Review: ALIENS Colonial Marines Xenomorph Boiler.

  • Manufacturer: Hiya Toys.
  • Released: 2014

When it was released in 2013, the video game ALIENS Colonial Marines was a disappointment.  Fans and critics were largely outraged that such a high profile title was generally considered a train wreck, a disaster and an abomination of game design and a wasted opportunity.  Hell.  Don’t get me started, I am one of many who share in this view.

Does the uncompromising mess that is ALIENS Colonial Marines have any merit at all? Can such a failure bounce back?  Is it even possible to contemplate any redeeming aspect of this largely maligned and embarrassing title?

Yes.  It is possible; but we have to look outside the game itself and investigate the merchandise surrounding it to find anything of virtue.  To this end today we are going to look at one of the several action figures released for the game, the Xenomorph Boiler.

Appearing in a single section of the game, these particular aliens were the blind, mutated survivors of the nuclear blast that destroyed the colony on LV-426.  They reside in the site’s damaged sewer sub levels and are severely deformed. Their asymmetrical body shapes covered in boils and blisters filled with acidic blood.  Agitating one of these poorly cognitive creatures by approaching them will cause their unstable bodies to burst, covering the player with a highly corrosive shower.  It’s a bad way to go for a hapless colonial marine on a mission that has already gone way out of control.

The 5 inch tall figure by Hiya Toys figure fits in reasonably well with other items in the 1:18 scale range.  It’s tall by comparison and that’s a plus for the figure.  What’s of much more significance here for an item of this size, it’s actually phenomenally detailed.

The figure itself is a terrific sculpting of the original game character with multiple yellow cancerous tumors and cysts randomly punctuating its ‘skin’.  Elsewhere on this item, miscellaneous deformities are scattered throughout the body.  The head has growths, the limbs are twisted and the general hunched over nature of the in game character is captured perfectly in this figure.  There’s such good detailing on this item, it’s  praiseworthy for the beauty of the craftsmanship that has gone into its sculpting.

For what amounts to a figure in the 1:18 range, the articulation to be found is surprisingly diverse.  There’s no tongue present inside the head of this figure as you would find on other aliens so any articulation there is absent.  The head itself sits confidently on a ball joint and has a good range of movement.

Arms attached to the shoulders each share a pair of combined spindle and hinge joints arrangement to allow a solid variety of posing in most directions.  These limbs are further articulated at the elbows with minimal movement but at least it’s present; and the hands are capable of fully rotating at the wrists upon pins inserted into the forearm.  The hands can also be removed and be replaced with alternate parts that are included in the package.

Another ball joint in the creature’s torso allows good rotation and pivoting options at the midriff and the legs are attached with ball joints at the hips.  A good solid, reliable system we see in modern figures as default and this little figure uses it well.

The legs are articulated at the knees and have a reasonable degress of movement.  It’s not capable of fully crouching down on its haunches but the range of movement is acceptable for multiple poses.  Finally, a minimal rotation point above the ankles allows the fee to pivot in a reasonable range of directions providing yet another option to pose the figure on its digitigrade legs.

The tail on the figure is bendable but not as much as desirable.  I’m not convinced there is a wire core tail present or not, if there is, it’s of a lower gauge than desirable and I found I had to put some effort into coaxing the tail to stay in position.  Usually, such wire core tails possess manufacturing artifacts in the form of paired holes concealed in the underside used to hold the wire core in place during casting.  Such artifacts are absent on this figure.

The figure is cast in a pallid, sickly yellow plastic with a dark wash of grey filling in all the depressions thus highlighting the raised surfaces.  Small white flecks and spots are also observable upon the figure to aid in its sickly appearance. The blisters and boils covering the torso and limbs are painted in a glossy bile hue lending a convincing dynamic that these pressurised cysts could burst at any moment.  The overall paintwork on this figure is simple but very effective.

Accessories in the box are ridiculous in abundance and put other manufacturers to shame.  There’s no less than 3 pairs of alternate hands you can use if you want to making a total of 4 pairs of hands that can be mixed and matched as you see fit.  The hands are easily removed by tugging on them to release at the wrist.  A replacement hand is then inserted.  It will need some coaxing to get the internal connection to agree to your insistence but they will fit in place.

The only problem with these hands is they don’t vary adequately in appearance and only offer minor changes in how the fingers are positioned.  unfortunately there’s no range from clenched fist to fully splayed fingers.  It’s one of the few wasted opportunities on this figure.

Also included in this list of accessories for this figure is a slimy looking alien egg.  The gaping orifice is surrounded by fully opened petals that form its mouth.  The paintwork and detailing on this egg is tremendous.  It’s as good as anything offered by any other company you care to nominate that may include such accessories with comparable products.

Furthermore, what good is an alien egg without a facehugger present?  Yes, that’s right.  The Xenomorph boiler has one of these, too.  Much like everything else in this package, the detail on the facehugger is terrific.  It’s sculpted perfectly and painted in several colour tones.  There’s no articulation on this small, small piece and the tail lacks any wire core.  It’s just a rigid prop to accompany the egg but it’s great.

You’d think this would round out the accessories included with this figure; but wait.  There’s more!  Also included in the box is a rectangular display stand of the grated floor variety we have become familiar with long ago.  A stand is always a grate* inclusion with any action ALIEN figure so it’s a little disappointing this one isn’t as good as it should be.

The figure itself has a peg hole in each of its feet but for some odd reason the display stand only features a single peg.  What the hell is up with that?  Why not have a peg present for each foot? As a result, only one foot can be fastened to the base and the figure doesn’t stand up in a stable manner as it should.  This omission makes no sense.  Otherwise, the stand works but your figure will wobble, standing securely on one foot only.

Finally there’s a printed card you will find in the back of the box you can use as a backdrop to pose the figure if you want to.  That brings the total number of accessory pieces with this figure to 10.  Double figures is quite impressive for an ALIEN action figure.  Especially considering NECA’s popular Alien figures within the same property frequently (but not always) feature zero accessories.

Considering the source material on which this item is based  was such a disposable piece of junk, I was very surprised in the quality of this figure – and the high number of accessories included.  It comes packaged in a sturdy matt finish box with a plastic window in the front and is great to display unopened if that’s your preference.

The figure is laid in a 2 piece tray inside the box with all the accessories confidently held in place without the need for cable ties.  As the packaging won’t suffer any damage once opened, its contents can all be re-inserted back into the undamaged box without any problem and closed to preserve the figure and its many additional parts if you want to keep it that way.  Keeping it in the box is the recommended way to stow this item as you will need the box to keep all those extra pieces safe.

Unlike the shitty video game from which this character is based on, this ticking time bomb of an action figure won’t blow up in your face.  That’s the only feature I wish this item possessed – an action feature much like Kenner’s old Scorpion Alien where the press of a button would cause it to ‘explode’ and fly into pieces.  That would have been ideal!  Nonetheless, the absence of such wish list features does not affect this figure’s great score.

An absolutely rubbish game but this was a surprisingly good action figure both ugly and elegant in its own terms.

Score: 8/10

*Yeah, for the sake of the pun, I misspelled that word deliberately.  I’m a funny Guy, huh? No… please don’t answer that.  lol.

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