Friday, January 11, 2013

Figure Friday: Barefoot and Pregnant with The Headshrinkers

The Headshrinkers' action figures were released simultaneously by Hasbro as part of their 1994 series but were sold separately. For this reason, I had a Fatu figure but no Samu figure. Actually, truth be told, I had two Fatu figures and just called one of them "Samu." It was just as well; both figures look practically identical, but closer inspection leads one to notice some subtle differences and revealing similarities between the two cousins' figures.

In keeping with Hasbro tradition of repurposing previously used molds, the Headshrinkers' lower bodies are not only identical to each other (minus a slightly different paint job) but to a previous figure, as well. Vital to the Headshrinkers' gimmick was their being barefoot; this narrowed down the possible candidates for recycling to just two figures: Jimmy Snuka (1991) and Kamala (1993). Both figures had a spring-loaded jumping move that required the user to press down on the upper body, which enveloped the lower body until released. Kamala's skirt ruled out the possibility of using his lower body for the Headshrinkers (although, had the Hasbro staff repainted the skirt green, they could have used his lower body for an Afa figure). Therefore, Jimmy Snuka's legs would have to do for both of the Headsrhinkers.


The upper bodies of the Samoans get slightly more complicated. Although both Shrinkers had rather rotund upper bodies, perhaps the consciences of the Hasbro toy artists prevented them from putting out  completely identical figures for Fatu and Samu, so parts from two different past figures were used. For Samu, Jimmy Snuka's torso would suffice, despite making Samu appear much more in shape than he really was. As for his arms, the Repo Man's were used, painted a different flesh tone, and given elbow and wrist pads.

Fatu's figure featured an open right hand, which is puzzling, considering that he never chokeslammed anybody. Surely such a feature would be more appropriate for, say, The Undertaker. However, the open hand was never intended for offense at all. In fact, it stems from the Koko B. Ware figure, from whom Hasbro borrowed an upper body (including arms) for Fatu. See, Ware came with a plastic replica of his parrot Frankie, which could be held on Koko's right hand (Fortunately, Fatu himself was never given a bird during his tenure as a Headshrinker, and we were spared a Fatu-eats-Frankie story line). Paint on elbow pads and a new skin color and suddenly Hasbro had a Headshrinker. When you consider that his figure consisted of two Hall of Famers (Jimmy Snuka and, yes, Koko B. Ware), it appears as if Hasbro had all the faith in the world in Salofa Fatu. Nah, it was just a cost-control thing. Still, this would be the most flattering portrayal of his backside ever created.

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