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Official Article

Action Figure Reclamation Project Phase 2

The Action Figure Reclamation Project continues as we dive into the second round of retro toys I've recently added back into my collection. As we outlined in the first installment, the 2 requirements are that I had to have owned it as a kid and it has to be loose. I'm excited about this gang of misfits, so let me tell you all about them.

Orko, Masters of the Universe (1983)

Though I certainly spent many days lifting up my plastic light-up power sword to the heavens like He-Man, when it came to watching the Masters of the Universe cartoon, I was all about Orko. Man-At-Arms was too serious, but Orko would make mistakes like a kid and get in trouble. I could relate, man. When I learned years later that Lou Scheimer, the head of Filmation provided his voice, I was blown away. Of course with this figure I had hoped to get a glimpse at Orko's real face, but in this version the shadowy void below his hat is sculpted to be part of his head, bah!

Spider-Man, Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars (1984)

It's a toss up between Masters of the Universe and Secret Wars for the first action figures I ever owned. Here you can see my cousins and I in He-Man shirts shouting for the power of Grayskull, but also a picture of me me opening Secret Wars toys, so I'm going to give the edge to this little guy from Mattel. 

By today's standards these thin, barely articulated toys are far from impressive, but for a kid in 80's, these were the only non-Mego Marvel figures you could find and mine was constantly teaming up with Captain America to fight Doctor Doom. This guy is missing the lenticular shield that came with all Secret Wars figures, but luckily I have my boxed version courtesy of the RetroDaze Points Store.

Cobra Commander V3 (1987)

This was always my favorite version of Cobra Commander, even if the reflective helmet one felt more iconic. The Commander was always presented as a mastermind and schemer, but I like that this time he was jumping into the action to give Duke a sound thrashing. The profile card from the original box reveals that, "the entire suit is air-conditioned", which is definitely the Commander's prerogative.  I was pretty thrilled at the end of the live action G.I. Joe film from 2009 when Joseph Gordon-Levitt put on a modified version of this outfit. I actually liked that movie, how about you?
Fright Features Peter Venkman, The Real Ghostbusters (1988)

I held off on buying the "basic" figures of the Ghostbusters in this Kenner toy line as a kid, instead grabbing a few ghosts to tide me over. But when the Fright Features versions came out, I had to have them all. This was cartoon lunacy brought to life with Peter's bulging eyes and hair jumping off his head. But the best part to me was the fact that his mouth opened and closed, as if he were talking. I even used to feed my Venkman bits of Starburst to watch him chew it. Most people probably thought this gimmick was goofy, but to me these are the essential Real Ghostbusters figures.

Snare Arm Swamp Thing (1991)

My family owned one of the original LaserDisc style players in the late 80s with our only 2 movies being the Dustin Hoffman film Tootsie and Wes Craven's Swamp Thing. I always found the original film somehow boring and scary. However, when I caught the wild and wacky sequel, The Return of Swamp Thing on Saturday afternoon TV around 1991, I became a fan. This figure was actually tied to the short-lived cartoon show, but I was always acting out scenes from the Jim Wynorski movie during my playtime. I don't think any action feature has given me more joy that that retractable snare arm, so getting this guy back onto my shelf was a major win.

Atax, Aliens (1993)

As an 11 year old, I had not yet seen any of the Alien films in their entirety, but I caught a few minutes at my buddy's house once and seeing the Xenomorphs in action was unforgettable. So when these Kenner figures came out I was pretty excited. Atax was a great value in my mind because I was getting the look of an Alien, but the firepower of a Space Marine. The missile firing head-plate was pretty sweet and I loved the idea that he used this suit to infiltrate a Xenomorph hive. Under the mask I always thought he kind of looked like Kurt Russell in that forgotten sci-fi film, Soldier.

Green Ranger/Pink Ranger, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1994)

I watched the first 2 seasons of MMPR religiously, but the initial wave of toys were impossible to find in stores. That was fine by me because at 8 inches, they were way too big for my taste. Luckily these little Auto-Morphin guys came out with the awesome flip head feature a year later. I only ever owned Zack, the Black Ranger who was my favorite at the time, but if I'm being honest, Tommy was the coolest and Kimberly was the hottest, so these are the ones I should have bought. It was always a little awkward that the girls and guys had the same body type, but at least we got some decent face sculpts from Bandai. Plus, now we can re-enact the classic story of star-crossed rangers in love.

Hey look, everybody's getting together for a group photo. Looks like a regular Figure Fest over there. I love it when a team comes together on my toy shelf. So which of these did you guys own? Any elusive figure your still trying to add to your nostalgia filled toy chest?
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Superman Posted on Jan 15, 2018 at 05:25 PM

That's a nice set of action figures. I used to own that same Green Ranger figure. He was my favorite back then, so I snatched him right up when I saw him at the store.

OldSchool80s Posted on Jan 01, 2018 at 04:01 PM

Love the group photo at the end. Fun project! Look forward to seeing more as you add to the collection.

pikachulover Posted on Dec 30, 2017 at 04:05 AM

I have the morphing Kimberly figure from childhood. I took it to the beach and I used to play with it in my pool. She got a little rusty. This reminds me of a funny story about my 5th grade class had to build a model colonial village and we were put into groups. There was this guy who was a big Power Rangers fan and wanted to put his figures in the village. The other member of the group who made herself leader was a really mature girl and threatened me not to include any Power Rangers in our colonial village model. I was more interested in making milk carton houses and moss. Power Rangers didn't look colonial. Then I imagined a Power Ranger figure in a colonial outfit over their ranger suit.

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 22, 2017 at 09:35 PM

That Orko figure was always the subject of disappointment for me. I think they could have done a lot more with him, and come out with a few variants with different gimmicks.

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