REVIEW: REVIEW: NECA's Alien/ Aliens Cinemachines Series 1

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    Oct 2001
    Fredericksburg, VA

    REVIEW: NECA's Alien/ Aliens Cinemachines Series 1

    Galoob's Action Fleet All Grown Up...

    I love collecting replica spaceships and vehicles just as much as action figures. And why not? These amazingly designed models are just as memorable as movie heroes, if not more so. Who can see Star Wars without the Millennium Falcon? Mad Max without his V8 Interceptor? Battlestar Galactica with no Colonial Vipers? My ship collection comes in all shapes and sizes, from a large Carlton 12-inch Space:1999 Eagle Transport (absolutely gorgeous) to a convoy of teeny tiny Tron Lightcycles from Spin Master. However, my absolute favorite scale to collect measures roughly 6-inches, in particular the ships produced by Galoob (and later by Hasbro) called Action Fleet. There’s something satisfying about a ship that fits so nicely in the palm of your hand. Not too big and not too small, Action Fleet were large enough to show off all their wonderful ship detail, but compact enough for great shelf display.

    NECA, a company seemingly made just for my collecting passions, has once again proven why I love them so much. Presenting Cinemachines, Galoob's Action Fleet all grown up. This series of sci-fi spaceships and vehicles is everything I could want in a collection: approximately 6-inches long, featuring killer sculpts, a mix of die-cast metal and plastic construction, and best of all, a low price point ($19.99 - $26.99 each). Series 1 is just now hitting retail and consists of four models pulled from 1979's Alien and 1986's successful follow-up, Aliens. Let's take a closer look at each...


    Hudson: "We're on an express elevator to hell; going down!"

    This is the replica that had me anxious as a child on Christmas to get my hands on it: the UD-4L Cheyenne Dropship. This spacecraft used by the United States Colonial Marine Corps. has been a favorite of mine ever since I first saw the film Aliens back as a kid in the ‘80s. Like the Colonial Marines weapon of choice, the Pulse Rifle, the Dropship just screams cool future military with its perfect blend of familiar and fantastic.

    The Cinemachines Dropship measures 6-inches long. At a quick glance, the Dropship appears to be the smallest in the series, but that's only because of the ship's slimmer design (and smaller packaging). It actuality, all the Cinemachines in Series 1 are roughly the same length, and for the most part, a similar die-cast weight. The Dropship, however, is the most complex model of the group, NECA going on all on its working parts. The Cinemachines Dropship features two extending missile pods located near the cockpit, as well as two overlapping ordnance-holding "wings" that flip out. Another super sweet touch is the addition of a dropdown boarding ramp housed in the Dropship's undercarriage. By gently pulling at the front seam of the bottom plate, the platform lowers... and out pops a miniature version of the M577 APC Vehicle, complete with rolling wheels! Unfortunately the landing gear cannot be retracted (or removed), but given all the other extras, I can easily overlook it.

    NECA's Cinemachines UD-4L Dropship absolutely puts the old Action Fleet model to shame (though the 1/72 scale die-cast ship from Aoshima of Japan is still a thing of beauty). I suspect this Cinemachine is going to be a hot seller as I see it has already sold out (or doubled in price) in many places. Grab one while you can.


    Dallas: "Alien life form. Looks like it's been dead a long time. Fossilized. Looks like it's growing out of the chair."

    The Space Jockey is an odd Cinemachines inclusion, it being the only replica that's not truly a spaceship or vehicle but rather part of one. Not that I'm complaining, this is a stunning piece. While the Space Jockey has been replicated before - as high-end resin statues and even as a simplified Mez-itz from Mezco - owning such a detailed model of the HR Giger-created environment at this price point and scale is extremely welcome.

    One of the heavier Cinemachines in the series, the Space Jockey is also one of the bulkiest measuring 6 1/2 inches long and nearly 5 inches tall. The sculpting and paint apps on this piece are the most impressive of the bunch - the intricate ivory bony husk of the Space Jockey standing out in awesome contrast to the slightly copper-colored tubes and machinery. If you look close enough you'll even spot the exit hole where a chestburster ripped out of the creature's rib cage.


    Kane: "Some kind of spaceship." Lambert: "Are you sure. It's weird..."

    This inhuman HR Giger-designed spaceship was first seen crashed on the planet LV-426 in the movie Alien. While the derelict's origins were left mysterious in the 1979 film, Ridley Scott's 2012 prequel Prometheus revealed it to be a Juggernaut-type Engineer spacecraft; a weapon of war used to deliver deadly biological payloads. NECA's Cinemachines Derelict Ship is a real treat for Alien fans as there just aren't (m)any collectibles based on this surreal alien craft (HCG has since announced a $500 statue). It's really nice to finally have a replica of this ship in my collection. The Derelict Ship measures a chunky palm-sized 6-inches long and 4 1/2-inches wide. The ship's silver color took me off guard as I always thought is was more a mottled brown, but it works. I'm far more interested in all the fantastic detail - just tons of crazy panel lines all over the place.

    The Derelict Ship comes with a first for this series: a display stand. A generic two piece plastic affair, the stand features a broad flat base with a curved display arm. The top of the arm has a rotating peg that plugs into the bottom of the Derelict Ship. While this sounds great in writing, several issues prevent me from loving the addition. First off, the height of the stand is a bit extreme to my liking. It's tall, lanky display arm tends to wobble when the heavier ship is place on it. Secondly, getting the peg to plug into the ship's hole required a little bit of force, the effort actually started to push in the replica's softer material in that area. It all sprang back, thankfully, but it's something I wouldn't want to do frequently fearing that it might actually damage my model. Lastly, the rotating peg on the display arm is not as secure as I would like. To hold the vessel up, the peg needs to point straight up. While the small Phillips head screw can be tightened (and I had too), I fear it's only a matter of time before it sags under stress and the entire ship falls forward.

    A shorter display stand that cupped the ship from underneath would have been more ideal, especially given these replica's heavier die-cast content. As is, the display stand is a nice gesture, but it needs some work. While NECA's Cinemachine replicas are far superior in detail and design to the older Action Fleet ships, I have to give Galoob credit for their awesomely sculpted Aliens display bases.


    Hicks: "Ripley, you've blown the transaxle! You're just grinding metal!"

    The Colonial Marines M577 Armored Personnel Carrier had a brief role in Aliens, but it left an impression with its blocky, rugged military design. I have always been intrigued by the large rotating mortar on the top of vehicle... and why the damn thing was never used in the movie against the xenomorphs (or the front guns for that matter). Still, I liked how the large weapon swung up from the rear on rails.

    NECA's replicates this cool feature nicely on their 6-inch long Cinemachines APC. The vehicle’s twin 20mm Gatling cannons rotate around as well, and it wouldn't be complete without rolling wheels. An opening side door would have been nice, but its omission isn't a deal breaker. United States Colonial Marine Corps. fans are gonna love this replica.

    NECA is off to a solid start with their Cinemachines series. I can't wait for the second assortment of Alien/Aliens replicas, including the Nostromo (yes!), Narcissus Escape Pod (YES!) and USS Sulaco (oh heck YES!). All three are must-haves for my collection. The Hadley’s Hope Daihotai Tractor is an interesting entry (and a collectible first for the vehicle); though I'd much rather have seen a Power Loader in its place. And let's not forget the upcoming Terminator Hunter Killer Cinemachines!

    My excitement for Cinemachines is off the charts. As a passionate fan of the old Action Fleet scale, not too big and not too small, NECA's Cinemachines are a perfect fit. Ideal size aside, Cinemachines' main appeal boils down to awesome sci-fi licenses, amazing sculpted detail, sturdy part die-cast construction, and affordable price point. Despite a display stand that needs a little work, NECA has themselves a solid series of ships I can't wait to add to my growing collection.

    Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor

    Review Samples Courtesy of NECA

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    Last edited by JeffSaylor; 04-29-2016 at 12:38 PM.

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