Kenner ALIENS Panther Alien Action Figure Kenner, ca. 1994
Day #250: September 28, 2011
Panther Alien Like a cougar, searching for cubs... to eat
ALIENS Action Figures
Item No.: unavailable at this time Manufacturer:Kenner Includes:Flying Attack Parasite Action Feature:Launching parasite Retail:$5.99 Availability: ca. 1993 Other: Repainted as Night Cougar Alien twice
Kenner really went all-out with its ALIENS toy line, given that the stars were weird murderous hive-minded beasts based on the artwork of the incredible yet unquestionably non-kid-friendly artist H.R. Giger. I mean, the Night Panther Alien softens some of the creepy elements of the basic Alien design, but it still has no eyes, sharp fangs, and an admittedly silly flying creature that shoots out of his neck.
Measuring about 7-inches long from the tip of the nose to the furthest reaches of the tail (before it bends back), the figure is designed to sit up like a cat and sort of "pounce" and launch a projectile. The little parasite fits right behind the clear amber colored dome on his head, and is only loosely inspired by the alien design. If anything, it's more like a bat mated with a Wether's Original candy. The larger creature retains the biomechanical aesthetic with the various tubes, ridges, spines, and chest all appearing as mutations of the movie design.
Arguably every alien in the line is an army builder, so you could have a pack of these if you wanted. (Did anyone want a pack of these?) When I first got the figure, its grey coloring with a orangey gold paint over the skin really brought it to life, and its dark grey teeth really stood out against the gritted mouth. It's a very striking image but it doesn't make for the best "action figure" in the world. It is, however, a fine toy. He can sit, and has limited ability to be posed. The head is geared to his two front arms, which move in unison and act as the lever to launch the parasite. Push them forward, and it shoots. The back legs move individually, and the tail rotates. It's really fun to play with, but I could see it being boring as a shelf-doomed collector's piece. This is a piece designed for you to have fun with your kids, or cats, launching the parasite on the floor while having fun on a nice afternoon.
...given the nature of the ALIENS license and the overall freakish look of the character, I understand how strange that statement must sound.
Younger fans-- or at least, my peers-- liked the designs when they were new, although the older toy collectors and dealers often scoffed at the departure from the films. As an old fogey I can see it both ways-- I've got a soft spot for Kenner's own original designs from the 1980s and 1990s, as the creativity employed to make something that looks like a movie creature (but not really) is a tough thing to do while integrating spring-loaded fun features and creating a toy you could hand a kid who, with any luck, would not be terrified by the creature. I thought the Alien design was cool from a young age and am glad to still have this one around our archives... and since loose samples start at $2 and carded ones rarely top $10, you could probably stand to get one yourself. I'm not saying you should, but if you like what you see and like toys you can play with, this is the figure for you.
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