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by yo go re

So when does he replace his hand with a chainsaw?

Subject is science officer grade M-1 and has been operational for 4 years. Previous history and personal data are classified from normal Company personnel access due to the scientific nature of subject's previous assignments.

Well that's not suspiciously brief or anything. When Weyland-Yutani discovered an alien signal emanating from LV-426, they decoded it and found it was a warning to stay away. They weren't having any of that, so they nudged a commercial hauling vessel close enough that its onboard computers would pick up the signal and protocol would demand an investigation. They then placed their own agent on board the ship, one with the authority and know-how to do whatever it took to get specimens back to Earth. So the Nostromo's existing science officer was pulled from the journey two days before take-off, and Ash was sent in as a replacement (and to keep that from being a giant red flag, the warrant officer was switched at the same time).

Ash was played by Ian Holm, best known for being Father Vito Cornelius in The Fifth Element, Sir William Gull in From Hell, and, of course, Bilbo Baggins. The likeness is decent, but could be better. There's something slightly off. The chin, maybe? Like his mouth is too far down his face or something. The paint also makes him look like he's wearing eyeliner. His hair could stand to be a little grayer, too.

The crew's costumes were assembled from various standard uniform pieces - basically, The Company provided a bunch of garments, and while there were guidelines for how you were to combine them and when, nobody on the Nostromo seemed to care much... except Ash, who always dressed in his full science officer uniform. It's powder blue, with the same pants Brett was wearing (though Ash keeps his pant cuffs tight, not loose) and a matching short-sleeved shirt with a long-sleeved white shirt beneath that. You can tell Ash follows regulations, because he's got the ship patch on his right shoulder, and his Science Officer badge is worn on both lapels and on his belt - such a company man! The clothes are sculpted realistically, with all the accurate pads and pockets, and lots of wrinkles that duplicate the way cloth would hang on a real person.

He's got all the same articulation as the other figures: head, shoulders, double elbows, wrists, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. Well, we assume he has a waist - this is a return to an all-in-one sheath like Bishop wore, so if there's anything in there, it barely moves. There's also a problem with the hips on my figure. He's got those new balljoints, like the Martys McFly, but they're very stiff, with the plastic pieces gripping each other instead of moving smoothly. They do move, it's just rough. Good thing Ash isn't a very dynamic character.

He is short though, so we do get a nice amount of accessories. He's got five hands, all shaped to hold things of various sizes. And yet he has six things to hold! We'll start innocent, with a big glass of milk (former WWE title contender). There are four science tools: the white laser-thing he used to attempt to cut the facehugger off Kane, the long flashlight he used to examine the dead facehugger, and the silver calipers and... soldering iron(?) he used to dissect it. All that raises a good question: why does Ash not come with a dead facehugger? One either curled up like a bug or cut open to show its organs. We do get the rolled-up magazine he attempted to kill Ripley with. It's undetailed, but since the actual film prop was a porno mag, that's probably for the best.

The final accessory is the film's big surprise. When Ripley discovers Ash has been surreptitiously aiding the alien, he freaks out and attempts to kill her. The other crewmembers come to her rescue, but the tiny little science nerd proves to be incredibly strong. Unable to overpower him, Parker ends up having to crack him in the head with a fire extinguisher - and when that's not enough, a second blow knocks Ash's head completely off, revealing for the first time that he's a robot. A Hyperdyne Systems 120-A/2 robot (though the original script called the company "Cyberdyne Systems"). So we get the decapitated head, covered in white "blood" and with sculpted viscera beneath the shredded neck wound. The Ian Holm likeness is better on this head than on the normal one, too. You know why? Because the chin is different and the hair looks grayer. How about that!

For whatever reason, Series 3 of the Alien 40th Anniversay line is a Walmart exclusive - if you want the film's deuterantagonist, the only way to get him is to count on NECA's stockperson to do their job. Yeah, good luck with that. At least you could order these online (if you didn't mind getting a set of all three instead of just one or two characters). Ash is a good figure, but like Monkey Boy said, 2020 proved how woefully unprepared stores are for handling exclusives.

-- 02/06/21

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