June 23, 2012

Inhumanoids: The Action Figures


Let’s face it, D’Compose and his grotesque cronies aren’t exactly your prototypical pitchmen, so it should come as no surprise that my research into Inhumanoids merchandising turned up little beyond the requisite toy line. In fact, the only non-toy I was able to find was a nifty looking coloring book. It’s hard to blame companies for not lining up to splash images of hideous mutants and heroes whose faces are obscured by masks on their products. Can you imagine hearing an announcer say "D’Compose-e-o’s are a part of this balanced breakfast!"? They were, however, very toyetic, and it’s here that this property truly shines.

The Inhumanoids

Like their animated counterparts, the creatures are far more interesting than the humans, and proving that indeed the last shall be first, Tendril is the most impressive of the lot. Hasbro really nails each likeness, but Tendril looks as if he just slithered right out of the TV screen.

Animated Metlar looked a bit absurd, but plastic Metlar looks like “14 of demonic badassery.

Unfortunately, D’Compose doesn’t fair quite as well, his hips wide in a semi-squat pose that recalls the time I had to take a shit at Wal-Mart but they were out of those little paper thingies you put on the toilet seat.

Sadly, the line didn’t last long enough for them to produce Nightcrawler, Sslither, and Gagoyle figures. Also, oddly enough, they chose not to produce a Blackthorne Shore figure in the first wave.

The Earth Corps

With their colorful and bulky armor, the men of the Earth Corps also make for some nifty action figures. In an era dominated by Kenner’s Star Wars established 3 ¾” scale, these babies tower above the competition at a whopping 6" plus. Each figure also featured an “Action Power” (push a button or a lever and something moves or shoots) as well as a feature called “Glow in the Light”, which sounds the name of a Thomas Kinkade (God rest his one trick soul) painting.

Not surprisingly, the lone female member of the team didn’t get her own action figure in the first wave, but had the line continued, she certainly would have. The same was true when Hasbro released the figures for its Visionaries line the following year. Toy lines like G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe produced figures of their female characters and, ironically, the same boys who were reluctant to buy them way back when *cough* me *cough* are now happily paying big bucks to scoop them up on the collector’s market.


Also immortalized in plastic were three of the Mutores, the coolest by far of which is Redlen. With his twisted features and clear green plastic eyes, he looks like those apple throwing trees in The Wizard of Oz after getting the Todd McFarlane treatment.

Magnokor is also pretty neat, with one side featuring Crygen and the other Pyre.

Granite fares less well, looking like a large wad of old bubblegum.

Vehicles/Play sets

No play sets were produced, but they did make two vehicles: the Terrascout and Trappeur. The Terrascout is a little bland, but the Trappeur is quite large and packed with action features.

Final Thoughts

Sadly, there isn't much variety here, but I come away quite impressed by the toy line. Prices on the collector’s market remain reasonable, but prepare to pay a premium for the Inhumanoids themselves.

Tune in next Saturday when Noel takes a look at the Inhumanoids comic books.


Joseph said...

Yes inhumanoids!! I only had two D'compose and tendril . D'compose ate many a gi joe guy and only snake eyes could free them from his chest. Ahh memories

Tony Williams said...

Lol! Nothing wrong with an Inhumanoids/G.I. Joe cross-over.

Grigori Strohov said...

I'm something of an Inhumanoids super-fan so I thought I'd shed some lights on this awesome property.

The line "No play sets were produced" is both true and false. When I got to interview Flint Dille back in '07, we talked exclusively about Inhumanoids. A lot of people don't realize that when the cartoon aired, the toyline had already been cancelled due to dismal release numbers. Hasbro in the 80's was focusing on duality for their lines - with Transformers, you'd get an action figure and a toy car in one. With Battle Beasts, you'd get an action figure and a game piece.

The reason why you didn't see any playsets is because when you bought one of the Inhumanoids themselves, the idea was that you'd get an oversized action figure that happened to be a playset.

A lot of people have speculated that the violence / gore in the cartoon was the show only lasted season. That's bull. At the end of the day it was shitty toy sales that killed it. Parents were the ones with the cash a lot weren't willing to shell out $50 for something so big and ugly they'd have to look at it all the time. With no toyline to support a cartoon, there was no cartoon to support a non-existent toyline at that point.

Tony Williams said...

Wow, blast from the past! Can't believe it's been 3+ years since we did Inhumanoids. Crazy.

Thanks for taking the time to drop some knowledge, Grigori. One of the quirks of the toy-toon era is the interdependency. If one failed, the companies involved often lost their enthusiasm for the other, dooming it as well.

NoelCT said...


A lot of people don't realize that when the cartoon aired, the toyline had already been cancelled due to dismal release numbers.

Is that from when the solo cartoon aired in September 1986, or when the initial pilot serial shorts debuted as a part of the Super Sunday/Sunday Showcase package in October 1985? If it was already a pretty dismal failure in the merchandise line, I'm surprised it, of the three Super Sunday action properties we got (setting aside Jem), was the one which was followed up with a full season. I can understand them not going with Big Foot and the Muscle Machines, despite it being my favorite, but why they went with Inhumanoids over Robotix especially baffles me now, as Robotix not only sold well as a toyline, but continues to this day.

Thanks for the additional info, Grigori! And as a Flint Dille fanboy, I envoy you that interview. :)

Grigori Strohov said...

No, from the very start - the toys were on shelves a good six-months prior to the Super Sunday / Saturday Eps. that ran in the fall.

I remember seeing the ads for Metlar in April-June '86 and wondering what I was seeing an ad for!

At that point, a short episode order of 13 had been ordered so the best you can do is weather the storm and carry on.

As for the toys - they showed up at Zayre in '89 - the Inhumanoids themselves were $10, the vehicles were $15 and the Mutores and Humans were $5.

Grigori Strohov said...

I'm something of a Superfan of this series.

Just recently a TON of production drawings were released by the former designer showcasing designs up to series 3.

The Devil himself was to be a character, though more likely this was to be the Inhumanoids version of-such, not the actual Christian one, along with an aquatic Inhumanoid whose name was-not-but-was-like "Splooge."

Gaygoyle and Ssslither were set up with prototypes to be the two Inhumanoid releases for series two along with four new characters - Sabre Jet & Tankmaster for the Earth Corps & Dr. Manglar & Blackthorne under the sub-name "Evil Scientists."

They got as far as prototypes for all four along with packaging cards (w/o data-texts) before they ceased work and moved on.

Tony Williams said...

One of the things I've discovered about fandom is that, while we may not be able to specifically relate to another's passion, we can all relate in a general sense. I think all of us have at least one underdog that we champion, and the affection is the same, even if the object is different.

If I liked nothing else about Inhumanoids, I did like the designs of the creatures. A devil would've been very cool!

Grigori Strohov said...

This devil character looked like something out of the Thing - pink, lumpy with spikes all over and a bulbous neck that tapered into a face.

Pretty grotesque...


Grigori Strohov said...

"If I liked nothing else about Inhumanoids, I did like the designs of the creatures. A devil would've been very cool!"

Inhumanoids had some of the most original toy designs of the 80's after Masters of the Universe.

Tony Williams said...

Gross indeed, but very cool. The designs are impressive. I'm an 80s toy collector, but I rarely check up on Inhumanoids. Not sure what they go for on the secondary market these days, but nearly all prices for that era are on the rise.

Grigori Strohov said...

Patience is the key. I just picked up a lot that had the Terrascout, Herc, Brite, Grannock and a Granite for $30.

It's just a matter of being patient and waiting for the deals to pop-up. Lots of comic shops I'm noticing are selling used and vintage toys at decent prices.

Tony Williams said...

Yeah, I've learned that my self over the years. I refuse to overpay. With eBay, there's (almost) always another one coming along.

I'm fortunate enough to have a few stores within 15 miles or so that actually focus on nothing but vintage toys. They all have on-line stores and eBay, but they're actual brick and mortar toy stores. I can look around in there for hours.

Grigori Strohov said...

Oh hell yeah, same here.

StudioRemarkable said...

Grigori - You mentioned a large number of production art pieces having been released and linked to what looked like a compilation of some of those pieces. Does the designer have a page or Facebook account where they're sharing the items?