email thomas










By Thomas Wheeler

Easily one of the most iconic - and frightening - images in sci-fi cinema over the past couple of decades has been the Terminator Endoskeleton. Consider its backstory - created by a computer called SkyNet, the T-800 Terminator is designed for one thing - the eradication of mankind. To that end, this machine actually imitates mankind. Usually, it wears an outer skin (which strongly resembles Arnold Schwarzenegger). But remove that skin, and underneath is a frightening amalgam of humanity and machine - a mechanical skeleton, fully functional, with a skull-like visage with two glowing eyes that leave little doubt as to its murderous intent.

It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't have an "off" button. It can't be bribed. Its batteries will last longer than yours. And it's danged hard to stop.

Now, granted, the third movie may have been a piece of garbage, but the first two were astounding, especially the second one.

And there have been toys of that endoskeleton over the years. One of the finest was put out by an otherwise fairly nondescript toy company called Toy Island. They did a really nice 15" Terminator Endoskeleton, in both metallic silver, and silver chrome. More recently, there was a very impressive 18" Terminator Endoskeleton that turned up at specialty stores like Suncoast.

What I'd really like, admittedly, is a full-sized, fully-operational T-800 Terminator unit to deal with those pesky kids that keep riding their skateboards on the sidewalk outside my door, but let's stay reasonable here.

Fortunately - NECA has come out with a very nicely done T2 Endoskeleton in the 7" range, part of their "Cult Classics" series which seems to otherwise rely heavily on horror movies to a large degree. Nothing I'm terribly inclined to collect certainly, but I was interested in the Terminator Endoskeleton.

The tricky part for any company doing a really decent action figure of this contraption is just how intricate it really is. It's not just a solid robotic representation of the human form. There's a few wires and cables, and all of the limbs and moving parts have these moving pistons. If you're going to do a toy of the Endoskeleton, it's either going to have to be an incredibly detailed piece of work with dozens of moving parts, or you're going to have to find some way to fudge all of this, and the end result is probably going to be pretty lame.

Fortunately, NECA took the "Let's articulate the heck out of this thing" route. I wouldn't've wanted to have been on the assembly line. The one advantage to doing a toy of this robot is that you don't have to worry too much about concealing the articulation points. They'll just look like part of the normal structure of the machine. But you still have to deal with all those pistons.

NECA took an interesting way to do this. One would tend to suspect that a toy of a robot, especially one with a metallic-looking finish, would most likely be made out of rather rigid plastic. This isn't the case here. It's a little weird from a conceptual standpoint, and it certainly doesn't look it, but the bulk of this Endoskeleton is actually made from a rather rubbery, flexible plastic. I have little doubt that this made inserting all of those piston points into their assigned areas a little easier on the assemblers.

Technically, the Terminator Endoskeleton is articulated at the head, jaw, arms, upper arm swivel, elbows, wrists, waist, legs, knees, ankles, and toe groups. But that's not the most accurate assessment of its complete articulation. Consider that when the elbow moves, two pistons on the front and back of the arm must also move. If you turn the figure at the waist, there are pistons on either side of the torso. Move the figure's leg, and two pistons must also move. Here the articulation is a little hindered, but then I don't recall seeing the Endoskeleton run any marathons, anyway.

Designing, sculpting, and making the molds for this toy must have been a nightmare, given the overall detail, especially in the upper torso near the arms. It's just unreal.

The figure is molded in a metallic silver plastic, and given a very slight "wash" of black. Normally I despise this sort of practice, but on the Endoskeleton, it doesn't look too bad, and actually serves to bring out the depth of the detail, rather than just dirtying up the figure as is usually the case with this practice. I wouldn't mind seeing an all-chrome version of this figure, but given that a substantial percentage of it, especially the limbs, are made from flexible plastic, which doesn't take to being chrome-plated or vac-metallized very well, I'm not sure this is even possible.

The Terminator Endoskeleton comes with a second right hand that can be swapped out, and the spare hand is designed to hold the weapon that it comes with. The figure also comes with a display base, but given that this base is comprised mostly of small human skulls, I'm personally not terribly inclined to use it. We all know what the Terminators did. This drives the point home a little too much. Fortunately, the Terminator Endoskeleton is perfectly capable of standing on his own two feet.

The package for the T-800 Endoskeleton actually had "specs" on the back. They read as follows:

Specs: Endoskeleton Model T-800

-Features SKYNET'S most advanced control system

-Fully armored in a hyper-alloy sheath around vital areas

-Frictionless bearings in its joints allow the unit to maneuver through its range of motions faster than previous models

-In the event of critical damage, a secondary power source allows the unit a margin of time to complete its mission

-When set to autonomous mode, it can "learn" like a human being, actually becoming more efficient as time goes on

-20% lighter and 40% more powerful than the T-600 model

You won't find the Terminator Endoskeleton at Wal-Mart or places like that. He's one of those toys that tends to turn up at specialty stores like Hot Topic and Suncoast. But for any fan of the Terminator movies, who maybe doesn't have the money (or space) for one of the larger versions that have been made available from time to time, this 7" T-800 Terminator Endoskeleton is a very cool action figure, and it definitely has my recommendation!