Posts

Action Figure Overview: Star Wars - Dengar (Kenner, 1981)

Image
  Star Wars Dengar action figure (Kenner, 1981) Star Wars figures were easily some of my favorite toys as a kid.  When The Empire Strikes Back came out, more figures arrived and that meant new characters for my many Star Wars adventures!  Looking back, it seems like Kenner may have planned ahead with their Empire Strikes Back action figure releases.  They released about eleven figures in 1980, another nine in 1981 and nine more in 1982.  Each release had some of the main characters and a few figures for characters who had smaller parts in the movie.  Some of those smaller characters made great action figures, others weren't as exciting to me, but the fact that each year included a mix of main and background characters does make me wonder if Kenner had more of a plan this time around. My childhood Dengar from 1981 is still in my collection! Even though most of them were only on the screen for a few seconds, the bounty hunters were some of the coolest and most interesting figures to

Action Figure Overview: G.I. Joe - Shockwave (Hasbro, 1988)

Image
  G.I. Joe S.W.A.T. Specialist: Shockwave (Hasbro, 1988) I loved the 3 3/4" GI Joe figures from the moment that I first saw them!  I thought the comic books were amazing!  As a kid, I enjoyed acting out adventures with these awesome action figures for many years.  My favorite figures on the Joe team were typically the ones that looked more realistic...at least what I thought was realistic at the time.  By the time wave 7 came out in 1988, I had already begun to expect there to be too many silly looking members of the Joe team and in general, that was the case with this wave.  However, there were still a few cool figures like Repeater and Hit & Run who looked like they could actually be in the military. Repeater and Hit & Run compared to Shockwave GI Joe's resident S.W.A.T. Specialist, Shockwave, was a little different than the others to me.  I thought of the GI Joe Team as an elite military group - brought together to deal with the most dangerous situations and the mos

Action Figure Overview: Sectaurs - Zak and Bitaur (Coleco, 1985)

Image
  Sectaurs: Zak and Bitaur (Coleco, 1985) The seed for the idea of Sectaurs started way back in 1978 when Tim Clarke made a hand puppet Fly for a Halloween party.  People at the party loved it.  A few years later, when coming up with ideas for toys, Tim brought out the puppet again.  It was suggested that action figures could ride on the puppets and sketches were made for some characters which would eventually be developed into the 7" Sectaurs figures and their flying companions that came out in 1985. Four Sectaurs: Night Fighting Dargon, Zak, Mantor, & Skito I don't remember much about Sectaurs from my childhood.  I probably saw a TV commercial for them, but I don't even remember that.  I only know for certain that I had two Sectaurs.  I'm positive that one of them was Mantor and I'm 95% sure that the other one was Waspax...mainly because it really seems like I had his flying companion, Wingid.  I also distinctly remember selling both figures with all of the a

Fisher-Price Adventure People: Set #386 Dune Buster (1980)

Image
  Fisher-Price Adventure People "Dune Buster" The Fisher-Price Adventure People were some of the first action figures that I had as a kid.  I loved them!  They went on all kinds of adventures.  When I got my first Star Wars figures, my Adventure People were right there in the middle of the action, filling in for Star Wars characters that I didn't have.  Their vehicles and accessories were also a big part of my adventures with all of the 3 3/4" action figure lines that I had over the years.  The Adventure People were sturdy and held up to many years of play.  They were also just generic enough to fit in with all kinds of different story lines.  Despite my fondness for these great figures, there were many Adventure People figures that I didn't have. The Dune Buster figure was the height of cool in 1980! I don't remember when I first saw the Dune Buster figure, but I know I never owned him as a kid.  Right away, he stood out as one of the cooler figures in the l

Action Figure Overview: Star Wars - General Madine (Kenner, 1983)

Image
  General Madine from Return of the Jedi (Kenner, 1983) I was definitely a huge fan of Star Wars as a kid!  I loved most of the figures that Kenner released for the first Star Wars movie and The Empire Strikes Back.  However, even early on there were figures like Power Droid and FX-7 that weren't very exciting to me.  I'm sure most kids who played with Star Wars figures felt like some of the figures just weren't all that cool.  One figure that often appears on lists of figures that kids could have lived without was General Madine.  He had a relatively small role in Return of the Jedi and his "weapon" seemed to be a pointer that you might see someone holding in a meeting, but General Madine stood out to me and I probably liked him more than most other kids did. General Madine on the Forest Moon of Endor The reason that I was so excited about General Madine wasn't 100% about the figure itself, but the way that he ended up in my collection.  He was the first figu

Action Figure Overview: G.I. Joe - Airborne (Hasbro, 1983)

Image
Helicopter Assault Trooper: Airborne (Hasbro, 1983) G.I. Joe began his life as America's Movable Fighting Man in 1964 in the form of a one-sixth scale, fully articulated action figure.  After more than a decade on the shelves of toy stores across the country, Joe retired in the mid-70s.  With the popularity of Star Wars figures, G.I. Joe returned in 1982 as a 3 3/4" Real American Hero and that's where my adventures with G.I. Joe began... Airborne: Deep Behind Enemy Lines Right from the start, I thought these little guys were awesome and when the 2nd wave of figures hit the scene in 1983, I was excited to expand my team of Joes.  One of my absolute favorites from the second wave was a Helicopter Assault Trooper - Code Name: Airborne!  According to the file card on the back of his package, Franklin E. Talltree was a Navajo from a Arizona.  His family had made their fortune in the oil industry and as a kid, his parents let him take Sky-Diving lessons.  Originally, Franklin pu

Action Figure Overview: Robin Hood Prince of Thieves - Sheriff of Nottingham (Kenner, 1991)

Image
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves "Sheriff of Nottingham" (Kenner, 1991) Starting with their Star Wars figures in the late 1970s, Kenner was a key player in the action figure arena for more than a decade.  In addition to the classic space toys, they also created toys for The Six Million Dollar Man, Super Powers, M.A.S.K, & Ghostbusters as well as the less popular, but still very cool toy lines for Silver Hawks, Centurions, Gargoyles, & Raiders of the Lost Ark!  That's a great record of releases, but not everything Kenner released was equally cool. "I'll get that Robin Hood!" In 1991, Kenner got the license for the Kevin Costner film, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.  If you were alive in 1991, you absolutely could not avoid the film's theme song by Bryan Adams: Everything I Do, I Do It for You.  The movie was a box office smash, but Kevin Costner's acting was was not his best.  In fact, he beat out both Andrew Dice Clay and Vanilla Ice to win the G