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Space Marine Apone

by yo go re

All right sweethearts, what are you waiting for, breakfast in bed?

Specialty: Field Corps Commander

Home Planet: Earth

Background: Tough and gritty, he keeps the Marines in line. Right arm now bio-mechanical.

Quote: "Move it, people! Move it! Move it!"

In the movie, Master Sergeant Al Apone was the functional leader of the Space Marines sent to rescue the settlers of LV-426 (Lt. Gorman was nominally in charge, but everyone defaulted to trusting Apone). When the Aliens attacked, the Sarge got distracted by Gorman issuing redundant orders, and was dragged away alive by a xenomoprh, presumably to be host to facehugger. So you figure either he died when the chestburster did its thing, or when the reactor blew up, right? If you ask Kenner, though, he somehow survived both of those things and re-upped to reunite with his squad... though he was a bit worse for wear.

Apone was played by former Marine Al Matthews, who used his military experience to help the other actors seem believable in their roles. This figure does not feature his likeness. It's close - as close as it can be while still being legally non-infringing - but it's not officially him. Still, the mustache, the stern look, it all comes together to look good.

Despite his much-vaunted love for the Corps ("Another glorious day in the Corps. A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal's a banquet. Every paycheck a fortune. Every formation a parade. I love the Corps!"), Apone seems to have ditched the Marine BDUs for a more... casual look. For instance, a yellow shirt with the sleeves ripped off and "NO BUGS" written on the chest. He pairs that with green pants and fancy space boots that were once white but are now getting dirty. There's also a red baseball cap worn backwards, because '90s fashion will survive into the distant future. These are some bright colors! You're supposed to eat those crayons, Marine, not wear them!

Apparently whatever happened to Apone after the Aliens took him away messed up his right arm, because it is now partially mechanical. Well, actually it only looks like he's wearing some kind of brace around the arm, but the card and the comics insist it's more integral than that. The technology has an impressivley intricate sculpt, even if it's not clear what every little pice of it is supposed to do. There's a big clamp-type thing on the back of the hand and wrist, a frame extended away from the arm running all the way up to the shoulder (with a real working piston, so it will move as the arm does), some kind of device by the bicep, and then a rig attaching the entire device to the shoulder via a harness system that probably helps distribute the weight of the prosthesis. He also wears a similarly technological headset strapped to his right ear.

Apone moves as well as any other NECA Aliens figure: a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, balljointed wrists, balljointed chest, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-swivel/hinge knees, and balljointed ankles. The old Kenner figure had an action feature (spring-loaded waist), but thankfully there's no such thing here, just good, old-fashioned joints.

The action feature was a way to have him fling his accessories, "mega grenades." They were soft PVC things, and you'd tuck one into his right hand, pull the torso to the side, then let go and watch the grenade go flying. Even without the spring, you know NECA was going to include those pineapples! Their sculpt is superb, looking very much like actual ordnance, with segmented shells that would burst apart when the explosive goes off. They're beige, and mounted on long green handles. They can plug into the figure's back when not being held in the hand.

The head can be removed from the stick, and a flexible extender inserted between them, to better simulate the floppy look of the old toy. It can be tricky to get the extenders to plug into the handles, because the hole is set so far down inside. Completing the parallels to the '90s figure, he has a shotgun, though it can't peg to his thigh today. He additionally comes with a reprint of the comic the old figure had, and a sheet of decals with no clear indication of where they're supposed to go, so mine will just be staying unstuck for the time being.

There's an urban legend that Fox was working on a cartoon called "Operation: Aliens," and that Kenner's toys were designed as a tie-in. They even say a pilot episode was produced, and share the screenshots to prove it. Unfortunately, it's just not true: Kenner did approach Fox about a cartoon to support the toys, but they weren't interested; the animation was done by studio AKOM for a series of commercials that never aired. So no, this crazy Apone design was never intended for a cartoon, it's just something Kenner came up with to sell toys, and now NECA has resurrected it to do the same thing again.

-- 02/09/20

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