Kenner ALIENS Arachnid Alien Action Figure Kenner, ca. 1993
Day #195: July 13, 2011
Arachnid Alien A bug, crossbred with a bug, and it ejaculates on you
ALIENS Action Figures
Item No.: unavailable at this time Manufacturer:Kenner Includes:n/a Action Feature:Head squirts water, limbs can grasp prey, legs can move in and out Retail:$5.99 Availability: ca. 1993 Other: Nifty mutation in the 1990 Kenner ALIENS line
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, toy companies (Kenner in particular) were tasked with taking a movie license and stretching it across several action figures. When a hit film like ALIENS introduces a bunch of Space Marines and a couple of cool monster designs, toymakers have to figure out how to keep it going. That alien xenomorph is super-cool and ultra-freaky, but how can you go beyond the basic design? Simple: take a cue from Alien 3 and allow the alien parasite to take the form of its host, which resulted in gorillas, mantises, and this swell Arachnid Alien. The humans in the line got phased out in favor of Predators to fight, which was way, way cooler for kids than getting a Newt figure.
At about 7 1-2-inches wide, the figure is big enough to be threatening to 5-inch human figures while being a sizable, ugly, freaky monster. Articulated at the head, the pincers, and the legs (the two rear legs are molded together on each side), the figure isn't going to win any awards for being amazingly articulated but it is a funky, weird little creature. Kenner, back when their toys were made mostly for kids, tended to include fun action mechanisms and bright colors to keep the little ones coming back. In addition to grasping limbs, he could also spit water out of his articulated rubber head. It's a nice touch.
Sure, this critter never appeared in the movies or as far as I know any of the comics or other projects, but it does stand as a monument of how Kenner's toy team expanded the movie universes of several franchises. Plus while ridiculous, it's certainly not awful. (Well, it's awful cool, if you ask me.) The detail isn't spectacular-- heck, the head looks less menacing and more like he has some sort of orthodontist gear on his face-- but you won't see toys like this at the stores any more. At least not from sci-fi franchises, all the crazy new original designs tend to be placed on Spider-Man or Batman.
This bug-like creature's sculpting was quite good, and the deco is pretty limited by modern standards with just a few paint applications to spruce him up. I liked this one a lot because it was a strange mutation on the classic design, and collectors on eBay don't seem to think much of him given his cheap asking price. If you're sick of Hot Toys and high-end collectible prices, Kenner's 1990s ALIENS line is worth tracking down. There aren't a lot of variants, but there are plenty of exclusives, low-run items, stories about poorly distributed figures, and, of course, the obligatory tail-enders which were hard to come by. I like this series a lot because it's fun and relatively cheap.
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