12 Best ’80s Action Figure Toylines

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If you were alive in the 80s, you probably have fond memories of a simpler time and playing with some of the best action figure toylines.

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the most diverse toys
Image credits: aisakilumaranas and Shutterstock.

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Children love toys. For the world’s more fortunate children, they are an important and memorable part of their childhood to enjoy and learn from. Although the earliest known historical mention of a toy dates back to about 500 BCE in Greece, referring to a basic yo-yo (though it is believed that the yo-yo existed in China even before that), it is arguable that the toy were at their peak. 1980s.

Action figures were one of the most fun and diverse toys in the 80s. They came in all shapes and sizes and were the first to completely deviate from the more grounded “action man” type figures of years past.

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Cherish your nostalgia because, in this piece, we take you through the 12 best action figure toylines from that great decade.

1. Masters of the Universe
masters of the universe action figuresImage credit: Sean P. Aune and Shutterstock.

The Masters of the Universe was brilliant. Mattel Toys revolves around the conflict between the heroic He-Man (a muscular, magically empowered, sword-wielding warrior) and the villainous Skeleton (a gorgeous, skull-faced wizard). A filming animated series followed in 1983.

The franchise was a hybrid of stereotypical medieval sorcery and sci-fi technology, making for a very wide variety of characters. There were humans, monsters, aliens, robots, mythical beasts and more. The original toys saw new releases by 1988, which meant there were hundreds to buy if you wanted the complete set.

2. Star Wars
star wars action figuresImage credits: cricketat and shutterstock.

The first Star Wars movie hit theaters in 1977, but Kenner made the original toys between 1978 and 1985. As an epic space opera, Star Wars is one of the most popular media franchises in pop culture history, so it’s no surprise that the toys were a huge success.

All characters in the original trilogy were created as plastic figures, including heroes such as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo and villains such as Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt. Still, the vehicles were the biggest hits – the AT-AT, AT-ST, and Millennium Falcon were particularly cool and popular.

3. Thundercats
Image from Cartoon ThundercatsImage credits: Pacific Animation Corporation.

Thundercats was influenced by Masters of the Universe with a sword-wielding hero, a magical antagonist, and several other derived characters, but it was still pretty cool. The toys were released in 1985, as was the cartoon. They featured a group of feline humanoid aliens fighting against the evil Mum-Ra and her beastly minions on Third-Earth.

The LZN range of toys was relatively small and received limited distribution. Still, the figures were spectacular—Lion-O and Mum-Ra with memorably light-skinned eyes. It lasted three years, stopping construction in 1988.

4. Transformers
transformer action figuresImage credits: aisakilumaranas and Shutterstock.

Transformers is still a popular franchise today, largely thanks to the live-action movie series that has been running since 2007 and has six installments. Its popularity peaked in the 1980s when there were cartoons and Hasbro toys based on the franchise, and the toys ran for eight years from 1984.

The franchise is all about the Autobots and the Decepticons – warring alien robot factions that can transform into other forms such as vehicles and animals. That concept lent itself perfectly to making great toys and even though Transformers toys were pre-dated by the Go-Bots it made for one of the most creative lines of figures ever seen. Kids played with Optimus Prime and Megatron for hours.

5. The Real Ghostbusters
real ghostbustersImage credits: SeaonWeb and Shutterstock.

The Real Ghostbusters was an animated spin-off of the 1984 live-action Ghostbusters film. The franchise spawned a cartoon and a line of Kenner toys—both of which ran from 1986 to 1991. The toys were truly a joy filled with colour.

There were a range of spectral baddies to buy, a variety of ghost-busting vehicles, four Ghostbusters (along with Proton packs and ghosts), and the team’s Fire Station HQ. Figures and accessories were all needed for full-blown horror-busting playtime. Provided something.

6. Dino-Riders
Image from Cartoon Dino-RidersImage credits: Marvel Productions Tyco Toys.

Dino-Riders was a great concept. It focused on a battle between the heroic Valorian and the evil Rulan Alliance on prehistoric Earth. Both sides harnessed the power of the dinosaurs—by befriending the Valorian and brainwashing them by the Rules—and they rode the creatures and equipped them with futuristic weapons.

The cartoon aired briefly in 1988, but Tyco Toys ran from 1987 to 1990. They were spectacular and included different breeds of dinosaurs, characters to ride and weapons to equip them.

7. Visionary
Image from Cartoon VisionariesImage credit: Hasbro/Sunbo Productions.

Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light was very short-lived. The cartoon aired in 1987, and Hasbro Toys was released after it was finished. They only lasted a year, but they were great regardless.

Set on the planet Prysmos, the story of the franchise sees all technology and complex machinery suddenly stop working. The citizens then rely on ancient magic to survive. Two opposing factions of Knights – the Visionaries and the Darkling Lords – receive magical totems on their chests. On toys, these totems came in the form of a hugely popular ’80s craze: holograms.

8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
TMNT action figuresImage credits: Lutsenko_aleksandr and Shutterstock.

Throughout the years, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has existed in many media forms, but the original cartoon aired from 1987 to 1996. The original toys, therefore, were released in 1997 by Playmate Toys – and they never really stopped.

The concept of the franchise features four anthropomorphic tortoise brothers trained in ninjutsu to fight evil in New York City. Fantastic toys included action figures, vehicles, playsets, and accessories. They were one of the most sought after and challenging to grasp in the history of toys.

9. Mask
Image from cartoon MASKImage credit: Ashi Productions / Studio World.

A French/American creation, MASK focused on the battle between the titular protagonist Underground Task Force (Mobile Armored Strike Command) and the criminal organization VENOM (Vice Evil Network of Mayhem). Both sides wore masks that bestowed extraordinary powers on the wearer.

The MASK cartoon aired from 1985 to 1986, while Kenner produced the toys from 1985 to 1988. They were spectacular and included vehicles with hidden gimmicks designed to represent combat-ready forms and drivers who came with unique masks (usually one or two drivers). ,

10. Centurion
image from cartoon centurionImage credit: Studio 7.

Set in the not-too-distant future, Centurion is a franchise about a team of men wearing exo-frames that allow them to fuse with incredible assault weapon systems. Team Cyborg battles mad scientist Doctor Terror who wants to conquer Earth and turn humans into robot servants.

The cartoon aired for the majority of 1986, while the toy series—which wasn’t very extensive, but was certainly cool—was released the same year. Action figures were huge by ’80s standards, and all came with awesome attachable accessories.

11. GI Joe
GI JoseImage credits: Zaykask and Shutterstock. Editorial use only.

GI Joe dates from the 1960s when Hasbro released a line of 12-inch action figures. However, in 1982, a new line of more miniature 3.75-inch figures hit store shelves around the world. The ’80s concept followed a fight between the military GI Joe team and the nefarious Cobra organization.

The toys were accompanied by a 1983 cartoon series, a 1987 animated film, and a 1989 cartoon series – and production of the “A Real American Hero” line of toys continued until 1994. They were wildly varied and a lot of fun to play. In addition to statistics, they showed vehicles, playsets, and more.

12. Manta Force
Retro Toys & Games https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDe1PoExD3QScreen capture from the Manta Force Bluebird commercial, courtesy of Retro Toys and Cartoons

Of the entries on our list, this is probably the least people expect to see. There was no MANTA Force cartoon, only a line of Bluebird toys that began in 1987 and ended in 1991, available almost exclusively in Great Britain. The franchise initially featured two main factions – the heroic Manta Force and the evil Viper Squad – but other enemies later emerged as the robotic Karnoids and the swamp-dwelling Stanchoids.

The action figures were small, which made the vehicles the best features of these toys – and they were great. MANTA Force is one of the most playable lines of toys ever made – and that’s no exaggeration.

This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Headshot of Kristin Stones, St + Aim

Kristin Stones is the founder of Cents + Purpose, an online community dedicated to sharing practical personal finance content. Their mission is to equip women with the tools and knowledge they need to take back control of their money and lead more purposeful lives. She creates actionable content to help her viewers achieve financial well-being using her simplistic approach to money management – ​​all based on her personal experience of paying off a nearly $55,000 loan in less than two years. learned through

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