First off, allow me to give credit where it’s due: I first read about Skeleflex in a post by edcomics over at the FANtastic Forum. Manufactured by Wild Planet Toys, they’ve only recently arrived in stores.
What is Skeleflex? Here’s the rundown the official website:
Skeleflex is a creative ball-and-socket building system that puts kids in control. Its interchangeable bone-shaped pieces can be combined to make aliens, dinosaurs and other fantastical creatures that move in a lifelike manner.
Rigid parts rotate at the point of connection and motion is enhanced by inserting bendable joints between bones. Form the skeletal framework then add small, flexible connectors to give heads, limbs, tails and torsos realistic movement.
Build predators with dropping jaws and flapping wings, or assemble aliens with wavering tentacles and swaying spines. Kids can make exact replicas of the creatures in their Skeleflex idea books, or they can design their own unique models. Construct a multi-headed, moving martian-asaurus, or follow step-by-step instructions for a more recognizable masterpiece.
As edcomics noted in his post, these things are sort of the bastard child of Bionicle and Stikfas, with some Xevoz thrown in for good measure. And MagnaBones. And Plasma Kreaps.
Anyway, while I generally stick to the one or few lines I collect (DCUC, MOTUC and ML right now), I sometimes nab a toy if I find it interesting, like the aforementioned Plasma Kreap Gargoyle. And so when I saw these at Toys R Us, I decided to pick up Skullkor.
Skullkor appears to be the poster boy for Skeleflex, probably because he’s the only figure even vaguely resembling a human. That, combined with his obvious awesomeness (and lower price than the others), is what made me choose him.
So far, Skeleflex appear to come in two flavors: dinosaurs and aliens (clearly they know their target audience). Skullkor here is one of the smaller figures, but he still ran me $11 at TRU. The “aliens” idea seem to be a catch-all term for a bunch of Frankensteinian creations made from re-used dinosaur parts and assorted other bits (for instance, Skullkor’s “hands” look a lot like dinosaur feet).
Those of you who collect Bionicle know the drill–open up the bone-shaped container and you find a pile of parts to assemble yourself. There are directions for putting Skullkor together the “normal” way, but given his bizarre, slapdash appearance, the “normal” look seems rather arbitrary to me.
Annoyingly, my set appears to have been missing a part–I got four spinal vertebrae, rather than three spinal vertebrae and the neck vertebra. It doesn’t appear to have made a big difference–I just put the extra spinal vertebra where the neck one would go–but the two parts are slightly different, and the missing piece bugs the perfectionist in me.
In his prescribed form, Skullkor stands about six inches tall. He has the aforementioned dino claws for hands, but you can also swap in an old-fashioned ray gun or a clamp-arm. He’s also got a rocket pack on his back; he vaguely reminds me of the alien from Destroy All Humans.
All the joints are ball-and-sockets, so he’s got more articulation than you can shake the proverbial stick at. But he also comes with four “flex” joints. Made from black rubber, these pieces allow the figure some extra poseability.
More importantly, however, the flexible connectors allow kids to make their creations “move” using the Powerflex Lab. I haven’t bought this, so I don’t know how it works, but I would guess it somehow manipulates the figures by running electricity through the black dots found on certain joints.
I suspect the coolness of Skeleflex increases with the number of kits you buy–check out edcomics‘s thread to see what kind of monstrosities you can create. If you or your kids loved Xevoz or other build-a-beast lines, consider giving this one a shot.