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by yo go re

Having captured lightning in a bottle with GI Joe and The Transformers, Hasbro kept trying to duplucate their success with other properties. One of the more successful efforts (in that it made it all the way to 13 episodes) was Inhumanoids, the story of giant monsters from the center of the Earth and the armor-wearing scientists who fight them. But since four robo-nerds aren't enough to defeat eldritch horrors, they got help from some monsters of their own.

Magnokor is capable of splitting into two separate polarized beings. One half, Pyre, is fiery and has a temper to match. The other half, Crygen, is icy and fueled with no passion whatsoever. Pyre and Crygen have the capacity of either attracting or rejecting each other, depending on how they are aligned. They can position themselves on either side of Metlar and paralyze him using reverse polarity. Dr. Bright describes Magnokor as "a complete metaphysical contradiction... two opposing forces fused into one."

So, to bring you up to speed, Magnokor is one of the Mutores (the heroic monsters); Metlar is the main villain (and until now, I thought his name was Meltar); Dr. Derek Bright is the guy who built the team's vehicles (but not their armored suits). All caught up? On with the show!

When Magnokor isn't split into his two component selves, he has the look of cooled lava, all dark and rocky. If not for the grey plastic, the sculpt of the toy could pass for a pile of mashed potatoes - or even oatmeal. He has bright green light-piped eyes set deep in his head, and his "mouth" is just a vague indented area that looks almost like gills.

Magnokor is posed with his arms raised, and has no articulation in this form. That's because they really wanted to keep his "splitting in two" power, and the only way they could come up with to do that was to make his front half a removable shell. I suppose technically they could have made the front and back shells, like the Transformers Pretenders, but then the guy in the middle would have been tiny.

With the shell removed, Pyre is revealed. He's a bright red mass of flame, with yellow highlights to make it clear that this is fire, not exposed muscle. Of course, since his action feature involves being jammed into a stiff plastic shell, finding one without obvious examples of paint rub is a daunting task these days.

In fact, finding one that has its shell at all is no simple feat; you'd think that a piece that contributed 50% of the play value to a toy would be something you'd be sure to hold onto, but apparently kids were stupid in the 80s.

Now that the shell isn't blocking things, the figure has some articulation: the neck, shoulders, and hips all swivel, but since he still has cold rock covering his back, the illusion is kind of ruined if you try to move him very far. The joints aren't typical pegs, but rather seem to be held together by thick cords - an unusual choice.

The figure is 8" tall (with his arms raised), while his filecard says he stands 12'. That puts him in a 3¼" scale, which is even smaller than vintage GI Joes. The card also says he weighs 11,280 pounds (but converts that to 5,076 kilograms, which isn't right; it's 40kg low). His density, meanwhile - 499.2 lbs/ft and 8 grams per cubic centimeter - is close enough for us to call it accurate. And then they say his archenemy is Tendril, the plant-monster, and that's not even a little bit close. What the heck! Did they somehow not inherently know that adults would be nitpicking every detail of this card 30 years in the future? I find that hard to believe.

The nice thing about this toy is that, on the cartoon, there really wasn't any differentiation between the combined Magnokor form and the solo Crygen - they looked pretty much identical. So that means you can stand the back of the figure on one side, the front shell on the other, and pretend they're using their magnetic powers to, I don't know, mystify Juggalos or something. Whatever you use magnets for.

Inhumanoids was a pretty awful cartoon, but it was also surprisingly dark for an '80s cartoon, pushing the boundaries of what kids' entertainment could show. The toys aren't very good, either, but they do have a lot of neat designs. I wouldn't mind picking up some of the big villains, if eBay sellers didn't think they were all worth a fortune. But more importantly, it would be really nice if Hasbro would bring these designs back to life, and do them justice this time.

-- 02/08/14

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