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 and permissions that have made this Gallery Possible:
- Adam ‘Proto_hoarder’ Saker
- Bruce White
- Derek Ho
- Marc Cawiezel
- Scott Morrissey
- Steve Dwyer
- Tracey Hamilton
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.
The Bishop Android action figure prototype has all the features of the final release figure. Pull apart torso, enormous ‘gatling gun’ with rotating multiple barrels and shades.
Screen accuracy may be the farthest it could have gone with Kenner’s gun toting version of ALIENS’ android, Bishop, but the redesigned character in action figure fomat is damn cool.
Space Marine Hicks may not be a 100% screen accurate iteration of the character seen in ALIENS but at least it’s a passable likeness to the soft spoken ‘grunt’.
This hand painted hard copy is still a fine representation of what it means to be a Space Marine action figure.
While not 100% accurate to the onscreen character, Kenner’s interpretation was closer than other figures in their ALIENS line.
This prototype hardcopy is near complete only lacking accessories.
Once again, a substantial deviation from the on screen character translated to action figure format is clearly observable. Nonetheless, this prototype of Sgt. Apone is consistent with the other action figures of its series.
This one is missing his right leg but this hand painted item is probably a late development sample, prepared as it was for promotional photographic purposes.
Kenner’s Rhino Alien from Series 2 ALIENS action figures featured a thrusting head action feature.
The panther Alien was a member of Kenner’s third series of action figures. Sleek and fast in appearance, it also possessed an action feature that launched a spring loaded ‘Flying Attack Parasite!’
Kenner’s Killer Crab Alien might be one of the more outlandish and extreme figures made in the series but this gallery of prototypes documents a general set of landmark production samples. From the initial improvised concept of the figure through various stages to the near finished final item ready for series production. This is an amazing peak into the progressive development of Kenner ALIENS from the 1990’s.
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.
Kenner ALIENS Series 3 included this wonderful figure with its hinged head and retractable spines.
Prototypes of the same figure accompanied by a set of the original engineering plans used to design it.
Drawings such as these are rare and provide a glimpse into the detailed development of any toy.
The very first ALIENS vs PREDATOR action figures were released by Kenner in 1994 in a neat 2 pack. This particular figure also enjoyed later release in 1996 as the blue Warrior Alien – Vicious Alien Attacker! in 1996.
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 displays a resemblance to the creature depicted in the first movie as much as it draws influence from anything seen in ALIEN Resurrection.
This prototype was released as a retail item as part of Kenner’s ALIEN Resurrection series of action figures and represents the creature known as the Newborn which appears in that movie’s final act.
Taking its inspiration from arguably the best scene in the 1996 movie, the Aquatic Alien features a number of fins and webbed fingers and toes.
While not screen accurate, this concept does lend a sense of it being a water dwelling creature.
As the Signature Series content highlighted much of the creatures appearing in the 1996 movie, ALIEN Resurrection, it’s appropriate the Aliens themselves were represented with figure of reasonable likeness.
This prototype is missing the dorsal appendages and tail but remains identifiable as a creature from the fourth movie.
Inspired by the creature seen in Alien 3, this item was designed in the mid 1990’s but didn’t see production until 1998 and was released as part of Kenner’s final ALIEN action figure range, ALIENS: Hive wars.
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!
Finally, I am striving to maintain accuracy in these postings. Dates and names for example, can be easy to make mistakes. If you do find any errors, please let me know and I will correct them.
Thank you for your attention.