Saturday 13 April 2024

Toybox REVIEW: MAFEX Endoskeleton (Terminator 2 Ver.)

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Release Date: January 2024
RRP: 14080 yen

While the quality of the Terminator franchise certainly declined in later years, no one can deny the strength and impact those first two films had. The general consensus may lean toward Terminator 2: Judgment Day being the better of the pair (I personally prefer the first one), but both are very close to what should be considered 'perfect' films. Along with the strength of the cast, story and dialogue of the films, one aspect that's really stood the test of time is the robot designs and visual effects - with the T-800 Endoskeleton definitely earning a place among science-fiction's greatest. And now to go along with their various Arnie T-800 figures Medicom have released a fully skinless version in the form of the MAFEX Endoskeleton (Terminator 2 Ver.).

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The 206th release in the MAFEX catalogue, the Endoskeleton comes in a fairly basic black box with white text and red bordering. Not especially exciting, but it matches the marketing material for Terminator 2 perfectly. The front of the box is predominately taken up with a nice big window to show off the figure, with images of the figure as well as the Terminator 2: Judgment Day logo scattered across each side of the packaging. Inside you'll find everything neatly laid out on a moulded plastic tray, other than the included display stand which is taped in a plastic bag to the back of the tray. Also deserving of a shout out is the gorgeous backing card they used for the inside of the box, proudly displaying a menacing close-up of the Endoskeleton skull.

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Straight off the bat if there's something the MAFEX Endoskeleton excels at it's the sculpt. Medicom have always done a fantastic job with their figures (it's how the line has become a real rival to S.H. Figuarts after all), but on something as intricately detailed as the Terminator Endoskeleton you can really see how much effort they put into these figures. While the figure is based off the version of the T-800 that appeared in Terminator 2, the differences between this and the one that appeared in the original film are minuscule - if anything labelling it the Terminator 2 version is just more in line with the amount of figures MAFEX have done from that film. But yes, the sculpting on this thing is incredible - every single panel and shape on the design has been moulded to perfection, with all the etching on the metal plates to give it that proper manufactured feel. The cables and pistons scattered around the body are all thin enough to be screen accurate but not so thin that they feel overly fragile. Despite the figure being primarily silver it's been given a black wash to bring out all that detailing. It isn't quite as shiny as the Endoskeletons that appear on screen, but a chrome finish figure like this would probably be a nightmare so a more battle-worn look is a good compromise. The little bits of colour it has come from those menacing black and red eyes, as well as those slightly yellow teeth that really help make the skull pop.

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You only have to take one look at the Endoskeleton design to know that you're not going to get a crazily articulated figure out of it. If it isn't the way the robots move in the films that gives it away, it's all the pistons and wires connected to and around the joints that have to move in tandem with the limbs. That said Medicom have done a good job in getting as much out of the figure as they can without sacrificing the integrity of the design in any way, including;
- Ball jointed head, neck, torso, waist, wrists and ankles
- Ball hinge shoulders and hips
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Bicep swivels
- Single hinge toe sections
Of course as impressive as all these areas sound many of them come with caveats. The neck articulation is limited due to the cables on either side, so realistically it can only slightly move its head to either side. The same goes for any other area where there are pistons or cables surrounding them. One thing that's common on MAFEX figures is that the joints can be a little stiff at first too, so moving the parts can be daunting - my copy has an ankle joint that's particularly stubborn. But despite all the limitations of the articulation, there is something very satisfying about the way everything moves on this figure. The pistons all stretch and contract when moving the limbs, and the overall posing of the figure does feel very close to the way they move in the film itself. The whole torso/waist spine set up is particularly cool to see in motion. While it isn't an area the figure especially excels at (especially in comparison to other MAFEX figures), I'd argue it does at least do the job nicely.

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The Endoskeleton's accessories consist of four additional pairs of hands (giving it a variety of open hands, weapon holding hands and loose fists in total) as well as two futuristic machine guns - the kind seen in the brief visions of Judgement Day in the film. Also included as standard is a clear plastic articulated MAFEX display stand. It isn't a huge variety of extra pieces, but given the limited screen time of the Endoskeleton(s) in Terminator 2 it's everything you'd expect it to come with. The guns have been produced to the usual MAFEX high standard - moulded with screen accuracy and coloured with a nice mix of silver, gunmetal grey and black. Since the hands also connect to the figure via standard ball joints rather than the usual long peg variety they're also much easier to switch in and out of the figure, which is quite the relief on something that could be considered a more fragile design.

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There's no denying that MAFEX figures are at the pricier end of collector figures at this scale, and the MAFEX Endoskeleton (Terminator 2 Ver.) is particularly expensive given its limitations in terms of articulation and minimal accessory count. However the incredible sculpting on this release really can't be understated, and even if it doesn't fully justify the retail cost (which admittedly will be discounted at most stores anyway) it can at the very least count toward it. The Endoskeleton is one of my all-time favourite robot designs in media, and Medicom have really captured the intricacies and detail that make it stand out more than just being a robot skeleton. There are certainly cheaper options out there for Terminator fans, but none of them quite have the same elegance.

1 comment:

Oar said...

Can't entirely explain why but I really like the way this figure looks even though I've never been super amazed at the Terminator before. It comes across really well (and somehow it feels right having it clash with Batman in your pictures 😄)

oh btw the MAFEX tag on this review is spelled wrong