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Thread: 1979 Kenner ALIEN Complete Restoration - ADULTS ONLY

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 31, 2015
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    110
    We're rapidly approaching the conclusion of our exploration and repair of this particular figure. There's just one last major repair required on it. The 3 of the 4 unusual tubular organs that sit upon the figure's back are broken. Well, all 4 of them now, actually. The final one was so delicate, it severed and broke away just by handling it. So all 4 quad appendages needed to be returned to the figure in such a way that they would sit correctly.



    The quad appendages of the figure would normally be attached to this plate. These three have all broken off and the 4th just barely remains to be attached.


    It's an easy fix and one that doesn't take long. With the backing plate removed, it's an easy task to drill 4 holes into the plate and a hole into each of the 4 appendages. Then it's a simple task to just reconnect the appendages with some screws. Not difficult at all.



    A few screws through the plate into the base of each appendage will fix them. Sometimes it's necessary to add washers as packing to extend their length through the rear torso.


    We should do a test assembly to see how it's turning out. Placed into the back of the figure, they are now parallel and align properly without any looseness and retain their position without any unwanted rotation, dropping or wobble. Job done.



    All 4 appendages are now secure and parallel giving it the result this repair should possess.


    We're almost completely done with all the repairs on this figure now. It's been a terrific subject to work on. It's had more than the usual problems these old vintage action figures have - but that's what's made it a great candidate for documenting all of its repairs and sharing here. I've encountered all of these issues before but so many of them in the one figure is unusual. Just about all the common problems were present on this item.

    It's almost finished now. I just have to perform some more minor tasks to get it into a decent shape. Mostly polishing and removal of residual glue on the limbs and reducing some of the more obvious abrasions (the chin, hand and other locations). That will take some time and I won't be documenting that process too elaborately - I might even leave it for some other time - when I have access to a bench grinder to speed up the polishing process a little.

    Nonetheless, we're not completely finished with this fellow just yet. It still has to be assembled and a proper summary made of the figure. Needless to say, it's come along very well.

    -Windebieste

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 31, 2015
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    110
    Finally we come to the end of our little adventure together and '1979 Kenner ALIEN Restoration Candidate No. 25, Cinderella', has now been completed. Well, to all intents and purposes for this Project, anyway. Ya. I named this figure after the well known little fairy tale character who starts out being the grubby wench of the household and gets a total makeover so she can attend the Prince's Ball. Yeah, I guess that makes me its Fairy God Mother. I can deal with that. Either way, this figure can now stand up and be proud once again.



    She's a dainty little angel, aint she sweet? Look how she holds that pose! Such elegance!


    Well Cinderella isn't quite completed yet, I still have to give her a bit of a polish on some locations to get rid of any remaining glue residue, but she sure looks sexy now, hey.

    This figure has been quite the challenge and when I purchased it, it was with the purpose of documenting the entire restoration process from beginning to end. It's been an absolute joy on my part to take this once dreadful condition figure, all dirty and partially broken in several ways and transform it into a much more deserving trophy. It's a shame that there are so many of these figures out there in the wild that are in such degraded states. With a little care, even the most FUBAR samples like this one can be given a new lease of life.



    This figure was an absolute joy to refurbish. I think it shows. The arms in this shot are posed different to above. Neat, huh.


    During the past week, a lot of care and patience on my part has taken place to restore this figure. I try to respect these old figures as much as possible and as part of that reverence, none of the repairs performed on this figure involved any glues or adhesives. Some minor modifications to the figure, namely the legs and the quad dorsal appendages were necessary to bring the figure up to this display worthy standard but such modifications were only employed where no other method is available.

    All the same, most of the repairs were pretty quick and involved nothing more complicated than a hole puncher and some other commonly found tools. Aside from the neoprene rubber strip, which is relative easy to come by, all materials used were commonly found household items as well. An old DVD cover... A wire coat hanger... There was nothing done on this figure that required special skills or training but careful use of tools (and a couple pots of boiling water) along with patience can just about fix any problems these figures have today. Even after 36 years.

    Here's the task list I set out to accomplish with this figure. Most of this work was completed and almost all of it was documented on these pages:

    - Scuffed chin - Not just a scuff but chip damage and cannot be repaired.
    - Carapace has small crack at rear - Cannot be repaired.
    - Teeth a little scuffed with minor chrome missing - Cannot be repaired.
    - Light cigarette odor - Now clean of funny smells.
    - Covered in light dust - Now clean of dirty coatings.
    - Carapace may not be original - See anomalies section below.
    - Scarring on torso halves - Some success removed with hand polishing.
    - Both legs are loose - Both legs are now tight at the hip.
    - Left arm detached - Left arm re-attached and re-tensioned.
    - Right arm loose - Right arm re-tensioned.
    - Dorsal crest attached but loose - Improvised bracket wedged inside neck to support it.
    - Quads x3 broken - All 4 broken quad appendages now aligned and parallel.
    - Left hip damaged - Repaired.
    - Tail warped and bent - Repaired.
    - Tail loose - Retightened screw already placed inside by previous repairer.
    - Right leg scarred from possible fall damage (or maybe previous repair attempt?) - Cannot be repaired but has been replaced.
    - Residue on left arm - Limited success removing some residue.
    - x1 internal pin missing from left shoulder - cannot be repaired but does not affect figure functionality.
    - x1 internal pin missing from right shoulder - cannot be repaired but does not affect figure functionality.
    - Not original screws present - See anomalies section below.
    - Head previously severed at neck and reglued together - Previous repair is functioning perfectly. No additional work required.

    Yeah... a lot of work, actually.

    NET RESULT: Totally worth it.




    Comparison photos of the same figure before and after restoration work.


    During the rehabilitation of this figure, I noticed some oddities, anomalies and, well, strange stuff I'd not encountered before. The first being the carapace. I'm still not convinced it's not original. It's way too aged and it's perfect in every way except it has a sepia like color variance. There's other variations present on the figure as well. The screws didn't appear to be the same ones I commonly associate with the figure; but when I actually tried a set of those, they didn't work properly and instead turning freely in the holes without purchase on the figure. So I am thinking the screws that came with the figure are original.

    I noticed a few other things as well. The quad appendage plate inside the figure was shaped differently. There's a number missing on the interior of the back torso. The color of the replacement right leg is a slightly different shade of dark grey (I began to notice this after many hours of staring at the figure. lol.). The manufacturer’s date stamp ‘CPG PRODUCTS CORP. 1979’, is missing from the jaw activation trigger. So all these minor differences might mean something. I'm thinking that this figure is an early (or possibly later) batch item from the figure's production run, one that's not as common as the many others I have seen.



    Comparison photos of the same figure before and after restoration work.


    The other thought that crossed my mind is it's a bootleg. I seriously doubt that it is. Bootlegs don't emulate the original manufacturer's product to this degree and make minor alterations to the interior of a figure. They don't use exactly the same color dyes for the plastic. They wouldn't make the stencil for the head paint and use exactly the same glow in the dark paint. I'm also familiar with the latter Tsukuda (1984, 1995 and 1997) and Halcyon (1991) versions of this figure and despite them being legitimate licenced items from Fox, they are just terrible variants and I can spot them from a mile away. No. This item was made by Kenner Products. It's Kenner through and through. It's tiny deviations present make it something special though.

    On top of all this, I'm really pleased to be have been able to share this experience with you and proud to own this figure.

    For me now, I have a ton of work to do. I am slowly building my web site dedicated to everything I know about this figure; and if you've been following my random posts on ToyArk, you will know there is a surprising amount to learn about it. My knowledge about it is always expanding. I'm so surprised that it's possible to dedicate oneself to just appreciating this single action figure. There's just so much to it, it's just amazing.



    This is the 25th 1979 Kenner Products ALIEN action figure I have had the joy of refurbishing. Soon, I will be looking out for No.26.


    Thank you everyone for reading my lengthy posts about how to fix various problems you may encounter with this figure. I will frequently visit this forum in the future to see how you Guys are going with any of your own restorations you choose to make and maybe answer some questions to other common problems this figure frequently exhibits but were not present on this sample.

    It's been a lot of fun and I will let you know when the site is up and running. That's likely to happen sometime in mid February.

    Thanks for reading!

    -Windebieste
    Last edited by windebieste; Jan 23, '16 at 2:54 AM.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 28, 2008
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    Belgium, why, oh why?
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    10,202
    Terrific workshop. I'd love to see more like this.

    The original Kenner Alien is on my (very short) shortlist of vintage collectibles, so I'm sure I'll make use of your teaching in the near future...
    .
    .
    .
    "When things are at their darkest, it's a brave man that can kick back and party."

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 27, 2009
    Location
    Greensboro NC
    Posts
    208
    The sepia coloring of the dome could be cause by nicotine staining. You had described the figure as having a "Cigarette smoke odor" well that smoke leaves stains too, and the color is usually a yellowish brown. If it was in the home of a heavy smoker, it would not surprise me if it is nicotine staining. Have you tried to wash it to see if it will help?

    Great article thoroughly enjoyed reading it. very well done.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2, 2011
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,029
    Outstanding post...I have one with a busted arm that I'll be fixing this week...thanks for sharing your work!
    You will always be your child's favorite toy. ~Vicki Lansky

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 31, 2015
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    110
    ADDENDUM

    I am so stoked that you people are impressed with these efforts. I'm even more pleased that some of you have been inspired to give your own Aliens the attention that they deserve. I hope your results are as rewarding as my own have been. It can a fiddling thing to fix the arms. Yes. I spent a lot of time mastering the method outlined above and as this figure proved to me, I still don't get the desired results on the first attempt. When it is done right, however, it's a celebration. I'm so looking forward to your successes in this regard.

    carapace was washed thoroughly along with the rest of the figure to remove all odors. You can check out the first image on page 2.

    Anyway, along with the Addendum, in particular the anomalies regarding the carapace, dorsal appendage plate, interior of torso half, trigger copyright info. I've taken some comparison photos of this figure and another one I have

    GENERAL:


    When placed side by side, (The restoration figure is on the Left) there's almost no discernible difference. There are, however, a few extremely subtle discrepancies. The carapace is slightly off color and the sheen on the left figure is slightly duller (disregard the restoration's right leg, it's a replacement) especially noticeable on the right arm. Otherwise, they are identical. (Also disregard the tail. The smaller coil radius is my doing.)

    PAINT APPLICATION:


    The paint used on the figure's head is the same seen on other figures. It glows in the dark just fine but it does have a significant difference compared to the other figure. The edges of the stenciling are much sharper and there is significantly less feathering around the edges. Also note that the plastic of the head is a duller sheen despite the fact that all details are exactly alike.

    COPYRIGHT INFORMATION:


    All the details are exactly alike except for this most important item. The copyright details are not present on the restoration figure. Missing is the line, ‘CPG PRODUCTS CORP. 1979’, the Kenner Products parent company had stamped on all of these figures. Well, apparently not all, it would seam. Note the slight dullness in the plastic of restoration figure's head.

    TEETH:


    I didn't have to deal with the dentition during the course of the restoration as all of the mouth parts were present. Other than a slight loss of luster in the chrome finish, they look exactly the same as the comparison figure. This may even be attributed to the very slight change in lighting during the time it took to pose each figure for this comparison.

    INSIDE THE TORSO:


    Here we are looking at the interior of the front halves of both figure's torsos and the differences become very numerous. The comparison figure is on the Left and the restoration figure is on the Right. The more you look the more you will see... For a start, the part no. '738024 03 B' present on the comparison figure is absent on the restoration. The overall surface texture of the interior is constantly different across both samples. The center post (which pushes and holds the quad appendage plate in the figures back) is narrower and filled in on the restoration figure. There are minor differences present all over the place when you look inside the torso. It's like a game 'Spot the Differences', there's so many.

    QUAD APPENDAGE PLATE:


    Speaking of the quad appendages, the interior plate that holds them in place has also undergone numerous revisions. The plate itself looks as it has been completely redesigned. (Ignore the 4 screws, they are my addition.) When you compare them side by side, (OK, one above the other...) there are obvious differences.

    IN CONCLUSION:

    Most of the perceptible changes seem to occur within the figure but the removal of the copyright information makes the purpose baffling. I can understand how production can be made more efficient by changing the shape of the appendage plate. The shape in the restoration figure is more efficient and someone wouldn't have to be employed to punch circular gaps into the piece to permit to sit inside the figure amongst all the screw and securing posts. I can totally see why that revision was made. I totally get that other changes exist too for what ever amendment reasons Kenner needed to make. The figure appears to be a different batch item - possibly a later one as indicated by the appendage plate revisions - from those we normally see, but I can't understand the removal of the copyright information. Well, not completely, anyway. I do have some ideas about this anomaly.

    I'm thinking Kenner Products and their parent company, CPG Products Corp. (Itself a subdivision of General Mills, actually.) were heavily committed to selling this figure. It failed miserably and it's possible that CPG abruptly discontinued wanting to be associated with a toy of such disreputable nature in family homes. (Now, this is all speculation and conjecture on my part... lol.) So, in order to capitalise on the figure as much as possible and recoup their losses, they removed their identity and did not want to be recognised as a party to its manufacture. Of course, such an action happened too late in the toy's process and very few of this variant actually made it out the door. Well, it's a theory, anyway. I didn't say it was a good one. It might defy logic - but then again, so does marketing this thing at children in the first place. It's based on the changes present within the figure and what I know about it's history. Which is also something of great interest to me as well.

    Anyway, the figure resembles an original Kenner Products item in every possible way aside from the noted anomalies. The materials that the hands, tail and dorsal appendages are constructed of differ from the rest of the body of the figure. This is to be expected from a genuine figure. Would a bootleg take that kind of detail into account? What's more, the outward appearing shapes and materials used in just about every feature exactly matches other Kenner Aliens in my possession. So I am tending to lean on the likelihood that this figure is a later variant rather than a bootleg. Possibly one of the last ones Kenner made.

    All this aside, you can rest assured that every repair I've detailed with this figure is relevant to any other 1979 Kenner Products Alien action figure. Just by a stroke of absolute luck this one has a few minor discrepancies.

    WE AINT DONE JUST YET.

    I did mention earlier that I am working on a web site dedicated to this awesome action figure. Eventually, I do want to post a gallery of images featuring owners posing with their figures. ...or even just their figures on display. I would love it if readers here could support me in this endeavor and permit me to use your photos on the site. It's still under construction but it should be launched sometime in mid/late February.

    Thank you all for all the positive feedback. It's very encouraging and totally makes all the effort worthwhile.

    -Windebieste
    Last edited by windebieste; Jan 24, '16 at 10:19 PM.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 5, 2005
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    PDX, OR. Way out West, then up.
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    690
    The differences you point out make it much more likely to be late stage engineering sample than part the production run, in my opinion. Copyrights and mold numbers/markings are often stamped late in pre-production, after most style, safety, and cost refinements are made. Regardless, really interesting, thanks for sharing all of this.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 31, 2015
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    110
    Hey, thanks for the feedback. It did occur to me that it might be an early batch item, or even a prototype or proposed release sample.

    What dissuaded me from that likelihood was the nature of the variations in the mounting plate for the back's appendages. When I look at this item, I see it has definitely had changes made to that part that actually improve it. If you look closely at the part in the comparison image, you can see the moulded edges on the recesses of the part. On the comparison item, these recesses have clearly been punched and the process of cutting the circular recesses would have been manually performed. Someone sat and punched the 3 recesses on thousands of these pieces so that the piece would sit inside the torso without interfering with the various posts.

    Just allow me to speculate here. If it was part of a later batch (remember this figure only had a single production run) it would make sense to add the revised recess design into the part to eliminate labor costs and streamline the production of the figure. Of course, this is purely conjecture on my part and I may be completely wrong, but taking into consideration that the piece looks like these improvements have been made to it, then yeah. I'd say it's a later version of the figure. ...which of course raises the question of the missing copyright details.

    I'm not going to pretend I know the answer to this because that simply contradicts with your own equally valid points, which I would be completely comfortable with if that one piece didn't show evidence of being the superior piece. Right now, I'm happy to settle on letting it be sent to the 'Hey, this is odd... I wonder if I will ever find out what it all means' basket.

    At this point I just put it down to conflicting anomalies with an explanation that's been lost sometime since 1979.

    Thank you all the same, I will keep your comments in mind coz honestly, I really don't know the answer to this conundrum.

    -Windebieste.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 31, 2015
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    110
    Just going to add another item to the addendum.

    I did mention that this figure required multiple attempts to get the arms to hold a pose. I like my old Alien figures be able to have their arms reaching out in front of them when standing free; and they have to be tensioned just right to do so.

    During the course of restoring this this figure, I did a lot of polishing and cleaning to remove some of the residual glue that's present on the limbs and joints. I was looking over the figure today and I noticed that I'd over-polished the ball joint and significantly reduced the amount of friction between the shoulder socket and the ball joint itself. Such cleaning did reduce the amount of residue on the joints but left a mirror smooth finish on the ball joints, making the multiple attempts necessary for the figure to hold a pose.

    So I took the figure apart again today and reduced the smoothness on the surface on the ball joints by lightly rubbing them with extremely fine sandpaper. Super fine stuff, and little to no pressure applied to them. Just enough to take the fine polish off of the joints themselves. I then reassembled the figure and set it up again with its arms outstretched. It now holds the desired pose even more confidently than previously.

    So, if you're having trouble with the arms almost - but not quite - holding a pose; then the use of a very, very light touch of extremely fine sandpaper (not so fine that you polish the figure. lol.) will help solve this problem. You don't want visible scratches on the ball joint - just enough of an un-smoothed surface to allow the shoulder to gain some purchase on the ball joint and have friction do the rest.

    So, yeah. That was a worthwhile adjustment to make to the figure and I thought someone here might benefit from the finding.

    -Windebieste.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 17, 2012
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    Rochester, New York
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    Thanks for all of this! When I get some time, I'm going for it!
    SELL ME YOUR LOOSE MINTY WONDER WOMAN!

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