This week I’m partially inspired by one of the threads in the CHUD forums (which you should totally sign up for and hang out in). I’m also inspired by the fact that the topic should be a fairly simple one to write about, given that I am once again cobbling together another board game review for GUY.com.
The thread in question is one that sits near and dear to my child-at-heart. As an over-thirty-something who actually owns his own home and has a good-paying job, it comes as a surprise to those that don’t know me and no surprise to those that do that I still enjoy collecting toys – action figures in particular.
So as I was perusing the afore-mentioned threads in the CHUD forums today I came across one that I had frequented on many an occasion – the “Pictures of childhood toys you miss” thread. And it got me thinking (which is always dangerous on a Tuesday afternoon) – what toys from my childhood do I miss? In an odd turn of events, I found that the answer was rather easy. So, I decided to bore you all with my top five (note – I did not include toy lines that have some just-as-good if not better offerings today):
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I think one of the things that makes this line so awesome is the sheer number of figures, vehicles, and playsets that came out of it. This toy line was huge! So many different variations of the turtles themselves to choose from, and a huge bevy of secondary, third…ary and fourth…something characters were also being churned out by the bunches. Each figure came well-stocked with an impressive number of weapons and accessories. With some impressive playsets and vehicles to boot you almost literally could have the entire world from the cartoon series in your bedroom – provided that you had rich parents with a large house.
4. The Real Ghostbusters
This was one of my favourite toylines in the late eighties. Based off of the popular cartoon that wasn’t the lame one with the ape, The Real Ghostbusters toyline did an impressive job of capturing the cartoon likenesses of each character while at the same time offering an incredible variety of different action features. From levers that made their faces bug out in fear to colour-changing features that made it look like they were slimed when you doused them with warm water, the creativity on display in a single toy line was impressive. Add to that the addition of some pretty cool ghost figures that also sported some fun abilities as well as vehicles and playsets and the amount of unique play experiences was pretty limitless. Well, as long as brought an imagination to the table that was better then a potato. Luckily, Matty Collector has brought us the greatness that is the figure series based on the films as a suitable replacement. The only downside – so far the line is weak in the awesome ghosts and accessories department. Get crackin’, Matty! Bring the crazy!
Originally, the Thundercats series of figs would have gone here instead. But, since the original figures were just too big and bulky (and we are about to get so much better product thanks to the new cartoon coming soon) I decided to go with the lesser-known toys based on the lesser-known animated series that was still streets ahead of that abysmal Tiger Sharts. I mean Sharks. No wait – I do mean Sharts. Sadly, because this cartoon and toyline came at a time when Rankin & Bass were already running out of steam, there weren’t many figures produced. And the ones that were released had a short shelf life. Still these toys were pretty cool. Vaccuum-plated so that they had that shiny, metal sheen, the Silverhawks also had the cool feature of being able to spread their wings when you pushed their legs together (no word on what happened if you tried to do the opposite to Steelheart).
2. Marvel Legends
This entry on the list is the only one that isn’t from that long ago. Originally produced by Toy Biz in the early 2000s, Marvel Legends were a series of six inch figures that toted some the most points of articulation of any action figure up to that point. And they still managed to make the sculpts look incredible. Super-poseable figures that were 100% faithful to their comic book counterparts? I was already shelling out the cash. And when Toy Biz started including build-a-figures with each series? You had an unstoppably popular toyline on your hands. Unfortunately, hasbro took over the line by 2007 and the product they were putting out wasn’t nearly as good. Less articulation by far and the sculpts were questionable at times. Eventually, the company decided to stop making the line altogether (for the most part) to focus on 3 and 3/4 figs instead. Now, don’t get me wrong – love me some Marvel 3 and 3/4s, but I miss the awesomeness that used to be on display – literally.
Just recently it was announced that this awesome cartoon series is finally getting released to DVD. One of my favourites growing up, the associated toy line was just as awesome. Playing into the Transformers appeal, these toys were vehicles that transformed into other vehicles. Included with each was a small, five jointed figure that came with a mask that coincided with the one that character wore in the cartoon. I dunno why, but there was just something perfect about the scale of this toy line. the vehicles were small enough to be more or less affordable, and the figures – smaller than the standard G.I.Joe or Star Wars 3 and 3/4 inch – were still big enough to play with on their own. There was just something incredibly fun about having figures each with their own transforming vehicle. It was almost like each toy was its own playset. In fact, the reason why this toy line is at number one is because I’m still trying to collect them. No other oldies like has me scouring sites, conventions, and flea markets looking for loose M.A.S.K. toys in good condition (hint for birthday gifts!). These things are just way too cool!