Retro Vehicles

The best ones I had and some I just drooled over.
July 22, 2009
As a child, I had hundreds of action figures. Literally. Hundreds. Looking back it seems that my parents spoiled me. Yes, my roster of figures was enviable, but this article celebrates an incredible enhancement to any action figure collection: vehicles. No matter how many action figures you had, you always needed vehicles or else your collection was incomplete. I will explore my favorite vehicles that I personally owned and a couple gems that, sadly, never made it into my collections.

Batman 1989 movie.

The Batman movie was HUGE. Before it ever even opened, they sold over $750 million worth of merchandise. This was one of the first summer-blockbusters with such an elaborate marketing scheme. Because Time-Warner controlled so many different properties, they easily had the Bat infiltrating all sorts of media (I remember the Looney Tunes selling Bat-merchandise).

At about 5 years old, I was at just the right age for Batman to become my life. I got a bunch of toys from the movie for both my Batman-themed birthday party in July and for Christmas that year.

I loved the Batwing. I still remember playing with it even though this was 20 years ago. The thing had a handle and a trigger (like a handgun) which controlled some claws between the bat ears that would grab the villain. In the movie there was a scene where this same device cut the Joker's poison gas balloons. I loved it and the Batman figure from the movie looked great in it. I remember being bummed out when I lost the tail fins.

Without the fins.

Though the Batmobile has gone through many, many changes, the 1989 model is my all time favorite. The toy version was very fun to play with. The trunk opened and could be used to store Batarangs, spare capes, or other accessories, the missiles fired using the gear shifter and it included the "shields". There is this cool scene in the movie where Batman uses a voice command and says "Shields Up" into a remote. The Batmobile then releases all these metal plates to protect it. The toy included a separate piece of plastic they called a cocoon that fits over the Batmobile to shield it. I remember using it as a sort of decoy when my brothers and I would play base.

Shields Up!.

My criticism of this vehicle is that it doesn't look very much like the one in the movie. For one thing, it is permanently a convertible. For another it is rather short and boxy looking. It was nowhere near as sleek as this:

Sheer Awesomeness.

Spiderman Dragster.

To the Spider-Mobile!

I don't think that this vehicle was in any comics or anything like that, but I thought this was the coolest. It had this disc that would shoot off the top, a grappling hook projectile attached to a string or "web" and an ultra cool drag racer design. The cockpit canopy was really cool too. I think this was Marvel's attempt to give Spidey something that would compete with the aforementioned Batmobile. It worked for me as a little kid.


In the movie, RoboCop drove a 1980's Ford Taurus.


In the cartoon, he drove this:

The Robo-1: Equal parts Cop Car, Lamborghini and SUV.

I'm glad the toy line followed the cartoon rather than the
movie. This toy looked incredible. It had futuristic looking metallic blue paint, missiles, guns and a really cool steering wheel. Even with his somewhat dorky helmet design, Robo looked totally awesome sitting in this monster. I mean, I wouldn't hesitate to pull over. Would you?

This Robocop line also sported a very cool Robo-Copter (which had 2 awesome cockpits) and a motorcycle, both of which matched the Robo-1 and both of which I owned.

Complete with ancient cracked paint!

X-Men Blackbird Jet.

The 90's X-Men cartoon was one of my favorites. I never missed an episode. I had a ton of the figures. My little brother, however unjustly, was the one who wound up with the Blackbird Jet one Christmas. It didn't matter much that it was his. I played with it plenty. The Blackbird was awesome. It was just as much a play set as it was a vehicle. It had all these different sections that you could take apart and it had firing missiles and everything. Soon after Jake got this, I got the Mini Blackbird Jet, which I thought was awesome. The last memory I have of the Mini Blackbird Jet was that I put it in my pet mouse's cage and sometimes would close her in the cockpit at night and make her sleep in it. She chewed off all the stickers in retaliation.


Who else remembers Z-Bots? in 1992, Micro Machines, (a Galoob brand that made scale toy cars like Hot Wheels or Matchbox, only half the size), came out with a cool line of robot figures that came in packs of 3 or so. They released new figures and vehicles through 1994. I collected a bunch of these things. My favorite was Q-Bak, a robot that resembled a football player with spikes on his pads.

Wouldn't wanna Sack this guy. That Ball looks like it might detonate.

Q-Bak was a collector's Z-Bot that came with a vehicle called the Cyber-Wing, which I thought was really cool. Believe it or not, this cheap, little, 2 inch robot and his simple vehicle were my favorite toys for a couple weeks. On a side note, I was playing with some Z-bots I had just got in my Easter basket when I heard about the Oklahoma City Bombing on the news.

I liked the cool design on the canopy.

Ninja Turtles Vehicles.[/align]

And, of course, there were the Ninja Turtles. This was my most prolonged childhood obsession. Therefore, I had too much turtles stuff. It's true. My parents spent a small (maybe not so small) fortune on this stuff, but it kept me happy.


One of my favorite things about the TMNT vehicles was that they would do strange stuff. They could afford to make it weird and they knew kids would still want it. So we got some really original ideas like the Ooze Catapult and this weird plunger-cannon thing.



I was obsessed with Ghostbusters gear. I had the guys, the ghosts, the proton pack and the ecto containment trap thing, but I always wanted the Ecto-1 and never got it. Don't feel too bad for me though, I had the Firehouse play set.


One time I told my friends in Mrs. Bass's first grade class that I got the Technodrome in my Easter basket. They were jealous, not only that I had a Technodrome, but also that I had what must have been the hugest Easter basket and the richest Easter Bunny in the state of Texas. I still feel kinda bad for lying, but I feel even worse that I never owned the Technodrome. It was a monster that may have almost been big enough to be able to hold all of my Turtles figures. Psych. They'd never all fit in 5 Technodromes.

So there you have it, Dudes and Dudettes! My favorite Retro-Vehicles! What would be on your list? Any of mine?
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