DRAKE & ALIEN ARACHNID
ALIENS VS MARINE(KENNER)
Drake. Drake, Drake, Drake, Drake, Drake. Drake, in case you’re wondering, is a character that does actually appear in the movie Aliens. He’s a marine with a decent amount of screen time. That being said, he’s nowhere near as prominent as characters like Hudson or Vasquez, so his inclusion in the proposed Operation: Aliens cartoon, as well as his place in the first series of Aliens figures by Kenner is a bit baffling. But, here he was, so I guess that’s that. Let’s have a look at Kenner’s second Drake, released alongside the Alien Arachnid in 1996.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
These two were released as part of the KB Toys Exclusive Aliens Vs. Marine line, done to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Aliens.
So, I can kinda get Drake’s place in the original line, but his spot here is still weird. There were five sets done for the 10th Anniversary. Of those five, three were used to give a US release to the Marines that were supposed to be in 3rd series of the original line. That left two slots, which were given to Hicks and Drake. Hicks is the most pivotal Marine, so he makes sense. But why Drake was chosen over Ripley, or even Apone, is odd. Anyway, the figure is about 4 ½ inches tall, thanks to his slouch, and he features 6 points of articulation. He makes use of the Series 1 Drake sculpt in its entirety. While it’s not a bad sculpt, it share very few common traits with the Drake of the movie. He’s completely unarmored, wearing a headband, and his hair is quite a bit longer than his movie counterpart’s. At the very least, it’s an expressive sculpt. It looks pretty good, and it certainly stands out from the rest of the marines and their more static sculpts. The paint on Drake is pretty good, probably better than that seen on Hicks. Like Hicks, his lower half has been molded in that swirly green plastic to simulate camo. It works better here, mostly due to Drake’s lack of armor. The rest of the paint is all pretty well applied. There’s a little bit of slop on Drake’s Bandolier, but other than that, everything seems to be nice and clean. Drake included his trademark smartgun, as well as a bayonet to go on the end. Because stabbing the aliens with acid for blood sounds like a wonderful idea. The bayonet doesn’t fit on the gun on my figure, but that’s probably just an issue with mine. Drake also had a feature where turning his waist simulated gunfire.
The Alien Arachnid is yet another of Kenner’s aliens they made up for the line. Some of their designs were great. Some were bad. This falls somewhere in between. The figure is about two inches tall, 4 inches long, and 5 inches wide. The figure really only has 1 point of articulation, at the neck, as the rest of the movement is tied into the action feature. The Alien Arachnid is definitely meant to play up the bug-like nature of the aliens, but “arachnid” isn’t the term they want here, I think. Arachnids have eight legs, and this figure only has six, which would actually make it and “Alien Insect.” I guess that just didn’t have the same ring. They could have just added an extra pair of legs to make it work, though. The Arachnid’s sculpt is passable for the time of release, but it’s not really anything special. The figure has a rubber head, which makes the details there a lot softer. Kenner seemed to take this into account by making the rest of the figure’s details softer to match. The end result is a somewhat cheap looking figure, which is too bad. The Arachnid’s paint is similar to the King Alien’s; the figure is molded in a semi-metallic black plastic, with lots of silver highlights thrown in. The highlights still go a little overboard, but they aren’t terrible. The Alien Arachnid included no accessories, but it featured two action features. The first was a water-spitting feature, done by squeezing the head (after filling it with water), and the second is a lever on the back which pops the back legs up and down and moves the front legs back and forth.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The original Kenner Aliens hit before I was of an age to collect toys, and these anniversary sets hit before I was into Aliens. Like Hicks and the King Alien, this set was part of a lot I won on ebay. I actually had the original Drake at one point, but I lost him at some point, so I can’t really do a direct comparison of the two. Honestly, it’s a bit of a toss-up as to which of the two is “better.” Drake is one of the cooler marine figures, even if he was a bit off-model. The Alien Arachnid is better than the King in my opinion, but still not one of the better ones Kenner offered. All-in-all, this set is okay, but nothing really amazing. But, it’s also one of the cheapest of the 10th Anniversary sets, so if you just want something cheap amd fun, you could do a lot worse than this set.
Alright guys, I powered through what I feel are the weakest sets in this series. Tomorrow, the good stuff kicks in!