Everything featured in this edition of Five Random Action Figures was found last weekend. Four came from that flea market, while the fifth was hiding at a yard sale just down the street.
Total cost? Eight bucks. Considering that any two of them would’ve been a bargain for that price, I begin this many paragraph journey with a stupid sense of pride.
As the starring hero of the franchise, it’s a safe guess that Lion-O was by far the most popular Thundercats figure, beating out the likes of Panthro, Vultureman, and that steampunk pirate dude with the giant hand.
That’s usually the case with starring heroes, irrespective of how cool their action figures actually were. Fortunately, in Lion-O’s case, his really was one of the best in the line, and with the possible exception of Jaga, it was certainly the best of the “good guy” figures. This despite the fact that Lion-O wore the sort of outfit that could get you kicked out of a hotel pool.
Even without his plastic Sword of Omens and prototype Infinity Gauntlet, Lion-O still looks regal. Like the result of some Frankenstein experiment that merged He-Man with Ronald McDonald, but better because he’s all of that plus a cat.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper
WWF Wrestling Superstars (1985)
The internet united with grief when Roddy Piper died last July, but it was still pretty nice to find out just how many fans the guy actually had. Everyone loved Roddy.
Wrestling devotees are well aware of Roddy’s long career, but some may overlook the fact that he managed to be an integral part of so many wrestling eras. It’s easy to simplify his career as “guy who became super popular during the ‘80s boom and managed to live off of the fumes for several more decades,” but no, he had MAJOR programs the whole way through. Hell, even that late ‘90s WCW run was a big deal, even if it didn’t exactly manifest in classic matches.
Roddy was one of those guys who had such a likable charisma, it never mattered how iffy the material was, or if his throwing arm was sore. Even post-retirement, when he’d turn up on Raw to do those random Piper’s Pit segments, his bagpipe theme music still gave me goosebumps. Literal goosebumps, over what was gonna amount to a Miz interview segment.
This figure is from LJN’s famous Wrestling Superstars collection, where the toys were large, heavy, and almost as fun to play with as they were to fling at your friends’ foreheads. “I didn’t think that would hurt!”
Troll Force (1990s)
Despite its crude “custom” look, Android Man was indeed part of a mass-produced series.
Troll Force was yet another attempt to turn Norfin Trolls into action figures. Though the results were less finessed here than with, say, Stone Protectors, there’s little doubt that Troll Force was the most edgy and manly of all the many poofy-haired warrior collections.
The line’s dozen figures merged Trolls with everything from wrestlers to army men to superheroes, but it peaked with a pair of Terminator-inspired characters. Metal Man was made to resemble the T-1000, but even cooler was this silly Android Man, if only because he’s literally Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800 as a Troll. Yes!
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1994)
Goo Fish was one of the most nightmarish monsters to ever fight the Power Rangers, and that’s saying a lot. The fishy freak flirted with the idea of having two heads, but the fact that he wouldn’t totally commit only made him look even more menacing.
It’s like someone murdered Goldar and then tried to cover the crime by burying him under a pile of rotting fish. I’m also digging that Sagat-style chest wound. Really, there’s no part of Goo Fish that I’m not 100% behind.
Goo Fish eked out several appearances on the series, but nothing topped his debut, when Rita used him specifically because of the Blue Ranger’s well-documented ichthyophobia. I’m serious. Power Rangers was good when it was good, but great when it was bad.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
I normally stick with much older figures for this series, but Twitch was obviously inspired by 1980s toy lines, looking like the perfect blend of Masters of the Universe and Sectaurs.
Everyone loved Toy Story 3, but I’ll assume that some collectors have avoided its corresponding action figure line, believing it to be “too kiddy” even for them. If you’re part of this sad club, please change your ways. If you mentally divorce the figures their parent property, they’re still hella cool toys, and a rare modern line that didn’t skimp on the details.
I got Twitch from a yard sale, run by two young brothers who were extremely thrilled to make actual paper money from the garbage found on their bedroom floors. I admit that the purchase was mostly made because I would’ve felt guilty not buying something from them. Course, since I also bought three more Toy Story figures and a huge pile of plastic Pokemon, I’m not sure how much water that argument holds.
Want more words from me? In my latest Star Wars piece, I’m unwrapping a vintage pack of Return of the Jedi trading cards. Then, over at DealNews, I’m naming ten of the best and strangest Captain America collectibles ever. I’ve been busy, apparently.