Friday, November 30, 2012

M.A.R.S. Heroes!


I've been unsuccessfully trying to write an article about various Christmas Candies for the past few days now. The items are all great and well worth covering but for whatever reason I just don't feel like writing about novelty food. This is Christmas. I want to write about random toy lines nobody has ever heard of instead.

Generic Transformers
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Enter M.A.R.S. Heroes, a line of kick-ass robots with interchangeable parts. For only five bucks you gain access to a package of three robots. My set includes Tanker, the green guy in the bottom left. Coma, the blue one adjacent to him and Martian who resides at the very top of the box.

The rest of the set is rounded off by a pure white robot named Frosty, who would have been the most obvious bot to cover for this article but alas I've never been able to locate him.

Blaster, a dark purple robot who sort of reminds me of War Machine and an all black figure, Darkbeat who appears to have dual rockets mounted on his shoulders. For those interested you can see what those guys look like in this photo right here. Clearly Frosty and Darkbeat are the figures to own in this set and the ones that kids will salivate over the most.

Folks, I am confident that if I was given a pad and pen with the explicit instructions to create whatever toy line I wanted... I would come up with M.A.R.S. Heroes. This set is everything I love all wrapped up in one.

Robots from outer space? Check! Awesome character names? Check! The ability to take things apart, mix and match pieces. Hell Yea! Separately sold death vehicles? It has those too! The ability to connect the robot pieces with said death vehicles. Holy shit, you can totally do that! I've seen name brand toy lines that have less going for them and retail for three times the price of what M.A.R.S. Heroes will cost you.
As stand alone figures, M.A.R.S. Heroes are way better than I expected. I knew that they looked cool from the front of the box but I totally expected them to fall apart and break into a million pieces as soon as I opened the package. This was not the case at all. Not only did each robot stand on its own but thanks to all the different joints, you can pose them in a million different badass ways.

Out of the three bots included in my set, Martian had the worst construction. His left leg and foot kept falling off and he never really wanted to stand the way I intended him to. Otherwise, no real complains about construction quality.

As you'll soon see the 'stock' robots are pretty darn nifty all on their own. Each one has plenty of sculpted details, with nice color variations. Even though each figure only consists of only one main color pallet (green, for example) and is highlighted with silver pieces... they feel more colorful than they actually are.

And even though the package provides zero backstory for the figures and their origins, I sort of feel like I know these characters already. This is due in large part to the fact that each sculpt sort of gives you an impression of the characters personality. Tanker just sort of looks like a big bruiser and Frosty, you just know he is the rouge loaner of the group.

The real fun comes, though, when you start mixing and matching parts and coming up with your own creations. I absolutely love this gimmick. I had a line of figures as a kid called Socket Poppers that had this exact same concept, only applied in a slightly more bizarre fashion. M.A.R.S. Heroes are a much more refined version of the Socket Popper formula and its still one of the coolest toy gimmicks around. Let's take a closer look at each robots "stock" form.

Generic Transformers
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Tanker is easily my favorite of the three. He has gatling guns for arms. Plural. As in two. And if that isn't enough firepower, Tanker also has a huge shoulder mounted sniper rifle. Just in case twin gatling guns somehow cannot get the job done.

M.A.R.S. Heroes clearly love to give you lots of different weapons to play around with. I'm glad they embraced the whole mix and match concept and overloaded each figure with removable options like that extra gun up top.

Generic Transformers
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Next up we have Coma, who gets my vote of confidence based on those awesome spiked knee pads. Otherwise, I think he looks a bit like Robocop. If you were to squint your eyes and turn your head sideways.

It's also worth noting that the gun in Coma's left arm is entirely removable. If you look closely at his right hand you'll notice the square hole in the center, that allows him to hold onto that gun and presumably other accessories not included in this specific set. Most of the other bots all have that same square opening, meaning anyone can hold onto anyone elses firearms.

Generic Transformers
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Bringing up the rear is Martian, my least favorite figure of the bunch. I've already mentioned the loose joints in his legs. It's to the point that just simply picking him up is a guarantee of having about three pieces fall to the floor.

It appears to be an issue with how the ball fits into the socket joint. The other figures sort of click into place. Martian lacks that stability and it makes him a pretty flimsy figure.

Otherwise his arms come all in once piece, unlike Coma who has separated joints at the shoulder and again at the elbow. It doesn't really hurt the overall look when he is in his base form but when you start constructing your own creations, it really puts a limit on what you can do with them.

Generic Transformers
Click for Larger Image!
Speaking of creations, this is what I came up with. I turned Tanker into a cool 'walker' style robot, who I will probably display on a shelf some place. The other two I just sort of threw parts onto for the sake of taking a photo.

Only having three robots and none of the vehicles limits what you can do. I feel like one package gives you enough to create one really cool looking custom robot and then two 'backup' figures that will get sacrificed in the heat of a battle.

For those wondering, you cannot remove the heads off from M.A.R.S. Heroes. So as much as I would like to fit Coma's head onto Tanker's body, it simply cannot be done without the use of a hot glue gun.

Everything considered, M.A.R.S. Heroes are a great line of generic toys that ooze with personality and a fantastic concept. They are a great stocking stuffer item any kid would love to own. If you've got five bucks laying around (and I know you do) you should pick up a set!

2 comments:

  1. These look really cool, especially for a low priced "generic" toy! What store did you find them at? I want to try and buy some for myself.

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    1. Dollar General was the store I found them at, only had the one package left in stock. I tried to track down the rest of the set at a couple other Dollar stores but didn't have any luck.

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