Prototype figures are at the elite level of toy collectibles. These are unique items that represent milestones along the pathway of any toy’s development, manufacturing and eventual mass production for sale. As such, they tend to be unique engineering and production assessment items along with work in progress samples produced in small numbers for in house appraisal, problem solving and other evaluation purposes. Aside from being valuable highly collectible, they can frequently be one of a kind items that provide a glimpse into the process of toy development that is generally concealed from public scrutiny.
I’d like to thank the following people for their contributions that make this Gallery Possible:
- Marc Cawiezel
- Steve Dwyer
- Tracey Hamilton
- Bruce White
Not many prototypes of the original Kenner ALIEN action figure are known to exist; and those that do survive are fragmentary and incomplete.
Prototypes and other production samples suffered the same fate along with the molds, engineering documentation & drawings, unassembled parts and some complete retail figures ready to be distributed beyond the factory premises. They were destroyed and disposed of during late 1979 when Kenner decided to halt and discontinue production on all items connected to the ALIEN licence.
Unlike their lucrative Star Wars products, Kenner’s foray into ALIEN movie licenced action figures in the 3.75 inch range didn’t progress beyond prototype stage. The entire range of proposed figures based on the movie was cancelled before mass production could commence.
These prototypes were the inspiration behind the FUNKOxSuper7 ReAction figure line of collectible toys in 2013.
Just like the Alien figure above, the 3.75 inch Kane wearing his compression suit was originally a 1979 prototype figure.
Once again, this was the inspiration for the similar figure that appears in the 2013 released FUNKOxSuper7 ReAction range of collectible toys.
For now, there’s limited number of images (1 of each) for these Nostromo crew members so they’re gathered together here for convenience sake.
I’m hoping to acquire more photos so I can split this gallery into more sections worthy of these pieces.
If you would like to help either by sending me images to post or with contacts, please let me know. Thank you.
Kenner’s Dallas action figure backing card was going to feature all the design elements we are all familiar with. From the ALIEN logo to the characteristic color scheme, it’s all present on this extremely rare and potentially unique item.
This mock up card back for cancelled Dallas figure may very well be a sole survivor of the cancelled 3.57 inch ALIEN range but it tells us a lot about the design philosophy and style behind the packaging for Kenner’s unproduced toy line.
Prototyping extends well beyond the need to develop and evaluate figures along with their accessories.
Packaging also needs to be designed to help accommodate, transport, protect and display the item on retailer shelves. This in itself is a specialised design process and this 1992 Queen Alien prototype serves as a fine example of an early stage in this process.
Kenner expanded their ALIENS line of figures during the mid 1990s to include small scale collectible miniatures. These items were little more than a couple inches tall and were made of die cast metal and were painted.
This unusual Alien figure was unproduced and not a great deal is known about it. 2 different versions are known to be in development at Kenner. The figure was intended to be concealed and fold out from inside the translucent egg attached to its back.
Kenner’s final series of ALIEN action figures were released in 1997. This series of figures was largely licence based on the recently released ALIEN: Resurrection movie. While most of the figures appearing in that set were distinctly modeled on characters and creatures appearing in the 1996 movie, the Warrior Drone shares a clear resemblance to the creature depicted in the first movie as much as it draws influence from anything seen in ALIEN Resurrection.
For the 20th Anniversary of the release of ALIEN, Kenner under the ownership of Hasbro, intended to release a screen accurate action figure based on Giger’s creature.
It’s unfortunate this figure never saw production as the attention to detail is phenomenal and it only exists as a prototype form.
An unknown number of ALIEN prototype figures were made at Kenner. No one knows where they all are now. They’re in the hands of collectors, enthusiasts, artists, former employees of the long defunct company; and many other people. It is the goal of this section of HIDEOUS PLASTIC to document as many as possible, provide some information about them and appreciate the significant role they play in the development of ALIEN action figures we all love.
If you have any photos and wish to contribute to this growing gallery of fascinating content, please contact me. Currently I am only documenting Kenner (General Mills/Tonka/Hasbro) ALIEN prototype items produced between 1979 and 2001 but intend to go beyond that. I will credit all contributions to the owners of images; or if preferred, I will respect your preference to remain anonymous.
At this point, I am looking to fill in some voids, especially any images of prototypes of the original 1979 Kenner ALIEN action figure and anything from the 1990s. Any assistance in this regard would be terrific!
Thank you for your attention.