Tools of the Imagination – Phormo

Phormo
When all else fails, use a giant gun
Playmates, Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, 1994

Most toys about combineable superheroes have a linear progression: five individual robots become one giant robot, who maybe is then joined by another (or others) to become even more powerful.  But rarely do you see diverging paths of combining sets, where the heroes can choose between two equally powerful combinations.  It is in this way that the Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad may have broken the mold.

Background
With Xenon’s individual parts (Borr, Tracto, and Vitor) combining with our main hero Servo to become the super-powerful Synchro, Drago’s two parts (Jamb and Torb) joined with Servo to become the arguably more powerful Phormo.  Actually, Jamb really didn’t combine; it just sort of become a giant gun.  Torb did all the combining.  And while there’s much speculation among fans of the show as to which combination is the most powerful, there is one issue not up for debate: Phormo may very well have the biggest fun of any toy mech ever made.

 

Appearance – 5 out of 5
Perfect.  Spot-on.  Almost a direct replica, it’s so close to what is presented in the show.  Aside from lacking a little bit of color complexity compared to the character in the show, this figure looks directly proportional.

Construction – 5 out of 5
While all the toys from this line are surprisingly sturdy, this combiner is the roughest of them.  More sturdy and reliable than Synchro, it’s probably the most rugged of all the toys – combiners or no.  You could set a box on this toy and it won’t break.  The only way it could be stronger is if it was made out of metal.

Movement – 3 out of 5
The toy suffers a little in the movement department, largely owing to the Servo toy’s own limitations.  That being said, it’s still capable of more movement and taking more poses than just about any combiner or giant robot toy ever.  The only thing keeping this from being a four is the lack of head movement.

Extras – 1 out of 5
While it is true that Phormo can hold Servo’s weapons, it doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t come with any toys or weapons on its own.  This is especially disappointing when you consider the giant gun that is Jamb has plenty of room for storage, or just firing a foam missile or something.  Of all the toys in the line, this one suffers the most from its lack of accouterments.

Packaging – 3 out of 5
Just like Synchro, Phormo was not sold as a set and therefore can really only be judged by what appeared on the Drago and Servo packaging.

 

Overall – 4 out of 5
Phormo is a masterful toy and deserves mention among some of the greats, especially in the combiners/giant robots avenue of toys.  It really only falls short of being a perfect five because of A) its lack of additional weaponry or tools or any other types of extras and B) it’s inability to combine with Xenon.  The lack of a truly masterful super-combination of Servo, Drago, and Xenon would have elevated this entire toyline to a new level.  But as it, this toy – much like the toyline that produced it – remains a quiet and unsung work of art.

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Author: Robert V Aldrich

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

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