Super Review Wars DX > Doc Terror and Hacker (Centurions, Kenner) by The Enthusiast

Centurions Hacker 4

SuperReviewWARSDXTechnology was the defining fetish of the mid-eighties toy culture. Transformers, Go-Bots, Robotech, M.A.S.K., and G.I Joe all explored seemingly endless iterations of the man/machine dynamic. The popularity and ubiquity of these lines inevitably edged out similar, respectable also-rans like Bravestarr, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, and Centurions.

There was nothing particularly unsound about the Centurions, just a vague air of mediocrity amidst a crowded field. The designs were heavily influenced by the modularity of Microman/Micronauts, but with a decidedly American flair. The narrative pitted a team of quasi-cyborg heroes against literal cyborg baddies Doc Terror and Hacker.

I barely remember the cartoon, but it looks pretty great, with slick anime-influenced animation.

The toys were solid, engaging playthings. The sturdy, vehicle-oriented sets played to Kenner’s strengths. They were maybe a touch too big and simple (a little larger than MOTU), but those are quibbles. Their relative failure was purely a function of a flooded market.

Doc Terror and Hacker were the villains of the series (the cartoon refers to Hacker as Doc Terror’s ‘companion’, LOL). The figures are very much of their time: sturdy, basic action figures.

Centurions Doc Terror and Hacker

These characters are among the boldest cyborg designs ever realized, literally bisecting man and machine.

Doc Terror’s design is blocky and formidable. The sculpt is more detailed than typical mass market fare of the era. There’s a nice balance of organic and mechanical.

Centurions Doc Terror 12

Centurions Doc Terror 11

Centurions Doc Terror 10

Centurions Doc Terror 9

Play features are engaging and fun. The robot arm is rotated by twisting the ‘head’ of the robot half of the body.

Centurions Doc Terror 4

Centurions Doc Terror 3

The robot arm features an articulated claw and projectile weapon.

Centurions Doc Terror 2

The soft rubber helmet is removable.

Centurions Doc Terror 7

Centurions Doc Terror 5

Centurions Doc Terror 6

Hacker is similar to Doc Terror, though distinguished enough to be fun. The robot arm is more simplified, without a firing feature.

Centurions Hacker 10

Centurions Hacker 9

Centurions Hacker 7

Centurions Hacker 8

Centurions Hacker 6

The arm rotating mechanism doesn’t seem to work on this specimen. The arm is clicky but not moved by the robot head.

Centurions Hacker 1

Centurions Hacker 2

I like the goofy, Sloth-reminiscent face sculpt underneath the helmet.

Centurions Hacker 4

Centurions Hacker 3

The primary gimmick of these figures is the split modularity between the human and machine halves. This is a great feature. There are other toys which approach this concept, but none so well as these. Let’s pull them apart, shall we? I appreciate the decal details on the man halves.

Centurions Doc Terror Hacker 6

Centurions Doc Terror Hacker 5

In practice, the gimmick is underwhelming. The kid in me wants to make goofy variations, like the two robot halves or the two man halves combined, but both of these are problematic. Those giant robot feet interfere with each other and the plugs for the man parts only work when you flip them upside down.

Centurions Doc Terror Hacker 4

Centurions Doc Terror Hacker 3

So the intended variations are fine, but not terribly dramatic.

Centurions Doc Terror Hacker 1

Centurions Doc Terror Hacker 2

I really like these figures. There’s something really fresh about the underlying idea, even thirty years on. The Centurions are well worth the attention of the eighties toy collector.

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  1. hapaxlegoman

    Since they were designed by Jack Kirby and Gil Kane, it's no surprise they're such "bold… designs". It's a shame your Legion's arm doesn't spin as it's one of the most fun action features in an entire line of great action features.

  2. Awesome. I just did a review of the Cartoon for a friend's blog, and he sent me the link to this! Great photos and great review. Love that they took the extra time to make the cyborg-human parts detachable, very important!!! haha

  3. Rob

    Great review E.

    I remember the cartoon series, there was an episode where Doc and Hammer had to link their robot halves together and the results were typical 'supervillain cyborg parts create whole robot with its own evil plan' shenanigans. … I miss the eighties.

  4. Josh

    Were the Centurions really "durable?"

    Maybe I just played with them too roughly, but all three of my hero figures lost their arms at the shoulder peg, and Jake Rockwell even lost his leg below the knee!! Ball joints are a lot more sturdy nowadays.

    I still loved the toys and the add-on outfits….but I was a sad kid back in the 80s with three armless Centurions.

  5. Zed

    I feel a little voyeuristic looking at those pictures of Doc Terror and his "companion" Hacker swapping halves.

  6. Izdawiz

    That blue guy has the perfect head sculpt for an Onan The Barbarian custom.

  7. I had (have) Doc Terror & Ace McCloud. They were freaking awesome!

  8. shindanrod

    The red one looks like Mr. Bean

    • I always thought he looked like Dean Stockwell.

      These really were great figures. The sculpts were far ahead of the average 1980s toyline.

    • Mark

      LOL he does, especially his nose from the side.

  9. Misterbigbo

    I loved Centurions, and it’s too bad the license might never get a Glyos/FHM treatment. That’d be spectacular.

  10. Mark

    I really enjoyed this review. I remember growing up liking the Centurions cartoon but I didn't know any toys existed until I was in College. Kenner made some of the best toys in the 80's. 😀

  11. Centurions was definitely one of the defining toylines for me as a youngster. I love them so darn much and still have ALL of my centurions: Doc Terro and Hacker, Ace McCloud, Jake Rockwell, and Max Ray, the air and land drones, and tons of vehicles. G.I. Joe Sigma 6 reminded me quite a bit of Centurions, which is probably why I love Sigma 6 so much.

    Great look at one of the most criminally underrated toy lines of all time. Centurions desperately need to make a comeback.

  12. Cool review! Cool toys! I love all things kenner, especially the weird stuff!

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