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The full line of Kenner Aliens toys.

The Kenner Aliens toys were a 1992 line of action figures and accessories based on the Alien franchise, chiefly the 1986 film Aliens. A total of four series were released before the toy line was canceled in 1995.[1]

Several of the Aliens figures came packaged with exclusive Aliens: Space Marines mini-comics published by Dark Horse that told stories relating to the individual characters. Along with its Aliens toys, Kenner also produced a line of Predator figures.

Overview

The figures came in one of two "factions" — the humans, consisting of Lieutenant Ripley and the "Space Marines", and the Xenomorphs they face. Many of the Marine figures were based on characters from Aliens (albeit highly fictionalized), while the Xenomorphs came in a variety of altered forms, based on the creature's ability to inherit physical traits from its host species.

Some of the Kenner Xenomorph concepts went on to appear in other media — the Gorilla Alien, Snake Alien, and Flying Queen all appear in various video games, while several others appeared or were mentioned in the Operation: Aliens trading card comic. Several of the Kenner toys would later be repainted and released under the Aliens: Hive Wars moniker through Kay Bee Toys, along with several previously unreleased figures.

As part of Alien Day 2016, collectible toy company NECA released a "remake" of the Kenner Ripley figure; a repaint of their previous Aliens Ripley using the bright color scheme of the original figure, as well as packaging reminiscent of the original. NECA would go on to release several more figures of both Marines and Xenomorphs, that were based on the Kenner designs. Eaglemoss Collections would also begin releasing small collectible figurines of the Kenner Xenomorphs as part of their Alien & Predator collection, starting with a box set of the Snake and Mantis Alien in 2017.

Aliens: Hive Wars

Main article: Aliens: Hive Wars

In 1998, several years after Kenner ceased production of its Aliens toys, the company briefly produced a new line named Aliens: Hive Wars, which — despite its name — included Predator figures as well as Alien and Marine characters. These toys were sold exclusively by Kay Bee Toys. Similar to the Aliens: Space Marines mini-comics, a mini-comic was produced for this line but it was never released.

Proposed Animated Series

When Kenner were developing their Aliens toy line, they tentatively approached 20th Century Fox with the idea of producing an animated children's television series based on the figures. However, executives at Fox Kids, while enthusiastic, were concerned by the likely broadcast standards issues arising from trying to create a children's TV show based on such a violent film series.[2] The idea also met resistance from Fox's theatrical division, who, according to former Fox Kids executive Margaret Loesch, did not want to see one of its premier film franchises "turned into a 'children's property' at that point in its life".[3] As such, the project never progressed.

While no cartoon was ever created, Kenner did put together a series of three animated commercials for its toy line, created by animator Will Meugniot and AKOM Production, a South Korean animation studio.[2] These commercials showed the Kenner-designed Marines — including Ripley, Drake, Apone (who wore a "NO BUGS" t-shirt), and Hicks — battling against Aliens on an unnamed space station, with "much attention paid to the 'toyetic' elements of the marines' vehicles and weapons", according to Meugniot.[2] However, the commercials never aired, with Kenner instead opting to go with live-action advertisements showing children playing with the figures. Still-images from the unused animated commercials have since appeared online, often incorrectly attributed to an unaired (but completed) pilot of the proposed animated series.

In reality, no animated series was ever commissioned and the concept never progressed beyond a statement of interest from Kenner.[3] Rumors of an unreleased animated series titled Operation: Aliens persist, but are based purely on the unaired commercials and the Aliens: Space Marines mini-comics that came packaged with Kenner's figures.[4] While no television series was ever developed, the Operation: Aliens branding did see widespread use on children's clothing, board games, stationery sets, jigsaw puzzles, plaster molding kits and, perhaps most notably, the Operation: Aliens comic included with the Aliens/Predator Universe trading cards.

Products

The 1998 Alien Legacy trading card set included a rare full view of the artwork used on all of the Kenner Aliens and Operation: Aliens merchandise.

Series 1

Series 2

Series 3

  • Hudson (UK exclusive)
  • Killer Crab Alien
  • Arachnid Alien
  • Panther and Night Cougar Alien
  • Vasquez (UK exclusive)
  • Wild Boar Alien
  • O'Malley

Series 4

  • Bull Alien
  • Swarm Alien
  • King Alien
  • Rhino Alien
  • Mantis Alien
  • Snake Alien
  • Gorilla Alien
  • Warrior Alien (translucent blue)

Alien vs. Marine

  • Hicks vs King Alien
  • Hudson vs Scorpion Alien
  • Vasquez vs Cougar Alien
  • Drake vs Arachnid Alien
  • O'Malley vs Queen Facehugger

Other

  • 18-inch Alien
  • Collector's case (contains 12 figures)
  • Queen Hive playset

Bio-Data Trading Cards

Packaged with the UK exclusive releases of the figures were little collectible cards that featured a picture of the figure or edited images from the Aliens film (some of which weren't even edited and were direct rips) on the front and information about the character or Alien on the reverse. These were similar in vein to the cut-out collector cards on the early US releases, though where the US releases stopped including these collector cards by Series 3, the Bio-Data cards were included with every figure up until Series 4 (with the exception of the Alien Arachnid). Interestingly two of the card numbers (No.14 and No.15) have two separate cards attributed to them each.

List of cards

  • No.1 QUEEN ALIEN
  • No.2 GORILLA ALIEN
  • No.3 SCORPION ALIEN
  • No.4 BULL ALIEN
  • No.5 LT. RIPLEY
  • No.6 CORP. HICKS
  • No.7 SGT. APONE
  • No.8 DRAKE
  • No.9 BISHOP
  • No.10 ATAX
  • No.11 SNAKE ALIEN
  • No.12 QUEEN FACE HUGGER
  • No.13 FLYING QUEEN
  • No.14 WILD BOAR ALIEN
  • No.14 PANTHER ALIEN
  • No.15 NIGHT COUGAR ALIEN/PUMA ALIEN
  • No.15 KILLER CRAB ALIEN
  • No.16 RHINO ALIEN
  • No.17 MANTIS ALIEN
  • No.18 VASQUEZ
  • No.19 O'MALLEY
  • No.20 HUDSON

3D Pop-up Space Base Diorama

The NECA version of the diorama.

Another UK releases exclusive item was the 3D pop-up "Space Base" diorama for displaying figures on it. It was released in 6 pieces, scattered across several special figures marked with stickers, and each piece included part of a running story on the back that seemed to tie-in with the earlier released Aliens: Space Marines mini-comics. The diorama notably featured early designs of the Gorilla Alien and Scorpion Alien.

NECA later released an up-scaled version of the diorama to fit with their figures through their Alien Club subscription service. Three panels being released in Series 11 of their figures with the other three being released in Series 12 of their figures.

Trivia

  • Several Kenner Aliens figures were given away as part of a contest run in Aliens magazine, Vol. 2 #14.

Gallery

Figures

Other

See Also

References

  1. "Toy Archive - Aliens". Retrieved on 2015-07-13.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "AVPGalaxy - The Operation: Aliens Conspiracy". Retrieved on 2020-04-02.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The Internet Is in America - The Great 'Operation: Aliens' Mystery... Solved?". Retrieved on 2020-04-02.
  4. "AVPGalaxy - Operation: Aliens". Retrieved on 2020-04-02.

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