Alien - Special Edition Mini-Bust

Palisades Toys continues their line of highly successful Alien mini-busts with the release of the Alien: Special Edition.  What's so special?  The license was expanded to include all the films recently, and this bust is based on the 1977 film, but with a slightly new interpretation.

The bust, like the previous Alien, Alien Queen, Chestburster, and Warrior Alien, are sculpted by SOTA Toys.  They also have a Alien Queen Chestburster in the plans for this year, and with the popularity of the line, I'd expect to see more announcements in the coming months.

There is also a exclusive version of this bust, done in pewter.  It's exclusive to Aisle Sniper, and costs $250 - but it's got some truly amazing features.  It comes with three interchangeable clear domes, and a hardwood storage box with form fitting foam insert.  Make sure your shelf can handle the weight though - it's seven pounds of pewter!

This regular version has a suggested retail of $65, although I have several suggestions at the end that are less than that.

Packaging - ***1/2
This is one of the best of the Alien or Predator boxes so far.  There's more creativity here in how the graphics are positioned, and the overall layout is visually more interesting.

Of course, it's as sturdy as always, and the foam insert holds the bust safe and sound.

Sculpting - ****
Similar to the Warrior Alien in detail, this is truly an impressive bust.  The texture of the skin and base gives the bust a nice, creepy appearance, and the sculpted skull inside the dome sets this bust apart from all the rest.

The style of the sculpt is a little rougher than some might like, but I think it fits in well with the source material.  This interpretation is very Giger-esque, reminiscent of the original film but with a slightly different twist.

Paint - ***1/2
My favorite Alien mini-bust so far is still the Warrior Alien, and the paint work is what makes him stand out.  The SE Alien isn't as vibrant or colorful, and less detail work.

The details that are here aren't quite as well done - I think the slightly sloppy appearance of the teeth is a good example - but these aren't major issues.  At best it knocks off a half star of an overall excellent score.

Quality/Design - ***1/2
The design reminds me a lot of the old Mummy films, with the arms across the chest, head tilted down.  He was sleeping, until you just bumped into him in the mother ship...he's bearing his teeth and raising his head slowly, in anticipation of ripping your heart out.

You can imagine such scenarios with an excellent design like this.  Some may not like the tighter design - there's fewer claws and limbs sticking out - but I really like it.

My only nit is the soft dome.  Solid plastic would have been preferable, but even this softer plastic isn't all that much of an issue.

Value - **
I'm grading this at the suggested retail of $65, but I have a couple suggestions at the end where you can find it for ten bucks less than that.

I have to admit that I'm missing the days of the $40 mini-bust.  It seems as if all of them are edging up across the board, after several years hanging in around that forty dollar mark.  I'm not sure how much the market can bear when it comes to price increases for these already high end items, but I'm sure we'll find out this year.

Overall - ***1/2
I love the sculpting on the entire Aliens mini-bust line.  This is unique, because I tend to be a bigger Predator fan than Alien (in terms of monster design), but I find that the mini-busts for the Alien line are simply more eye catching than the Predator line.

The only thing holding this back from a perfect score for me are the slightly less compelling color palette, and the steep price.  Unfortunately, my dad was right - it's not a perfect world.  Actually, I think he may have said something more along the lines of "Life sucks, deal with it", but you get my drift.

Where to Buy - 
I haven't seen one of these at a regular retailer since the Alien Queen, but your local comic shop may have it in. On-line choices include:

- Aisle Sniper has the exclusive pewter version for $250, and the regular version for $60.

- Southern Island has a great price on the regular version at just $55.

- Likewise, Killer Toys has them available at $55.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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