Wednesday, February 2, 2011

An open letter to Revell, circa 1984

Dear Revell,

although you can never see this letter in the right time period until time travel is invented, I wanted to say that if you ever make action figures again, please do not use model quality plastic on the toys. Thanks, John Kent.

I've been doing some work with Power Lords because I like the designs, and also for another project you'll be hearing more about soon. Power Lords is a quintessential line from the 80s of just crazy nightmarish sci-fi concepts, surely cooked up by an executive who wanted to get some Star Wars cash, mixed with a scale closer to MOTU. (One of my grand ideas is that every toyline is a copy or inspired by something else - again, watch this space for details on that) Instead of Luke Skywalker you have Adam Power, the amnesiac Lord of Power from a faraway planet who was stowed on Earth during a coup that occurred on his home planet. But he is no generic pretty-boy - through a crystal embedded in his skull and hidden when in human disguise, he can tap into the powers of the universe and become a member of the "Power Caste", gaining energy powers, enhanced strength, telekinesis, and possibly other powers. His protector is Lady Shaya, another member of the Power Caste with incredible powers over heat.
The villains of the line are truly nightmarish - Arkus, insectoid would-be Dictator of the Universe and his cronies. I'll be doing a full write-up on the line soon, but todays post concerns the problem with Power Lords to a collector today: THEY ARE TOO FRAGILE FOR WORDS.

Ah, turns out I had a group shot sans Thrash on my comp - check 'em:

In a scenario all too common to the collector of classic toys, the first series was available in decent numbers, and everything else was produced in just enough of a quantity to cause headaches when searching for them. This mainly happened because the concepts didn't take off as the makers intended. Power Lords was just too out there for audiences of the 80s. Many of the designs had been created by Wayne Barlowe, famed illustrator of demons and aliens, giving this line a pedigree few lines could touch. But a sub-series of the line, called the Beast Machines, was designed by Pasquale Gabriele, according to drawings from his Myspace page and corroborating info from other sources.

The Beast Machines consisted of four figures: heroic ally to Adam Power, Savor, and three villains: Evol, Thrash, and Warbot. In my search for Power Lords items, it was inevitable that I try to get these items. The first one to arrive at my house was Savor. Next was Evol. I obtained both of these loose and incomplete, because the parts are very difficult to get. I saw a deal for a MISB Thrash (for the less informed, MISB = mint toy in sealed box, mint because no one has ever seen it because the box has never been opened) and I had to take it.
So the box arrived today.
MUH HAH HAH! said the Whammy.
BLAM! For those who don't know, the above part is massively and completely broken. As was...
Savor when he arrived at my place.

Now you understand the first lines of this post. Collecting Power Lords is an exercise in frustration. Add to the equation this:
(whammy noise and laughter)
Look closely at his left hand. You can see that I have scotch taped it of his gimmicks is an interchangeable hand. Well, when I tried to put it together, it shattered into four pieces. (when I told Doughty, the sadistic Glyos master told me "Yeah, I should have told you that he is fragile." Thus the circle of pain continues.)
So what is a collector to do in the face of this type of problem? Get out the glue!
I glued the guys together, and now Savor can battle Thrash on the shelves in the Kent toy room until such time as their battle ends - or they are sold to another collector.

My great hope is that another company can somehow pick up this licensed and make these characters live again in a more durable plastic.

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