It’s finally time for another installment of Retro Raist! In this series of posts I’m writing about the things that I loved from either the 80’s or 90’s. It could be a movie, a television series, or anything else for that matter. Today I’m talking about toys. Yes, I’m a grown man and here I am writing a post about kid’s stuff. I can see those frowns making an appearance on your foreheads already, but please give me some room here. Even though I may be biased being a child of the 80’s myself, I can without a doubt say that in that era we have seen some of the coolest toys ever made. Nowadays some of these toys are highly sought after by collectors, especially if you have some of these in mint condition complete with the original package. You might not even believe some of the high pricetags that are involved when you want to buy some of them. In this post I’m revisiting some of the best toy lines that were made back then, so prepare for a trip down memorylane, and high feelings of nostalgia! Please note that all of the pictures that I have used in this post are (sadly) not from my own collection, but have simply been plucked from the internet.
Director George Lucas is a very clever man. Before the release of Star Wars he decided to give up $500.000 dolars of his directorial paycheck, as long as he could keep the rights to the merchandise. Everybody back in those days thought he was nuts. And I think all of the Fox execs that are looking back on that fateful day now are banging their heads against the wall for having ever agreed on those terms. The toys alone are bringing in almost three billion dollars in revenue each year! Heck that’s probably more than all of us bloggers together make in a year. You are probably surprised to learn that back in the 80’s I had never even heard of Star Wars. As such I have never played with the toys as a kid. In later years though I did acquire quite a few of the vintage toys to put on display, including Han Solo’s awesome ship, The Millennium Falcon. The action figures were really cool and are still high in demand. Star Wars toys had incredible play value, and well they were also huge as you can see from some of the pictures that I have included. To date Star Wars toys are still being sold, and are every bit as amazing as back in those days.
This was my favorite toy as a kid! The robots in disguise that could transform into weapons, vehicles, planes, you name it, were everything that my young kid’s mind desired. Over the years I acquired almost 100 of these, and I still own every single one of them. Some I even have in the original boxes, although not every one of them is still in mint condition so to speak. It will come as now surprise that of course Autobot leader Optimus Prime was one of my favorites. The Transformers were one of the most popular toys ever made, especially back in the 80’s. Nowadays the toys live on, and for the adult collectors there are the so called Masterpiece Editions. These are absolutely not for kids, as their transformations are highly difficult to perform, and they are also prone to breaking if you don’t pull it off in the right way. The pricetags that are attached to them are pretty big, but for the most part worth every penny. I myself don’t own any of these, but one of my best friends does, and every time I see them my eyes pop out of my skull as to how amazingly cool they are.
M.A.S.K. was a really cool animated series about a group of men that used high powered masks that gave them all sorts of powers, as well as vehicles that were able to transform. This time not into robots, but for instance from a helicopter into a plane. The toyline, though not as succesful as Transformers, and also relatively short lived, was highly coveted by kids all over the world. One of the most amazing toys for M.A.S.K. was the Rhino, a red Kenworth truck that was able to transform in a battlestation. The action figures that of course included the masks were also really interesting. These are toys that I have never owned, and have also never bought as an adult. Nowadays M.A.S.K. isn’t around anymore, nor are the toys, so you can imagine some of the prices that these vintage collectables are now going for if you are lucky enough to find them.
In the last installment of Retro Raist I talked about the cartoon. As mentioned back in that post, I absolutely hated it as a kid, but as an adult my perspective changed and I have come to recognise the series for what it was: one of the best animated series made for kids. It’s no surprise that the toy line was hugely popular back in the day. The action figures were the things that the toys were most famous for, and there were a huge number of them to choose from. While I have since bought quite a number of He-man related merchandise, these are mostly books. I might one day buy at least a figure of the most powerful man of the universe himself, and his nemesis Skeletor, just to put it on display, but I have no intentions of seeking out the rest of the toys. He-Man has seen a little bit of a comeback the past few years, with quite a number of the original action figures having been re-issued. This is another toy line that still looks every bit as good though as it did during it’s release.
Last, but certainly not least is Gi-Joe, aka the Real American Hero! Another cartoon that I wasn’t really fond of as a kid, it was huge back in the 80’s. Made by the same company that also manufactured the Transformers, this was a toy that also had a heavy focus on action figures. That said, there were a lot of vehicles that accompanied these figures including one of the biggest toy play sets that has ever been created: the U.S.S. Flagg. This was a gigantic aircraft carrier that was almost as big as a house. I have included it in one of the pictures in the slideshow, to give you an impression of just how ginormous it was. Gi-Joe has made the transition to live action movies a few years back, and while the two films were enjoyable, they weren’t exactly bringing back much of the nostalgic feelings of the roaring 80’s. Gi-Joe is the only toy line that I have included in this post that to date I’m still not a huge fan of, but it wouldn’t be right not to include it here. And even I have to admit that the toys look seriously bad ass.
Michael Mercy’s Youtube Channel
Well, I hope this post has brought back a little of the 80’s feel good vibe, as well as some fond memories. I’m not completely done yet though. You Tube is a treasure trove for when it comes to finding some really amazing videos about vintage stuff. However, every once in a while you come across a channel that is a cut above the rest. And that’s how it is with Michael Mercy. I discovered this very special YouTuber a few years back. Michael’s channel covers vintage toy lines from the 80’s but makes the videos so incredibly special, that it feels like you are coming home each time you visit it. You won’t believe the size of his amazing collection the first time you lay eyes upon it. It’s not called Michael Mercy’s 80’s Toy museum for nothing. He is such a kind and gentle man, that has so much love for these toys, that you can’t help but smile at every video he releases. The attention to details, as well as often including some fun excerpts from classic cartoons make every video of his an absolutely amazing watch. While I sadly spent less time there as I at times would want to, due to health and time issues, there are several times when I just go on a binge fest. I have included one of his videos that introduces you to his toy museum, and I highly recommend you watch it, just to see what I’m talking about. I doubt you won’t be able to smile at his enthusiasm, and he’s well worth giving a follow. That’s it for me and for this edition of Retro Raist. As Michael would say in closing: Nerdmaste!