Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Octobersbest: Robot Skeletons!
I swear I'm not doing another Kenner/NECA post on purpose! This was supposed to be the FIRST Octobersbest post, but then I found the Alien VS Predator pack and...here we are.
Lets look at some of my favorite robot skeletons!
I hadn't seen much of Alien or Predator, when I was a kid. I certainly knew about them and had seen some parts, but not all the way through until I got into middle school. Terminator, though? Specifically Terminator 2: I was eight or nine years old and probably not supposed to be watching it, but YEAH. You probably know how that goes. I was obsessed with the T-800 endoskeleton.
We return to Kenner, the maker of toys from movies children shouldn't be watching (but totally did). They had a Terminator 2 toyline with various things from the movie and random things not from the movie that made good toys. Naturally, I pinpointed the standard silver endoskeleton and BEGGED for it!
Just as I explained in the last post: Kenner made some damn fine toys! This thing was put through its paces and it's still together, only sporting some scuffs. It has a crazy punching feature that works just like an old He-Man guy - twist and let go! Cool thing is that the "pistons" in his sides are the rubber bands used to make the feature work. Brilliant! Action feature, AND detail! Friggin' love it.
The other feature is good old fashioned light-piping in the eyes, with ports in the top of the head.
I also love light-piping. It's a simple gimmick, but all you need is light anywhere above you and BAM - glowing eyes! Also, the plastic used for the eyes lights up nicely in a blacklight.
Mr. Metalbones came with two accessories: Some sorta gun that fit on his head (that I lost) and the twisted metal piece pictured above.
This thing confused the heck outta me, when I was a kid. I was convinced it was a gun, for some reason. It's obviously a twisted piece of metal...but why? Why not another gun? You see these guys with guns all the time! They're always carrying them in the Sega Genesis game! Give me another gun!
Not only is it a strange item to add, but it's also a very strange piece of rubble. It looks like someone built it that way! Like some kid was messing with a screwdriver and a nail gun and just slapping metal together. Maybe it's a T-800's art project?
Regardless of lackluster accessories, the standard silver T-800 was like a holy grail, back in the day. I used it for EVERYTHING. I still love it.
Then they made this:
A GLOW IN THE DARK ENDOSKELETON. This came to me in an Easter basket and blew my tiny mind. Still does. It's punching feature doesn't work well anymore, but who needs it? Does he glow? Check. THAT'S ALL I NEED, BABY.
He's got the same mold as the regular T-800, so he's technically got the same light-piping...it's all just molded as the same glowing plastic. Still: I lit up his eyes anyway. Terrifying!
You've seen him in at least three or four posts now, so lets move on.
The last T-800 they made was the "Metal Masher Terminator", billed on the back of the package as a Terminator reprogrammed to work for the Resistance.
The cool number and barcode on the chest is suppose to denote that it's a good-guy Terminator. Of course, I'm JUST finding this out again by looking up pics of the package, 'cause I don't remember any of these details. I just used him as a stronger Terminator model. He came with a missile launcher that I tossed in a bin, back in the day. I have no idea which bin. I didn't like launchers, when I was a kid (I preferred blasts of the imaginary kind).
He's got the same punch ability and light-piping as the other two. I've displayed it by shining a laser pointer into his head, and MAN, you gotta see it close up.
AH! That's awesome! I should go back and zoom in on the glowing one too.
GAH! Man, laser pointers rule. I can see why they were so popular in the late 90's.
So that's the awesome trio of robot skeletons I had through childhood (and now, apparently). They were many things, from standard badguy grunts, to uh....a trio of underground dwelling metal skeletons. Yeah, I made up a LOT of stuff, back then.
There IS an outlier, though.
KROMIUM, the toy...made for the Terminator toyline. I didn't honestly care who or what he was, because look at him! That's awesome! He has the ability to extend - you pull his arms and legs outward, then push a button on his back and his chest and neck shoots up (or out, so you can ram guys with his bull horns). I'd display this in pictures, but his spring-loaded ability no longer works, so he's stuck in tall mode.
Kromium also sports some guns on his hips, so he's all one package! Except for his dumb hands, which are facing down. If you wanted to give him other weapons, he'd only be able to hold them sideways. Kind of a strange detail to add.
As with most Kenner figures: the details are awesome! The skull on this guy was always one of my favorites. His bull horns also made him useful in other ways! I ended up putting him in a diorama I made back in elementary school. It was for a cultural festival, and I was supposed to make a diorama showing how bullfighting works. I don't know where they expected me to get all the stuff for it, so I used what I had on hand: G.I. Joes, old fabric, and Kromium, for the bull! Naturally. I didn't even try to use normal people! I used all masked G.I. Joes in armor and the 90's Dr. Mindbender in blinding yellow with all the cybernetic parts. Fighting a cyborg man-bull-skeleton.
Traditional bullfighting, ya know?
Now I suppose I should also count half-skeletons, or skeletons that have not yet been fully revealed. With that in mind: The final Kenner guy I still have around.
You'd think this guy would have been the favorite, but what can I do? I love skeletons. This guy is actually even more impressive now, since I have come to appreciate the art of the toy. I mean, he looks AMAZING. The 90's at its best. The toys of old had really met their match, when the 90's rolled around and Kenner was pushing out masterpieces like this.
I just loved it for the accessories, back in the day, and usually pushed him off to the side when it was time to bring out the endoskeleton. I mean, he didn't even have light-piping! PSHHT!
...though his eye still lights up in a blacklight.
You can tell how little I messed with this thing by how little he is scuffed. He's in nice shape! I almost want to go back in time and tell me to play with this more. It's awesome, dude! Come on!
Just looking awesome wasn't enough for the 90's, of course. A metal spike randomly extends from the normal arm. Just like Robocop!
His major feature, however, was this:
Interchangeable arms! I remember this the best, because I remember swapping out the arms a bunch (ya know, one gets blown off and another one reforms in it's place. Then an explosion goes off, and the endoskeleton steps out of it and this guy gets pushed to the side).
One arm is a big claw for grabbin' the T-1000 uselessly and doing nothing but lookin' cool.
The other is a missile launcher, of course! What else could it be? As I had explained above: I didn't like launchers, back in the day, so most of the time I used it without the missile.
...which worked out, I guess, 'cause apparently there's a magazine on the bottom! For shooting, when the missile is gone. Maybe. I love the sculpting on old 90's guns, 'cause you could add a scope and a magazine anywhere and call it a gun! You don't even need a barrel!
With that, we leave the 90's. I'll miss you.
Terminator becomes an "adult collectible", save for a short period where Playmates got the rights to Terminator: Salvation.
They made a Joe-sized toyline, sporting a nice little T-800. There was a T-800 in this size back in the late 90's from a company called Toy Island, but I was never able to get a hold of it. Plus, this Playmates version is so much better!
It actually comes with guns! No messed up pipes pulled out from the sink! It also has swivel elbows so it can almost hold a gun with two hands (if it had wrists).
It wasn't a bad toyline, for certain things like this, but it didn't do very well (along with the movie, that I actually liked) and they faded into obscurity and clearance isles.
The only recent development into this scale was from the ReAction line, which specializes making figures in the simplistic 70's Star Wars style.
I bought the chrome version, but it's very fragile and could be snapped by even a small drop. I can't even turn his head without the main body starting to bend open at the seams. It's neat, but nothing you can really use anywhere.
Now, I wasn't able to get the Toy Island Terminator, but I did get their Robocop! I was finally able to get these two together, along with any other matchup they threw 70 MPH at our faces back in the 90's.
Hey, speaking of Robocop VS Terminator: Why don't we move on to the NECA section?
The next folks making endoskeletons are NECA, because they grab the classics, I guess! I never ended up buying their standard Endoskeleton, because I was afraid of QC problems, but my buying and playing with the Lava Planet Predator (without him breaking) made me rethink things. Also: I LOVE the idea of their video-game-color figures.
These two are from the Robocop VS Terminator game and, as expected of video games, there are various Terminators to fight, increasing in difficulty based on color. The blue one is supposed to be the normal silver one, but this is mimicking sprite colors, so it ends up blue. The orange-ish one is supposed to be a gold color.
The same complaints crop up here, as with the Predators and the Alien. The figures move well and have a nice amount of articulation, but they feel fragile and you have to carefully mess with it to see how he's supposed to move. Once you get how he moves, though, the articulation works out pretty well! As you can see, all the pistons in the legs don't get in the way of having him kneel, which is pretty amazing. However: You really gotta watch those pistons. Sometimes they'll pop out, though nothing has broken so far.
Like the previous post: I really have to give NECA props for detail and innovation in terms of the pistons and how they work with the articulation. They just need to make things a little more sturdy! The pistons would be a work of art, if it wasn't for how scared I am to move them, sometimes. If they were more sturdy, I'd be BLOWN AWAY. As it is, they work, and it is impressive, but they could use some more development in the teeny-tiny hinges that hold everything together.
I bought this pack mostly because I'm not sure if they'll do the gold Terminator from the old days (though, knowing NECA so far, they just might). It works, for a stand-in! Though, I don't want to sell the awesome video-game paint jobs short. That's awesome all on it's own! There's a lot to be said about screen-accurate detail, but I think it shows even more impressive work to get them to look like a video game from multiple angles.
So I don't know if they'll get around to making the gold one, but I DO know they got around to remaking the Endoglow Terminator!
That's right, as an SDCC exclusive, NECA remade my old favorite glowing Terminator with the current endoskeleton body.
They even recreated the packaging, like with the Alien VS Predator pack! It looks great, but, as usual, I'm an opener. I may still keep the card. Regardless, the effort is appreciated!
He's not exact, but the idea gets across subtly. You can tell something is different, but it's not obvious that he glows. Granted, I would have liked a closer color scheme, but it's still pretty awesome.
The original was cast in glowing plastic and then painted over with black, mostly. His chest, face, and legs showed a bit, but mine is SUPER worn, so most of him glows. The NECA version tries to mimic the original, without wear, so only the chest, thighs and head glows. It's weird, but I like it!
He works like the other endoskeletons, though there's a shoulder flap that is a little loose, along with the front chest piece (I don't understand why that part moves), but nothing broke, so I'm happy.
This one is another that makes me super happy, but still conflicted, 'cause I wana move it but I also don't want to break it. I'ma still buy NECA remakes, when they really mean something to me, but I'll always appreciate more playable toys over the collectibles. Nonetheless, it's hard not to geek out over the details on these figures! There's just something about super-amazing detail mixed with the aesthetics of classic 90's toys.
I love the endoskeletons from Terminator, and probably always will. When you already love robots and skeletons separately, it's kinda hard to pass up the perfect marriage of both. It's a happy marriage that has been going on for years, and I have a feeling these two won't even need to renew their vows as times goes on. They were MADE for each other, and they were made for me. Just me. No one else.
Stay away from my robot skeletons, YOU HEAR?!
...nah, I'm just kidding. Bring it in, you.