Review by The Enthusiast
After the robot toy explosion of the early eighties, nearly every toy manufacturer attempted to cash in on the craze. While Matchbox licensed a number of Japanese properties (Voltron, Dairrugger), it also developed its own domestic robot property. Kind of.
The Parasites wedded transforming alien robots to Matchbox’s bread and butter, the traditional 1/64 diecast car, a baffling and ultimately unsuccessful premise. As the story goes, Parasites are space creatures who inhabit the shells of earth vehicles. It’s a fun narrative, but creating two distinct toy components at the Matchbox car scale was probably too ambitious, and the toys turned out to be pretty clumsy. But funky!
Extermasite is packaged on a standard eighties bubble-card. The artwork on the front is fantastic, a painting reminiscent of the Micronaut cards (more on the Micronauts later).
The back of the card features transformation instructions, pictures of the other toys in the line, and a file card.
Extermasite’s shell is a sexy, sexy Dodge Caravan with sweet painted graphics. The body is diecast, the chassis plastic. The quality of the vehicle is noticeably cheaper than proper matchbox or Hot Wheels vehicles. Extermasite folds up to occupy the shell.
Transformation into robot mode is simple. You just unfold the thing.
As a toy, Extermasite is pretty limited, a strange novelty. But as a design, he’s wonderful. The Parasites, you see, are the direct descendents of the beloved Micronaut aliens. While many of the Micronaut toys were just rebranded Microman, all of the organic aliens and vehicles were designed in the US By Stephen Lee and California R&D. Lee also designed the humble Parasites, and they feel like distant cousins to Antron, Lobros and the gang. I love the liberal use of chrome and intricate molded details.
Articulation is surprisingly supple, with tons of buttery joints. Extermasite is a first wave release, with a higher overall build quality, including screw connections rather than the rivets of later releases. The chrome is easily tarnishes and of lesser quality, though.
Posing is organic and intuitive.
Extermasite can ride the chassis like a skateboard.
The parasites are a distinctly acquired taste for a small subset of robot lovers, but they deliver a powerful dose of funk for such a small package.
|Posted 10 September, 2011 - 16:04 by The Enthusiast|