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Back...to the 90's!


Happy Valentine's Day! I thought it would be fitting on this most romantical of days to compose an ode to my truest love, the alien queen. While I don't have my outstanding McFarlane version of this imposing creature yet, (this will soon be rectified) I wouldn't be Riv Weyland if I didn't have a queen of some sort around here somewhere.

Once upon a time, there was a toy company called Kenner. In the 80's and 90's, Kenner was the go-to company for players in our childhood melodramas, and produced figures from such huge hits as Jurassic Park, Batman, and perhaps most famously, Star Wars. They are often credited with popularizing the 3 1/4 inch action figure, and their successor Hasbro continues to exploit this line.

During the 90's, Kenner also produced a relatively small line of figures based on the "Aliens" universe, though I use the word "based" in the loosest possible sense. These are probably some of the trippiest figures I've ever seen, and I can only imagine what drugs were being smoked while pitching these ideas.

alienproto
Is it just me, or do these brownies taste funny?

Perhaps to satiate my youthful desire to partake in the forbidden fruits found in the "Alien" films (R-rated movies were persona non grata in my home) my parents bought me a few of these due, no doubt, to their colorful and non-threatening design. Not all of them looked like a junkie's worst nightmare, however. Enter the queen.

Detail

This queen was designed to be a child's plaything, not a collectible. She was never meant to sit on a shelf and preside over a hive, but to attack the strangely butch Kenner Ripley or perhaps devour a squad of stormtroopers. And yet, she still has an impressive amount of detail. The important thing here is that she looks like a xenomorph.

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If you hold this queen up to one based more closely on the film, you'll notice a lot of little details that are inaccurate or missing. The teeth, for example, look nothing like the ones in the film. Her head is too big, and actually blends in with her crest. She has six arms rather than four. But barring these details, it's pretty obvious what she's meant to be, and that was all that mattered when I was six years old.

Like some of her more refined companions, the queen's inner jaw is retractable, but it uses a different mechanism. Rather than being spring loaded, you push a little air sac under her crest to push the jaw out. It's an interesting concept that doesn't work as well as it probably should, but I'll give Kenner credit for trying something different. And hey, it was the 90's, so we were all obsessed with pumping things (remember those shoes?)

The queen's color scheme is more faithful to the films than some of the other members of this line. She has a black base coat with a nice silver wash, though this seems to vary on individual models. I've seen pictures where she's almost all silver, and others that are almost matte black. Mine strikes a nice balance.

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The inner jaw sort of looks like a fleshlight. But shush, these are meant for kids.

The queen's little back...er...thingies (seriously, these movies have been around since 1979, and nobody has confirmed what those things are for) are actually very movie accurate, and look pretty cool. She has all the ridged, exposed muscle groups in the right places, and her legs have some ornate growths that look really nice.

Overall, I'm really very impressed with how detailed this thing is for a kid's toy, and especially from a company not known for their attention to detail like Kenner.

Ripley
Exhibit A

Detail Score: 5 Rivets

Articulation/Balance

The queen's articulation is pretty much house standard for a Kenner figure. Swivels on all six of her arms, her legs, and in her neck. This is the same range you will find in every single Kenner figure pre-2000, and for a toy it works just fine. The joints are solid and meant to take a beating, and mine has been tossed around my surplus toy box for more than a year without incident.

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Raise the rooooof!

The coolest articulation feature the queen has is her "TAIL SWINGING ACTION!" Push a button on her hip, and her tail swings around with the force of a Mack truck. This was, of course, before toy companies treated kids like porcelain dolls and she packs a definite wallop. Set up a squad of stormtroopers, and she'll tear through them like a weed wacker. Or use her to take out your brother's eye. She can do both.

Since she's not a display piece, balance is sort of a non-issue. Still, if you're anything like me, you might want to set the scene of your childhood playtime before the havoc starts. In this case, the queen can stand up pretty well. Her legs are solid and the growths on her calves extend down to give her feet some added surface area. Her tail is angled downwards and props her up. I wish some of my display figures stood up this well.

Articulation/Balance Score: 5 Rivets

Durability

Not much to add here. She's a toy made by Kenner, and for all their faults, Kenner toys stand up to abuse amazingly well. I still have some old Kenner Star Wars figures that are in perfect condition despite their many adventures, so you can be sure this queen won't break from even the most vigorous playtime.  Possibly worth mentioning is her tail, which is a separate piece secured to her back by means of a fat peg. It actually anchors in pretty snugly, but if it becomes lost, her coolest feature is worthless. Well, you know, unless you're casting an action figure remake of "Grease" and need her to do the twist.

Durability Score: 5 Rivets

Value

I've done some research on this figure but I haven't found a source for the retail price in 1992. I would assume it was between 5 and 10 dollars, like most of Kenner's line in those days. Today, you can find her floating around eBay and Amazon with widely varying prices (some people are absolute morons who think they can charge outrageous prices just because a figure is old), but I picked mine up for around 7 bucks. She comes with a "queen chestburster", which is seriously the most adorable thing in the world, and it's a pretty solid price for a figure like this.

alien-queen-Kenner-avec-b-b--1992
Value Score: 5 Rivets

Verdict

I have a soft spot for old toys like this, even though I don't collect them with any regularity. They bring back good memories of wildly imaginative bedroom battles, and Kenner's toys definitely stand the test of time. For the nostalgia buff, Aliens fan, or just fan of the queen specifically, this is a nice addition to your collection.

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Boy, you think you grown?

FINAL SCORE: 5 RIVETS