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[Memorabilia] Palisades – The X-Files PALz Figures – Series 2

“A television cult phenomenon began in 1993 with the creation of The X-Files.  FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder and Special Agent Dana Scully encountered mutants, vampires, aliens, madmen and government conspirators to investigate unexplained phenomena contained in what the FBI labeled the “X-Files”, cases that defied traditional explanation. These all-new Series 2 X-Files PALz action figures feature great well-loved characters and some incredible fan favorites from the creepy and compelling series, and prove once again that “The Truth is Out There.”

— PALz Series 2 Case

In this post we’re taking a look at the second set of The X-Files PALz block figures.  For the first set and general history of the PALz line, check out The X-Files PALz Figures – Series 1.

12 of the 14 figures in The X-Files PALz Series 2 set. Not pictured are the variants of Skinner in his trench coat and Scully in her autopsy gear.

The second and final set of The X-Files PALz figures arrived about nine months after the first, in November of 2005.  During this time, the decision was made to switch from the nicely designed blister packs of Series 1 to blind packaging for Series 2.  While blind packaged figures are common in North America now, this was an unpopular decision among fans back in 2005 who didn’t want to spend a fortune buying random characters in order to complete the set.  In addition to the blind packaging, the chances of acquiring a chase figure had also grown slimmer.  Whereas the three chase figures in Series 1 were limited to 1 per case of 24, the six chase figures in Series 2 were limited to either 1 in 32 or 1 in 64.

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Packaging for The X-Files PALz Series 2 blind packaged box.  Like Series 1, the box features the credits on the package.  The Series 2 boxes also provided the rarity of each figure.  The figure and accessories were held within a clear plastic bag inside.

But perhaps the blind packaging did have one silver lining:  It forced you to open the figures up and play with them!  The Series 1 packaging was perhaps a little too nice.  They looked great on display in the package, so why ruin that by taking them out?  But at the same time, the point of the figures was to pose them and play with them and make use of all of those neat little accessories, and blind packaging by its very nature forces the customer to open it just to see what’s inside.

While both series seem to have received a relatively small production run, figures from Series 2 tend to appear even less frequently than Series 1 in the aftermarket, leading me to believe that this series may have been even more limited than the first.  Either that, or perhaps spread a little more thin, as this series contained 14 different figures compared to the 11 from Series 1.  Like Series 1, the base set contained eight different figures, but here we have six chase figures instead of three, with four of them being variants of figures in the base set, and two being entirely new figures (Alex Krycek and Marita Covorubius).

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Box containing 16 blind-packaged figures.  Due to the rarity of the chase figures, it is extremely unlikely, if not impossible, that one would be able to obtain a full set of 14 figures from a single box of 16, as the chase figures were limited to either 1 in 32 or 1 in 64.

The individual packaging divides the second series into two categories, separating the standard and chase figures by rarity.  They’re listed as follows:

X-Files PALz Series Two

1:8 Mulder – FBI Field Jacket
1:8 Scully – FBI Field Jacket
1:8 Assistant Director Skinner
1:8 Newborn “Attack” Alien
1:8 George Peacock
1:8 Eugene Victor Tooms
1:16 Cigarette Smoking Man
1:16 X

X-Files PALz Limited Edition Chase Figures

1:32 Special Agent Fox Mulder “Reynard Muldrake” (Mulder in suit with trench coat)
1:32 Cigarette Smoking Man “Raul Bloodworth” (CSM with briefcase [no trench coat])
1:64 Walter Skinner “Field Operations” (Skinner in trench coat)
1:64 Special Agent Dana Scully “Quantico Forensic Training” (Scully in scrubs)
1:64 Alex Krycek “Comrade Artzen” (a misspelling of Krycek’s alias “Comrade Arntzen”)
1:64 Marita Covarrubias “United Nations SRSG”

Overall, of the 14 Series 2 figures, 10 are unique characters, and the only characters repeated from Series 1 are the new versions of Mulder and Scully.  As far as variety of characters, this would put the PALz Series 2 set just behind the recently released set of The X-Files Titan vinyl figures, which contains 12 unique characters in its base set (the four chase figures are all variants of existing characters), though the combined Series 1 and 2 PALz end up beating it with 16 unique characters between the two.

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A sampling of the PALz Series 2 accessories.

One of the highlights of the PALz figures are the various show-specific accessories.  Each figure comes with its very own little paper X-File based on an episode of the show, usually one that in some way relates to that particular character.  There are also the standard sort of accessories that we’ve seen other figures come with such as guns, FBI badges, flashlights, and cell phones, but the PALz line isn’t afraid to tap into the details of each episode for some more unique (and occasionally disturbing) items.  Tooms comes with an extra set of stretchy arms and a roadkill snack, and CSM comes with an alternate hand holding a cigarette and a pack of Morley’s.  Mulder’s iconic sunflower seeds and “I Want to Believe” poster are there, as is the classic photo of Fox and Samantha Mulder as kids.  The Alien comes with an alternate chest plate that can fit over any character’s torso, just in case you need to simulate its “birth.”  Scully comes with an amusingly bizarre PALz version of the x-ray film of her brain tumor from “Momento Mori,” and George Peacock comes with a bloody ax, pitchfork, and baseball bat, as well as a little block figure version of a deformed dead baby.  Uh…  Let’s just not mention that last one to LEGO when trying to defend The X-Files from getting shot down for not being a family-friendly property…

Krycek and Skinner PALz
Krycek taunts Skinner with nanobots, his fake left hand hanging at his side. Skinner is not amused.

Despite their small size, the PALz line of figures is pretty well articulated and fairly poseable.  Their arms and legs have a decent range of motion, and they can bend at the knees and elbows and rotate the hands and feet.  The blocky heads can rotate and tilt slightly, and the hair/ear pieces are removable.  They can technically be moved a bit at the waist, though that is often limited by longer shirts and jackets.  Like most block figures, the pieces can come apart and are interchangeable between figures.

Mulder and CSM PALz
“Hey, look, I found this thing in a lamp. Now, what were you talking to my mom about?”

On the downside, however, the flexibility of these figures seem to come at the cost of fragility.  While they’re certainly meant to be played around with and put in fun poses, they can really only be recommended for adult collectors, as they just won’t hold up to rigorous play.  The arm and leg joints in particular tend to come apart very easily, which is fine if you want to swap some body parts, but they often come off too easily when just trying to pose a figure.  Also, now that it’s been more than a decade since their original release, it’s become clear that some of the plastics used are prone to discoloration over time.  So far, this generally seems most noticeable with some of lighter colors, such as the hands.

Mulder and Scully PALz
Um, Scully, you might want to get that alien artifact away from Mulder, or we might have to deal with more awful “brain disease” plotlines.

So, now that Palisades is no more and the proposed third series of X-Files PALz figures never saw the light of day, is this the end of The X-Files block figures?  The demand was obviously there after the X-Files Revival was announced in early 2015 when Brent Waller, designer of the excellent Ghostbusters LEGO set, proposed a set of X-Files LEGOs, complete with Mulder and Scully’s basement office, to  LEGO Ideas.  The proposed set was very popular with both X-Files and LEGO fans and was widely reported on in collector’s circles, however it was ultimately rejected by LEGO due to the show’s mature themes (damn it, Home…  we still love you, though).  While unofficial, custom versions of the LEGO Mulder and Scully figures can be ordered at a premium, it sadly doesn’t appear that we’ll be getting official versions anytime soon.

Peacock and Tooms PALz
“Hey, George, I think you’ve got a little something on your shirt. Want a bite of my liver?”

But fortunately LEGO’s lack of interest was not the end.  As I mentioned in the PALz Series 1 review, the PALz figures were originally a derivative of Art Asylum’s Minimates line, and now it seems that we’ve come full circle, with Art Asylum picking up the license and putting out figures for both the 2016 limited series as well as a set of figures for the classic series.  So far the range of figures is nowhere near the variety seen in the two PALz sets, but these will be the first new figures released specifically based on Mulder and Scully’s Season 10 look, so it’s still an exciting prospect.

X and Marita PALz
Currently the only available figures of the informants Mr. X and Marita Covarrubias. I realized after taking this picture that Marita’s scarf is on backwards. Oops. Also, her coat is removable, however, the plastic has stiffened with age and no longer comes off easily!

So, that brings us to the end of the road for the X-Files PALz line.  As mentioned earlier, these figures can be hard to come by these days and can be quite pricey when they do appear for sale.  With that said, if anyone has the Scully and Skinner chase figures and would like to contribute photos for this review, please feel free to leave a message in the comments section or contact me on Twitter!  And hopefully we’ll be able to check out just how the PALz figures stack up against the new Minimates in an upcoming review…

Information was compiled from my own memory and 2005 email receipts, as well as old retailer and eBay listings (especially the super-informative Corndog Collectibles) and message board posts.

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[Memorabilia] Palisades – The X-Files PALz Figures – Series 1

In 2005, the now-defunct Palisades Toys released two series of The X-Files “PALz” mini figures.  The PALz figures were articulated block figures similar to the Minimates line, which the PALz figures were originally a derivative of, separating into its own line once a licensing deal between Palisades and Art Asylum fell apart.  (Interestingly enough, ten years later, Art Asylum finally plans to release The X-Files Minimates in a few months to correspond with the 2016 X-Files limited series.)  Three series of the X-Files PALz figures were said to be designed, however, only two were released before Palisades went under.  Despite that, the two series that  were released still represent the most variety of any of the X-Files toy lines to date, with a combined 16 characters represented, spanning mythology and MOTW alike.

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The major difference between the two series that were released was the way they were packaged.  The first series was released on nicely-designed blister cards, whereas the second series was released as blind-packaged boxes — a decision that greatly upset collectors at the time, especially in North America where blind-packaged figures weren’t as common or popular as they were in some other markets, such as Japan.

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PALz Series 1 vs. Series 2 packaging.

The figures were available from specialty retailers both in stores (Sam Goody, Suncoast, Media Play) and online (Entertainment Earth, ToyWiz).  The blister packaging of Series 1 seemed to be a bit more popular with North American retailers, so this series may be slightly more common.

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Front and back of Series 1 packaging. Full credits for the figures’ production team are listed on the back of the box, which is pretty cool.

Despite their simple, playful look, adult collectors were definitely the target audience for this line.  It was released a few years after the series ended and didn’t shy away from some of the darker elements of the show.  Palisades was a favorite among collectors due to their dedication to attention to detail in their licenses and reception to feedback from their fanbase.  This attention to detail was reflected in the characters selected, from MOTW fan-favorites to recurring secondary characters often ignored in merchandising such as Frohike and Deep Throat, and the accessories included, such as Donnie Pfaster’s creepy lock of hair and shampoo bottle and the Flukeman’s porta potty.

PALz Series 1 Scully and Mulder figures
Each figure came with a number of relevant accessories. Pictured here are the standard versions of the Scully and Mulder figures. They both come with their badge, gun, cell phone, and a flashlight. Scully also comes with a computer, and Mulder comes with a copy of Jose Chung’s From Outer Space. Each figure also comes with an X-File. Here, Scully has her own X-File, and Mulder’s X-File is based on the episode Anasazi.

At the time, the prices of the PALz line were considered a little on the high end for mini figures (with a suggested retail price of US $6.99 each), though they were still the more affordable choice compared to the contemporary line of X-Files 12″ figures being released by Sideshow Collectibles, which featured more realistic detail at a much larger scale and went for $40.00 and up.

With the history out of the way, let’s focus on Series 1.

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Series 1 base set, excluding the 3 chase variants.

 

Series 1 was released around April 2005 and featured 11 different figures:  8 standard, 3 chase variants.  In this series, the chase figures were all variations of characters featured in the standard set of 8 rather than a mix of variants and new characters, as we would later see in Series 2.   A case of Series 1 contained 24 figures in the following quantities:

– Special Agent Fox Mulder (x3)
– Special Agent Dana Scully (x3)
– Flukeman (x3)
– The Conundrum (x3)
– Gray Alien (x3)
– Donnie Pfaster (x2)
– Melvin Frohike (x2)
– Deep Throat (x2)
– Mulder Repaint Chase “Special Agent Fox Mulder (Man in Black Variant)” (x1)
– Scully Repaint Chase “Special Agent Dana Scully (Captive)” (x1)
– Demon Pfaster “Donnie Pfaster (Face of Evil)” (x1)

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Series 1 Chase Variants of Mulder, Scully, and Donnie Pfaster.  Demon Pfaster comes with a lock of red hair instead of blonde, so that’s really fucking creepy.

 

In addition to the 11 figures released at retail, there were also a couple of variants available only at specific shows.  At San Diego Comic Con 2005, a packaging variant of The Conundrum was released that included just the figure without any of the accessories.  It was packaged in a plastic bag with a cardboard hanger that featured a blank space where it could be autographed by The Enigma, the actor and inspiration for The Conundrum on The X-Files.  A photo of The Enigma himself is also featured on this packaging, as opposed to the render of the figure that’s displayed on the standard retail packaging.  It is also marked with the official SDCC Exclusive logo.

conundrum_exclusive
Standard version of The Conundrum figure (left) next to the SDCC 2005 Exclusive version (right).

But the very first X-Files PALz were actually a promotion for the line at New York Toy Fair 2005, which likely predated the commercial release by a couple of months.  These prototype-esque figures featured all-black, unpainted versions of Mulder and Scully along with a gun accessory and were available at the Palisades booth at the show.  They’re shown below along with a small flier advertising the upcoming toy line.

2005 New York Toy Fair Exclusive Mulder & Scully figures with card advertising the upcoming X-Files line of PALz figures.

 

And that’s a wrap for Series 1!  Stay tuned for Series 2, where we’ll investigate even more characters, more variants, and more disturbing accessories hidden within those unassuming blind boxes.

 

Information was compiled from my own memory and 2005 email receipts, as well as old retailer and eBay listings (especially the super-informative Corndog Collectibles) and message board posts.

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[Memorabilia] Funko – The X-Files Pop! Vinyl Figures

Funko announced that it would be adding The X-Files to its Pop! Television line of its adorable big-headed, bug-eyed vinyl figures back in late 2014, a few months before the still-in-negotiations 2016 X-Files television revival was announced to the public.  The figures were released in April of 2015, between the new limited series’ March announcement and when it began filming on June 8th.

The line features four characters:  A Fight the Future-era Fox Mulder (#183) and Dana Scully (#184), a deceptively cute Cigarette-Smoking Man (#185), and a grey Alien (#186) that pushes the head-to-body ratio even for a Pop! figure.

X-Files Pop! Vinyl Figures
Mulder and Scully are dressed and posed much like Funko’s bobblehead versions of them, though the big heads and small bodies are a lot less creepy in Pop!-styled simplified cartoon form compared to the more realistic depiction of the Wacky Wobblers.  Again they’ve given Mulder a gun, even though we all know he’s just going to drop it.  Scully is armed only with a flashlight and her scientific mind, while CSM grasps his trademark cigarette.  The Alien is just trying its best to stand up without falling over onto its enormous head, which is the only point of articulation for any of these figures.

Again like the Wacky Wobblers, the Pop! figures use the Fight the Future-style logo (which is also currently in use by IDW for the Season 10 comics and the recent X-Files board game).

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While the selection of characters is fine, I have to admit that I wish we could have seen a few others, such as Skinner or Krycek (I’d have personally taken either of them over the alien) or even Doggett and Reyes.  I have to wonder if there’s any possibility of a second series of Pop! figures as we approach the new episodes in 2016 since there’s still such a large cast of memorable characters to pull from, not to mention plenty of opportunities for alternate versions of Mulder and Scully.

 

 

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[Memorabilia] Funko – The X-Files Wacky Wobbler Bobble-Heads

The X-Files somehow seemed to just miss the resurgence in popularity of the bobblehead doll in the late 90s and early 2000s.  This has finally been rectified in 2015 thanks to Funko and their Wacky Wobbler line.  Just as with Funko’s X-Files entry into their Pop! line of vinyl figures, the Wacky Wobblers were announced in the latter half of 2014 and were released in March of 2015 (about a month ahead of the Pop! figures), just as the confirmation of a 2016 X-Files limited series revival was announced to the public.

As of this posting, it’s been exactly 17 years since the first X-Files movie hit theaters, and though the timing of these new figures seems to line up more with the series revival than the original theatrical release, this depiction of Mulder and Scully definitely has a Fight the Future vibe to it.  While the movie or its subtitle aren’t mentioned explicitly, everything from the design of the characters to the promotional artwork on the box to the style of the logo make for bobbleheads that would have felt right at home beside the McFarlane action figures back in 1998.


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Nice little surprise when you lift up the top flap.

As bobbleheads tend to go, their realistic, well-sculpted heads clash horribly with their tiny, cartoonish bodies, making them somehow both cute and creepy.  Despite that, though, the likenesses are pretty spot-on and instantly recognizable.

 

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And just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 20 years or so (or don’t want to get your Fox Mulder bobblehead mixed up with your Hank Moody bobblehead), their names are spelled out on their pretty silver bases for good measure.

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“Boop.”

 

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[Memorabilia] McFarlane Toys – The X-Files: Fight the Future Action Figures

Back in May of 1998, McFarlane Toys released a set of Fight the Future action figures in anticipation of the upcoming X-Files movie. The figures featured a couple of different versions of Mulder and Scully along with the more viscous version of the aliens introduced by the movie (spoilers, guys!) and a few of the aliens’ victims. These 6-inch figures were generally sold either in blister packs of two characters (usually either Mulder or Scully with an alien or victim), or one character and a larger accessory, though there was also a boxed set that featured Mulder, Scully, and the Attack Alien. In the US, the figures were sold in toy or specialty stores, such as Toys R’ Us, Suncoast, and Sam Goody.  There are a couple of different packaging variants and character configurations.

Figures included:  

AGENT DANA SCULLY (in suit with FBI badge and cell phone accessories)
AGENT FOX MULDER (in suit with FBI badge and flashlight accessories)
AGENT SCULLY (dressed in arctic gear with cell phone accessory)
AGENT MULDER (dressed in arctic gear with flashlight accessory)
ATTACK ALIEN (version of alien with teeth and claws exposed)
DOCILE ALIEN (articulated alien without teeth exposed)
PRIMITIVE MAN (cave man from the beginning of the movie who was somehow found more deserving of an action figure than Skinner, CSM, or WMM…)
FIREMAN WITH CRYOLITTER (alien cryolitter and fireman victim with translucent skin that reveals a small alien gestating inside)
HUMAN HOST AND CRYOPOD CHAMBER (translucent human body inside alien ice pod thingy)
VICTIM IN BODY BAG AND GURNEY (rubbery human victim wrapped up in a white body bag on a gurney accessory)


The figures feature some minor articulation in the arms and neck but are otherwise fairly stiff.  The victims were created with a translucent rubbery material that is flexible and reminiscent of the bodies in the movie, though those figures feature no true articulation (but they’re dead, so I guess that’s fine).  Antarctica Scully is wearing boots that match Mulder’s, though I don’t think she ever actually had any in the movie, since she was pretty much just dressed in Mulder’s outer layer of clothes.

There are a couple of packaging variants.  Some are labeled as “Series One,” though I’m not sure if all of the characters were part of it or if some were released later, since they all seemed to be release around the same time.  The same characters can also be found without the “Series One” label.  Not sure if this was due to regional differences or if another series was originally planned and then never produced.  The back of the “Series One” packaging featured dramatically lit photographs of the standard Mulder and Scully figures with character profiles and some promotional text from the teaser (similar to what was used in the movie trailer).  The variant packaging (with one rounded corner) features the other figures with short descriptions and also advertises the movie’s soundtracks and the X-Files Fan Club at the bottom.

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