Aliens has always been a property near and dear to my heart, so at this point I’m pretty much committed to everything NECA plans to release for the franchise. That’s not a bad thing– the first wave of figures released last Summer was outstanding, and the latest release, a two-pack featuring an all-new variant of Colonial Marine Dwayne Hicks and a battle damaged Xenomorph drone, is equally great.
The big selling point of the new Hicks figure is his helmet– he’s the first marine released with the headgear, along with a new portrait with a yelling expression. The rest of the figure is the same as the earlier version, but remains a fantastic sculpt, full of movie accurate details and a very intricate paint job. From the faded camo of his fatigues to the custom designs scrawled on his armor, this is the perfect representation of Hicks as he appeared in the James Cameron classic.
In addition to the new head and helmet (which is, sadly, not removable*), Hicks includes lots of gear, more than the single card release. The marine comes packing his pulse rifle, shotgun with holster, tracking device and a shoulder cam, which plugs onto the back of his armor. The camera originally came with Hudson, who had a small hole in his back which the accessory could plug into. My Hicks does not seem to feature that same hole, so the camera has to kind of rest in the shallow hole of the armor alone. Mine might be unique with this issue, but I am not totally sure… either way the camera fits well enough in place, as long as you’re not actively moving the figure at the time.
The new Alien is totally cool, the first in the series to feature a “battle damage” design. Similar to NECA’s Gears of War figures, this warrior is captured in mid-headshot, and the results are every bit as grisly and gory as you could imagine. The new head is packed with visceral details, from the cracked exo skeletal skull of the creature to its tongue/ inner jaw set loose from the rest of the head. There is an incredible sense of motion from the way the creature’s head guts are scattering, and it looks great when posed on the receiving end of Hicks’ rifle or shotgun.
The bright green blood of the Alien stands out incredibly well against its black and blue exo skeleton, and the blood-spraying chest shot breaks up the figure’s monochromatic look once again. Between the sculpting and the use of colors, this is definitely the most visually distinct Alien we’ve seen yet, and it looks great in a Marines vs. Xenos display.
Other than the new damage features, this is the same great Alien we saw in series one, incredibly well articulated with a bendy tail and a removable upper back spine, which can free up a great range of motion in the beast’s neck. This is the first blue-tinted Alien in the collection, as well, and should match very nicely when the standard, non damaged blue Alien hits in the upcoming Series Two.
The Hicks vs. Alien two-pack is another great release from NECA’s Aliens line. I’m totally glad to get a Marine helmet, as in my opinion it tops off one of the coolest looking sci fi uniforms of all time. Hicks is such a well done figure, it isn’t much of an issue to wind up with a second version of him, and the Battle Damaged Alien gets to show off the NECA sculpting team’s incredibly skills, while adding a unique, gross flair to the creatures on display. This set is available now at Toys R Us, etailers, and through NECA’s eBay store. If you’re fan of the series, I’d highly recommend picking these figures up.
*I lied a little bit– I should say Hicks’ helmet is not INTENDED to be removed. If you have some customizing skills, it can come off, and can even fit on the previous Hicks’ head. I’ll share more about that in Friday’s Custom Korner.