A review plus discussion on other vehicles available, plus 'official data' from the rule sets.
There are no wargaming dropships out there suitable for Aliens. There are some collector dropships out there, expect to pay heavily for them. Even the old 1/72 Halcyon plastic kit goes for about $100. I have put together a page on the 'official data' on the dropship, plus a few notes.
The only 'official' rules were released by Leading Edge Games to suit their figures. It was an RPG based upon their Phoenix Command system. It is an A4 size publication with about 180 pages, and an 8 page centre section of coloured stills from the movie. Expect to pay about AU$40 minimum. It is has a bare amount of information, just enough to get you going in the Aliens universe. ISBN 0-945571-97-6 Dated 1986
The RPG came with an expansion - new rules, plus additional scenarios including the battle aboard the drop ship, Ripley's rescue of Newt, the marines asssault on the Alien lairs, an expanded version of the movie scenario and the desperate hunt for the queen. A full colour map which shows the heart of the Aliens' lairs. ISBN 0-945571-98-4 Dated 1986
They also released a board game based on the Aliens movie, with a supplement based around the drop ship. Expect to pay about AU$70 minimum. The characters were paper standups, so this is also an option for those just wanting to dabble. Find some good alien pics, shrink, and print on laser printer. They'll do the job.
For add ons to the Leading Edge Board game
Free Online rules can be found at : freewargamerules.co.uk
And the Yahoo Hollywood Sci-Fi games group (Starship Troopers, Aliens etc) and Aliens Group
A group of guys are trying to convert the LOTR rules across to the Alien vs Predator movie universe. Obviously biased heavily in the predators favour (I don't think they use dice in the rules, they auto kill *chuckle chuckle* because some script kiddies don't want them to dieeeee)
The movies themselves! I'd stop at Alien and Aliens, but Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection weren't pitiful. Aliens is the focus of most gamers, though Alien makes a good game, especialy if one player is the solo alien. The Alien DVD box set of all 4 movies comes with a bonus 5th DVD of extra background content. The first three movies at least also had a novelisation by Alan Dean Foster. Good for additional reading. Watch the movies closely and study the tactics and items used.
One absolute must is the Colonial Marines Technical Manual. A 160 page moderately detailed analysis of the marines with alot of illustrations. Long out of print, expect to pay AU$100 minimum, though you can get it cheaper on Ebay if you are patient. I ended up getting one for about AU$60. Good luck if you can get it. If you need in depth info, this is your only chance at 'official' info.
Alien and Aliens had illustrated screenplays, which have quite a number of stills from the movie. They may retail around AU$60 and can be quite useful. Alien also has an illustrated movie screen play, which is basically a series of screenshots of the whole movie with a minor amount of text.
Also released were a number of books by the Alien monster designer HR Giger. Expensive when they were released, expect to pay abit, and get little out of them. You get a few good pics, but otherwise, technical info is pretty minimal. And you have to read about his having to alter his artistic integrity for the movie. Boo hoo. They aren't much use for a wargamer. For titles refer my Alien book collection
You'll find a number of movie magazines and associated material which do give glimpses into the Aliens universe, and also some handy pics. Fortunately, these aren't too expensive 2nd hand, but it's pretty hit and miss buying sight unseen.
My own introduction to LV-426 Colony
This covers 'non' official material. By official I simply mean associated directly with the movies.
There were a number of novels released, for titles refer my Alien book collection. They aren't too bad, though overly simplistic, but they do the job. They give some scenarios and don't devolve into 'high' science fiction. It's gritty, brutal, and to the point. They definately aren't scary unless the subject matter scares you alot to begin with. Other titles were released on an Alien vs Predator theme. I didn't care for this, but they are out there.
Dark Horse comics released several comic series on the Aliens theme. They deviate a little from the movie, but for the non purist, they'll give you other ideas to play around with. They aren't expensive second hand. I picked some up for about $3 each. Quite a number of them were the precursors/inspirations to the novels.
Hit google and troll your heart out. I am still waiting to hit the jackpot with a site that is really useful. If you find it, drop me a line. The yahoo groups are pretty well dead, web sites mostly non existent, not updated or maintained, or just plain over the top or even useless. You have to sift what you want.
http://www.serenadawn.com/Alien-TheCollectedEssays.htm gives some perspective on how this guy tried to make 'sense' of the Aliens universe. Interesting reading, but as with all fan based stuff, it depends on your focus whether you like the way he's gone with it. It's probably the best read you'll find online.
Paper models of the colony and marine equipment
A Cyberpunk Aliens variation
An LV-426 Diorama
Another run down on Alien biology
The Aliens Movie Study Guide