Aliens: Deluxe Alien Queen by NECA

Work for me in September is going to be a nightmare, so I’m trying to get to at least a few of the bigger things on my review list before I get really pinched for time. One of those things that’s been sitting around here for a while has been NECA’s Alien Queen. Originally released for the 35th Anniversary, this lady was re-issued this year to meet a high demand after the initial production had long since sold out. Just give me a few ticks to convert my sad little photo staging area into something bigger and we can get started…

This is a big box! The deco is dark and creepy and offers a window that gives you a peek at the horror inside. Part of that horror consists of the approximately 10,000 twist-ties that you have to undo to get The Xeno Queen off the tray. Otherwise, everything here is collector friendly, but I dread ever having to get this monstrosity back onto that tray, as it’ll have to be in just the right pose. In the end, I will likely get rid of the tray and flatten the box like I do for some of my statue window boxes. I should also note that the Queen requires some assembly and sadly there’s no instruction sheet to show you how. All you really need to do is attach the six spikes on her back, but I had to go through quite a few pictures before I figured out the proper way to do it.

Here she is all set up, and she is indeed a magnificent bitch. I know I sometimes throw the term “work of art” around when discussing NECA’s stuff, and I try not to do it as hyperbole. I’m certainly not engaging in that here when I say, this figure is a piece of art, plain and simple. Seriously, this is something that I would just set up on a roman column stand in entrance hall for people who visit to admire the craftsmanship that went into it. A lot of my Alien figures go into totes, because I don’t have the space to display them, but this was a case where I made room in my den the moment I opened her up. I also poured myself a nice tall glass of Jameson and just sat there sipping and marveling at what a beautiful hung of plastic she is. I know I’m gushing here, but I think it’s justified. Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s step back a bit.

The Alien Queen ain’t called a Deluxe figure for nothing. She measures in at about fifteen inches tall and over thirty inches long, which means she dwarfs NECA’s impressively large Alien Warrior figures. Indeed, as big as the box is, it still doesn’t quite convey the size of her once she’s set up. And on that note, she does come with a display stand to keep her standing, since the Queen’s posture isn’t something that could support itself otherwise in most poses. The base of the stand is clear plastic, with a metal rod that connects to a clear plastic circular clasp. The stand doesn’t appear to be designed for any specific area, but I find that just cradling her abdomen in the clasp works perfectly. With that having been said…

If you rear her up on her legs and use the tail as a support, she not only gets frighteningly taller, but can actually stand on her own. I’m still going to opt to use the stand for stability, because I fear if this gal takes a shelf dive, she may not survive it because of her disproportional weight.

One of the cool things about owning this figure is it really gives me a sense of what this beast truly looks like. That’s something I could never really work out from watching the film, because everything is so dark. She stands on two hind legs, almost like a T-Rex and features two pairs of arms: One large pair connecting at the “shoulders” and the other smaller pair connecting under the belly. Lady Xeno boasts a total of 30 points of articulation, consisting of a plethora of ball joints and rotating hinges, which allow for some pretty good variations for display. The sculpt is bewilderingly complex, and I’d expect nothing less from one of NECA’s Xenomorphs. Still, here there’s a lot more surface area to work with and so many little details on display. And as great as the sculpt is, the Xeno-bitch has got the painted chops to back it up. Here are some highlights…

These external rib-like bones, which run along the neck are painted in gold, making them stand out beautifully against the rest of blue and black body. As you can see, even on the undercarriage, there’s hardly a place on this figure without some sculpted detail.

I really dig the contours of the legs as well as the cut outs. Again, you get some nice gold-brown paint along the edges and some more on the blades that come off the backs of the knees. On the insides of the legs you get some exposed segmented tube-like structures running through the inside. She also features silver paint on her claws and all of her finger and toe joints.

The tail is constructed of the typical bendy plastic that NECA has been using in all its Xenos. There’s a swivel cut at the base, but below that you can bend it into all sorts of configurations and it will stay put. Each of the segments are beautifully detailed and painted.

The large plate that makes up the top of Queen Xeno’s head is as long as your average Alien figure. The interior triangle on the top side is sculpted to look like some kind of leathery skin stretched between the exoskeletal framework. Even the underside of this large plate is beautifully detailed and fully sculpted. You really need to get in there to see any of this clearly, which makes it all the more impressive that NECA made a point of adding this detail.

The spikes that need to be attached are simple ball and socket connections. They can be a little tough to get in and every now and then one of them will pop out when I’m handling her, but for the most part they stay in fairly well. Each of these pieces is not only ball jointed, but also hinged, giving them a surprising degree of individual posability.

The head is appropriately terrifying and the teeth are absolutely fantastic. They’re sculpted in a clear plastic with a greenish tint, along with the sinews that connect the jaw on the sides. The jaw is fully articulated and you get two secondary mouth pieces, one that fits inside the closed mouth and one that extends outward.

As mentioned, this is a re-issue of the original figure. I believe the figure is identical, but I think the package is new. It’s a testament to the popularity of this piece that NECA had to go into production again, as the original sold out everywhere fairly quickly and began demanding stupid crazy prices. Not that the figure itself was ever cheap. I pre-ordered mine at around $120. It’s a testament to how much I love this design and what NECA did with it, that I was so willing to drop that money on a creature from a movie that I wouldn’t call one of my favorites, but I do really love the franchise as a whole, and simply had to have this magnificently ugly bitch on my shelf. The only downside? I think I pretty much have to buy the Power Loader now to display with her.

Kenner Aliens: Gorilla Alien by NECA

Yes, Gorilla Alien, my friends. What more of an introduction do you need to make you want to venture forward with today’s review? NECA went all the way back to Kenner’s Aliens figures from the 90’s and worked their magic with some of those wacky designs to bring us this spectacular wave. If you want the full preamble, I’ll refer you back to my look at the Mantis Alien from last month. On the other hand, if you’re like me and can’t wait to have a look at this bad boy, then let’s get started…

Oh, shit. I got a little ahead of myself and opened this guy up before taking the packaged shot. Well, can you blame me? I tried to put him back on his tray, but I have no idea how they had this huge figure folded up to fit in there. At least you can still enjoy that rad artwork and there’s still some lovely plastic fumes left for me to snort. Check out how they re-worked the NECA logo to match the old Kenner logo on the bottom right hand corner. Cool!

And just check this fellow out! Kenner’s line was all about coming up with different cross-species of Xenomorphs and the name of this guy says it all. Now, unlike the Mantis Alien, the host animal on which this Xenomorph is based isn’t quite as apparent. Nope, nothing really about this guy screams Gorilla to me, but that’s OK. He’s still a bigger, beefier Xeno, and he’s got plenty of unique design elements. Just check out those pronounced tubular nodes coming off of his forearms as well as a triple-spiked tail. Also, check out all the beautiful work they put into his claws! While the snazzy translucent green plastic of Mantis makes that figure stand out a little more, there’s no denying that this one is just as much a work of art.

Yup, no matter how many of NECA’s Xenos I open, I never tire of taking in all that incredible detail that they sculpt into these bodies. Every little element of HR Giger’s infamous bio-tech design comes alive in this plastic and all of it is picked out by sumptuous blue paint wash, which invokes the crazy colors of the original toy and comic, while still managing to stay grounded in the realism of NECA’s re-imagining. Damn, I just adore the coloring on this Xeno! In addition to the black and blue deco, you get some silver highlights here and there.

And of all that isn’t enough to make you Xeno-Fans cream your jeans, just check out the head on this sexy beast! Yes, I called him sexy, because look at it! The contours are beautiful and there’s a wonderful contrast between the smooth dome and the intricate bits of the lower head and jaw. I really dig how the head sweeps up at the end and crowns with four prongs, giving him a powerful, regal look. Naturally, the mouth opens up and you can pull out the secondary set of jaws within. All this is great stuff, but rather than rest on their laurels, NECA included a second dome, offering another display option. But before I swap them, let’s take this one off and see what’s going on under the hood.

Nightmare fuel! Removing the stock dome reveals a very ape-like skull with tubes protruding from its empty eye sockets. The skull stretches back the full length of the head and it is magnificently painted. By the way, did you know that NECA just released a life-size foam Xenomorph skull? It’s huge and almost $300, and I hate the fact that I would have nowhere to display it if I bought it. Anyway… the alternate dome is a clear, somewhat smokey plastic.

Popping it on gives you a nice homage to the Big Chap from the original Alien film. It’s a nice tease, as you can just barely make out the details inside. I should point out that while I stuck with the black dome for most of the pictures, that shouldn’t be taken as any indication that its my favorite of the two. Truth be told, I haven’t decided which one to display the figure with yet, and in the end I’ll probably just buy a second so I don’t have to decide.

The articulation here is everything I’ve come to expect out of my NECA Xenos. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and ankles. The legs are double jointed, there are swivels in the biceps and at the hips. There’s a ball joint in the chest and another in the neck. The tail is made of the usual bendy plastic, presumably with a wire in it so that it can hold whatever position you put it in. He’s a pretty well balanced figure and I was able to get him to hold a lot of neat poses, but you can always rely on using the tail to prop him up if you have to.

In case you’re still not convinced that you need this figure, NECA also threw in a facehugger painted to match this guy and a mini comic book showcasing this beast in action on the infested jungle planet of Zeevan.

I feel as if the Gorilla Alien is one of those cases where I could have just posted a bunch of pictures followed by the command, “BUY IT!” While I love gassing on about NECA’s beautiful Xenos, the truth is that with how beautiful this figure is, he practically reviews himself. Keep in mind, I was barely aware of Kenner’s Aliens toys back in the 90s, so nothing about my love for this figure is being driven by nostalgia. It’s all about the gorgeous workmanship that NECA put into him. And at about the price of one of Hasbro’s 6-inch Black Series figures, you’re getting a lot more craftsmanship for your toy buying dollars.

Kenner Aliens: Mantis Alien by NECA

As most toy collectors know, Kenner and the Alien franchise go way back to 1979 when Kenner attempted to produce a line of Star Wars-style figures for the original Alien move, but backed out due to some parental uproar over the large Big Chap figure they released. Fast forward to the 90’s, a Golden Era, where parents stopped caring about being outraged over R-Rated movie toys. Cartoony versions of RoboCops, Predators, and Aliens were all over the toy shelves and Kenner finally had their way with Aliens. Fast forward again to now and we find that NECA is incorporating some of those Kenner Aliens designs into their own insanely popular Aliens figures. And that brings us to today’s figure… The Mantis Alien!

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Kenner’s Aliens line debuted a little too late for me. I was off at college believing that learning was good and toys were dumb, little aware that in a few years I’d be plunging head first into buying toys again. The line took advantage of the idea that Xenomorphs could spring from all sorts of different hosts and the result was a delightfully diverse collection of Aliens cross-bred with various beasts. Exactly how a Xeno springs out of an insect, I have no idea. Even the mini-comic included in the package doesn’t divulge these answers. Maybe they’re from a species of giant Space Mantis? Either way, I’m not going to argue when the results are this amazing. As always, the Aliens figures come in sealed clamshells, but there’s a few things to point out here. First, it comes with a mini-comic and a Chest Burster. Second, the artwork on the insert is delightfully colorful. Finally, don’t let the size of the package fool you, because when this thing is unfolded in all its glory, it’s huge! And so without further ado, I’m going to razor this baby open, huff some glorious plastic fumes, and we’ll check this guy out.

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OK, I’m going to try really hard not to go into full on hyperbole mode here, but I am so absolutely gobsmacked by this figure that it’s going to be hard not to gush like crazy. I mean, I often refer to the wizards at NECA as fine craftsman, but holy hell if this figure isn’t an absolute work of art then I don’t know what is. I’m not one to get all weak in the knees at the sight of translucent plastic in my toys, but the marrying of regular plastic and the green translucent stuff on this figure is sheer poetry. It looks absolutely stunning in person. As for the design? Well it’s sheer nightmare fuel. Regular Xenos are bad enough, but this guy is just down right terrifying.

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Part of that comes from the fact that adding bug parts makes anything creepier. Look at the tail and stinger on this thing! The detail work in the sculpt is magnificent and when you couple that with the silver and black paint, the translucent plastic, and that brown sting, it’s just totally over the top.

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What also makes this Xeno all the more terrifying is that it’s elongated mantis arms and jumping legs means that if this thing wants you, you’re screwed. I imagine this guy is a quadruped, but he can also stand up on his haunches and use those extended arms to do some horrific damage. Standing up, we can also get a better look at his anatomy. The bulk of his body is comprised of that translucent plastic while the feet, forearms and undercarriage are fortified with silver Alien-style exoskeleton. The barbs on those claws are particularly fierce. This thing probably doesn’t even need to grab its pray, it can just embed them on those spiked mitts of his. And just when you think things weren’t bad enough… let’s check out that head sculpt…

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Sweet Jesus have mercy! He’s both breathtaking and hideous at the same time… even by Xenomorph standards. I have no words for how awesome this head is, but I’ll at least mention that I’m in love with that silver, barbed cranium. Also, check out those nasty teeth and black gums. And yes, if you were wondering, there is indeed a secondary mouth in there that extends out. And much to my delight, it’s cast in translucent plastic!

 

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I don’t even know where to begin when talking articulation. This thing is loaded with points. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double rotating hinges in that first elbow, another rotating hinge at the next joint, another one at the wrist, and finally one more at the pincer. The legs have rotating hinges at the hips, double hinges at the first knee, rotating hinges at the next joint down, and finally another at the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the torso, another in the neck, the jaw is hinged, and the secondary mouth can be pulled out. I’d also like to point out that not once did I have to use a figure stand to get this fella to do what I wanted. He has a remarkable balance for such lanky design and his joints can hold his weight surprisingly well.

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As already mentioned, you get a couple of cool extras in the package. The first is a cool mini-comic that showcases the Mantis Alien battling some marines. The second is a little Chest Burster with a bendy tail and OMG, LOOK AT HIS ADORABLE LITTLE ARMS!!! He looks like he’s begging for a treat!

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Back when NECA revealed the first Kenner-style Aliens, I was almost tempted to take a pass. I have absolutely no nostalgia for the Kenner line. But knowing that it was NECA and seeing as how I already collect their Aliens line, I took the plunge and I’m so thankful that I did. The Mantis Alien is impressive in every imaginable way and he’s easily one of the most amazing looking figures that I’ve opened in recent memory. I’m seriously considering picking up a couple more of these simply because it’s not every day you can get a figure this awesome for about $22. And you know what else is awesome? He came with a friend. And hopefully next week I’ll be able to make the time to open up the Kenner-style Gorilla Alien!

Alien 3: Ellen Ripley and Dog Alien by NECA

What’s that? You hate Alien 3? Fantastic, that just means more for me! Yes, I will stand up to be counted as one of the few true fans of this flick. Awww, but it sucks because Newt and Hicks died. DEAL WITH IT! Life in the future is a toilet and there’s a long line of Xenomorphs waiting to take a dump into it. And in space, no one can hear you flush. Seriously, though, I dig this movie a lot and it fills my heart with happiness that NECA graced it with a wave of figures. I’ve already looked at the Weyland-Yutani Commando from this wave and today I’m checking out Ripley and the Alien.

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We all know the deal when it comes to NECA’s Alien packaging. You get a hermetically sealed clamshell that keeps the baked plastic goodness fresh and hot. I like to poke a little hole in it, insert a straw into my nose and snort the plastic fumes right from the source. Seriously kids, don’t do that. As always, these packages show off the figures beautifully, but they are not collector friendly, which saves me the trouble of deciding whether to keep the packaging or not. Let’s start with Ripley…

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As you might have noticed from the package shot, Ripley comes with an extra pair of arms, so there are two display options here. Out of the package she comes with her jacket on and the rest of the fatigues that Clemens gave her. As a sidebar, I’m not entirely sure why her package reads “Prisoner,” because she wasn’t. She was just an uninvited guest there waiting to be picked up by Weyland-Yutani after her escape pod crashed on the planet. Anyway, the details in Ripley’s costume is as excellent as I’ve come to expect from NECA’s figures. You get all the tiny obligatory stitching lines and in this case some nice weathering, including torn holes in the pants. The paint detail is exquisite, from the drawstring on her pants to the individual laces and silver eyelets on her boots.

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The jacket includes a sculpted quilted pattern on the back and a hood sculpted in the down position behind her head. There’s sculpted elastic trim around the waist and cuffs of the sleeves and she’s wearing a pair of black gloves. The outfit on this figure is just another great example of how NECA spares no expense when paying attention to the tiniest details.

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The portrait here is not my favorite example of NECA’s work with Sigourney Weaver. That having been said, NECA has had a fair amount of experience sculpting her portrait and this is a very distinctive look for Lt. Ripley, especially after her haircut. I don’t dislike it, but there’s something slightly off about it. I think it may be that it strikes me as being a little more stylized than the previous Ripley figures. Still, the paint is sharp and clean and they even gave her a nasty bruise on the left side of her forehead.

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The figure’s second look involves pulling off the arms, taking off the jacket and putting the bare arms on. The swap is really easy and you get a cool variant that most other companies would have packaged and sold separately. It’s a profound enough change that this is one of those instances where I’m considering picking up a second Ripley so I can display her both ways, because I really can’t decide which one I like more.

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Ripley comes with two accessories: A flashlight and a torch. Both are decent enough extras and definitely fitting for the character and context of the film, but neither are terribly exciting. It’s also worth noting that only one of her hands is really designed to work with the accessories. I can get her left hand to hold the flashlight, but it’s obviously not the intent. Let’s move on to the Xeno!

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Awwww, shit! This thing is gorgeous! One of the things I love about this movie is that we’re back to just one Alien against a handful of barely armed prey. Xenos are so bad ass, that unless you’re the creatively bankrupt gestalt known as Hollywood, you don’t need to cram a million of them into a movie to make them scary. The Xeno in this wave was unique in having burst forth from a dog (originally an ox) and this figure is available in two colors: Brown or gray. I went with the brown one, just because I associate this entire movie’s dreary and industrial color palate with lots of browns and rusty oranges.

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The design of this Xeno makes it my second favorite in the series, right behind the original 1979 Big Chap. Because it’s birthed from a quadruped, it’s back logs are structured like a dogs’ with the extra joint below the knee and the ankle up off the ground. The other given name for this guy is The Runner, and it’s easy to see why. It also makes him extra terrifying to me, not to mention he has a spear tip on the end of his tail. As usual, NECA packed all the lovely Geiger-esque bits into the sculpt, including the creepy mix of exposed sinews and and bone-like structures. The glossy brown wash brings it all out with striking clarity. If you want an example of a work of art expressed as a $20 action figure… here it is!

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Another of my favorite things about this Xeno’s design is the structure of the head. It features the smooth, transparent dome that’s reminiscent of the original Xeno design with a segmented skull visible within. The jaw on this guy is articulated and you can open it up and pull out the secondary mouth.

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The articulation is very much in line with what I’ve experienced with NECA’s other Xenos. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, wrists, with dual rotating hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and include double hinges in the knees, and hinges in the secondary knees, and in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the chest and another in the neck. The tail swivels at the base and is made of bendy material that can take and hold a pose. Overall, my only real nitpick here is that the head does not go far enough back to get him looking forward when he’s running on all fours. But based on the sculpt, it looks like that would have been pretty tough to do.

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The Xeno does come with one accessory and that’s this nifty stand to help keep him upright. I was actually pretty surprised at how many poses I could get him into without needing to rely on the stand, although as is the case with most of these Xenos, the leg joints can have difficulty sustaining the weight of the figure in the long term. When I do get a shelf cleared for my NECA Alien figures, I’ll definitely be making use of this one. His feet are also supplied with peg holes, so you can use the regular NECA stands with him as well.

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It’s hard to pick a favorite Wave when talking about this line, because quite frankly NECA slams them all right out of the park, but this one ranks pretty high for me. It’s not just because I’m a fan of the film, but because it’s such a wildly unpopular film that it’s surprising NECA risked making these figures at all. Although, it does seem to be performing fairly well at retail. While Ripley is readily available at a number of e-tailers for deep discounts, the Commando seems to be in high demand, particularly among troop builders, and the Xeno (which are admittedly always popular with collectors) can be really tough to find at a decent price. NECA has teased on Twitter that there’s more Alien 3 goodness to come, and I’m rather intrigued to see what that means.

Aliens: Space Marine Lt. Ripley (Kenner Version) by NECA

Kenner’s line of Aliens figures defies all sense and logic by its very existence. It was originally inspired by the planned cartoon series Aliens Operation, Yes, a cartoon based on an R-rated film franchise. The cartoon was scrapped, but the figures survived and came out under the name Aliens thus becoming a line of figures directly based on an R-rated movie that was at that point some six years old. Craziness! Nonetheless it was a fun and wildly creative line that was sadly released at a time when I had zero interest in collecting toys. Nonetheless, when NECA decided to celebrate Alien Day on 4/26 and release a Kenner-inspired repaint of their Aliens Lt Ripley figure, I was definitely on board.

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Ripley was exclusive to Toys R Us and GoHastings and sold out really fast online, but eventually came back into stock at TRU. The figure comes in NECA’s traditional sealed blister pack, and while the Aliens title up at the top is the same as what we saw with NECA’s Aliens line, the rest of the package art has been re-branded to reflect the Kenner animated look, complete with a brand new insert and a “cardback” that imitates the Kenner line. It’s a fun and colorful package and in this case I’m glad I wound up with two, because one of them is staying in the package and going right up on my wall.

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If you own NECA’s original release of Ripley from Aliens, then the sculpt should be instantly familiar to you. This is a straight repaint to the Kenner colors with the ammo strap reversed and an added neckerchief. Keep in mind, that’s not a criticism. For starters, the original release of this figure is both excellent and a tough item to get anywhere near the original price point. Secondly, it’s amazing how well this homage works with just a fresh coat of paint. When I look at it, I don’t see the repaint, just a fully realized Kenner-style figure.

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The new coloring includes the bright yellow shit-kickers, darker blue pants, the maroon top and tan neckerchief. The ammo strap is black with orange cartridges. The paint is all very clean, right down to the black watch on her left wrist. For a 90’s line, the coloring here isn’t as obnoxious as one might expect. In fact, the only thing that’s really out of the ordinary are her bright yellow boots and I still think they look great.

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The portrait on this figure was pretty solid to begin with and it not only still looks great, but I’m surprised how well it works on this homage. I particularly love what they did with the hair sculpt. On the downside, this figure uses flesh toned plastic, rather than paint, so you do get a bit of the waxy finish. Granted, it looks a lot more shiny under the studio lights than it does most of the time. Aw hell, she’s lugging a big gun around, running around hunting Xenomorphs, I’ve got to imagine Ripley’s going to be perspiring a bit.

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Speaking of running around, Ripley features some solid articulation. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and knees. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers, there’s a ball joint just above the waist, and another in the neck. Not bad!

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Ripley comes with one accessory and that’s her Smartgun. I don’t have a lot of the Colonial Marines figures, so this is my first encounter with this accessory and I like it a lot. It’s a beautifully intricate sculpt and while it looks like it would be unwieldy and difficult to work with, the truth is it’s got so many grab points that I was able to have a lot of fun with it.

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The only downside of this figure is that the availability was spotty at release because of quick sell outs leading to a run on Ebay and doubling the price of the figure. But now all that has settled down, and at the time I’m posting this Feature, Ripley is available on TRU’s website for the original $24.99. Obviously, this figure is aimed at the 90’s kids who have nostalgia for the original toy line, but I’m proof positive that the figure’s appeal can transcend that. Seeing as I don’t own the original release of Aliens Ripley, I’m very happy to have this mold on my shelf and the coloring just makes her all the more special.

Aliens: Xenomorph Warrior and Sgt. Craig Windrix by NECA

Star Wars has May the 4th and now Alien has April 26th… as in 4/26… as in LV-426. Was this a thing last year? Because I honestly have no memory of it. Anyway, what better way to celebrate then by checking out some Aliens figures from NECA? Today I’m opening up the Alien Warrior and Sgt. Windrix…

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The figures come in sealed blisters very much like the ones used for the figures based off of the original Alien film. In fact, the only real difference is that the inserts here are branded for the sequel Aliens. The packaged figures look outstanding, but they’re not really collector friendly, as you’ll need a plasma cutter, blow torch or a vile of alien blood to get into them. Also, scissors work too. Let’s kick things off with the Xenomorph Warrior.

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Of course, the Xenomorph received a cosmetic makeover between the original film and Aliens and this figure reflects all the design changes. The majority of the buck is the same as the one we saw from the first film and in the AvP Two Pack, but there are significant changes as well. The hands and feet are brand new, featuring longer and creepier fingers on the hands and an extra toe jutting out on the feet that gives the creature a bit of a simian look. You also get the weird “handles” added to the forearms.

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The head sculpt is also brand new. Gone is the smooth and shiny dome of its cousins and in its place is one that better reflects the bio-architecture of the rest of the body. You get some disgusting sinewy bits around the jaws and the inner mouth seems to project out a lot further in this one than my other Xenos. So which Alien head is my favorite? Pfft. That’s like asking me what my favorite ice cream is. I happen to love whatever is in the bowl in front of me. They all have their charms. I happen to find the smooth head a little more creepy, but this one has a lot more cool Giger stuff going on.

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The paint features a blue-gray wash over the lovely high gloss black, which nicely picks out all those incredible details in the body sculpt. I’ve opened three different Xenos from NECA now and I fall in love with this mold each and every time.

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The articulation is the same as we’ve seen on the previous figures. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, with some nice ratcheting action. The elbows are hinged and have swivels, and the wrists have rotating hinges. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double hinges in the knees, and rotating hinges again in the ankles. The toes are even hinged! The head is ball jointed on the neck and has a hinged mouth. Finally, the tail has that lovely bendy wire in it that lets you pose it in a myriad of ways. The Xenomorph is fun to pose and he’s balanced enough to maintain a surprising number of poses. I don’t think I’m engaging in hyperbole when I say that NECA’s Xenomorphs are among the finest figures to ever swing on a peg at this price point. And thankfully, we’ve got a brave Space Marine to fight him…

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If you aren’t already familiar with the both heartwarming and heartbreaking story, Marine Sgt. Craig Windrix is a loving nod to real life Craig Windrix who the world lost to cancer back in 2014. He is the brother of Kyle Windrix, lead sculpting wizard at NECA Toys. Craig was immortalized in plastic form by NECA’s Randy Falk and the rest is history. As if it wasn’t enough that the folks at NECA make some wonderful toys, they seem like a bunch of wonderful human beings as well. It’s a beautiful story and I actually had to stop typing this paragraph about halfway through and collect myself, because… well, you know.

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Besides the great story behind the figure, I really wanted to get Sgt. Windrix, because quite frankly, I’m not fond of any of the Marines in Aliens. I find them all to be incredibly annoying. So Craig is, and will likely continue to stand as my one and only human representative in the war against the Xenomorphs. Having no others in my collection, I’m going to assume this is built on the same body as Hicks and Hudson. The majority of the buck is a beautifully camouflaged set of fatigues with sculpted knee pads and shin guards. The patches on the shoulders are actually part of the sculpt too!

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Wrapped around the torso is a soft plastic vest, which includes a harness and all sorts of sculpted gear, as well as a removable shoulder light. Windrix’s name is printed across the front just under the neckline and he has all sorts of lovingly painted graffiti, which are references to real life Craig’s girlfriend and his other favorite things.

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The articulation on the figure is quite good, especially when you consider how much gear and armor he’s wearing. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have ball jointed ankles. There’s a ball joint in the chest under the armor vest and the neck is ball jointed.

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No Marine can go into battle without his gear and Sgt. Windrix has some cool stuff. For starters, he comes with a cutting tool that attaches to his belt. This is a very simple accessory that actually looks like part of the web gear, but it can indeed come off and be held by the figure. It’s also worth noting that the shoulder light can come off and be held by the figure.

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Next up, you get the motion tracker, which includes a shoulder strap for easy carrying. The sculpt on this thing is fantastic and the tiny screen even has a detailed instrument panel, because being you have to be well-informed when you’re on a bug hunt.

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Finally, you get the military grade flamethrower. It’s another excellent accessory with great sculpt and paintwork, but it’s a little tough to get him to hold it convincingly. The way the handle is shaped doesn’t jibe all that well with Windrix’s gun-toting hand forcing him to hold it rather awkwardly. Having him cradle the barrel in his off hand does help things a bit. I’m guessing that the right hand on the figure came from Hicks and/or Hudson and was designed to hold a different kind of weapon.

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I’ve had this pair waiting to be opened for a while now, so I’m glad Alien Day came up and gave me the motivation to do it. NECA has really made this franchise (along with the Predators) into their bread and butter and it’s easy to see they have a deep love and respect for the property. Opening up this figures finally catches me up on the Alien figures that I own. My next acquisitions from this line will likely be the figures based on the Alien: Isolation game as well as the Kenner-inspired Ellen Ripley that I just pre-ordered. Beyond that we’ve got another killer wave coming up soon inspired by Alien 3, a film that many people hate, but I hold a lot of affection for.