Alien Signature Series

Palisades has been cranking out the Alien and Predator merchandise, in multiple categories. There's mini-busts and micro-busts, wall plaques and statues, and even some truly freaky plush.

One of the latest lines is the Signature Series of statues. These huge beasts are intended to be definitive versions of the well loved monsters from specific films. The first to be released is the Alien, from the original film.

These are very large statues, and they come with a large price tag as well. Suggested retail is around $200, but ebay auctions are running as cheap as $100 right now. There are plans for an Alien Queen and an Alien Warrior, both of which were shown at this year's Toy Fair. As usual, this is a limited edition, with a run size of 1500.

Packaging - **1/2
Bust and statue packaging serves one master - keep the baby safe. This huge box does that well, and I like the thick, sturdy interior foam. It's not that annoying crap that falls apart into a million tiny pieces and gets all up in your carpet.

The exterior art is a tad bland though, and the shots of the statue itself don't do a lot to sell it.

Sculpting - **1/2
This line is called the 'signature' series, which implies film accurate, at least to me. Now here's the really tough thing about the original Alien - we didn't see much of him on screen, certainly not well lit or striking a pose for us. Oh, we saw those big teeth, but most of our glimpses of the overall creature were fleeting at best.

That's enough to have a good feel for the creature though, even if you ignore that there are plenty of photos of the actual costume available. Looking at those photos and watching the film, I can't help but wonder how this was the 'signature' version.

The quality and technical aspects of the sculpt aren't bad - not even close to bad. The Alien detail work is excellent, and the sculptor is clearly talented. This just isn't a particularly accurate version of the character from the first film.

There's several things that seem a little off, others that seem way off. The feet for example, seem fat and oddly shaped. The duck footed pose might not be helping, and to be honest, who the hell noticed his feet all that much. After having mentioned the feet on Blanka and Dr. Satan this week, it's clear I have some sort of foot fixation right now.

The texture of the skin is another area that seems alien.  And not in a good way. The costume was always smooth and slimy, but this Alien is heavily textured and pockmarked. It does visually differentiate between various parts of the costume, but is it accurate? My memory is telling me no.

The teeth are rather blocky, more like Chiclets than nasty fangs of death. Not all the teeth suffer from this problem, but the majority do.

The materials used are generally very high quality, but the plastic dome did seem a tad chintzy, considering the price point. It's fairly thin, and seemed to be easy to damage. Take care when cleaning or dusting to not scratch it!

The head proportion appears to be fairly good though, is does the proportion of the arms and legs themselves. The sculpt is decent if not exceptional, and all my major issues will actually be covered in the Design section, where I will pick more heavily on the pose and style.

The statue comes in five pieces - arms, tail, base and body. Everything attaches fairly easily, and the pieces stay together well enough. Only the tail seemed a little loose, but not enough to cause it to fall off randomly.

Paint - ***
The overall paint scheme is a tad dull, although it's not out of the ordinary for this character. If you're a fan of black, you'll get plenty of it.

There isn't any metallic or sparkly look, which is a good thing. Most of the figure has a matte finish, but there is some use of a shinier gloss finish on some of the costume. There are a few small details, like the teeth and nails, but the teeth are a little sloppier than you would expect at this level. It doesn't help the blocky sculpt of the teeth any.

The dome is jet black, which makes it tough to see any of the sculpted interior. Something a touch clearer would have been much appreciated.

There is one patch of bright color here, on his right knee. I really think this was a case where they need to do something more creative with the base to allow for a more diorama like appearance, and give some more color to the overall statue.

Design - **
While the technical aspects of the sculpt were solid, the design leaves much to be desired. This is easily the most static and uninteresting pose I've ever seen from Palisades. For a company that generally produces dynamic and interesting work, it was quite a surprise.

He's standing, knees slightly bent like a geriatric version of himself, feet pointed out like a duck, tail curled in a completely un-menacing manner, with his head cocked to the side and arms outreached.

The reaching arms are his most dynamic feature, yet it seems half hearted, and fairly non-threatening. Consider how difficult it is for a creature like the Alien to appear non-threatening! The arms reach out to something in front of him, but the head is cocked to the side, perhaps listening, perhaps's tough to tell.

Overall, the pose is just so...geriatric. I used that term already? Damn. But it describes it so well for me. He looks like he's long since retired, perhaps living in Florida, and the only thing missing is the black socks, Bermuda shorts, and sandals.

Value - *1/2
At $200, you'd expect a mighty fine statue. Yes, this boy is big - close to 16" on the base - but size only can't justify a big price tag. The quality and design have to be there, and unfortunately, this pose just doesn't cut it. Fortunately, both the upcoming Alien Queen and Warrior Alien look far better.

Also, while I have suggestions for online dealers below (and since they are sponsors, you are morally obligated to buy from them, or something like that), there are some extremely good deals for this statue on Ebay these days. I've seen it sell for less than $100 in recent weeks.

Things to watch out for - 
When moving it from place to place, be sure to hold the base, body AND tail, since any of these three could easily pop off and explode on impact. The arms seem a little tighter than the tail, but just to be safe, hold on to those too. Use your prehensile tail.

Overall - **1/2
This statue was a disappointment, especially considering the generally high level of quality and design of other Palisades resin products. Considering the price point and the theme, I was surprised that it missed the mark.

It's one that only the completist will really be interested in, and you should hunt it up for the cheapest price possible. Thankfully, both the Alien Qeen and Warrior Alien appear to have much better designs.

Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt - **1/2
Paint - ***
Design - **
Value - *1/2
Overall - **1/2

Where to Buy - 
I haven't seen these at any b&m stores, but there are online options of course:

- Fireside Collectibles has him for $150. They also have the pre-orders up for both of the other Signature Series statues.

- Alter Ego Comics has him for $170.

Related reviews:
When it comes to Palisades and Aliens stuff, I have plenty of related links:

- Here's reviews of the Alien3 Queen Chestburster, the Captive Queen, the Special Edition mini-bust, the Warrior Alien mini-bust, Alien Chestburster mini-bust, and the Queen Alien micro-bust

- for the Predator fans, there's a review of the Defeated Predator mini-bust, the micro Predator bust, the Elder Predator mini-bust, and the very first Predator mini-bust they produced.

- if you're looking for other Alien goodies, there's reviews of the deluxe Alien Queen set from Mcfarlane (easily the coolest Alien toy ever produced), the Alien vs Predator Warrior Alien from Mcfarlane, the Movie Maniacs 6 Warrior Alien, the Medicom 12" Alien, the Aliens Mez-itz, the Movie Maniacs Dog Alien, and the original Alien vs Predator deluxe set from Mcfarlane.

- and of course there's the Palisades web site, where there's plenty of lively discussion on all their lines in the forums.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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