12" Grid Alien

Mcfarlane Toys has a long history with both the Alien and Predator licenses.  They've released figures in various scales and styles over the years, and based on various films.  The latest releases include two new 12" figures from the Alien vs. Predator film - a Scar Predator and a Grid Alien.

Alien vs Predator was not the best movie to ever feature our slimy acid blood friends.  In fact, it could very well be the worst, although it would have to fight with Aliens 4 for the title.  Now, I have to admit I've never actually watched the entire film from start to finish, and have only caught bits and pieces on HBO.  The bits and pieces I've seen have certainly not driven me to seek out an extended viewing.

But some of the designs are pretty well done, and at it's concept - Aliens and Predators battling it out - it's a fun idea.  This latest pair of 12" figures are really designed to go together, but you can get away with displaying just one or the other if you have your character preferences.  The Predator has just started showing up at some retailers, but this is an early review of the Grid Alien.  He should hit stores in the next couple weeks, and retail for around $30. 

Packaging -  ***
It's a box.  It's huge.  And it shows off the better features of the sculpt, while hiding the less attractive.  The graphics are good, and it advertises the companion Predator.

Sculpting - ***
This was a tough one to score for me.  There are aspects of this figure I really like, and there are aspects that leave me completely perplexed.

In terms of things I like, there's far more detail here than we've gotten even on some much more expensive statues. The figure has a dynamic, fluid feel to it, and the huge tail - 23 inches of death - looks amazing.  I also am very glad that he is much closer to sixth scale, and not just 12" tall.

While 12" and sixth scale tend to get used interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing unless the character in question happens to be six foot tall.  Then he'd be 12" tall in sixth scale.  However, the Aliens are much larger than that in 'real' life, and therefore a sixth scale version should be much larger than 12".  This figure is 13" tall, even in his deep stance.  If his legs were posed straight, he'd be at least 16 - 17" tall, much larger than past action figures based on the character.  This means that posing him with other sixth scale characters looks much more realistic - this is the guy you want to face off with your 12" Hot Toys Hicks.

I also really like the head sculpt, even if the positioning of the neck is a bit awkward.  A better neck joint would have been nice though, to allow for a little more positioning of the great head sculpt.

But then there's the body stance itself.  The deep knee bends give him a bit more of a squat look, than a crouch look.  Crouch is good, crouch is dangerous, crouch is ready to attack.  Squat is bad, squat is goofy, and squat means he's going to be looking for the Charmin in a minute.

Fortunately, this pose can be greatly helped by the addition of either his partner, the new Predator, or another sixth scale figure for him to terrorize.  Standing on his own, he's copping a squat.  Standing in battle, facing an opponent, he looks ten times better.

Once you can get over the pose, there is one more oddity.  The arms are sculpted to be perfect in one pose of course.  What I mean by that is the sculpt lines up properly in one pose across the cut joints of the biceps.  Look at the shot to the left to see what I mean - the right arm has to be well off to the right, while the left arm appears to be imitating Michael Jackson.  Thankfully, the cut joints allow you to pose the arms in plenty of sensible ways, but the sculpt is never going to line up.

Once you get past those couple issues though, you will see just how well executed the horror and malevolence of this character are done.

Paint - ***1/2
There's not a lot of paint here, but what is here is well executed.  He's a fairly basic color scheme, without much to add for spice.  He does have the nifty splatter pattern across the dome of his head though, and the silver teeth are neat and consistent.

His dome is also done in a very glossy finish, while the rest of the body and head are matte.  This makes for a nice contrast, and adds some realism to the already realistic sculpt.

Articulation - **
Here's a place that a little more attention would have added some benefit.

The neck could have been a ball joint - it even looks like perhaps it is at the base where it enters the torso.  But alas, it can only turn, and not tilt.  Had it been a true ball joint, the head could have been placed in many more poses that would have improved the overall stance.

The arms have cut joints at the shoulders, biceps, and wrists.  There's also a cut joint at each hip, at each ankle, and one hidden up underneath the upper rib cage.  The don't allow for a lot of posing, but at least you can get the arms to appear threatening.

Finally, the huge, almost two foot tail is made of bendy rubber.  Unfortunately, it tends to go back to a straighter position, because the weight of the tail itself bends the wire inside back out.  But you can get it into some interesting positions with a little effort.  Not only is the tail bendy, but it has a cut joint where the larger portion attaches to the body.

Accessories - *1/2
This guy comes with one - his display stand.  With a little effort you can attach both feet to the stand, or support him off just one.  The plastic pegs are very long, and bury deeply in either foot, ensuring that he'll stay up.

This base can attach to the base included with his companion Predator, making for a fight scene from the film.

Value - **1/2
At $30, he's about where you'd expect him.  The sculpt and paint are extremely good (if you can get past the pose of the legs), and his sheer size is tremendously impressive.  He's no knock out value at that price, but he's no rip either.

Fun Factor - **1/2
If you have kids looking for a gruesome, violent, deadly monster to take on their 13" DC Direct Superman or perhaps their Action Cape Batman, then this might just be the guy.  That is if you don't mind them waking up from nightmares in the middle of the night. 

Things to watch out for - 
Be careful when attaching his feet to the base, since the pegs are fairly long.  You could snap them off, although it would take some effort.

Overall -  ***
This is easily a figure you can display in a home theater/media room type set up, and people will think it cost a whole lot more than it did.  It does not appear to be a toy, but rather a sculpture.

That being said, the pose really does bewilder me.  There's no way to really get this guy to look right by himself, and adding an additional figure to the display is a must.  Maybe that was the plan all along?

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - **
Accessories - *1/2
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall -  ***

Where to Buy -
You may end up seeing these at Toys R Us or Meijers, since previous 12" Predator and Alien figures did hit there. However, you're best bet is probably on line at this point.  This is an early review, so these are all still pre-orders at this point:

- Killer Toys has him for $30.

- CornerStoreComics also has him listed at $30.

- Amazing Toyz has him listed at $30 as well.

Related Links:
Let's just stick with the Alien related reviews this time:

- if you're looking to spend some serious cash, you should check out the Signature Series Queen.

- there is also the signature series Alien, and if you like this one you could probably pick it up pretty cheap these days.

- one of my favorite alien status is the Chestburster from Alien3.

- there's also the 12" Medicom version, a tad more pricey than this one.

- if you're looking for something a little more reasonable, there's always the MM6 Dog Alien and MM6 Queen Alien, one of the best Mcfarlane deluxe sets ever, or the AvsP Warrior Alien.

- Mcfarlane also did a Alien and Predator 2 pack before the film, based on the older versions of the characters.

- and if you prefer your Aliens cute, there's always the Mez-itz!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour