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USS Sulaco

by Rustin Parr

There but for the grace of Star Wars' Imperial Star Destroyer goes the Sulaco from Aliens as the best, coolest, and most unique looking sci-fi military warship in cinema. As such, it's shocking how few collectibles there are of it! I can't believe NECA didn't do one in their shortlived Cinemachines line or that DST didn't toon one up for the Minimates vehicles, but thankfully Eaglemoss stepped up and did one as part of their Alien license in 2018. However, that 10-inch-long ship was limited to 3,000 units and sold out relatively quickly and I missed out on it. Fortunately, after rebranding to "HeroCollector" (maybe? Or maybe it's just a logo on the box? It's not exactly clear) they made a new, larger one under the "XL" sub-branding that would be an open edition... unfortunately, it was released just as the company filed for bankruptcy and folded. I believe some were released in Europe, but my preorder went both unfulfilled and un-refunded. But then Master Replicas re-formed and started releasing the leftover Eaglemoss/HeroCollector stock... and I finally lucked out and scored this badass beast of a ship!

The troop transport Sulaco was in service with the United States Colonial Marine Corps when it carried 2nd Battalion Bravo Team, and Ellen Ripley, into the orbit of LV-426 to investigate loss of contact with a colony there.

The Sulaco comes in a nice, fully printed box that is 14.87" x 8.5" x 4.75" of thick cardboard with an opening top/side flap held closed by magnets. It does have a surprisingly nice "premium" feel to it. The underside of the top flap has a full color image of the ship and its name. Inside the box is a 1 cm thick soft black foam rectangle covering the foam insert holding the ship and its two-part stand. The Sulaco is positioned in a form-fitting cut-out in the foam and is sitting vertically in it, and has another unique foam cut-out protecting the top. As a result, I must confess that initially the ship seems surprisingly small given the size of the box, but once removed it does feel appropriately big.

The ship measures in at 13.5 inches, longest gun/antenna tip to furthest engine slat. It is just under 2" at the widest part and 3" tall thanks to the under-tower.

The iconic gun-inspired shape is captured perfectly along with all the various turrets and cannons and the massive array of antennae and/or guns at the front. Those seem reasonably screen-accurate, and done via three flat pieces glued in for a nice sense of depth and cacophony. The top of the long part of the ship feels to be diecast, giving the whole piece a nice sense of heft, while the rest is plastic - the sculpted details in both materials blending nicely.

The whole piece is a standard gray with some light gray Aztec-ing throughout and a gray wash over it all, giving the whole ship a nice, nuanced, and detailed look despite its basic palette. "U.S.S. SULACO" is also printed on both sides of the lower front. I would like to say it could use a couple more hints of color, but there were none on-screen so there shouldn't be any here (I'm probably just thinking of the red lights on the antennae from the warships in The Fifth Element anyway). On the underside we can see the port that the Drop Ship falls from, which is a nice detail. It would be neat if the doors were sculpted open or more recessed, but that is exactly where the Sulaco sits on it stand, so it makes sense as-is since it ends up hidden.

The stand is the standard Eaglemoss/HeroCollector two-part affair with a clear plastic arm that plugs in to a black oval base. The arm has four-pronged cradle that cups the mid-underside, below the massive cannon and between the under-tower and under-gun turret. The fit is quite snug and secure. Despite appearing angled on the packaging, the arm plugs in straight to the base positioning the Sulaco perfectly horizontal once in place. The base's underside is felt, to help prevent slippage, and features a silver sticker with the Aliens logo, Sulaco name, and what appears to be a production number/code.

Eaglemoss's Sulaco XL retailed for 64.99/ $84.99, which is damn steep and makes it tough to recommend. But for me, ultimately, I am very happy with this ship. As I said at the beginning, it is my second favorite sci-fi battleship of all time and something the collection has sorely been lacking. This will be the center piece of my Aliens collection!

-- 07/04/24

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