There’s nothing quite like the thrill of the hunt and when you’re a toy fanatic, collector, and hunter, that sense of euphoria when you come across an elusive toy both new and old can only be described as nothing short of amazing.
Having rebuilt my collection over the course of the last year, I’ve given myself a head start with Transformers and Masters of the Universe, but there are other toy lines from my childhood that deserve recognition. From vintage to brand new versions, from finding them online to out in the wild (using proper distancing and safety precautions in the midst of Covid-19), here are five toy lines from the past that I plan on adding back to my shelves that are more than worthy of the hunt.
I watched a lot of cartoons in my youth, but for as much as I watched M.A.S.K. I really couldn’t tell you anything about any of the episodes. Sure, it was your standard good vs. evil fare, nothing too complicated there, but ask me for specifics and you’re out of luck.
What I do remember clearly was the theme song that was rife with 80’s badassery, and the super rad toyline that I had to have as part of my collection.
But, I never did have any M.A.S.K. toys growing up. For all of the Transformers and MOTU figures available at my local toy stores and department store toy aisles, M.A.S.K. never made an appearance. Maybe they were available in the city, but for this small town nerd they were persona non grata.
4) GI Joe
For as many cartoons as I watched; and I watched plenty, GI Joe wasn’t one I got particularly into. I enjoyed it don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t destination viewing for me like Masters of the Universe or Transformers or even the Smurfs were.
But, I dug the toys for the vast array of characters, and the number of vehicles accompanying them. For me characters like Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander, Baroness and; being a wrestling fan in the eighties, Sgt. Slaughter were some of my favorites.
Attending a local toy convention in Edmonton just over a year ago and seeing the large collection of GI Joe displayed there has given me the itch to begin the rebuilding process, and rebuilding is half the battle.
3) Star Wars
While I may not have been a hardcore GI Joe fan growing up, I was definitely a Star Wars dork. I saw the original trilogy backwards seeing Return of the Jedi on cable first, then watching Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars after renting them from the video store.
My Kenner Star Wars collection wasn’t large. I didn’t have any X-wings, TIE Fighters, and I certainly wasn’t able to get my hands on the Millennium Falcon, but I had my share of the action figures from Threepio and Endor Leia to R2D2 and Jabba the Hutt, and a Boba Fett that disappeared into the Sarlacc pit known as my basement and has not been seen since. Leia found her way back to me minus her weapons as did Threepio, along with a B-wing pilot and Klaatu.
My hunt to obtain as many of those Kenner figures and vehicles as possible has just begun, and much like Boba Fett was on the hunt for Han Solo or Mando is sworn to protect Baby Yoda…
This is the way.
2) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Similar to how it was with M.A.S.K.,while I watched TMNT I couldn’t describe a single episode to you, but that theme song will live on forever in my brain…just like it’ll live on in yours. You’re humming the song right now aren’t you?
While I can’t remember one episode of the cartoon from the next, I do remember marveling over and pining for those Heroes in a Half Shell toys at my local department store.
Through birthdays and with whatever money I could earn and save up, I wound up with a healthy collection with Baxter Stockman being my personal favorite. I had the core four of Raphael, Michaelangelo, Donatello and Leonardo as well as Master Splinter, and I also had a Samurai Leo that I thought was cool enough, but there was something about Baxter that I dug.
While those vintage Playmates Turtles are at the top of my list when it comes to adding to my collection, there’s no shortage of new toys whether it be from NECA to Super 7 that will undoubtedly find their way onto my shelves as well.
1) Super Powers
If you’re going to grab and hold my interest or the interest of any kid wandering up and down the toy aisle then bright, vibrant colors are the way to do it, and few toys were as colorful (to me at least) as the Super Powers line from Kenner.
While I’ve always been a Marvel guy more than I was DC; and I did possess a Secret Wars Spiderman and Kang the Conqueror growing up, Super Powers were more readily available at the stores in and around my hometown.
Superman, Robin, Penguin, Joker, Flash, Hawkman along with Brainiac and Lex Luthor from series one were part of my collection with Dr. Fate from series two being another that I owned. For reasons I don’t recall exactly, I sold my Super Powers figures (and the Secret Wars Spiderman and Kang as well) in a yard sale some fifteen years ago. I’m certain I didn’t sell them because I needed the money, but I’m sitting here cursing myself over it in retrospect.
A vendor at a local toy convention last September had some of them for sale, and I contemplated picking them up had my budget not been tied up with other items that were there that day. With everything that’s going on in the world right now, I certainly have plenty of time on my hands to do some online deep diving and continue to feed my toy sickness.