Monday, February 21, 2011

Looking Back at the Aliens Armoured Personel Carrier (APC)

Remember the movie Aliens? There were a few things that were introduced in that movie that remains an icon today. First was the Alien Queen which I simply adored as a demon with horns, fangs, claws ... the works. Then there were the Colonial Marines, their Dropship, and then there was the APC.

Naturally the Dropship stole most of the limelight but the APC do have its base of fans. A uniquely shaped vehicle that transports Marines into any possible terrain. It compliments the Dropship by allowing itself to be transported just about anywhere by hitching a ride.


Crew: 2 plus 12
Engine: Arco Continental R-370 Gas Turbine with an output of 286 Kw.
Height (turret stowed): 2.17 m
Height (turret raised): 2.81 m
Length (turret stowed): 9.22 m
Length (turret raised): 8.58 m
Width: 3.38 m
Wheel Diameter: 158.75 cm
Clearance (at rest): 21.59 cm
Armor: 2 mm alloy outer skin; 4 mm Boron Carbide plates coated with 2 mm ablative resin; plates backed by a 3 mm woven Venlar liner. Foam packed floor cavity for protection against forged fragment mines.
Combat Weight: 14,500 kg
Road Speed: 150 km/h
Acceleration: 42 km/h in 6 seconds
Vertical Obstacle: 0.5 m
Gradient: 60%

Origins of the APC

A little history on the Aliens APC. Not many was aware that the concept for the APC was only made possible by modifying an airport tug to make her look like the APC we know today. Its remarkable that once the truth came out, all that power of intimidation that the APC possess suddenly disappeared. That's the power of Hollywood.

The concept art called for an APC that could take in a crew of 2 and 12 passengers, would fit into the Dropship and yet highlight the technology and weapons advancement of that period. The designed evolved from something sleek into something that was more practical.

Construction and Modification of the airport tug commenced with details added at a later stage. In reality, this APC only looked good in the movies. It was hard to maneuver, underpowered, destroyed a camera when it's brakes failed, and nearly killed a stage hand on the set.

The finished APC seen here with some damages incurred when the Marines fled the tunnel in the Atmospheric Facility

There was only one plastic model kit manufacturer that produced the Aliens APC at 1/35 scale (the rest were resin kits, or scratch build models). It was by HALCYON, a British brand, the same company that produced the Aliens Dropship. The details on the kit was at most soft, not very accurate, but it retained for the most part the basic shapes for the actual working studio unit.

There's plenty of build up from the HALCYON kit and some of these are really impressive, as I will highlight after this jump.

The basic kit when build out of the box looks like the below images.

I do not have the links to many of these images as these were saved long ago. Some do have their builder's names/nicks on the images or folders. If you do know who build the rest of these and where they were highlighted, do let me know and I'll put in the links and appropriate credits.

Here's a pretty neat diorama from jargonking

I'm not sure who build this one, but it is the first lighted kit I've seen with a scratch build interior.

Here's Marty's work with an opened interior highlighting the details inside the APC

And finally, these were magnificently done by Roguewolf. Its the best build up of the Aliens APC I've seen to date, and that female marine figure do remind me of Angelina Joli. Very impressive work.

HALCYON Aliens APC is long out of production. In fact, the company closed its doors a long time ago. So if you are looking for this kit, I believe you can still get her at eBay.


  1. Thanks. I've been meaning to highlight this topic for a while now

  2. I LOVE the Aliens APC! Wish I could find another Halcyon kit (it is the original after all) I had so many when I was young, they were like 20GBP easy. Now they are so rare.

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  9. Very informative - thanks for sharing the pics of the movie version and model APCs!

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