CORPORAL HICKS & KING ALIEN
ALIENS VS MARINE(KENNER)
After the failure of the proposed Operation: Aliens cartoon, Kenner was left in a bit of a bind. They had already created much of the merchandise for the show and paid for the rights to the characters. They made the best of what they had and released the figures under the Aliens banner, passing them off as an adaption of the 1986 movie. This left the Marines in an unfortunate position, having no real pull with kids who hadn’t seen the movie, and not really resembling the characters from the movie enough to entice people who had seen it. When the third series of the line hit, US retailers weren’t interested in the marines, leading to their exit from the line. The line ended not too long after that. In 1996, it was the 10th Anniversary of Aliens, so Kenner responded by putting out a series of two packs, each featuring a marine and an Alien. Today, I’ll be looking at that line’s release of Corporal Hicks and the King Alien.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
This two pack was released as part of the 10th Anniversary Aliens Vs. Marine line(by the way, “Aliens Vs. Marine”? Like, is there just one Marine at a time?). The sets were released exclusively at KB Toys.
Hicks is probably the most important Marine in the movie, so it’s not surprising to see he was a part of the tenth anniversary series. His figure is 5 inches tall and features 6 points of articulation, which is actually 1 point above the standard Kenner articulation of the time. The figure is a head to toe repaint of the original Kenner Hicks. It’s one of the more faithful sculpts of the original line, so that’s pretty good. Some of his armor has been tweaked a bit, but he’s really not too far off. The head actually is a pretty decent likeness of Michael Biehn, which is fairly impressive for a figure from this time period. The sculpt also has some of the best proportions of the line, with nothing looking too out of place. Hick’s paint is passable, though it could be better. His torso, pelvis, and legs are molded in a swirly green plastic that sorta simulates camo. This works pretty well for the legs, which should actually be camo, but the torso ends up looking wrong. Some additional paint really could have helped here. Hicks includes a large missile launcher, two missiles, and a claw/gun attachment. These are the same as the accessories included with the original Hicks, just in slightly different colors.
The King Alien! One of the most memorable… oh wait, sorry, that’s not right. What the heck is the King Alien? Near as I can tell, he’s toyline escalation. We’d had the Queen Alien, and an even meaner looking Flying Queen. Where do you go from there? King Alien, apparently. The King Alien is about 6 inches tall and features a whole 4, count ‘em, 4 points of articulation. The King Alien is a complete re-use of the King Alien from Series 3 of the original line. That figure had totally new pieces, which surprised me. I had actually expected there to be re-use between this figure and the queens. The sculpt is alright, but not really anything special. It’s a rather boxy sculpt. It sort of follows the Alien aesthetic, but it seems a little strange, even for them. The figure is also incredibly stiff, thanks to the limited articulation and slightly awkward sculpt. It’s not all bad, though. The sculpt is fairly detailed, and it does have some nice texture work. The figure is molded in a slightly metallic black plastic, with additional silver details painted on to give the figure a bit more dimension. It’s all pretty well applied, though the silver details do get a little heavy in some areas. The King Alien includes no accessories, but he does have a spring-loaded pincer feature, activated by pressing a button his back, as well as a water spraying feature, activated by squeezing his tail (and adding water, of course).
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I missed out on the original release of these sets (I was collecting toys, but I had yet to see Aliens). I recently won an ebay auction which included a full set of the figures. This set is probably the weakest of this series. The first Hicks figure had a more satisfactory color scheme, in my opinion, and the King Alien isn’t one of Kenner’s better made-up aliens. At least the original King Alien had bright neon colors to keep him interesting. This one ends up suffering. It’s not a bad set, but it’s not surprising that this is the cheapest and most easily found of the tenth anniversary figures.