- Year: 1979
- Size: 18 inches.
- Product Line: ALIEN. Produced by Kenner (General Mills).
Prototype samples of the original Kenner Products ALIEN action figure are few in number and those that are known to exist are largely fragments and incomplete relics.
This tail is a typical example of such incomplete in house production samples and is cast in a resin known as Repro10, a urethane material used by Kenner that was either tan, black or gray in color. It’s heavy and sturdy but at this thickness can be easily broken. It is for this reason why the nub for attaching it to the base of the figure, the tip of the tail and one of the ‘vertebral’ tips is missing.
This hardcopy sample is also been snapped at about the mid point. The clean break allows for the pieces to be rejoined for display purposes.
Images courtesy of Bruce White.
The 1979 Kenner ALIEN action figure possesses a unique action feature. Pressing the trigger found under the rear side of the head activates the multiple moving mouth parts including the opening of the hinged jaws and the protruding the figure’s ‘tongue’. Inside the head is a series of sliding levers, springs and gears to accomplish this action.
The piece appearing below is an engineering sample cast in translucent material for the purpose of testing, observing and assessing the functionality of this action feature. While other parts of the figure such as the head carapace, dorsal crest and tongue parts are frequently missing from the figure and lost; the trigger system is rarely damaged or found to be not functioning, making it a testimony as to how well Kenner engineered this internal mechanism.
Closer inspection of the internal system on this engineering sample reveals the gear and rack assembly is actually an improvisation that’s been kit bashed from a Spirograph geometric drawing kit. Cannibalism of such parts is common during early prototyping phases.
Image courtesy of Derek Ho.