Showing posts with label robocop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label robocop. Show all posts

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Robocop and the Ultra Police.

I know I've mentioned it before, but I was way too young the first time I saw Robocop. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it, I just think the parts of the movie that didn't involve Robocop shooting large holes into criminals went way over my head. There were some terrifying moments as well, such as when Mr. Kinney learned he should have ducked, or when Emil discovered the dangers of swimming in toxic waste.


Still, the ultraviolence and lack of action figures based on the movie didn't keep me from wanting to play "Robocop". I would just pick the G.I. Joe figure that looked the most like the cyborg, and pretend he was half man, half machine, and all cop. Then, about a year after the movie's release on VHS, Kenner put out a toyline based on a movie that was almost rated "X" for violence.

I was just walking down the toy aisles in Rose's, trying to figure out what I was going to blow my allowance money on, when a familiar silver cyborg caught my eye. I pulled Robo off the peg, and scanned every inch of his card. No longer would I have to deal with a poor facsimile when I could have the real deal. Robocop wasn't alone, though. He had a whole gang to fight, and a few friends to lend him a hand. Possibly the greatest thing about the figures was the fact they could fire caps. Just load a roll into their backs, pull the lever, and enjoy as you slowly lose your hearing.

Let's have a look at a few of  the figures from this line.




Robocop

You can't have Robocop and the Ultra Police without Robocop. This was the first, actually the only figure I ever owned from this line. In my excitement at finally seeing a Robocop figure, I completely ignored all of the other toys in the line. It wasn't until I got home and reread the back of his card that I realized there were other characters available. Still, once I saw them on the pegs, I was underwhelmed. These guys weren't in the movie, so why would I even care about them?




Robocop came with a rather odd interpretation of his Auto-9 pistol, and a removable helmet. I never understood why his gun ended up looking so funky, but it works, I guess. When all the crime had been stopped, and all the bad guys had been shot, the pistol could be fastened to the left thigh. So it wasn't a cool retractable holster like the movie, but you could only expect so much for a figure that cost less than $5.


 Murphy removes his helmet several times in the Robocop movie, so it only made sense for his action figure to be able to do the same. The helmet goes on pretty tight, so it's not like it'll just fall off when you're playing with him. Take it off and squint your eyes just right, and I guess you could say that it looks like Peter Weller. The cheeks are as sharp and he has a bit too much forehead, but it's still a decent likeness for a toy from 1989.

As you can see, this particular Robocop was well loved by its previous owner. There are small scorch marks on the front and back, almost like someone was adding their own battle damage. I'm not going to lie, I did the same thing with mine. I actually ended up with a spare Robo somehow, so I used a lighter and a paper clip to add some bullet holes to one of them. I was quite crafty in my younger days.


Chainsaw

If you didn't grow up in the 80's, one thing you'll quickly learn is that bad guys' names almost always tell you what they do. Looking like he takes his fashion and hair styling cues from Billy Idol, Chainsaw here is a perfect example of the 80's villain naming scheme. I guess you could argue that he's technically using a circular saw, rather than a chainsaw, but then you'd be a jerk. Let's just all agree that it's a saw, okay? Along with his saw, Chainsaw also came with a boxy pistol that he can hold, or fasten to his left leg. He actually has quite a few sculpted details, especially those chains around his arm and on his leg. I'm not sure what purpose they serve, wrapped around his shoulder like that. It looks like that would be a bit uncomfortable. I wanted to talk about the shirt, but first I have to mention something I just noticed. Dude has a belly button. It's a little hard to see, but look right under his shirt. They actually went through the trouble of giving him a belly button. You realize now, that I'm going to have to spend the rest of my days seeing how many shirtless figures come with a navel.

Before I forget about it, that shirt. I love that shirt. The bright yellow with the red Vandals symbol on it, it actually looks like something I would wear, mainly because I don't think dog and cat hair would show up on it. Also, I'm not entirely sure if it's a skull with fangs, or an ant head. Either way, I dig it.


Nitro

If there was a Vandals member that was a complete doofus, and always screwed things up, I bet it would be Nitro here. I mean, just look at that face:


I can't tell if he's supposed to be a racist caricature of an Asian or a Native American. His eyes are shut so tight, I'm not sure how he's supposed to see anything. Perhaps he just witnessed a big ass explosion. That would explain the grimace, at least. I wish I had taken a photo now, but he actually has wrinkles sculpted into the back of his neck. He's scowling so hard he's giving himself a facelift.



I just got done talking about how villains' names always relate to their weapon or specialty, and Nitro has to come along and screw it up. Sure, his card calls that thing a Nitro-Pincher, but that's pretty weak. That's probably what his grandmother called her hands when she grabbed his cheeks. As you can see, it's not effective at pinching anything. This is why I say he's the idiot of the gang. They probably let this fool run around trying to pinch stuff, while they break into banks and just do altogether evil crap.

That purple thing on his thigh is supposed to be a Dyno-bomb, whatever that means. Oh wait, I get it..Nitro, because he likes exploding things. Great idea, give the moron the explosives.


Dr. McNamara

Hey, this guy was actually in the movie....sort of. I don't remember movie McNamara sporting a large submachine gun or those kick ass shades. With a face like every 80's action movie henchman, McNamara is the only Vandal that actually looks like he would be a match for Robocop. It's gotta be the arms. At some point, the Dr. got tired of getting sand kicked in his face, and gave himself some cyborg arms. Now he can go around punching bullies and cyborgs with reckless abandon. Speaking of cyborg arms, I've never been able to figure out if he just replaced his arms altogether, or if that is some sort of Robo-armor that he's wearing. If anything, it looks like he's wearing a Robo-cardigan. Along with his machine gun, McNamara also came with a Robo Scanner. Because it's so hard to find a guy that my grandmother could outrun.


Along with his metal sweater and cyborg arms, McNamara also has some fancy steel toed boots. If I was trying to kill a cop that was half machine, and I'd already built some upper body armor, I might spend another week or two and make some pants to go along with it. It's kind of hard to bury those steel toes in someone's ass when you've been capped in both of your knees.


Scorcher

Scorcher here is from the second wave of Vandals figures. He's supposed to be a pyro maniac, though his suit looks like it would fit right in at a fetish club. Armed with a flame thrower just as big as he is, half the fun is balancing him so he doesn't fall over. Unlike the other figures in the line, Scorcher's cap firing mechanism is located in his weapon, rather than embedded in his back. Pull back the metal lever, let it go, and not only does it set off a cap, but it also launches his missile.  Scorcher also comes with a removable mask, that makes him look like a scaled up figure from another popular Kenner line, M.A.S.K. Though his comrades aren't the handsome st bunch, Scorcher's face will likely give you nightmares.


See what I mean? That's the kind of face that makes Nitro up there look like Bradley Cooper. Whoever sculpted that visage hated children, and wanted to make sure they never slept again if they removed that helmet and gazed upon that image. I've yet to figure out if he's screaming in rage, or in the throes of ecstasy. I do know that it's probably not safe for someone with a unibrow that bushy to play with fire.




Sergeant Reed

Like McNamara, Reed was a character in the first movie. Actually, I think he made it all the way to the awful, awful tv series. In this case, he's been recruited for Robocop's Ultra Police, which means he gets some shiny blue chest armor, and a fancy helmet. The figure's likeness isn't too bad, though it looks like the previous owner tried to add some sideburns. I guess we all like to jazz up our toys in different ways.

I was thinking about how boring of a figure he was, until I realized that his uniform reminds me of the Ghostbusters' coveralls. If this whole Ultra Police thing doesn't work out for him, he could try out the whole chasing spirits business. All he would need is a proton pack and a Fright Feature and he's ready to go to work.


Of course, if the Vandals ever find that crime doesn't pay, they could just tour as an awful 80's hair band. They already have the name and the look, I'm sure Dr. McNamara could come up with some rockin' hits.


Navel.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Part man, part machine, glows in the dark.


I was entirely too young the first time I saw Robocop. My parents didn't seem to mind me watching violence, but as soon as there was some nudity, I had to leave the room or cover my eyes. I could watch someone getting blown apart, but God forbid I catch a glimpse of a nipple. Weird. I still remember the terror I felt the first time I saw ED-209, growling and pumping bullet after bullet into that unfortunate office lackey. Seeing Emil after he ended up in the vat of toxic waste gave me nightmares. No matter what I did, the half melted man always got me..
Don't look in your closet kid. Trust me..


Those are just two of the many random acts of violence that occur over the course of the film's two hours. Remember now, I was only 7 or 8 the first time I saw this movie. It was so violent, that it was actually given an "X" rating by the MPAA. Then two years later, they turned it into a cartoon and a toyline. Ah..the 80's.

I only owned two of the figures from the Robocop and the Ultra Police line, and both of them were Robocop. One of them was the predecessor to the figure I have here today: Night Fighter Robocop.


The original Night Fighter Robocop used a slightly different mold than the standard figure. He had blue metallic highlights, a gatling gun in place of his right arm, and a new mold for his left arm. Originally, the figure was only available through mail-order, but eventually he ended up in stores.

I love that NECA has recreated the style of the old Kenner cardback.  Robocop and the U.P may not have been the coolest toy line out there, but their packaging definitely caught the eye. As you may have noticed, this figure's gimmick is the ability to glow in the dark. This was one of my favorite action features, because it doesn't require any springs, buttons or batteries and it doesn't affect the articulation or sculpting. Glowing toys also made great night lights, if you were into that sort of thing.


According to the back of the card, Robocop's night gear makes him invisible to evil-doers. So, the bad guys can't see the 7 foot tall glowing cyborg marching toward them? Perhaps it's so unbelievable they think their minds are playing tricks on them. Of course, this is based on an 80's toy, and as we all know, there was no such thing as logic when it came to the toys.



His coloration makes it hard to see, but this is one detailed figure. I'm assuming he uses the same mold as NECA's other Robocop figures, because every seam and rivet is where it should be. He has pretty decent articulation, though there were a couple of time I thought I was going to break something off. You have to take it easy with these figures when you first get them out of the box, as they tend to be a bit stiff. Once you get past that point, Robocop is decently articulated. There's some limitation in the range of movement for some of the joints, but then Robo was never the most flexible or spry character. You can still get him in some great poses though.


Night Fighter Robocop also comes with two accessories, one them is his Auto-9 pistol shown here:


He also comes with an extra right hand with an extended data spike. So, you can access the police department computers, or stab a ruthless murderer in the neck. Be careful though, it's quite fragile. I managed to snap mine within a few minutes of taking it out of the package. A quick application of Gorilla Glue, and all was well. Still, I tend to leave it on the shelf, for fear of breaking it off again.

So, you've come all this way, I'm sure you're curious how well he glows. Well..




Glowing figures are notoriously hard to photograph, and Robocop was no exception. He actually doesn't glow as bright as I had hoped, but I'm still working on finding the best light to charge him up. I'm thinking I either need to use different lights, or just let him charge up longer. Either way, I don't think my LED flashlights are the best option.

If I had any nitpicks about the figure, I would have loved to see NECA include a gatling gun arm, and it would have been great if the helmet was removable. As for the data spike, I think they could have made it retractable, so it would be less likely to get broken. Like I said though, these are just tiny little nitpicks, and don't take away from the figure at all.

I want to thank John Gaither over at The Clawful Punch for sending this one to me, along with a ton of other stuff I'll get to eventually. He saw I didn't want to blow an entire gift card on a Robocop figure, and he graciously sent this one over to me. Of course, after seeing how cool this one is, now I'm really tempted to buy the other one I've been looking at as well. Darn it.

Thanks again John!


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