Action Figure Appreciation

Toys have been in my life since I can remember. Of course, playing with them as a kid, then picking up what I thought were cool properties in my late teen years, hard-core collecting new stuff in my early twenties, and writing about them ever since. While I’ve always loved all toys, action figures have always been the backbone of my fandom. So with that as a premise, here’s a look at a few from my collection that I want to show love to in this edition of Retro Ramblings.

G.I. Joe – 1986

I’ve chosen to start with a figure from the G.I. Joe: A Real American hero line because G.I. Joe always was, and probably always will be my favorite action figure line. Hell, not just action figures…probably of any toy line. Once I got my very first Joe and Cobra figures, the battle started raging and has never stopped. I was one of the lucky kids who had a LOT of G.I. Joe stuff. Not as much as my friend Aaron, but still more than most kids I knew.

While I loved them all, the Cobra side of things seems to contain more of my favorite figures than on the Joe side. And within the ranks of Cobra, I think the Dreadnoks were my favorites. For some reason, while off on a trip with my Dad, my brother brought me home Torch, Ripper, and Buzzer to go along with the Zartan that I already had. I’m sure my Dad was actually behind it, but it was a cool gesture on my brother’s part anyway. Maybe my Dad saw in the Dreadnoks one of the things I saw in them…that they looked and acted like my uncles…Dad’s brothers. But he wouldn’t have known of their antics or attitudes having not watched the cartoon with me. Ol’ Torch here in particular looks like my uncle Randy. And was crazy like Randy now that I think about it.

But as for the figure itself, it’s hard not to love him since he sports shaggy hair, a bandana, and shades. A look that I myself have been known to sport from time to time. Hell, I even sported the same facial hair for a while back about ten years ago. Maybe this is where my inspiration came from, I don’t know. Add in the fact that he carries a flame thrower and isn’t afraid to use it doesn’t hurt his case either.

Chuck Norris in Kung Fu Training Gi
Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos – 1986

So Chuck Norris’ Karate Kommandos was a short-lived cartoon series back in 1985 and/or 1986, and like just about every other cartoon series of the time, got its own toy line. There were numerous versions of Chuck in the toy line, and somehow I ended up with this one. Maybe it was the only one on the shelf at the time, or maybe I just like his color scheme. Either way, he ended up coming home with me and was forced to do battle in the wrestling ring with the likes of Ric Flair from the old Remco AWA All-Star Wrestlers.

All of the figures from this Karate Kommando’s line had special action figures, and this had some kind of action kick that made him a little hard to pose and a little hard to play with actually. But surprisingly enough, this is still my very own original figure that I got way back when. I recently found him in an old box of stuff that I probably haven’t opened in more than twenty years. His nose is missing now. I think it makes him look even tougher.

Hulk Hogan 1984 Version
Hulk Still Rules 3-pack from WWE Classic Superstars – 2005 ish?

You know wrestling has been as big a part of my life as action figures have been, so I had more than my share of wrestling figures through the years. While I was never a Hulkamaniac, I can appreciate what he has meant to the business. Even though I’m not a fan, I still didn’t mind displaying the figures from this set.

And if I was ever going to be into Hulk Hogan, it would have been in the mid-’80s, as that is when he seems to have been the least aggravating. These figures were really nice for the time with the extra articulation and the little extras like the removable knee pads. But figures of today blow these away already with everything you can do with them. But I still rotate him in and out with other figures I have on display. It’s still too nice of a figure not to.

Well, there’s some appreciation for three old action figures. For some more action figure love, check out the post I did on some of my favorite Wrestling Action Figures of the Past.

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