ALIEN COLLECTION (LANARD TOYS)
An Alien Queen review? Is it the post-Christmas reviews again already? No, I’m throwing you for a loop dear readers, and doing something that’s not totally predictable. Okay, that’s probably not true, because I’m reviewing an Aliens action figure, and that’s pretty darn on-brand for me. Alas, there goes my plans for spontaneity. So, in Aliens news, the license got picked up by a new and kind of surprising company: Lanard Toys. Lanard previously made their name with their G.I. Joe knock-off The Corps!, but first got into the licensing game with Kong: Skull Island, and then followed up with Rampage and Jumanji. So, while licensing isn’t a *new* thing for them, an R-rated movie from the ’80s does seem a little off for a company that sells exclusively in the toy aisle of Walmarts. Whatever the case, I’m not going to complain if it means more toys from my favorite movie. Plus, it’s been forever since I’ve reviewed an Alien Queen. My skills are getting rusty.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Alien Queen is the central piece of Lanard’s new Alien Collection, which started hitting shelves right at the beginning of the year. While much of the line is made up of Lanard re-purposing old tooling under a new branding (much like they’ve done with prior licensed lines), the Queen is a brand-new offering, designed solely for this line, and she doesn’t exactly have a lot of re-use potential after the Alien line is done. The figure is roughly 12 inches tall (with her slight hunch) and has 20 points of articulation. The articulation and its implementation is all fairly basic, but what’s there works and it works well. In particular, the ball-joints on the ankles work surprisingly well to help keep the figure balanced in a variety of poses. At first glance, I didn’t think much of them, but while taking the photos, they really stood out to me, especially in contrast to figures like the NECA Queen, who requires a stand to stay balanced (in their defense, so did the real thing; it’s one of the impossibilities of the design). Some effort has been made by the figure’s sculpt to cartoonize or kidify the Queen’s design a little bit in order to make a slightly sturdier toy. Most of this is in the legs, which now are more beefed up to support the rest of the figure. By and large, though, the figure remains surprising faithful to the source material. While it’s not got the screen accuracy of the NECA figure, it certainly lands closer than the Funko ReAction, or even the vintage Kenner attempts. They’ve boiled down all of the important elements and crafted something that immediately captures that spirit of the original design, while not being too horribly terrifying for kids par-oozing the toy aisle. In a lot of ways, I feel she would pair well with the Kenner Scorpion Alien in this respect. Another change to the design in the effort of keeping things a little more kid-oriented: the colors. While classically black with some blue highlights, the queen is now a rather vibrant purple…with some blue highlights. There’s not actually much paint, just the whites of the teeth and the few traces of blue, but it looks pretty striking, and the purple honestly shows off the sculpt a little better than a straight black might have. Though the Queen includes no accessories, she does get an action feature. Pulling her head back will shoot her inner mouth outwards, a surprisingly effective feature.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
When I found out that Lanard picked up the Aliens license, I’ll admit I was somewhat perplexed. However, the Queen was one of the first items to be shown, and I rather liked what I saw. Thanks to Max, I got a heads up that this figure had hit, and was able to find one just after the new year. I gotta say, I really love this figure, more than I’d anticipated, especially given the very low price tag. For the same price as a Marvel Legend, you get a figure more than twice the size, and very, very playable. I love my NECA Queen as much as the next Aliens fan, but if there’s one thing it was not, that’s playable. Having a Queen I can feel free to pick up and mess with is really solid, and a great alternative for those not looking to drop over $100 on a Queen. This is an absolutely fantastic piece for kids and collectors alike, and I hope Lanard can continue with such pieces.