Vintage Vault: Sectaurs Skulk and Trancula by Coleco

Today’s foray into the world of Sectaurs presented me with a real quandary. Generally speaking, I don’t like to feature figures that aren’t at least close to complete. That’s not usually a problem, since a majority of my features cover new, nearly new, or mostly new toys. Obviously, Vintage Vault can pose problems, and while some of the toys I have featured here have at least been close to complete, the stuff I’m looking at today is missing virtually everything. Nonetheless, Skulk and Trancula are so cool, and it’s been so long since I’ve been back to look at Sectaurs on Vintage Vault, I thought I’d make an exception here.

 

Obviously, no packaged shot, but Skulk came riding atop Trancula in a magnificent window box with his gear mounted beside him, still waiting to be clipped off the plastic tree. I’ve found this set to be among the harder ones to find complete, along with an example of Winged with his wings still attached. In fact, I picked up Trancula all by his lonesome from a fellow collector and Skulk came in an assortment of Sectaurs figures and parts that I grabbed a long while ago off of Ebay, so these two aren’t even from the same set. Skulk was loose, so I don’t have any of his accessories. I was tempted to just look at Trancula and come back to Skulk when I could get myself a better, more complete example, but then Trancula is a riding beast, so there’s no point in looking at him without including a figure.

I’ve already looked at one of the Sectaurs riding beasts, but in case you missed out, these toys are among the more clever ideas to come out of any of the 80’s action figure lines. They’re basically half toy, half puppet. You put your hand into the back and you can work the legs with your fingers and sometimes other parts of the toy via a lever or pull mechanism. Coleco wasn’t the first to come up with the idea of puppets interacting with action figures. I still remember being freaked out by the spotty, green alien hand in my old Mego Star Trek playset, but Coleco really took the idea and developed it into something new.

If spiders creep you out, then you may want to stay away from Trancula, because he’s one big hairy spider, and yeah, I think it’s the hair that creeps me out. The fur is thick and brown and has various black patterns and markings on his big bulbous backside. It’s really pretty ceepy and disgusting. But, is he actually a spider? Not really. He’s only got four legs, but that’s your fault because you only have five fingers and the middle finger goes into a pull-ring that works his jaws. I suppose Coleco could have tacked on some extra non-working legs to bring the count up to eight, but I think that would have ruined the illusion. Besides, these are all alien mutant insects anyway. Nonetheless, his spider characteristics carry through to his face with his multiple red eyes. His jaws have white fangs on the top and bottom and, as mentioned, his jaws open and close at the command of your middle finger. There’s a sculpted saddle that snugly holds a Sectaurs figure so he can ride this beast into battle.

Skulk is a very cool and distinct looking figure. He lacks the humanoid facial features of many of the Sectaurs and shares his beast’s spider-like features. He’s got six red eyes scattered about his face and a small mouth with two big white fangs. The back of his head has a gross bumpy texture and, take note, my Skulk’s antenna have been clipped off close to the base.

The body, on the other hand, is more humanoid. His torso is a fairly standard Sectaur sculpt with a chiseled, muscular build and slight flares to the shoulders. His arms and legs are segmented, just like an insect’s, and they end in big white claws. Skulk features the standard Sectaur’s articulation, with the arms and legs attached with ball joints, his knees are hinged, and his head rotates.

Skulk comes with a ton of cool accessories and weapons, and as I warned earlier, I have none of them. The only thing I have with this figure is his harness. The harness secures snugly around his torso and has a really cool sculpted backpack. It also has a functional scabbard loop for his sword and a holster for his gun.

I’ve featured enough Sectaurs here that you should know by now how much I love the Sectaurs figures by themselves, but I absolutely adore the whole hand puppet beast and rider gimmick. Skulk looks amazing seated atop Trancula and the pair makes for a great display. You could argue that the Battle Beetle has a better biting gimmick, but Trancula’s creepy spider factor just pushes him over the top for me. I’m also always amazed at how well these ride-ons held up over the years, particularly where the hair is concerned. Sure, he’s got some scratches to the paint, but the fur is all clean and fresh, even after almost 30 years. Yeah, it’s too bad my Skulk is missing… well, everything, but don’t worry, we’ll come back to him somewhere down the road when I finally track down a complete version.

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