#0375: Frankenstein Minimates

FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER, HENRY FRANKENSTEIN, ELIZABETH, & THE BRIDE

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS MINIMATES

FrankenstienBoxSet

It’s Halloween! Ooooooooooo!  Scary!  ….Okay, it’s out of my system.  Just like last year, I thought I’d do something festive for the holiday. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s Minimates! This actually marks one year since my very first Minimate review on this site, so that’s pretty cool! Last year, I took my first look at Diamond’s Universal Monsters Minimates with the Dracula boxed set; this year I’ll be taking a look at the line’s Frankenstein set. Incidentally, while most of the Universal Monsters Minimates were based on one movie, this one’s actually based on two, since it features characters from both Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were released as a set in the second series of Universal Monsters Minimates, along with the Dracula set. This is the specialty exclusive boxed set, which included Elizabeth. The other three were also available in two-packs at Toys R Us, where the Bride was packed with an exclusive angry villager.

FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER

FrankensteinMini2Not quite the titular character, but generally the character most people think of when they hear the name. The Monster’s really the selling point of the set. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he features 14 points of articulation. He’s based on the Monster’s appearance in the first film, which is a good way to go. The Monster is built on the standard Minimate body, with a non-standard head and feet, as well as sculpted add-ons for the jacket and neck. All of these pieces were new to this figure, though the neck piece and feet have seen subsequent re-use, most notably on The Munsters’ Herman. The jacket sculpt is a little soft, but not bad. The head is really well done, with superb detail work on the hair and ears. The paint on the Monster is really just limited to the areas where skin is showing, which is the hands, lower arms, neck and head. The skin tone is pretty evenly applied, and there aren’t any really issues with slop. The hairline could be a bit better, but it’s not horrible. The face is somewhat generic. It’s certainly The Monster, but it’s not a definite Karloff Monster. Still, the detail work is well applied, and he’s certainly a serviceable version of the character. The Monster included no accessories.

HENRY FRANKENSTEIN

FrankensteinMini3This IS the titular character, but he tends to be somewhat forgotten. It’s of note that this is Henry Frankenstein, rather than the usual Victor Frankenstein. For whatever reason, they felt the need to change his name and shunt the “Victor” name on another character. The good doctor is 2 ½ inches in height and features 14 points of articulation, though the leg articulation is a bit hampered by the bottom of his coat. The doctor is based on his laboratory appearance, complete with the proper lab coat of the time. He’s built using the standard Minimate body, with a hair piece and piece representing the bottom of his coat. The coat is new, while the hair is a re-use from the CA:TTA “Reborn” Cap (to be fair, the piece was first shown on Henry, but there was a bit of a delay between Henry’s prototype being shown and his actual release.) Both of these pieces are pretty good, and they do a decent job translating the source material. Henry’s paint is pretty decent. Everything is cleanly applied, and the detail lines all seem pretty sharp. The face seems a little off to be honest. It has a decent enough resemblance to Colin Clive, who played Henry in the film, but it seems a bit enlarged, and the eyes seem a bit oddly spaced. Henry includes no accessories.

ELIZABETH

FrankensteinMini4The set’s exclusive figure is Elizabeth, the fiancé of Dr. Henry Frankenstein.  That’s kinda it. She’s not the most exciting character, but she’s sort of important, so here she is. She’s 2 ½ inches tall and she features 14 points of articulation, though most of the leg articulation has been restricted by her dress. Elizabeth is based on the usual Minimate body, with add-ons for her hair and the lower half of her dress. Both of these pieces are new to this figure, and they’re both very nicely done. The hair in particular is very nicely detailed and accurate to the source material. Paint is really where this figure excels. While she may look bland at first glance, her paint is incredibly detailed, especially on the upper part of her dress, which features some really great texture work. Like the others in the set, Elizabeth includes no accessories.

THE BRIDE

FrankensteinMini5The Bride is probably the set’s second most memorable character, which is cool. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation, though the legs and waist articulation are mostly rendered motionless by her dress. She’s based on the Bride’s look following her “unveiling,” which is easily her most essential look. Like all the others in the set, the Bride is built on the standard Minimate body, with additions for her hair and dress. These are both brand new to this figure, and overall they’re pretty good. The hair is pretty much spot on to the look from the film, and it’s well textured. The dress (well, sheet…) is okay, but not perfect. It’s a little bit bulky, which doesn’t quite suit the Bride’s svelte build. That being said, it’s well sculpted and it looks pretty decent overall. The paint on the Bride is respectable. The likeness of actress Elsa Lanchester is pretty much spot on, and the wraps on her arms look really great too. I wish they continued all the way around, but I suppose that’s just a limitation of the paint apps. In a predictable move, the Bride has no accessories. An extra wrapped head would have been nice, but it’s okay.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Frankenstein set is actually one of my earliest Luke’s Toy Store purchases. I had gotten away from Minimates for a little while, and I had had a rough couple of weeks. I had been meaning to give Luke’s a try, so I ordered myself a care package of sorts. This was probably one of my favorites of the selection I got, and I think it’s a great set overall. While I felt some of the Dracula Minimates were a little lackluster, I don’t feel the Frankenstein set has any real short comings.

#0374: Flying Alien Queen

FLYING ALIEN QUEEN

ALIENS (KENNER)

FlyingQueen1

Okay, just one more Kenner Aliens review (well, I still have Bishop and the original Hicks, but they’re a ways off). Yesterday, I looked at Kenner’s first stab at the Alien Queen. That figure was actually pretty faithful to the source material, and the few changes they made actually made it a better toy. Today, I’ll be looking at another version of the Queen, this time with a few more liberties taken. So, do they make for a good toy?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

FlyingQueen2The Flying Alien Queen was released in the second series of Kenner’s Aliens line. Like the first Queen, she was a later addition to the assortment. This was Kenner’s second figure of the Alien Queen, and it’s a lot more out there than the first. The figure is about 6 inches tall and it features 7 points of articulation. As you can probably guess from the name, this figure’s shtick is that it’s aerial-based. One has to wonder what differences would have to be present in the host for this to come about. Did the Flying Queen hatch from a really large bird? Maybe an angel or something? I don’t know. What’s most interesting about this figure’s sculpt is the complete lack of overlap with the normal Queen. You’d think something like “flying Queen” would just be an excuse to re-use a bunch of parts from the original, but nope, Kenner went all new. For the Flying Queen, it seems Kenner has thrown out the movie Queen design entirely, and instead gone for something all their own. It’s almost as if the sculptor of the Flying Queen was given one of their other aliens as a reference and told “Make a queen.” So, this figure is much more basic alien inspired. The head has the regular Alien shape, and the tail is a bit shorter in length. It’s not bad, but it’s not quite as impressive as the first Queen. A lot of the details aren’t quite as sharp, and the proportions seem a bit sillier. The wings are decently done, but they honestly seem out of place with the rest of the Alien aesthetic. They feel like they’re from another toyline all-together. The paint on the Flying Queen is certainly unique. The figure is cast in a transparent greyish-purple plastic, with some silver airbrushing to bring out some of the details, and a little bit of red thrown in just for fun. The transparent look is actually pretty fun, but you have to wonder why the flying Queen would be transparent purple, while the regular Queen is an opaque black. Best not to think about it, I suppose. The Flying Queen included no accessories, but he does have a wing-flapping action feature, activated by pushing a button on her back. The claw on her left foot is also on a spring, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear way to activate it. It just goes off sporadically.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Flying Alien Queen is the last piece of the lot of Kenner Aliens figures I won on ebay. Of all the figures in the lot, this is probably the one I was least interested in. My opinion of it hasn’t really changed much, to be honest, but my lackluster feelings towards the Hicks Vs. King Alien set does mean that this one moved up a peg by comparison. It’s not a bad figure, but it’s not one of my favorites. It’s a better figure than something like the King Alien or the Alien Arachnid, but those felt like part of the line, while this one seems sort of out of place. This figure seems to mark when the line really started to move away from the movies, which is where I really start to lose interest. And with that, I am done with my Kenner Aliens stuff for a while. The timing actually worked out quite nicely, as they served as a nice little lead-up to Halloween!

#0373: Alien Queen

ALIEN QUEEN

ALIENS (KENNER)

QueenKenner1

In the movie Aliens, the titular creatures all received a slight re-design from director James Cameron and legendary creature effects wizard Stan Winston. It was the first in a long line of tweaks to the Xenomorph design, and it happens to be my personal favorite, mostly due to the fact that it’s the one used in the Greatest Movie of All TimeTM. In addition to creating a new looks for the “drones,” they also introduced a whole new creature design, the Alien Queen! The Alien Queen takes the role of primary antagonist for the film’s final act, and has become one of the most memorable creature designs of all time, right up there with the original Alien. It’s no surprise that Kenner released an Alien Queen in their Aliens line from the early 90s, but what is a bit of a surprise is how close to the original design they stayed.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

QueenKenner2The Alien Queen was released in the first series of Kenner Aliens figures. She was actually a slightly later release than the rest of the figures, mostly owing to her larger stature. The figure is about 6 inches in height and she features 10 points of articulation (those extra sets of arms really pull her up here!). There were three versions of the Alien Queen released in this line; this is the first. The final version of the Queen is generally seen as a near-perfect recreation of the Queen’s design, but this one’s not too far off either. They’ve given her an extra set of arms, and the figure is a little bit stockier than the movie version. Her inner mouth is more like that of the standard Xeno as well. None of these things really hurt the figure, so it’s not too bad. The actual sculpt is really very nice. There’s tons of detail work all throughout the figure, with lots and lots of layers and texture. The figure also had a rather large tail that attached to the back of the figure. In theory, I think it’s supposed to be bendable, but I had no such luck with it. The entire figure has been painted with an iridescent black paint, which is a great match for the coloring of the Aliens. She also has proper silver detailing on both sets of teeth, all of which is applied cleanly. The Queen included one accessory: a “Deadly” Chest Hatchling. QueenKenner4Obviously, this is meant to be a chestburster, and it’s done rather well, but why exactly is “Deadly” in quotes? Is it not really deadly? Because I feel like John Hurt would like to disagree. Anyway, in addition to that, the Queen also features two action features. The first is an “attacking double jaw” which sends the inner mouth forward. It’s activated by squeezing the back of the Queen’s head. The second is a tail whipping feature, which is activated by pressing a button on the figure’s left leg.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Alien Queen is another piece of the lot of Kenner Aliens figures I won on ebay. I had mostly wanted the lot for the two-packs, but I was more than happy to get this figure as well. In hand, I think this may be my favorite of the Aliens I received. It’s not a perfect recreation of the movie Queen, but this is a pretty neat amalgam of the Queen and the basic drone, almost like a junior Queen or something. I think the thing that shocks me the most is the total lack of re-releases of this particular mold. A Ripley Vs. Queen two-pack feels like it would have been a natural fit for the Aliens Vs. Marine line.

QueenKenner3

Guest Review #0014: Isa – v1

ISA v.1

INFINITY BLADE COLLECTIBLES

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Today’s review is written by Tim Marron.  Check out more from Tim over at Tim’s Blarg and Timsical Thoughts.  Take it away Tim!

When it comes to fighting Deathless and their hordes of daeril, brute strength will only get you so far. Sometimes you need a little finesse to get the job done. Cue Siris’ sprightly feminine counterpart, Isa, to twist some necks. She also happens to be the second figure I’ll be reviewing in my growing collection of Infinity Blade figures.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

IsaV1aAlthough her debut appearance was in Infinity Blade 2, Isa was not playable as a character until the third game. Her figures are based on the many possible wardrobe options in IB3. This version, in the small size, has her equipped with the Perconis helm, Forbidden Armor, Illorium (sometimes Ellorium) sword, and Honor Guard brace striking the “Zenith” pose. Like Siris, Isa’s sculpt is basically dead on, being taken from the game’s models. Certain areas like the ribbon on her helmet and the wing/fin things on her back are quite impressive for 3D printing. In a classic sculpture move, there is a little tree stump right next to her leg and sword to add a bit of structural support without leaving the figure looking unfinished. It’s not a bad feature, in fact, as far as obligatory tree stumps go it was handled pretty well. The only thing is that, in order to have Isa’s sword touching the stump, looking carefully, it seems like they may have bend the blade ever so slightly to achieve contact. That being said, it’s a minor gripe about an overall fantastic sculpt. The color on this model is right on par with my previous Siris figure: looks great overall with one or two minor splotchy areas. In Isa’s case they are on her brace and sword, both of which are fairly small in terms of surface area so I can forgive them looking a little fuzzy. Isa comes with no accessories and has no articulation, but we knew that already, didn’t we?

IsaV1fIsaV1b IsaV1e IsaV1d

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After my purchase of my Siris v.1 figure, Sandboxr, the company that does the actual printing, was nice enough to send me an offer for $5 off my next order. Needless to say I was very quick to send in my Isa’s design for printing. Then, because this is how the world works, the day after I placed my order, I got an email notifying me that Infinity Blade prints by Sandboxr were 20% off. To make a pretty short story even shorter, expect another Siris review very soon. And then probably more of both after that. I gotta wonder though, do you think Siris works for Sandboxr? Because they did a pretty good job of having her… immortalized.

#0372: O’Malley & Queen Face Hugger

O’MALLEY & QUEEN FACE HUGGER

ALIENS (KENNER)

OmalleyVSFH1

Okay, so here’s another Kenner Aliens review. This review plays a bit more into Kenner’s wackier sensibilities with the line, while at the same time not going super overboard. What’s noteworthy about this set is that it’s the only set who’s Alien is not a “Xenomorph.” So, let’s have a look at the last of the 10th Anniversary two-packs, O’Malley vs. The Queen Face Hugger.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

O’Malley and the Queen Face Hugger are the final two-pack from the KB Exclusive Aliens Vs. Marine line. They are both repaints of figures from the previous Aliens line.

O’MALLEY

OMalleyVSFH2O’Malley! Hey, remember that guy? They hero of the… The guy who does the… He has the… Okay, okay, yeah, O’Malley is another Marine created by Kenner. He’s not really as goofy as ATAX, but he’s still a bit out there. In case the name and the hair hadn’t clued you in, O’Malley is supposed to be Irish. O’Malley is 5 inches tall and he sports 6 points of articulation. The figure makes use of the sculpt from the O’Malley figure meant to see a wide release in the 3rd Series. This featured a unique head sculpt, which may very well be the best Marine sculpt from the line. For a character that seems so one note and bland on the surface, O’Malley’s head sculpt is full of character. He’s got a smug look of assurance on his face (no way he’s making it out of the movie alive looking like that. Sorry O’Malley, your name might as well be Toast). He’s also got a really nasty scar over his eye. Obviously, he’s had a run in with some nasty beasts before. From the neck down, O’Malley shares his sculpt with Corporal Hicks. Hicks’s body sculpt is probably my favorite of the Marine sculpts, so I’m in favor of the re-use here. It’s a quality sculpt and it matches the head nicely. The paint work on O’Malley is more or less the same as it was on Hicks, with changes for the head and some tweaks to the accents on the torso. Everything is nice and cleanly done. O’Malley included a flamethrower clip-on, similar to Hicks’s claw thing, as well as what has to be one of the goofiest weapons in the Aliens line. It’s some kind of grappling thing on an accordion type arm. It’s kind of a funny weapon, but there it is.

QUEEN FACE HUGGER

OMalleyVSFH3Okay, so the name on this one kind of confuses me. So, is this a face hugger that has a queen embryo, or is it like the queen of the face huggers? What’s the deal Kenner? Well, Kenner’s kinda defunct now, so I guess we’ll never know. The Face Hugger is about 3 inches in height, 5 inches wide, and 6 inches long. That, by the way, makes this particular Face Hugger about 20x the size of what the actual Face Huggers should be. So, it’s not really a Face Hugger so much as an everything hugger. The figure doesn’t really have any articulation. There’s some movement, but it’s all tied into the action feature. The sculpt is a re-use of the original Series 3 Face Hugger. It’s a pretty good sculpt, and it’s surprisingly accurate to the Face Hugger design from the movies. There’s quite a bit of texturing, and they’ve added some spiky bits, similar to the changes present on the Scorpion Alien. The Face Hugger has what is probably the most drastic paint scheme change of all of the 10th Anniversary figures. The original figure’s paint scheme was similar to the regular Aliens. For this figure, they went with something more faithful to the actual Face Hugger. It’s an improvement, but it also makes the size of this thing even weirder! The Face Hugger included no accessories, but it does have a few action features. The tail can be pulled and retracted, the legs have a jumping action similar to the Alien Arachnid, and the mouth has a pullback opening feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

O’Malley and the Face Hugger were yet another piece of the large lot of Kenner Aliens figures I won on ebay. Neither one of them was super high on my list of desired figures, but they were part of the lot, so I figured why not. In hand, I was pleasantly surprised by this set. The Face Hugger’s kinda odd, but O’Malley is really quite a nice figure. It’s strange that Kenner put this level of effort into a character that no one cares about, but this really is one of their better figures. All in all, this is a pretty winning set.

OMalleyVSFH4

#0371: Hudson & Scorpion Alien

HUDSON & SCORPION ALIEN

ALIENS (KENNER)

HudsonVSScorpion1

The problem with doing large theme weeks and the like is that as you near the end, you really run out of interesting things to say to introduce the figures. Then you have to write these weird meta intros talking about how you have nothing to say in the intro. (BEAT)

So, how ’bout them Aliens figures? Yesterday, I looked at one key Marine missing from Kenner’s first series of Aliens; today, I’ll be looking at the other. That Marine is, of course, Private Hudson, everyone’s favorite over-confidant marine turned whimpering mess! I’ll be taking a look at his proper US release from the Aliens Vs. Marine two-packs, along with the Scorpion Alien.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hudson and the Scorpion Alien were released in a two-pack in the 10th Anniversary Aliens Vs. Marine line. The line was released exclusively at KB Toys, and it was made up of repaints from the previous Kenner Aliens line.

HUDSON

HudsonVSScorpion2Hudson is easily the selling point of this set. His Series 3 figure never saw a proper US release, leaving a Paxton sized hole in many fans’ Aliens collections. Hudson is about 5 inches tall and he features 6 points of articulation. He sports a new head sculpt, which doesn’t really have much in common with Bill Paxton’s portrayal of the character, but that’s not really news with this line. Hudson has a screaming expression, which fits okay with the character and does make him stand out a bit more from the other, more passive Marines. His sculpted helmet doesn’t match the one on Hicks, which is moderately annoying, but I suppose they wanted each of the Marines to have a unique look. From the neck down, Hudson’s sculpt is the same as Series 1’s Apone figure. Aside from the somewhat odd metal arm thing, it’s a pretty good starting point for a basic Marine, so I guess it works okay. It’s too bad he couldn’t get a unique sculpt like Vasquez, but if only one could get a new sculpt, Kenner made the right choice. Hudson’s paint work is on par with the rest of the Marines; it’s all pretty cleanly applied, and his lower half is molded in the same multi-colored plastic seen on all of the Marines. Hudson has one of the more diverse paint jobs in the series, though it’s not like it’s anything super exciting. Hudson includes a rifle of some sort (not a pulse rifle), and a large backpack thingy with three missiles to launch. Unfortunately, the backpack is a bit on the heavy side, which makes Hudson impossible to stand while wearing it.

SCORPION ALIEN

HudsonVSScorpion3Believe it or not, against all odds and in spite of the name, the Scorpion Alien is not a Kenner original. It’s actually one of the main line’s closest attempts to capture the standard Xenomorph design. It also happens to be one of the best Aliens in the line, for what it’s worth. The figure is about 5 inches tall and features 5 points of articulation. This figure makes use of the sculpt from the original Scorpion Alien, released in the first series of the original Kenner Aliens line. It’s a decent quality sculpt. There are lots of small details and texture work, and the figure really has some nice dimension. It’s perhaps a tad wider than it should be, but not excessively so. The design of the alien is definitely based on the Xeno’s appearance in Aliens, though there have been a few changes made. The design as a whole is a bit spikier, and a lot of the design has been streamlined, I’d assume to present a more easily animated look. The figure is slightly pre-posed, and it can take a little work to get the figure to stand, but it’s not too difficult to keep the figure vertical. There was definitely a consistent theme to the paint work on the figures in the Aliens Vs. Marine line, and the Scorpion Alien is no exception. He’s molded in semi-metallic black/grey plastic with some silver accents to bring out the details. The silver on this figure is easily the most subtle of this line, which really does this figure some serious favors. The Scorpion Alien included no accessories, but he did feature one of the line’s coolest action features. When the button on the figure’s lower back is pressed, the figure’s upper half pops apart, as if the Scorpion Alien has just been shot by one of the Marines. It’s a fun action feature and it really adds quite a bit of entertainment value to this figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hudson and the Scorpion Alien are another piece of the large lot of Kenner Aliens figures I won recently on ebay. These are two of the figures I was most eager to get ahold of from the line, so I was definitely glad they were amongst the set. Hudson is an essential Marine and the Scorpion Alien is my personal favorite Kenner take on the standard Xeno design. All in all, I really like this set. Sure, Hudson’s slightly goofy, but he’s not a bad figure, and he’s packed with an outstanding Alien.

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#0370: Vasquez & Night Cougar Alien

VASQUEZ & NIGHT COUGAR ALIEN

ALIENS VS MARINE(KENNER)

VasquezVSNC1

The initial offering of Marines in Kenner’s Aliens line is interesting. We got pretty decent Ripley and Hicks figures, but we also got Apone and Drake, two characters who are absent from the last two-thirds of the movie entirely, and a nearly unrecognizable version of Bishop. Key players like Vasquez and Hudson were absent, and when we finally got an additional Marine in the second series, it was ATAX, a character invented exclusively for the toyline. When the third series hit, Kenner tried to amend this, offering both Vasquez and Hudson, but it was too little too late. Retailers in the US were having trouble moving the Marines from the first two series, leading to the cases containing the Series 3 Marines to be returned and, ultimately, destroyed. A fair number saw release outside the US, but not in nearly the same numbers, leaving US Aliens fans out in the cold. Fortunately, the 10th Anniversary Aliens Vs. Marine came to the rescue, offering a proper release of all three of the Marines, albeit in altered colors. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the first of those, Vasquez, along with her foe, the Night Cougar Alien.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Vasquez and the Night Cougar Alien were released as a two-pack in the KB Toys Exclusive Aliens Vs. Marine line, which was done as a celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Aliens. Both figures made use of previous sculpts with all-new paint schemes.

VASQUEZ

VasquezVSNC2Vasquez is definitely a key part of what make Aliens so great. She was a really fun character who added a lot to the group of survivors as they battled the Alien hoards (and Paul Reiser). Unfortunately, her role as smartgunner kinda got taken by Drake in the first series (both are smartgunners in the movie, but Kenner seemed set on each Marine having their own gimmick), so she ended up being a little more generic here. Vasquez stands just shy of 5 inches tall and features 5 points of articulation. I don’t know why she didn’t get waist articulation like the others, but it’s not there. Vasquez is a total re-use of the Series 3 Vasquez, who was actually the only of the Series 3 Marines to get her own body sculpt. While she’s not a pitch perfect Vasquez, she’s probably the most film-accurate Marine Kenner put out. Some of the details are a little on the soft side, but she’s definitely Vasquez, and I’m amazed by the lack of 90s-fication that was so present on the other Marines. The paint on Vasquez only furthers her as the most accurate Marine. In the more traditional colors, she’s pretty much spot on to how Vasquez looked in the movie. My one complaint would be that she’s definitely way too pale to be Vasquez. Other than that, her paint is pretty good for the time. She doesn’t really have any slop or bleed over to speak of. Vasquez’s smartgun gimmick was taken, so she doesn’t have one of those, but she does come with what I believe is the only example of a proper pulse rifle from the Kenner line, as well as some large missile launching thing that she has trouble standing with.

NIGHT COUGAR ALIEN

VasquezVSNC3So, the Night Cougar Alien is another Kenner original. That being said, apart from a terrible name, it’s actually one of the better aliens, and it’s got some precedent. Its quadrupedal design is similar to that of Alien3 ’s Dog Alien. I am by no means a fan of the movie, but the design wasn’t bad. The Night Cougar is about 4 inches tall and 6 inches long, and it features 5 points of articulation (there’s a 6th, but it’s tied to the action feature.) The Night Cougar Alien re-uses the sculpt of the original Series 3 version, which was itself a repaint of the Panther Alien. It’s a pretty good sculpt. Some of the details, particularly on the torso are a little soft and basic, but they aren’t too bad, and the figure does offer a fair job of conveying some depth. The figure features a more conventional Alien design than the previous two, which makes this figure work a lot better aesthetically. The original Night Cougar featured some pretty bold red highlights. This figure opts for the more subdued look that all of these two-pack aliens have. While the King was kind of hurt by such a change, I think the Night Cougar really makes it work. It helps that the Night Cougar has the subtlest work with the silver highlights, which really makes the figure look its best. This marks the first Alien to have an accessory; it includes a missile that can be plugged into the figure’s back. When the figures front legs are pushed forward, the head ducks down and the missile fires. As far as action features go, that’s a good one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Just like Hicks and the King, and Drake and the Arachnid, Vasquez and the Night Cougar Alien were part of a large lot of Kenner Aliens figures I won on ebay. Vasquez is one of my main interests in getting the lot, so there was definitely some pressure for this set to deliver. Fortunately, this set is one of my favorites from this series. Vasquez marks one of Kenner’s best efforts on a Marine, and the Night Cougar Alien is one of their better aliens, which makes this set a real winner!

#0369: Drake & Alien Arachnid

DRAKE & ALIEN ARACHNID

ALIENS VS MARINE(KENNER)

DrakeVSArachnid1

Drake. Drake, Drake, Drake, Drake, Drake. Drake, in case you’re wondering, is a character that does actually appear in the movie Aliens. He’s a marine with a decent amount of screen time. That being said, he’s nowhere near as prominent as characters like Hudson or Vasquez, so his inclusion in the proposed Operation: Aliens cartoon, as well as his place in the first series of Aliens figures by Kenner is a bit baffling. But, here he was, so I guess that’s that. Let’s have a look at Kenner’s second Drake, released alongside the Alien Arachnid in 1996.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released as part of the KB Toys Exclusive Aliens Vs. Marine line, done to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Aliens.

DRAKE

DrakeVSArachnid2So, I can kinda get Drake’s place in the original line, but his spot here is still weird. There were five sets done for the 10th Anniversary. Of those five, three were used to give a US release to the Marines that were supposed to be in 3rd series of the original line. That left two slots, which were given to Hicks and Drake. Hicks is the most pivotal Marine, so he makes sense. But why Drake was chosen over Ripley, or even Apone, is odd. Anyway, the figure is about 4 ½ inches tall, thanks to his slouch, and he features 6 points of articulation. He makes use of the Series 1 Drake sculpt in its entirety. While it’s not a bad sculpt, it share very few common traits with the Drake of the movie. He’s completely unarmored, wearing a headband, and his hair is quite a bit longer than his movie counterpart’s. At the very least, it’s an expressive sculpt. It looks pretty good, and it certainly stands out from the rest of the marines and their more static sculpts. The paint on Drake is pretty good, probably better than that seen on Hicks. Like Hicks, his lower half has been molded in that swirly green plastic to simulate camo. It works better here, mostly due to Drake’s lack of armor. The rest of the paint is all pretty well applied. There’s a little bit of slop on Drake’s Bandolier, but other than that, everything seems to be nice and clean. Drake included his trademark smartgun, as well as a bayonet to go on the end. Because stabbing the aliens with acid for blood sounds like a wonderful idea. The bayonet doesn’t fit on the gun on my figure, but that’s probably just an issue with mine. Drake also had a feature where turning his waist simulated gunfire.

ALIEN ARACHNID

DrakeVSArachnid3The Alien Arachnid is yet another of Kenner’s aliens they made up for the line. Some of their designs were great. Some were bad. This falls somewhere in between. The figure is about two inches tall, 4 inches long, and 5 inches wide. The figure really only has 1 point of articulation, at the neck, as the rest of the movement is tied into the action feature. The Alien Arachnid is definitely meant to play up the bug-like nature of the aliens, but “arachnid” isn’t the term they want here, I think. Arachnids have eight legs, and this figure only has six, which would actually make it and “Alien Insect.” I guess that just didn’t have the same ring. They could have just added an extra pair of legs to make it work, though. The Arachnid’s sculpt is passable for the time of release, but it’s not really anything special. The figure has a rubber head, which makes the details there a lot softer. Kenner seemed to take this into account by making the rest of the figure’s details softer to match. The end result is a somewhat cheap looking figure, which is too bad. The Arachnid’s paint is similar to the King Alien’s; the figure is molded in a semi-metallic black plastic, with lots of silver highlights thrown in. The highlights still go a little overboard, but they aren’t terrible. The Alien Arachnid included no accessories, but it featured two action features. The first was a water-spitting feature, done by squeezing the head (after filling it with water), and the second is a lever on the back which pops the back legs up and down and moves the front legs back and forth.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The original Kenner Aliens hit before I was of an age to collect toys, and these anniversary sets hit before I was into Aliens. Like Hicks and the King Alien, this set was part of a lot I won on ebay. I actually had the original Drake at one point, but I lost him at some point, so I can’t really do a direct comparison of the two. Honestly, it’s a bit of a toss-up as to which of the two is “better.” Drake is one of the cooler marine figures, even if he was a bit off-model. The Alien Arachnid is better than the King in my opinion, but still not one of the better ones Kenner offered. All-in-all, this set is okay, but nothing really amazing. But, it’s also one of the cheapest of the 10th Anniversary sets, so if you just want something cheap amd fun, you could do a lot worse than this set.

Alright guys, I powered through what I feel are the weakest sets in this series. Tomorrow, the good stuff kicks in!

#0368: Corporal Hicks & King Alien

CORPORAL HICKS & KING ALIEN

ALIENS VS MARINE(KENNER)

HicksVSKing1

After the failure of the proposed Operation: Aliens cartoon, Kenner was left in a bit of a bind. They had already created much of the merchandise for the show and paid for the rights to the characters. They made the best of what they had and released the figures under the Aliens banner, passing them off as an adaption of the 1986 movie. This left the Marines in an unfortunate position, having no real pull with kids who hadn’t seen the movie, and not really resembling the characters from the movie enough to entice people who had seen it. When the third series of the line hit, US retailers weren’t interested in the marines, leading to their exit from the line. The line ended not too long after that. In 1996, it was the 10th Anniversary of Aliens, so Kenner responded by putting out a series of two packs, each featuring a marine and an Alien. Today, I’ll be looking at that line’s release of Corporal Hicks and the King Alien.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This two pack was released as part of the 10th Anniversary Aliens Vs. Marine line(by the way, “Aliens Vs. Marine”? Like, is there just one Marine at a time?). The sets were released exclusively at KB Toys.

CORPORAL HICKS

HicksVSKing2Hicks is probably the most important Marine in the movie, so it’s not surprising to see he was a part of the tenth anniversary series. His figure is 5 inches tall and features 6 points of articulation, which is actually 1 point above the standard Kenner articulation of the time. The figure is a head to toe repaint of the original Kenner Hicks. It’s one of the more faithful sculpts of the original line, so that’s pretty good. Some of his armor has been tweaked a bit, but he’s really not too far off. The head actually is a pretty decent likeness of Michael Biehn, which is fairly impressive for a figure from this time period. The sculpt also has some of the best proportions of the line, with nothing looking too out of place. Hick’s paint is passable, though it could be better. His torso, pelvis, and legs are molded in a swirly green plastic that sorta simulates camo. This works pretty well for the legs, which should actually be camo, but the torso ends up looking wrong. Some additional paint really could have helped here. Hicks includes a large missile launcher, two missiles, and a claw/gun attachment. These are the same as the accessories included with the original Hicks, just in slightly different colors.

KING ALIEN

HicksVSKing3The King Alien! One of the most memorable… oh wait, sorry, that’s not right. What the heck is the King Alien? Near as I can tell, he’s toyline escalation. We’d had the Queen Alien, and an even meaner looking Flying Queen. Where do you go from there? King Alien, apparently. The King Alien is about 6 inches tall and features a whole 4, count ‘em, 4 points of articulation. The King Alien is a complete re-use of the King Alien from Series 3 of the original line. That figure had totally new pieces, which surprised me. I had actually expected there to be re-use between this figure and the queens. The sculpt is alright, but not really anything special. It’s a rather boxy sculpt. It sort of follows the Alien aesthetic, but it seems a little strange, even for them. The figure is also incredibly stiff, thanks to the limited articulation and slightly awkward sculpt. It’s not all bad, though. The sculpt is fairly detailed, and it does have some nice texture work. The figure is molded in a slightly metallic black plastic, with additional silver details painted on to give the figure a bit more dimension. It’s all pretty well applied, though the silver details do get a little heavy in some areas. The King Alien includes no accessories, but he does have a spring-loaded pincer feature, activated by pressing a button his back, as well as a water spraying feature, activated by squeezing his tail (and adding water, of course).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed out on the original release of these sets (I was collecting toys, but I had yet to see Aliens). I recently won an ebay auction which included a full set of the figures. This set is probably the weakest of this series. The first Hicks figure had a more satisfactory color scheme, in my opinion, and the King Alien isn’t one of Kenner’s better made-up aliens. At least the original King Alien had bright neon colors to keep him interesting. This one ends up suffering. It’s not a bad set, but it’s not surprising that this is the cheapest and most easily found of the tenth anniversary figures.

HicksVSKing4

#0367: Zauriel

ZAURIEL

JLA

Zauriel1

In the 80s, DC Super Powers came onto the scene and made its mark as the definitive DC toyline. Most DC collectors tend to agree that the spot was usurped by DC Universe Classics just a few short years ago. In the time between those lines, there were a few attempts to recapture the magic of Super Powers. The first was Batman: Total Justice, a line that featured a few Justice League members and villains, while also trying to cash in on Batman’s popularity. Sadly, it only lasted two series before ending. A few years later, another attempt was made, this time under the title JLA. It made use of many of the Total Justice sculpts and added a variety of new characters. The character Hawkman was originally present in Total Justice, but at the time of JLA, several botched reboots let to him being deemed “off-limits.” This led to the creation off Zauriel, who filled Hawkman’s position as dude with wings, both in the comics and in the toyline.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Zauriel2Zauriel was released in the 3rd series of JLA. At the time, the line was exclusive to KB Toys. Zauriel is 5 inches in height and he features 7 points of articulation (courtesy of the wings). Zauriel is shown in his armored look, which was the look he was sporting in the JLA comics at the time. While many of the figures in JLA made use of old parts, Zauriel is mostly a new sculpt. The only pieces re-used are the wings, originally used on the Total Justice Hawkman. The sculpt is okay, but not spectacular. Total Justice figures were infamously pre-posed, and this was passed on to JLA. Zauriel stays true to this trend. His legs are rather oddly posed, and the proportions are a bit strange looking. Aesthetically, the sculpt isn’t bad. The armor is pretty well detailed, and the wings look tremendous. The paint on Zauriel is pretty decent. Everything is cleanly applied; there’s no real issues with slop or bleed over. Zauriel included a fiery sword and a JLA logo display stand in white.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Zauriel is a more recent addition to my collection. For whatever reason, I never bought this figure while it was still at retail. I remember seeing it a few times, but I never bought him. I guess I just was unfamiliar with the character. I can’t say I’m super familiar with the character even now, but my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix, had one marked down to $2.99 the other day. For that price, I figured it was worth it to get one of the few JLA figures I was still missing. Zauriel isn’t really a standout figure or anything, but he’s a decent enough figure.