#2412: Space Marine Drake



Specialty: Never defeated in hand to hand combat

Home Planet:  Detention Planet 27, Requist System

Background: Born in captivity, he fought his way out to join the Space Marines at 21

Quote:  ‘Stay Frosty, Marines…and LET IT ROCK!'”

Hey, look at that! It’s another new item, even!  Man, this is just going off the chain with the new stuff, isn’t it?  Three new things?  I better slow down!  In the midst of all this pandemic stuff, I kinda missed Alien Day.  I knew it was coming up, but I honestly didn’t have anything on-hand to review, so I just let it slip by without saying anything.  It’s been just over a month, but I’m finally coming back around, with one of the items that NECA dropped right around the celebratory day, Space Marine Drake.  We’re now four Space Marines deep in the Kenner-inspired Aliens sub-line, and much like last year’s addition of Apone, Drake’s another character whose movie incarnation we have yet to see, so this figure pulls a touch of double duty, until such time that we might actually get a proper movie figure.  Does he do alright?  Let’s find out.


While Apone was part of a larger series, Drake seems to fall back on the pattern Ripley and Vasquez followed, being his own separate release.  However, rather than being an exclusive like those two, Drake is still available through most retailers.  I know, a non-exclusive NECA figure.  What a novel concept.  Drake stands 7 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  At his core, Drake has a great majority of his pieces in common with NECA’s Jungle Patrol Dutch figure from their Predator line.  It’s a solid starting point, and one of the better base bodies.  It also looks fairly close to what Kenner’s version of Drake was wearing, so it’s sensible in that regard.  The one major downside is that it’s articulation scheme wasn’t really designed with holding the smartgun in mind, meaning he has a little difficulty on that front.  Drake gets a new head, hands, and webgear to complete his conversion into his Kenner appearance.  The head’s a nice piece, doing a solid job of adapting Kenner’s radically different Drake likeness into a realistic design.  Unlike Apone, though, I don’t feel there’s any way to pass this off as Mark Rolston.  This is definitely a much more divergent look.  It’s still a solid sculpt, though.  The webgear’s a little loose, and floats a little more at the waist than I like, but it looks pretty decent, and is again a solid recreation of the old design.  It adds up to a pretty cohesive design.  The paintwork is again a nice recreation of the Kenner paint scheme, just with a little bit more real world flair thrown in so that he isn’t wildly out of place with the movie-based figures.  Honestly, he more than the other Kenner figures can slot in without too much trouble, given his far more reserved color scheme.  As a smartgunner, Drake gets a re-use of the same smartgun included with Vasquez, though if my figure is anything to go by, it’d not quite as sturdy, as one of the handles broke off in the midst of taking the photos.  That’s not great.  There are a few attachments to make the gun a little more Kenner accurate.  The bayonet is removable like on the original figure, and can even be stored on his shoulder, which is kinda fun.  They’ve also changed up how the arm of the smartgun connects to the figure, and it’s…well, I think it wasn’t assembled right?  There’s a new piece that connects to his web gear, and there’s the part that connects to the gun, but the ends of the two parts don’t connect, and in fact appear to be the same piece.  They’re both glued in place, and neither can be removed.  The stock photos don’t show both of these end segments in place, so I think maybe the one at the end of the arm wasn’t supposed to be there?  Whatever the case, there’s no real easy fix for this, and it means the arm just kind of hangs there.  It kind of ruins the coolness of the actual articulated arm as it was on the Vasquez figure, and kind of makes posing him a bit of a pain, because it just flops around, and it also means that the broken handle is even more of an issue, because there’s not that extra support.


Drake’s been a notable missing character in the NECA Aliens set-up, and once NECA put out the Kenner Apone, I was expecting to see him show up this way first.  I was excited for him when he was announced, I was excited when he showed up, but ultimately I don’t know if I feel like he really paid off that excitement.  He’s not awful, but the breakage and that issue with the arm on the gun is annoying, and I don’t love the Dutch body as much here as I usually do.  Ultimately, he’s a passable figure, but I think he’s a bit of a step down after last year’s Apone.  I hope NECA can some day get us a movie version.  And I also really hope Kenner Hicks is next year’s figure.

I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, who have been helping me keep my sanity with some new toys.   If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#0923: TRU Aliens Minimates Series 2




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!


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.



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.



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.



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.


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!

#0590: Pvt. Drake & Battle-Damaged Attacking Alien




Aliens is one of those movies where, even though some characters are much more minor than others, to the hardcore fans every character is just as important as the next. This is particularly true of the Colonial Marines, a group that just looks cooler if you have every member, even the ones with no lines or even particularly distinguishing features. However, some of the Marines are more distinct than others, such as Private Mark Drake, one of the squad’s two smartgun-wielding soldiers. Let’s have a look at him as he faces off against yet another pesky Xenomorph!


These two are part of the specialty assortment of Aliens Minimates Series 1.


Drake&Xeno2When you get right down to it, Drake here is kind of the Boba Fett of Aliens. He’s a character with a limited amount of screen time, who is ultimately inconsequential to the overall plot of the movie. However, he’s a got a certain following, mostly due to the fact that he’s pretty cool looking. Clearly, going by my theory, there’s a whole ton of Expanded Universe stories starring Drake that are just waiting to be written! The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Drake includes two main sculpted add-on pieces. He’s unique in the fact that he doesn’t use the same armor pieces as the rest of the Marines (though, presumably, Vasquez will also be making use of the armor). He does still have the standard issue shoulder lamp, but it’s plugged into an all-new torso piece, which is a pretty great recreation of Drake’s armor from the film. It features two different ports to plug in the smartgun’s arm, allowing a little extra poseabilty. The other piece on this figure is his hat/headset combo, which is another new piece. It’s pretty well handled; the hat is a little on the simple side, but the headset is fantastically rendered, and even features an articulated eye-piece that can be moved away from his eye for the less battle-ready look he sports a few times in the movie. In terms of paintwork, Drake is very well-handled when viewed from a technical standpoint. Everything is nice and clean. The fact that his boots are painted on means that they go around the back of his legs, which makes the lack of camo in those areas stand out less than on the other Marines. The likeness is a pretty good match for actor Mark Rolston, however it seems a little too smiley for Drake. I mean, he did grin a few times in the movie, but a grimace of some sort feels like more his speed. He’s also missing the scar from under his left eye, which is pretty prominent in several shots of the movie. There are a few bits of graffiti missing from the armor, though they’re Drake&Xeno3pretty small and easy to miss in the film. The biggest issue is what’s under Drake’s body armor. He has the same standard fatigue shirt as Hicks and Apone. It’s well-detailed and it looks good, but in the movie, Drake is actually wearing a flak jacket under his armor (you can see it in the hive scene after he ditches the smartgun harness). It’s a minor thing, but it’s one of the character’s more distinctive uniform deviations, and it would have been nice to see it here. For accessories, the main event is, of course, Drake’s smartgun. It’s a very well sculpted piece that is accurate to the source material. It includes an arm with a ball joint at either end, allowing it to be attached to the figure’s chest piece, and once in place, he can actually hold it pretty well. Drake also includes a spare hat without the headset and a clear display stand. It might have been nice to get a hairpiece and an extra acid-burned head, but the smartgun is plenty.


Drake&Xeno4And the award for longest name for an alien variant goes to this guy! Wow, that’s a lot of lead in words. Ostensibly, this alien is more or less the same figure as the battle-damaged Alien from the single-packs, with one notable change. Like all the other Aliens in the line, the Battle-Damaged Attacking Alien has add-on pieces for the torso, head, hands, feet, and tail. This particular Alien uses the open-mouthed head, and what differentiates him from his single-packed counterpart is the presence of the second mouth/tongue piece used on the Attacking Alien. This offers a little bit of variety among the Aliens, so there’s no complaints there. The paintwork on the Battle-Damaged Attacking Alien is almost identical to that of the first battle-damaged alien, which in turn makes it pretty much the same as the regular warrior alien with the addition of the acid blood splatters. The blood splatters here are exactly the same as the ones from before, which is a little disappointing. It would have been nice for the splatters to be on the opposite limbs or something, just to mix things up. This Alien, like all the Aliens, includes only one accessory: a clear display stand.


I picked these two up as part of a full set of series one that I got from my favorite Minimate retailer, Luke’s Toy Store. Drake is the star of the set. He’s a surprisingly well done figure. Sure, there’s a couple of inaccuracies, but the figures is fun enough to distract from these issues, and he’s just incredibly well put together. He makes for a great taste of how Vasquez will turn out. Despite the relatively short review, and slightly disparaging remarks about the paint, the Alien is a very well-handled figure. It’s a little disappointing to those who already have the singles, but on its own, it’s a strong figure, and it accents Drake quite well.

#0369: Drake & Alien Arachnid



Drake. Drake, Drake, Drake, Drake, Drake. Drake, in case you’re wondering, is a character that does actually appear in the movie Aliens. He’s a marine with a decent amount of screen time. That being said, he’s nowhere near as prominent as characters like Hudson or Vasquez, so his inclusion in the proposed Operation: Aliens cartoon, as well as his place in the first series of Aliens figures by Kenner is a bit baffling. But, here he was, so I guess that’s that. Let’s have a look at Kenner’s second Drake, released alongside the Alien Arachnid in 1996.


These two were released as part of the KB Toys Exclusive Aliens Vs. Marine line, done to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Aliens.


So, I can kinda get Drake’s place in the original line, but his spot here is still weird. There were five sets done for the 10th Anniversary. Of those five, three were used to give a US release to the Marines that were supposed to be in 3rd series of the original line. That left two slots, which were given to Hicks and Drake. Hicks is the most pivotal Marine, so he makes sense. But why Drake was chosen over Ripley, or even Apone, is odd. Anyway, the figure is about 4 ½ inches tall, thanks to his slouch, and he features 6 points of articulation. He makes use of the Series 1 Drake sculpt in its entirety. While it’s not a bad sculpt, it share very few common traits with the Drake of the movie. He’s completely unarmored, wearing a headband, and his hair is quite a bit longer than his movie counterpart’s. At the very least, it’s an expressive sculpt. It looks pretty good, and it certainly stands out from the rest of the marines and their more static sculpts. The paint on Drake is pretty good, probably better than that seen on Hicks. Like Hicks, his lower half has been molded in that swirly green plastic to simulate camo. It works better here, mostly due to Drake’s lack of armor. The rest of the paint is all pretty well applied. There’s a little bit of slop on Drake’s Bandolier, but other than that, everything seems to be nice and clean. Drake included his trademark smartgun, as well as a bayonet to go on the end. Because stabbing the aliens with acid for blood sounds like a wonderful idea. The bayonet doesn’t fit on the gun on my figure, but that’s probably just an issue with mine. Drake also had a feature where turning his waist simulated gunfire.


The Alien Arachnid is yet another of Kenner’s aliens they made up for the line. Some of their designs were great. Some were bad. This falls somewhere in between. The figure is about two inches tall, 4 inches long, and 5 inches wide. The figure really only has 1 point of articulation, at the neck, as the rest of the movement is tied into the action feature. The Alien Arachnid is definitely meant to play up the bug-like nature of the aliens, but “arachnid” isn’t the term they want here, I think. Arachnids have eight legs, and this figure only has six, which would actually make it and “Alien Insect.” I guess that just didn’t have the same ring. They could have just added an extra pair of legs to make it work, though. The Arachnid’s sculpt is passable for the time of release, but it’s not really anything special. The figure has a rubber head, which makes the details there a lot softer. Kenner seemed to take this into account by making the rest of the figure’s details softer to match. The end result is a somewhat cheap looking figure, which is too bad. The Arachnid’s paint is similar to the King Alien’s; the figure is molded in a semi-metallic black plastic, with lots of silver highlights thrown in. The highlights still go a little overboard, but they aren’t terrible. The Alien Arachnid included no accessories, but it featured two action features. The first was a water-spitting feature, done by squeezing the head (after filling it with water), and the second is a lever on the back which pops the back legs up and down and moves the front legs back and forth.


The original Kenner Aliens hit before I was of an age to collect toys, and these anniversary sets hit before I was into Aliens. Like Hicks and the King Alien, this set was part of a lot I won on ebay. I actually had the original Drake at one point, but I lost him at some point, so I can’t really do a direct comparison of the two. Honestly, it’s a bit of a toss-up as to which of the two is “better.” Drake is one of the cooler marine figures, even if he was a bit off-model. The Alien Arachnid is better than the King in my opinion, but still not one of the better ones Kenner offered. All-in-all, this set is okay, but nothing really amazing. But, it’s also one of the cheapest of the 10th Anniversary sets, so if you just want something cheap amd fun, you could do a lot worse than this set.

Alright guys, I powered through what I feel are the weakest sets in this series. Tomorrow, the good stuff kicks in!