Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Top 10 Favorite Vintage Action Figures of All Time

When I first thought about writing this post I thought it would be a snap, but it is has been hard as heck. It's like trying to pick which one of your children are your favorite. You just can't do it because you love them all equally. So I broke it down between the figures I played with most as a kid, the design of the figure, and the uniqueness. Man it was still hard.

10. Vintage Kenner Imperial Gunner

The Empire's gunners, who operate their turbo lasers aboard their Star Destroyer's and the main super laser aboard the Death Star, are just too cool. For some reason this guy reminds me of K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider. Must be the red visor. This figure should have been released in the first or second wave of Kenner's Star Wars line, but wasn't until the final wave of action figures. Like the Cloud Car and T.I.E. Fighter pilots, Kenner was behind the 8 ball on this one, as both the Death Star and Darth Vader's Star Destroyer playsets were discounted by the time this figure came out. Good thing I still had mine. Finally, someone to man the guns.

9. Vintage Kenner Anakin Skywalker

The figure that was released in the final wave of figures and the last of Kenner's mail in offers. Didn't really play with this one much as I was getting older and wasn't really playing with my toys (boy times have changed), but I was still collecting and actually never stopped. This figure is cool because it is now a character that was replaced by the new trilogies version of Anakin. I am sure poor Sebastian Shaw will be completely deleted in some re-released version of Return of the Jedi sooner or later.

8. Vintage Kenner Luke Skywalker (X-wing Pilot)

My first Star Wars action figure. I just love the detailing of this figure and probably one the first figures to have so much attention of detailed paid to it. From the Rebel Forces insignia on his helmet, to the blast shield tucked up in the helmet. Another one of those that came out after the vehicle was made action figures, but at least Kenner was still producing X-Wings when this one came out.

8. Vintage Mego Robin

Where there is a Batman, there needs to be a Boy Wonder. I very rarely didn't get a new Robin whenever I received a new Batman. Mainly because a would throw a fit if I didn't get both. Hey, can't have a Dynamic Duo without both. A very nicely done figure from the first wave of Mego's World Greatest Super Heroes line. Minus the oven mitt gloves an awesome figure. Poor guy can't hold on to anything expect a baking sheet with those darn things on.

7. Vintage Princess Leia (Bespin Gown)

My first female character action figure that I didn't think of as a doll. She was more just like one of the guys. I always liked the look of this figure. Probably because I thought Princess Leia actually looked like a Princess in this dress. Hey Leia, will you express your true feelings for me in the South passage?

6. Vintage Mego Superman

The Man of Steel himself. Like Mego's Robin, another well done figure from the first wave. I wish he had a better belt, but still a nice looking figure. Oh, and I wish Mego would have continued to put the "S" shield sticker on the capes like they did originally, Cheapskates!

5. Vintage Kenner Robin (Super Powers)

Very detailed and nicely done version of the Teen Wonder. I like the karate action feature as well. It kind reminds of David Lee Roth in the Van Halen video "Hot for Teacher." I've got it bad...got it bad...got it bad...I am hot for toys.

4. Vintage Kenner Darth Vader

The Dark Lord of the Sith. He had a nasty reputation as a cruel ass dude. They said he was ruthless, they said he was crude. Darth Vader was a staple in and still is in my toy collection. I am truly a man of peace, but boy did I dig the Empire's minions.

3. Vintage Luke Skywalker (Bespin Outfit)

My Star Wars collection was born in 1980 and I received 3 of these for my birthday that year. I wanted to open only one and keep the other two sealed, but my friends talked me into opening the others to act as clones. Will the real Luke Skywalker please stand up. This figure came with sun in yellow and golden brown hair.  Luke wore this outfit throughout most The Empire Strikes Back. From his landing on Dagobah, his Jedi training, and his light saber duel with Darth Vader. Boy, he must have been ripe. He was lucky Lando pulled him in the Millennium Falcon and didn't leave him outside. Dude, you need some right and left guard.

2. Vintage Kenner Boba Fett

A fearsome interplanetary bounty hunter and a threat to the Rebel Alliance especially Han Solo. Originally planned to have a firing rocket mechanism Kenner pulled the plug on that idea. We'd have to wait 32 years to see that one come to fruition. Although the rockets pack worked great. Just add two bottle rockets and way he goes. This time Kenner got it right. None of this releasing a character after discontinuing the ship or playset. Not only did the action figure come before his ship Slave I. It came before his movie appearance in The Empire Strikes Back. Although, he was later added to the Special Edition version of Star Wars. So, I guess it wasn't before his first movie appearance. Oh, wait, or was it? I feel some major paradox about to occur. In to the time machine Boba, we're sending you back to the future. Or past...or whatever.

1. Vintage Removable Cowl Batman

My first Mego action figure and the figure responsible for starting it all. It is so cool to be able to remove his cowl to reveal Bruce Wayne underneath. It was like having two figures in one. This figure remained pretty much untouched for the entire run of the line accept for, you guessed it, changing it to a molded cowl. Again, Cheapskates.

Honorable Mentions:

Vintage Mego Shazam

With a guy able to summon awesome forces by uttering a single word, Shazam! And having his own TV series, I had to give this one honorable mention. This guy along with Superman were the muscle in the group. I don't know what it was about this figure especially since there were some inaccuracies in the costume design, but I guess, which of Mego's early figures didn't? The yellow and red colors just work for me. Glad they didn't make a Mentor figure too. Mentor? What kind of name is Mentor. That's a job title. Not a name.

Vintage Kenner Han Solo in Carbonite

I had such a fascination with being able to freeze things from using Mr. Freeze's or Captain Cold's freeze guns to freezing things in carbonite. So, this figure was right up my alley. Kenner must have thought this figure was cool too because they didn't produce one carbonite frozen Han Solo, but two. Count them...two. Fist released with Slave I and then a separate re-designed action figure that you could actually remove or place inside a separate Han Solo. How awesome is that.

Like I was saying this was a hard one. I might as well have written a post about my whole collection. Let me hear from you on what you like about these action figures and what your favorites are.


  1. Some excellent choices and to be honest i don't remember ever seeing that Imperial Gunner. I might have to find one of these he has this sinister look to him i sort of like.

  2. I like that the first Han in carbonite is sculpted to reflect the toys's stance (hands at the side) rather than reflect the actual prop'e appearance. Out of this list, the only one I had was the Super Powers Robin. I still have it, actually, sans the cape. Oh, I had the 90s reissue of the Han in carbonite that came with Slave I also.

  3. wow! that's a wonderful list! i adore all the kenner superpowers and the ROTLA indiana jones figures. am also mad about the remco mini monsters...

  4. Hard to beat those Megos- loved them all! Now the Star Wars figures were a separate period of toys of course, and consumed me thereafter, along with GI Joes & He-Man. It WOULD be hard to pick only ten, but you really hot some great ones- the Bespin Luke was a favorite of mine, too. I liked it so much better than the original- he came with a separate lightsaber AND blaster!

  5. JBoy- The Imperial Gunner was released in the last wave of Kenner's Star Wars line. He had a limited run compared to the other figures in the line. That might be why you don't remember him. He also kind of reminds me of Masked Racer X or maybe a hangman/executioner type.

  6. Mario- I am a screen accurate kind of guy, but yes the carbonite block is a fitting design for the action figure itself. I find the plastic rings in the capes of the Super Powers collection tend to break. Then the cape doesn't snap in place and is easy to get disregarded. I believe the 90's re-issue of the Han Solo in carbonite from that version of Slave I is actually silver like it should be.

  7. Debs@ Vintage Action Figure- I want to complete my Super Powers line collection. It is very well done line. I always wanted the Indiana Jones action figures too, but never bought them. However, I do have the 12 inch version that Kenner produced of Indiana Jones. I had Mego's Mummy action figure, but no longer have it. Frankenstein scared me too death as a kid. So, I never really got into monster toy collecting.

  8. Colin- It was a tough one. I almost thought of doing it as a top 20, but I might have to do a top 100 maybe. I almost included at least one of my G.I Joes, but the Mego's and Star Wars figures are my pride and joy. Love the Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues) and yes it is way better than the original. I have seen the original design of the the first Luke and it looks way cooler on paper then the finished product. I too liked that the Bespin Luke had a molded lightsaber at his side and he could actually hold a lightsaber and blaster instead having a saber handle permanently molded to his hand.

  9. I had three of the mail-away Boba Fetts..(I gave away 2 of them...)
    I also had most of the 8 inch Mego figures...I used a good portion of my "Disability" back payment..to purchase the newer 12 inch Monsters and Villains....( they sent me a large amount of "back Ray' .... then told me that by Nov. 30th 2011 I Could NOT have more than $2,000.oo in assets or my disability would be cut off ....so I bought these with the money.... my "hero" has always been the Joker.... I had to sale my Death Star Gunner a few years back ...he was one of my favorite figures....

    1. Welcome aboard Dr Theda! Mego's Joker is a really well done action figure and the Imperial Gunner is just awesome. I can't believe Kenner waited until the end of the original line to produce him. He should have been part of the earlier runs.


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