Nice. I'll be looking forward to seeing the results.
I forgot to mention about using sand paper and how much pressure you should apply to it to get the best results without unwanted scratching becoming apparent. True. It's a fine line between reducing the smoothness of the ball joint and scratching it, leaving unsightly marks at the joint. As this is a skill that may need to be practiced first, you may want to take advantage of the fact that the figure is dismantled and in pieces. This is a great opportunity to find out if your sand papering skills are up to the task.
The dismantled figure provides you with ample opportunities inside the torso halves to test, practice and hone your skills. The abundance of posts and internal surfaces that are now exposed are ideal for this purpose. You can try out different sandpaper types and apply pressure to all of these surfaces in way that will not affect the figure's appearance as all of these internal surfaces will be concealed when the figure is re-assembled.
This is also a good way to experiment with other methods you may consider dubious that may potentially damage the figure irreparably. Say, for example, someone has applied paint to the figure and you want to remove it but don't want to risk damaging or melting or burning the plastic. Once again, use the interior surfaces of the front and back torso halves to experiment with such potentially aggressive chemicals before you attempt to use them to remove unwanted paint.
Remember that the head, torso, arms and legs are all made of the same plastic so the interior of the torso is a good testing platform. For treating paint that's been applied to the remaining parts (hands, all 5 dorsal appendages and the tail) which are all made of a different plastic entirely, the internal surfaces of the quad appendage mounting plate is an ideal place to test chemicals and paint solvents.
Avoid industrial strength paint strippers. You may end up in tears. Nail polish remover can have varying results depending on the brand. Brake fluid is useful for removing some paints. Lighter fluid has been known to work as well. Results will vary and also be dependent on the nature of the paint, whether it's an acrylic or enamel or some other weird choice. There's a ton of factors to take into consideration with resolving unwanted paint on these old figures. Sometimes, it just can't be removed as is the case with figures that have had custom paint work applied to them and been painted from head to toe.
Once again, patience is key here and research is rewarding. You'll have to make your own judgment calls but at least you can test inside the figure and evaluate the results before you progress any further.
I've never restored any figures but I found this thread to be interesting. Having just written this I have a Mego Batmobile that needs a repair. Maybe I'll now ask for help on how to do that in a separate thread.
In one of your early posts you mentioned a little bit about the history and controversy surrounding the product. If you're so inclined I'd love to hear more about it.
OK. A brief history lesson. Pay attention. We gotta go back a few years...
When 'Star Wars' was released in 1977, Kenner Products owned the licence for making the 3.75" action figures we are all aware of (if you don't know what a 1978 Kenner 'Star Wars' action figure is then you don't belong here, go home. You Fail. ). Kenner MASSIVELY under-estimated their popularity, had to use an Early Bird Kit as a stop gap to manage Christmas orders - a strategy that worked and customers received their figures in Feb/March of 1978. During the 8 remaining months of the year, Kenner sold 40 million of them.
Needless to say, Kenner was totally stoked about the success of those toys. 40 million units in just 8 months was unprecedented for Kenner, at the time, a company with more than 20 years experience in the toy industry. Quite understandably, Kenner wanted more.
Fox next big space themed movie was 'ALIEN'; and Kenner were very interested in jumping on the merchandise wagon for anything Fox was releasing in terms of space action movie licencing. What Fox neglected to tell Kenner was the new Ridley Scott film was to all intents and purposes, the antithesis of 'Star Wars'. Nonetheless, not wanting to be caught with their pants down again and miss out on potentially lucrative Christmas sales, Kenner went into production early to hit their Christmas 1979 market and ensure that thousands* of these large scale action figures was on shelves in stores.
So, anyway, these Alien action figures appeared on toy store shelves around Oct 1979. They really didn't appeal to children and parents became very concerned about the ugly, large toy (At the time, Kenner were also manufacturing a new range of 'Star Wars' action figures as well scaled in to similar size.). Yet, they were marketed directly at kids, 'AGES 5 AND UP' and it is clearly marked on the box:
The World's first commercially produced toy based on an R-rated movie was marketed at children.
When parents realised the toy was based on an R-rated movie - something that had NEVER been done before - and was marketed at their children, there was quite an uproar and conservative parental groups campaigned to have the toys removed from children's toy store shelves. Eventually, under such pressure, Kenner relented and extant stock was relegated to bargain bins to make room for less offensive toys on prominent shelf space.
That's the short version. I'm actually in the middle of setting up a web site about the figure and its history is really interesting. Even during the 1980's and 1990's the figure's history is a series of ill conceived re-releases and quality faux pas.
Oh, and don't even get me started on how the messed up marketing of the 18" tall figure threw a spanner into the works for Kenner. It completely derailed Kenner's plans to release a set of 3.75" 'ALIEN' figures that were scaled similarly to their earlier released 'Star Wars' figures. You had to wait 30+ years to get your hands on those things. lol.
So yes, the figure has had quite an amazing history, but significantly, it bombed at retail due to substantial public disapproval.
It's delicate, ungainly and ugly. You do want your 5 year old child to have one of these things, right?
Good luck with your own restoration of you Batmobile! Do as much research as you can before you make any attempts. If it's waited this long to be restored - another week or month of research won't hurt.
*I'm not sure if anyone really knows how many were actually made - it could be tens of thousands... or hundreds of thousands of them. With what Kenner were attempting to achieve and avoid the same problems they had with supply and demand they experienced with 'Star Wars' figures, maybe even millions. Remember, they sold 40 million of the earlier film licenced pocket sized figures - they wanted to repeat that success.
Last edited by windebieste; Feb 3, '16 at 12:59 AM.
Hello again! I'm looking for some help, now. If that's at all possible...
This old action figure is really beginning to bother me. Like, really giving me all kinds of strange vibes.
As I've documented above, it possesses a number of anomalies to some of its features that I haven't found present in over 2 dozen previous 1979 Kenner Products Alien action figures that I have handled. What's more, there's another anomaly present that I neglected to document and I will take the time to do so now. On the left forearm, a white blemish is observable and it's not a mark that's happened to the figure since it was manufactured. Originally, when I first saw it, I thought it was discoloration that can result from pressure damage and initially dismissed it as such. After all, the right leg that the figure originally had when it came into my possession displays similar discolorations due to such damage. It's clearly visible on the leg in the photo appearing on page 2 of this thread.
Upon further inspection, though, I found that this is not the case as the forearm displays no evidence of any buckling, warping or any other form of damage whatsoever. The arm is in exactly the correct shape and condition I would expect it to be in. Instead, this mark appears to be a very minor production flaw and my guess is the dark grey dye wasn't fully mixed when it was added at the time the arm part was cast, leaving this small and lightly 'marbled birthmark' appearing upon the surface of the arm.
This blemish on the left forearm appears to be dye not fully mixing with the material. Not an issue on its own, but
taking it into consideration along with all the other anomalies present, it raises some suspicion about the figure.
On it's own, I wouldn't attribute the presence of this lack of mixing of the dye into the material to be anything particularly special as it does sometimes happen. Colors can have such anomalies present in them due to mixing not performed properly. What's raised it's significance to me, though, is the cumulation of this marbling effect along with all the other small variations present on the figure. It's the sum of these anomalies together that continues to pique my curiosity about this item.
At this stage, I'm giving darkmonkeygod's comments above even more credulity. This figure may "much more likely ... be (a) late stage engineering sample (rather) than part the production run" as he suggests. If so, I'm very interested in finding out more about it. I am thinking this mark is possibly indicative of a small pre-production run or similar assessment sample of some kind; then it's an extremely lucky find - and potentially very valuable.
So, in this regard I have a small request to anyone who would care to help me out with this figure. If someone - anyone - here knows of anybody who worked at Kenner during the production run of this figure or can help me establish whether this figure is of significance or not during the production process, I would be very grateful. Yeah, I know. That was almost 40 years ago; but I still hold hope this is possible.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, this particular figure is really beginning to irk me. A lot.
So much so that I've also decided to return the original damaged right leg to the torso. The swapping out of the leg with another, as documented during the earlier restoration process for this figure, was intended to demonstrate how easy it is to trade irreparably damaged parts with good ones. Now, with my suspicions regarding the potential importance of the figure and its relevance to its entire production run growing, I've since decided to return the original damaged limb to where it belongs despite its condition. In returning the leg to the figure, its proper state of completeness with all of its original parts present is assured.
The bottom line here, is maybe... Just maybe I've inadvertantly stumbled onto an early relic of the action figure's production history. (More than likely, however, that's just not the case.) Nonetheless, I'd like to know for sure, either way, as such verification would be terrific!
Thank you for reading.
They don't "mix in dye" when doing injection molding. It is melted plastic pellets that are the color of the final product. They don't use chemicals mixed together like the hobby community does. There could have been one different color pellet that got mixed in.
Very possibly the case. I'm trying to not jump to any conclusions on this item. I've actually freighted large quantities of plastic pellets on trucks so I know what you mean. It's super easy for a single pellet to 'contaminate' a batch at any point in the process. Too easy, actually. While this may be the case, I'm not convinced about anything regarding this figure just yet. Just trying to approach it open mindedly.
All the same, thank you for the feedback.
The arm was likely banged at some point, creating the lighter area like you'd see when bent, but without bending the arm. I've seen this happen. It's not uncommon.
Not in this case. It is a swirled in color.
Originally Posted by SpaceCrawler
Plastic "bruising" can sometimes look like that, a swirled color. But whatever the case, interesting thread.
Originally Posted by LonnieFisher
@SpaceCrawler: That was my first impression when I first saw the mark on the figure. The arm has been damaged, leaving the bruise. I've since discounted that possibility.
I've had a good close inspection of the location. The discoloration is definitely mixed in rather than stress related. I'm inclined to agree with LonnieFisher on this one; but thank you for the feedback all the same..