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Lt. Ellen Ripley

Aliens
by Monkey Boy

NECA finally did the unthinkable. What no one thought anyone could do. They delivered a full-on, Sigourney Weaver-approved action figure of Ellen Ripley from the Alien franchise. First, they gave us not one, but two figures based on her appearance in the original film. While they were very solid figures that represented a major coup in the world of action figures, there was still another figure that fans would need before their Ripley lust was sated (ew).

This is that figure. It's (somehow a) Lieutenant Ellen Ripley, ripped right from the climax of Aliens, with her pulse-rifle-taped-to-a-flamethrower, sassy cropped curls, bandoliers over a sweaty t-shirt, and future Reeboks (unbranded here, though fully licensed). This was the figure we always wanted but never got. The figure that could never be made thanks to Sigourney Weaver hating guns or something. And now it's here. What a time to be alive!

I threw away the packaging before transcribing the bio, so I'm just gonna make one up: After the events that resulted in the kerplosion of the giant space oil rig Nostromo, Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley is scooped up after drifting through space for over 50 years. Plagued by nightmares and mocked for her unbelievable story, she is drawn back to LV-426, promoted to Lieutenant for some reason, and then forced to face her fears in the middle of a big Vietnam War metaphor, and also something about motherhood.

So now that I'm done fawning over the fact that this figure even exists, let's actually review it, shall we? Firsties, as usual, let's discuss the sculpt. The face on this figure isn't exactly the same as the previous NECA Ripleys; it's very close, but not quite identical. The brow is less furrowed this time around, and there seems to be more hair in the "sideburns" area around the ears. It's a very solid representation of Weaver: the square jaw, the small lips, the thin nose... it's her all right! She's got a new, separate hair piece that seems a bit poofier than the style she actually wore in the film, but it isn't a huge distraction.

This is NECA, so the sculpt favors accuracy. A lesser company might have tried to give her a more exaggerated "feminine" shape, but this Ripley is pure action hero right out of the movie: baggy, high waisted pants and a wrinkled t-shirt with sneakers. The detail is great, with nice proportions and just the right amount of detail. It's not overly intricate, but it has some nice touches in areas like the straps on her chest and the 1985 Seiko Speedmaster watch on her left wrist.

The previous Ripleys from NECA were well done, but the paint on the face was thick and shiny - a bit "porcelain doll"ish. Not this time! Aliens Ripley's skin is molded in flesh-colored plastic, and the paint on her eyes, brows and lips is more understated and subtle. The paintwork all around is crisp and clean, for the most part. I particularly like the dirtying effect on her pants. It's just enough to make them look roughed up, without being overdone.

Her shirt isn't quite as good, though. Ripley was sweatin' up a storm when she went back to storm the hive in the film's climax, and this figure is rocking some heavy sweat stains. They're represented as gray paint splotches on the chest and sleeves, and while it conveys the message, it could probably stand to be a bit more subdued. It looks like what it is - gray paint - more than it looks like sweat. But to be fair, sweat is pretty hard to do on a piece of plastic, and the route they went works well enough.

Ripley is quite well articulated, with a balljointed neck, peg-and-hinge shoulders and elbows, peg and balljointed wrists, a balljointed waist, peg-and-hinge hips, peg thighs, peg-and-hinge knees and balljointed ankles. All joints are nice and tight and move well without mucking up the sculpt too much.

The only issue is that the hands pop off at the wrists way too easily. It makes it pretty difficult for her to hold her accessory in both hands, because you have to move the wrists at an angle that makes the hands just want to skip town rather than hold the pose. It can be done, though, and once it is done she looks great, but you'll have to mess with it for a while and it can get frustrating.

The accessory I mentioned is of course the M41-A pulse rifle and M240 Incinerator unit, jury-rigged together to be one single super weapon. Though NECA has made both of these weapons individually for previous figures, this one appears to be a unique sculpt. The flamethrower's proportions are a bit different, and it's smaller overall, while the pulse rifle has a slightly shorter stock and the locator device Ripley used to find Newt taped to the top. The butts of the weapons are sculpted to look taped to each other, and the rifle's strap is wrapped around the barrel of the flamethrower, just as it was in the movie. The incinerator's tank is also removable this time around, unlike the one that came with Sgt. Windrix.

As I said, it can be difficult to get her to hold it, especially in both hands, but it looks great when you can finally make it work. The strap seems to lay best when it's slung over the left shoulder, although in the movie it was always over the right.

She also comes with a removable bandolier. While this could have been sculpted as a part of her torso, I imagine NECA made it removable so Ripley could be screen accurate when you plug her into the upcoming deluxe Power Loader set. That's all she comes with, but it's enough. The only thing really missing is a Newt to hang off of her, but there's no way NECA's getting that likeness.

While I do have some gripes with this figure, they don't take away from how much I really really love it. It may be my favorite figure in the entire Aliens line (not counting the Queen). Which is honestly surprising to me. I'm all about cool-looking space marines and biomechanical sex monsters, but this figure of a sweaty woman in baggy trousers has them beat. It's been a long time waiting for this figure to happen, but NECA made sure it was worth it. Get one, or heck, get two... you'll want to display her with her bad-ass flame/rifle/grenade launcher, but you can't have an empty Power Loader, can you?

-- 09/06/15


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