#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.

#1191: Ripley & Newt

RIPLEY & NEWT

ALIENS (NECA)

ripleynewtneca1

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

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

RIPLEY

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

NEWT

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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#1167: Ripley, Power Loader, & Alien Queen

RIPLEY, POWER LOADER, & ALIEN QUEEN

ALIENS REACTION FIGURES (FUNKO)

ripleyloaderqueen1

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

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

RIPLEY

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

POWER LOADER

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

ALIEN QUEEN

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#1066: Power Loader

POWER LOADER (WITH RIPLEY & BATTLE-DAMAGED ALIEN)

ALIENS MINIMATES

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You might think that with the onslaught of Aliens-based products in the last year or so, that I would be getting a little tired of reviewing it all.  Well, you’d be wrong.  Seriously, I’m just so happy to be a part of it all.  In the last year, I’ve gotten not one, not two, but three versions of the Power Loader (granted, one of them was from 1992.)  Anyway, the latest of the Power Loaders is from one of my favorite lines of all time, Minimates!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Power Loader (as well as Ripley and the Battle-Damaged Alien) is one half of the first deluxe series of Aliens Minimates, which hit around the same time as the second specialty series.

POWER LOADER

powerloadermm2Okay, so “figure” isn’t quite accurate for the Loader.  There is a bit of articulation (at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists), but as a whole it’s more of a vehicle than anything.  Nevertheless, it’s undoubtedly the star piece of this set, so it gets to go first. Sculpturally, the Power Loader is 100% new pieces.  No add-ons here, just a totally unique sculpt.  At 3 1/2 inches tall, it’s admittedly a little under-sized, but that sort of thing is gernerally expected with Minimates, where scale is something of a loose concept.  The sculpt does an admirable job of walking the line between being screen accurate and adhering to the ‘mate aesthetic.  It’s immediately evident what it’s supposed to be, but they’ve simplified a number of the details and tweaked the proportions ever so slightly, for the sake of making it fit in properly with the ‘mates it’s been packed with.  The sculpted details are more simplistic than, say, the recent NECA Loader, but hardly lacking.  Unlike many of the vehicles released under the Minimates banner, the Power Loader very much emulates the basic ‘mates in terms of construction, with the arms, hands, legs, and securing bars all being removable parts.  In theory, this allows for some interchangeability, but there aren’t any comparable items to swap with at the moment.  It’s worth noting that you can swap out the arms with a normal powerloadermm5‘mate’s arms, which is kinda fun. The only downside to this construction is the tendency of the Loader to fall apart, which can be rather frustrating.  It’s also worth noting that getting a figure placed in the Loader does require taking said figure and the Loader apart, and even then takes some careful tinkering to get everything placed right, so you probably won’t want to be swapping the figure out too much. The paintwork on the Power Loader is decent enough, though maybe not as cool as the usual work we see on ‘mates.  All the basic color work is fine (though the yellow does seem a tad on the bright side), and the details such as the caution lines looks pretty sharp.  I can’t help but feel that the yellow sections could use some sort of extra detailing, just to accent the sculpt a little better, and prevent the Loader from having so much un-broken yellow.   The Loader is packed with a pair of control grips (attached to the arms in the film, but made separate pieces here so that the ‘mate operating it can actually hold them), and a clear display stand.  If you want to get technical, I suppose you could also count the three alien eggs, and the facehugger, since it’s not like they specifically go with any one figure in this set.

RIPLEY

powerloadermm4You can’t very well release the Power Loader without having a Ripley to go with it, now can you?  Okay, yes, you can.  In fact, a lot of companies do.  But not DST!  Plus, if you want to get really technical, the Loader necessitates another Ripley, since she looks slightly different at this point in the movie than she does during the Hive storming scene that her first ‘mate was based on.  That being said, the two designs are quite close, making this figure just a slight tweak of the earlier ‘mate.  In addition to the basic Minimate body (which stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation), Ripley uses the same hair and watch piece that all of the Aliens Ripleys have used so far.  The hair isn’t a perfect match for the film, but it’s pretty close, and it’s also consistent with the others, which is nice. As far as paint goes, a lot of this Ripley’s details are very familiar.  The majority of the body has all the same detailing that the Rescue Mission Ripley had.  Interestingly, the shirt sleeves are now molded in white with the skin tone being painted over them, as opposed to the reverse being done for Rescue Mission Ripley.  The real change, though, is the figure’s expression, with is a little angrier, and a little more intense, and, most importantly, a little more roughed-up than her prior figures.  I like that the damage to her face is consistent to the prior figure, but that she still mixes it up a bit, just to give us something new. For accessories, Ripley only includes a display stand.  However, as little more than a glorified accessory herself, that’s not unreasonable, since she doesn’t really require much while operating the Loader.

BATTLE-DAMAGED ALIEN

Drake&Xeno4I suppose it’s not really an Aliens set if you don’t get at least one of these little guys in there, is it?  The Alien included in this set, dubbed “Battle-Damaged Alien,” is actually the same figure as the Attacking Battle-Damaged Alien included with the Wave 1 Pvt Drake figure, right down to the placement of the blood splatters.  It’s too bad they couldn’t mix up the splatters a little bit for this one, since we got this same set of details several times.  That said, this figure is still just as cool as any of the Xeno ‘mates we’ve gotten so far, just slightly redundant for someone collecting the whole line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so first off, bad Ethan.  Yes, it took me over six months to finally get around to picking up this set.  I’m such an awful fan, aren’t I?  I kept meaning to get them, I swear.  These ended up being one of the things I got from my parents for my birthday, which was pretty awesome!  The Power Loader is the main attraction, so a lot of this set’s success rides on whether or not it delivers.  While it’s not perfect, mostly due to the issues with falling apart and some minor issues with the paint, the Loader is still a pretty fun little toy, and it goes great with the rest of the ‘mates.  Plus, it’s kind of a necessity.  This Ripley doesn’t offer much that’s new or different, but that’s not really surprising.  Her purpose is really just save people the trouble of having to track down a second Rescue Mission Ripley to pilot the Loader, and in that respect, she’s pretty successful.  The Xeno’s a bit of repeat, but that’s far from the worst thing.

#1035: Ellen Ripley – Fiorina 161 Prisoner

ELLEN RIPLEY – FIORINA 161 PRISONER

ALIENS (NECA)

RipleyCubed1

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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#0941: Space Marine Lt. Ripley

SPACE MARINE LT. RIPLEY

ALIENS (NECA)

KenRipley3

A little over three weeks ago, it was Alien Day, a celebration of the 30th anniversary of Aliens, the greatest movie of all time. There was lots of awesome stuff going on to celebrate (I even got to see Aliens on the big screen!). NECA, who’ve been making Aliens figures for several years now got in on the fun by offering an exclusive figure in partnership with Toys R Us. So, without further ado, here’s Space Marine Lt. Ripley!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

KenRipley1Ripley is a part of NECA’s ongoing Aliens line. She was a special one-off exclusive, so she’s not officially part of a specific series. However, she falls in between Series 7 and Series 8 as far as the timeline of releases goes. So, we’ve got Ripley from the first movie, Ripley from the second movie, and Ripley from the third movie’s in Series 8; what version of Ripley is this? Well, it’s not Ripley from the fourth movie, that’s for sure. This Ripley isn’t based on a movie incarnation at all: she’s instead based on Kenner’s Lt. Ripley from their ‘90s Aliens line. NECA started using Kenner variants in their Predator line when they started running out of movie designs, so it’s not a huge shock to see them go that route with Aliens too. This Ripley stands 7 ¼ inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation. Since she was meant to be a figure that could be turned around relatively quickly, most of Ripley’s sculpt is the same as the Series 5 version of the character. That was a fantastic sculpt, and is perhaps one of my favorite NECA sculpts to date, so the reuse is far from a bad thing. There are still a few minor nits, but the good outweighs the bad by like a whole lot. In addition, the Kenner Ripley was based on the same basic design as the Series 5 Ripley, so the sculpt really isn’t far off. To help seal the deal, Ripley gets one additional add-on piece for her bandana, which does a suitable job of capturing the Kenner piece, while at the same time fitting right in with the rest of the sculpt. The rest of the changes in design are handled via the paint job, which I must say is quite impressive. The ‘90s were a truly garish time for fashion, and Kenner’s Ripley was not unaffected by this. However, despite not toning down the colors all that much, NECA’s managed to make Ripley not look super ridiculous. To the casual fan, she’s a fairly serviceable normal Ripley, but a toy fan should be able to instantly recognize the reference. The original Kenner Ripley included a huge freaking flamethrower thing. To properly replicated this would have required a whole new tool that wouldn’t have been useful for too much else. So, instead of that, this Ripley gives us our first look at the Smartgun that’ll be included with Series 9’s Vasquez. Ripley has a little trouble holding it, since it’s not what her hands are designed to hold, but it’s an awesomely sculpted piece. Also, as a neat little throwback, the figure also includes a reprint of the comic included with the original Kenner Ripley (These really need to be put out in a collected edition of some sort).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Oh boy, was getting this figure an ordeal. I hit up my local TRU on Alien Day with no luck finding this figure. I also had no luck finding at any of the nearby TRUs for the next two weeks. In addition, it sold out of TRU’s online store in a few hours, and then the product page disappeared, so I had no luck there. However, patience persevered, and TRU listed more stock online, allowing me to get the figure. Yay. I’m glad I got this figure. Sure, I have most of it already, but it’s an incredibly fun variant, and a wonderful throwback to my very first Aliens figure.

KenRipley2

#0923: TRU Aliens Minimates Series 2

ELLEN RIPLEY, SCREAMING XENOMORPH, SGT. APONE, GLOWING ALIEN, PVT. DRAKE, & EXTRA-DAMAGED ALIEN

ALIENS MINIMATES

AliensTRU2a

Well, it’s been almost a week since Alien Day, and I’ve started to miss those scary acid-bleedy monsters. So, how about another Aliens review? And, for extra fun, why not some more Minimates? Yeah, that’ll be cool, because I just got this brand-new set of them from Toys R Us. Let’s have a look at them!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These six were released as the second Toys R Us-exclusive series of Aliens Minimates. The pack breakdowns are Ripley and the Screaming Xeno, Apone and the Glowing Alien, and Drake and the Extra-Damaged Alien. Typically, I review Minimates one two-pack at a time, however, all but one of these figures are slightly tweaked versions of previously reviewed ‘mates. Rather than drag them out for the better part of a week, I thought I might as well get them all out of the way, since there’s not much new to review.

ELLEN RIPLEY & SCREAMING XENOMORPH

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Ripley’s the real star of the franchise, so it’s not a huge shock that she’s also the human with the most variations. This Ripley is a slight tweak of the Alien 35th Anniversary boxed-set version, reviewed here. The only difference between the two figures is the facial expression, which is a slightly cleaned up version of the Hive Assault Ripley from Series 1. The new face definitely helps her resemble Sigourney Weaver a bit more, resulting in a AliensTRU2eslightly superior figure. That said, the issue with the incorrect hair is still present, and is made more glaring by the fact that this is the second time we’ve seen it happen. Aside from that issue, she’s a pretty solid figure, just like her predecessor. Ripley includes a flamethrower (no flame trail, though), Jonesy the cat, a facehugger, and a clear display stand.

Not to be outdone by Ripley, the Big Chap goes for his fourth variation. This one’s a combination of two of the prior figures: he’s got the paint scheme from the “Crew of the Nostromo” set, with the head from the first set (albeit with the inner mouth removed). Not really much to say about this one, other than to say it’s just as good as all the other Xenos in the line. The figure includes a closed egg and a clear display stand.

SGT. APONE & GLOWING ALIEN

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Well, I was wrong. In my review of the Series 1 Apone Minimate, I said he’d likely only get one Minimate appearance, and here he is with his second Minimate. Lucky him. Like Ripley, the only difference between this Apone and his prior ‘mate is his facial expression: he’s turned in his more collected (if still pissed off) expression for a more intense, teeth gritting one. This Apone’s clearly from his final moments in the hive, as he’s caught in a firefight. The resemblance to Al Matthews is lessened a AliensTRU2fbit by the new expression, but it’s not hard to figure out who it’s supposed to be, and the expression is worth the tradeoff. The rest of Apone’s details are identical to the last release, right down to the transposed letters on his USCM patch (it says “USMC”). Apone is packed with his baseball cap, an M41A Pulse Rifle, a newborn alien, and a clear display stand.

The other half of this set is the one truly new figure in this series: the Glowing Alien. No, you didn’t miss a scene in the movie; no aliens ever appear like this. He’s just a fun variant cooked up by DST. Sculpturally, he’s the same as any other Alien from the line (his head is the “Screaming” version). What sets him apart is the clear green plastic he’s been molded in. The figure isn’t just clear green, though; if you let him charge in sunlight for a while (and I mean a good, long while), he lives up to the adjective he’s given by the front of the box and does a bit of glowing. The Glowing Alien includes another egg, also closed.

PVT. DRAKE & EXTRA-DAMAGED ALIEN

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Okay, I had kind of figured that Drake might get a second ‘mate, and this one gives me pretty much exactly what I expected. This figure’s more or less the same as the Series 1 Drake; like Ripley and Apone, he just gets a new expression. Instead of the sly grin of the last figure, this one’s mid-yell, that honestly feels a bit more appropriate for Drake. Sadly, Drake is still lacking the flack vest under his armor, instead just sporting the normal fatigues. It wouldn’t be a big issue, if not for the extra pieces included. Drake comes with an extra head, sporting the acid burns he gets at the end of the hive attack. AliensTRU2gAt that point in the film, Drake had ditched his smartgun and its harness, which is when we see the flack vest. Of course, everything about this series points to them being put together as quickly as possible, so there probably just wasn’t time to do a new torso detailing. In addition to the extra head, Drake includes his smartgun, a hat without the headgear, a flamethrower (w/ flame trail), a newborn alien, and a clear display stand. It might have been nice to get a hairpiece without the hat, since Drake loses the hat at the same time as the harness, but he has enough extras that I don’t feel gipped.

We’ve gotten a number of Battle-Damaged Aliens over the course of this line. What makes this one different? He’s Extra-Damaged! No, but really, there are different blood splatters. Seriously, you guys probably don’t get how big a deal that is, but I’ve got like four of these already, all with the same damage. Some variety is much appreciated. Other than the slight change in blood splatters, this figure’s the same as the one included with Vasquez. The Extra-Damaged Alien includes another egg, open this time, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

On Alien Day, NECA released a re-deco of their Aliens Ripley figure through Toys R Us. I was busy during the day, but my Dad was nice enough to stop by a TRU during his lunch. He didn’t find the Ripley figure, but he did find these three sets. They’re not a bad consolation prize. Sure, there’s not a whole lot of newness to them, but each set has at least something exciting, especially for an Aliens geek like me!

#0868: Space Marine Power Loader

SPACE MARINE POWER LOADER

ALIENS (KENNER)

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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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#0830: Jumpsuit Ripley & Newt

JUMPSUIT RIPLEY & NEWT

ALIENS MINIMATES

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“They mostly come at night.  Mostly.”

-Rebecca “Newt” Jordan

Aliens is oft remembered for the Colonial Marines, but they’re just part of the film’s small group of survivors.  One of the most important characters in the movie is Newt, the lone surviving colonist following the initial Xenomorph attack on LV-426.  She’s found her way into the latest series of Aliens Minimates, alongside a Ripley variant.  Let’s see how this set turned out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair is part of the second series of Aliens Minimates.  So far these two are both exclusive to the specialty release, but time will tell as to whether either of them will be picked for TRU release.

JUMPSUIT RIPLEY

RipleyNewt9The last Ripley ‘mate we got was based on her appearance from the last act of the film, when she’s storming the Alien hive.  It’s an important look to be sure, but it’s not how she’s spends the majority of the movie.  This figure is how she spends most of the movie, in a jumpsuit and a leather jacket.  The figure is 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She has add-on pieces for her hair, jacket, watch, and the rolled up sleeves on her arms.  The hair and watch are the same pieces used on the previous Ripley, which is good for consistency.  They’re also just pretty good pieces, so no complaints there.  The jacket is from the second Michael Knight minimate, which is a pretty common reuse.  Technically, it should have pockets on the front and straps at the tops of the shoulders, but the piece is close enough, especially at the smaller scale. Ripley’s paint is generally pretty decent.  The overall application is all really clean and the detail lines are tight.  The face doesn’t quite look like Sigourney weaver, but it isn’t horrid.  It’s clearly the same person as the Rescue Mission version.  I do wish she looked a little less bored, though.  The legs are identical to the prior Ripley, which is once again good for consistency. For accessories, Ripley is packed with a standard issue pulse rifle, a pair of arms to match the jumpsuit, and a clear display stand.  The rifle is just as nice as always, and the extra arms allow for this figure to cover another important Ripley look (sans-jacket). I would have liked to have gotten a motion tracker or something, but what she has is acceptable.

NEWT

RipleyNewt11Newt is definitely the main focus of this set, being not only a new character, but also the most pivotal character who had not yet been released.  Newt’s figure is based on her appearance when she’s found by Ripley and the Marines, after she’s been hiding from the Aliens for a while. Newt has one add-on piece for her hair.  It’s a re-use from BSG’s Tory Foster.  It’s a decent enough piece, though it does seem a little too… kempt(?) for Newt.  She also uses the shorter arms and legs introduced with the Peter Pan sets, so that she can be a little shorter, since she’s a kid. The paint on Newt is actually pretty nicely handled.  It’s maybe a little more cartoony than I was initially expecting, especially the bright yellow of the hair, but the overall look is really sharp.  The face does a reasonable job capturing a young Carrie Henn, though the smudges of dirt, while a nice touch, are completely covered by the hair piece. Newt includes Casey, the disembodied head of her doll, and a clear display stand.  The head is definitely a cool touch, since she’s rarely seen without it in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These two were a slightly late Christmas  present from my parents, who know very well how much I love Aliens. This Ripley has the misfortune of following the Series 1 version.  She is by no means a disappointing figure, but she just fails to be quite as exciting as the earlier figure. Newt is a surprisingly cool figure.   While she’s not ever going to be Hicks in terms of sheer awesomeness, there’s a lot to like about this figure, and she’s a key character to boot.

#0741: Power Loader

POWER LOADER

ALIENS (NECA)

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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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