Poe’s Note: Two things. One, this is a sponsored review – NECA sent me these samples for free. Two, you’ll notice a small black stand in some photos, to aid posing. It did not come with the figure, but was borrowed fromÂ NECA’sÂ Dead Space 2Â Necromorph Slasher figure).
Y’know, when I first encounteredÂ Aliens in the late 1980s – mostly likely in edited-for-TV (or possibly unedited) form on the Movie Loft with Dana Hersey on TV38 – I was dying for toys from the movie. I’ve told this story before, but I did once see the 1979 Kenner 12″ Alien at a flea market for a whopping $200 and begged my parents for it (my parents, who had given me Fortress Maximus one Christmas, wisely stood their ground on this one). The only Alien “toy” I ever got as a kid was a tiny little gaming miniature that fell apart immediately. By the time the Kenner Aliens stuff came around, I did pick up a few figures (the Scorpion Alien, the Gorilla Alien and Bishop), but I wasn’t really into toys at that point.
How times have changed, eh? The list of manufacturers of toys from theÂ AlienÂ films include Kenner, Hasbro, McFarlane, Kaiyodo, Aoshima, NECA, and I’m sure a bunch of other companies I’m forgetting. But while we’ve had plenty of xenomorphs, we’ve only rarely gotten human characters. The
only time we’ve seen the Marines fromÂ Aliens was Kenner’s line, and those didn’t exactly have the best likenesses. [WRONG, POE! I completely forgot about McFarlane’s efforts. McFarlane made two different figures of Hicks (version 1, version 2). They weren’t very well-articulated. Thanks to Googum for pointing out my rather glaring oversight.]
NECA’s been makingÂ figures from the Aliens franchise for years now, but given that 2013 is The Year of Toys That Poe Always Wanted (super-articulated Godzilla ’64, Star Wars Black 6″, Dutch Schaefer, ED-209) it’s no surprise we’re getting the Marines, in addition to a new, super-articulated xenomorph.
NECA has kindly sent along samples of all three figures in the first series of their newÂ Aliens line, and I’ll be reviewing them over the next few days. First up is Private William Hudson, ably played by Bill
Pullman Paxton, best remembered for his line “game over, man,” now often repeated by teenagers who heard it from older guys while playingÂ Halo but have no idea where it’s from (I’m assuming).
Packaging: The packaging incorporates the blue tones of the film and its associated marketing, which I appreciate. The graphics on the back use that fuzzy horizontal-line effect from the 1980s video technology used for the Marines’ video headsets in the film. Each figure has a big photo of that specific figure on the back, plus the cross-sell for the other figures.
Design & Sculpt: NECA’s resident sculptor for much of theirÂ Alien andÂ Predator work is Kyle Windrix, who’s been sculpting these sort of toys since the early days of McFarlane (and maybe before, for all I know). Windrix didn’t sculpt this figure – it was done by Chris Gawrych, David Silva and Jason Frailey. But I think Windrix’s philosophy of trying to make their movie figures as screen-accurate as possible has become a company policy at this point (at least for these two franchises).
That said, I am not one of those screen-accuracy geeks and I am not going to compare the figure to screencaps from the film in detail. Instead, I’m simply going to note that there are aÂ ton of details on this figure. As I said in my review of Dutch, on figures like this NECA approaches a Hot Toys-like level of detail, albeit at a smaller scale. Check out the pics to see for yourself how detailed the figure is.
While I like Hudson’s likeness, I can also see that it’s perhaps a bit off in the shape of the top of the head, and perhaps the exaggeration of the features. So while I’m happy with it, I can see how someone might not be.Â That’s one of the weird, subjective things about toy reviewing — sometimes you and another collector can come to completely different conclusions about the same sculpt. You’ll have to decide for yourself if you’re comfortable owning a figure with this sort of expression, but I think it was the right way to go – fans of the movie who are casual toy collectors are going to love this figure.
And I do love that Bill Paxton signed off on that expression. He’s a good sport.
Plastic & Paint: The plastic appears to be standard for a NECA figure (some sort of mix of PVC and ABS, the latter probably for the joints). If you’ve handled a recent NECA figure then you know what this feels like. The armor is more pliable, allowing the leg and torso articulation to work without harming the figure’s look. That said, you do know when holding it that this is an adult collectible. While there’s plenty of articulation, it won’t stand up to much usage by a young child (unless that child is unusually careful with their toys, as I was…).
As withÂ Dutch, I find the deco quite good. The paint applications have some great detail and very little if any slop. But what will impress you most is the tampographs – the little logos and images all over his armor. These are amazingly detailed and very well-executed, and a big part of what makes this figure’s design so impressive.
Articulation: Hudson has a ball-jointed head with plenty of range, a ball-jointed upper torso, ball-jointed shoulders, swivels at the bicep, swivel-hinge elbows, ball-jointed wrists, ball-jointed hips that plug into a thigh swivel, double-hinged knees, ball-and-socket ankles, and hinged toes. It’s a ton of articulation for a figure of this size and price range, and the addition of bicep swivels is an improvement over Dutch’s elbow-hinges. Hudson’s elbow-hinges are a bit unusual, though, as they’re sculpted with a kind of angular cut so that the elbow “flesh” flows around the curve of the biceps. It’s a bit hard to explain, and although I swear I’ve seen this on an action figure before I can’t remember which it was.
All the upper-body articulation is great, but the double-hinged knees end up being a bit disappointed because you can’t really get the leg quite high enough to get into a proper squat pose. Personally, given the choice, I would rather have double-hinged elbows than double-hinged knees, but I’m not going to knock NECA for that. I will knock them for the difficulty in getting them to a squat pose, but that’s a minor quibble with a figure that has a lot more articulation for a license like this than we’ve generally come to expect at this size and price range.
I think my pics speak for themselves on what kind of posing options are available.
Accessories: Hudson comes with the iconicÂ pulse rifle, a mounted flashlight and aÂ motion tracker. They’re all very well fabricated with some great details, right down to the sticker on the motion tracker showing Hudson’s about to have company.
The flashlight attaches to his back through a small hole in the pliable armor that lines up with a hole in his back. The strap on the motion tracker is fairly loose and has a natural look when it hangs off him. My only complaint, and it’s minor, is that his left hand is designed to hold the barrel of his rifle, so it’s a bit tricky to get him to hold the trigger-like motion tracker handle in that hand.
Quality Control: One of the left hips on my figure was a little stuck but I got it going without any problems. If you get one and your figure’s hip is particularly immobile, try tossing it in the freezer for a few minutes before trying again.* I’m a bit concerned about the durability of the elbow articulation because the joint is so small and complicated, but my figure is fine so far. (I did have a small problem with Hicks’s accessories, but I’ll get to that in his review.)
Overall:Â I was tempted to deduct a half-raven for the so-close-but-not-quite-there leg articulation, but that seemed kind of petty given how much articulation is actually on the figure. Your mileage may vary.
For fans ofÂ Aliens who have always wanted action figures in the 6″-7″ scale, this is the figure you’ve been waiting for. It features an amazingly detailed sculpt, great articulation and fun accessories. At long last, all those xenomorphs you’ve collected over the years will have someone to
terrify fight. At this price point, you really can’t ask for a better product.
*Poe Ghostal not responsible for any figures that get broken in this manner – attempt at your own risk.
Where to Buy:
Product development: Randy Falk
Sculpt: Chris Gawrych, David Silva, Jason Frailey
Fabrication: Brad Haskins, Anthony Minichino
Paint: John Wardell, Geoffrey Trapp
Prototypes: Adam Smith
Packaging: Chris Longo
Set Design: Stefan Folkins
Photography: Stephen Mazurik
Good review, great Simpsons reference!
Great review! My BBTS Pile if Loot is finally on its way with the new Predator series and this Aliens series and I cannot wait. NECA is kicking some serious ass lately in this scale; now when the hell can I get my Bloodsport or Under Seige figures?!
Maybe I jest a little, but while they’re hammering away at eighties action properties get JCVD and Seagal a little love!
I'm everso slightly on the fence with this one as I think I'd prefer a helmeted, non-worried version, but as you've already said Poe, I'm sure it's in the pipe-line.
Did Hicks have a teeny little jazz beard soul patch type thing going on in the film? I could be wrong.
Oh and you can also add Hot Toys to the list of folk who produced smaller scale Marines… http://www.mwctoys.com/REVIEW_031208b.htm
Galoob was another company that took a crack at the Aliens license.
And Poe, this is an excellent review. Those elbows are really good- they kind of remind me of the Rocky elbows from NECA. I just reviewed NECA's Rambo, and my gosh those guys are on a role! Excellent stuff. Let's just hope they finally take a swing at Big Trouble in Little China, Escape from New York, and the Thing!
Oh right, Galoob did some Micro Machines stuff…did they do anything else?
I've already taken my Rambo pics, but Aliens showed up on my doorstep so they took precedence, plus I may try to get to my Pacific Rim reviews first since that movie's coming out soon. First Blood is over thirty years old, so it can probably wait a bit longer…
Nope. Just the three sets of figures and vehicles, one transforming playset, and three Action Fleet scaled vehicles.
Dang, I'm definitely jealous about the Pacific Rim stuff. I've got the Freddy Furnace Diorama in my review queue. I'll probably schedule it for Monday. With the redos of the Kenner Predators, I'll probably end up spending more on NECA stuff this year than on Mattel stuff, and I have all of the MOTUC subs!
McFarlane gave Hicks and Hudson a go too, remember? I got Hudson at a yard sale the other day, or I would've forgotten as well…
Duhr, I mean Hicks! I haven't been able to keep them straight since I got that figure!
I shouldn't have forgotten! I was just looking at a comparison photo. I apologize, all. I'm a moron.
The only thing I would want is an alternate, non-panicky head. Like maybe when the xenomorphs breach the perimeter, and Hudson is all, like, "Get some! You want a piece of me?!?!" You know, five seconds of badassery before he dies.
I'm sure we'll get one. NECA will work to get as much as they can out of these molds. They've already got a Hicks-with-helmet planned as part of an upcoming TRU 2-pack.
I *think* it's already been stated there will be a running change with Hudson at least where he gets a more normal expression. And likewise, as I understand it there are two TRU two-packs, one with helmeted Hicks, one with helmeted Hudson (one paired with the exploded head Alien and one paired with the shot-up chest alien).
Found it. Here's the mention of a running change (and a look at the second Hicks head).
And word on both two-packs.
that running change info is apparently six months old. Everything Randy has said on twitter inidicates there will not be a running change
Yes – Randy confirmed there will be no running changes. Just the 2-packs.
So does that mean the helmets will be removable?
Likewise, but he'll look good sat on a toilet!
So is the head slightly skewed to the right? – the cranium looks a little small and lopsided.
The details and quality look top notch!
It wasn't something I noticed. Looking at it now, I can see what you're saying, but I also don't know if that's, y'know, what Bill Paxton's head actually looks like 🙂
looks great. i hope to see them at toys r us!