As previously explained, I skipped the first series of Aliens figures because, while they definitely looked interesting, we already knew these two-packs were coming. And honestly, who needs doubles on the plain Colonial Marines?
[Those people who are making customs by swapping other NECA toy heads onto the bodies? --ed.]
The Colonial Marines released so far all share the same body, sculpted by Chris Gawrych and David Silva. Private Hudson does get his arms all to himself, though, since he's neither bare-armed like Hicks or fully sleeved, like Windrix. Since this is taken from after the famous "eat this" scene (when he got burned by acid), his left arm is bandaged all the way to below the elbow.
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). Hudson's armor has his name stenciled just below the neck, like all the armor, then it's painted with the name "LOUISE" with a big red bow through the O, and a stabbed skull ("death") over the words "or glory." On the back, there are a series of bullet (or acid?) holes on one shoulder, a cartoony pair of eyes on the other (ie, someone to watch his back), and then "contents under pressure" and "dispose of properly." The helmet reads "Brain Dead," has a calendar counting down to July, and a completely halfassed attempt at creating the big 8 Ball logo. The camo on the helmet matches the armor, when (due to the cloth cover that was slipped over it in the film) it should match his uniform.
Private William Hudson was played by Bill Paxton, the actor most famous for being confused with Bill Pullman. The normal figure showed him in his crybaby "game over man, game over" look, while this one is much more badass. Despite the extreme distortion on his face, the likeness here is much more recognizable than it was on screaming Hicks.
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, Hudson has all the same accessories as his normal release: the USCM-standard M41A Pulse Rifle (made from an M1A1 Thompson gun and a Remington shotgun with a SPAS-12 foregrip), a flashlight pack that plugs into his shoulder, and a motion tracker that slings over his shoulder. It's pretty impressive that the webgear over his armor is a unique mold, not shared with Hicks; they each have their own stuff hanging from the straps. And of course, the ME3 Hand Welder on his belt is removable. See, it's stuff like that that makes us believe NECA could have done something with the helmets.
The single-carded Alien included in Series 1 was brown. And while it may be a situation like Han's Hoth coat, where the props and costumes really were brown all along, I really don't care: the aliens don't look brown in the movie, so why would you want them to be brown on your shelf?
Anyway, there was a bluer version in Series 2, if that's what you want. And of course, the alien in the other two-pack is also blue, so for this one NECA went back to brown - hey, you've gotta have some variety, right?
While Hicks' alien got a new kerploded head sculpt, this one does not. This is functionally just the standard Series 1 Xeno, with a couple new pieces glued to the chest. And not even entirely new pieces, either: the idea is to show the alien's acidic blood
spraying out after getting shot, yeah? Well, while the wound on his throat is new (and shooting out all the way past his arm, in a spectacular display of grue), the one on his chest is the same one the other xeno had on its chest, just rotated 180°. In any case, the various strings and strands of fluid are sculpted very well. They're cast in translucent green, then painted tan, so you'll want to look at them in person before you buy: the coverage can really vary, so you'll want to pick out the one that looks best to you.
This is a nice two-pack, but not as good as the Corporal Dwayne Hicks vs. Xenomorph Warrior set. That one had more accessories than the standard release, and the alien had a new head sculpt; this set can't claim either of those things. On the other hand, it's a Bill Paxton sculpt that's not crying like a baby, and the explosive wounds on the Alien make it clear he's not just a straight re-pack.