If you were reading X-E last November, you might remember my tribute to Matchbox’s Con-Nect-Ables, a line of plastic cars which broke into pieces that could be mixed-and-matched to create bizarre vehicles that were part truck, part helicopter. If I had to guess, nobody came here expecting that opening line.
Well, this is a similar idea, but way cooler, because we’re replacing the cars with monsters and aliens.
Made in 1990, Con-Nec-Tors is a strong candidate for the coolest action figure collection you’ve never heard of. With strange characters running the gamut from vampires to mummies to alien bugs and even a husky football player, each figure had removable body parts that were completely interchangeable.
Like, see the dinosaur up there? In two seconds flat, he could have the head of that generic punk rocker.
Even in their original states, the figures are incredible. To my knowledge, none of the Con-Nec-Tors characters were given names or affiliations, so there’s no telling who they are, much less if they fight for good or evil.
While this would be a negative in some toy lines, here, it works. That lavender alien with an eye for a nose is so much more intriguing when you don’t know where his loyalties lie. And brother, I don’t.
The real fun begins when you dissemble the figures and play God. With cheap orange fabric serving as my laboratory, I conducted the sorts of experiments that would now have me forever incarcerated had my victims been made of anything but painted plastic.
Matchbox didn’t cheap out on the gimmick, either. Despite the figures looking so different from one another, their body parts really do switch well. It’s not like you’ll spend five minutes devising a Punk Rock Alien Dracula only to find out that Punk Rock Alien Dracula can’t stand.
Oh, come on. These are great. They’re like demented LEGO sets, only not at all. I’m not shocked that they didn’t set the world on fire in 1990, but the fact that Con-Nec-Tors has so few fans is surprising. What more could you want? Do I need to point out how much the punker looks like Revisionist Caucasian Unmutated Bebop?
Man, if only Matchbox worked a little harder at advertising the things. This is the exact kind of collection that would’ve inspired me to form a club around, with weekly treehouse meetings and everything. Since I would’ve been 10, I guess the club’s name would be something dumb like “Club-Nec-Tors.” I don’t know this theoretical kid version of me very well, but I fucking hate him.
Much love to my revised purple alien dude, with the punker torso and dinosaur leg. It’s like Deviant Art in three dimensions.
And keep in mind, I only have four of the figures. Just imagine what you could do with the complete set, which included everything from a T-1000 knockoff to Mr. T in a silver Onesie. It’s like Matchbox gave the world’s most psychotically brilliant seven-year-old the keys to their mystical genie car, the one that spits the first toy you think of out of its impossibly oversized exhaust pipe.
By the way, if these seem familiar, it’s probably because I reviewed them back in 2008. Only that time, they were called Socket Poppers and sold by Ertl. Same figures, though. I’m not sure what happened there, or which company had the rights first. Actually, I’d prefer to pretend that I never wrote about them before, since the likelihood of repeat jokes is incredibly high.
In contrast to Matchbox, Ertl went though the trouble of naming the characters. They didn’t put much thought into those names, but it’s still nice to know that if I want my eye-nosed purple alien to pass the soda, I should say, “Hey, Cyclops, pass the soda.”
The other names are equally direct. The punker is “Rock Star.” The dinosaur? “Dinosaur.” And despite being an obvious Dracula, they call the last one “Vampire.”
Uh, wait a second.
Behold, the first and only Dinosaur Dracula action figure.
Hol. Lee. Sheet.
If you just heard a noise like a balloon being molested, that was my heart growing fifteen sizes.