Thursday, 1 March 2012

Review: Centurions

When I was younger, so much younger than today Going Live! was essential Saturday morning viewing. Actually, it was essential Saturday afternoon viewing since we always went to the supermarket in the morning so we had to record it (on a specially bought 4 hour tape!) for viewing in the afternoon. But this is beside the point.

As a result of only having one video recorder (ask your parents, kids) what was being shown on ITV never really got a look in. Take Get Fresh, for example. I couldn't even remember the name of it until I did a bit of research. I could, however, remember two things about the content of the show: first there was an alien (who, it turns out, was called Gilbert) and second, it showed a cartoon about three men in special colourful suits.

The cartoon, which caused me to run around assuming an 'X' shape and yelling 'power x-treeeeeeeeeeeeme' a lot was Centurions. And while I never had any of the toys at the time, thanks to a stall at Memorabilia a few years ago, I now have a box of figures and bits.

Centurions is about a trio of guys who try to stop two cyborgs from taking over the world. The guys - the Centurions - wear special suits upon which weapons and other bits stick. It's a bit like having a large LEGO man...but not.

I liked the cartoon because - unlike all the other cartoons from the 80s - the 'moral' segment at the end wasn't about being nice to people, or not setting fire to the house with the box of matches you discovered in the kitchen. No, Centurions had a little science lesson at the end instead. Unfortunately, while it's still a good idea not to set fire to the house, lessons about the space shuttle being the future of space travel aren't really relevant any more.

I never had any of the toys when I was small because, if I remember rightly, they were pretty expensive. They're pretty large toys and came in even larger boxes, necessary to hold all the bits that plug into the figures. I can remember once in Tesco (on a Saturday morning) asking my mum to buy me one. The outcome of which is obvious if you began reading this paragraph at the beginning.

My boys - my 3yo especially - love Centurions. So much so that they both had costumes loving made by their amazing father.

The arms and legs on the toys are a little stiff. I don't know whether this is due to age, or if they've been like this since they first appeared in the shops in 198-something, but I do know this resulted in Max Ray having a little amputation and a replacement being bought.

The weapons, wings, rockets, etc, easily plug into the bodies of the figures. Due to the 'I bought a box of random bits' nature of their purchase, we don't have any complete sets of weapons but this really doesn't matter as they can be customised however you like.

The villains, Hacker and Dr. Terror, are a little different. They have the same plug-holes as the Centurions, but their main feature is their detachable cyborg half which does something 'exciting'. Hacker's mace spins round and Dr. Terror has a firing missile.

One of the limitations of Centurions is that while there are endless possibilities in accessory packs you could make, things are more limited on the character front. In the show there are only really 2 villains and 3 heroes (going up to 5 very late in the series). There were also 2 female characters (and an ape) but Everyone knows female figures don't sell so figures of Dr. Terror's daughter, Amber, and Crystal Kane appearing on toy shop shelves was never likely.

Though thanks to a bit of remodelling and paint, it is possible to convert another female toy to do the job...

Now I just have to find a suitable orangutan figure to be Lucy.

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