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Official Article

Action Figure Reclamation Project Phase 4

If you've read my previous Action Figure Reclamation articles here or here or even here, you know that I am slowly rebuilding my childhood toy collection, one figure at a time. Over the last few months I've been able to get closer to the goal of bringing my old toy bin back to life and thought I would share some of the recent additions to my collection with you.

Battle Armor He-Man, Masters of the Universe


In a recent article I interviewed my cousin's 10 year old son who is a vintage MOTU collector about his first trip to Power-Con. Though I couldn't join the father and son duo at the event, they picked up a souvenir for me anyway. As a result, I am once again the proud owner of a Battle Armor He-Man. This was the He-Man I played with most as a child and frankly, I think he trumps the original. I mean, you're never going to lose this guy's chest armor and the metallic paint job makes it feel like He-Man has geared up for an encounter where running into battle bare-chested just won't cut it. Plus, the revolving damage feature makes the showdowns with Skeletor that much more epic, raising the stakes on their endless rivalry. 

Robocop, Robocop and the Ultra-Police


It's amazing how quickly Paul Verhoeven's bloody action movie satire became a favorite among 80s kids with video games, comics, cartoons and toys. It's like we all accepted the idea of cyborg cop without considering the violent attack that necessitated the fusion of man and machine. A lot of that had to do with the sleek character design which is brought beautifully into three dimensions by Kenner in this figure. Not only does Officer Murphy have a removable helmet and gun, but also a cap-firing rig on his back that let's the playtime shoot-outs with hardened criminals in Old Detroit become a blaring, smoke-filled experience. The rest of the Ultra-Police and bad guys were kind of generic, but this figure remains an icon of 80s toys for me. I always thought this line needed a Captain Power style playset where you could plug Murphy into his chair for re-charging and repairs.

Dan Marino and Mark Duper, Starting Lineup


This entry is a departure from the others on the list because this duo of toys are not based on an existing media property...or are they? Not being a sports fan, I would normally have passed up these Starting Lineup figures from Kenner, but the fact that they are in the form of two players from the Miami Dolphins, the NFL team central to the plot of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective made them a must have when I came upon them at the local thrift store. Kids of the 90s never got a toy line based on the movie despite Jim Carrey's many lines being quoted ad nauseum on elementary school playgrounds throughout 1994. Having the star quarterback to taunt with the chant of, "Laces OUT, Dan!" is a childhood dream come true. NECA toys did recently release a highly detailed figurine of Ace Ventura, so the possibility of a Ray Finkle/Lois Einhorn figure being produced certainly seems more plausible (fingers crossed).

Undercover Don, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Playmates quickly went off the deep end when it came to action figure variations of the 4 core turtles, with sports outfits, cavemen costumes and even party clowns. But Undercover Don to me was the one that actually made sense in terms of continuity from their animated adventures. As you'll recall on the cartoon series, whenever the turtles went above ground they wore trench coats and fedoras to hide their identities. I was always bummed that they only released Donatello in this style and though mine does not include his creepy human face mask and briefcase, I'm just fine with that. In fact he's the only turtle figure I've reclaimed up to this point. Something about looking like tough as nails noir detective really raises Donnie's street cred for me. This was actually another radical convention pick-up by my cousin, this time from the loose figure bins at Retro-Con 2018, along with our next and final entry.

Dick Tracy and The Brow, Dick Tracy


As you might recall from this article I did about Antique Store Finds, the 1990 Dick Tracy film was a major cinematic landmark of my childhood and I run into vintage movie merchandise all the time. This action figure line by Playmates was at the center of the marketing push and though the stocky bodies were off-putting as a kid, the cartoonish likenesses were spot-on and I've grown to appreciate the design over the years. I'll never understand why they didn't package Tracy with a removable trench coat, but I love the fact that his 2-way wrist radio is sculpted onto his arm (Playmates was always so good about those little details). The Brow wasn't a major player in the film, but the ugly mug of this bad guy is just asking for a right cross from our hero. I'm excited to display these guys next to my still sealed VHS copy of the movie I picked up during my recent Rad Retro Weekend outing with NLogan.

I hope you got a kick out of seeing some of these plastic playthings of yesteryear. Tell me, did you own any of these when you were a kid? Is there a particular childhood figure you are on the hunt for these days?

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OldSchool80s Posted on Nov 29, 2018 at 03:17 AM

I've been doing a little of this myself. Trying to find an original He-Man (maybe with Battlecat) that is in decent shape but not costing a fortune. Not limiting it to just action figures, but those are a majority of what it ends up being. Fun to have something to search for!

Vaporman87 Posted on Nov 19, 2018 at 03:26 PM

The Battle Armor He-Man and Skeletor figures were favorites of mine growing up as well. Then they started getting a little carried away with the variants... kind of a prelude to what would happen with the Turtles. LOL

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