Thursday, October 3, 2013

Halloween Countdown: Playmates Skeleton Warriors Aracula.

Today's entry is about a toy that fits in perfectly with the Halloween season. Meet Aracula. He's a giant skeletal spider.


Playmates has produced some of the coolest toy lines to have ever existed. Not only are they responsible for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but they're also responsible for Exo-Squad, Darkwing Duck, and Toxic Crusader toys. The Skeleton Warriors came out in 1994, a time when my interest in toys was waning, and my trips down the toy aisles were less frequent for fear of being spotted by my classmates. Like many of Playmates' other toys, Skeleton Warriors was attached to a Saturday morning cartoon.  I can't say I ever caught an episode though. I don't remember the toys sticking around very long in the stores, and I'm pretty sure the show disappeared just as quickly. Still, my lack of knowledge about the characters and my fear of being seen by someone else in my class didn't keep me from going home with Aracula.


Playmates has always been great about including a ton of eye candy on the back of their figures. Not only do we get a brief rundown of the Skeleton Warriors story, but they also provided a shot showing all the other figures.



I have to admit, other than Grimskull, the good guys in this line are pretty bland. Prince Lightstar and Vasah: The Guardian both look like rejects from the New Adventures of He-Man. The villains were definitely the best part. Even Shriek, who is easily the weakest of the Skeleton Legion figures, still kicks ass compared to the Legion of Light. Aracula is my hands down favorite of the baddies, but Baron Dark comes in at a close second. I think it's because he looks like Evil Ash from Army of Darkness. In third place, I'd take Grimskull. He's the most interesting out of all the Legion of Light characters, and he comes with a bad ass cape. I also like the fact that he comes with appears to be a skeletonized dog. It reminds me of the "pets" that used to be included with the Sectaur figures.


We also get detailed descriptions of Aracula's weapons.  First up, we have the spring powered bone-crushing tarantul-axe.


I'm not sure what makes it a tarantul-axe, but I do know that this thing launches with enough force to knock a tooth out. You've gotta be careful around that little trigger, lest you want to make an emergency trip to the optometrist.

Next up we have the Goo-gun.


It's basically a spider with a handle jammed up his ass, that shoots webbing on Aracula's enemies. Unfortunately, the seller I bought this from was a little clueless, so my figure was missing the Widowmaker Shield. It's a shame, as it was one of the better looking accessories. Speaking of, I'm a little disappointed by the lack of paint apps on both the weapons. They both look completely different compared to the pictures on the back of the card. I know things change between mockup and actual production, but the tarantul-axe went from black with gold trim to a dark green and red with no painted details.

Much like the TMNT figures, we get a file card that shares vital information about the character. Apparently Aracula is the arachno-assassin of the skeleton legion. Well, there goes my hopes of seeing platoons of six armed skeletons on the battlefield. One thing that continues to puzzle me is the statement that he is the most powerful spider to shed his skin. So, does that mean spiders on this world are just six-armed humanoids, or that they're normally just regular ol' spiders, and Aracula is just one gigantic freak show? Also, do spiders actually have a skin to shed? I think the bio actually raises more questions than it answers..



Enough with the details, let's check out the main attraction.


There's Aracula in all his eight limbed glory. Playmates is known for putting out large, highly detailed action figures, but all their previous lines couldn't compete with the amount of detail present in the Skeleton Warriors. I don't remember how much these guys cost when they came out, but it couldn't have been much more than five or six bucks. An amazing deal considering you can barely buy a knockoff figure for that price these days. He still has the limited articulation common to the Playmates figures, so he's kinda stuck in one pose. Aracula can still stand on his own though, so it's not a total loss. He's pretty durable as well, but I still wouldn't go around tossing him out of trees or knocking him down the stairs.


Those of you that are interested in collecting the Skeleton Warriors line are in luck. They still seem to go pretty cheap on e-Bay, at least, the Skeleton Legion guys do. By the time the Legion of Light figures were released, the cartoon had been cancelled, and the baddies had already been sent to the clearance bins. This means the good guys are a bit harder to find, and tend to go for a bit more money. I don't really count that as a negative though, as this is one line where it's good to be bad.
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