What’s Old Is New Again With Alien ReAction Figures

By bill - January 3, 2014

alien-reaction-featIt’s been almost 35 years in the making, and they’re finally here.

Super 7 struck a chord when they finally unveiled their Alien ReAction figures earlier this year.  The painstaking project realized a set of figures based off the cancelled Kenner action figures intended for release alongside Ridley Scott’s sci-fi/ horror classic in 1979.  Those toys never saw the light of day, and they remained near the top of every toy collector’s “what if” wish list of cancelled figures for over 30 years… until now.

There was such an exciting fan response from their first round of Alien preorders that Super 7 teamed with Funko for the mass production of this series, which includes all five originally planned figures in their vintage Kenner styling.  The set consists of the Alien, Ripley, Dallas, Ash and Kane in his Nostromo Space Suit.  Each figure sports relevant accessories and comes packed on a vintage style “coffin” bubble blister card, like the old Star Wars and GI Joe figures from the 80s.

Alien ReAction 56Thanks to the transition from Super 7 to Funko, the initial (more expensive) preorders were given special blue-trimmed packaging, while the standard edition is black.  The first wave preorders also included an exclusive “secret” sixth figure, a second Alien cast in smoky clear plastic.  It’s a cool looking colorway for the creature, but the solid color version still looks better to me.  My impression may change over time, but right now I’m a bit disappointed in the mystery figure… personally I was hoping we’d see a second Dallas or Ripley figure using Kane’s space suit body, instead.

It’s sort of unfair to compare these to other modern toys– the retro styling of the ReAction figures means they are somewhat crude sculpts and feature limited 5 points of articulation… but that’s entirely the point– these figures bridge the gap between pop culture collectibles and art toys, in their commitment to be as close as possible to what we would have seen from the long-lost 1979 line.  So yes, the sculpts are soft, and don’t bear much likeness to the actors.  Yes, the paint apps are simple, and the articulation quite limited… because that’s exactly what we would have seen from Kenner back in the day.

Alien ReAction 33Not unlike the Mego-style retro figures, the stylized aesthetic of the Alien ReAction figures is not for everyone, but me?  I love them.  Super 7’s designers did a great job of giving these figures the look and feel of authentic vintage Kenner toys, from the look and articulation, to the materials used, to their brightly colored weapons.  Even the card art, featuring stock photos from the film with a solid color border, feels very much like what we saw on store shelves in the late 70s or early 80s.  It’s a perfect realization of retro styling, and makes these toys both a very fun throwback and a recovered piece of toy history, finally taking its rightful place.

Alien ReAction 19I must admit, it still feels surreal to have these figures in hand.  I remember days of pouring over press shots of the aborted figures in toy collecting magazine as a kid, and searching through bins of old figures at yard sales and fleas markets, in the vain hopes of discovering a production sample of one of these guys.  And now, here we are, 30 years later and they’ve actually finally been released.

Super 7 and Funko are going to keep going with ReAction brand past this Alien series.  Toy Fair should see the reveal of other properties like Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a similar retro 3.75″ style.  I think it’s a cool concept, continuing to bridge that gap  between art and novelty toys, but I am curious to see how these other lines will do without the 30-year history of the lost Alien toys supporting them.  To me, that is the biggest appeal of the Alien series, and the most important reason why I’m so happy to finally have these figures as part of my collection.

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