My more recent NECA purchase is based on a character from one of my favorite movies ever, James Cameron’s Aliens. Of course, I am talking about Corporal Dwayne Hicks.
I was rather surprised to learn that Hicks actually survived the fire that caused the U.S.S. Sulaco to jettison the escape pods, and that the corpse in the cryo-pod that reached Fiorina “Fury” 161 wasn’t him. According to information from the videogame Aliens: Colonial Marine, Hicks was not in his capsule when the events depicted at the start of the Alien 3 movie occurred.
Whatever the case, the thing is that NECA finally began producing action figures based off some of the Colonial Marines seen on the movie, starting with Private Hudson and Corporal Hicks.
Hicks’ uniform is very detailed, consisting on fairly normal looking BDU pants, dark green T-shirt with the sleeves torn off and a fair amount of protective gear on top. The protective gear for the Colonial Marines includes upper and lower torso protection, kneepads, shin guards and shoulder pads.
These pieces of gear are arranged in layers glued onto the figure, each one sculpted with a very satisfying amount of details, like fasteners, buckles and straps. The overall appearance is rather bulky, but that was how these guys looked in the movie.
Hicks head is nicely sculpted. I would not say it is a perfect Michael Biehn likeness, but there is a definite resemblance there. The facial expression is fairly neutral, which is a big plus for me.
Even though Hicks is a rather slim, wiry individual, the articulation is very well hidden within the figure design. I was quite impressed by the number of articulation points in Hicks, consisting of:
• Pegged hinge shoulders.
• Upper biceps swivel.
• Pegged hinge elbows.
• Pegged hinge wrists.
• Barbell mounted torso.
• Pegged hinge hips.
• Upper thigh swivels.
• Double hinged knees.
• Ball jointed ankles.
• Hinged toes.
All these articulation points work admirably well and afford Hicks good stability in a number of poses thanks to the flexibility and design of his gear.
The paintjob on Hicks is equally awesome, but not without issues. Starting with the good, the color scheme is quite complex, from the camo pattern on the clothing to that on the armor, both of which are actually very different from each other.
In addition to the painted camo on the armor, there are a number of extra details painted on each Colonial Marine armor that were added by the actors on their respective props when the film was being made, except for Hicks, whose role was originally given to a different actor but had to be re-cast due to creative differences with the director.
Hicks’ armor has his name stenciled on the chest plate, a red heart painted under a copper padlock also at the front, the words “Born Again” painted around what appears to be a bullet hole on his left shoulder pad, a Chinese red symbol painted on his back plate and the word “LIFE” also on his lower back. From what I have been able to gleam, that last one was supposed to read “LIFER”, but apparently the paint mask moved a little bit at the factory.
Instead of molding Hicks’ arms and head in flesh colored plastic, NECA decided to paint all the bare skin areas, which affords good consistency but tends to look rather flat without a properly applied shading wash.
Hicks’ has a fairly crude tattoo painted on his left biceps with the letters USCM and a number underneath, but his facial features are painted quite neatly, although I feel the eyes are set a little too close together on my figure.
As far as weaponry goes, Hicks comes armed with a M41A Pulse Rifle, complete with a soft rubber strap and his trusty shotgun with his own leather holster. This holster is made from pliable rubber, but the strap on it is rather thin and fragile at room temperature, so I advise to dip it in hot water before trying to place it on the figure in order to avoid unwanted stress on the contact points.
Also included is a piece of technology nobody seems to pay much attention to, one of those small welding torches they use in the movie to shut down doors or cut through metal plates. Hicks can hold this small piece of gear with each hand or secured to a strap hanging from his web gear. It is painted in a dark green color and it has a protective welder’s screen painted in black.
Even though I did find some definite small errors on my figure, this is one of those instances where I feel not any single one of them, or their accumulation actually detract from the final score. NECA’s Corporal Dwayne Hicks is definitely among my favorite figures ever done in this scale.