One of the things I respect most about Diamond Select’s Minimates is their commitment to seeing themes and teams all the way through, from start to finish. We’ve seen this line go deeper than other action figure series countless times in terms of Marvel, The Walking Dead, and many other properties, and it looks like Aliens is the next line to near completion.
The latest Minimates releases bring us very close to a total Aliens universe, thanks to new two-packs which build out the Colonial Marines forces, as well as two new deluxe sets which bring the epic finale of James Cameron’s classic film to the Minimates world. The release of these sets brings us remarkably close to a complete lineup of characters this movie, which is a first.
We’ve already seen an assortment of single-pack boxed figures, as well as a wave of Minimates two-packs for this line, which have included many of our A-list heroes, and a respectable swarm of Xenomorphs. The new releases bring another round of two-packs, as well as a pair of oversized Minimates in a deluxe assortment.
If you’ve ever collected Minimates, the structure of the two-packs should come as little surprise. Each set features two figures along with accessories and alternate body parts to customize their looks. There’s four new Marines in the wave– Frost, Crowe, Vasquez, and Hudson (the latter of which were released as Toys R Us exclusives last summer). Crowe and Frost weren’t the biggest players in the movie, so they don’t include a ton of alternate parts, but each gets a hairpiece to swap out with their helmet, as well as a weapon. Each of these Marines is paired up with a new Alien Warrior variant, the coolest of which is the flaming Alien cast halfway up in translucent orange plastic, creating a burning effect. To make up for the relatively short amount of gear, these sets also include a Minimates scale Alien egg, a great added bonus.
The last new two-pack brings a new version of Ellen Ripley in her blue jumpsuit and flight jacket, along with her surrogate daughter Newt. This set is pretty cool, especially since Ripley features a removable jacket and a second set of arms to complete her jacket-less jumpsuit. Newt employs an alternate shorter body type, so she stands notably shorter than the other Minimates, as she should considering she’s a little kid. Some Minimates designs crack me up, and Newt’s severed doll head– molded to look like an Minimates effigy instead of a normal human– is one of the funnest I’ve ever seen.
Of course, not every character from Aliens could fit in a standard Minimates two-pack, which is where we get the deluxe sets. The first deluxe pack features the Alien Queen. Cleverly crafted, this mostly original sculpt, features tons of extensions and overlays on top of a basic Minimate body, making the Queen appropriately huge and menacing, while maintaining the same aesthetic as the rest of the line. I’m very impressed by the intricacy of this figure design, and the set only gets better. The Queen comes packed with an android blood-covered Bishop, her last victim.
Surprisingly, it’s taken until now to see Bishop join the Minimates lineup, and while I’d still love to see a more neutral version down the road, the extras packed with this scene specific version are amazing. Poor Bishop includes a check overlay which can plug in between his waist cut and also attach to the Queen’s tail, replicating the moment when she impales him through the chest. The effect here is simple, but very striking, and fun to set up… I’ve already switched Bishop on and off of the Queen’s wrathful tail a few times since opening my set. Just to rub it in a little more, Bishop also includes an alternate lower body piece, simulating the messy pile of guts he was left with after his unfortunate close encounter.
But what good would it be to have the Queen without Ripley and her Power Loader to fight with? The Power Loader is another wonderfully designed oversize piece. The Loader essentially works like a suit of armor, with the legs and chassis snapping in place on top of the Ripley figure. The suit’s arms are articulated at the shoulders, elbows and swivels at the wrists, and Ripley includes some free-standing controls she can hold to give the appearance of piloting the Loader. I love this sculpt, and how well the figure can still move when inside what could have been just a single, solid piece of plastic.
The Ripley in this set features a newly designed head, looking a little worse for wear, and the set also includes another Warrior and some eggs, perfect for the ever-growing Xenomorph hive. The Minimates team is clearly having fun with this line, and they’ve now made some of my favorite Aliens toys of all time. These latest sets stand out as highlights of both the Aliens collection, and as some of the most well thought-out, best designed Minimates I’ve come across. Counting these figures, we really only need to see Gorman, Ferro, and a clean Bishop to call this line complete… an exclusive four-pack with those three and another Xenomorph would be the perfect finishing touch to this already outstanding series.