water. My personal favorite of the set is Wierzbowski, just for the preview he gives of the other marines, but the Alien Warrior is very definitely a thing of beauty. I can’t wait to get more of these!