Tag Archives: Kenner

Celebrate Alien Day with New Alien Merchandise

Happy Alien Day!

Alien Day 2017

We know it’s a marketing event designed to sell stuff, but it sure beats National Boss Day.

For that last couple years, 20th Century Fox is been declaring April 26 “Alien Day.”  This marketing event is inspired by LV 426, the planet where the crew of the Nostromo first encounter the xenomorph eggs in that little Sci-Fi classic, Alien.   We share this otherwise useless information with you because a bunch of exclusive collectibles will be released on this date.  It is a marketing event after all.

We’ll be sharing the coolest of these collectibles as they are announced and released, but we do have some advance news from toy company Super 7.  The company behind the Kenner-inspired ReAction line of retro action figures, Super 7 has given us a sneak peek at a few of the items they’ll be releasing on Alien Day.

Alien ReAction figure carrying case with figures:

Super 7 Reaction Alien Carrying Case with FiguresTrue to the entire ReAction line, this case is inspired by toy cases from decades past.   In addition to holding up to 24 of the 3.75″ ReAction figures, the case will contain an exclusive glow-in-the-dark  Alien figure.  I love this idea both as a collector and as a father.  If I could have gotten an exclusive Kenner Star Wars figure with my storage case in 1978, you bet I would have been all over it.  This case and figure set is available for pre-order on EntertainmentEarth.com

Nostromo 3-pack with Kane, Lambert and Dallas in space suits:

Super 7 Nostromo Japanese Window Box

The packaging features an exclusive Japanese window box style just for Alien Day, which might mean the figures themselves will be available elsewhere but just not packaged in such a way.

18-Inch Alien Warrior:
Super 7 Alien Warrior 18-inch Figure

Super 7 recently announced a new 18-ince Alien Warrior figure, designed as the ‘successor’ to the classic 1979 Kenner Alien figure.

From Super 7’s website:

The imagined successor to the 1979 Kenner Alien toy. Fully articulated with glow accents, metallic snapping jaws (operated with a trigger on the back of the head like the original 1979 toy), and retro style packaging. The figure stands 18-inches and can also hang from its tail like the original 1979 Alien figure.

Initially released in matte black only and available  for pre-order now at EntertainmentEarth.com

ReAction Alien 3.75 inch Figures:

Super 7 ReAction Alien Blind Box

The Alien 3.75-inch ReAction Figure Blind Box will be available from Super7 website starting @ Noon PST on Wednesday, 4/26. Boxes purchased online will be selected randomly between 3 new color variants. https://super7store.com

Personally, I like the my Alien Warriors in black, but to each their own!

ReAction Nostromo Crew Set:

ReAction Nostromo Crew Action Figures

As we mentioned earlier, Super 7 is the company behind the ReAction toy line.  Their partnership with Funko has expired so they’ve regained full marketing rights of this line designed in the original Kenner figure style.  We love the ReAction Universal Monsters  and the crew of the Nostromo are pretty cool too.

These figures are available on EntertainmentEarth.com

Of course, Alien Day might simply be a good excuse to dust off your DVD of one of these fine films and give it watch.  However you decide to celebrate Alien Day, every day is better with monsters (and aliens) in it!

 

Kenner’s Coolest Controversy: 1979 Alien Action Figure

Celebrate Alien Day With The Kenner 1979 Alien Action Figure

Kenner Alien Action Figure in Box 1979Kenner Alien Action Figure 1979 Box

So, 20th Century Fox has created a new Monster Kid holiday with the  first ever ALIEN DAY on April 26th, and it’s being billed as a global celebration of the ALIEN franchise. The day will be marked by all sorts of special festivities and product releases, not the least of which is a 20-city double feature re-release of ALIEN and ALIENS – at the screening of ALIENS at New York City venue The Town Hall, complete with a  Sigourney Weaver appearance.

I was 11 eleven years old when Alien hit the theaters and, still riding the Sci-Fi high of Star Wars two years earlier, I convinced my parents to let me and my little brother see the movie at the theater.  This was a big deal — I had never seen an R-rated movie and my Mom walked us to the ticket booth, bought our tickets and gave permission to the theater employee for us to see the movie.  Then she left…. Needless to say, Alien made a lasting impression on my brother and I!

It’s impossible to talk about Alien 1979 without spending some time on one of the most controversial – and coolest – monster toys of the 1970s.   Kenner was still riding high on their Star Wars license and decided to jump on the next big Sci-Fi franchise to come along.  There was only one problem: Alien was an R-rated movie and the creature was terrifying!

Here’s Kenner’s original TV commercial:

Despite Kenner’s best efforts, and a beautifully designed toy, sales were poor.  Parents thought it was too scary and raised a ruckus.   Kids, most of whom didn’t have parents like mine, couldn’t see the movie and thus weren’t bugging parents for the toy.  Most kids didn’t even know what the monster looked like.  The result; retail sales were bad and Kenner canceled the rest of the planned Alien lineup.

Kenner 1979 Alien Action Figure Face

Kenner Alien 1979 Action Figure Instructions

Collectors Notes

This action figure is a collector’s collectible.  The simple fact that this toy didn’t sell well means there are less available to collect.  Combine that with the fact the Alien franchise has continued to grow in popularity through the years and you get the perfect combination of high demand and low supply.  Scarcity is the main driver of price in collectibles and it is almost impossible to get one of these action figure in-box and good condition for below $1,000.  Not bad considering it cost $ in 1979.  Loose figures are much more common, but even they command $500+ in good condition,

Several of these toys – both boxed and loose – are currently available at eBay, Check out Current eBay auctions here.

2014 Gentle Giant Jumbo Alien

Gentle Giant released a 24″ Jumbo figure scaled off of the original 18″ figure Kenner for Christmas 2014.  The likeness and attention to detail are terrific, all the way down to the packaging:

Gentle Giant 24" Jumbo Alien Action Figure

With a retail price of $499, this isn’t a toy, but it is probably less expensive than a 1979 Kenner Alien in good condition!  You can still get the Gentle Giant figure at retail pricing at the usual places:  EntertainmentEarth.

I found one for $283 + shipping at Amazon which is as reasonably priced as I’ve seen in quite  a while.  Click here to see it on Amazon.

With Ridley Scott‘s Alien prequel Alien: Covenant  headed our way in the near future, there is little reason to believe the Kenner Alien action figure will do anything but continue to increase in demand and value over time.

Of course, commerce is the driving force behind our new favorite holiday, so there are a whole bunch of new collectibles headed our way on ALIEN DAY.

To see some of the new merchandise, check out EntertainmentEarth’s Alien store.

Resources:

Expecting Collectibles’ Prices to Keep Going Up is a Losing Bet

Collecting as an Investment Has It’s Limitations

Star-Wars-Collectibles

Collecting is a very personal passion.  It’s also one that has potentially huge financial ramifications.  Many collectors don’t consider, or at least focus on, the resale value of their collections because, quite simply, they can’t imagine ever parting with their prized collection.  There’s always that temptation though – family and friends who don’t ‘get it’ will read an article about a comic book collection selling for millions after the collector’s death and ask what your collection is worth.

Truth is, while you may have no intention of ever selling your collection, eventually it won’t be your decision.  If you are lucky enough to have children or heirs in the next generation who share your passion, and you plan to leave your collection to them, then you’re off the hook as long as you make the necessary arrangements in your estate planning.

If not, there is a real possibility that your collection will be sold and it’s up tot you to decide how that will happen.  Will it be sold of piecemeal at an estate sale or will you make arrangements to have it auctioned off after your death.  The choice is yours but it only makes sense  that a collection you so lovingly accumulated during your lifetime should be thoughtfully included in your estate planning.  I came across this article and thought it was worth sharing.  Be aware that the author  is Josh Levine who co-owns J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale and EJ’s Auction & Consignment in Glendale, Arizona.  His company profits from collectors selling and buying, so his focus is on helping sellers get he most return on the items they are selling – it’s simply good business on his end.  Seven if selling is the furthest from your mind, the article is thought provoking.

Here’s the article in full:

I am often asked, “When is the best time to sell my collection?”

And not to be one accused of keeping my opinions to myself, I say, “Strike while the iron is hot.” What do I mean by that?

When you see record prices happening, sell your collection. Sounds obvious to most, but so often I hear, “I’ll hold on to it. It can only go up from here,” or “Imagine what it will be worth 20 years from now!”

I don’t know if it’s prospecting, greed, or something their parents ingrained in these collectors, but I think it’s a losing bet. Let me cite a few examples.

Fifteen years ago, we were selling Hummel collections and prices were riding high. I would see collections in my travels and ask folks if they wished to consign for auction, and more often than not, the owners would decline. Their consensus was, this would never end, and Hummels would keep increasing in value.

Then about 10 years ago, large collections began to be sold off and we could see it coming quickly. The crash.

The collectors blamed the economy and kept waiting. And waiting. … It wasn’t the economy, but simple economics. Huge supply, in this case, and no demand from the next generation. I have yet to meet a Gen X’er or Millennial that collects them. Most have no idea what they are.

The next example is toy trains.

A Pre-War Lionel Train set was money in the bank for a long run as they were desired by many collectors and enthusiasts spanning several generations. They all had a train set when they were kids, and had many fond memories of them. They sold like hot cakes, and there were many serious collectors.

Over the past five years, toy collectors’ tastes have changed, and you can see the Hummel thing happening. A 2003 price of $12,000 for a Lionel Pre-War set is now $1,500 if you are lucky.

Some say it was video games that caused the younger generations to lose interest, and that really may be true.

What to do now? If you are thinking of selling a collection, sell it when it’s hot.

What is hot in toys? Star Wars toys from 1977 through 1984 as well as most action figures from this period. Hot Wheels Redlines and AFX Aurora Slot Cars from the late 1960s through the early 1970s.

Let me give you my forecast. Star Wars is going to peak with this new movie release. It’s a great time to sell your Star Wars collectibles.

Hot Wheels and Slot Cars are more urgent to sell as I feel they are going to go the way of the train set soon.

I hate when I see a collection that was just held on to a little too long. It’s just like playing the stock market, but when they fall off the cliff, they don’t recover to former glory.

courtesy of AZCentral     

Vintage Dinosaur Toys

I Love Dinosaur Toys

Before monsters entered my world, there were dinosaurs.  As I have detailed in previous posts, dinosaurs were my gateway to monsters and played an influential part in my becoming a full-fledged Monster Kid.

In reality, my favorite kind of monster movie usually includes a dinosaur or derivative thereof — atomic behemoths rampaging through modern cities,  inhabiting lost worlds accidentally discovered by modern man or, in more recent incarnations, terrorizing mad scientists who recreated them using their DNA.

With Jurassic World stomping the competition at the box office this summer, I’ve been focusing on some of my favorite dinosaur-infested classic movie posters and it only makes sense to broaden the scope to dinosaur collectibles of all kinds.

In today’s post, I’ll provide a general overview of vintage dinosaur toys including companies that manufactured them over the decades and highlight some of the unique products released over the years.  In the coming weeks, I’ll dig deeper into some of these companies and products included in today’s overview.

Early 20th Century

Toy dinosaurs have been around for almost since the first fossils were discovered.  In a segment I wrote profiling toys from the 1933 King Kong, I highlighted a terrific jigsaw puzzle of Kong battling a T-Rex.  Early examples of prehistoric animal toys include a metal Brontosaurus and Sabre-Tooth Tiger from 1933 Chicago World’s Fair.  There are other examples of lead, metal and wooden dinosaur toys from the first half of the 20th Century, but it was in the 1950s that dinosaur toys really came to prominence.

1950s Rise of the Dinosaur Toys

Early dinosaur toy makers include Ajax (1950s-1960s), Marx (1955-1963; 1971-1979), MPC (1964-1970s), and Timmee (1960s-present).

Most of the dinosaur toys in the early days were no bigger than a few inches and many were originally packaged in playsets that included plastic rocks, plants, and cavemen.  Since access to dinosaur information was limited back then, many of the toy makes, like Marx and MPC, imprinted the animal name on their tail or body.

Of the toys just mentioned, Marx dinosaur toys are the most detailed, best crafted, and most desired among collectors and I’ll cover them in detail in a future post.

By the late 1960s, dinosaur toys were cooling off and monsters, G I Joe and space toys were captivating kids imaginations.

1970s Revival

Thanks to popular kids shows like Land of the Lost, dinosaurs were back in the forefront by the early 1970s and many of the companies already discussed began re-issuing and expanding the prehistoric offerings to include cave people and Ice Age mammals.

Other companies near and dear to Monster Kids were in the dino toy business as well and are worth spending some time.  Aurora Model Company, in particular, was very successful with their Prehistoric Scenes collection in the 1970s, which are near to my heart because I had the entire set when I was a wee lad.  Additionally, in 1976 Mego  released a collection of prehistoric people and animals based on the movie One Million Years B.C.

1990s Jurassic Park

While dinosaur toys never went away, the 1980s saw a shift toward dinosaurs recast as action figures and included in play sets that are outside the scope of Collecting Classic Monsters.  But the release of Jurassic Park in 1993 resulted in a boom in reissues of classic dinosaur toys as well as Kenner‘s Jurassic Park collection — all of which we will explore further in the coming weeks.

So, lots of ground to cover in the coming weeks.

But I recognize that I can’t simply publish a post that lists what I plan to write about in the future and expect you to trust me with your valuable spare reading time.  So let’s wrap up with an in-depth review of an interesting and highly collectible line of dinosaur toys from the 1950s that were offered as premiums inside cans of coffee from an Austrian company.

Linde Coffee Premiums

Austrian coffee company, Linde Coffee, offered soft plastic animals as premiums in their herbal coffee substitute which had become popular during World War II when regular coffee was scarce.   Among the premiums were 8 prehistoric figures that are now highly collectible and really quite impressive in their design.

One of the most desirable aspects of Linde figures is the unlimited combination of colored marbling and many of these are quite handsome in coloring.  The 1950’s issued figures range in colour from pale green through, orange, brown, red, blue, grey to black. More usually they’re a mix of darker green/grey. Each figure is marked with the animal name and company name, Linde, but they are not dated.

© 1990, 2001 Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University. All rights reserved.
© 1990, 2001 Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University. All rights reserved.

Like the figures in the Marx “Prehistoric Times” toy sets, the Linde animals  were modeled after paintings by Charles Knight and Rudolph Zallinger’s ‘Age of Reptiles’ mural  now housed  at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. The 110-foot-long and 16-foot-high painting chronicles the evolutionary history of the planet from 362 million years ago (the Devonian Period) to 65 million years ago (the Cretaceous). First engaged when he was a Yale Fine Arts student, Zallinger took more than 4 1/2 years to complete the project. The mural represents the best available scientific knowledge of the 1940s, and won Zallinger the 1949 Pulitzer Award for Painting.

Total of 8 Dinosaur Figures:

Tyrannosaurus – Linde

Linde T-Rex

Stegosaurus – Linde

Linde Coffee Stegosaurus 1950s

Triceratops – Linde

Line Coffee Triceratops 1950s

Ankylosaurus – Linde

Line Coffee Ankylosaurus 1950s

Dimetrodon – Linde

Line Coffee Dimetrodon 1950s

Brontosaurus – Linde

Line Coffee Brontosaurus 1950s

Spenacodon – Linde

Linde Coffee Spenecodon 1950s

Images courtesy of Dinotoyblog

Rhamphorhynchus is the rarest and most sought after Linde figure

Line Coffee Rhamphorhynchus 1950s

image courtesy of Copper Collection

A complete set of 8 recently sold on eBay for $80

_____________________________________________________

Dinosaur Collectible Resources:

Guide to Identifying and Selling Dinosaur Toys on eBay

Dinosaur Toys Collectors Guide

Jurassic Park Action Figures

I highly recommend these books, both of which are in my reference library and were referenced in writing this article:

Dinosaurs by the Decades; (2014) Randy Moore

Dinosaur Collectibles; (1999) Cain & Fredericks

FUNKO REACTION UNIVERSAL MONSTERS – RONDO AWARDS 2015 BEST TOY NOMINEE

Collecting the Rondo Awards 2015 Best Toy Category – Part 10

Funko ReAction Universal Monsters Collection

This is the final installment in my review of the 2014 nominees for the Best Toy, Model, Collectible category of the Rondo Hatton Horror Awards and we finish with the most classic of all monsters –the Funko ReAction Universal Monsters.Funko ReAction Universal Monsters

In 2013,  Funko and  Super 7 partnered to bring Kenner’s unreleased 1979 Alien prototypes to market.  It wasn’t long afterwards that Funko announced a full “ReAction” line of retro 3 ¾” action figures based on characters from 1980’s cult, sci-fi and horror cinema: Escape From New YorkBack to the FutureTerminator, a Rocketeer figure, iconic horror villains as well as the Universal Monsters.  These news collections were designed as an homage to classic Kenner Star Wars action figures of the 1970s and early 80s.

Controversy

The retro style has been a bit controversial as these figures have been panned by some for the lack of detailed likeness to the actors/character.  Funko even extended that feeling of “vintage-ness” through the packaging, which is the same size as the original Kenner packaging from the late ’70s /early ’80s. This has also met with some push-back by collectors who find the side-panel style packaging a challenge to display.

Reis O’Brien, Funko’s head designer of the ReAction line, explained the design inspiration for these figures in this quote from the FunkoFanatic Reaction Forum:

We did originally look towards the first run of Kenner Star Wars figures for inspiration, especially when we first got started, so that’s why you’ll see that our Terminator and Snake Plissken sort or mimic that “softness”, but as we went on, things got a little more detailed, a little closer to ROTJ figures, which you’ll see in the Universal Monsters and Horror lines. Basically, we think there’s a sweet spot somewhere in there that we keep trying to hit. But Kenner remains our main inspiration as opposed to, say, Remco or Mego. But they have their charm, too.

I buy that logic fully and think that they nailed the retro styling of the characters.  I particularly like the packaging, though finding them in pristine condition on store pegs has also been a frustration for collectors.

Funko ReAction-Universal Monsters Packaging Back of Card

There are a lot of great reviews on these figures already published and, frankly, from folks with greater expertise then me.  For your reading please, here’s a great review from one of my go-to resources for collectible toys,  Brian Heller at Plaid Stallions.

Here’s the Funko ReAction Universal Monsters collection, in order of theatrical appearance:

Funko ReAction Phantom of the Opera

Funky ReAction Phantom of the Opera

from The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Funko ReAction Dracula

Funko ReAction Dracula

from Dracula (1931)

Funko ReAction Frankenstein's MonsterFunko ReAction Frankenstein’s Monster

from Frankenstein (1931)

Funko ReAction The Mummy

Funko ReAction The Mummy

from The Mummy (1932)

Funko ReAction The Invisible Man

Funko ReAction Invisible Man

from The Invisible Man (1933)

Funko ReAction Bride of Frankenstein

Funko ReAction Bride of Frankenstein

from The Bride of Frankenstein (1932)

Funko ReAction Wolf Man Funko ReAction Wolf Man

from The Wolf Man (1941)

Funko ReAction Creature from the Black Lagoon

Funko ReAction Creature from the Black Lagoon

from The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

Product Details

  • 3 ¾” action figures
  • Five points of articulation
  • bubble photo card
  • MSRP: $9.99 each

Chase Variants

Like all variants, forced scarcity is either the bane or the blessing of the completist collector.  The glow variants  were limited to one figure per every six cases and the clear Invisible Man was an Entertainment Earth exclusive.

Funko ReAction Glow VariantFunky ReAction Mummy Glow in the Dark

Funko-ReAction-Invisible-Man-Clear-Variant

Entertainment Earth exclusive                                    Invisible Man Transparent Variant

Funko ReAction Creature from the Black Lagoon

Creature from the Black Lagoon Glow Variant


Where to Buy Funko ReAction Universal Monsters Collection

These figures are available near and far, so the real goal is finding them at the best price.  They have been in the market long enough that they are widely available on secondary resale sites like eBay, but prices have increase because they are still available at retail prices in most stores.  This makes it a buyers market for these figures.

EntertainmentEarth

Amazon offers a full set of figures:

  •  8 figure set includes Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Wolfman, Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Phantom of the Opera, Bride of Frankenstein, and the Invisible Man
  • Numerous sellers competing on price, with lowest being $75.48 shipping included ($9.44 per figure)

EBay

Good availability of the Mummy Glow-in-the-Dark Variant starting at $14.99

Best Price I’ve found on the Clear Invisible Man Variant — listed at $9.99 with 7 in stock

Lots of Glow Creature variant figures as well, starting at $19.99


Summary

While I appreciate that modern toy collectors have gotten used to incredible like-like sculpts, the fact that this line is inspired by 1970’s and 80’s toys is central to the design style.  My Han Solo figure from Kenner didn’t really look like Harrison Ford in 1978 and I didn’t care; I loved it completely and totally.

I think the ReACTION line would have missed the mark if the figures were too realistic.  They certainly wouldn’t have been as retro, so I’m fine with the less-then-realistic sculpts.  In short, I think Funko nailed these figures.

My favorites are pretty much in line with my favorite monsters; The Creature and The Wolf Man were the two “must-own” figures for me.  I was surprised by how much I liked the Invisible Man too.  So far, those are the only three I’ve purchased, but this review has me re-considering the variants, at lease for the Gillman and Invisible Man.

These are priced really well.  So well, in fact, that I got my kids a couple of the figures to open and —gasp– actually play with!

As a child of the 1970’s, who owned the original Kenner Star Wars figures, these bring back waves and waves of nostalgia.  As an adult  vintage monster toy collector, I love how these figures fit right into my collection.  I don’t tend to buy many modern monster toys or collectibles, simply because I focus my limited collecting budget on high-grade vintage pieces.

So thumbs up on the figures from me all the way around–design, price, packaging — Funko nailed it.  And with the recent announcement of the Jaws and Gremlins series, looks like we’ve got lots to look forward to from Funko ReAction.

Let me know your thoughts– do you like the retro style of the Funko ReAction Universal Monsters line or do you prefer the more sophisticated style of modern collectibles?