To keep this edition of Five Random Action Figures on-brand for Cruel Summer, I will only feature figures that have some tangential tie to the season. Enjoy!
Mike, The Sewer Surfer!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
This screwball Michelangelo was from a set of TMNT figures that gave our heroes intense new costumes, and even new occupations. (Raph became an astronaut, Don became a sneaky detective… you get the picture.)
Since every kid who collected TMNT toys started with the original Turtles, it made sense for Playmates to keep redressing them. To their credit, these “extra” Turtles weren’t cheap cash-grabs with rudimentary facelifts. Each had a mold all its own, and they were littered with so many details that the first wave of figures seemed positively antique by comparison.
Just look at all of the little touches on Mikey. Seaweed! Baby sharks! Gnarly crabs! Hell, I’ve had this guy for 30 years, and I’m only now noticing the octopus on his foot.
Food Fighters (1988)
The last time I brought up Food Fighters, I urged you to complete your collection in a hurry. If you didn’t take my advice, you’re screwed. The prices are now higher than they’ve ever been, with even loose, worn figures sometimes fetching over $20 each.
I’m not sure why they’ve suddenly become so hot, but it’s not like they don’t deserve the attention. Back in the late ‘80s, Food Fighters perfectly straddled the line between “action figures” and “gag gifts,” preying on all of our sensibilities to make our worlds revolve around soldierly donuts and sentient chicken legs.
Taco Terror was one of the collection’s villains, even if it’s hard to accept that we’re not supposed to root for a walking taco. I love his pronounced meat face, and how he uses shredded cheese for hair. Hope you win the war, Taco Terror!
Star Wars: Episode I (1998)
I think the tide is turning on the Star Wars prequels. Everyone is aware of their objective flaws, but now we just kinda revel in the films’ excesses.
(Notice how the prequels are memed to death these days? Seems we’ve given up on whatever we wanted them to be, and instead just love ‘em for whatever they are. Good!)
Boss Nass is a great example. I don’t recall there being much pro-Nass coverage back in the ‘90s, but these days, you can’t mention the guy without accumulating a dozen high-fives. After all, what’s not to love about a big fat frog who uses laughter as a non sequitur? Boss Nass rules.
Side note: I don’t have a very critical eye when it comes to action figures — I just like what I like — but geez, the sculpt around Nass’s mouth is excellent. I keep waiting for him to do that weird head-shaking thing.
The Sectaurs toy line was mostly famous for its battery-operated bug puppets, but as I’ve mentioned in prior articles, its regular action figures were killer, too. Picture G.I. Joe, MOTU and LJN’s WWF Superstars thrown in a blender with a bunch of flies.
If you weren’t tipped off by the scowl, Commander Waspax was one of the bad guys. I love how he looks like the “humanoid bug” version of a classic space alien.
While certain Sectaurs toys now fetch small fortunes, loose action figures have remained criminally cheap. With any luck, you won’t have to spend more than a few bucks apiece. Do it before everyone else notices!
…and speaking of semi-obscure ‘80s toy lines that I will never stop championing, here’s another figure from the fabulous Inhumanoids collection.
Granok was the leader of the Granites, a race of benevolent rock monsters who lived underground. (I featured the “generic” Granite figure long ago, which was just a beige-colored version of Granok.)
If you only vaguely remember Inhumanoids, it’s probably thanks to the line’s giant monster figures, which remain the greatest symbol of the 1980s action figure boom. Still, as was the case with Sectaurs, you could find gold even underneath the top shelf. Just look at Granok’s soulful gemstone eyes!
Thank you for reading about more random action figures.
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