Sunday, August 2, 2009

Toy of the week Monday, August 3, 2009

Outer space is a place where workers smoke, curse, and gripe about percentages of profits.  That was the vision that Ridley Scott had when he created the classic science fiction film, Alien.  After the release of Star Wars in 1977, it had been proven that the public would embrace-- and take the Sci Fi genre seriously.  The creepy biomechanical designs of H. R. Giger almost didn't make it to the big screen though.  His designs in the movie Alien are now legendary-- but Fox executives thought they were too "ghastly".  In the end, Ridley Scott won out and a classic creature design was born.

In the movie Alien we are introduced to Gigers vision when the crew of a commercial space towing vehicle makes an unscheduled detour to a planet that is emitting a repeating radio signal.  They discover the wreck of an alien craft on the surface of the planet.  The vessel is long forgotten-- and in a dramatic scene, we discover a long deceased space traveler who fell victim to his own deadly cargo.  The giant being appears to be fossilized and growing out of his biomechanoid chair.  In a foreboding clue of what will happen to his human discoverers, he has a hole in his chest where the bones appear to be exploded outwards.

This scene has been immortalized very few times in either toy or model form.  Halcyon released an expensive vinyl model kit of the scene,  complete with little astronaut figures in the late 1980's.  It is still pretty easy to find this kit but you can expect to pay at least $80-- and you need a weekend or two to assemble and paint the model.  A pre-assembled and painted statue has also been released.  This item sells for hundreds of dollars.  The well known Kubrik line of collectable toys from Japan, created a limited run of Alien "Space Jockey" sets that included the alien ship's crew member in his biomechanical throne and four alien eggs.  Like other Kubrick toys, this was a limited release.  It will now take some work to find one.  Mine was acquired from EBay a few years ago as a Buy It Now item.

This kubrick toy is unusually detailed, right down to the hole in the figures chest.  The alien egg accessories are nicely done as well-- with realistic paint jobs and eerie translucent plastic.  It is worth a closer look, so I recommend you follow the alien beacon into the dioramas gallery of the Cabinet of Curious Frivolities and examine the Kubrick Alien Space Jockey.

Thanks for looking.

Water, check.  Fire, check.  Pressure at 80 psi-- full steam ahead.

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