- Manufacturer: NECA
- Released: 2014
1979 was the year Twentieth Century Fox introduced us to one of the truly great female heroes in popular culture, Ellen Ripley. It was 35 years later for the licencing of Sigourney weaver’s recognisable likeness to catch up and appear on an action figure for the first time. 2014 saw the release of NECA’s Series 4 ALIEN action figure set featuring the the actor’s likeness and accurate depiction of Ellen Ripley in this medium.
At a little short of 7 inches tall, Ripley in her jumpsuit is decent sized figure. She’s dressed in a blue coverall jumpsuit with rolled up sleeves and grey sneakers. She’s lean and confident not just mimicking the onscreen character but also in the technical details of the sculpt and other features this figure enjoys. There’s no doubting who this marvelous example of design is intended to represent. This is Ellen Ripley, sole survivor of the doomed interstellar hauler, the Nostromo.
To aid in anchoring this figure to the onscreen character and the location she inhabits for the greater bulk of the movie, the figure is blessed with some very fine details. Her apparel is a neck to ankle blue jumpsuit. While this article of clothing is as mundane as you can get, it’s not the feature that clearly secures this iteration of Ripley to the ill fated space tug. Rather, it’s the the tiniest of details it displays upon each shoulder. Here, you will find intricately detailed patches that denote Ripley’s status as a crew member of the interstellar tug, Nostromo.
These patches appearing on each shoulder are precisely detailed to perfection with the correct patterns and colors on display, even the identifiable ‘USCSS NOSTROMO’ and the number ‘180286’ can be clearly read upon them. When I saw this accurate detail at this scale – the patches are a little over a quarter of an inch across – it left me with more than just a passing sense of awe and wonder at the dedication to render this figure as accurate as possible. It’s these patches upon the figure that set the standard by which the rest of Ripley in her jumpsuit would be judged, and fortunately, it delivers favorably in mostly every department. Mostly.
Let’s get back to the most important part of the figure, though, the likeness. Just a glance at this item’s face tells you straight away who this represents. Weaver’s likeness is a joy to behold here. It’s been captured in fine detail in the sculpt and the paint work complements it perfectly. Ripley may be permanently fixed in an expression of sombre concern here but this is how Weaver portrayed the character throughout much of the movie and only relinquishing her ‘I’m not impressed with this situation’ demeanor on rare occasions.
Here, the sculpt captures this essence of the character perfectly. Even Ripley’s dark hair is crafted with a convincing sense of generous flowing 1970’s locks. It’s a great finish to the visage and there’s no mistaking NECA really wanted to emphasize and impress with fidelity to Weaver’s likeness.
I’ve already mentioned the shoulder patches above and these aren’t the only embroidered content on the jumpsuit. Upon Ripley’s left breast can be seen the Wings of Horus emblem that Weylan Yutani emblazoned upon just about every article of property throughout the movie. Once again, it’s a piece of detailing that adds considerably to the figure. Throughout the garments are other details of note. Zippers, pockets, folds and creases form an abundance of detail that adds up to make an otherwise mundane garment look interesting and worthy of closer inspection. Each small fold of fabric and lacework upon the front and back of the figure is impressive. This attention to accuracy is present right down to the grey and green undershirts Ripley is wearing beneath the suit. Even the collars and labels of each layer of clothing the uniform is comprised of are individually modeled. Yes. This is one fine example of an action figure, and a beautiful piece of work.
Completing the attire Ripley is donning is a pair of sneakers. By any other standards, the shoes would be considered works of art in their own right but considering the lofty standards the rest of the figure has already established, it’s a little disappointing to see the shoes are only just detailed in a black wash. It contrasts markedly with an otherwise incredible attention to detail present throughout the rest of the figure. Comparing the finish of the shoes to the outstanding shoulder patches and the contrast is dramatic. Still, they’re very well detailed with laces, eyelets, piping and leather layers – all the detail is present, it’s just lacking in finish that draws away from them being as outstanding as the rest of the figure’s presentation.
The articulation at critical joints throughout the figure is more than just adequate – it’s actually very good and well appointed. Her head sits on a ball joint and movement range is only slightly restricted by the abundance of Ripley’s hair. It’s a good compromise between range of motion and appearance.
The shoulders, elbows, hips and knees offer combinations of ball, hinge and spindle joints making the figure easy to pose its well proportioned limbs into most desirable positions, albeit a little restricted. The hands are connected at the wrists via a simple spindle joints and the ankles rock firmly upon a pivot. A ball joint in Ripley’s abdomen provides torso twisting and minimal crunching ability. Overall, the articulation is very good – a little restricted in its range but worthy for the figure.
Aside from the boots, I did have a couple other small issues with the item. I felt that the double display watch upon Ripley’s right wrist was lacking in detail. No, I don’t expect to be able to read the time on it. That would be nice, though. It’s just lacking in any detail whatsoever and it’s just a black band around her wrist with no indication that it’s a time piece. The only other issue I had with the figure is the left hand did come free at one point and fall off at the wrist. It was an easy fix to restore it back to its orginal place, but there’s obviously a weakness there that is undesirable.
The figure does include a pair of cool accessories. Firstly, Ripley’s flame thrower is an essential inclusion on this piece. It’s modeled well and looks the part. I found the shoulder strap would wildly float around unconvincingly so I dipped in hot water to soften it and let it set into a more natural position under cold water flowing from the tap. This worked well and helped to bless the item with a more convincing sense of gravity acting upon it. The flamer is a great inclusion and aids in giving Ripley a credible stance when she’s armed with it as she can hold it with either one or both hands.
The other accessory included in this package is Jones, the Nostromo’s mascot feline. Jones is a passable accessory but not purrrfect. Sorry. I couldn’t resist that! Anyway, a little over an inch in height and length, the ginger tabby cat stands on all fours and has 2 points of articulation. His head is connected via a ball and socket arrangement and his tail can be swiveled around. It’s not much but then again Jones isn’t the focus of this package. I found Jones to be a little disproportionate as well. His neck appears to be a little longer than it should be and he may also be suffering from a case of microcephalia with his slightly reduced sized head. Regardless, it’s great to have Jones in this package.
Overall, though, these accessories are a pair of great inclusions that enhance an already impressive figure. If you’ve ever wanted an Ellen Ripley figure, this is a good place to start. It’s been around for a few years now but fortunately it’s easy to come by and hasn’t disappeared off of shelves to become stupidly rare and expensive like the ALIENS Ripley action figure counterpart. Go out and get one of these. It’s worth it.
Don’t forget! If all else fails, use the cat to fend off unwanted attention.
Score: 9/10. An outstanding and near perfect representation of Ripley in action figure format.
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