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Corporal Dwayne Hicks vs. Xenomorph Warrior

Aliens
by yo go re

The sole survivor of the Nostromo, Ripley is discovered in cryogenic sleep 57 years later by a salvage ship. When she is taken back to Earth, Ripley learns that the "Company" has established human colonies on the same planet where the Alien attack originated. After all contact with the colony is lost, Ripley agrees to return to the planet accompanied by a team of colonial marines. Together they will rescue any survivors that remain and confront the Alien menace head on.

I didn't get any of the Series 1 Aliens figures - not because I wasn't interested, but because I knew this two-pack (and the next one, with Hudson) was coming. The Aliens they're paired with are interesting, and I didn't want to double-dip on the human characters. Of course, I didn't want to end up with an army of Terminators or Robocops, and the reviews we've got posted show you how well that turned out.

The Colonial Marines released so far all share the same body, sculpted by Chris Gawrych and David Silva. Corporal Hicks does get his arms all to himself, though, since he doesn't have visible sleeves the way Hudson does - he just has a bit of a bandage wrapped around his right wrist, and a watch on his left wrist. That does mean we get to see sculpted arm hair, though. While the armored greaves are sculpted onto his shins (as you'd expect), the kneepads are actually separate pieces that were attached to the knees. That's an almost needlessly obsessive level of detail!

For the film, Terry English created the USCM armor. He made several identical sets, then hung around the set for a few days to help fit it to the actors (who were then encouraged to personalize the armor with whatever painted details they felt like). Hicks' armor has a padlocked latch over a painted heart on the front, a bullet hole surrounded by the words "Born Again" on the left shoulder, and the kanji for "love" (愛, ai) on his back in red above white letters reading "LIFER." The hole in the shoulder is a real hole, not just painted. The camouflage on the armor is closer to green than the brown camo of the uniform, which helps it stand out. The armor is flexible PVC, and the webgear is a separate piece that goes over it.

Hicks was played by Michael Biehn, though that wasn't the original plan - James Remar was cast, but left a few days after shooting began. The likeness on this figure doesn't look as good as the regular release, but that may be due to the extreme expression, which would distend anyone's face. You can't yell like that and still look normal.

The big draw of this figure is that he's wearing a helmet, something that fans wanted for the normal figure, too. NECA said there wasn't a way to make a removable helmet that still looked good on the figure, but there's so much empty room in there (and fully-sculpted hair) that we're calling shenanigans on that. Yes, there's a giant plug that's glued into the head, but that didn't need to be there. We believe in NECA. They're smart and skilled enough that there should have been a way to just make a removable helmet. I mean, come on: they sculpted the viewfinder inside the helmet and the chin strap is fully functional; you're telling us the people who did that couldn't make the helmet work without a giant peg? Unlikely.

While most multi-packs skimp on the extras, Hicks actually has more accessories than his standard release. Naturally, he has the USCM-​standard M41A Pulse Rifle (made from an M1A1 Thompson gun and a Remington shotgun with a SPAS-12 foregrip), the family-heirloom Ithaca 37 Stakeout he keeps for close encounters (amusingly, the same brand of shotgun Kyle Reese used) and a sling to keep it in. Technically the strap for the holster should go under his webgear, but there's no way to do that without breaking something. The ME3 Hand Welder on his belt is removable, though it may not seem like it.

So that's everything the solo Hicks came with. This one also comes with a flashlight pack that plugs into the back of his shoulder, and the handheld motion tracker device that you can sling over his shoulder. And since he's got hinged toes, balljoints at the ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, balljointed torso, hinged hands, balljointed wrists, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head, he's able to get into lots of good poses to use all that stuff.

When I said I hadn't bought any of Series 1, I really meant any of Series 1 - not just the Marines, but the Xeno, too. For the most part, this figure is the same as the standard Aliens body, so everything is the same as we said in that review: an amazingly detailed sculpt, a removable back-​spine, and all the articulation you could hope for. Go read one of those reviews for the specifics, because they cover everything you need to know. For this review, we're just going to talk about what's different:

SEVERE GUNSHOT WOUNDS!

Presumably representing the scene where Hicks puts his shotgun to good use (with a hearty "eat this" quip), this Alien Warrior has the front half of his head blown open, exploding in a spray of chunks and acid blood. It's a lot like the Headshot Locust that way. The blood is cast from translucent green, and the sculpting on the innards is just as good as it is on the... outards? The way the Alien's face is flying off into the sky is particularly fun.

There's a second spraying wound on the figure's ribcage, though it seems like it's just a piece glued on instead of something requiring the torso to be resculpted. In any case, the various strings and strands of fluid are sculpted very well - again, like the Headshot Locust. The bright green makes a great contrast with the xeno's black-with-dark-blue-highlights carapace.

This really is a superb set, and feels like I'm being rewarded for my patience in not buying the earlier Hicks (especially with the extra accessories). The battle-damaged Alien is a fun new variation for the line, and honestly, the only thing about this set that falls in the "negative" category is the way they did the helmet, which shouldn't be enough to scare you away from it.

-- 12/08/13


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