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Aliens single-packs

by yo go re

So, Art Asylum is going to be making Minimates based on Alien and Aliens, and rather than jump right in with some two-packs, or even a four-pack, they went with a counter dump of single-boxed figures. Weird.

There are 12 boxes in the point-of-purchase display, and six figures in the assortment. So there are two of each in the case, right? Nope! Don't be silly! Three of each Alien and one of each human. Great news for army-builders, bad news for whoever the second person to get to the store is.

We'll start with the plain Alien Warrior, the most vanilla figure in the assortment, the one of which all the others are merely a variation. The core of the figure - everything between ankles and wrists - is the standard blocky Minimate body, which you wouldn't expect would lend itself to the irregular, chitinous body of a xenomorph... and you'd be right! But if they can make Cylons look right, then they can probably do the same for the Alien.

Spoiler: they can.

The body is black, and painted with golden details to make it look organic. That's three sides of the shins, the front and outsides of the thighs, the front and sides of the waist, the entire chest, and the outsides of the arms. We're talking ridges, ribs, tubes, weird little shapes... all the things that you normally see on the Alien costumes, just reproduced in 2D instead of 3.

But that's just laying the groundwork. To really capture the look of the bugs, the figure gets new feet that plug into the legs at an angle, to help create the distinctive stance; granted, it has four toes sticking out the front, rather than three in the front and one out the side, but the idea is clear. Moving up, he gets new hands that double the length of his forearms and have hooked spikes trailing back by the elbows; the fingers are split into two groups of two and a thumb. The chest cap is astoundingly intricate, creating ribs, shoulder flares, and even the "back tubes" we all know and love; it even has a spot at the bottom where the two-section tail can plug in (it's separate in the package, to save space - these Aliens are just crammed into their boxes).

Since the chest cap covers the neck balljoint that's actually molded onto the torso, it has a new one of its own - slightly higher, to give the xeno a longer neck. It's still a standard-sized ball, though, so look forward to some head-swapping fun! An entire series of ridges run along the top, and there are tubes on the sides. The teeth are painted bright white. The lower jaw is a separate piece - separate, but not articulated.

And that brings us to our second figure, the Attacking Alien Warrior, which is functionally identical to the figure we've already reviewed, but with one change: the mouth is open and his inner jaw is extended. So that's why the chin was a separate piece - so they didn't have to remold the entire head! The "tongue" is grey, so it's light enough to stand out against the black body and make sure you don't miss it.

And the third Alien in the POP display is the Battle Damaged Alien Warrior. This one gets the open mouth of the Attacking Alien, but does not have the inner jaw - his mouth is empty. In addition to the dark detailing on the body, he's also painted with lots of green splotches all over. Yes, I know that Aliens have acidic blood, and that it's Predators who have glowstick goo running through their veins, it still looks pretty good. He has different back-tubes than the other two, stumpy and truncated. This works out well for him, since it means he's the only one of the three whose tubes don't get warped in the package.

Okay, enough space-bugs - on to the humans! Our first marine is Pvt. Wierzbowski, a character who's even less memorable in the movie than Sgt. Windrix was. You may remember him standing around in group scenes, or sitting on a bench behind Hicks and Hudson in the dropship, or flipping Gorman the bird from off-screen... okay, you don't remember him. But trust us, he exists. And this toy does look like him.

"Ski" is wearing his full armor. Before NECA's marines it would have been a lot easier to fake the details, but now we know what they're supposed to look like, and this one does a nice job with the shapes, at least. We've been spoiled by NECA's screen-accuracy. The only decoration on the armor is his name at the neck - he should have "Spam in a Can" written on the back below a drawing of a tin being opened, "SKI" in big letters on the back of his helmet, and "Spare Weapon" written on his crotch.

If you remove the armor, you'll see that the camo pattern visible on his arms and legs continues all the way across his chest - but only the chest, because his back is unpainted. Very weird choice. Why, at that point, do the chest at all? Either we're supposed to take the armor off, or we're not. This toy suggests both.

Wierzbowski is wearing his helmet, with a camera on one side, a microphone on the other, and some kind of weird eyepiece in between them. He's got a flashlight thing sticking up over his shoulder, and is armed with an M41A pulse rifle - a bit of an oversight, since his primary weapon was the M240 flamethrower, not the gun.

Next we have Crew Chief Pvt. Spunkmeyer, the copilot of the marines' dropship. You remember - he's the one who notices the slimy drool while closing the loading dock, but got ignored when he tried to tell Corporal Ferro. According to the novelization of the film, he lied about his age at enlistment, because he was too young to join.

Danny is much less complex than Wierzbowski was. He's just wearing his green flightsuit, created entirely by paint rather than needless add-on pieces. He has tall black boots and fingerless gloves. There are pockets painted on his knees and stomach, a belt at the waist, and the suit is unzipped a bit to show off his white T-shirt. There's an American flag on his left sleeve, and blue patches on his chest and right arm.

The figure's accessories include a flight helmet (a new mold, not given any personal embellishments because he didn't have any in the film) and a black pistol. His likeness is slightly off, somehow: the dark eyebrows are right, and the stubble on his head and chin is expertly applied, but there's something about the mouth. Too wide? Too frowny? Something.

The final single-boxed figure is the movie's ultimate douchebag, Carter Burke. He was played by Paul Reiser, so it's kind of upsetting that he's only one per case: how are collectors supposed to work on our My Two Dads and our Mad About You collections (which we all secretly have, right?) when he's so hard to get?

This figure is, appropriately enough, based on his appearance during the mission to Acheron - he's wearing a plaid shirt and a tan vest, not the gray suits he was seen wearing earlier in the film. The vest is new mold, and he has the rolled-up sleeves so his shirt doesn't just end suddenly. He's also wearing his silver watch, because in the future, you always need to know what time it is, and cellphones don't work 39 light-years away from Earth. The tampo on his shirt is very nice, and even continues onto his beck, despite being entirely hidden by the vest.

We're not fans of the single-pack counter dumps. It's terrific that they're not blind-boxed, but god help you if you ever hope to get the shortpacked figures from them - I've been hunting previous ones for years now, with no luck.

The two marines available in this assortment are dull and minor enough that no one would miss their presence in an Aliens collection, but Burke the Jerk? The main villain of the movie? He'd be missed. The xenos themselves are pretty cool though, so now we can't wait to see what the regular releases turn out to be.

-- 10/26/14

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