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by yo go re

Remember the Meteorbs, those ovoid animals that joined the Masters of the Universe line shortly after the Comet Warriors? It probably won't surprise you to learn that they were not original Mattel creations. Just as Hasbro had raided Japan to create the Transformers, the Meteorbs were all from a Bandai toyline called Tamagoras.

The Tamagoras even inspired their own subline, apparently called "CharanPoran," which was divided into subgroups identified by the color of their boxes: the yellow boxes (CP-10 through CP-19) had a mix of Ultraman and Godzilla characters; green boxes (CP-04 though CP-09) were movie monsters; and the black-boxed CP-01, 02 and 03 were skeletons.

It's hard to pass as an egg when you've got hollow ribs, but that's the design directive of the Tamagoras (which were also sold as "Mostruovi"/"Mostruovolo" [or "Egg-Monsters"] by Giochi Preziosi in Italy), so that's what they tried to do. The egg is 2¼" tall and has a diameter of about 1½" at its widest point. There's not a lot to say about it: it's an egg. With hollow ribs, because that's how they roll. So to speak.

This is CP-01, the human skeleton (CP-02 was a T. rex, and CP-03 was a stegosaurus). Converting him from an egg to a man is not difficult: you simply open the shell/ribs, and the rest of the bodyparts are all in there, curled up like he's assuming the crash position on an airplane. It can be tough to get everything back inside in the proper place if you aren't aware where things go, because it's a rather tight fit.

In this mode, the skeleton stands almost 4¾" tall - but due to the limitations of the form, he still looks like a skeletal egg with arms and legs. The bones are given about as much detail as you'd expect to find on a piece of bone-shaped dog kibble, which isn't really an indictment of the toy: there was no escaping the cartoonishness of the torso, so why fight it with the limbs?

There's one notable sculptural embellishment worth calling out, however: the feet. He left foot is mostly smooth, with a few thin lines running its length - he's wearing a shoe! His right foot has individual toes, but then there's a ridge and it becomes smooth - he's wearing a shoe that's falling apart! Why did they put so much detail into the feet? Who knows, maybe it was just an excuse to make his feet flat so he can stand. But then why is he wearing gloves?

There's a surprising amount of articulation here. He has hinged ankles, knees and hips; hinged elbows, swivel biceps, and hinged shoulders; and a hinged neck, head and jaw. Sure, most of those are necessary to get him rolled up to fit back into the egg, but it's still surprising. He's molded from cream-colored plastic, and the only paint is black in his eye sockets.

I don't know where this skeleton egg came from. I certainly wasn't buying Japanese imports in 1987, and I've never been toy shopping in Italy, so short of stealing this from someone else's desk at work, wherever would I have acquired it? CP-01 isn't a particularly impressive toy, but he's a nice little seasonal oddity.

-- 10/07/14

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