I know. I know. There are millions of blog posts about Obscure 80s toys you loved. There is a reason for that. They make cool posts! So in the interest of doing my part to keep the internet running like the well oiled machine that it is. Here is mine.
Ah yes, who wouldn’t want to shove their hand up the ass of a small green goblin like creature?
Such was the case with Boglin toys. They were a rather clever hand puppet toy from 1987 that when done right
would mimic speech and facial expressions of a live, well, goblin. The coolest thing about these puppets were the
levers and switches inside that allowed you to make their eyes move and blink. Although they were not a hit they
were light years ahead of other toys in terms of their movie FX quality. Boglins were distributed by Mattel.
Mattel’s Computer Warriors
There is a war going on apparently between the evil computer virii and the good programmers that want to stop them.
I always viewed these toys as a total clone of the whole TRON mythos. They were kind of a cross between transformers
and everyday household items. Cola cans, calculators, flashlights all could change into battle carriers, planes and weapons.
Not the sturdiest of toys but definitely higher on the cool factor than some.
One word you need to know that describes these toys. Sorbothane. That’s right look it up. The material combines some
of the properties of rubber, silicone, and other elastic polymers. It is considered to be a good vibration damping material,
an acoustic insulator, and highly durable. An unusually high amount of the energy from an object dropped onto Sorbothane
is absorbed. The feel and damping qualities of Sorbothane have been likened to those of meat.
Now that you have been SCIENCED enough. Manglors were made of this material. Thier biggest “fun” factor was derived
from the materials ability to be torn apart and then reformed back together. Unfortunately that also lead to the figures
resembling lumps of melting jello rather than a toy. Stick with Play doh.
In 1985 Coleco unleashed a whole world of imagination upon the children of America. There were toys, there was a cartoon,
there were comics. It failed completely. This was the fate of Sectaurs: Warriors of Symbion, a high concept multi-media
assault from the people behind Colecovision. The sectaurs were He-Man-esque figures, except they had insect faces and
came packaged with insectoid companions.
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that M.U.S.C.L.E. figures originated in Japan. The figures were the toy line for
Kinnikuman, a manga introduced in 1979 by Yudetamago, the pen name of creative duo Takashi Shimada (writer) and
Yoshinori Nakai (artist). In 1986 Mattel brought the toy to the US. M.U.S.C.L.E. was an immediate success becoming one of
the 10 Best-Selling Toy Lines of 1986. However, its heyday was short-lived. The company never completely owned the M.U.S.C.L.E.
property; some percentage of M.U.S.C.L.E. revenues had to be paid to the original kinkeshi toy company, Bandai. Therefore,
even though sales were strong, Mattel always considered M.U.S.C.L.E. a second-tier product, behind lines they did own,
like Masters of the Universe. So when the toy industry was completely turned on its head in 1987 by the explosive popularity
of the Nintendo Entertainment System, most toy companies were left scratching their heads and scrambling to make up for lost
revenues. This meant that many weaker toy lines got the axe, including secondary lines that came with licensing baggage like
M.U.S.C.L.E. By 1988, the M.U.S.C.L.E. figures were unceremoniously discontinued.
The Starriors were originally slated to be an ongoing series of figures, complete with a television show (another generic,
apocalyptic world ending story)and comics series (what 80’s toy worth it’s salt didn’t?). Only two robot series of these
figures were ever released.The gimmick was really twofold. Each robot came apart into it’s basic components (head, torso,
arms and legs). The head housed a small microfigure pilot. Each robot also had a specific spring driven wind-up function.
An Obscure 80s toys toy line by well known maker REMCO, Crystar is action figures are based on a Marvel comic of the same name. While there were factions (good, evil, crystal, lava) The See through “crystal” figures are the nicest and rarest. They usually sported some
very cool weapons and gear. The rarity of these toys is primarily die to their size, much smaller than standard 6 inch figures,
and their fragility. Being made of nearly clear plastic back in the 80s meant they were very brittle and the paint tended to rub
or chip off.
The Micronauts were a series of interchangeable space toys (figures, vehicles, and playsets) produced by the Mego Corporation
between 1976 and 1980 by the MEGO company. The best feature of the Micronauts was this interchangeability, as parts from one
figure could be attached =to another, significantly increasing the playability of the toy line (in addition to stimulating the
creativity of those that =played with them). the cool factor was that they were tiny and they usually had a high degree of
articulation. These toys like so many were a license from a Japanese line called Microman. There were winged monsters, robots,
and of course plenty of space men.
Robo Force was a toy line created by the Ideal Toy Company in the mid 1980s. The toy line featured robot action figures (I know
very original) with suction cup bases and “crusher arm” action. In addition each figure, also included another gimmick or two such
as a hook or extendable guns. Maxx Steele was the eponymous leader and was quite popular spawning many derivative toys,
homegoods and even a remote control bot.
The Centurions was an animated cartoon that began as a five-part mini series in 1986 and was soon followed up with a full 60
episode season. As with all popular 80’s cartoon The Centurions also had a toy-line released, however, they weren’t massively
popular and the second wave of toys was soon cancelled. The toys were split into two fractions, The Centurions and The Forces
Of Doc Terror. they were a bit bigger than most action figures and came with a vast array of attachable peg accessories. You
could also buy new suites of weapons and gear. Never very popular I recall these showing up in bargain bins almost instantly.