If you’re into toy history, you may have heard the famous story about Ridley Scott’s Alien and the toy line it almost launched in 1979. Fresh off the success of Star Wars, Kenner was eager to keep the action going in toy departments and snapped up the license to another 20th Century Fox release — Scott’s sci-fi tale about a doomed crew and a terrifying alien creature. However, executives at the Cincinnati-based toymaker probably weren’t counting on the film being rated R, nor did they expect a parental backlash when they released their first Alien toy — a 12-inch creature that sold poorly and was ultimately pulled from shelves.
Years later, the James Cameron-directed Aliens paved the way for an Alien franchise, tastes changed, parents loosened up, and by the early 1990s, Kenner did have a line of Aliens toys at retailers everywhere.
In recent years, collectors have been well served with highly detailed Aliens figures from NECA, along with a jumbo-sized reproduction of the failed 1979 figure from Gentle Giant, and Super7 kicked off its ReAction Figures line by resurrecting the planned 3.75-inch Aliens line that Kenner scrapped in ’79.
But what about toys for kids?
Younger audiences are being welcomed back into the fold with a fun new collection of action figures and vehicles from Lanard Toys. Created under license from 20th Century Fox (now a Disney company), the Alien Collection is geared toward kids ages 7 and up and takes inspiration from elements of the entire franchise. By taking the “inspired by” approach, the collection is open to take some liberties with how it presents both the alien Xenomorphs from planet LV-426 and the Colonial Marines who fight them.
Most notably: These are some really colorful aliens!
The collection launched exclusively at Walmart and includes multiple Xenomorph Swarm Planetary Attack Battle sets pairing Colonial Marines, alien Xenomorphs, and accessories, such as Facehuggers, alien pods, and laser cannons. A pair of Xenomorph Attack Space Colony Defense Alien Battle Sets include vehicles, such as the Advanced-APC and the fan-favorite Power Loader, which Sigourney Weaver piloted as Ripley in Cameron’s Aliens. An Alien Queen Giant Poseable Action Creature completes the assortment.
For being affordably priced, the amount of articulation present in these figures is impressive. The Alien Queen towers over the rest, standing 12-inches tall and boasting 20 points-of-articulation (POA). If the Colonial Marines and Power Loader look familiar, there is a reason for that — they’re updated versions of toys that have previously appeared in The Corps, Lanard’s long-running line of military toys. The figures have been tweaked a bit to fit the Alien motif, and the Loader adds a new canopy to an existing Lanard mold.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to see this full range played with in my own home by actual 7-year-olds — our youngest daughter and some of her second grade friends. They love these things, and only one of the kids (not mine) has seen the Alien films.
Perhaps the biggest winner in the collection is the Advanced-APC vehicle. The simple military cruiser features movable cannons on the top and front and opens up to comfortably seat two figures. The exterior graphics feature fun nods to the source material including a crossed-out Xenomorph, hash marks of “bugs” taken out, and the phrase “Bug Crusher!” etched onto the top cannon.
While there isn’t a playset in this line (yet), the Alien Collection pairs well with the Ready Setz Space Base playset. The cardboard set folds for easy storage and presents a perfect environment for bug-busting sci-fi action!