* Note: Shortly before posting this review I found out from Facebook that Craig Windrix passed away. I’d been working on this review on and off for the better part of a week. So while some of the information on Craig’s condition would now be out of date, I felt I should leave it anyway because the sentiment is still relevent. I wish his family the best in recovering from this unimaginable pain.
I may not have the story behind Sergeant Craig Windrex completely right, but I stalk the NECA twitter account enough to feel I know it pretty well. Craig Windrix is the brother of Kyle Windrix, a sculptor at NECA. Craig is currently fighting a late stage stomach cancer, and as a tribute to him and his bravery NECA decided to make a space marine in his likeness. They may have originally been going after a specific actor, but it appears those likeness rights fell through. The opted not to scrap a marine for the second wave however. Instead they decided to do a tribute to Craig which I thought was a very sweet sentiment.
If you have been collecting action figures for any period of time there is a good chance you’ve run into a head of someone involved with the figures. Go all the way back to Marvel Legend’s Galactus series where Dave Vonner was used as the face for War Machine. For a more modern example you can check out Masters of the Universe Classic’s Palace Guards Two-Pack and see Scott Neitlich as one of the optional heads.
Sergeant Windrix comes with the motion tracker, shoulder mounted light, and most importantly the flame thrower! The flame thrower looks fantastic and is obviously interchangeable with any marine you see fit. It’s also a fairly iconic weapon in the movie, so again good on NECA for making this release happen and getting the accessory out with it.
Along with the flame thrower there are also some new body sculpt details. Sergeant Windrix’s arms come fully sleeved, which gives us marines with no sleeves, wrapped up arms, and now full sleeves! I’m going to guess the original marine was supposed to be either Apone or Frost judging by the full sleeves. So if either marine ever does become a reality it will be very easy to pop a head on him and personalize the armor a bit.
Licensing is an interesting science it seems. I won’t pretend to know too much about how it all works, but I do find it amazing who will and won’t sign off on their likeness. NECA was able to secure Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Paxton, and Michael Biehn to action figure deals. However we have heard things could not be worked out with people like Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, or the countless actors I couldn’t even name in those movies. I’m sure money plays a role on both sides. Obviously somebody like Arnold Schwarzenegger would ask a higher fee, but he would also move a lot more product than a Paul Reiser. That said I would kill for a Paul Reiser in my Aliens line, but I have a feeling that would never happen.
This leaves Ripley as the licensing white whale. Sigourney Weaver in general has almost NEVER had a figure with a good likeness. If NECA can secure her and basically do what they did with Dutch I really think this Alien(s) line can take off. Not to say the Alien line won’t be successful without her, but securing Sigourney Weaver will certainly turn a few heads. NECA has been pretty quiet lately about this specific licensing arrangement. Should I pump myself up for the reveal? This can either lead to complete amazement or utter disappointment. I’ll attempt to temper my expectations for the next couple weeks and go into Toy Fair with an open mind.
I usually spend days writing these reviews and taking the pictures (make all the jokes about how it doesn’t seem that way, I understand). From Facebook and Twitter today I noticed some talk about Craig Windrix so I looked into it. Seems things took a bad turn this week and the family is concerned that his time is short. Even thought I don’t know anyone involved personally it still breaks my heart to hear about him and his family going through so much pain. I wish them my best during these hard times. There really is nothing worse than watching a family member in such a terrible situation completely out of their control. If you are looking for more information there is a Facebook page called “5000 Miles of Craig” which you can get pictures and updates.
Aliens series two and of course Sergeant Windrix are currently hitting Toys “R” Us and the online stores now. While some might be put off because Craig was not actually in the film, I think he makes an excellent marine. Of course the figure also has a great story behind it which never hurts. In closing since this figure is NECA’s tribute to one of their own, I’d also like to just wish the best to the Windrix family one last time. I’m glad to own this figure, and for it to give me a little peak into the personal life/struggles of one of their sculptors.