ALIENS Action Figures Identification Tool with Pictures


In 1979, Ridley Scott taught theater-going audiences that no one can hear you scream in space as one of the most frightening franchises was born, ALIEN. This film stood apart from the usual science fiction entertainment, which was filled with exciting battles and lasers. Instead, it was a claustrophobic horror starring a gigantic creature that systematically hunted down the crew of the Nostromo.

Coming off the high of their success with Star Wars, Kenner was rearing to create yet another hit toy line from one of 20th Century’s upcoming movies. Thus, they signed on to create one of the most infamous toy lines of all time, the 1979 ALIEN toys. Perhaps noticing during development that this film would not be an action-filled epic, they decided to only create three items for the line: a board game, a movie viewer, and the 18” action figure of the Big Chap, the name of the starring alien from the film.

Not long after these toys hit the shelves, controversy struck. While Kenner had advertised the 18” alien action figure to children, parents quickly took note that the film was unsuitable for children when it came out. Many children were too afraid of the creature from the film and wanted nothing to do with the toy, while other parents were outraged that there was a toy for an R-rated film. Furthermore, the action figure had a slew of issues including the easily misplaced clear dome over its head. Kenner responded to these mounting issues by pulling the toys from the shelves and canceling the line.

However, the xenomorph terror would not remain away from the toy aisle forever. As the years passed, a new film came out in 1987, this time with James Cameron at the helm. ALIENS changed the tone of the franchise from claustrophobic horror to action-filled violence. While the film was still R-rated, the action made it more appealing to the average audience. Still, no new toy line popped up for this film. Instead, another film would usher in a new era.

The tone had shifted dramatically by 1992 when 20th Century Fox was prepared to release ALIEN3 to theaters. The 90s child was more interested in weird, gooey creatures than prior generations. Moreover, Dark Horse had successfully been publishing various ALIEN series since 1988. They longed to play with monsters and the like. Thus, Kenner decided to give the ALIEN franchise another life at the toy aisle.

This new ALIENS toy line would not take many notes from the upcoming movie. Instead, it turned to the second film’s structure, where a group of Marines battled it out against the “bugs” to structure their new line. Half of this new toy line featured stylized versions of the space marines from that film, with a few new faces and vehicles. Meanwhile, the Xenomorphs would be the star of the other half of the line.

Thanks to the additional lore from the sequel films, Kenner had the chance to create many fanciful hybrid creatures that never appeared in the films. They created some of the most memorable classifications of Xenomorph, like the Gorilla Alien, Snake Alien, and Flying Queen. Their designs became so popular that they later popped up in other media like Dark Horse’s comics. Each of these colorful Xenomorphs came with a companion Facehugger that matched their color scheme.

Kenner ALIENS Scorpion ALIEN

As Kenner prepared to launch this new line, they suggested that 20th Century Fox create a new cartoon series to help bolster sales. While this suggestion never led anywhere, some fans mistakenly believed a pilot episode was animated. While there had been animation work done by animator Will Meugniot and AKOM Production, it was for an unaired series of commercials for the toys. Still, the proof for Operation: ALIEN, as many believe the cartoon would have been called, exists through various merchandise from the era.

Despite the lack of a cartoon, Kenner’s new ALIEN toy line became a success. Both US and overseas audiences loved the new take on the franchise. So, it lasted from 1992 up until 1995. However, the UK received several elements and exclusive action figures that never appeared in America. Their action figures had exclusive collectible bio-data cards rather than the cut-outs on the back of the packaging. There was also a 6-piece 3-D Pop-Up Space Base Diorama that only appeared in Europe, though NECA later released an upscaled version for their line. As the line began to die off in 1995, Kenner made some of the more expensive figures less available in America. Some figures like Swarm were much more common in Europe, for instance.

Kenner was not completely done with the ALIEN franchise in 1995. By 1997, they had returned to support the upcoming 4th film, ALIEN: Ressurection. They then gave the line one last breath of life in 1998 with the Kay-Bee Toys exclusive line, ALIEN: Hive Wars. Unfortunately, poor sales led to Kenner pulling away from the ALIEN brand for good.

Still, ALIEN would not remain a stranger from the toy aisle. In the decades that followed, many companies have created a wide array of merchandise, from plush toys to action figures. Palisades toys made life-sized plushes of the facehugger and various chestbursters in the early 2000s. Eaglemoss Collections produced many 1:16 scale ALIEN figurines around 2017. There were also toys from Super 7, through their M.U.S.C.L.E. and ReActoin lines. Hot Toys, Funko Pop, Hiya Toys, Kubrix, Mega Construx, and Minimates have also all contributed with their takes on the franchise.

However, there has been one company that stands out as the home of the Xenomorph since 2012. NECA, National Entertainment Collectibles Association, decided to create collectible action figures for the adult collector. So, their line has featured mostly detailed mid-tier figures of the various creatures from the films. They also created detailed sculpts of the human characters.

NECA’s new line also paid tribute to the Kenner toy line. In 2016, they introduced the Kenner Tribute line which featured a special prize for ALIEN Day. On that day, they released a special remake of Kenner’s Ripley action figure. Their ALIEN club subscription also gave fans a chance to own a scaled-up version of the 3-D Pop-Up Space Diorama.

ALIEN returned to the toy aisle with a new line for younger audiences in 2020. Lanard introduced a brand new toy line exclusively for Walmart that featured colorful ALIEN action figures and marines. In many ways, this new line paid tribute to the excitement that Kenner stirred in the past.

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    How to use the Identification Tool to find your action figures and toy lines

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    We have all the G1 Transformers list of characters in our database. You can search by Transformers name, as well as just line or subgroup. You can identify Transformers that are all red or all the figures that are orange. The Transformers toy list can even be sorted by package type. You can identify which came with a sticker sheet, or which came without instructions. Want to know all the 1984 Transformers toys and none of the others from 1985-1990? No problem, just select the release year from “1984” to “1984”. Perhaps you just want to know the list of G1 Transformers “Autobots”, or just the “Decepticons”, our ID tool can do that.

    Mostly we made this so you could see if your action figures were missing some accessories or parts. So you can see that too.

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