This month, my buddy Chad is running Slam Fest over at his blog, HorrorMovieBBQ, and I thought I would jump on the train for this Friday Five and highlight five of my favorite wrestling toys from through the years. To begin with, I’ve got to start where it kind of began for a lot of people…LJN WWF Superstars figures!
LJN WWF Superstars
This was the wrestling action figure line that most folks would say was their first. It kind of was for me, but I never had a truly great experience with it. I first saw them when a neighbor kid at my grandmother’s house brought over his Hulk Hogan, Big John Studd, and Andre the Giant figures. I was mesmerized. I told my Mom about them, and that I wanted some. For Christmas, I got a Nikolai Volkoff figure, and a Mean Gene Okerlund. Now I love Mean Gene, but what the hell was I going to do with his figure? Have him interview Volkoff over and over again? This was not a good start. A while later, I got a Junkyard Dog figure, but by then, the bloom was off the rose for me as far as these figures went. In the meantime, I had played with them a couple of times at my cousin Tim’s house. He had the ring to go with the figures, so it was really cool. I still love these figures, but I never owned enough of them myself to put it really high on my all-time list of favorite toys.
WWF Thumb Wrestlers
Sticking with the WWF, these Thumb Wrestlers were my consolation to not having the LJN figures. I was actually able to pick up several packs of these with my weekly allowance, and that gave me enough variety to really enjoy having these. I had Hulk Hogan, JYD, Hillbilly Jim, Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, and Big John Studd. Like I said, enough variety to play around with and have some matches.
Now, these things weren’t great as what they were designed to be. They were too cumbersome to put on your thumb and have actual thumb-wrestling matches. I tried taking them to school to do that very thing with but failed miserably. They were great for just playing with and having them do moves to each other with though.
In this week’s Top 5, I’m running down my Top 5 Favorite Hot Wheels Toys from when I was a kid. There have been plenty of cool Hot Wheels toys that have come along in recent years, but my list is looking at Hot Wheels toys from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. I’m not including any individual cars this time out, because I plan on counting those down in a separate list. Let’s get to the Top 5!
Hot Wheels Sto and Go Playsets
Hot Wheels made their own playsets for a while called Sto and Go. You can’t see it in this picture, but these things folded up and made their own carrying case, hence the name Sto and Go. They made several versions of this playset, but the construction one pictured above was my favorite one. I had a lot of various construction themed vehicles and this playset really ramped up the construction zone fun.
Hot Wheels Master Caster
The Master Caster was such a cool idea. It was a Hot Wheels car factory, that allowed you to make your own Hot Wheels cars out of wax! You could get colored wax bars to use in it, or you could just take the paper off some crayons and dump them in. That gave you the ability to create some cars with really custom colors. There were several molds you could use, and it came with wheel and axle sets to use. It would heat the wax, and with a turn of the handle, you could pour the melted wax into the mold to make the car. It was quite the next level toy for Hot Wheels loving kids. I never actually owned it, but my brother did, so I got to make a few cars of my own.
I never joined the actual LEGO Builder’s Club, but I did subscribe to Brick Kicks magazine. While it was a very cool magazine, it left a little to be desired. For starters, you only go four issues a year. And on top of that, it was only about 12 pages per issue. Now those 12 pages were packed with really cool content though. There was usually an update on new stuff coming out, pictures of massive builds that LEGO designers had done, photos submitted by kids of their custom builds, and some other features along the way. You could devour the whole thing in about 30 minutes, which is where the downside came in. You had to wait 3 months for another LEGO fix. I would do it all over again, but man, I would have loved to have gotten an issue every month that was 50 or more pages. That would have really hit the spot.
If you were into LEGO’s like I was, you’d probably be very interested in checking out the 1987 LEGO Shop at Home catalog. I scanned the entire thing in a while back, and you can view it at your leisure.
Here is an old ad I came across recently for G.I. Joe mail-in figures and vehicles. Some of the stalwarts of the toy line are featured in it, but the stand-out certainly has to be The Fridge figure. The Fridge was based on William “The Refrigerator” Perry of the Chicago Bears NFL team, and at the time, was a much-wanted figure by kids everywhere. I know I certainly wanted him, but my folks would never give me the scratch to order him. I guess I should have taken some of my allowances and ordered him instead. Stupid me.
Bazooka and Major Bludd were also cool figures, but not on the level of The Fridge. The HISS tank was another one I always wanted. I never had one as a kid, but finally picked one up off eBay in 2001. It felt good to finally own one, even if my prime years of playing G.I. Joe was long past. And the LCV Recon Sled looked cool and would have made a nice addition to the ongoing battles between the Joes and Cobra.
Did any of you have any of these cool figures or vehicles? If so, I’m curious to know if you can remember if you mailed away to get them or not.
I’m bringing back my old feature, Top 5. It’s where I do a quick list of my five favorites from a variety of topics. With the two big days of Christmas upon us, this time I’m ranking the Top 5 presents I received for Christmas through the years. It’s too hard to put these in any kind of order of most favorite to least, so I’m listing them in the order of when I received them. Feel free to leave your own top 5 in the comments at the bottom.
I’ve got a feeling I got this in 1984, since it probably wouldn’t have been like my old man to buy it in 1983 when my fandom was just blossoming for all things He-Man. He generally liked to wait until he was sure I was really into something before dropping a lot of dough on it. But what kid out there who was lucky enough to get this for Christmas wouldn’t enjoy it? I know I flipped for it. I’ve got an old polaroid of me just after opening it, and I’m crying. They had to be tears of joy. But this was the highlight of my Christmas that year, and countless battles were fought around, in, and for Castle Grayskull in the following months and years.