Thursday, January 7, 2016

Incredible Crash Dummies: Junkman

Temporal rip detected!  Jump back in time with me and take a look at a snapshot in the 90's when rebreakable toys needed a villain to help break them further.

If you remember Junkman, then there's a good chance you remember the rest of the Crash Dummies toyline, and that means you had a wonderful childhood.  There weren't a lot of toys meant specifically for breaking and rebreaking, and when toys like that did exist, they often didn't work like you would hope, like Manglors, which you were supposed to be able to rip apart and put back together, but that just plain didn't work as advertised.  Hot Wheels also made some cool little cars with flipping panels that showed damage when you crashed them (though, that's a good example of one that did work)!

Incredible Crash Dummies were made for breaking - completely.  The figures busted apart or comically showed damage, and all the vehicles smashed up or broke apart in various ways, save for the ones like the cannon that was made just for....launching figures.  In to things.  For further breaking. Oh, and the torture machine! (Look, it was awesome, trust me).

This wasn't a thing that was open to me very often, because I had so very few vehicles.  They're big, and expensive!  You really had to take care of what you got (you know, as best you could, being a kid).  The Crash Dummies vehicles were specifically for letting loose!  My friend and I would spend a good long time on loading up the cars and motorcycles and just LAUNCHING them down the stairs and into a wall.  You'd think they wouldn't stand up to it, but they did! We put the stuff back together and went back to work again and again.

I'll admit, this would be better for reminiscing if I actually had any of these items to review today, so we won't dwell on them too much and, instead, just stick to who we've got on the docket.

Crash Dummy toys had been going for a couple years by this point, and I guess Tyco felt it was time to introduce an antagonist beyond blunt force trauma.  Enter Junkman, who is pissed about Crash Dummies helping humans by making sure cars can possibly not kill them in a crash (but totally will, because you can only do so much to protect someone when they're traveling 70 mph in a metal beast full of gasoline).  So I guess he pulls a Skynet and wants machines to take over.

Now, in between crashing cars for safety and all that, the Dummies gotta play superhero and stop the EVIL MACHINES.

Which, honestly, look freakin' awesome!  I never got anyone beyond Junkman, back in the day, sadly.  I wouldn't mind tracking down the rest at some point.  As it is, my original Junkman didn't quite make it into this review, much less any Dummies beyond one.

I loved that Junkman figure so much that he ended up coming with me to a lot of places.  Naturally, since his parts can be removed, I lost his head in my mom's old Dodge Dynasty (never did figure out how the head disappeared in there) and I ended up replacing it with a skull broken off from a keychain (there wasn't a peg on the skull to keep it in, so I wrapped a paper clip around it and shoved it in).

I had apparently been talking about this with my buddy Zach (for some reason, I don't even remember mentioning it) so he up and bought me a new packaged one for Christmas!

This is the first time I've had this guy with his head on since the 90's.  I'd show my original if I could, but I have no idea where that poor thing went, so I'll have to recreate a substitute for the old skull-head version:

That's more or less how it went, sans paper clip neck.

First, lets marvel at 90's detail!  One of the reasons I love this guy is because I love asymmetry.  Barely anything on this guy matches, and when it does, the other side is still dinged up differently.  Plus: there's minigun in his stomach!  I mean seriously, is there anything in a car that looks like that?  'Cause that straight-up looks like a minigun barrel.

Anyway, beyond the minigun, all the Junkbots look like they're made of car parts, and Junkman himself is a mix that and Dummy parts.

Broken Dummy parts, no less!  Inside.  For some reason.  That seriously looks like gore!  I dunno why they went with red, but it freakin' rocks.

Everything about him is broken down and busted and beautiful.  Even that crazy bent pipe over his head!  Doesn't serve any purpose beyond Rule of Cool - it's there because of awesomeness.

His articulation is everything you'd expect from a 90's figure, along with tight joints and the ability to be pulled apart.  He doesn't fly apart like Crash Dummies, but they still allowed you to swap parts if you wanted.

Plus, since he's an antagonist, he's got to have a way to break Dummies, and there's no better way to do that than with MORE blunt force trauma (like they're already used to)!

It's not the 90's without a missile launcher!  This one shoots off a tire with a nice, large flat surface so you can easily hit the big buttons on the front of the Crash Dummies that allowed them to fly apart.

The launcher can store on his back, or he can hold it, or you can tear off an arm and shove this in its place!  The peg on the launcher is just a bit too large, so it has the chance of stretching out the peg hole (hence why it's not pushed in all the way).  I didn't care, back in the day (of course), so the right claw arm tended to fall out a lot.  I wasn't gona pass up a gun arm!

Scale wise he lined up with pretty much anything in the 5 inch scale range, which was almost everything, back then.  He often fought my old Spider-Man, but then again, so did nearly all my toys.

Sadly, the only Dummy I have left to pose with this guy is...Ted.  He came with a video tape of the Dummies' only computer animated special that I watched a LOT....apparently.  I honestly haven't thought of it in years, but when I checked it out on youtube, my brain ran and grabbed the old files and proved to me that I still had a lot of the music and dialog from this tape still lodged in the back of my head.  Thanks, brain.  I totally still need that rattling around in there.

If you're morbidly curious, here's the whole thing:

Junkman is voiced by the guy who voiced Brave Heart Lion from Care Bears.  Thanks again, brain!  I needed that information too!

Beyond Crash Dummies, Junkman stands out as a really detailed and awesome looking zombie-ish robot figure.  He has all the stuff I love about asymmetry and robots, and I feel like he still stands out today (along with the rest of his Junkbots).  Something about him looks terrifying and creepy, even now, and I could totally see him in a robot horror movie (for robots) where they run in to him in a dark alley, chowing on robot parts.


  1. Woo, a toyline I actually had! Most of my toys were cheaper no name stuff, or loads of cars of various sizes. Loved me some crash dummies! And man, Ted. I always felt he looked like he was wearing something fancy, so he was always in charge. And I had Piston Head, too. Totally forgot about him until that picture hit me with the nostalgia cannon.

  2. Man Tyco was a good toy company.

    RiP in pieces.

  3. I had some of these guys when they were brought back in the early 2000's! My favourite one was a skunk that went flat, that's it that's all he did but he rocked! Most of my dummies fell into that void that eats toys, they simply disappear for no reason. C'mon Mattel (I think mine were released as hot wheels items) BRING THEM BACK!

    1. I didn't even realize they had been revived in the early 2000's until I was doing a little history binge on these guys. They looked neat! Dunno how I missed 'em.

  4. Crash Dummies! I had a lot of love for this line and I pined after the figures. For some reason I didn't really own much of it at all - I probably begged harder for other stuff. I had one of the dummies. It was the purple, kinda squat one, and his deal was that his eyes and tongue would bug out, I think? I distinctly remember going through all of the figures and trying to pick the one that had the best gimmick.

    I also had the dog, which came with a cat, but I think I found the dog at a thrift shop, so I only had it. It would squash flat if you smashed it from above.

    I remember pining after the Junkbots in particular, but didn't have any of them.

    Oh, and finally, I once rented the Incredible Crash Dummies video game for NES. I'm pretty sure it was one of the earliest "Ah, so this is what playing a shitty game feels like" type of experiences for me.

    1. Yeah, I had the guy with the bug-out eyes! He actually broke - in the unintended way. Much like a mad scientist, I kept his severed head for study, and then cracked it open to use the eyes for various things. Probably still got them somewhere...

      I think my first "this is what playing a shitty game feels like" moment was with some unnamed games on my Dad's old PC back in the big floppy disk days. Can't even remember what it was called...some sorta kung-fu game where you lose. You just...lose.

  5. Glad you like him! My brothers and I had two or three when we were kids, plus a car you could crash (with real working airbag!). The only Junkbot we had was Sideswipe, and eventually all that was left of him was his right leg from the knee down. I used to pretend that most of his body was destroyed and he shifted his consciousness to his leg. He hopped around, and apparently could still talk and see.

    If I were to track down any of these guys now (and I might), the Junkbot for me would Piston Head. I don't know what it is about him, but he just jumps off the cardback at me. There's also a Crash Dummy named Dent who has short legs, but you can plug in an extra pair of legs to his feet and make him taller!

    Anyway, I think I mostly overlooked these back in the day. There was probably a bunch of other stuff I had my eye on. I remember the revival from the early 2000's, but they always felt kinda bland compared to the older stuff. I'd be all over the old ones today!

  6. Perhaps you missed the concept that the torso is an engine from a car or truck. Thus what you are describing as a 'mini gun' is actually a distributor. The 'missile launcher' is actually a transmission and the 'tire missile' is the torque convertor.

    Just thought you should know.

    1. No he was right. It's just a distributor that distributes bullets, the transmission transmits missiles and the torque convertor...converts...fools...with torque?

    2. Yeah, a couple friends pointed out to me that it was a distributor cap (just...not on here). I totally got the concept, I just don't know anything about cars beyond "this guy is probably built out of car parts" but the distributor cap was entirely foreign to me. Thanks!

    3. Jonesy your comment is AWESOME! Thanks for the great laugh!

  7. Loved the concept of these guys. I had Chip or Dent, and the plane. However, I did find them a bit flimsy. The pegs holding the body parts together had a tendency to snap, and the plane broke pretty quickly. I was reasonably careful with my toys, so I'm really impressed that your Ted survived this long! Mine were a few months, tops, if memory serves.

    1. Wow, I never had any pegs snap! The only problems I had were with the early figures in the first wave, particularly the white Slick. The springs holding in his limbs eventually became weak and he would never hold together.

      Later guys, however, like Ted up there, held together just fine! He still works pretty dang good to this day. Maybe it was just luck of the draw?