For this article I wanted to mention a few of our lesser talked about toys. Some I've never seen mentioned here on retrojunk. I wanted to shy away from the big boys...He-man, Transformers, G.I. Joe, etc., they get enough notoriety on their own.
Starriors is a seldom talked about action figure that made it's short lived debut in 1984, the same year as the Transformers. They were much smaller than your run of the mill Transformer, maybe only 3 inches tall, and were windup toys with movable saws, drills, etc. They came with one of six mini comics similar to the Masters of the Universe toy line. Marvel even got into the act with four comics of their own. The Starriors were divided amongst three different classes: the Protectors, Destructors, and the Guardians. As you may have guess it eventually came down to a battle between the Protectors and Destructors. Ultimately the Starriors line fizzled out, possibly due to the huge success of the Transformers and to a lesser extent the Gobots. As noted in the ad below (I apologize for the huge scale) a TV mini series was to air in 1985, had it been true more retrojunkers may have heard of the Starriors.
My grandmother bought me my first Skateboard Smack-ups figure, Sammy Stopsign, back in 1987 right before I had my tonsils removed. Guess I needed some new toys to keep me occupied during recovery. This was the age of gross out humor with the rise of Garbage Pail Kids and Madballs so these bad boys fit the mold, all somehow violently mangled in skateboarding accidents. They were pretty fun to play with and of course you could collect all 12. Apparently they were banned in certain countries due to their graphic nature.
Blackstar action figures were pretty cool and unique in the fact their heads or chests lit up or sparked with basically what amounted to a cigarette lighter being struck on their backs minus the lighter fluid. I had forgotten all about these guys until recently stumbling across them online. Blackstar was similar to Thundarr the Barbarian and died out not long after the introduction of He-man and the Masters of the Universe. I was unaware there was a brief Filmation cartoon series which lasted only 13 episodes in 1981. I had these three guys below, Lava Loc with his Yellow Demon and a Palace Guard.
Army Ants have been mentioned a few times here on retrojunk but I felt like they needed a little more recognition. Similar in size as the Monster in My Pocket, M.U.S.C.L.E, and Battle Beast toys these guys still packed a cool punch. General Mc-Anther and his Blue Army vs. General Patant and his Orange Army...which side did you choose?
Karate Kommandos spawned what probably became my favorite action figure...simply the Ninja Warrior. It inspired me to go as a ninja for Halloween that year complete with throwing stars and a kickass yellow glowing katana sword. The action figures themselves were well constructed. I only had the Ninja Warrior but he was made with dense heavy plastic and you could wind his arm up and it would swing around multiple times very quickly when wielding his weapons.
Gotta love 80's ninjas!
Lords of Light
Now here's a rare toy line I definitely had never heard of before just recently. Lords of Light were made from the same molds as Micronauts once they were discontinued, yet another toy line I had never heard of. Micronauts were a 70's toy and simply out of dislike of all things 70's I will not go into further detail. Sorry, disco fans. Lords of Light action figures bodies or accessories, swords and such, would glow. Basically they used mini glow sticks that would last a few hours. Cool concept, however somehow to me it did not translate into cool action figures.
Although I never had any Rambo action figures of my own one of my buddies had a few. I did however own several of the full size Rambo weapons. The realistic detail was amazing. Our big brother government would never allow toys to look that real these days. The cool thing about the action figures is again the detail put into their weaponry. Simply amazing. And in the wonderful world of the 80's they even managed to squeeze in a ninja or two into their toy line.
I believe Food Fighters have been mentioned once in an article here on retrojunk but again I felted they were due a well deserved bump. They were pretty well known in the late 80's even without an animated series to call their own. Food Fighters pitted the Kitchen Commandos vs. the Refrigerator Rejects. I'm sure most of us remember these guys.
I recently saw Sectaurs mentioned in one of the forums and decided to mention them again for those who don't frequent the forums. (By the way your missing out on a huge piece of what makes retrojunk so great if don't.) Sectaurs, released in 1985, were ugly as hell and their insect hand puppets were no prize either. I always felt Sectaurs were to He-man as Gobots are to Transformers. General Spidrax and his â€œaction bugâ€ Stranglebug were given to me one year at Christmas. I played with it some if only not to seem like an ungrateful little bastard but I never really cared for these guys.
Ambiguously Gay Duo?, weird hand puppet and could it be Captain Ginyu?