Tools of the Imagination – Synchro

Synchro
By your powers combined…
Playmates, Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, 1994

Even from the early days of toys, toymakers have known that if pieces are interchangeable (if two dolls can wear the same clothes, if two action figures can hold the same accessories, etc), then that will drive sales.  In the 1980s, however, toymakers discovered that they could leverage still more sales by having toys that combine.  Toys like Voltron, the combiners of the Transformers, and a litany of others from that era would become so popular as to almost demand that future toylines incorporate this feature.

Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad did not disappoint.

Background
Servo was the main hero of the show, and Xenon his mighty-if-bulky companion.  However, by initiating the proper program, the two figures could combine into Synchro – Tracto became the legs, Borr became the arms and shoulders, while Vitor would become the torso and head.

 

Appearance – 5 out of 5
The Servo toy didn’t look quite as agile as the character in the show.  The same was true for Xenon’s toy compared to his show counterpart.  This was not the case with Synchro.  The character looks IDENTICAL to the figure in the show.
Moreover, the figure is visually very balanced.  The repetition of colors is nicely done.  Most combiners have really garish color schemes (much love, Voltron, but I’m looking at you), but Synchro is really heroic yet understated.

Construction – 3 out of 5
The combined parts of Xenon and Servo don’t really detract or add to the stability of Synchro.  Servo’s mobility really isn’t that impinged by adding Xenon’s components onto him like power armor.  Likewise, Xenon was only adequately sturdy, which carries over to Synchro.

Movement – 3 out of 5
Much like the construction, the combined parts don’t really hinder or improve the whole.  Synchro can’t really move anymore than Servo, but his broader feet and thicker legs (thanks to the addition of Tracto) means the character is less likely to tip over (even with the added weight on the shoulders).  The figure loses some mobility in the legs and in the head, but shoulder and arm movements aren’t really impeded.  This isn’t that big of a deal with Synchro as it is with Servo because the purpose of the character is that hand-to-hand fighting is largely over and it’s overkill time.

Extras – 2 out of 5
Because this is a combined form of two other toys, there are no additional pieces that aren’t included in the previous sets of Servo and Xenon.  Servo’s wrist communicator/watch comes off for the transformation and has no place on the Synchro toy.  However, while Xenon’s fists couldn’t hold Servo’s weapons, Synchro can hold swords, axe, and shield alike.

Packaging – 3 out of 5
Because Synchro was never sold as a set, his packaging is largely isolated to what was promoted on Xenon and Servo’s packaging.  A plackard in yellow with black writing appears on the Xenon toy, talking about how Xenon and Servo can ‘samuraize’ (it was the 90s; don’t hate) to become Synchro.  A nice, vivid flourish to otherwise very solid packaging.

 

Overall – 4 out of 5
Just as Xenon’s 2 felt a little stingy, this feels a little generous, but I just can’t deny how incredibly satisfying this toy is, both to play with and to dismantle and reassemble.  It’s a shame the toy didn’t combine with its counterpart Drago (more on him next week) into a super-superhuman samurai, but Synchro is a solid toy all on its own, an impressive capstone to collecting the series.

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Author: Robert V Aldrich

Author. Speaker. Cancer Researcher. Martial Artist. Illustrator. Cat dad. Nerd.

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