Tag Archives: action figures

The History Behind Iconic Toys in Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us.

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Star Wars toys remain a big draw card for kids and adult collectors.

Every year around early December, it becomes clear that there is that one ‘must have’ toy that needs to under the Christmas tree ready for opening on December 25th. From Furbies to Tamagotchi’s to last years ‘Hatchimals‘ and to this years current fad of ‘LOL Surprise Dolls‘ these toys bring in big money for the toy companies that make and sell them and while hugely popular they may be, they don’t hold the interest or the market nearly as long as some iconic toy lines did in the early 80’s to the mid to late 90’s.

The new Netflix documentary series The Toys That Made Us takes a long hard and sometimes dark look behind a collection of the most iconic toys that helped shape companies like Mattel and Hasbro to what they are today.

The eight episode season one (four episodes are currently live for streaming with the following four to come in early 2018) offers a look at the early stages of mega lines like Barbie, GI Joe, He-Man and Star Wars and the sometimes chaotic and spur of the moment thinking that brought about some of our childhood’s most beloved characters, designs and the brilliant marketing behind these that made these toys still as relevant today as they were when they started out.

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Barbie’s origin is explored in depth and it’s quite racy!

Each episode (that runs at about the 45 minute mark) features vintage adverts, interviews with creators, designers and many many others involved with the creation of these toys with each episode (aired so far) showcasing the numerous minds behind these lines and the confusion (or difference of opinion) everyone seems to suffer from on just who should be credited with the creation of these toys.

The next four episodes are scheduled for early 2016 and feature Transformers, Hello Kitty, Star Trek, and LEGO with a second season already in the planning stages though what will be covered is still unknown.

Some suggestions though for season two:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Playmates / 1988 – present.

Original Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Originating as a comic book series, the action figure line by Playmates featuring four ninja trained turtles and their news reporter friend became a mega hit with kids and saw the company hit gold, releasing countless waves of variations of the four main characters and almost every single side character ever featured in the comics, animated series and live action movies.  Today, mint carded original figures sell for big dollars.

The X-Men: Toybiz / 1991 – 1998

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 After acquiring an exclusive license to Marvel Characters in 1993, toy company Toybiz set about releasing the first ever in-depth line of X-men and Marvel action figures that featured everything from 6″ figures to 10″ figures, vehicles, playsets and 12″ fashion dolls.  Characters like Wolverine saw 7 different variations, Storm featured a light up lightning bolt on her chest and so big was the line, lesser known characters like Kylun (who featured *barely* in the pages of X-Men side comic Excalibur) were even produced.

Value in original carded figures remains steady – pending the figure – at around the $20-$40 mark.

Celebrity Dolls: Mego / 1976 to 1978.

8861676521_e88590a1e7In 1976, Mego Corporation saw an opportunity to finally take on the massive Barbie market by producing a line of 12″ celebrity dolls with the first two off the ranks being Sonny and Cher dolls to coincide with their hugely popular Prime Time Variety Show.  The Cher doll featured an incredible 32 piece wardrobe designed by Bob Mackie and became the number one selling doll that year.  Off that success, other dolls including Captain and Tenille, Laverne and Shirley, Dianna Ross, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Suzanne Somers were all released.  After shifting their focus to electronic toys in the late 70’s to early 80’s Mego filed for Bankruptcy and closed in 1983.

Original boxed Cher dolls, fashions and playsets can fetch anywhere between $60 to $400.

The Toys That Made Us is now streaming on Netflix Australia.

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DC Super Hero Girls Spotted on VIC Shelves!

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Wonder Woman and Super Girl from Mattel’s DC Super Hero Girls Line

The eagerly awaited DC Super Hero Girls line of action figures and poseable dolls have made a surprise and sudden appearance on shelves in selected Target stores across Victoria and Sydney today catching many fans off guard as we waited to receive any news of their release.  Word floating around was that we could have been waiting until as late as June this year before seeing this new line hit our stores and with the PR company dealing with press for this release for the Mattel created line not able to provide me any exact information regarding store exclusivity or in-store dates, it was a wait and see game that seems to have finally ended.

This morning, posts started popping up on Facebook showcasing Target stores across Melbourne and Sydney beginning to stock their shelves with Wonder Woman, Bumblebee and other characters from the line in their 6″ and 12″ forms.

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A Vic based Target store’s display – so pretty!

Target have confirmed to me that the 6″ action figures and 12″ dolls will be available at select Target stores from today with a $19 price tag for the action figures and a not too shabby $32 tag for the dolls and suggested for customers to check and see when their local store is currently stocking the line.  The release has been staggered through Target stores with some already almost sold out and some not yet out for sale to which Target Australia has put down to “unusual shipping delays” to their stores.

Retailer BigW have confirmed they will also be stocking the action figures and dolls in a few weeks time with a similar price point.

The DC Super Hero Girl line has been a massive hit in America where it was first launched in early March this year with stores stocking the line selling out faster than they could replenish the shelves and online, leaving many customers slightly frustrated about not being able to either get their hands on the whole set or buy their child their favorite hero. While the line was generally aimed at the 5-15 year old girl market with their ‘positive influence’ selling point, the 6″ and 12″ figures have been a hit with adult collectors scrambling to collect the set as well.

There is also a budget line of 12″ figures (Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Supergirl) coming soon to Target US stores that feature painted uniforms, rooted hair and less articulation than the original released figures.

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Budget line “power action” Wonder Woman, Super Girl and Bat Girl!

Recently, Mattel announced a brand new play set to go along with the 6″ action figures which includes a flying mechanism, grappling hook and zip line along with themed accessories which expand the play opportunities for the iconic school setting.  Currently available for pre order through Amazon US, the play set has an October 2016 release date.

Does your local Target have this line?  Have you bought any yet?  Sound off in the comments above!

IAMElemental Reveals Series 2 Female Action Figures

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Series 2 of IAmElemental Female Action Figures

Hugely popular IAmElemental female action figures with positive messages aimed at providing affirmative and interactive toys for girls, released final images from their highly anticipated second series of figures named ‘Wisdom’.

Series 2/Wisdom is a series of seven 4” articulated action figures based on the Elements of Power – superpowers that already exist inside each one of us,” said Julie Kerwin, IAmElemental’s Chief Elemental Officer.  The first figures, Series 1/Courage, were modeled on Joan of Arc while the ‘muse’ chosen for Series 2/Wisdom is Hypatia, the daughter of the Greek scholar and mathematician Theon who has been praised by Smithsonian magazine as ‘one of the last great thinkers of ancient Alexandria and one of the first women to study and teach mathematics, astronomy and philosophy.’  She was a STEM pioneer, writing about math, building astronomical instruments, and distilling complicated philosophical concepts into digestible bits that her students could process and understand.

The neutral colored, less busty female figures made a huge impact with their initial announcement back in 2014 via kickstarter which boasted a “more heroine, less hooters” tagline that aimed to show that being a hero is not restricted to sex, bust size or skin color.

Series one was based on courage and featured  a series of 4″ figures plus an exclusive 6″ figure which, the team at IAmElemental confirmed to me, a second 6″ figure will be included in this second series..

Now not needing to rely on kickstarter funding, the figures are being sold through the IAmElemental website and via specialty retailers online with a third series planned for 2017 based on ‘justice’.

Having got my greedy hands on the series one/courage figures, the quality was second to none with each figure being provided with a bio card, sporting great articulation and fun and interactive play with certain elements of these figures being interchangeable among each other. The most noticeable change from courage to wisdom is the color palette with courage featuring deep red skin tones, pink and purple hair and silver/grey uniforms while soon to be released wisdom will feature purple and blue skin tones and hair with gold uniforms and color accents.

Check out the newly released figures below and check out the IAmElemental website!

 

Dukes of Hazzard Retro Toy Entertainment Earth Exclusive

Entertainment Earth exclusive Daisy Duke in Police Outfit figure
Entertainment Earth exclusive Daisy Duke in Police Outfit figure

Modern-retro toy company Figures Toy Company (they of those awesome mego-esque re-issues) have teamed together with online retailer Entertainment Earth to bring fans an exclusive 6 pack release of The Dukes of Hazzard 8″ figures.

Working off the FTC base figures of Daisy, Bo, Abraham and Luke, Entertainment Earth have put together an exclusive third series of the Hazzard figures featuring our favorite Dukes in episode specific outfits.  Daisy in her red bikini or police woman’s outfit, Luke and Bo in orange racing outfits, Bo in his carnival of thrills jumpsuit and Abraham Hogg in his tailored black suit.

Each figure features 15 points of articulation and measures 8-inches tall with the set containing 6 individually packaged bodacious retro-style action figures!

This limited edition set is now up for pre-order with a June release and FREE shipping for those located in the USA!

Order Dukes of Hazzard 8-Inch Action Figure Set – EE Exclusive from Entertainment Earth! here!

Toy Talk: Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Guardians of the Galaxy Box Set

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Last week, images began to surface of a mock-up of a Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends box set getting many galaxy and marvel legends fans excited and now, the box set has been confirmed and is up for pre-order.

The 5 pack set contains all of the guardians in one set in the legends 6″ sizing and all featuring the comic book series looks versus the different movie based looks.  Gamora comes with a cloth poncho and interchangeable head, Star Lord comes with alternate weapons and Drax comes with a second pair of hands and a baby Groot.  Rocket Raccoon is included along with an 8″ Groot.

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This 5 pack set is exclusive to retailer Entertainment Earth and is retailed at US$120 (with a shipping rate to Australia of US$97!!!!) with a release date set for August this year.

From Entertainment Earth: “Your favorite heroes from Guardians of the Galaxy are here in 6-inch scale, with fantastic accessories and more firepower than you can shake a stick at! Bring home the exclusive of the year with this Guardians of the Galaxy Comic Edition Marvel Legends Action Figure Box Set from Hasbro that includes 5 awesome figures in costumes you won’t find anywhere else… and a bonus baby Groot. Plus, the fifth-panel display box lets you see all your figures and gear without having to open the box!”

Pre-orders are now open and available to do so from here