When James Cameron infused his 1986 film Aliens with its healthy dose of militarization, it was clear that the Vietnam war served as inspiration. Perhaps nothing exemplified this more than the UD-4L Cheyenne Dropship. With its VTOL capability and helicopter like handling the UD-4L clearly served as the films "dust off Huey".
While the dropship had little screen time, it was more than enough to cement it as one of the outstanding set pieces of the film. Like the Millennium Falcon of Star Wars fame, the dropship is practically a character in its own right. It's too bad we didn't get to see more of it in action. Like in a CAS (Close Air Support) scenario, given it's ordinance pylons bristling with rockets, missiles and bombs. It did however have one of the best on screen deaths of any model. Crashing in a tumbling ball of burning wreckage nearly decimating the entire Colonial marine squad with it. (Although it would have been easier to stomach if Carter Burke was under it!)
But now, thanks to NECA Toys the UD-4L lives again!
When the first wave of Cinemachines diecast vehicles launched earlier this year the Cheyenne Dropship was such a success that it alone received a second production run.
The UD-4L is roughly six inches long and comes packaged as shown in window box packaging. The schematic rendering and specifications on the back of the box are a nice touch. It really reinforces the military theme and harkens a likeness to an entry in any number of "Janes" military vehicle guides.
Removing the clamshell from the box reveals an inner card with an image of the UD-4L captured straight from the film. The Clamshell itself holds the model snugly and is secured together with molded in tabs and slots.
The dropship itself is a mix of diecast and plastic that feels pretty good in hand and well put together. The paint details for the most part are clean and crisp, but a little bit more on that later. It's awesome to see that the green colour is perfectly matched between the painted diecast parts and the molded plastic parts.
Running down the articulation of the UD-4L we have two folding ordinance platforms. One each on the left and right sides of the dropship main body. each platform contains a combination of three rocket / missiles and three bombs, while the right platform has one additional rocket mounted closer to the body.
On the dorsal section of the main body lay the two missile racks that cleverly fold out giving the UD-4L a very "dragonfly" like appearance.
I generally reserve my criticisms to the end of these reviews but the glaring issue in the photo above deserves immediate attention. Yes, the cockpit on the UD-4L is warped / bent. This is the way it came out of the packaging. I've scoured the internet looking at other review photos and can say that this seems to be an isolated issue. The fact that the canopy glass is a painted on detail and not actual transparent plastic makes this look worse than it really is. But even though the cockpit is bent it doesn't detract too much from how well this model displays, and I think the rest of the photo's in this review support that.
Getting back to articulation, that brings us to the what might be the coolest part of this model. And that is a functioning ramp that drops down revealing an included M577 Armoured Personnel Carrier!
The M577 is molded in the same green plastic as the plastic parts on the UD-4L and while the wheels are stiff, it does roll. The cannon on the rear is fixed in place and does not move, but that's not much to complain about considering the level of molded in detail for such a small piece.
The M577 is like icing on an already tasty cake! You didn't expect it, but once you realize it's there you can't imagine it any other way.
Overall, the UD-4L Cheyenne Dropship makes an awesome addition to any collection and should appeal to fans of the Alien franchise as well as those who collect movie vehicles. The six inch scale means it won't take up too much valuable space on your shelf but remains large enough to retain much of the onscreen detail. It's just a great piece and I hope to be able to cover more Cinemachines in the future.
There's still lot's more Alien content to cover in 2016, and we're gonna do our best to bring you as much of it as possible. Check back here often for more Alien and other toy news and reviews.
Until next time...
...Thats a wrap!
*EDIT*- Forgot to mention this, but the landing gear are neither retractable nor removable. In spite of this the model looks great, and if I may say so having the landing gear reinforces the similarity to the Vietnam era choppers with their fixed landing struts.