This is my 3rd Ellen Ripley review in as many months, and they just keep getting better. Following the series 4 releases depicting Ripley as seen in Alien from 1977 we have now fast forwarded to 1986 where Series 5 Ripley is released in her Aliens final battle outfit.
Despite a move to boxed packaging on a lot of their other lines, NECA are staying faithful to their clam-shell packaging for the Aliens series which will please MIB collectors. The clamshell is headed with the Aliens 1986 movie logo, with side panels depicting atmospheric shots of the figure itself. On the rear are more figure images, some blurb about Ripley, and images of the other figures in Series 5 - that of battle damaged Bishop and the Red & Black Xenocide Aliens.
Ripley stands 7" high once out of the box, in scale with all the prior Alien releases. The head sculpt is brand new, and in my opinion is even better than the ones they used on the 1977 Alien figures. The sculpting team have captured the steely resolve of Ripley as she heads into the Alien nest and the face has been really well painted to make the most of the sculpt. The hair is accurate to the film, albeit perhaps a little too big, and is painted in a flat brown. The shirt is well sculpted, capturing Weaver's figure perfectly rather than going generic as often happens with female figures. The shirt is painted a flat white then looks to be weathered ever so subtely with a wash. There are patches of grey added to the neck and arm areas which at first I thought were part of the costume. After consulting some reference pictures it seems not, and I think these are an attempt to represent sweat and grime but sadly are too grey and contrasting to the shirt and don't resemble staining at all. Ripley's arms are uncovered with the only accessory being a watch sculpted on the left wrist.
The shirt is crossed with a set of braces which connect down to Ripley's belt, then slung over that is an ammo sling which contains the flares that Ripley uses to navigate the Alien Hive. The first set of braces are sculpted onto the figure and painted in grey with parts picked out in black and silver. The Ammo Sling is a separate piece and can be removed. The lower half of Ripley is a pair of plain blue trousers from her jump suit. These are again well sculpted with pockets and zips and some really well concealed knee joints. If anything the trousers could do with dirtying up a little, but that is me nit picking. The figure is finished in an accurate set of Reebox Alien Stompers and these have even meant a Reebox TM mark had to be stamped on the box to recognise NECA using the trainers licence.
Articulation on NECA figures is getting better with each release, and not only are they increasing articulation they are also doing a great job of concealing the joints within the figure. Ripley starts with a ball jointed head which can look round to both sides by a reasonable degree (to the shoulder) and also has a smidgen of movement to look up and down,. The arm articulation had to be right on this figure to achieve the movie pose with her hybrid pulse rifle and NECA have succeeded. With a ball jointed shoulder and a clever elbow joint that also swivels Ripley can achieve a really good pose with the weapon. My only slight concern with the pose is that the wrist joint seems stretched on her right hand when holding the weapon and as well as leaving a gap, I would be slightly worried on this breaking. My other niggle on the figure I had was the shoulder joints seemed to be overly painted and were stuck in place out of the box, I soon got these moving but it stripped all the paint on the joint - thank fully this was on the under arm section and is not visible on the figure.
Looking at the figures waist you would assume there is no joint, but hidden under the belt is a waist ball joint that although doesn't really allow Ripley to turn on her waist, does allow her to lean forward and backward to get her balanced when holding the weapon. You probably won't do a great deal of posing in terms of Ripley's legs, there is limited hip and knee movement - so you won't get her sat down or doing the splits. As I have said the knee joints are really well done with the knee joint looking like a fold in the trousers from a distance. The figure finishes with an ankle joint that can we tweaked slightly, no great movement, to get Ripley standing well.
Now the bit I don't know at this stage, so we won't review Ripley on this element as yet - is the articulation enough to get her into the Power Loader? I would assume yes as NECA will have had these two items planned together for a while, and we have seen the Ripley figure in a loader. How much movement you will get out of Ripley in the Loader is another matter and we will review this when the Loader lands later this year.
The final part of the figure is the weapon that she is packed with. This is one piece but still looks as thought he two weapons had been strapped together with differing paint jobs on the Pulse Rifle vs the Flame Unit. NECA have even gone as far as sculpting the gaffer tape on the back end that holds the two weapon butts together. The hybrid gun is slung over Ripley's shoulder with a flexible rubber strap which could do with being a touch longer as mine has already snapped at the rear connection as I was a little heavy handed squeezing it over Ripley's head. Ripley's right hand is designed to grip the handle of the Pulse Rifle, with her left sculpted to cradle the barrel.
NECA rarely disappoints with any figures and Ripley is no different. In fact I have gone from the intention of buying one figure and putting it in the loader to actually now wanting two as I love the pose with the Hybrid Pulse Rifle and want that on display as well as the Power Loader.
There are a couple of minor niggles with this figure, but not enough to stop it getting top marks - another 5 out of 5 score for NECA and for Ripley