Posts

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

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

Image
Star Wars Ugnaught action figure (Kenner, 1981) The original 12 Kenner Star Wars figures from the 1970s changed the toy industry.  They were awesome and I still like every single one.  But the problem with having a popular toy line based on a movie is there are only so many characters from the movie that can be released.  After action figures had been made of the main characters, Kenner started looking at alternate costumes and background characters.  In my opinion, there really wasn't a single bad action figure from the first Star Wars movie, but we weren't as lucky with Empire Strikes Back. In Star Wars Lore, the Ugnaughts species  were scattered across the universe. We did get some great figures in later waves. The extremely cool Imperial Tie Fighter Pilot was the last action figure from The Empire Strikes Back a couple of years after the first wave came out.  Also, the two bounty hunters, 4-LOM and Zuckuss were only in the movie for a few seconds and didn't really do an

Action Figure Overview: Masters of the Universe MegaConstrux - Man-At-Arms (Mega Construx, 2018)

Image
Heroic Man-At-Arms (Mega Construx, 2018) Man-At-Arms was one of the very first figures to be released in the Masters of the Universe line back in 1982.  Throughout the MOTU franchise, Man-At-Arms has been a prominent character.  He appeared in about half of the original mini comics that came packaged with the action figures and has appeared in many of the books, comics, and cartoons that have come out of the series.  He's even one of the few characters from the original toy line to appear in the live action Masters of the Universe movie. Man-At-Arms: Ready for Battle! Toys aside, when most people think of the personality of Man-At-Arms, they are probably primarily influenced by the Filmation cartoon from 1983 to 1985.  Man-At-Arms was much less defined in the original few mini comics and the original action figure had a significantly different face (at least to my eyes) than the version in the cartoon.  Filmation developed the character from simply a master of weapons into a teache

Action Figure Overview: The Legend of the Lone Ranger - Butch Cavendish (Gabriel, 1980)

Image
Butch Cavendish and his horse Smoke (Gabriel, 1980) The early 1980s were an amazing time for awesome 3 3/4" action figures!  The popularity of Star Wars figures made it the dominate scale and the new GI Joe "Real American Heroes" continued the popularity.  In addition two those two major toy lines, there were also dozens of wonderful, short-lived lines with sales that weren't quite as impressive.  One of the lines of action figures was a great, little line based on a 1981 movie that flopped hard: The Legend of the Lone Ranger.  As a little kid, I actually liked the movie ok, but the figures were great! The original 1980 card back for the series with Buffalo Bill and Custer listed as "Coming Soon!" The line was released by Gabriel and somehow it managed to stick around on the shelves for a while even though there were only five figures and three horses.  The earliest release of the line was just The Lone Ranger, Tonto, Butch Cavendish, and each of their thre

Action Figure Overview: Buck Rogers - Draconian Guard (Mego, 1979)

Image
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: Draconian Guard action figure (Mego, 1979) When Star Wars came out in 1977, it caught the world unprepared.  The movie was a hit and, even though Kenner had purchased the license to produce Star Wars toys, they weren't ready in time for the massive demand.  For the next few years after Star Wars, all sorts of Science Fiction movies and TV shows were being approved in Hollywood in an attempt to catch lightning in a bottle with another similar franchise.  "Buck Rogers In The 25th Century" was one such project.  Mego rolled the dice on a 3 3/4" line of figures (as well as a 12" line of figures) in hope of similar success to Star Wars. Draconian Guard: standing around and missing a thumb! Unfortunately for Mego, the Buck Rogers line of action figures wasn't the phenomenal hit they had wanted.  Still, those of us who thought these figures were cool as kids were lucky that we got them at all.  Not only that, but Mego had enough fai