#2313: Xenomorph vs Super Power Loader



I had my first look at Lanard’s new Aliens line yesterday with the line’s star piece, the Alien Queen.  But, what good is an Alien Queen without a Power Loader to do battle with, and at least one minion to be all Queen-ly with?  Practically no good at all!  Fortunately, the line offers up both of those things in one convenient package!  That’s some fairly smart planning right there.  It got me to buy them, anyway.


The Xenomorph Vs Super Power Loader set is part of the next step down from the Alien Queen on the price scale for the Alien Collection line, the “Xenomorph Attacks” sets.  There’s this set, and an APC (which, somewhat amusingly, is the only set at launch to not have a Xeno packed in, despite being in the “Xenomorph Attacks” sub-set).


There’s one of these in just about every set Lanard’s put out so far.  Currently, we’ve got two styles of Xeno drone: one based on the Aliens Warrior, and one based on the Alien 3 Runner.  This one is the Warrior.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Stylistically, much of this sculpt matches up with the Alien Queen, which is no surprise.  It’s fairly faithful to the film design, while still dialing things back a bit to make it a little more kid-friendly.  The various Xeno elements are all present, and things are pretty sharply defined.  The articulation is pretty well implemented, though the lack of elbow joints is a little bit restricting.  Additionally, the joints on mine are already starting to get rather loose from regular usage, so I’m not sure how well they’ll hold up to long-term play.  That said, it’s a fairly impressive sculpt, with some cool little touches.  Though he lacks the inner-mouth action feature of the queen (forgivable, given the size), he’s still got the details of the inner mouth sculpted on the interior of his jaw, which is a nice touch.  Like the Queen’s vibrant purple, the smaller Xenos are all privy to some Technicolorization, with this one being a rather eye-catching metallic green.  It looks pretty nice, and it’s something different, so I really don’t mind the change-up.


Though the most unique piece of this set within the context of this line, the Super Power Loader is the most clear-cut re-use (similar to what we’re used to seeing from Lanard), and does feel like more of an after thought to make sure there’s a Power Loader to face off against the Queen.  This release takes a pre-existing mech-suit from Lanard’s Corps! inventory and re-purposes it for something more familiar.  It’s not terribly far removed from the Power Loader of the movies, but it’s not terribly similar either.  It’s big and yellow and one of the hands is a claw.  That’s about where the similarities end.  That doesn’t stop it from being a respectably cool piece, although one that feels more designed for conventional weaponry than the glorified forklift from the film, which I suppose is really just an extension of the slightly more weaponized Loader from Kenner’s line.  It does make the name of the machine feel increasingly like an artifact, though.  The construction is fairly hollow, since it’s really just a shell for a figure, but it doesn’t feel too light weigh or like it’s going to break or anything.  I do like the color scheme a lot, and the caution stripes and bright yellow do a lot to sell this as the genuine article.  Power Loaders don’t always include a pilot, but this one does.  He’s not much to right home about, being one of Lanard’s cheapest figures.  He’s got the basic 5 points of articulation, and is very hollow.  Not particularly impressive, but okay for being essentially a glorified cardboard cut-out that’s only there to fill out the Loader in the box.  He’s armed with a pickaxe of some sort, which doesn’t feel like the best choice of weapon when your opponents bleed acid.  Whatever the case, I fairly quickly replaced him.


I’ll admit, I kind of got swept up in the awesomeness of the Alien Queen, and found myself buying this in the same purchase.  I like having Loaders to face off against my Queens and this one was sitting right there, and was admittedly quite affordable.  The Alien’s the better of the two items here, definitely.  Clearly Lanard’s put their resources into making the Aliens cool, and is filling in everything else as cheaply as possible.  Given that the Loader was not part of the first batch of items we saw, it wouldn’t surprise me that this was a somewhat later addition, which would explain the more blatant re-use for the Loader.  It’s not a piece, mind you, but it’s not nearly as impressive as the Queen.  That said, they still look pretty impressive sparring off against each other.


#1066: Power Loader




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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

#0868: Space Marine Power Loader




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.”


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 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.


#0741: Power Loader




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!


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.


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!