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

 

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 line.  My father loved the state of Texas and traveled there often for work.  At the time, he was also watching the TV show "Dallas" which was rare because he didn't watch much TV.  He had started wearing a cowboy hat around that time.  I was watching The Dukes of Hazzard a lot back then, so as a kid, it seemed to me that cool people wore cowboy hats.  Speaking of cool people, there was also The Marlboro Man: a Marlboro-smoking cowboy who was the epitome of cool.  I never thought much about him consciously, but he was everywhere at that time; letting us know that real men wore blue jeans and cowboy hats...and smoked Marlboro cigarettes, of course.

Was The Dune Buster a stunt man for Burt Reynolds???

All of those guys wearing jeans and cowboy hats made The Dune Buster figure seem cool, but more than anyone else, he reminded me of Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit!  I loved that movie and I suspect that Fisher-Price knew exactly what they were doing when they released this figure.  Smokey and the Bandit had come out in 1977, but Smokey and the Bandit 2 was released in 1980, so the timing on The Dune Buster would have been about right for the figure to capitalize on the popularity Burt Reynolds, who was a huge star at the time, while still being generic enough to avoid having to worry about likeness rights.  The Dune Buster figure was a perfect figure for me at that age, but I don't remember ever seeing him for sale; which is the only reason I wouldn't have had him as a kid.

The original Adventure People Dune Buster set from 1979

The original Dune Buster figure had a white shirt and a brown cowboy hat.  He was included in the "Dune Buster" set #322 with a green dune buggy.  I believe this set came out in 1979 and I'm pretty sure that the Dune Buster with the red shirt and tan cowboy hat came out a year later in 1980 (although I've read in different places that he was first released in 1979, 1980, and 1981, so I'm not 100% sure it was 1980).  I don't remember ever seeing any Adventure People figures on the cards with the artwork when I was a kid.  I only remember seeing Adventure People in the stores on the generic, tan cards that were just wide enough for a figure.  Although I've read that the Dune Buster was released on the tan cards, I've never seen one, so I can't confirm that's true.

Four Carded Dune Buster Adventure People from Fisher-Price!

As an adult, I've owned 4 of the Dune Buster figures on the art cards over the years, which is the most I've ever had of one character on the card.  I never meant to have more than one, I've just been trying to get one on a nice card.  I love the art on those cards!  Strangely, despite finding Adventure People all the time in random action figure lots, I've only ever had two of the red-shirt Dune Buster figures loose.  The first one came in one of those lots of various action figures many years ago and I sold him because I didn't collect Adventure People at the time.  I instantly regretted it and have been looking for an inexpensive replacement ever since.  Since I started keeping the Adventure People who I found in those lots, I've had many duplicates of other characters, but never another red-shirt Dune Buster.  I finally picked up another one when I got the figure in some of these photos last month at ToyLanta for $1.  He's in pretty rough shape, but Adventure People are sturdy, so his years of action aren't over!

Adventure People: 2 Dune Busters and a Trail Boss

I mentioned before that the first Dune Buster had a white shirt and came with the set that included the Green Dune Buggy.  There were two more figures who weren't "Dune Buster" figures but look very similar: The Trail Boss came with set #370 and the Black-Shirt Cowboy (not pictured) came with set #335.  The Trail Boss isn't very difficult to find, but the Black-Shirt Cowboy is one of the less common Adventure People and I've never owned one.  The Motocross Team set that he came with appears to have been manufactured in smaller numbers.  It was one of the later sets in the line and Fisher-Price seemed to have more of a focus on their space sets at the time.

1980 Fisher-Price "Dune Buster" Action Figure

Do you collect Fisher-Price Adventure People?  Which sets and figures are your favorites?  Have you ever owned a Dune Buster figure?  Tell me in the comments!

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