A regularly updated blog about my vintage Kenner Star Wars toy collection. Some stuff that I've recently acquired; some stuff that I've had since I was a kid. Some rare, some common, but all sharing the warmth, charm and character of the "first generation" of Star Wars toys - the ones we played with as kids in the late '70s and early '80s.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Vintage-Style ALIEN 3-3/4" Figures from Super7 Arrive!


 
Yesterday I was having my lunch when the courier truck pulled up. Out popped a mailman and handed me a package that had been a long time in coming...

Back in the Spring of 2013, it was announced that Super7 would be starting production of new 3-3/4" ALIEN action figures "based on" the old unproduced Kenner prototypes. The Internets were abuzz... reactions from ecstasy to nerd-rage with nary a moderate view to be found. Some were excited about finally seeing vintage-style toys produced for this iconic property (the only "toy" actually retailed in-period having been the large-size Alien); others were outraged that commencement of production would somehow devalue the precious remaining pre-production and prototype figures from the late-'70s. Me, I don't see how producing new toys can have a devaluing effect on pre-prods and protos for a line that was never made. If anything, I thought that commencement of new production would increase interest in the unproduced vintage line and maybe even spike values. But what do I know...

Anyway, Super7 marketed the Hell out of the property and did it in very clever ways. At the 2013 San Diego Comic Con, they sold "early-bird kits" that mimicked Kenner's originals for Star Wars. This was essentially pre-paying for the set of five figures - Dallas, Ripley, Kane in spacesuit, Ash and the Alien - for delivery later in the year. Although I didn't get to SDCC in person myself, a very kind work colleague did and this is what he brought me back...

The Early Bird Package envelope
Reverse of envelope
Contents of the Early Bird package
Super7 also offered a very cool "salesman sample" kit with unpainted "prototypes" of Kane and the Alien. These were available at the Super7 booth at SDCC, in limited quantities. As you might have expected, these sold out quickly (to both fans and scalpers), but were available afterwards on the "secondary market"...
 
"Salesman Sample" promotional box
Reverse of box
Note included in the box - pretty funny stuff :-)
Kane "sample" - unpainted
 
Helmet is removable

The Big Chap
Clear dome is removable - inner jaws are movable
Subsequent to all of this, Super7 partnered with Funko on the project, and this development enabled the company to scale up their production numbers significantly, and even reduce the price of the set. As the Internets again exploded with nerd-rage - remember, the new price is less than people paid for their pre-orders - Super7 offered pre-orderers the chance to cancel for a refund if they wanted. For those who didn't cancel, Super7 offered a "secret bonus figure" and the chance to get the figures on blue "vintage style" cards (regular cardbacks would be produced in black). Needless to say I maintained my pre-order status...

Fast forward to yesterday, and the production figures finally arrive:

Ash. Unfortunately Ian Holm, the actor who so brilliantly portrayed the character, apparently refused to grant Super7 permission to use his likeness on the packaging. Lame.


All six figures have identical cardbacks.

Ripley. Very "vintage style" in that she looks pretty mannish. Of course anyone who's seen the last 10 minutes of the film knows that Sigourney Weaver is anything but "mannish"...

Paint app on the face makes her look a bit cross-eyed.

Captain Dallas! My favourite (obviously).
 
Kane in space suit. Paint app on this figure is very good. The unpainted "proto" really doesn't do the sculpt justice.
  


 The Alien. An excellent sculpt, very cool figure indeed.

 
The bonus "Clear Alien", derived from an original production concept for the film. Apparently technical limitations prevented the SFX department from producing this look for the movie.

A nice little note included in the shipping box (shown in the first photo of the post). Nice to know we pre-orderers are appreciated...

Well, there you have it. Wave One of the new ALIEN figures. Personally, I really have little to no interest in any action figures but vintage Star Wars, but ALIEN is one of my favourite movies ever and the vintage styling of these toys just sucked me right in... and I suspect I'm not alone. I hope this post will be helpful to those other collectors who are interested in the line, as a photo reference of the production figures as well as a brief history of how they were marketed. 


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