Tuesday, August 6, 2013
The Strange Circumstances Regarding the Future War and the man/bull/robot Kromium
The Future War is a strange time. It was the 90s, Kenner was making tons of money with toys based off of R rated movie franchises and while they had done what they could to extend the lifespan of Predator and Aliens but were stuck between a rock and a hard place with how to prolong the Terminator's shelf life. Terminator 2 was pretty cut and dry at the end, the T-800 had successfully stopped Judgement Day by eliminating the T-1000 and then doing away with himself and the artifacts from the first Terminator movie. But Judgement Day is not over! It would be 12 years later that we would learn that Judgement Day is just as unstoppable as the concept of death and taxes, it's coming and all you can do is push it back. So, lets say you are the creative minds at Hasbro and you are trying to create a way to push Terminator action figures past the concepts of Secret Weapon T-800 (the secret is his face and chest rip off the expose a crotch cannon), glowing T-800 endo-skeleton, Power Claw T-800 and blast apart T-1000 (that one is actually cool so strike that comment)? You come up with a flashy series known only as the Future War, AKA: a good excuse to repaint five figures and repurpose a cancelled Chuck Norris Karate Commando figure.
This is the Future War, a strange time that somehow still exsists past the time of the events of Terminator 2: Judgement Day. These are the adventures of the friendly T-800 fighting the likes of bronzed endo-skeletons, bondage suited man / machine hybrids and a strange man/bull/robots. I'm not one to be overly critical but you can tell they sort of pulled this idea out of their ass. If the line had more than 2 totally new figures I think we all would have bought into the hype of the Future War but this wasn't happening. It must have left it's mark though, a novel was written and released back in 2003 titled T2: the Future War but after scrolling through it I see no mention of Cyber-Grip or Kromium. I don't think it was popular enough to get an Oprah book club sticker but I think mention of either of those two characters would have given it a shot at a nomination. I don't own it personally but a local book shop had it in the 5 for a $1 junk novel box, not worth the 20 cents to bring it home.
While Cyber-Grip was a repurposed prototype from an unproduced series 2 of Chuck Norris Karate Commandos, Kromium was a full new original figure. Boy is it original. I like it because it looks like what a kid would design if you told him or her to draw a very scary robot. Skull face, bull horns, flat armored shoulder pads, chest and torso that is supposed to give the illusion of being wider than the basic figures, anti-tank shoulder spikes, hip mounted double barrell machine guns, wider and thicker arms and legs than your average T-800 and the whole damn toy gets bigger with the push of a button and a tug at the figure's hands and feet. Kromium stands right at 5 inches in his primary form but extends to 6 inches in a quick transformation. The design evokes a general feeling of "So this is what the devil would look like if he was a robot." You would have to wager that if Kromium was a sentient robot he would wonder why his creator hated him enough to make him a veritable Minotaur of the Future War.
The sculpt on the head is what gets me, it's almost too good. I have an admitted soft spot for skeleton action figures, it's probably why I think I own a few of this figure. The rest of the toy outside of the head and hip mounted machine guns is kind of lost on me. I know when this was new I was all about owning it but it really does show what kind of inspired designs conqueored at Kenner in the 90s. The Aliens series had xenomorphs based on gorillas and crabs, the Predators hailed from lava planets and had spiked tails that flung discs across a living room with ease and Terminator 2 had Kromium. Enough said, the figure is still fairly cool even though it's silly by today's standards. Maybe if I'm lucky enough, NECA will recreate Kromium in their Terminator line up. And by "lucky enough" I mean "pester and annoy them".