#1191: Ripley & Newt

RIPLEY & NEWT

ALIENS (NECA)

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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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#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.