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Remembering Fad toy lines from the late 80's early 90's


JohnnyRebelV2
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Remember when the massive toy lines of the 80's were losing steam and some coming to a full stop(MOTU, Transformers) And the most dominant toy line of the 80's, GI Joe took a turn for the worse in 89'? It seemed like every pre existing and new toy company came out of the wood work and starting throwing $hit at the wall to see what would stick. And some of them did stick for about 15 minutes or so. It was the days when the action figure bussiness was still making big money off KIDS(before video games had fully stolen them away) And before the collector boom of the late 90's.

 

What crazy fad toy lines did you guys love and hate? I'll just throw a couple out there to get it started.

 

Hasbro's the Original Battle Trolls: Troll dolls had been sold all over the world since the 50's. But they where just that, DOLLS. In 1992 boys could finally collect them without being called G-A-Y by their friends and older sisters who had their own army of trolls BTW.

 

Bucky O'Hare: Larry Hama created them in the the late 70's but when Hasbro launched the toyline and cartoon in 1990 he had nothing to do with them. In he had maybe they would of lasted longer than one wave?

 

Street Sharks: I never had any but they looked cool?

 

James Bond Jr: Who didn't love James Bond? This was the closest we got to a toy line for the real thing. It could of been a bigger hit if Uncle James made an apperance though.

 

Mighty Max: Well this wasn't a real action figure. It was polly pocket for boys. If you collected this you probably sucked.

 

Barnyard Commandos and Food Fighters: These two seperate lines hit right as the 80's came to a close and they were pretty simple but I was 6 when they first hit shelves and I had to have them!

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James Bond Jr: Who didn't love James Bond? This was the closest we got to a toy line for the real thing. It could of been a bigger hit if Uncle James made an apperance though

 

Medicom and Sideshow Toys have both made Jame Bond figures.

 

James Bond Jr. was a pretty mundane cartoon, with a pretty bland toy-line to it.

I know because I worked on the show, and I bought a LOT of the toy line ( tax write-offs).

 

Mighty Max: Well this wasn't a real action figure. It was polly pocket for boys. If you collected this you probably sucked.

 

Mad Max fell into the pocket/micro-toy trend--but it was another show that suffered for a lot of reasons.

Also worked on it too. Never bought into the toys myself, but the designs for the show were interesting.

 

Bucky O'Hare: Larry Hama created them in the the late 70's but when Hasbro launched the toyline and cartoon in 1990 he had nothing to do with them. In he had maybe they would of lasted longer than one wave?

 

I recall that Hama WAS involved with the toys and cartoon to a limited degree--at least in the initial stages. He and Michael Golden were the creators of the thing. Neal Adams did end up co-opting the thing from them though. This was a line I did collect for a while--decent sculpts--but not much sizzle otherwise.

 

If I had to say I hated a line, it would be Food Fighters. Aside from the weapons they had--which would have worked with GIJOEs, they had nothing to make them worth my time.

 

Lines I liked:

Centurions

ExoSquad

StarCom

C.O.P.S. & Crooks, all were good toy lines.

 

Stuff that seemed intriguing, but that I did not buy into or bought little of:

Sky Commanders

Visionaries

Air Raiders

Bravestar

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I actually meant the closest we got to a James Bond toy line by 1992. I wasn't talking about the stuff made post JBJ.

 

I have all the COPS n Crooks figures but I didn't include them as a fad line becuase they are so damn expensive and sought after now. But YES they would qualify as a Fad toy line. Probably my most favorite fad toy line ever.

 

There are tons of moive toylines that have come and gone very quickly but I don't consider those to be a true "fad toy line". Only those that are created as a toy line first and foremost with the only intent is to get so many kids as possible to fork over their allowance.

 

Here are a few more:

 

Biker Mice from Mars: I thought these were awesome when they first came out. The cartoon was very slick.

 

Captain Planet: Not litering is fun? The cartoon for these things was pretty well done if I remember correctly. And they looked nice but I'm not sure how much play value this line would of had.

 

Pirates of the Dark Water: Another Hasbro line. It was short lived, just one wave. But the cartoon was a hit.

 

Toxic Crusaders: Ok these are in theroy based on the R rated Troma Toxic Avenger movies but the only resemblence is the design of Toxie himself. This was a GREAT line jam packed with gross out humor. What 9 year old boy wouldn't of loved to have all these figures?

 

MUSCLE: Do these count as action figures? I'd say'd maybe but they sure as hell were popular. I can't think of a line that was cheaper to buy.

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I stopped "playing" with toys by the mid/late 80's and wouldn't start "collecting" (the adult word for playing ;) ) until the late 90's.

 

Didn't Toybiz get started around this time with their Marvel and X-Men figures?

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I forgot to add test Crash dummies. That was a very strange one. It looked really cool but I never had the urge to buy them. Not while there was still Toy Biz X-Men figures to buy in 92-93 instead!

 

 

I'm just waiting for the someone to admit they used to (and still do) collect these guys:

 

battletrollsback1c.jpg

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I stopped "playing" with toys by the mid/late 80's and wouldn't start "collecting" (the adult word for playing ;) ) until the late 90's.

 

Didn't Toybiz get started around this time with their Marvel and X-Men figures?

 

 

Toy biz started with the Marvel figures in 90' and X-Men in 91'. It really started going fast in 92'. That was my life blood. Any other action figure series was just extra on the side.

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Toy biz started with the Marvel figures in 90' and X-Men in 91'.

 

Minor correction: Toybiz actually started with the DC license. They made the first Batman ('89)movie toys, and make a series of knock-off Kenner Superpowers figures--literally re-using the molds in many cases. The first efforts were lack-lustre to poor, but with the X-men and Marvel lines, they started to take off.

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I forgot to mention the Battle Beasts line that was made by takara and released by Hasbro in North America. While only their arms moved the play value with the lil' guys was very high. I remember being a 5 year old always hoping to get fire on their hologram but getting stuck with wood which just wasn't as cool.

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I used to enjoy M.U.S.C.L.E. I remember buying bucket loads full of those tiny, little wrestling figures. Had the ring for them to fight in as well. There were some very strange looking characters in that line. I also used to like M.A.S.K. The vehicles would look normal but then you could semi transform them to reveal hidden weapons and other hidden goodies.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I recently bought all the Toxic Crusaders and James Bond Jr figures off Ebay. The figures are just as awesome as when I was a kid. Even though Toxic Crusaders was just a way to cash in on TMNT's popularity the Toxic Crusaders figures are 100% better than anything TMNT after 1990.

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