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Space Marine Lt. Ripley

by yo go re

A few years ago, some hateful Satan of a person declared that May 4 should be "Star Wars Day," based on nothing more than being overly self-satisfied with their own insipid pun. We don't often use the phrase "die in a fire," but it seems a rational, proportionate response in this case. Anyway, this year, 20th Century Fox decided to promote a similar "Alien Day" on April 26, chosen in honor of the planet where the movie takes place: LV-426.

Lots of licensors hopped aboard the hype train like hobos on their way to the Big Rock Money Mountain, releasing various limited edition exclusives on 4/26 - from the daft failure of Reebok's Alien Stomper shoes (seriously? Only in men's sizes, and only 36 pairs?) or Mondo's various posters and records and sweaters and other ludicrously overpriced crap, to more sensible things like an Aliens-themed Lootcrate or a special Dark Horse Comics hardcover collection. Of course NECA did their part to join the celebration too, and of course that was the first item I went looking for!

Specialty: Authorized Power Loader pilot

Home Planet: Earth

Background: Discovered and barely defeated first Alien. Survived several face-to-face Alien encounters.

Quote: "The only good Alien is a torched Alien!"

Yes, following in the footsteps of their Kenner Predators, and leading the way for the upcoming Kenner Aliens, NECA chose to make a Kenner Ripley.

She's sold in the same kind of clamshell as the other Aliens figures, but the art has all been done in homage to the toy that Kenner put out in 1992: a painting of the xenomorph's head up top, a green trapezoid framing the figure, art of Ripley firing her gun... then the back has a clip and save filecard in one corner and retro cross-sells for other recent figures on the back. They even reprinted the Dark Horse minicomic that came with the original! How about that! It's a very fun presentation, and is almost enough to make you reconsider opening her. Almost.

This figure shares her complete mold with the normal Lt. Ripley, so rather than repeat everything we said before, we'll just invite you to re-read Monkey Boy's review. We get the same Sigourney Weaver likeness (sculpted either by Alex Heinke or Adrienne Smith, or maybe both of them together), though the fact that now the black outline on her eyelids goes under as well as over the eye does make her look like she's squinting.

Since the sculpt is the same, it falls to the paint to turn this into "Kenner" Ripley. Most of Kenner's Space Marine figure deviated quite far from their movie counterparts [What? You mean Apone didn't have a crop top and a robot arm? You and I have clearly been watching different versions of the film. --ed.], but Ripley at least dressed pretty normally: a T-shirt, pants, boots, all the same stuff seen in the film; that's why NECA could just repaint her! Well, with one difference. Kenner's Ripley had a tan bandana tied around her neck, so NECA molded a new one to give this figure. Too cool! She still has her suspenders, since those are a molded part of the torso (Kenner's didn't have any), but the old toy did have a bandolier slung over her left shoulder, so NECA kept the one from their last figure and just put on the other side.

Ripley's shirt is a deep maroon, her pants are bright cartoony blue, and her boots are solid yellow with blue soles (actually just blue on the edges and white on the bottom). The neckerchief is khaki, and all the bullets that are strapped to her are solid orange. She's even still wearing her watch! It's painted black, rather than silver, but it's still kind of nuts to realize that it's a separate piece, rather than something sculpted on her arm. Overall, the colors are flatter than they were on "normal" Ripley, but that was done with intent, and it looks nice. Only thing missing is some yellow on her right thigh - it used to be a pouch strapped to her, but here they could have maybe painted her pocket?

Her articulation is unchanged from what we told you before, though I haven't had any issue with the hands popping off this time. Of course, that may be because her weapon isn't as awkward for her to hold. See, the 1992 figure had a giant, projectile-launching "flamethrower," which was probably inspired by the one she used in the film, but definitely didn't look anything like it. NECA could have just repainted her existing accessory dark green and gray, with some black and yellow hazard stripes on the barrel, but instead they gave us a sneak preview of the heavy machine gun that will come with Vasquez (sans Steadicam arm). Unfortunately, since this toy has the same hands as the normal toy, her left hand is designed to cradle an accessory, not hold a handle. Shame they couldn't have given her the extra hands that came with the Power Loader, because those probably would have worked perfectly for keeping the gun off the ground.

Actually, the Power Loader is the reason I decided to get this TRU exclusive. I've already got the plain Ripley, and since I never had the Kenner figure, just being an update of that wasn't a strong appeal to me. But with two of her, I can put one in the Loader and leave one running around free to tend to Newt.

In theory, this figure was supposed to be available in Toys Я Us stores on 4/26. For me, that didn't happen - the only options were TRU's website, where she kept popping in and out of stock rapidly and at random times through the day, or from Hastings, who have some of the worst customer service of any store I've ever had the misfortune of buying from, and (after briefly having Ripley available at normal price and eligible for the "Aliens Day" discount on all related merchandise) suddenly jacked the price up an extra 50% like total effing scumbags. Screw them and the horse they rode in on. Hastings goes in the same "do not buy from" pile as ToyWiz.

But remember, this is NECA: they're not going to crap the bed the way Reebok or Mondo did. Ripley wasn't available in my TRU on 4/26 (or for an entire month afterward), but she did eventually show up. She was hard to get, but not impossible, and that's why we like NECA - they made something neat, but they didn't limit it to one day only. This is a cool throwback figure, just different enough from the regular to make her worth getting even if you already have that one.

-- 06/05/16

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