Fisher-Price Adventure People Alpha Star Alien Creature Fisher-Price, 1983
Day #643: April 22, 2013
Alpha Star Alien Test Shots Rubbery, 3 Flavors
Adventure People Alpha Star Test Shot
Item No.: n/a Manufacturer:Fisher-Price Includes:Alien creature cream, painted alien creature, brown alien creature Action Feature:n/a Retail:$??.?? (I paid about $20 for the set) Availability: n/a Other: Bizarre but fun space camper vehicle
As a kid, the alien creature from the Alpha Star playset was a confusing beast. What was it? It was this weird frog dinosaur thing with teeth that looked like Darth Vader's mask. I found it to be a ton of fun and it went on many adventures with me, until I was forced to sell it at a garage sale at some point around the time I started trying to find old Star Wars toys at other garage sales. (I grew up during the period where Star Wars was dead and hit up kids at school's older brothers to buy their old toys with my dollar or two.) Prior to that, the Alpha Star vehicle was my stand-in for the Millennium Falcon as it was the only toy I had where Han Solo and Chewbacca could sit side-by-side. (I didn't get a Falcon of my own until the line was dead for almost half a decade, I think I got mine around 1990.)
By college I found I couldn't actually perceive continuing my hobby without having it back, and while mine was long gone I knew I could turn to eBay. So around 1999 I started looking for it, and I eventually found a really cheap ($30ish) boxed one to open and assemble. But before then I found the Alpha Star Alien Creature Test Shots for about $20 shipped. I saw another test shot show up in early 2013, and not knowing the full story I figured now is as good of a time as any to write about these things and see if someone can help me figure out what these test shots are and where they came from.
From my previous FOTD on the production piece: "The alien creature is effectively a non-squeaking squeak toy. It's hollow and has a hole on the bottom, and the frog/dinosaur hybrid is made of a soft, squeezable plastic. Molded in yellow, he has red skin and green eyes, plus some genuinely freaky teeth. I'm not sure what they were going for-- needles, baleen, or what... but it's unlike any other space toy I saw as a kid, and I always thought this was an amazing little creature. I've owned a grand total of three of these, and all have been colored this way-- however I have seen images online of one molded in orange plastic with green eyes, and I don't know what his story was."
The thing is, I also got three preproduction pieces off of an eBay seller and the kicker is one of the three is a much smaller, unmarked toy. Here are the details:
Production toy: Taken from a sealed box with a sealed bag inside. Bottom reads (C) 1983 Fisher-Price Toys 78 MADE IN U.S.A. Toy is cast in a slight orange tint of plastic. Roughly 4-inches long. Matte finish.
Painted toy from Test Shot Lot: Bottom reads (C) 1983 Fisher-Price Toys 31 MADE IN U.S.A. Toy is cast in a slight yellow tint of plastic. Roughly 4-inches long. Glossy finish.
Unpainted white toy from Test Shot Lot: Bottom reads (C) 1983 Fisher-Price Toys 79 MADE IN U.S.A. Toy is cast in an off-white plastic. Roughly 4-inches long.
Unpainted brown toy from Test Shot Lot: Bottom reads 2. No additional markings. Cast in brown plastic. Roughly 3 1/2-inches long.
In the above picture, the one on the left came from the lot of prototypes. The one on the right is the one I got from the boxed Alpha Star.
The figures are basically all the same - the three big ones seem to be cast from the same design and are basically the same size, with the brown one clocking in a half-inch shorter. It has no articulation, but they have this amazingly sculpted bumpy skin, very wrinkly flesh around the neck, and frog-like legs for reasons I cannot possibly fathom. I would give anything to talk to the designer of this hollow toy to know what the intent was and just what it's supposed to be from. Like a squeaky toy (or a Glow Ghosts figure), it has a hole in the bottom.
If you know anything about this thing - like if it has an official name, who the designer was, if there are other variations, and so forth - please do leave a comment or contact me. I would love to know more.
A post-script since I didn't talk about it before: also pictured below is the Alpha Star Trailer. If you bought the whole set in 1983, you got the trailer, a main car vehicles, and some figures which you can read about in FOTD #79. The trailer missed deadline as I was busy. Anyway, it's a nifty vehicle scaled to 3 3/4-inch figures. There's an opening side window, which opens on both sides to store the alien creature. The front of the vehicle has a trailer hitch and a kickstand, so the trailer works as a stand-alone piece.
A spring-powered and articulated claw arm is visible on the far side of the vehicle, and you can see an empty grey socket over the wheel in front. That's one of two places where you can position the rotating periscope. (It's awesome, a figure can stand on it.) In the back is an orange door, if you press the button it flips down and a little grey robot zooms out on the ground. It puts the "play" into "playset," the entire package is a thing to behold. There's some good detailing on it as well, and my sample is, oddly, not as yellow as the picture may make it look. Like a few other items I've mentioned here, the Alpha Star is really a "Treasured Childhood Toy" so my affection for it goes beyond mere "uh it's good get one?"
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