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Hot Toys Aliens
Kane and Dallas

Hot Toys Aliens Kane action figures

Occasionally, I screw up.  Yes, I know that's hard to believe (unless you talk to my wife), but once in awhile it happens. And it happened with the Hot Toys Alien and Aliens lines. I picked up the first couple Marines, but thought I'd never need them all - or that Hot Toys would produce all that many. So when Apone and Vasquez went on sale, I skipped them. Big mistake, as now I have all the rest of the figures, but will probably never add those two to the display. Don't make the same mistake.

Hot Toys most recent releases in the line are Dallas and Kane in their space suits from the first film. I'm smart enough to learn from my mistakes, and now I buy Hot Toys figures first, worry about how I'm going to pay for them later.

These two will cost you too, running about $150 each. While that's certainly not chump change, you do get some very nice features including some nifty lights, always a plus.  And of course, you get that Hot Toys quality, which is becoming legendary at a startling rate of speed. But are they all that and a bag of chips? Let's see.
Hot Toys Aliens Kane and Dallas action figures

Hot Toys Aliens Dallas action figure
Hot Toys Alien Kane action figure
Hot Toys Aliens Dallas action figure
Hot Toys Alien Kane action figure
Hot Toys Alien Kane action figure
Hot Toys Alien Kane action figure
Hot Toys Alien Kane action figure
Hot Toys Alien Dallas action figure
Hot Toys Alien Dallas action figure
Hot Toys Alien Kane action figure
Hot Toys Alien Dallas action figure
Hot Toys Alien Kane and Dallas action figure

Packaging - ****
Hot Toys is second only to Sideshow in producing attractive, high quality packaging, and in some ways surpasses even them.

The photos and graphics on the box are excellent, and I love how the helmeted heads on the outer sleeve have a three dimensional quality. While Sideshow uses the wrap around fifth panel box for their best boxes, Hot Toys employs a outer sleeve over a more traditional inner fifth panel box.  It's a bit wasteful of course, but it's also attractive enough that I'll let it slide.

I do wish there was more text, giving us something in terms of film and character background.  There are instructions (search for them under the inner pack), but even these are rather sparse.

The box is completely collector friendly once again, but they have a  major plus, going with a Styrofoam inner tray rather than the usual plastic. The Styrofoam is much sturdier, and is likely to keep the figure much safer.

Sculpting - Dallas ****; Kane ***1/2
There is no doubt in my mind that Hot Toys will be getting my Best Sculpting gold award for 2008.  They've stepped up their game this year to a level I didn't think possible in such a short period.

However, I'm a bit old school when it comes to likeness. My theory is simple - if a person or characters name is on the box, the figure better look like that person or character. 

Dallas looks just like the character, with an extremely realistic sculpt. There's nothing toy-like about it, and the texturing on the lips, beard, sculpted cloth inner helmet and skin is nothing short of amazing. Just look at the photo to the left - how many action figures can you look at magnified to that level, and it still looks that realistic?

Not only does it look real, it looks like Dallas as played by Tom Skerritt. Unfortunately, for Kane, the same cannot be said.

Kane's sculpt IS extremely realistic. The paint work isn't quite as good as Dallas, as the mustache is a little less detailed, and the skin tone is off. But stripped of said paint, I think the underlying sculpt is very life-like.

Ah, but it's not Kane as played by John Hurt. It's even like Hot Toys went above and beyond to make this look nothing like the John Hurt Kane - how else do you explain the bad 80's porn star mustache?

Actually, there may be another explanation for that bad mustache. More about that in a minute.

I understand that Hot Toys probably had issues getting the rights to do Hurt's likeness.  I can appreciate that.  But consumers - me included - don't really care about the trials and tribulations of rights negotiations.  If the box says "Kane", it should look like Kane. If you can't limn the character, don't say it's the character.  And yes, "limn" is a real word.

I am only docking them a half star though, for three reasons.  First and foremost, this is not an error of quality but an issue of legality. If they were TRYING to make it look like Kane as played by John Hurt and it came out looking like my cousin Bob, the deduction in this category would be much more severe.

Second, it's going to be a rare display where this head isn't largely covered by the helmet. In fact, most folks won't use this head anyway, but will be displaying this figure with the accessory head wearing the face hugger, inside the helmet with the melted visor.  Let's face it - that's the way we remember Kane the best when he was wearing this suit.

And the final reason?  The same reason I think he has a mustache - because they modeled the Kane figure on Jon Finch, the actor who was originally going to play Kane. Ridley Scott wanted John Hurt, but Hurt was contracted for another film. Jon Finch was hired in his place, but then Finch got seriously ill and had to drop out. Hurt's film deal fell through at the same time, and he stepped in to be Kane. However, it certainly looks to me like Hot Toys based their Kane sculpt off of Finch's likeness (see the inset), which gives them points in my book.

"Limn". Go look it up.

Paint - Dallas ****; Kane ***1/2
When it comes to paint, the Dallas and Kane figures fall pretty much in line with their Sculpt.  The paint work on Dallas is simply outstanding, with an amazingly life-like look to the eyes, mouth, skin and beard. This goes well beyond simply being clean and neat - it takes it to a whole new level of art.

Kane is very clean and neat, but has a couple aesthetic issues for me.  First, the skin tone has a grayish pallor to it that doesn't work for me. Hot Toys uses the cast plastic color for their heads, and they do it better than anyone on the market, but the skin shade they picked for Kane ain't doing it for me.

The work on the eyes is clean if a bit zombie-ish, but the mustache looks far less realistic than the facial hair on Dallas. Perhaps they didn't go quite as all out on this one simply because they new it wouldn't be as critical.

The haters of the 'doll dots' will be happy to know that there are no catch lights added to the eyes on either figure.

Articulation- ***1/2
Both figures use the standard Hot Toys TrueType body, and it works surprisingly well with the restrictive suit. Personally, the TrueType is my favorite body on the market right now. I had no trouble getting the figures into key poses, and they can hold them indefinitely.  No need to use the stands if you don't want to.  They can't take deep stances, sit, or kneel, but I have a hunch all those things were pretty tough in the actual suits too.

The hands and feet pop onto the ankle and wrist joints just fine, although you do want to take some care in lining them up properly. It's possible to snap the small posts with the hard rubber feet and hands if you're not careful, and I had one Hell of a time getting the hands on Kane. You might want to run some hot water into the hand and/or boot to soften them up before forcing them on to the pegs.

I do wish they'd added an extension for the neck to bring the head up about another quarter of an inch inside the helmet. I'll gripe about that again in the Outfit section, but it's really in this section, as part of the base body, that it was needed. It's the reason I'm docking them a half star here, and it really did bug me.  Now, I'll also admit that it bugged me more when I first started working with the figures than it did after I'd had some time to play around with them, but the simple fact is that the heads don't sit up far enough in the helmets to avoid rubbing their chins, or to appear correct when you're looking at them from the outside in. After futzing for awhile I found that if you have them bent at the waist and knees, and are looking down toward them (like in the very first photo), it isn't quite as bad, so I'd recommend putting them on a shelf below about chest level.

Accessories - ***1/2
While there's some re-use between the two figures, it at least makes sense, and there's enough unique accessories added to make it up.

They both carry the same flashlight, as well as the same gun.  The light has a cloth strap, and fits nicely in their hands. The gun doesn't fit quite as well in the big bulky gloves, but it does fit well enough to look decent.  It also fits in the futuristic minimalist holster on their belt.  Just a note: don't try to open the strap on the holster, as it's glued in place.  The gun can slide in under the strap.

Both also have the Alien display bases. These are much nicer than the usual sixth scale stand that would have a plain black base and arm, with perhaps the logo on the base.  Here, the base is formed like a piece of the floor in the 'egg room', and each figure has an egg that sits on the base.  Dallas' egg is closed, while Kane's is open, revealing the facehugger inside. You don't have to use the stands to keep them upright, but because they add so much to the display, this is one case where you might want to consider it anyway.

Dallas has one additional unique accessory, his portable crane.  There are two cloth straps around the crane, as well as real metal hangers on the sides. However, the crane itself is a single piece of plastic with no articulation or ability to open.

Kane does even better, since he also has the second facehugger head. The heads pop on and off pretty easily, certainly easier than the hands and feet. The sculpt on the second head is just as good as the normal versions in terms of detail and realism.

Not only that, but Kane comes with a second plastic visor to put on the helmet. This visor has the melted center, where the facehugger burned its way through.

Outfit - ****
One of the biggest concerns most folks had when these figures were first announced was the outfit - rather than go with cloth, Hot Toys chose to use a rubber material.  And there was much gnashing of teeth and wailing of voices.

However, the choice worked out extremely well.  I have no idea how they could have produced a knit material with this kind of detail and color in this scale, but by using the rubber material, they were able to match the film version almost perfectly.

Softer rubbery materials usually don't hold the extreme detail of a sculpt quite as well as hard plastic, but that's not a problem here at all.  The amount and quality of detailing in the ribbing, wrinkling and fake stitching is eye popping.

They also wisely went with mixed media in completing the suit.  All the brown straps used to hold things in place, like the shin armor, shoulder armor, backpack, chest piece, etc. is fabric, not plastic. They are not permanently attached to the suit, and you can adjust them accordingly.

Appropriate areas are hard plastic, like the chest plate or shin armor, and the contrast works extremely well.

The color of the basic suit is different for Kane and Dallas, and looking at stills from the scenes in question, it looks to me like Hot Toys got it very, very close. Personally, I like the color of Kane's outfit a bit better than Dallas', but that's a personal preference thing.

Let's not forget the helmet.  It attaches to the collar tightly (a bit too tightly if you're swapping it a lot), and on it's own looks fantastic.  I'll talk more about the light up feature in a minute, but the sculpt work on the metal surface and interior panel is terrific. There's a large hose on the back that attaches to the oxygen pack, as well as a much smaller cord that attaches to it as well.

You can pop out the plastic visor section of the helmet by pressing lightly from the inside. This not only allows you to swap the visors for Kane, but it also means that you can pop it out before putting the helmet on either figure, and then adjust the head on the figure after the helmet is in place.  Once you're happy with the position, simply pop the visor back on.

I will repeat my earlier disappointment in how low the heads sit inside the helmets, but as I said earlier, you can get them in poses that makes it less of an issue.

Light up Features - ****
In the high end sixth scale market, it's no longer unusual to pay $150 for a figure. And often those figures have but an accessory or two, and no special features. While Hot Toys is hitting us with a large price tag, they have gone out of their way to make it a bit more of a decent value, and one of those ways is to add some cool light up features.

In the first of the two large photos at the end of the review, you'll notice that not only the top head light actually lights up, but there are red (obviously on the figure's right) and green (to the figure's left) lights on the interior panel of the helmet. These LED's are quite bright, and powered by watch style batteries that are relatively easy to swap inside the helmet. A button is incorporated into the sculpt on the back of the helmet.

That's not all though. There's also a button on the backpack that lights four small lights there as well. The batteries are a bit harder to swap (you'll have to completely remove the backpack to get to the compartment), but that's a minor nit until the batteries actually go dead, at which point I'll curse Hot Toys quite loudly.

I do wish they'd given us one more light in the flashlight. It would have been difficult given the design however, because the size doesn't really allow for a battery.

Fun Factor - *
Yes, there's a low score here, because these guys are pretty fragile. They are clearly designed for adults, not kids, but because I (and you) know that going in, I won't be deducting anything of my Overall because of it.

Value - ***
Hey, you aren't going to feel like you just got yourself a Woot Off deal, but with the quality of the outfit, the light up features, and the level of detail in the critical sculpts, you won't feel like you've overpaid either.

Things To Watch Out For
While the basic rubber suit is quite sturdy, you should take a lot of care with the various straps.  I had to reglue the strap for the holster (it is not designed to pop open, just so you know), and I could see damaging the cool working buckles pretty easily.  I also popped the strap out that connects the shoulder armor to the neck collar, and getting it back in is going to be a pain.

And finally, try your best to avoid rubbing Dallas' face against the interior of the helmet. It's tough to manage, and I rubbed off a bit of the black on his beard.

Overall - Dallas ****; Kane ***1/2
It seems like over the last few weeks I've seen nothing but outstanding figures in the sixth scale market.  Oh, I'm sure a stinker is due here any time now, but it ain't one of these.

Both of these figures are outstanding. In fact, I'm more than happy to declare this pair the very nicest human figures they've done in the series so far. The quality of the accessories and outfits on the Marines was nice, but let's be honest - the likenesses weren't any where near this level.  Even Ripley, while decent, wasn't any where near as nicely done as Dallas.

If Hot Toys wants more of my money, all they have to do is give us a Brett, Parker, Lambert and Ash, preferably in that order! Do them at this level of quality, and I'll be there in a heartbeat.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - Dallas ****; Kane ***1/2
Paint - Dallas ****; Kane ***1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ****
Light up Features - ****
Fun Factor - *
Value - ***
Overall -  Dallas ****; Kane ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Sideshow was the official US distributor, and they still have Dallas in stock for $150. Kane is on wait list right now. Other options include:

- Alter Ego has them for just $135 each. And I'm using 'just' in the loosest way possible.

- CornerStoreComics has both in stock at $135.

Dark Shadow Collectibles has them at $135 as well, but appears to be sold out of Kane.

- in the UK, Forbidden Planet has theme for 100 GBP.

- you can search ebay using the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.com.

Related Links -
I've looked at lots of the Hot Toys Alien and Aliens figures:

- Jeff Parker did a guest review on this pair last month.

- Jeff has also done guest reviews on Hicks, the AvP Alien, the AvP:R Alien, the AvP:R PredAlien, the Powerloader, the original Medicom Alien, as well as a comparison of the brown and black Warrior Aliens.

- I've reviewed the Power Loader as well, and I reviewed the Warrior Alien for Sideshow's website.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  Averaging and Converting to a five star system for comparison is: 4.69

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Hot Toys Aliens Kane and Dallas action figures
Hot Toys Aliens Dallas action figure



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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