Remember the days when McFarlane Toys used to innovate? When not every line was the exact same thing over and over? If you bought a Spawn figure in 2005, it was a comic-based figure in one solid pose. That was it. How dreadfully dull. It used to not be like that, though: Spawn Series 18 was quite a departure from the average fare, even when it was first released. For one thing, there was no Spawn in the line, and no enemies. It was just six nearly identical robots that worked together.
Can you imagine that? It would be like if ToyBiz randomly decided, for one series, to make Marvel Legends into a line of die cast cars. Or if Hasbro turned Alternators into articulated figures of the Autobots' human companions. It just stands out as an oddity. A welcome oddity, but an oddity nonetheless.
The series is called "Interlink 6," so just having six androids isn't enough: they need to interlink. And like the Transformers' gestalts, that's exactly what they do. Each of the figures turns into a different body part, and they all plug together to form a mighty behemoth. We've already looked at the individual toys, so now it's time to look at them all together.
Each of the figures comes with a folded sheet of instructions on how to transform it, and for the most part the instructions are clear. There's a lot of the usual stuff - twisting, folding, unfolding, all that - but a great deal of the "transform" relies on taking parts off one robot, putting them to the side and saving them for later. As you work, you'll end up with piles of kibble just waiting to be reattached. And make sure you hold on to the instruction sheets: these aren't steps anyone short of tv's John Doe is going to be able to memorize.
Once you've got everything ready, you'll have page after page of instructions to follow - most of which have nothing to do with the figure they're included with, and you'll be jumping back and forth between figures as you go. One change here, one change there... it's obvious this is McToys' first attempt at transforming toys. The instructions are often unclear and hard to decipher. It doesn't help that the instructions are printed in black and white - although, to be honest, given these guys' paint schemes, color probably wouldn't have made much of a difference.
Working "cold" (ie, unused to the transformation process) converting from six robots to one takes about an hour. Once he's assembled, the effect really isn't so much "giant robot" as it is "several robots stuck together." It's like someone went to work with a pile of accessories and a hot glue gun. To be sure, there's absolutely scads of detail in the sculpt, and the whole thing looks dauntingly technological, but up close it isn't coherant and from a distance it's indistinct.
The proportions of the arms and legs are good, but the head looks like it's growing out of the center of his chest. The big guy seems like he was cobbled together in an emergency,
which makes a kind of sense. Look at the six arms sprouting from his chest, for instance, or the completely random placement of some of the loose parts. The mask is bit too heavy for the tiny neckjoint, so it has a tendency to flop forward. The individual bots' joints can simulate knees and elbows, to an extent, but the hips and shoulders are connectors, so no real movement there.
Though the mega-bot can stand by himself for a time, it's a question of minutes, not days or even hours. To alleviate this problem, McToys was thoughtful enough to give us a huge display stand. Not only does it accommodate the figure's feet, but it also stretches up to plug into his back. Now, usually a display stand isn't worth much of a mention, but this one is designed to look like some kind of refueling station, so it won't be too blatant on display.
Interlink 6 was a new experiment for McFarlane Toys - and it wasn't entirely successful. The indivual figures are unspectacular, the combined form is wonky and the transformation is ridiculously complex. The figures didn't sell very well, but at least McToys had the good sense to make sure everything was evenly packed, so that you didn't have to search double-time to find an arm or something. Todd is just about to re-release these beasts for some unimaginable reason, re-christened McFarlane's Cyber Units. Honestly, unless you really like the red, green or blue color scheme, it's in your interest to hunt down the old figures, instead: I got the entire line for a total of $15 at a toy show, and that was half of what the seller originally had it marked. So why pay $12 for a single Cyber Unit when you might be able to get it for $2.50? At that price, Interlink 6 is definitely worth it.
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