#1877: Ultimate Alien Warrior

ULTIMATE ALIEN WARRIOR — BLUE

ALIENS (NECA)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

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#1863: Broken Tusk

BROKEN TUSK

PREDATORS (NECA)

“Mankind’s two ultimate nightmares come together in mortal combat, and whoever wins—we lose.  On the remote planet Ryushi, a small ranching community becomes an unwilling participant in a deadly ritual: extraterrestrial predators have seeded Ryushi with alien eggs in order to create the ultimate hunt.  But what the Predators don’t know is that an alien queen egg is amongst those they’ve sent as potential hunting stock, and when the Predators arrive, the hunters become the hunted amidst a monumental swarm of aliens, and they may need to turn to the very same humans they regard as little more than potential trophies to give them any hope of survival.”

Just over 1000 reviews ago, I had a brief discussion of the Alien vs. Predator movie.  From the moment Predator 2 revealed a Xenomorph skull amongst the collection on the Predator ship, the “Alien vs. Predator” concept has been out there, permeating just about every form of media.  While the movie was awful (although, it was sweet, sweet bliss when compared to its sequel), there have been a number of far more successful takes on the concept, including Dark Horse’s comics version, which actually served as a heavy inspiration for the movie, but is better in just about every facet.  NECA, always anxious for new venues for Predators to release, has slowly been adding various comics-based Predators to their ongoing line.  The latest is Broken Tusk, aka Dachande, the comic’s equivalent to the movie’s “Scar,” as a moderately heroic Predator that assists the humans in defeating the Xeno menace.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Broken Tusk is one of the three figures in Series 18 of the Predators line from NECA.  All three are based on the AvP comic, though somewhat adapted to the more realistic style of the rest of the line, which is sensible.  The figure is just shy of 9 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  He uses the larger and more posable style of body introduced with Series 14’s AvP movie Predators.  It gives them quite an imposing stature, and his articulation makes for a very playable figure.  The underlying sculpt is the same basic one seen on the others, with the armored parts being the major change-up.  Broken Tusk has a rather unique armor design.  In the story, he’s injured during the battle with the Xenos, so the humans have to help patch him up.  The end result is a blending of the classic Predator aesthetic (including a Jungle Hunter-inspired faceplate), with more utilitarian human tech worked in on the torso, and then a bit of found materials (including a very cool Xeno head).  As we’ve become accustomed to with this line, the gauntlets have extending blades on one side, and a fold-out panel on the other, which is always a fun feature.  As amazing as the sculpt is, what really sold me on this figure was the paint scheme.  In the comics, he’s colored in a more traditional Predator sort of sense, with lots of browns and greys, making him as a whole look quite similar to the standard Jungle Hunter.  Of course, that describes a lot of the NECA Predators so far, so this guy would have been just one fo the pack.  As cool as the sculpt may be, with those same colors, he might end up unfortunately forgettable.  So, instead, NECA’s played up the human-ally aspect of the character, and given him a color scheme modeled after the Colonial Marines from Aliens.  It’s pretty darn cool, and I love have they’ve even made the patterns on his skin look like the camo pattern from the Marine uniforms.  It’s definitely very clever.  Broken Tusk’s accessories further the melding of the styles, with his more Predator specific two-part staff, and a more human-inspired rifle as well.  Both weapons are very nicely sculpted and well fit to his hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m a more moderate Predator fan, but I’m a huge Aliens fan, so anytime NECA melds those two lines, I’m on board.  As soon as this guy was shown off (TWO Toy Fairs ago), I knew I wanted one.  It’s been a long wait for him, long enough that I’d thought maybe he just wasn’t coming.  But then, Series 18 just sort of dropped in my lap, and boom, here he was.  Fun’s a word I used a few times in this review, and it’s an apt description for him.  I just really like him, in both concept and execution, and he’s a fantastic accent piece for my rather expansive collection of Colonial Marines.

I picked up Broken Tusk from my friends over at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1776: Motorized Patriot

MOTORIZED PATRIOT — BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

BIOSHOCK INFINITE (NECA)

“Originally constructed by Fink MFG. to serve as tour guides for the residents of Columbia, the Motorized Patriots now serve as a standing guard for the entire city.  Fearless and unrelenting, without a shred of self preservation, the Patriots will track down and eliminate any opposition without remorse.  Will you be able to find the right combination to defeat these automated monstrosities?”

You guys ready to play another game of Ethan reviews a figure from a video game he’s never played?  Oh yeah, let’s do this!  The game I’ve never played this time is Bioshock Infinite, the third game in the Bioshock series, a whole series of games I’ve never played.  But this one has cool old-timey motorized robot automaton things, which in turn make for cool action figures.  And that’s by far the most important thing for me.  So, without further ado, here’s the Motorized Patriot.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Benjamin Franklin Motorized Patriot is the second to last release in NECA’s Bioshock Infinite line.  He’s the second of the Motorized Patriot after the George Washington version from earlier in the line.  Unlike Washington, who was actually in the game, Franklin is just a concept figure.  The figure stands 9 1/4 inches tall and he has 19 points of articulation.  Ben shares most of his pieces with the first Motorized Patriot.  The movement on the joints is a little bit stiff, especially on the legs.  That right knee in particular doesn’t have much budge to it.  With that said, you can definitely get the basic standing poses the Patriots stand in in-game, and he’s pretty stable.  The body sculpt is up to NECA’s usual standards, with sharp, crisp detailing on the uniform, and some very nice dynamic work on the folds and wrinkles, which matches up pretty decently with the game stylings.  This figure removes the shoulder pauldrons from the Washington Patriot, which actually does quite a bit to change up the general shaping of the figure, and sell him as a more unique “character.”  Also helping sell him as a new character is the unique head, which captures the classical Ben Franklin image.  It does look perhaps slightly off on the thinner Washington body, but it’s a solid sculpt in its own right.  In contrast to Washington, Ben gets to keep both of his eyes, though one of his lids is broken, helping to keep up that sort of creepy appearance.  The paint work on Ben is pretty impressive.  He swaps out the blue of Washington’s military jacket for a deep purple, which works quite well for the design.  The application is all quite clean, and the accent work on his uniform does a lot of favors for the sculpt.  The Patriot’s primary accessory is his main weapon, the Peppermill gatling gun.  It features a spinning barrel and a rotating handle, and is just generally a pretty cool piece.  The only slight downside is that the handles are the slightest bit too big for the figure’s hands, which can easily cause breakage if you aren’t careful.  Fortunately, you can pretty easily mod the figure’s hands by cutting the connection between in thumb and forefinger, and that saves a lot of trouble.  The Patriot also includes a pair of Columbia flags, for mounting on the figure’s back, as well as an alternate head, sans the Franklin mask, which is also appropriately creepy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when these figures were new, I totally meant to get one of these guys.  I was trying to pick between Washington and Franklin, and just ended up getting distracted by other things.  So, why end up with one now?  Well, as you may have noticed, the number for this review is 1776, so I wanted something appropriately festive, and I remembered these guys.  Fortunately, I was able to get some assistance from my friends at All Time Toys, who were able to secure me this guy for this review.  I think if I had the choice, I might have instead gone for Washington, but this one is still really, really solid.

If you want one of these for your very own, he’s still in stock with All Time, so check him out here.  Or, if your looking for something else, make sure to check out their web store and their eBay storefront.

#1687: K-Tron

K-TRON

VALERIAN: CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (NECA)

“The combat androids serve as the police force on Alpha, the city of a thousand planets.  The anti-riot force is durable, unstoppable and extremely precise.  K-Trons have a reputation for ruthless efficiency,  A light on the robot’s head offers two responses to any given issue: blue means “move”; red means “target elimination.”  With concentrated cobalt armor, they are practically indestructible.”

Valerian: City of a Thousand Planets falls into that category of movies that I totally meant to see but just haven’t gotten around to watching yet.  I’ll get to it eventually.  Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from being interested in the toys.  NECA picked up the license for the film, and put out three figures, including today’s offering, K-Tron.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

K-Tron is part of the first (and it would appear, only) series of NECA’s Valerian line.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  K-Tron’s articulation is mostly pretty good, with the only real restrictions being on his shoulders, which are a little tight.  This is partly due to the design of the character, and just partly due to some slightly stuck joints.  It’s hardly enough to keep him from being put into lots of fun poses, though.  K-Tron’s sculpt is wholly unique to this figure, and he lives up to the usual NECA standards.  Everything is clearly defined, and the details are all very sharp.  He shares more than a few similarities with some of their Pacific Rim figures.  Those were some of their best, so this guy does pretty well by association.  Having not seen the movie, I can only go by the images I’ve found online, but NECA seems to have done a pretty good job of accurately recreating the design in all of its sleekness.  K-Tron’s paintwork continues the trend of sleekness with the design.  The glossy black looks really sharp, as do the white insignias on the shoulders.  The gold bands are a little fuzzy around the edges, but are okay overall.  K-Tron is packed with a rifle.  It’s got some pieces that are practically begging to be snapped off, but that’s accurate to the film design.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If I haven’t seem the movie, why do I have this figure?  Well, for one thing, I’m a sucker for cool looking action figures.  Couple that with Toys R Us’ currently running liquidation sales, and this guy was definitely coming home with me.  Honestly, I’d probably have bought him at full price, because he’s really just a quality figure.  Now, one of these days I really need to get around to actually seeing the movie…

*Want a K-Tron of your own?  He’s currently in-stock with our friends over at All Time Toys!  Click here to check him out!

#1647: Colonel James Cameron

COLONEL JAMES CAMERON

ALIENS (NECA)

Okay, so Avengers: Infinity War starts hitting US theatres today, but I’m taking a one-day reprieve from the Avengers stuff to celebrate today’s other notable thing:  it’s Alien Day again!  And I actually remembered to set aside an Aliens-related item for this year.  Of course, the focus of this review, a figure based on Aliens director James Cameron, is rather amusing in light of Cameron’s comments in the last week about hoping for audiences to get “Avengers fatigue” so that we can back to creating new sci-fi ideas.  You know, like those 5 Avatar sequels we’ve all really been clamoring for.  That’s what the people want.  I wonder how he’d feel about his action figure being smack dab in between Avengers figures.  Well, he’d have to read the site for that to apply.  Odds of that seem low.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Colonel Cameron was a Toys R Us-exclusive figure, released as part of NECA’s running 30th Anniversary assortment of their Aliens line.  He started cropping up in stores towards the end of last year/early this year.  As with Sgt. Windrix, Cameron doesn’t represent a character actually from Aliens, but is more of a concept figure instead.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  He uses the long-sleeved Marine body we’ve seen on both Windrix and Frost.  It’s still a very strong sculpt, even five years after its introduction into the line, and I can’t really see any improvements on it at this point.  It remains one of NECA’s strongest sculpts, so their desire to get as much mileage out of it as possible is pretty sensible.  Cameron gets a new head sculpt, which is sporting a pretty darn fantastic likeness of Cameron circa 1986.  The details are sharp, and it’s well-fitted to the base body.  He’ll fit right in with the rest of the crew.  Colonel Cameron’s paint work is on par with what we’ve been seeing on the more recent offerings from this line.  Application is cleaner than most of the line’s earliest offerings, and he makes use of the molded skin-tone plastic, which helps him look more lifelike.  The detailing on the armor matches up with the other Marines, but Cameron has his own unique graffiti-ing.  It’s really just a planet on his backplate.  I might have liked a little bit more personality, but this is a fun touch, and it’s certainly better than nothing at all.  Cameron’s accessories are his most impressive aspect.  The re-used compliment includes the standard issue M41A pulse rifle, the handgun included with Frost, and a motion tracker.  Figure-specific, there’s a clapboard (which admittedly doesn’t make much sense in-universe, but it’s cool nonetheless) and the viewfinder Cameron used when scouting locations.  A lot of fun pieces in there, which show a real commitment to making this release stand out from the standard-issue figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obviously, the odds of me missing a figure like this were always going to be slim.  That being said, I did see him a couple of times in the store before I finally got around to picking him up.  It was ultimately the announcement of Toys R Us’ planned closure that pushed me to pick him up, since I definitely didn’t want to miss out.  He’s another top-notch figure from NECA, and a fantastic addition to the line.  Happy to have the chance to add him to my collection.

FiQ Friday Fab Five at 5 #0001: Top 5 Batman Figures

What’s this?  Another feature?  Again?  Okay, Ethan, this is getting a bit ridiculous, don’t you think?  Why yes, I do think that hypothetical reader.  I think that very much.  Today’s feature, however, is not entirely my fault.  Like the addition of Wilson-4 (which necessitated taking an extra photo for every review I do), this one came from a friend of mine, who suggested this as an addition to the site.  While I certainly wasn’t looking to pick up more work for myself, I certainly couldn’t deny it was an intriguing idea.  So, what’s the idea?  Top five lists, covering my personal favorites of a given sub-genre of figures.  To keep myself sane, I’ll be limiting these to just the last Friday of each month.  Without further ado, I present the inaugural FiQ Friday Fab Five at 5, where I’ll be taking a look at one of the most toyetic characters of all time, Batman!  Now, there’s way too many Batmen for just one list, so today’s list is going straight for the standard, basic Batmen.  We’ll cover those wacky variants at a later date!

#5:     Batman – Darwyn Cooke DC Designer Series (DC Collectibles)

Darwyn Cooke is quite possibly my favorite Batman illustrator ever (heck, that could probably be extended to “favorite DC illustrator ever”), so action figures based on his work kind of seem like a shoo-in.  Unfortunately, DC Direct’s attempt in the New Frontier line left something to be desire.  Their successors at DC Collectibles took another stab, though, and released an awesome figure.  The only draw back of this figure is his reduced posablity, but if you’re just in it for the cool look, this one’s hard to beat.

#4:     Batman – Batman ’66 (NECA)

NECA’s annual “loophole abuse” figures in conjunction with Warner Brothers have been a ton of fun, and few moreso than their Adam West Batman.  After being let-down by Mattel’s lukewarm offerings, this was exactly the pick-up I needed.  And, thanks to how close the old show stayed in design, this is a figure that can also work as an awesome standard Batman.  The only thing holding this figure back are some minor QC issues that plagued his wrist joints, and I suppose the fact that he’s not a “true” Batman.

#3:     Batman – Super Powers (Kenner)

Kenner set the standard for a large chunk of the DCU with Super Powers, and in a lot of cases have yet to really be beat.  In the case of Batman, I have to admit, he’s not quite as all-conquering and victorious as his other SP-brethren, but he’s still a very solid addition to the line, and a huge piece in Batman’s toy history.  You gotta remember your roots.

#2:     “Last Rites” Batman – DC Icons (DC Collectibles)

It’s sort of amusing, right?  Seeing a figure whose review got the dreaded “Mistakes were made” tag on this site ending up in the #2 spot?  Truth be told, this is actually a really great figure, held back only slightly from greatness by his odd scaling issues.  Were he better scaled to the rest of his line, he’d have won top spot with little issue.  As it stands, he’s a fun figure who is sort of all alone.  But, if you’re just looking for a standard Batman on his own, this is a great one.

#1:     Batman – World’s Greatest Super Heroes (Mego)

Remember what I said about the Super Powers figure?  Remembering your roots and all that?  Yeah, that’s really where this guy comes into it.  He’s kind of goofy and he’s got those oven mitt gloves, but whether his mask is sculpted on or removable, there’s just something about Mego’s take on the Caped Crusader that just can’t be beat.

[Photo Credit: Mego Museum, since I don’t actually own this one]

 

#1539: Xenomorph

XENOMORPH

ALIEN: COVENANT (NECA)

“Ridley Scott returns to the universe created, with Alien: Covenant, a new chapter in his groundbreaking Alien franchise.  The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world.  When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.”

…Okay, I’ve been putting this off for about as long as I could.  Let’s do this.  For my eighth post-Christmas review, I’ll be asking an important question: is it possible to enjoy an action figure based on something you utterly despise?  I’ve pondered this question before, amusingly enough, in the same franchise as this review, and from the same toy maker even.  I mean, I was able to enjoy four whole Alien 3 figures, right?  Surely Alien: Covenant isn’t that different, is it?  Well, yes and no.  The thing about Alien 3 is that it existed before I even got into the Alien franchise.  I knew it was coming before I even started Aliens.  I had fair warning.  It’s just sort of done.  And, the way Aliens ends, Alien 3 is very easy to ignore.  Moreover, as much as I dislike the movie, I’ll be the first to admit that not *everything* about it sucks.  Things like the quadrupedal Xeno I can certainly get behind.  Alien: Covenant?  Well, I had to experience it new, which definitely sucked.  It’s a sequel to Prometheus, a movie that I enjoyed more than I expected, but an incredibly flawed one nonetheless.  At the end of Prometheus, I actually had this little twinge of hope, that maybe Scott would be taking his characters in a different direction than the earlier films and trying something new.  Silly me.  Covenant takes what I liked in Prometheus and gives it a fiery, explosive death, and takes everything I didn’t like about it and sticks it front and center.  And then it sort of tries to reinvent the wheel by reintroducing audiences to one of the most distinctive monsters of all time in a way that assures you beyond the shadow of a doubt that everything clever Scott did in the original Alien was an accident.

…I’m getting very sidetracked.  I should probably talk about the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Xenomorph is part of NECA’s Alien: Covenant line, released to coincide with the movie’s theatrical run.  The figure stands 8 1/2 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation, plus a bendable tail.  This Xeno sports an all-new sculpt, modeled after the Xeno seen on screen in Covenant.  To NECA’s credit, they’ve crafted a very good recreation of the creature seen in the film.  Every detail looks spot on, and everything is very sharp and well defined.  The figure’s articulation is pretty decently worked in, and he’s just as posable as his brethren from the other movies.  The paint’s pretty solid too.  The fine details on the head are all well outlined and clearly applied, and there’s decent accent work that shows off the sculpt pretty well.  Viewed just on its merits as a plastic recreation of the thing we see in the movie, this figure is nothing short of exceptional.  And there lies the rub.  I could go on for a very long time about what I didn’t like about Covenant (I’ve already gone on too long, frankly), but nothing frustrated me more than the design of the Xenomorph.  It’s like someone looked at the original design and said “how can remove everything unique, interesting, and genuinely terrifying about this design?”  Simply put, this alien looks like a skinned human with a Xeno head stuck on top.  Is that pleasant?  No.  Is it gross? A bit.  Would I want to run into this thing? No.  Is it scary? Not really.  There’s too much going on, and it’s all far too familiar to me.  Remove the head, and you’re left with a monster that would look at home in any slasher film of the week.  It’s really generic.  And I get that they designed it this way on purpose, so that it would still look alright when brightly lit (which is most definitely not true of the Xenos seen in Alien or Aliens; they look downright goofy when seen in regular lighting).  So bravo, you created Aliens you can look at in daylight.  But why, though?  Why?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure came from Super Awesome Girlfriend.  I had mentioned to her that the Books A Million in the mall where she works had a decent selection of NECA Aliens figures, and when she went back, the Covenant figures were all they had left.  She knew I didn’t like the movie, but she really wanted to get me something Alien-related, so she got me this one.  It’s a thoughtful gift, no doubt.  It’s not her fault that the movie sucked.  Nor is it NECA’s, or even this figure’s.  Like I said, just as a figure of the design in the movie, this figure is solid.  And I’ll put it on the shelf with my other NECA Xenos, and be content.  But I really wish the movie had been better.  And I really wish the design were better.  And I really wish Ridley Scott would learn to quit while he’s ahead.

#1499: Carter J Burke & Xenomorph Warrior

CARTER J BURKE & XENOMORPH WARRIOR

ALIENS (NECA)

It’s been a little while since I’ve given Aliens its proper due.  Even longer since I did it by looking at some sweet NECA figures.  In fact, the last NECA Aliens figures I looked at were the re-releases of Hicks and Hudson.  As awesome as those were, there wasn’t a whole lot new to them.  Today’s review is different.

Though the Alien franchise’s most prominent antagonists are the titular creatures of each film, they’re more of a chaotic, not exclusively evil entity.  The real antagonists of the story are mostly employees of the duplicitous Weyland-Yutani company.  Perhaps their most vile operator is Mr. Carter J. Burke, who serves as a major draw of today’s set of figures.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Burke and the Xenomorph Warrior were released just about a month ago as part of the “Hadley’s Hope” two-pack, which is part of NECA’s overarching Aliens line.  These two join the Marine Two-Pack, as well as Vasquez and Frost under the 30th Anniversary banner.

CARTER J BURKE

“I’m Burke. Carter Burke. I work for the company. But don’t let that fool you, I’m really an okay guy.”

Don’t let the quote above about not being fooled fool you: he’s not really an okay guy.  Fortunately, the same isn’t true of his actor Paul Reiser, which is why we have this figure.  Apparently, after being informed during a Q&A that all it would take to get NECA to make a Burke figure was his sign-off on the likeness rights, Reiser made it a point of contacting them and making sure this figure became a reality.  Good on you Paul!  Burke is seen here in his casual attire he sports on LV-426, which is sensible, since he’s there for most of the movie.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  Burke’s sporting an all-new sculpt, and it’s up to par with the rest of the line’s offerings.  Structurally, he reminds me a little bit of Bishop, although they’ve definitely gotten a bit more comfortable with the use of overlay pieces integrated with articulation.  The head has a pretty solid likeness of Reiser.  They’ve gone with a panic-stricken Burke, which I think really works for the character, in the same way that it worked for the first Hudson.  I know some collectors wanted a more sly expression, but I find I prefer this.  Burke’s paintwork is pretty decent overall, apart from a few small nits.  The biggest flaw is the plaid of the shirt ending just a bit too early, thus leaving some un-painted white exposed.  It’s not the end of the world, and honestly isn’t that noticeable if you’re not looking right at it.  Beyond that, the paint’s pretty solid all-around.

XENOMORPH WARRIOR

Apparently, the humans don’t move so well at retail, so Burke needed an Alien to keep him exciting.  I have a lot of Xenos, so they don’t always thrill me, but I’m okay with it if there’s a good gimmick, which I think this one has.  It’s another concept figure, based on pre-shooting design for the Aliens Xeno Warriors.  It’s really just the same design, but with a dome on the head.  For the actual film, the domes kept breaking due to the more strenuous tasks performed by the aliens, so they were ultimately removed, creating the design we all know now.  It’s a neat little what-if.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and has 39 points of articulation.  This Xeno makes use of a number of parts from the Series 1 Xeno Warrior, but not as many as you might think.  The head’s been tweaked to add the dome, the torso’s been tweaked to make the back fin a permanent piece, the hands, pelvis, upper arms, and upper legs are new pieces to add articulation.  It all adds up to a figure that looks rather similar to the prior figures, but is much sturdier and a lot easier to pose.  I loved the old figure, but this is definitely an improvement, and I look forward to seeing more Xenos built on this same base body.  The paintwork on figure is rather similar to the black Genocide alien’s.  It works for me, and I’m just happy it’s cleaner than prior Xenos.

Neither figure really comes with any character-specific accessories, but the set does also include the Hadley’s Hope town sign, which is a pretty awesome backdrop piece, and just a fun idea in general.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set from my usual go-to for NECA stuff, All Time Toys.  I knew it was hitting, and I made a point of stopping by to grab it.  Burke’s obviously the star here, and he turned out very nicely.  The Xeno’s actually one of my favorites from NECA, and I’m happy to add it to the shelf.  All around, and awesome set, which I’m thrilled to add to my collection.

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#1457: Mercury

MERCURY

TRON 2.0 (NECA)

“Jet Bradley, a young computer engineer working for ENCOM, must step into the digital world in search of answers.  He uncovers a sinister plot spinning out of control that threatens to corrupt one reality and forever transform another.”

Tron Legacy is perhaps one of my favorite movies ever.  In terms of toys, though, it’s also one of the biggest disappointments ever, with some of the most lackluster offerings imaginable under its belt.  The Tron franchise in general hasn’t really tended to have much luck with toys.  The only entry to really escape this curse is Tron 2.0, 2003’s video game sequel to the original film.  In it, the son of one of the original film’s heroes goes into the digital world looking for his missing father, and he’s aided by a kick-butt female program sent by his father to help…wait, this sounds familiar.  Yeah, there are a few similarities between 2.0 and Legacy, but they’re actually pretty superficial.  Anyway, when 2.0 hit, they went all-out and had some figures made, which were produced by the fine folks at NECA.  Today, I’ll be looking at the previously mentioned kick-butt female program, Mercury.  No, she’s not Quorra, but I’ll try not to hold that against her.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mercury is one of the four Tron 2.0 figures NECA released in preparation for the game’s release.  She hit in early 2003, about 5 months before the release of the game.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall and she has 11 points of articulation.  She’s not the most mobile figure ever, but given that NECA was still moving past their usual McFarlane-style plastic statues at this point, she was actually pretty decent.  Honestly, my only real issue is with the v-hips; that’s a style of joint I’ve just never really lived.  Obviously, she’s based on her in-game design, though it’s a slightly idealized version.  Since the graphics of a 2003 video game were still a little bit compromised, this figure sort of smooths some things out and presents a slightly more realistic composition.  She’s still a bit6 stylized, of course, since she’d look a bit weird if she wasn’t.  They kept the essence of the character without the flaws, I suppose.  The sculpt does a nice job fitting in all of the details from the game, and I particularly dig the big bulky gloves.  Those are pretty awesome looking!  The paint on Mercury is a bit monochromatic by design, but NECA didn’t just phone it in; they actually put a lot of effort into getting all of those distinct shades of blue on the figure, and she’s better for it.  Even without translucent plastic or light-up features, this figure conveys the whole Tron aesthetic very well.  Kudos to NECA for that.  Rather than the usual disc, Mercury is armed with a cool fighting staff.  It’s translucent with dark blue piping, which has this nice holographic look about it, and it can be fairly easily held in either hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure’s a recent acquisition for me, but it’s been housed in the same place as the rest of my collection for several years now.  It used to be owned by my brother, who decided over this past summer to part with a lot of his action figure collection.  I’ve taken most of the strays in, of course, because, as I’ve noted before, I’m the personification of the Island of Misfit Toys.  In the case of Mercury, it’s actually a figure that I might have tracked down on my own eventually.  I’ve never played Tron 2.0, but this is still a pretty fun figure, and an early sign of how good NECA would eventually get at making consistently awesome stuff.  One of these days, I’ll need to track down the rest of this particular line.

#1427: Lambert – Compression Suit

LAMBERT – COMPRESSION SUIT

ALIENS (NECA)

After two weeks, I’ve finally finished up with the Star Wars reviews.  Well, for now, anyway.  I feel certain there’ll be more to come.  Of course, I’ve been writing about nothing about Star Wars for two weeks, so I sort of need to ween myself off of things.  So, how about a review from *another* sci-fi franchise that was launched in the late ‘70s?  Yes, today I’m setting my sites on Alien, and taking a look at another of the Nostromo’s ill-fated crew, Navigator Joan Lambert.  Yes, Joan is really her first name.  Take it up with James Cameron. Onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lambert was released in the eleventh series of NECA’s Aliens line.  She’s the only movie based figure in the assortment, and the fourth member of the Nostromo crew to see release in the line.  The figure stands about 7 1/2 inches tall and she has 24 points of articulation.  Lambert is seen here wearing her compression suit, which she wears during the mission to explore the derelict ship on LV-426.  While Lambert is perhaps the least prominent of the three crew members during that sequence, but it’s still a more visually interesting design than what she wears around the ship, and it also completes the away team trio.  And, most importantly, it also gives NECA an excuse to get another use out of their awesome compression suit mold.  This marks the body’s fifth use, following Kane, Dallas, Ripley, and Amanda, and it’s still very much one of my favorites.  There’s also an all-new head sculpt, which is one of NECA’s best yet.  Unlike Kane (who’s lack of likeness was hidden by a facehugger) and Dallas (who was close but not quite there), Lambert’s likeness really is dead on. Like Hudson before her, Lambert’s panicky personality has been captured in this figure’s expression.  It’s a really great recreation of Veronica Cartwright’s scrunched up, screaming face from the film.  The head’s wearing the cap from the film, which is fantastically detailed and matches the rest of the suit’s detail quite nicely.  There’s a second head included, which has her without the cap and with a much calmer expression.  While it’s not quite as dead-on a Cartwright likeness as the other head, it’s still a solid likeness.  I just wish I had a non-compression-suited body to put it on.  As far as paint goes, Lambert is pretty decent.  There’s a little bit of slop here and there, but nothing major.  The weathering on the suit, particularly the metal parts is really nice, and her face is particularly lifelike.  Like Dallas and Kane before her, Lambert is packed with a removable helmet, a flare gun, and a flashlight.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve fallen a little bit behind with my NECA Aliens purchases, I must admit.  I knew Lambert was being released, and I totally meant to order one, but just kept getting sidelined.  I ended up getting a gift certificate to All Time Toys earlier last month, and decided to use it to grab this figure, since they had her in stock.  There’s not a whole lot new to this figure, but that doesn’t at all stop her from being an awesome figure.