Sunday, June 3, 2012
Micro Machines Alien Collection Review
There was a time during the 80s and 90s when Micro Machines, a toy line produced by Galoob, was the go-to line for miniature replicas of all sorts of vehicles, both real and fictional. Micro Machines started with vehicles such as cars, trucks, boats and airplanes, and then it profited greatly by producing miniatures of vehicles from popular sci-fi franchises such as Star Trek and Star Wars. In fact, those miniatures proved to be popular enough that Galoob would expand those licenses to include micro-sized playsets and a new line of larger vehicle toys that would fit scale-sized micro figures.
With two major sci-fi franchises under its belt, Galoob decided to add licenses of other sci-fi titles to its Micro Machines line, including Alien, Predator and Terminator. This review will cover the Micro Machines Alien collection, including pictures of each item in the collection. Read on....
Looking back, the addition of R-rated sci-fi franchises such as Alien, Predator and Terminator to a toy line aimed at kids doesn't make much sense, particularly R-rated sci-fi franchises that aren't known for unique and collectible vehicle designs. Yet of these three titles, Alien had the largest selection of franchise-specific vehicles and it's those items that make the Micro Machines Alien sets worth the purchase.
Galoob released three Micro Machines Alien sets with four miniatures per set. The miniatures can be classified into four categories: vehicles from Alien, vehicles from Aliens, Alien characters, and human characters. Because the sets were produced before Alien Resurrection, none of the vehicles or characters from that sequel is included in these sets.
The Nostromo cargo ship (the ore refinery that the Nostromo towed was not included in any of the Micro Machines collections):
The Narcissus escape shuttle:
The derelict space ship on LV-426:
Each of these vehicle miniatures features highly-detailed sculpts that allow fans to see certain aspects from the Alien movie represented in them. You can see the circular openings in the underside of the derelict ship where Dallas, Kane and Lambert entered to find the Alien eggs, and you can see the airlock door in the Narcissus that Ripley used to push the Alien monster into the deep void of space. I think that the Nostromo sculpt is the most noteworthy in this group, because it conveys how large the ship was supposed to be even in its miniature reproduction.
The USS Sulaco:
The Colonial Marines Dropship:
The Armored Personnel Carrier (APC):
The best thing about the Aliens vehicles is that two of them include moving parts. The Dropship includes booster engines that unfold, and the APC has moving wheels, a rotating frontal gun turret, and a rotating rear gun turret that can be folded behind the vehicle to move through passages with low overhead clearance. The Sulaco miniature is somewhat disappointing, because its small size forces some omissions of detail in its sculpt; nevertheless, it's accurate enough to be a worthwhile addition to the Micro Machines set.
This category includes the Warrior Alien from Alien, the Alien Queen from Aliens, and the Dog Buster from Alien 3.
Due to their diminutive size, the micro figures in the Micro Machines sets aren't nearly as impressive as the vehicle replicas. These figures are ideally meant for pint-sized play with the larger Alien vehicles that were produced in the Micro Machines "Action Fleet" line, such as the Narcissus and the APC, and the Micro Machines Alien Transforming Playset (and presumably with the Predator Action Fleet vehicle and Transforming Playset).
That said, the sculpts for the Warrior Alien and Alien Queen are interesting for what they are. Many details are omitted to accommodate the figures' tiny size (e.g., the Queen's smaller arms look like strange bumps along her rib cage) and the Queen is positioned in an awkward stance, yet the figures still have enough details to admire. In contrast to the Warrior Alien and Queen Alien is the Dog Buster, which is the worst figure sculpt in the collection. I'm not sure why they choose the Dog Buster over the adult Dog Alien from Alien 3, but Galoob should have chosen a better sculpt to complement the other Alien figures in the collection. Between its odd coloring and awkwardly lumpy design, the Dog Buster stands out like the figurative sore thumb when looking at the Alien collection in its entirety.
This category includes Ripley and Kane from Alien and Hicks from Aliens.
There's nothing exceptional about the human figures, except that there's enough detail in the Ripley figure to know that it's the Ripley from Alien and not Aliens or Alien 3. The Hicks figure looks like he could be almost any of the Colonial Marine characters from Aliens. I can understand why Galoob wouldn't want any of the space convict characters from Alien 3 included in their Alien toy sets, but adding Kane with a facehugger wrapped around his head while wearing his spaceman tightie-whities is a baffling choice.
To be fair, the Micro Machines Alien collection pales in comparison to the Alien collections produced by Konami in Japan back in 2003 (see here and here). Not only did that collection include creatures and vehicles from all four Alien movies, but the slightly larger sizes of the miniatures allow for sculpts that are much more detailed than Galoob’s. Furthermore, the Alien license for Micro Machines was discontinued before it could add even more items to the collection, items such as a Power Loader, an LV-426 playset, and an eight-wheeled land rover from the extended cut of Aliens. Yet the Micro Machines Alien collection has enough well-made items to make it worth the purchase, and you can get the entire collection in only three sets for a reasonable price. For Alien fans, that’s worth a recommendation.