Posts

Action Figure Overview: Eagle Force - Goldie Hawk (Mego, 1981)

Image
  Eagle Force: Goldie Hawk (Mego, 1981) I don't remember the exact year when I first heard of the Eagle Force figures (it was either 1981 or 1982), but I do remember that my introduction to the line came in the form of a TV commercial that I thought was absolutely awesome!  The commercial worked and I wanted these figures.  Unfortunately, when I saw them for the first time at the store, I was surprised and disappointed that they were so much smaller than all of my other action figures.  At 2.75 inches, the Eagle Force didn't really fit in with any of my other toy lines.  They were made of die-cast metal, so I always assumed that they must have cost more to make and Mego made them smaller to save money, but years later, I found out the reason for their scale was more likely because Mego had recently acquired the molds for a bunch of old Marx vehicles and playsets that were originally sold with little plastic army men.  They were too small for the 3 3/4" figures that had bec

Action Figure Overview: Raiders of the Lost Ark - German Mechanic (Kenner, 1983)

Image
Raiders of the Lost Ark - German Mechanic (Kenner, 1983) Egypt, 1936: Indiana Jones has had a rough day.  He and Marion were just trapped in the Well of Souls with hundreds of snakes.  After managing to escape, he tries to take the airplane that's scheduled to transport the Ark when he's noticed by a mechanic wielding a huge wrench.  After successfully knocking out the 1st mechanic, a 2nd bigger & stronger mechanic (who witnessed the fight) approaches Indy and the biggest fight scene in the entire movie ensues!  Of course this fight scene is memorable enough that the German Mechanic was made into an action figure as part of "The Adventures of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark" toy line!  As a side note, I'm pretty sure these figures hold the record for longest title of any toy line ...ever! German Mechanic from Raiders of the Lost Ark Raiders of the Lost Ark was the highest grossing film of 1981 and kids loved it!  Since Kenner's 3.75" Star War

Action Figure Overview: Princess Leia Organa (Boushh Disguise) (Kenner, 1983)

Image
Princess Leia Organa in her Boushh disguise (Kenner, 1983) From 1978 until 1982, I spent the vast majority of my free time playing with Star Wars figures.  I rarely acted out scenes from the movie and instead created all kinds of new adventures for these awesome characters.  At some point in 1982, I got my first GI Joe figures and my attention was split between the two toy lines, but when figures started arriving for Return of the Jedi in 1983, I was excited about Star Wars again in anticipation of the new movie!  Before I ever saw Return of the Jedi, I got my first new figure (General Madine) and scoured the package for any clues about the next installment of my favorite film franchise. Princess Leia or is this Boushh? Another of the earliest figures from the upcoming movie to join my ranks was Princess Leia in her Boushh disguise.  The figure and the photo on the package intrigued me.  I couldn't even imagine what strange and bizarre stories could lead Leia to wear such an odd co

Action Figure Overview: G.I. Joe - Tele-viper (Hasbro, 1985)

Image
  G.I. Joe's enemy: Cobra Communications Specialist "Tele-Viper" (Hasbro, 1985) When Hasbro first introduced G.I. Joe as a 3 3/4" "Real American Hero" in 1982, I fit their target audience 100%. I wanted all of the toys, I read the comic books, I watched cartoons and got excited when there was a commercial for GI Joe.  By 1985, I had a nice collection of Joes and Cobras who shot, punched, kicked, stabbed, and blew each other up pretty much daily.  When I saw my first wave-four figure in the toy store (It was Footloose, by the way), I looked at the back of his card and saw so many cool characters that I couldn't wait to find them!  Some of the most exciting were: The Dreadnoks, Snow Serpents, Crimson Guard, a new Snake Eyes figure with a sword and a wolf!?  The Tele-vipers, honestly, had some pretty serious competition for my very-few dollars.  The stars never aligned and I never brought home a Cobra Communications figure. Cobra Tele-Viper in the field Al

Action Figure Overview: Buck Rogers - Emperor Draco (Mego, 1979)

Image
  Buck Rogers Emperor Draco action figure (Mego, 1979) The unexpected, massive success of Star Wars in 1977 led to huge surge of Science Fiction movies, TV shows, and books.  Along with the popularity of the movie, Kenner's 3 3/4" Star Wars figures had quickly become the most in-demand toy of the late 70s.  Toy manufacturers scrambled to get a piece of the SciFi pie.  Mego, who had missed out on the licence for Star Wars didn't want to make the same mistake twice, so they seemed to jump on any license that came their way, Science Fiction or otherwise.  They ended up making action figures for everything from The Black Hole and Star Trek: The Motion Picture to The Dukes of Hazzard and CHiPs and even The Love Boat!  It was around this time that Mego was offered the license to manufacture toys for the re-boot of the Buck Rogers franchise. Mego 3 3/4" Draco with his Draconian Guards Although the toys for Buck Rogers in the 25th Century didn't achieve the popularity of

Action Figure Overview: Flash Gordon - Beastman (Mattel, 1980)

Image
Flash Gordon "Beastman" action figure (Mattel, 1980) In the late 1970s, a producer named Lou Scheimer got the rights to make a movie of the old 1930s comic strip character, Flash Gordon.  Since the amazing success of the movie Star Wars in 1977, science fiction was extremely popular at the time and Scheimer was able to convince NBC to back a live action Flash Gordon for prime-time.  Unfortunately, it would have cost too much to film what he wanted to shoot, so he reluctantly went back to NBC with the idea of switching to an animated format instead of live action.  NBC agreed and Filmation was brought on board to make the cartoon. Beastman poses beside the 1979 Flash Gordon card back Star Wars action figures had made so much money for George Lucas and Kenner that I would imagine once the cartoon was underway, it wasn't very difficult to set up a deal with Mattel to make a line of Flash Gordon action figures in scale with the Star Wars toys.  In 1979, the first four Flash G

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