"I mean, most animals retreat from fire. Yes?"
"Fire, yeah. Parker, can you rig, uh, three or four incinerator units?"
"Give me about 20 minutes. I'll do it."
Ash, Dallas and Parker, discussing the use of Flame Throwers against the Alien (from Alien)

The Flame Thrower,[1] also known as the incinerator unit, was a flamethrower custom-built by Dennis Parker.[2] Like the M240 Incinerator Unit,[3] the Flame Thrower fired ultra-thickened napthal at an effective range of 30 meters.[1]

In June 2122,[4] Flame Throwers were used by the crew of the USCSS Nostromo to combat the Alien.[2] All Flame Throwers aboard the Nostromo were destroyed when the ship's self destruct system detonated.[2]


Dallas firing flamer

Arthur Dallas firing a Flame Thrower.

Like the M240 Incinerator Unit used by the United States Colonial Marine Corps,[3] the Flame Thrower fired pressurized, ultra-thickened napthal ignited by the Flame Thrower's nozzle burner at an effective range of 30 meters.[1] The Flame Thrower had maximum burst of 20 seconds.[1] The weapon was 88 centimeters long and weighed 2.7 kilograms,[1] the same length and weight as the M240 with a full reservoir.[3]

"Rigging" (assembling or setting up) 3 or 4 Flame Throwers apparently took about 20 minutes.[2]


Use by Dallas[]

After a Xenomorph Chestburster emerged from Thomas Kane aboard the USCSS Nostromo in 2122, Samuel Brett was killed by the fully grown Drone when the crew went searching for the creature. Arthur Dallas concluded the creature was using the ship's ventilation ducts to move around and proposed a plan to flush it into the main airlock, at which point it could be jettisoned into space. Ash suggested that, since it worked on animals, fire might work to force the Xenomorph to retreat and Dallas ordered Dennis Parker to "rig three or four" Flame Throwers, who told him it would take "about twenty minutes". Once the Flame Throwers were ready, Dallas went into the ducts armed with one, while Parker, also armed with one, stayed behind with Joan Lambert, who was operating a tracking device. Dallas fired the Flame Thrower occasionally, but was eventually caught by the Drone, dropping his weapon.[2]

Use by Parker[]

"How are our weapons?"
"The weapons are fine. This one needs refueling."
Ripley and Parker, referring to their Flame Throwers
Parker showing Dallas' flamer

Parker showing the remaining crew Dallas' Flame Thrower in the mess hall.

Parker later retrieved Dallas' Flame Thrower and placed it down on the mess hall table on A Deck, before picking the weapon back up and then leaving the rest of the crew to refuel it.[2]

Parker before destroying Ash

Parker before incinerating Ash.

After Ash was discovered to be a synthetic sleeper agent by the crew, Parker used his Flame Thrower to incinerate his remains. Parker then took the Flame Thrower with him when he and Joan Lambert went to B Deck gather sufficient coolant for the life support systems of the Narcissus, which the rest of the crew planned to flee the Nostromo with. Ellen Ripley stayed behind on A Deck with another Flame Thrower. The Alien eventually encountered Lambert and Parker tried to fire his Flame Thrower at the Drone, but refrained from doing so for fear of catching Lambert in the crossfire. He instead dropped his Flame Thrower and grabbed a hook, attempting to charge the creature, but was quickly overpowered. The Xenomorph then killed Parker, before killing Lambert as well.[2]

Use by Ripley[]

Ripley running with flamer and Jones

Ripley running to the shuttle with a Flame Thrower.

The only survivor, Ripley, fled to the Narcissus, carrying a Flame Thrower and Jones in his cat box. Just before entering the Narcissus, Ripley fired the Flame Thrower behind her and dropped it, leaving it to be destroyed along with the rest of the Flame Throwers on board the Nostromo when the ship's self destruct system detonated.[2]

Non-canon depictions[]


Main article: Alien (novel)

In the novelization of Alien, the crew corner the Alien in a food store, and Dallas fires at it with his Flame Thrower, chasing the creature into the ship's ventilation ducts.

Alien Director's Cut[]

Main article: Alien Director's Cut
Ripley firing flamer at Hive

Ripley firing the Flame Thrower in the Director's Cut.

In the Alien Director's Cut (perhaps the most famous deleted scene reinstated in the cut), as Ripley is trying to escape the Nostromo after activating the ship's self-destruct system, she discovers Brett (who is being turned into an Egg) and Dallas, the latter of whom is still alive, cocooned and being turned in a Hive created by the Alien. Dallas begs Ripley to kill both of them and she complies, using a Flame Thrower to incinerate Dallas and Brett.[5]

Behind the Scenes[]

Phil practical Flame Thrower image

A practical Flame Thrower prop created for Alien.[6]

The flamethrowers seen in the film were designed by production designer Roger Christian.[7] According to Phil Rae, either Martin Bower or Bill Pearson did the detailing on the Flame Thrower[6] (it is believed Bower did the detailing).[8]

The large raised section on the front of the Flame Thrower is the result of a large (compared to modern lighters) electronic gas lighter with a U2 battery (more commonly known as a D battery) being used to create the pilot light. A remote switch was used to turn on the lighter inside the Flame Thrower. Once the Flame Thrower was lit, director Ridley Scott "liked to keep it that way".[9]

Although many of the parts used to make the Flame Thrower remain unidentified, the two rectangular pieces with two rectangular holes in them (each) located near the front of the right side of the Flame Thrower are from Hornby Railways piers kits,[10] and can be found in at least R.654 and R.655 sets; it appears the piece in front of the two pieces is made with half of the Hornby part. Also, it is possible the the red tank and yoke attached to it are from a French Fenzy buoyancy compensator.[11] Additionally, the strap found on some Fenzys is very similar to the one used by the Flame Thrower. The pipe on the right side of the Flame Thrower appears to be the same kind used on the Nostromo model.[8][12]

Ripleyflamethrower 1

Sigourney Weaver test-firing the flamethrower.[13]

At least Sigourney Weaver (Ripley) test-fired the Flame Thrower (presumably before using it on set) on the lawn at Shepperton Studios' backlot.[13]

The use of the Flame Thrower in Alien began something of a tradition in the Alien franchise of flamethrower weaponry featuring in the films — Aliens would prominently feature the M240 Incinerator Unit, Alien Resurrection would feature the Draco Double Burner and Prometheus would also feature a flamethrower. Despite not featuring flamethrowers, the prisoners in Alien3 also used fire as a weapon against the Dragon.

M240 and tracking devices on table

The M240 on the table in "Nostromo".

In the Aliens: Colonial Marines multiplayer map Nostromo, an M240 Incinerator Unit can be found next to 2 tracking devices on the same table where Parker lays down Dallas' Flame Thrower after recovering it from the vents in Alien. This was likely done as a reference to the film.


  • The use of working flamethrowers within the cramped sets of the film was fraught with danger and arguably would not be allowed today. Special effects supervisor Nick Allder recalled the scene with Dallas in the ventilation duct being particularly dangerous. "There is a sequence where Tom Skerritt is firing up a tight corridor and then he turns and pans the flame gun in front of the camera. If he had hit the button at the wrong time, Ridley [Scott] and a technician, who were crouching behind the camera, would have been roasted."[14]
  • Moreover, from a story perspective, the use of flamethrowers aboard a spaceship is even more hazardous than filming with them in reality, to the point of arguably being absurd — not only is there a very good chance of causing unintended damage to the ship due to the often unpredictable nature of fire, which could prove disastrous in deep space, flamethrowers would rapidly consume the oxygen in the ship's atmosphere, which is presumably a strictly limited quantity.
  • In Alien, the Flame Throwers are never actually used against the Alien; the only person who has a chance to do so is Parker, but he refrains from firing for fear of catching Lambert in the crossfire.
  • As the weapons were custom-made by Parker, it is presumed the incinerator units were all destroyed along with the Nostromo itself.
  • In the 2007 first-person-shooter Team Fortress 2, a community-created promotional primary weapon for the Pyro (a class specializing in flame weaponry) inspired by the Flame Thrower known as the Nostromo Napalmer is available for players to use. It exists as a counterpart to a cosmetic set for the Scout class known as the Isolationist Pack, which changes the Scout's appearance to look like a Xenomorph.





See Also[]

External Links[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 "Alien". Retrieved on August 29, 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett (writers), Ridley Scott (director). Alien (1979), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual, p. 22 (2012), Titan Books.
  4. Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual, p. 135 (2012), Titan Books.
  5. Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett (writers), Ridley Scott (director). Alien Director's Cut (2003), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
  6. 6.0 6.1 "ALIEN HARDWARE - Page 16 - Space 1999 Eagle Transporter Forum". Retrieved on August 29, 2014.
  7. Paul Scanlon, Michael Gross. The Book of Alien, p. 48 (1979), Heavy Metal Communications.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Propsummit.com a Blade Runner Prop Community Forum BladeRunnerProps.comView topic - ‘Give me about twenty minutes’ – ALIEN – Incinerator Unit". Retrieved on August 29, 2014.
  9. Alien Makers IV
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Propsummit.com a Blade Runner Prop Community Forum BladeRunnerProps.comView topic - ‘Give me about twenty minutes’ – ALIEN – Incinerator Unit". Retrieved on August 29, 2014.
  11. "Alien Flamethrower - Any scuba/diving experts for part ID". Retrieved on August 29, 2014.
  12. "Propsummit.com a Blade Runner Prop Community Forum BladeRunnerProps.comView topic - ‘Give me about twenty minutes’ – ALIEN – Incinerator Unit". Retrieved on August 29, 2014.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Gavin Rothery - Directing - Concept - VFX - Gavin Rothery Blog - Sigourney Weaver looking good with a flamethrower". Retrieved on August 29, 2014.
  14. Paul Scanlon, Michael Gross. The Book of Alien, p. 37 (1979), Heavy Metal Communications.
  15. "Propsummit.com a Blade Runner Prop Community Forum BladeRunnerProps.comView topic - NOSTROMO FLAME-THROWER". Retrieved on August 29, 2014.
  16. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=607988639234473&set=a.116549255045083.11938.104664682900207&type=3&theater
  17. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=608008635899140&set=pb.104664682900207.-2207520000.1382579877.&type=3&theater
  18. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=607682345931769&set=a.116549255045083.11938.104664682900207&type=3&theater
  19. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=607141445985859&set=a.116549255045083.11938.104664682900207&type=3&theater
  20. "Vtg France Scuba Diving Buoyancy Compensator Horse Collar Fenzy M3 Life Vest | eBay". Retrieved on August 29, 2014.