Welcome to the twentieth edition of Five Random Action Figures, which marks a milestone that you’ll doubtlessly see mentioned on the front pages of tomorrow’s papers.
Yes, by the end of this post, I’ll have photographed and reviewed one hundred action figures!
These articles have never been my most popular, but they’ve certainly been the most dependable, and in deference to my whole web career — nyuk nyuk — being built on piles of old toys, Five Random Action Figures will remain a part of Dinosaur Dracula for however long there is a Dinosaur Dracula.
To celebrate this HISTORIC occasion, I made sure to select five figures that could all be construed as haymakers. Enjoy!
COPS ‘N Crooks, 1988
By the time I picked up my first COPS figure, the cartoon was already off the air, and the only place to find the toys was Lionel Kiddie City — at dramatically reduced prices, with big ugly clearance stickers all over the packages.
By then, the pickings were slim. Kiddie City had multiples of Louie and Dr. Badvibes, but almost no one else. It wasn’t until looking at the cardbacks on those “lesser” figures that I realized my folly. I should’ve been collecting this line from the very start, because BIG. BOSS. WAS. AMAZ. ING.
Look at this guy! I always favored the villains, but I especially favored the villains who looked like they ordered people around from leather thrones, eating grapes while being frond-fanned by robots.
As I’ve mentioned before, all of my “major” bad guy figures acted like mob bosses, sharing total control over everything that happened on my bedroom floor. If Boba Fett wanted to go for a spin in the Cobra BUGG, he needed to clear it with Mumm-Ra and Jabba first. If they disagreed, that red-and-black guy from Visionaries was the tiebreaker.
Big Boss, with his Kingpin build, Armani suit and Destro hand, would’ve fit right in. Oh, what could’ve been!
Masters of the Universe, 1985
Masters of the Universe fans are perfectly aware of why I’m including King Hiss, but for the rest of you: Don’t judge this book by its cover.
King Hiss was the leader of the Snake Men, a group of baddies with motivations all their own, apart from whatever Skeletor and Hordak were up to. Mattel outright told us that this was an important character, but King Hiss had his own ideas on how to make an impression.
The reason the figure looks so cumbersome is because it’s wearing a false torso. Peel away the nonsense, and King Hiss reveals himself as a serpentine demon literally composed of nothing but snakes. UNBELIEVABLE.
Sure, he still looked cumbersome even in snake mode, but any He-Man figure capable of doing the Conal Cochran Halloween trick was gonna seize love and loyalty from millions of kids, no matter what.
For me, this guy was right up there with Modulok. Getting King Hiss made the sky bluer and the air cleaner.
Street Fighter: Official Movie Fighters, 1993
I believe this marks the first time a character has appeared twice in this series. You may remember M. Bison from Five Random Action Figures Part 15, but that was a totally different figure from a totally different maker. As cool as it was, I like this version even better.
Made by Hasbro in the distinct G.I. Joe scale and style, the clueless may have assumed that he was just some late-released “unmasked” Cobra Commander — a man who’d be just as comfortable giving orders to Dr. Mindbender as Balrog.
Plus, he has a cape. A soft, fabric cape. I’ve always been a sucker for figures that used real fabric, dating back to when I used to rip the cloaks off of the Emperor’s Royal Guards to make regal finger puppets.
King Kong Bundy
WWF Wrestling Superstars, 1985
If I had to pick one figure that totally captures the spirit of LJN’s WWF Wrestling Superstars collection, it’d be this one. King Kong Bundy was one of my childhood favorites, both for his habit of demanding five-counts and for his habit of guest-starring on Married with Children. Nearly crippling Hulk Hogan didn’t hurt, either.
Fittingly, his was one the bulkiest of the LJN figures. I could easily break a window with this guy, and I’m sure plenty of kids did just that. (I’ve often likened LJN’s WWF figures to secret shurikens, but Bundy’s was among the few that was actually shaped like one.)
He’s rather worn, but paint splotches and chew marks were practically rites of passage for these figures. I’ll also give King Kong Bundy high marks for having the best-sculpted neck fat of any action figure I’ve ever owned.
And now, do that drumroll thing with your tongue. We’re up to #100!
Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
The Real Ghostbusters, 1986
I struggled with who to pick for the hundredth random action figure, but nothing seemed to make as much sense as Stay Puft. Now that it’s official… yeah, this was the right choice.
You see, I never had Stay Puft as a kid. I wanted him, of course, but I could never find him. I had pretty much every other ghost figure from RGB’s first few waves, but the closest I came to Stay Puft was kissing his picture on the cardbacks. It drove me batty. You know how you romanticize what you can’t have? In my head, the figure was marshmallow-scented and capable of dispensing money.
And what’s more, until this week, I never had him as a collector, either. For the past 15-20 years, hundreds upon hundreds of action figures have come and gone, but never one single Stay Puft. Yeah, I could’ve bit the bullet and bought him on eBay years ago, but I guess I liked having someone so color-suited to being my white whale.
Now that I have him, I’m full of regrets. My childhood could’ve been so much more. I knew Stay Puft would be amazing, but not quite this amazing. He’s bigger than I thought he’d be, and the perfect midpoint between “doll” and “action figure.” He would’ve been the perfect little rascal to drag around like a surrogate friend.
“What do you feel like doing today, Mr. Stay Puft?” He’d reply with words only I could hear. I’d nod in the affirmative. Doritos by the heating vent sounded like an excellent plan. It’d sound just as good the next day, too.
Thank you for reading about
five one hundred action figures!