Thursday, April 25, 2013

Action Captain by Sungold

In an effort to "cash-in" on the popularity of movies by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sungold produced Action Captain. The figure below re-uses the Galaxy Warriors' body with a new head sculpt meant to look like Arnold. The Sungold label can be seen on the bottom left corner of the blister card.

Not all of the Action Captain figures used a new head sculpt. The two figures below use the sculpt of the Galaxy Warrior Rahh, with the addition of a painted-on mustache. 

A close-up of "Rahh the Action Captain" (below), plus a cool accessory, a 1980's military style phone.

This figure (below) has the head of the Galaxy Warrior Triton with a painted-on beard.

And this figure (below) is Triton with blonde hair.

Was the Action Captain "knocked-off"?
Some other figures were released under the Action Captain title, but on different blister cards without the Sungold label. The above "Captains" in this post seem to be of a higher quality than the figures shown below. The quality of the figures below, particularly their arms and heads, are not as good, and their blister cards do not have the Sungold label. Also, the blister card art has been changed to incorporate allusions to the movie Terminator.
    Additionally, the heads seem to be somewhat "shrunken" compared to the Rahh heads used in the above figures. This shrunken-head syndrome seems to be common among later re-releases of Sungold figures, even Galaxy Warriors. [For more information on Galaxy Warrior re-releases and shrunken-head examples, please see What are the Galaxy Warriors?]
    It is unclear at this time if Sungold was connected to the Action Captain figures shown below, or if those figures were "knock-offs" of the above figures. If the sub-par Action Captains are still Sungold figures, then we can safely say they are later releases, while the higher quality figures above come from the first release of the Action Captain line.

Galaxy Adventure Girl by Sungold

In 1985 Sungold continued its "knock-off" ways by copying Mattel's She-Ra and Galoob's Golden Girl. The Golden Girl line is just as good, if not superior to, the She-Ra line. In comparison, Galaxy Adventure Girl is not overly exciting and doesn't match the level of coolness and uniqueness that Sungold reached with the Galaxy Warriors. Information on the Golden Girl toy-line can be found on the excellent site, The Lair on Storm Isle.

Galoob's Golden Girl:

Mattel's She-Ra:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Deevil on Imperial dragon

The Galaxy Warrior Deevil riding a cool dragon from Imperial's Dragons, Knights and Daggers toy-line. The beasts from the Imperial line are great for Galaxy Warriors, and they are easier to find than the four beasts from the Warriors line. Deevil was part of the "Swords & Sorcerers" release of Galaxy Warrior figures. The official name of this beast is Sabertooth Serpent.

Fantasy Toy Spotlight: Speclatron

Speclatron, made by S&T Sales around 1984, is an interesting line that used a muscled hero body similar to the Galaxy Warriors. These figures carried shields that were taken from either the Galaxy Warriors or Galaxy Fighters lines, and they all had clear torsos filled with liquid and glitter. Some figures had swords and some had guns. A nice little post about these figures by the Knock-Off Collector can be found HERE.

Left to Right: Speclatron's Hero, Galaxy Warriors' Dino Man.

The Speclatron figure, Deemin, released under a new toy-line title, Aquamen (below).

The Flexatron figures I posted about earlier were also made by S&T Sales and at least some of those figures designs and accessories were just copied from the Speclatron line.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fantasy Toy Spotlight: DinosaurRider

The DinosaurRider is a fairly cool robot, and made specifically to be ridden by He-Man and other similarly sized figures. If you want to take your Galaxy Warrior collection in a science-fiction direction then adding a giant robot dinosaur to your display is not a bad way to go. This is assuming that you can actually find a DinosaurRider to add to your collection.

The best thing about this toy is its packaging that shows the DinosaurRider being used with He-Man, Moss Man, and Two-Bad from Mattel's Masters of the Universe (MOTU). We can safely say that the makers of this toy did not actually get permission to use MOTU figures in its advertising. I like the last bullet point on the box: "More fun if you put a toy man on the auto-swaying saddle."

DinosaurRider and He-Man? Somebody was just asking to get sued with this marketing idea.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


My page The Frazetta Connection is finally complete.

What "Galaxy"? Fantasy vs. Science-Fantasy

[If you are not very familiar with the Galaxy Warriors, then it might be best to start with What are the Galaxy Warriors? before coming back here to discuss their "genre affiliation".]

The most apparent influence for Sungold's Galaxy Warriors is the Masters of the Universe (MOTU) toy-line produced by Mattel. MOTU was the influence for the name "Galaxy Warriors", which is a rephrasing of the MOTU name, and it was also the economic inspiration that made Sungold actually produce an action figure line. Sungold wanted to "cash-in" on MOTU's huge profits by making similar muscular figures with the same scale and look of He-man and other MOTU figures. Sungold hoped that by copying the appearance of MOTU figures, consumers would purchase and use Galaxy Warriors alongside their "real" MOTU figures. However, despite their obvious similarities, Galaxy Warriors differentiates itself from its MOTU "roots" through its design influences and through the fact that Galaxy Warriors creates a fantasy atmosphere that, in its simplicity, is more barbaric and violent than the vastly detailed world of the Masters of the Universe.
      MOTU characters inhabit a world that is a wonderful mix of sword-wielding fantasy and science-fiction elements like lasers, hovercraft, and cyborgs. The MOTU world can be accurately described as a world of science-fantasy, and it should be considered one of the premiere examples of this genre found in all of popular culture. In comparison, the world presented to us by the Galaxy Warriors (GW) toys lacks the technology and science found in the MOTU world, which actually removes GW from the realms of science-fiction and science-fantasy, and places it squarely in the realm of sword and sorcery or "sword-and-sandals."            
For details on this book, see Amazon.

       The sword and sorcery genre was started by Robert E. Howard with his gripping stories of Conan and Kull. Similar to Conan, the Galaxy Warriors are presented as physically foreboding barbarians that fight with axes, swords, and no body armor except for a shield. Conan is also the inspiration for MOTU's great hero, He-Man. 
       In essence, the Galaxy Warriors' name was meant to mimic Masters of the Universe, but the actual design of the figures themselves effectively renders the "Galaxy" portion of the name null-and-void. Thus, the only science-fiction element in the Galaxy Warriors line is the name Galaxy Warriors.
       Maybe the lack of science fiction elements in the GW line was due to budget restrictions, but I believe there is a good chance that Sungold made a conscious decision to not include sci-fi elements. After all, Sungold drew a lot of design inspiration from the fantasy paintings of Frank Frazetta, and none of the paintings we can directly trace back to the GW line include any sci-fi elements. For details about the Frazetta influence please see, The Frazetta Connection
      The budget restriction theory only goes so far when we consider that Sungold sculpted twelve unique and detailed heads and four large beasts for the line. It would have been simple for them to make one head a cyborg or robot. Also, it would have been easy to make one of the accessories a gun, or one of the beasts into a small flying machine or vehicle.
      Producing muscular action figures was definitely a by-product of the success Mattel was having with MOTU. And even though they were creating cheap "knock-off" toys that mimicked the scale and musculature of He-Man, Sungold still managed to place their figures into a primitive sword & sorcery world that is very different than the science-fantasy world of He-Man and MOTU.

Were other "knock-off" lines fantasy or science-fantasy?

1. Galaxy Fighters (Sewco):
The Galaxy Fighters, which drew their inspiration mostly from Galaxy Warriors actually steps into the science-fantasy realm because their line included a vehicle with guns called the Demon Fighter (below).

The Demon Fighter is the only element in the Galaxy Fighters line that can be considered science-fantasy. To read about the strange connections between the Galaxy Warriors and the Galaxy Fighters, go HERE

2. Defenders of the Planets (Sparkle):

The Defenders of the Planets (DoP) was a MOTU knock-off line that mimicked MOTU more closely than Galaxy Warriors did. Produced in 1985, DoP had only 6 figures, most of which were derived from He-Man character types. 

The DoP line has some cool beasts and Canis Major and Weaponsmaster are pretty cool looking figures. This line is mostly fantasy based, but the figure Strongarm, who is a knock-off of MOTU's Trap Jaw, is an obvious cyborg. The inclusion of that one cyborg makes this small line a science-fantasy line. The DoP are rare and hard to find, especially the beasts.

Left to Right: Canis Major, Orion, Strongarm the cyborg, and Weaponsmaster.
3. Fantasy World (Soma):

Produced in 1983, Fantasy World included eight figures and one beast, and all fit purely in the fantasy genre. This line included no guns or machines or cyborgs, and the figures themselves were not the standard hunched muscleman body type used for MOTU, Galaxy Warriors, and the Defenders of the Planets.

Art work from the back of a Fantasy World blister card.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fantasy Toy Spotlight: Flexatron

These figures come from the Flexatron line. I don't know much about them, but the figure on the left has a red shield that looks like the plain shield that came with some Galaxy Warriors. The figure on the left has a shield that came with Galaxy Fighters toys.

Lord of Insects?

Lord of Insects was a four figure knock-off line trying to copy the Sectaurs toy-line made by Coleco. However, the heads and torsos of these figures are copies of Galaxy Warriors.

A figure from Coleco's Sectaurs, the "inspiration" for Lord of Insects.
General Agus (below) has the head of the Galaxy Warrior Thor.
General Agus from the Lord of Insects.
Ork (below) has the head of the Galaxy Warrior Deevil. This "insect" version of Deevil was copied in the knock-off line Turly Gang.
Ork from the Lord of Insects.
Triton with a beard?!
Professor Orio (below) has the head of Triton from the Galaxy Warriors, with a beard painted on his face.

The Galaxy Warriors Triton with a painted on beard.
Vidar (below) is harder to pin down. His head may be taken from the Galaxy Warrior Rahh, or from a figure in some other toy-line.

The legs are the only part of these figures not copied from Galaxy Warriors, and they are made to resemble the legs found on Sectaurs figures (below).

Monday, April 15, 2013

Galaxy Warriors display.

Galaxy Warriors displayed in front of Masters of the Universe Classics figures. They may be considered "knock-offs" but they still look cool. From left to right: Spikes, Anubi, Thor, Deevil and Huk.

Woolworth's 1987 "Galaxy Warriors"

In 1987 Woolworth produced its own toy-line called Galaxy Warriors. These figures where die-cast metal and have no resemblance to Sungold's action figures of the same name. It is interesting to note that Woolworth appears to have trademarked the name when they released their toys. This could be a reason as to why Sungold re-released their Galaxy Warriors under the name Freedom Fighters.