We're big fans of Mini figures (Mini-Mates, Kubricks, Playmobil, etc.) around here, and we're equally big fans of the Alien films. Recently released is the Alien Quadrilogy, with 45 hours of bonus material, in addition to the 4 films. I remembered seeing the Mezco Mez-Itz Alien figures at Toy Fair and decided to pick up a set for $15. Mez-Its are Mezco's answer to the current mini-fig craze. The block style figures are a bit taller than Kubricks. Popular Mez-Its have been their Predator 3 pack and Austin Powers figures. With this set you get a 3.5 inch Alien, Astronaut, and the Space Jockey (the weird phallic pointy thing in the egg room) with this set. Being an avid Kubrick collector, I wanted to compare this set to the current Kubrick Alien figures. I'll run down both sets side by side, so you can see which one I like best, and which one might be best for your collection.
The Mez-Its are pretty easy to find online or at Suncoast Pictures and Tower Records for around $15. The Kubricks were a little harder to find, not that many online stores have them, and none of my comic book stores carried them. SweatyFrog.com had a set, so I bought it from them. They put together the individually (and typically blind-packed) Alien, Ripley (in Nostromo suit), and Kane (with face hugger) for $19. The shipping was pretty fast.
If you're familiar with a lot of Kubrick sets, they came blind-packed (meaning you don't know which figure you're going to get each time. However a lot of online retailers will carefully open the boxes to guarantee you get a complete set. (Well, Ash and Parker were sold out.) The Mez-Its come with all three on a blister pack. Other sites have said it before me, the Predator box set is pretty sweet. This isn't bad, it shows off all of the figures, but was not as tight as the Predator set. Also, I felt the back of the card could have been illustrated with a cool branded scene showing off the figures, but right now it is a large image of the glowing broken egg from Alien's movie posters.
That's why we're all here isn't it? I am big, big fan of the Kubrick design applied to familiar characters. Check out our review of the Back to the Future Kubricks.
So here is the Kubricks take on the popular Giger-styled alien. It's undeniably an Alien. The likeness is nice. However, I don't think it was kubricked enough. The hands, feet, head, and chest are all covered by sculpted pieces, so it kind of loses that Kubrick feel a bit. I think that the foot pieces look kind of like oversized (and ugly) bunny slippers. The plastic is a new (to me) type of high-gloss plastic that was a lot tougher to move at the joints. It took quite some work to get all the pieces to move initially. The detail is nice, and while there really isn't a "paint job," there are some details printed on the arms and legs. The skull is barely visible through the translucent plastic on the head. That's a great effect. I also like how the construction is still intrinsically based on the Kubrick design, so you can stick the Alien head, and other pieces, on another's body. (Since I am not a fan of this Einstein-dog body, THIS would be a sweet custom project for me later). Now here's the biggest flaw. There is a small lever on the underside of the head that you can push to extend the inner baby jaw from the main jaw. However with the "piping" on the back, you can't reach it. You can manually open the jaw with your finger nail, lean the head forward, and the inner jaw will slide out easily. But there's no way to access the lever on the back with human fingers. Overall: pretty sweet to finally have an Alien in my Kubrick collection, but he's really not for playing with. Mainly for display. The important part is that he's fulfilling an empty spot on my shelf I've had for this guy.
I'm pretty infatuated with the Mez-Its Alien. He's a bit more "durable" (although hollow), and a little taller than the Kubrick Alien. He has a soft rubber tail, and besides the head, his design sticks pretty closely to the established Mez-Its "rules." The arms and legs are simply painted with a design hinting at the Alien skin texture, and the Lego-esque hands have small fingers defined. All of the joints (except the wrists) are ball jointed, including the head, allowing for some cool poses. The top of his noggin is clear, showing an intricate pattern on the top of his skull. The front and back are painted and then fade to clear. I found it interesting that Mez's Alien "revealed" a completely different part of the skull beneath. Just like the Kubrick Alien, there is an inner jaw that can pop out from the inside. This Alien's lever, however, is easier to use. Just push, and the little gray jaw pokes out from the spring-loaded outer jaw. Let go, and the inner jaw snaps back inside and the outer jaw closes. Overall: you can play with this Alien figure a lot more, and it is really the one to get if you're looking for a mini-fig-sized Alien to stick on your desk, or carry in your pocket.
The Kubrick set came with Ripley in a bright white, clean, Nostromo suit. The detail is incredible on this figure. There are little fingers sculpted on the glovesand look at the rear viewthe breathing apparatus is pretty cool. I like how there's a clear bubble to see Ripley looking out at you. The helmet is removable, however, her hair does not come out with the head, so you get the Alien³ Ripley when you pull the helmet off. Though it's tough with a perfect cylinder and a few illustrative lines, I think it's a decent representation of Sigourney Weaver's face.
The Mez-Its set comes with just an "astronaut" (mainly so they wouldn't have to mess with personal likenesses and all the problems that go along with that). His Nostromo suit is orange and brown, and pretty filthy like a "used" version of the suit. The coolest part about the astronaut is that you can rotate the little headlamp on top of his helmet and rotate the head to reveal a little sculpted face hugger firmly attached to the poor guy. This joint is a little looser than I'd like, but it's a great feature. The helmet does not come off.
The third Kubrick figure I got was Kane with a face hugger. The figure itself is pretty undetailed (the screaming face underneath of the face hugger is pretty cool), but the sweet thing about the face hugger is that you can easily slide it onto the head of any other Kubrick you have. (Except the Planet of the Apes figures with sculpted faces). The face hugger itself is in two pieces, the tail goes around the neck peg of the head, and then the finger like pieces wrap around the head and the two pieces kind of lock together. This is something great to have for your Kubrick collection.
Mez-Its Space Jockey
No one is quite really sure what the hell the Space Jockey is in Alien. It was designed by H.R. Giger, so it has the obligatory feel of genitalia. (huh huh huh, feel of genitalia). It looks like a person kind of mummified to a chair with a big gun turret or antennae pointing to the sky. The inclusion of this piece helps round out the figure set, however, I really don't want to display this piece (it's surprisingly not as easily identified as a prop from Alien as much as it reminds people of a dick, so it's not going on my desk at work). It's incredibly detailed, and the paint apps are nice. It's two pieces of tough rubber that plug into each other, and the top piece will rotate on the base. The head of the thing seated behind the penis thing has a rounded off head to mirror the Mez-Its design rules. What I would have liked to have received instead of a Space Jockey was a third figure with a chest-bursting feature. It doesn't have to look just like actor John Hurt, it can be a screaming head with a push button chest burster. Would the price be a bit lower with a third Mez-Its sized figure instead of the bigger-by-comparison Space Jockey?
The irony here is that the Mez-Its are better for playing with, however they come with really sweet display bases. I'd rather have sweet display bases for the Kubricks I'm going to leave on my shelf. Either way, I'm really impressed with the bases Mezco provides. The Alien's base looks like a section of the Nostromo, with pipes and gauges. One problem here is that it is indeed tough to get the Alien to stay in the provided foot grooves due to the springy nature of his rubbery tail. It keeps wanting to push him forward and not stay put. I found if you rotate his torso just slightly, the tail doesn't put up as much of a fight, and he'll stay put. The Astronaut's base has three eggs, one of which is open and hollow. The set came with a little rubber face hugger that you can leave hanging out of the open egg. Pretty cool. (You can also see the genital influence that went into that design as well).
I really wanted the Kubrick set ever since I heard they were making them. But mainly I wanted the set to be a part of my growing Kubrick collection. I'm always impressed but was slightly disappointed with the Alien's execution. He'll look good in my collection, and my coworkers will invariably pick him up and look at him, but I'm not going to be doing much with him. If you're not an avid Kubrick collector, and you want a cool mini-sized Alien to play with or display, I am going to fully recommend the Mez-Its Alien set. They're a little cheaper, they're quite a bit easier to find, and they're a well made toy.
There have since been more sets produced by each company! Check out Mez-ItzAliens set (with Queen), and Kubrick's second series. In fact you can check out all of our Alien coverage in one spot.