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Hot Toys Ripley and Power Loader

 

"The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

I've been dying to get my Hot Toys Power Loader, so I was really excited to see that Jeff Parker put together a guest review as soon as his hit the door.  He's in the U.K., and they seem to be getting these first.  So sit back, and let's let Jeff tell us all about it! 

Thanks as always to Michael for hosting this most excellent site. A site that must surely be considered required reading for any serious collector of toys, or anyone into pop culture for that matter. 
2007 has been a painful year for 1/6 collectors, I doubt there are many of us that could justify, let alone afford all the stuff we wanted in the last 12 months. And the good/bad news, depending on your perspective/financial situation is that although 2007 isnít even over, 2008 doesnít look to be any easier on the wallet, in fact itís shaping up to be even tougher.

The fact that cinemas will be hit with new Indy, Batman, Iron-man and Hulk movies gives you some idea of the new licences that are gonna hit us hard.

But even putting aside the ĎNEWí licences Hot Toys (HT) continues to give us, like the newly-unveiled Appleseed figures (they look incredible), they also continue with their amazing 1/6 figures from classic titles like Rocky, Rambo, Predator, Terminator, AvP (and newly announced Aliens vs Predator Requiem as well) not to mention the classic Alien movies, that theyíve hardly scratched the surface with yet. 

Just a couple of months ago we finally got a HT Jim Cameron Alien to go with our Marines, and now after what seems like an eternal wait, we get the Power Loader (PL) that comes with a bonus Ripley with a new head sculpt/repaint. 

This has to be one of the most anticipated and downright ambitious things ever to have been made by a mainstream company at this scale. SST gave us a great Jabba and throne last year, but it didnít have many moving parts, and HT gave us their Robo-cop ED-209 last year as well, and though he was impressive, this is a whole different ball game. They showed us what they could engineer earlier in the year with the Endoskeleton from Terminator, so hopes were high, could they deliver?
















Packaging - ***1/2
You may want to park close to the store when you pick this baby up, or at least take a wheelbarrow, itís not too heavy, but boy is it a big box. If youíre getting this mailed to you from overseas get prepared to pay!

Anyone familiar with the ED-209 box will have some idea what to expect as this one comes again with its own carry handle and is like ED surrounded in a formed Styrofoam/polystyrene tray to keep all the parts separated and safe. The front bares a large photo of the model alongside a profile of an Alien warrior and the back has close-up shots of the details, moving parts and action features, including the flashing light on top.

Like ED you now have to start constructing, at this point itís worth looking at all the parts, familiarise yourself with their construction and read the assembly details carefully. 

Thereís a lot more to do than with ED but itís still all relatively simple and consists of ďpush part ĎAí onto part ĎBíĒ etc., etc., the most taxing bit is attaching all the hoses, but take your time. Itís not hard but you just need a little concentration. You also have to construct Ripley, but again itís just a case of slotting the limbs together and dressing her - the boots are easier this time round as there arenít any feet in them, you just push the ball of the ankle directly into a pre formed cup in the boot.

Sculpting - PL ****; Ripley ***
The PL is basically a big tool, think of it like a fork lift truck that you can strap on your back, walk around in, lift up extremely heavy loads and/or beat the crap out of Queen Aliens with, and as such it looks just right.

This thing is covered in a wealth of pistons, joints, hydraulic hoses, straps and it even comes with a cherry on topÖ sorry I mean flashing light, and a bonus I wasnít expecting: the interior lights of the roll-cage can illuminate as well. 

Having seen the HT approach to hardware on things like Robo-cop, ED-209 and the Endoskeleton (not to mention the detail on the accessories for the Colonial Marines) I was pretty confident theyíd get it right; hell, those of us who wanted this had already seen plenty of pics of the proto, so we all had a pretty good idea what we were getting, but until you build the beast and have it right there in front of you to paw over, you donít quite appreciate the complexity. 

Iíve said before that hardware is obviously easier to produce than anything flesh and blood, but this is still one helluva nice job, and all the small details on things like the release clasp on the harness, working pistons on the feet and back, couplings for the hydraulic hoses, sliding joystick grips with their tiny coiled flexes and fine mesh that goes over the top of the roll-cage really mark this out as something quite special that deserves to take centre stage in many collections.

The new Ripley is a marked improvement on the last, the changes are subtle and itís difficult to tell if itís a re-sculpt or just a repaint. The eyes on the new one are a little smaller and the shape of the chin appears leaner. All other improvements are in the paint work.

Paint - PL ***1/2; Ripley ***
To reflect the fact that this is a big tool Cameron made it a hi-vis yellow, all itís really lacking is a JCB, Caterpillar or DeWALT logo on itís side, and had the movie been made in these brand-obsessed times Iím sure a deal would have been struck. As it is, in a rather cheeky nod to one of the above, it does have CATTERKILLER embossed on itís back, but once all the hoses are in place itís not too visible. The whole of the body is as I said a reasonably bright yellow with some nice airbrushing to show grime and dirt especially round the feet, but also used to great effect on the pistons and pincers. 
It also has a wealth of stickers and wasp stripes on various panels to let you see where you wouldnít want to get too close to this thing were it real. 

All in all an amazing factory-produced job with some lovely fine detail, but Iím sure once this baby is in the hands of a competent customiser itíll look even better.

As I said above, Ripley looks pretty much the same to me in the sculpt apart from the eyes, but her paint apps are slightly different, theyíve painted the eyebrows into a slightly more determined position, lightened the lips and thinned them down. The eyes are less glam looking as theyíve down played the eyelashes and changed the eye colour from the bright Barbie blue it was before to a more subtle green. This, however, still isnít quite right as Ms Weaver has dark brown eyes, and although HT has made her hair darker than before itís still not quite dark enough. Iíd guess Sigourney Weaver either didnít allow a proper portrait to be produced or 20th Century Fox no longer have her image rights as Ripley, after all itís over 20 years since Alien was released. The upshot being this is about as close to Ripley HT could go before getting a phone call from Ms Weaverís agent. 

It would have been nice if her hair had been a bit darker and if sheíd had brown eyes this time, as some re-paints Iíve seen of the previous Ripley prove, just by darkening the hair and changing the eye colour makes her a whole lot closer to the actress, take a look at these comp shots of work by Figure Master Les: Before - After. Itís plain for all to see the likeness is there if you have the skills to bring it out!

So what we get is a good approximation and considering when this thing first went on sale it wasnít going to come with a figure at all, you could say sheís a bonus. 
Itís just as well she was included as it would look pretty lame without a figure, it would be like selling Jabbaís throne without JabbaÖOh, hang onÖ!

Articulation - PL ***1/2; Ripley ****
Ripley has all the articulation you could want and is the same body she came with last time, reviewed here.

So, what weíve all been waiting to find out is just where are all the joints on this beast. Looking over the proto and having ED-209 I was already pretty sure there were some areas that wouldnít move - the feet/ankles being one, and judging by the proto pics, the elbows being the other. I thought it would be a real shame if the elbows were fixed, but could also see why they might be.

Iím glad to report my concerns were completely unfounded as this baby has tons of articulation. We get feet that can rock and tilt with working pistons, spring loader rocker stirrups for Ripleyís feet, knees that can bend back by about 45 degrees, again with working pistons, hips that can move forward and back about 30 degrees in each direction, a waist that can turn, shoulders that have a good range of movement as long as you have the shoulder joint in the right position (you position them horizontally to get up and down movement and vertically to go forwards and backwards), elbows that can bend to about 80 degrees, wrist joints that can turn and spin, working pincers, the arc-welding torch attached to the cage can move forward on a piston, and lastly the roll-cage can be lifted to insert the figure using the scaled safety harness. Itís while the cage is open in this position that you see where the batteries go to power the interior and flashing top lights. The two large rear pistons that hold the shoulders in place are pretty stiff and I had to turn and pull quite firmly to release them. Once they are freed up they still move quite stiffly, but need to so they can hold up the weight of the arms.

I have to say Iím amazed at just how much articulation HT has managed to get in here, but as this is very much a poseable collectable and definitely in no way, shape, manner or form a toy, you will have to be aware of and familiarise yourself with how it moves and what its limitations are if you want trouble-free posing.

I posted a few extra pics over at SSF that show some extra details and scale.

Accessories - ***3/4
Hot Toys missed a trick here, they should have sold it as Ripley figure with bonus Power Loader accessory, and it would have been the best accessory of all time.
As it is, I suppose you could say Ripley is the accessory, as she wasnít going to be included originally, and even with a less-than-perfect-likeness to the character it comes as a very welcome addition.

Outfit - ***
Ripley comes with less in the way of clothing than she did last time, but this is obviously to reflect how sheís seen on screen when using the PL in the movie. So we get her Reebok boots, this time without feet inside as the boots clip straight on to her ankles, blue pants and white T-shirt, all are a little grimier and have had some light dirt applied as the first Ripley was pretty much pristine.
But if you include the PL as part of her outfit to this category you could add at least another 50 stars. 

Fun Factor - ***
It goes without saying there is no way this is meant to be played with, itís too detailed, too fragile and way too expensive. 

It is the piece many Aliensí fans have waited for but never thought weíd getÖ well not at this scale, and for us it will be the King in your display, now HT just need to deliver a Queen.

Adding to that, itís far more articulated than I dared hope it would be, and that flashing light and cage illumination just tops it off nicely.

Now you just need to find somewhere big enough to display it.

Value - ***1/2
SST the official US importer had it for $249, but they sold out long ago.
In the UK forbiddenplanet.com have it for £199.00, and considering the RRP in the UK is meant to be £300 thatís actually pretty good. In years to come I can see this being one of those 1/6 grails that people kick themselves for passing up on (much like the Takara Batman), so if youíre on the fence over this one Iíd say jump before you regret it.

Overall - ****
This thing is amazing, even at the hefty price point itís still gonna make you glad itís in your collection. If I had to find fault it would be in the fact that because they havenít held back on trying to make this as accurate as possible it goes without saying that some elements are fragile, and itís other downside is because itís so freaking big, youíre going to need some serious space to display it.

But if you can find the space, and if you treat it with the same respect you would any expensive collectable, you wonít be disappointed, even at this price, and that takes some doing.

Score Recap:
Packaging: ***1/2
Sculpt: PL ****; Ripley ***
Paint: PL ***1/2; Ripley ***
Articulation: PL ***1/2; Ripley ****
Accessories: ***3/4
Outfit - ***
Fun Factor: ***
Value: ***1/2
Overall: ****

Where to Buy - 
Well this baby is quite literally just shipping, so there should be a few showing up on eBay and if youíre lucky at your local specialty bricks Ďní mortar shops. A lot of places online in the US have already sold out on pre-order; I have heard rumours that theyíre being made in numbers to supply all the pre-orders and no more, not sure if thatís true.

In the UK, youíll still find a few at the places sited above, and Michaelís sponsor Alter Ego have it for $212.49 (if I could get it for that price I swear Iíd get twoÖthat equates to £108, almost half what is paid in the UK.

SCROLL DOWN FOR LOTS MORE PHOTOS!





Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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