Monsters Vs Aliens
Ginormica, Missing Link, Dr. Cockroach, and Gallaxhar

Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest

If you're a parent - or just an adult that loves films geared toward kids - you know it's been a pretty dull 2009. Hotel for Dogs? Please. Inkheart? Meh. Race to Witch Mountain? Dude, you're killing me here.

Nope, the only really good kid's flick in the first three months of the year has been Coraline, which I highly recommend. Ah, but there's another one with potential on the horizon: Monsters vs. Aliens.

This is Dreamworks next big animated release, as they do their best to nip at the heels of Pixar. Last year's Kung Fu Panda proved they could produce not just a good movie, but a great movie - but was it a fluke?

From the trailers so far, it looks like it cold go either way. The basic plot has potential: Aliens invade Earth, and we enlist the help of several 'monsters' (the Missing Link, Ginormica, Insectasaurus, Dr. Cockroach and Bob) to battle the invading horde. But can they execute on a good plot?

Obviously, we won't know til March 28th when it opens. But the toys are already hitting Toys R Us, and include some small PVC figures, vehicles and playsets, as well as a larger action figure line. I'm looking at the larger line tonight, including the alien Gallaxhar, and the heroes Ginormica, Dr. Cockroach and the Missing Link. They also had the giant robot and Bob, but no sign of an Insectasaurus in this scale, although I assume there is one.

These guys rung a whopping ten bucks a pop at Toys R Us, and I doubt we'll see them get any cheaper any where else. At least not until they hit clearance.
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest

Packaging - ***
The packaging is pretty basic, and not particularly sturdy. The graphics are good, and the cardback does have some personalized info on the back. But it reminds me of packaging from a decade ago, rather than something from the last few years.

Sculpting - Missing Link, Dr. Cockroach, Sue ***; Gallaxhar  **1/2
While I have a number of issues with these figures, I actually like the basic sculpts.

These look like their movie counterparts, but of course Ginormica is not in scale with the others. She stands almost 10" here, taller than the rest of course, but certainly not at the same level as in the film.

You can put her with the smaller PVC figures, although she's still technically too short for that too. The PVC General is about 2 1/2" tall, so for her to be in approximate scale (assumine she's really supposed to be 50 feet tall), she would have to be at least twice this big. Still, she'll look better with the PVC's than her PVC version does.

All the sculpts are pretty basic, but Missing Link has the most texture detail. He has scaley skin, and includes his toenails and fingernails. I like the expression as well, making him my favorite in this category.

Sue is a bit plain too, but she's fairly average for your standard mass market toy.

Dr. Cockroach suffers the most from the cheap materials they've used. All four of these feel extremely cheap once you have them out of the package, with largely hollow bodies and very hard plastic heads and torsos combined with soft rubbery limbs. This isn't quite as big of a problem for Sue and Link, but Cockroach and Gallaxhar suffer from it in a big way. Trust me, in your hands, 'cheap' will be the first word that comes to your mind.

Link stands 6 1/2 inches tall, Cockroach comes in at 4 1/2 (not including his antennae), and Gallaxhar stands about 6 inches tall.

Paint - Missing Link, Cockroach ***; Sue, Gallaxhar **1/2
The paint work here is pretty standard mass market stuff. Plenty of slop around small details, and much of the color is largely due to the plastic being cast in the color.

The Missing Link and Dr. Cockroach has the best work, and have the most paint ops. My only complaint with Link is the lighter color used on the inside of the forearms, that doesn't match the upper arms. With the hands in the air, it's a striking difference.

Gallaxhar has the worst, with slop around the eyebrows, eyes, gloves, belt, etc. Sue looks pretty good at first glance...but for some unknown reason she has a number printed on the side of her left leg. Maybe there's some reason for it in the film, but it seems unlikely - it's on her uniform, and looks an awful lot like some sort of production number. Why would they put it in such an obvious place?

Articulation - Sue **1/2; Missing Link, Cockroach **; Gallaxhar *1/2
Out of the four, Ginormica is the best articulated. In fact, she can actually hold some interesting poses.

She has a ball and socket neck, pin/post ball shoulders, pin elbows, cut bicep (right at the sleeve), cut waist, V hips, pin knees, and cut ankles.

She really needs ball jointed hips, to allow her to do much with the little cars on her feet. She could also use cut wrists, but it's not a huge problem. She stands fine on her own, and the joints are fairly strong and sturdy.

The Missing Link has a cut neck, and cut joints at the hips, shoulders and tail. There are pin elbows as well, but that's it. He stands fine on his own, but he really only looks good with his arms up, or out in front of his body.

Dr. Cockroach has nothing but cut joints - a cut neck, cut shoulders, cut waist, cut antennae and cut ankles. That's enough to keep him standing with or without the gun attached, but not much else. Cut wrists would have been nice, and a ball joint at the neck would have really been appreciated. You can pop the antennae out of his head if you'd like, although I'm not sure why.

Finally, there's poor Gallaxhar. I'm not sure how these aliens can be a threat. He has a ball jointed neck, thankfully, but then there's just cut shoulders and a cut waist. The lack of wrist joints means he can do much with his raygun, and the joints he does have doesn't even allow him to stand on his own, unless you use some a hot water/cold water treatment to reshape them.

Accessories - Dr. Cockroach ***; Ginormica **1/2; Gallaxhar **; Missing Link Bupkis
The poor Missing Link got the short end of the stick in this wave, coming with nothing extra.

Dr. Cockroach has his weapon, pieced together from a variety of items including a golf bag and club. The bag fits on his back, and the gun fits on his right arm. His hand holds it well, and it looks good. He also stands fine with it on, because the external golf club works as a prop.

Sue has two little cars that can be used as skates for her feet. Their wheels turn, and her feet can attach to the inside. She also has a meteor rock, which I'm betting has something to do with our Alien friends. The center is a translucent blue plastic, which allows the light to shine through.

Finally, there's Gallaxhar. He comes with a glider and a nifty ray gun. So why does he end up with the lower score? Because they are prett worthless.

The glider is actually two pieces, one that fits inside the other. These pieces look good, although I suspect it's a little small scale-wise. To get him to stand on this glider, they included an arm that can be placed around his waist and attaches to the top of the interior glider.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work. The peg that attaches the arm to the base is too short, so that the arm falls off much too easily. On top of that, there's almost no way to get Gallaxhar to stay on top of the glider using this arm. You're better off tossing the arm and using some hot water to resent the placement of his spindly legs.

I do like the interior control panels on the glider. These are clear plastic bubbles with printed stickers on the other side, and look terrific.

He can hold the blaster in either hand, but because the articulation is so poor, he can't actually point it in any reasonable direction. The weight of the gun bends his soft rubbery arms as well, so if you put it in his hand for any period of time, he'll end up wilting.

Action Feature - Dr. Cockroach ***; Ginormica, Missing Link **1/2; Gallaxhar *1/2;
Since these are intended as kid's toys, they have the required action features. I don't particularly like action features, but if they can be incorporated without hurting the figure, and they aren't too lame, I can tolerate them.

Gallahxar's doesn't hurt the figure. His is a firing missile that pops out of the inner section of his glider. I think it's supposed to shoot out through the outer part of the glider when the inner part is tilted back, but it hangs up every time. The only time it works is when the inner section is removed from the outer section, and you manually press the button on the bottom. So while it doesn't hurt the figure, it's pretty damn lame.

Dr. Cockroach has a similar firing mechanism. His doesn't hurt the figure either, as it's a firing cannon sort of thing that attachs to his back and he holds in his right hand. It also fires well, with a pretty strong spring, so he gets a higher score.

Sue has those two small cars, and she can use them as skates. As I mentioned, there's peg holes in her feet that fit the pegs in the cars, but getting her to actually wheel along on them is practically impossible.

The Missing Link has another pretty basic feature - push the button on his back, and the arms drop forward. Yea, not particularly interesting, but it works well enough to actually add to the play value a tiny bit.

Fun Factor - Cockroach, Missing Link, Ginormica **1/2, Gallaxhar **
Some of these are just frustrating to work with, like Gallaxhar. But the other three are at least reasonably fun, if cheaply made. None of them are going to do anything particularly exciting, but kids could get some enjoyment out of Cockroach, Sue and the Missing Link.

Value - *1/2
Ten bucks? You gotta be kidding me. Yes, I know that seems to be the going rate right now for action figures, especially those based on movies. But these feel extremely cheap, and are pretty weak toys to begin with. Eight bucks would be a lot for them, and at ten, nobody is going to think they got a deal here.

Things To Watch Out For
Not much. While the paint work is generally cheap, I don't tink you'll get any that are all that better than the rest.

Overall - Missing Link **1/2; Sue, Cockroach **; Gallaxhar *1/2
Yep, these are intended as kid's toys. But that doesn't mean they can be crap - kid's know the difference, often times better than adults. A few years ago, McDonald's did Happy Meal toys for Monsters Inc. that were just as high quality, but slightly smaller. Likewise, they did Kung Fu Panda toys that came with a burger and fries that were just as nice of these, just slightly smaller.

At ten bucks a piece, you should expect more than that. Six dollar figures I could live with, particularly with some of the extras like Cockroach's gun, but ten bucks a pop? Uh, no.

If you're looking for a better Sue to go with the PVC's, this one has potential. There's also a large alien robot in this scale that might go well with the PVC's, and if there's an Insectasaurus, it might fit too. But this is a line that I'd bet will end up on clearance, no matter how good the movie might turn out to be.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - Missing Link ***; Dr. Cockroach, Ginormica **1/2; Gallaxhar **
Paint - Missing Link, Cockroach ***; Sue, Gallaxhar **1/2
Articulation - Sue **1/2; Missing Link, Cockroach **; Gallaxhar *1/2
Accessories - Dr. Cockroach ***; Ginormica, Missing Link **1/2; Gallaxhar *1/2;
Fun Factor - Cockroach, Missing Link, Ginormica **1/2, Gallaxhar **
Value - *1/2
Overall - Missing Link **1/2; Sue, Cockroach **; Gallaxhar *1/2

Where to Buy -
You're best bet is your local Toys R Us, where you'll pay about $10 each for these.

Related Links -
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Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest
Monsters vs Aliens action figures from Toy Quest

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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