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Sergeant Craig Windrix

Aliens
by yo go re

If you didn't buy the solo-carded Colonial Marines because you knew the two-packs were coming, there's still one Marine you have to pick up by himself.

This is Sergeant Craig Windrix. You don't recognize him from the movie. He wasn't a character in one of the videogames, nor did he show up in any of the comics. This is, for all intents and purposes, some random, no-name, made-up marine; you have to wonder why he was put in the line before some of the other characters fans have been waiting for.

Or at least, you "have to wonder" only if you aren't connected with NECA. From back in the days when MySpace was a thing, NECA has always been great about the whole "social media" thing; if you're a fan, you can find out about upcoming releases, see in-progress sculpts, and hear about unannounced licenses before anyone else. You can also get your questions answered, and learn about the secret Easter eggs you might otherwise miss.

Craig Windrix is the brother of Kyle "Tankman" Windrix, formerly of McFarlane Toys and now one of NECA's star sculptors. We've mentioned him a lot. Anyway, this is based on his brother, and the likeness is, as you'd imagine, stellar. Being brothers, Kyle and Craig look somewhat alike, and we've seen enough pictues of Kyle over the years to spot the family resemblance.

Most of the body is the same sculpt that Hicks and Hudson shared, but like them, Windrix gets unique arms. Hicks had bare arms, Hudson had sleeves pushed up to his elbows, and Windrix has sleeves all the way down. Following the pattern, the next Marine they release will be wearing mittens, opera gloves, and a "tsev," which is a garment we just made up that's like an anti-vest: no body, just sleeves.

Since we never saw Windrix in the movie, we have to assume he stayed on the ship. You remember, the Sulaco, the giant-ass ship that was in orbit and could have sent more marines come to get them at any time? That one. Anyway, pretend it's cold in space, and that's why he's got the sleeves.

The actors cast as Colonial Marines in the film were allowed to customize their armor, which is why they've all got different kinds of decorations painted on. Windrix follows that tradition, so his armor is covered with personal touches. On his chest we see a heart with the name "Dao," in honor of his partner Dao Pham; on his shoulder is a caricature of his face, and below that a penguin eating an ice cream cone (a reference to a local restaurant); then, lower on his back, is a bowling ball with the initials CRW, after his father, an avid bowler. In addition he has a US flag, sergeants' stripes and a USCM patch on his sleeves, to say nothing of the excellent camouflage work on both his armor and his uniform.

NECA didn't short this non-canon character on the accessories. He has the motion tracker that can be slung over one shoulder, the flashlight that plugs into the other, and the hand welder that can be removed from his belt. He also comes with a first for this line, the M240 flamethrower seen in the film! Sure, it looks like a gun with a water bottle hanging off the bottom, but it's an iconic weapon, delivered here for the first time. And since this is a reused mold, you already know he's got the articulation to properly take advantage of all that gear!

So by virtue being based on the sculptor's brother, this is basically just a glorified vanity project, right? No, not really. In March of 2013, Craig was having stomach pains, so he went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a ruptured appendix. The pain didn't improve after surgery, so he went back to the emergency room, and the doctors found a cancerous tumor in his stomach. On April 20th, he was given six months to live.

Craig's favorite movie was Aliens, so Randy Falk had the idea to create a special figure for him. He got one of the other sculptors - not Kyle - to make a Craig head, and sent it to the Windrixes as a surprise gift. Then Randy had the idea to turn it into a real toy, and worked with 20th Century Fox's legal department to get the okay. Kyle was allowed to tweak the sculpt, and then Sgt. Craig Windrix went into production, allowing fans everywhere to own a memorial to the man himself.

And a memorial it is. Craig Windrix died on February 6, 2014, just as these toys were hitting shelves. He beat the "six months" prognosis, and lived long enough to see himself join the ranks of his favorite movie; and he may be gone now, but he can live on proudly in your collection.

-- 03/02/14


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