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Miss M's Top 10 Retro Toys of 2014!

By: MissM

Toy collecting has long been a hobby of mine; particularly vintage collecting. I am a child of the 80’s, one of the greatest decades for toy collecting. However I did not have the funds as a child to buy everything I wanted. Being an adult dork changes all of that. Throughout the year I search around every now and then for the vintage toys that I have either longed for or recently learned about that strike my fancy. Like last year, I shared my top ten retro finds that made my heart sing! So here we go again. 2015 has just started, but let’s look back at 2014 and check out my Top 10 Retro Toys of 2014! (Caution, it will get girly.)

 

10. MoonDreamers

 

Mentioned last year in the Retro Top Ten for 2013, my collection of MoonDreamers grew just a little more with the addition of Dream Gazer. My interest in loose collecting knew no bounds in 2014. MoonDreamers was a short lived Kenner line of dolls living among the stars and making sure that kids everywhere had the best dreams possible. I had a few of these items growing up but due to the rarity of this line it is entirely possible to see certain dolls go for astronomical prices on the secondary market. Not good for someone who simply wants to collect some favorites. Luckily I believe in the “let’s wait around until the price is really good” approach.

 

That is what I did with Gazer. She may be missing her shoes and some accessories, but she comes with a stand and most everything else so it was an easy purchase.

 

She looks amazing. One of the best details in this line is that the hair and parts of the face and even clothing actually glow in the dark. It’s hard to capture that effect on photo, however trust when I say it looks unbelievably cool. That was the main selling point of this line; so much of it glowed in the dark. In the show Gazer was responsible for stirring together all the ingredients of dreams and creating some concoction that helps with creating imagination. There was a great deal of imagination with this toy line. MoonDreamers was a fun line and I am glad to have Dream Gazer to my growing collection.

 

9. Popcorn Pretties

 

It was the early 90’s and after surviving the decade of toy greatness that was the 80’s I was left wondering what would capture my collective heart. That was when Mattel released Popcorn Pretties. Kernels of corn that when dropped suddenly popped open revealing a pretty doll on the inside.

 

The packaging evokes cravings for movie popcorn while the toys themselves are simple in their design but still pack a nostalgic punch. They were also scented. Not like the smell of actual popcorn, but like other smells.

 

With names like Lotta Chocolate and Sherry Cherry, the names speak for themselves in regards to what they smell like. A few months ago I found my old diary from when I was 8 and one of the things I wrote rather excitedly in an entry was that I had gotten a Popcorn Pretty. So it’s nice that I acquired a couple more in 2014.

 

8. Strawberry Shortcake

 

My love for scented toys continued throughout 2014 with the Peculiar Purple Pie Man, friendly foe to Strawberry Shortcake. This was my first time owning the original villain of Strawberry Land. It still boggles my mind that once upon a time it was totally in vogue for kids to want to own a crotchety old man as part of a sweet smelling doll line.

 

Alas here he is, in all his glory. Included in my purchase were the baking spoon, pet, original box, and the Pie Man himself. Now he can join forces with my Sour Grapes doll to wreak havoc for Strawberry Shortcake and her friends.

 

7. Disney Musical Princesses

 

Once upon a time, it was the nineties; Mattel released one of the best Disney Princess lines ever. There was a six inch line of many favorite Disney Fairy Tale characters in a variety of lines featuring either musical stands, perfume bottles, dancing stands, and bubble bottles. Those extra items are great and all, but the really superb thing about this line was the scale of the dolls. Usually Disney Princess items have been in scale with Barbie. There are some folks who would like a slightly smaller scale for their Disney related items; hence my love affair with this line in 2014.

I scooped up a really cool Snow White and Beast! The detail is nice. But the scale! This is simply the best scale for a collector like me. Once out of the package I imagine these dolls interacting with an assortment of other toys and it will be awesome.

 

Even Avon had some special edition sets that came with a Christmas theme. I have not decided yet about opening these or not, but I feel like they will be opened soon. They just look so cool. Based on other photos found on the internet, these stocking stuffed Princesses are wearing their iconic outfits. Ariel is in her fins, Cinderella is wearing her blue dress, and Belle is in her yellow gown. Just a super fun line!  

 

6. Rainbow Brite

 

Brite is back! That was the tag line a few months ago when the new Rainbow Brite show was rebooted on the Feeln online network. No matter how awesome a reboot might be, there is nothing like the original. When I was little the only Rainbow Brite items available to me were the stuffed dolls; however across the pond there were small poseable Rainbow Brite figures throughout Europe. Canary Yellow was an international purchase off of eBay, and she arrived in a rather speedy time.

 

I have long seen these and have always wanted to find one because they are in a great scale. These figures have rooted hair very similar to the Rainbow Brite stuffed dolls, while Canary Yellow has just a tuft of hair on top. The colors on the figure are bright and colorful with just the right amount of articulation. These figures work in great scale with the Care Bear figures made around the same time. Rainbow Brite and a few of the other Color Kids were made. I will be on the lookout for more!

 

5. Gorgeous Creatures

 

Usually I tend to collect toys from the 80’s and 90’s, but 2014 saw me collecting a few things from the late 70’s. This strange looking doll is from a Mattel line called Gorgeous Creatures. I saw one of these on Instagram courtesy of a friend and they looked so weird that I had to own one. They are fashion dolls with a female body and the head of an animal.

 

This is Princess Pig. She bears a resemblance to Miss Piggy, though something tells me Miss Piggy would not be pleased. There can only be one pig! Either way the line is a very interesting one. Check out the images on the box.

 

There is a play off of fashion and food with the Saks 5th Avenue being used for a restaurant called Snacks 5th Avenue.

 

The description of the doll line is rather interesting. These dolls are claimed to have shapely poses. So they are essentially like full figured dolls; with animal heads. I don’t know if I am supposed to be offended, creeped out, or in love with this strange little line. The choice of other dolls is also very interesting:

 

Ms. Heavenly Hippo is divine with her sizzle and flash.

 

Ms. Gidee Yup looks like a Vegas showgirl. Also, we need more Cow Belle.

 

Of course there is Princess Pig; with a Western Saloon girl flair. The interesting aspect of this line was the idea that basic farm or country animals were given a modern city slicker update. (The opera gloves scream city life, as does the dining at Snacks 5th Avenue.) All in all just a very unusual line that needed to find its place in my collection.  

 

4. Cherry Merry Muffin

 

Back in the day my best friend Karen and I loved our toys. We were always collecting the same lines but finding the dolls that spoke to our own individual tastes. She was a shiny blond while I was always a brunette, so the dolls we’d collect would usually resemble ourselves. So when Cherry Merry Muffin came out we each picked up our favorites. She got the banana scented doll with blonde hair named Banancy and I got Chocolottie because of my hair color and, well, my love for chocolate. This is just what girls did in 1988.

 

Either way, I eventually lost my Chocolottie but was able to hunt down a loose one with accessories in 2014. The muffins in the pan always made me hungry for chocolate muffins. Even though these scented toys have lost their smell, I can still smell the artificial coco scent to this day.

 

I even scored another Cherry Merry Muffin doll from the final series of dolls that ended in 1990: Greta Grape! I was so thrilled to find this item at a reasonable price on the secondary market. Upon further inspection, I even felt like Greta Grape resembled another favorite of mine.

 

 If Glimmer from She-Ra was made into a younger child version, this is what she would look like!

 

3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

 

It’s hard to ignore the pop culture supremacy of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The new show is going strong and the latest toy line has managed to capture the feel of the original in the most brilliant of ways. With so much emphasis on the Turtles again, I saw more and more vintage TMNT items at my comic store and online secondary market in 2014 than ever before. Luckily my comic store does not believe in jacking up the price on loose items, so I got to find some amazingly cool items to round out my collection.

 

The Rat King was always a figure that I thought was disgusting as a kid. After all, he has rats molded on him! But once I saw him in a bag for two dollars, I had to get him. It’s amazing that a simple piece of plastic can look so… dirty. I just always felt that he was a filthy character, but a great figure!

 

Also sought out in 2014 was Irma Langinstein! I remember stalking the toy shelves at Target all the time looking for this figure. She was so hard to find back then, but I am thrilled that I was able to find one in 2014. She came with her accessories and that toon like feel that was a big gimmick for this particular wave of TMNT figures.

 

Finally there was Mona Lisa. It’s so funny; before the latest TMNT cartoon came out I had found a mint Mona Lisa for about four dollars. Unable to open her, I searched 2014 for a loose Mona Lisa so that she could appear in my toy soap opera spectacular All My Toys. I was shocked at how just a few short years went by and the asking price for Mona Lisa figures had ballooned to epic proportions. That is the way of the collecting world though, one day you are an old forgotten toy, the next you are the prize piece at a comic con. Either way I enjoyed collecting some more vintage TMNT in 2014. It was such a fun line to collect back then and still continues to go strong.   

 

2. She-Ra: Princess of Power

 

When have I not collected something from She-Ra? One of the toy lines I have maintained and loved since it first came out, She-Ra and her friends have always been a part of my life. I have had many toys take a leave of absence throughout the years, but my She-Ra collection has been with me since I was a kid. As far as I’m concerned this is the end all be all toy line for me, which is pretty shocking that it made second place huh? That’s because 2014 was more about the current PoP toys in the Masters of the Universe Classics line than the vintage stuff... Even though there were some fun additions this year.

 

I started with the tricky golden beauty Entrapta! I already had one mint but my neurotic collecting ways had told me not to open her so I spent the beginning of the year searching for a nice loose one. The problems with most loose Entrapta action dolls are that the ponytails tend to be mangled and tangled. Not so with this one. She is in great loose condition. Entrapta was a character I never owned in toy form as a kid but I always wanted to. How could someone not want a villain with hair that she uses to trap and strangle her enemies with?

 

Another PoP related item I purchased was a loose Mermista. My original Mermista has seen better days, so I wanted to collect a loose one in really nice condition. This Mermista looked to be right out of the package. The hair was just fine and the colors were all bright and vibrant.

 

However, the only problem is that her feet are permanently squished together thanks to being inside the fins for so many years. I have been unable to find a way to mold them back to their normal position. Does anyone have any toy tricks up their sleeves to help me?

 

One final PoP item I absolutely was thrilled to own in 2014 was the rarest Catra of all: Shower Power Catra. I have a long way to go before this Catra is complete though, she is missing a slew of accessories, but I feel like this is the most striking version of Catra from the vintage line. She was a part of the third and final wave of She-Ra products and though the name might sound silly, this version of Catra is my total favorite.

 

Jem and the Holograms

 

While my She-Ra items would have normally been number one for 2014, I had to place them in second as 2014 was a truly truly truly outrageous year for retro toy collecting. 2014 was the first year in my entire life where I actually got to own a variety of vintage Jem dolls. Growing up I had issues surrounding the collecting of Jem dolls. To set its line of dolls apart, Hasbro created much larger dolls compared to Barbie. To read about my sad issues as a kid, click here for the run down. Either way, 2014 was the year that I reversed the error of my collecting ways!

 

Synergy was the first vintage Jem doll I picked up at the start of 2014. I was very lucky because she had been displayed in a collector’s home. She was in great condition. The 80’s aerobics look is very cool and a reminder at how interesting the fashions for dolls were back then.

 

Pizzazz was the next Jem doll I picked up and has got to be my favorite. From the loud neon green hair to the animal print outfit, Pizzazz was one of my favorite characters from the cartoon. Finally having the chance to own her after all these years was also very rewarding. Another rewarding Pizzazz moment of 2014 came when I dressed as the Misfit for Halloween!

 

I had wanted to go as Pizzazz for Halloween for two years! I managed to finally pull everything together. I don’t really do cosplay, but after dressing up as her, I can totally understand why people cosplay. There is such a thrill out of channeling your favorite character from pop culture.

 

No vintage Jem collection would be complete without Jem herself. Unlike the previous two dolls, this Jem was missing quite a lot. Clad in her iconic dress and the shoes that are meant for Jerrica, this Jem doll needs some work. I hope to be able to complete her look in 2015.

 

One final Jem doll I scooped up just at the tail end of 2014 also requires some more work in finishing up her look and that is Clash. One of Jem’s antagonists, Clash features some rather interesting make up and a lush head of purple hair. The dress she is wearing is not the correct dress, but it will do for now.

 

To be able to own these dolls and see what I missed out on is a nice feeling. It is as if I picked up an old book and was able to get through some more chapters. I’m glad I got these in 2014 and to anyone who has ever wanted a Jem doll, go out and get one now! They are truly outrageous.

 

Much like last year with 2013, I enjoyed looking back at the retro toys I purchased in the past year. It wasn’t exactly the easiest task to pick my favorite top ten, especially when there were so many other retro toys that I could have just as easily discussed. 2014 was a good retro collecting year. I was able to grab some items I once owned and I also got to experience owning some retro items for the first time. Many fun and exciting collecting experiences! I can only wonder what 2015 will have in store.

 

What about you? Were there any retro toys or other vintage items that you collected in 2014? Share them! I always enjoy learning about other people’s interests and collections!  

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Vaporman87 Posted on Jan 28, 2015 at 06:38 PM

To be honest, I'm not sure what effect there might be on old paint, but I would think that as long as you're not getting it TOO hot, the paint should be okay. You might avoid putting too much pressure on the paint with your fingers, just to be safe.

MissM Posted on Jan 27, 2015 at 07:06 AM

@Vaporman, thank you for the tip with the blow dryer! I have heard that tip before but I have always been scared to try it for fear of melting the paint or whatever. I am going to try it though and see how it works! That's also cool that you got a MOC Roboto too. I did get a lot of the new MOTUC figures as well this year. That's a whole other discussion though. lol It was a good year for MOTUC. I also like what you had to say about MoonDreamers being like a cross between Jem and Strawberry Shortcake. There is an outrageous and wild sense of style about them.

@pikachulover, that is indeed a dream tail in her hair! It came with the loose doll, I was so thrilled! I liked the dream tails on this line and the hair clip ins with Lady Lovely Locks. Popcorn Pretties are a pretty obscure line, so are the Wee Wild Things which is another line that I just love. Popcorn Pretties are similar to Cupcake dolls, except they were more compact and a little more fun. Though I do like Cupcake Dolls.

I hope you are able to one day come across some of the smaller Disney Princess dolls. They are so much fun! And I agree, the Disney Princess franchise really grew out of the items from that time. And that's right! Pinkie Cooper dolls did not do so well. I forgot about those. I still see some at Toysrus but yeah, they kinda crashed and burned.

@Hoju Koolander, thank you! It was a nice year for girl toys for sure. I loved the other figures from that wave with Irma too! It was so nice to see them made, even if it was at the end and I could never really find them at the time. And thanks for the comment on the Pizzazz costume. I really really wanted to do that costume proud. The Misfits are by far my favorite from that show.

Hope all is well y'all!

Vaporman87 Posted on Jan 14, 2015 at 07:50 PM

@Hoju: Indeed. I'm not sure what we're being this year. The wife hasn't laid down the law on that yet, LOL. But definitely we need a forum thread just for costume pics and discussions!

Hoju Koolander Posted on Jan 14, 2015 at 06:55 PM

That's a pretty great collection of "girl toys", some of which I had never seen before (Gorgeous Creatures, AHHHH!). Those action figure sized Disney Princess dolls sound like an awesome experiment.

I thought it was great how in the later run of the TMNT figures we finally got those Irma, Vern and Burne figures. I'm surprised they didn't come with mutant creature heads to dress them in for battles with Shredder.

Very cool Pizazz costume too. The Misfits were way more fun than Jem and The Holograms, less glamour, more attitude!

@Vaporman87 We definitely need to do a retro Halloween costume contest next year, don't you think?

pikachulover Posted on Jan 13, 2015 at 07:26 AM

It looks like your Moondreamer doll is wearing a dream tail in her hair. I have an old Crystal doll from childhood that could use some outfit replacement parts.

Popcorn Pretties are an obscure toy line that seems to have gotten over shadowed by the Cupcake dolls. People mistake them for Cupcake dolls.

I never owned one of those smaller Disney Princess dolls. I had a few of the bigger Barbie sized ones, but I also wanted the smaller ones. Although I think this is when the princess franchise as a whole really came to be.

Ms. Heavenly Hippo for some reason reminded me of Henrietta Hippo from New Zoo Revue. I like the pig doll. It's cute. I should be drawn to it my mom collects pig items. It seems anamorphic dolls don't seem to be popular after the recently ill fated Pinkie Cooper dolls.

Vaporman87 Posted on Jan 12, 2015 at 09:49 PM

Those MoonDreamers remind me of a mix of Jem and Strawberry Shortcake! As though Strawberry decided to take on Jem's style.

I recall my sister owning the Pie Man figure, and that being the only one I would actually play with if I joined her. She also owned a bunch of 2 or 3 inch figurines that fit into a case that resembled a tree, or something like that. I think we actually played more with those than the regular line.

As far as "Gorgeous Creatures" goes, I have a feeling they would be popular these days. Seems like it's a big thing to be into anthropomorphic animals... and not always in a good way. Yeesh.

On Mermista's feet... have you tried using a hair dryer to heat them up, then hold them in position while they cool? That might help some. I actually did that with some of my old Read Along Records that had warped from being in storage. It worked pretty well.

Glad you were able to shore up your collection this past year Miss M. About the only retro figure I picked up this year was a MOC Roboto. Everything else I got was from newer lines (MOTUC, Sideshow Collectibles, etc).

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