VASQUEZ & NIGHT COUGAR ALIEN
ALIENS VS MARINE(KENNER)
The initial offering of Marines in Kenner’s Aliens line is interesting. We got pretty decent Ripley and Hicks figures, but we also got Apone and Drake, two characters who are absent from the last two-thirds of the movie entirely, and a nearly unrecognizable version of Bishop. Key players like Vasquez and Hudson were absent, and when we finally got an additional Marine in the second series, it was ATAX, a character invented exclusively for the toyline. When the third series hit, Kenner tried to amend this, offering both Vasquez and Hudson, but it was too little too late. Retailers in the US were having trouble moving the Marines from the first two series, leading to the cases containing the Series 3 Marines to be returned and, ultimately, destroyed. A fair number saw release outside the US, but not in nearly the same numbers, leaving US Aliens fans out in the cold. Fortunately, the 10th Anniversary Aliens Vs. Marine came to the rescue, offering a proper release of all three of the Marines, albeit in altered colors. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the first of those, Vasquez, along with her foe, the Night Cougar Alien.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Vasquez and the Night Cougar Alien were released as a two-pack in the KB Toys Exclusive Aliens Vs. Marine line, which was done as a celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Aliens. Both figures made use of previous sculpts with all-new paint schemes.
Vasquez is definitely a key part of what make Aliens so great. She was a really fun character who added a lot to the group of survivors as they battled the Alien hoards (and Paul Reiser). Unfortunately, her role as smartgunner kinda got taken by Drake in the first series (both are smartgunners in the movie, but Kenner seemed set on each Marine having their own gimmick), so she ended up being a little more generic here. Vasquez stands just shy of 5 inches tall and features 5 points of articulation. I don’t know why she didn’t get waist articulation like the others, but it’s not there. Vasquez is a total re-use of the Series 3 Vasquez, who was actually the only of the Series 3 Marines to get her own body sculpt. While she’s not a pitch perfect Vasquez, she’s probably the most film-accurate Marine Kenner put out. Some of the details are a little on the soft side, but she’s definitely Vasquez, and I’m amazed by the lack of 90s-fication that was so present on the other Marines. The paint on Vasquez only furthers her as the most accurate Marine. In the more traditional colors, she’s pretty much spot on to how Vasquez looked in the movie. My one complaint would be that she’s definitely way too pale to be Vasquez. Other than that, her paint is pretty good for the time. She doesn’t really have any slop or bleed over to speak of. Vasquez’s smartgun gimmick was taken, so she doesn’t have one of those, but she does come with what I believe is the only example of a proper pulse rifle from the Kenner line, as well as some large missile launching thing that she has trouble standing with.
NIGHT COUGAR ALIEN
So, the Night Cougar Alien is another Kenner original. That being said, apart from a terrible name, it’s actually one of the better aliens, and it’s got some precedent. Its quadrupedal design is similar to that of Alien3 ’s Dog Alien. I am by no means a fan of the movie, but the design wasn’t bad. The Night Cougar is about 4 inches tall and 6 inches long, and it features 5 points of articulation (there’s a 6th, but it’s tied to the action feature.) The Night Cougar Alien re-uses the sculpt of the original Series 3 version, which was itself a repaint of the Panther Alien. It’s a pretty good sculpt. Some of the details, particularly on the torso are a little soft and basic, but they aren’t too bad, and the figure does offer a fair job of conveying some depth. The figure features a more conventional Alien design than the previous two, which makes this figure work a lot better aesthetically. The original Night Cougar featured some pretty bold red highlights. This figure opts for the more subdued look that all of these two-pack aliens have. While the King was kind of hurt by such a change, I think the Night Cougar really makes it work. It helps that the Night Cougar has the subtlest work with the silver highlights, which really makes the figure look its best. This marks the first Alien to have an accessory; it includes a missile that can be plugged into the figure’s back. When the figures front legs are pushed forward, the head ducks down and the missile fires. As far as action features go, that’s a good one.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Just like Hicks and the King, and Drake and the Arachnid, Vasquez and the Night Cougar Alien were part of a large lot of Kenner Aliens figures I won on ebay. Vasquez is one of my main interests in getting the lot, so there was definitely some pressure for this set to deliver. Fortunately, this set is one of my favorites from this series. Vasquez marks one of Kenner’s best efforts on a Marine, and the Night Cougar Alien is one of their better aliens, which makes this set a real winner!