The Best Toy Lines of the 80’s

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Today I am having a little bit of fun and taking a break from talking about video games. Instead, I will be talking about old school toys. I prefer the term old school over old or vintage as it makes me feel not quite old as hell!

Anyway, I was born in 1981 so I was lucky enough to experience all the big toy lines of the 1980’s. I am sharing with you my top five toy lines of the 80’s. Now before you freak out and come to my house with a pitchfork, let me again state that these are my personal top five. The toy lines that I had the most fun with and memories of. So if yours are different let me know in the comments down below as I would love to know what 80’s toy lines you loved.

Inhumanoids

The first toy line on my list is one that I only actually had a couple of figures for, but it is one that got a lot of play time. Inhumanoids, when I look back, was actually pretty dark for a kids TV show in the 80’s. It was about a team of scientists who would battle these three large monsters that lived in the earth and who were reawakened. The toys were pretty big and I think they must have been expensive as I only had two of the Earth Corps and one of the Inhumanoids.

When I think about Inhumanoids there is one thing that comes to mind and that is D’Compose. This guy was creepy and scary, but I thought he was awesome. He looked like a dinosaur and he could open up his rib cage and put his victims in there! I had a D’Compose toy as a kid and I would always make him put a beat down on the Earth Corps. I have tried to track these down, but getting one in good condition and one that does not cost a fortune is really hard!

Dino-Riders

This is one of the more forgotten toy lines of the 80’s, but I loved Dino Riders. It was about two warring races The Valorians and Rulons who after traveling through space end up on a prehistoric earth. Here the Valorians live in harmony with dinosaurs and the Rulons use these brain box things to control them. The show was awesome, but the toys were even cooler.

These at the time were pretty expensive, but these were some of the most elaborate toys that I had as a kid. You would get a dinosaur, a figure and a ton of weapons and armor for the dinosaurs. The T-Rex was tremendous and one of my all-time favorite toys that I had as a kid and I vividly remember the day I got it. One thing that is stuck in my memory in regards to Dino-Riders is actually how impressive the boxes were. At the time (well the toys that I was interested in) no other toys put as much effort into their packaging like Dino Riders did.

Transformers

I think that you could make the argument that Transformers are bigger now than they have ever been, but I was there right at the begging and loved the Transformers. I had no idea that these were just toys brought over from Japan. As a kid, I could not have been any more invested in the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons. The Transformers Animated Movie is still the best out of all the Transformers movies that have been made.

The toy line was great and it was a toy line that I seemed to have a ton of toys for. The one that I loved the most was…. Actually, it is hard to pick just one. I had a few of the Dinobots with Grimlock being my favorite, but I also really liked Metro Plex which was the biggest Transformer I had as a kid, he was the Autobot base and I got him for Christmas one year. I think that the newer Transformers toys look far more spectacular, but I still have a lot of love for the G1 Transformers I grew up with. Also, I have to be honest and say that I really liked that first live action Transformers movie.

Masters Of The Universe

This was my first toyline as a kid. Sure I probably had some lame plush bunny or teddy that I dragged everywhere with me. But Masters Of The Universe is one of the first memories that I have in regards to playing with toys. I loved He-Man and what kid in the early to mid 80’s didn’t? I even liked She-Ra! One of the more fun memories I have about He-Man is that He-Man and Battlecat seemed to be two toys that every single kid I knew had!

While the figures were cool, Castle Grayskull is what I remember most. I grew up in Scotland and my folks had to get family to track one down all the in Cambridge as it was so hard to get. I played with that thing for hours and hours and I would use it as a storage case as well. While He-Man was good, I always loved the bad guys best with Beast-Man and Mer-Man being my two favorites and as I write this there was another guy who had suction cups on his hands that I really liked he was called Leech. Also the store next to my house used to sell these He-Man jelly sweets that were in the shape of some of the characters which were cool.

Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles

Look we all know that it was incredibly lame how Ninja was far too violent for us here in the UK, but the Ninja Turtles are one of my all-time favorite properties. Even now in my 30’s, I collect Ninja Turtles comic books and toys. My parents had a nightmare trying to track these things down. I got lucky in Woolworths one day and ended up with a Donnie and a Bebop which was a good start and led to an obsession that is still running now.

The figures I remember most from the Turtles were these ones called Wacky Action Turtles. They had action features and what I liked better about these was that they actually looked like the way they did in the cartoon whereas the first run of figures had a more comic book look to them. While I have a lot of nostalgia and love for the original Turtles comic book and cartoon series. I have to be honest and say that the 2012 Ninja Turtles series and the current IDW run of Ninja Turtles comic books are my favorite incarnation. Still though I have to put this at number one on my list as I am even a bigger fan of the Ninja Turtles today than when I was kid, but had it not been for the cartoon, the toys and even the comic book of the 80’s that would not be the case.

So there you have it those are my personal top five toy lines of the 80’s. One thing I want to mention is that I was kind of weird as a kid and toy lines did not mix!!!! There was no Ninja Turtles fighting Transformers or He-Man helping out Earth Corps to take down D’Compose. As well as knowing what your toy lines were I would love to know if you mixed up all your toys or just played with certain lines at a time?

Oh, one last thing, my all-time favourite toy line is actually from 1990 and that is the Hasbro WWF action figures which I plan to talk about real soon.

 

by: Jason Delacey

Dave Smith - PRG

Dave Smith - PRG

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