Hot Toys Aliens Kane and Dallas


"The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Jeff Parker is back tonight with a look at a line that's near and dear to his heart - Aliens! This time Hot Toys takes on Kane and Dallas in their astronaut gear - take it away, Jeff!

Thanks as always to our gracious host, Mr Crawford. Now, I feel I ought to point out that as some of you may already be aware, I am a very big fan of the original A L I E N movie, so when these figures were first unveiled I was about as happy as I’ve ever been about a new figures announcement, so some of my ‘enthusiasm’ will undoubtedly spill over…indulge me!

We all know that A L I E N had a tremendous impact on modern cinema and still caries great influence on the ‘look’ of science fiction movies today. Ridley Scott had been hugely influenced in turn by Kubrick’s 2001, Lucas’ Star Wars and the lesser-known Dark Star (this mid 70’s Sci-Fi oddity was from John Carpenter, and set the die for the concept of future space ‘truckers’, it’s also no coincidence it was written by Dan O’Bannon). O’Bannon had been working on Jodorowsky’s version of Dune, unfortunately that project fell into development hell, later to be picked up and realized by David Lynch, sadly now credited to the infamous Alan Smithee…but that’s a whole other story.

While he was on the Dune project O’Bannon met HR Giger (pronounced gee-ger and only gee-ger, never, ever guy-ger) who was working on the concept art, he also met Chris Foss and perhaps more importantly, for this review at least, Jean Giread (aka Moebius).

Now, when you mention A L I E N to any fan it’s generally Giger who pops into your head, and for good reason, as he created what is without doubt the greatest cinematic monster of all time, you may disagree, but you’d be wrong! However, there was another man just as responsible for the groundbreaking ‘look’ of the movie, and that man was Moebius.

He helped developed the ‘lived in’ but also semi corporate look of the hardware, uniforms and the EVA suits, and that brings us on nicely to this review.

Alien is way up there in my top ten movies, hell it’s in my top 5, I was 12 years old when I snuck into see it and it effected me profoundly, in much the same way as Star Wars had just a couple of years earlier. Everything about the movie just worked! Great performances, great effects, great story, an amazingly scary bio-mechanical nightmare of a creature and the coolest spacesuits I had seen since the Apollo missions (later shamelessly ripped off in the Sean Connery vehicle, ‘Outland’) so in a nutshell I was taken to the edge in Sci-fi heaven with this movie. Scott then tipped me over completely three years later with Blade Runner (this one tops my favorites’ list!). You can see some of Moebius concept art here, here and here to give you an idea of how influential his designs were.

And here are my other ALIEN related reviews to date-
Medicom ALIEN 
HT Cprl Hicks
HT ALIENS- black + brown ALIEN comps
HT ALIENS- Power Loader
HT AvP:R- Predalien

Packaging: ****
Absolutely outstanding, these boxes are a bona fide work of art!

The outer sleeve shows the exterior of the Moebius designed helmet with a cut away where the glass should be, inside this hole is a sheet of transparent acetate so you can see…the inner box, which has, in the case of Dallas his face and on Kane the face-huggered head (the acetate on Kane’s box even has a die-cut hole to mimic where the face-hugger has burnt through). 

The rest of the package is covered in photos of the figures. The inner box is the traditional flap-fronted design with the inner flap having a brief bio and the window opposite shows the disassembled kit form figure. Slide the tray out and the other thing that becomes apparent is that to add a little extra protection to these potentially fragile figures, they come nestled in formed Styrofoam trays, this is a great idea and reminded me of my old Aoshima Endoskeleton and of course many statues. This material has a far higher ability to absorb any knocks your figure may experience in transport and means there’s a lower chance of the contents being damaged, a very well thought through and beautifully designed bit of packaging, Dixon Chan and Monster Jnr have created my favourite Hot Toys box to date.

Lordmasterprince over on SSF has already done a great mini-review of these two figures, here’s Dallas and Kane, there are some great shots there, and I’m sooooo freakin envious of the Giger designed, Harkonnen chair he used as a very impressive back drop.

Sculpt: ****
Yep, that’s right, four whole stars for both! The sad thing is the Kane figure ‘obviously’ looks NOTHING like John Hurt, and that is a real shame, especially when you see how well LM Ling’s work on Tom Skerritt as Dallas came out. But I just can’t mark Hot Toys down for something that is completely out of their control. We’ve all seen the outstanding likenesses that HT can give us when they are ‘allowed’, but in this case that permission was sadly declined. Now, I would have loved this to come with a perfect likeness, but as that wasn’t ‘legally’ gonna happen we get a generic sculpt (looking like a cross between John Holmes and Freddy Mercury) but this head won’t see the light of day with many collectors, as they also include a ‘face- huggered’ head and an acid melted face glass for the helmet, so all is very far from lost!

Because of the PVC/rubber nature of the suits everything here is sculpted (another reason for my full score), but sculpted beautifully. I was rather disappointed when I first realised these wouldn’t be cloth/mixed media suits, but the intricate nature of the Moebius design would have made that neigh on impossible at this scale and the price would probably have to be doubled. 

Dallas’ face is a fantastic sculpt of Tom Skerritt as he appeared in the movie, he has neutral but reasonably ‘determined’ expression. A few hairs just flick out from under his sculpted, inner leather flight helmet, this is sculpted beautifully as well, in fact, in the first few proto pics I saw, I thought it was fabric. There’s some fantastic work on the seams, straps and studs etc. but once behind the visor you’d be hard pressed to tell it wasn’t a separate garment. 

Kane’s face, as I’ve already gone over, is in no way, shape, manner, or form anything like John Hurt (quiet sigh!) but is still a beautiful, all be it ‘random’ generic sculpt. When I first saw pics of the new head, I pondered if they had tried to make it look a little like John Finch, the actor who originally started filming as Kane, but had to drop out because of illness, however, the more pics I found of him I began to think better of it, would have been cool though!

We also get the head with the face-hugger attached; this is a welcome extra, especially because of the likeness issues. It’s a good solid sculpt but lacks a little of the definition that marks HT best work. In fact one of the continuity bug bears that often crops up amongst ALIEN fans is just how did that big’ol face-hugger get through that tiny melted hole in the helmets visor…well it did…just accept it!

Working down the body it would be just too complex to try and describe every detail, I’m hoping my pictures can ‘paint the thousand words’ but in brief they both have identical outfits with different colour schemes. I shall cover the details in slightly more depth under the ‘outfit’ section.
You also get two rather cool bases; each shows a section of the egg chamber floor and has a pre-formed sinewy cup for the supplied ALIEN egg to sit in. Purists will realise these are closer in scale to the eggs from the latter movies, as in ALIEN they stood a little higher. The two bases are essentially identical, but the eggs differ, the one with Dallas is closed and Kane’s is open, showing the top of the albumen sack and the exposed tail of the face-hugger within. The ‘unopened’ egg is the same design as the containers used on the HT snap-kits for the ALIENS series, but even though re-used, they make for a far more interesting stand and base than the plain black ones usually supplied. 

Suffice to say these two figures show some absolutely outstandingly detailed work, and even though I admit to having an ALIEN bias, these have shot to the top of my personal favourites!

Now where is Lambert and of course Ripley in their respective spacesuits? C’mon Hot Toys you have to at least complete the away team…and I’d love the crew in their normal outfits but most importantly we want the big chap himself!

Paint: ****
Both the heads with their attached leather helmets are painted accurately with some great subtlety and absolutely no slop, the eyes don’t look as wet as some of HT more recent figures, but they are still an outstanding job. The ‘huggered’ head doesn’t fare quite as well. It still looks fine when in the helmet, but doesn’t have the close, accurate attention to detail we are used to from the HT stable. So if you are contemplating a bash of Kane in the Med-centre you may want to get your paintbrushes out!

Because of the nature of the rubber suit, the rest of the figure is also painted, they have different colour schemes, Kane is yellow and Dallas pink, but essentially they are same in all other respects. Some nice washes have been used to help pick out the ‘ribbing’ of the material and some very fine work has been used to pick out the network of laces that run around the limbs and up and down the torso. All of the solid parts are painted to look like a dull grey metallic, iron alloy type of colour and have some very convincing weathering and patinas. They both also have some finely detailed decals applied, both have their respective names on their chest plate armour, this is repeated on their back-packs, in fact the back-packs even have a small ‘Wayland Yutani’ logo as well, I’m pretty sure the originals didn’t have this as ‘the company’ was nameless in the first movie, but it’s a nice nod to what comes after.

I love the dirty, slightly beat-up nature of these suits and as they are the EVA suits of a deep space, mobile refinery that visits remote mining facilities it has just the right mix of utilitarian protection and industrial chic, just beautiful.
Both can stand up to some very close scrutiny, but from a slight distance on a shelf the job is just breathtaking!

Articulation: ****
Both use the true-type described here but just like in the real world, and just like the actual outfits used on set (trivia - small versions of these outfits were also made for children to wear while filming, giving the illusion of the film-set being a much bigger scale) these will restrict movement. However, the PVC/rubber used is pretty soft, and I don’t think you’ll have any real difficulty getting them into any of the positions you saw in the movie.

Accessories: ****
This is the only area these figures differ a little.
Dallas has-
- searchlight
- pistol with sheath
- portable crane
- Figure Display Base featuring an Alien egg in 1/6th scale.

Kane comes with-
- searchlight
- pistol with sheath
- extra bonus: face-huggered head and damaged helmet
- Figure Display Base featuring an open Alien egg in 1/6th scale.

I can’t think of any thing else these two could have had, and just like the ALIENS Colonial Marines the attention to detail on all their hardware is fantastic, my only slight gripe is that it would have been so cool if the portable crane/winch could have opened up, but that’s just wishful thinking. I really like the pistols as well, but you’ll find the hands can’t grip them particularly well because of the bulky gloves, in the movie Kane is seen holding his gun briefly, as he prepares to peer into that fateful egg, so it’s just nice that they gave them this attention to detail.

Outfit- ****
Dallas has-
- PVC/rubber spacesuit
- helmet featuring a clear and movable shield
- gloved hands
- back pack
- shoulder armour
- breastplate
- boots.

Kane has-
- PVC rubber spacesuit

- helmet featuring a clear and movable visor plus acid damaged visor
- gloved hands
- back pack
- shoulder armour
- breastplate
- boots.

Both have a PVC/rubber suit, sculpted to mimic a ribbed heavy coated canvas material, this is interspersed with areas that have straps, webbing, laces and pockets. This has a very convincing look, and is split up to be separate trousers, vest and sleeves but thanks to the overlapping with belts and the shoulder armour, you’ll hardly see the joins. The feet are solid boots with the ankle posts ‘popping’ directly into them giving a reasonably good range of movement for such bulky footware. Strapped over the lower legs are two shin-pads, these are solid items that strap to the legs using tiny-scaled ratchet grips, ahh, takes me back to my days of playing cricket at school! 

The hands/gloves are again solid sculpts, but the material used has enough malleability to let them grip the torches just fine. We then have the belt with holster and more strapping holding the backpack, chest-plate, stomach-mounted control box and shoulder armour in place. Next up is the fantastic helmet, there are instructions included on how to put the helmet on and take it off, and I advise you take note. When I first kitted up Dallas I had trouble getting him to face forwards, but soon found that if you pop the visor out (as in the instructions) you can gently manipulate and twist the head till it faces fully forward, on screen the actors heads were a little higher inside the helmets but this is still a good approximation at this scale, and if it does bother you, they can easily be modified to sit higher. Lastly, there are two solid control boxes glued to the sculpted forearm straps. 

Two very complex and highly detailed outfits carried out to near perfection.

Action Feature - ****
Most of the time, when you see the words ‘action feature’ it means you are about to be severely disappointed, but not this time though!

The backpack and helmet both have small buttons, cleverly camouflaged to mimic parts of the design. When pressed, small but fiercely bright LEDs light up, a row of four small coloured ones on the back-pack, three small coloured ones inside the helmet and a large white one on the head mounted torch.

This feature really helps bring these figures to life and works fantastically well.

Fun factor- ****
It’s pointless even thinking about ‘playing’ with these, the price alone will deter all but simpleminded millionaires from giving these to anyone under 15 years of age. These are construct and display pieces only, aimed squarely at your serious ALIEN fans and collectors, so they’ve made this particular ALIEN fan extremely happy…now I’m off for some fun!

Value: ****
Sideshow had these for $149.99 a pop, but Kane sold out some time ago, you can still get Dallas for that price on pre-order. 

Now, $150 is a lot of moola for a figure, but the level of detail, the cool light-up action feature and the top notch packaging mean I actually think that price is fair, but if you shop around at some of Michael’s sponsors listed below and linked on the home page, you’ll find them for a whole lot less. These are definitely $150 figures to me; I would not begrudge a cent!

Overall: ****
I like these, I like them A LOT, can ya tell, huh, huh, can ya!

But I KNOW this will not be the case for everyone.
I think this might be my first complete clean sweep of full marks for every category, there were a couple of minor issues, but nothing that detracted enough for me to ‘mark down’. Obviously, if the be all and end all factor for you is Kane’s likeness, then the whole figure is a no go for you, but if you’re more a dyed in the wool ALIEN fan, then this is quite simply the best version of these characters released to date. The price, though high, sadly reflects what we have to pay for many high-end imported figures these days, and with that in mind they certainly seemed to surpass many others released recently that carried an even higher price tag.

These are fantastic representations of two of the most striking outfits in the original ALIEN movie, up until now all that had been available were the two small Aoshima snap-kits. They were nice! But these figures give the Moebius design enough room to show off all of its intricate, you could even say ‘over-designed’ complexities, like the strange patters covering the helmet that look like glyphs and the network of laces that cover the suit. And to top it off we have the cool light-up features, just amazing, one, nay two of my 1/6 prayers have been answered with these two figures!

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ****
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
As I said above, Sideshow imports them officially at the price quoted above (Kane and Dallas), or you can try out the list of approved stockists below. If I were you, I’d go get one…however, I’m not, so the ball’s in your court (cups hand over mouth and whispers, ‘go get both!’) I think you’ll be very happy.

Alter Ego Comics
Both $134.99 pre-order

Both $134.99 pre-order

Dark Shadow
Both $149.99 pre-order

You could also try Michael’s sponsor


Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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