Last year there was a thread in the General Toy Talk section of the Action Figure Insider forum called: Whats Your Pride and Joy? It was a cool topic and I remember posting: “I think right now my Pride and Joy is my humble collection of 3 3/4″ scale vintage figures.” Since then I planned on blogging about that answer. But, of course, there were collections that happened to be a piece or two away from being complete. “I’ll do the blog as soon as I get one more TRON frisbee,” the refrain would go. Finally I came to terms with the fact that I will always have a little collection that’s not quite complete. So, here follows a series of portraits of my Pride and Joy, as it stands right now…
I suppose my love for this particular scale and era is primarily nostalgic. I remember having and playing with many of these figures. In fact, some of these mini-collections began with me still having a piece or two from my childhood. Then, years ago, I discovered Kevin Lentz’s 3 3/4 Inch Archives. More than anything else, that old archive has instigated my desire to track down many of these small lines of figures.
Now, for most folks, “vintage 3 3/4” means Star Wars and G.I. Joe. And those lines are big for me, too. But I kinda get overwhelmed when presented with the task of completing collections of that scale. These smaller lines were easier to get my head around (and quicker with the satisfaction of completing!)
Mattel FLASH GORDON 1979-1980
This was the first mini-line I collected and completed. I just love these figures as I loved the Filmation cartoon. Colorful and diverse and fanciful. However, as I’ve made known ad infinitum I long for just a few more figures to complete this series. It needs a Dale Arden and Prince Barin. And Princess Aura. At the time, snagging a Vultan with wings proved to be my most expensive figure. And, so, he remains a favorite.
Remco UNIVERSAL MINI MONSTERS 1979
This little set can prove costly to acquire. I had been watching eBay listings for quite a while without even getting one. Then, when visiting Professor Pickett, we took a trip to Frank & Sons. In one booth I noticed a full set of these Universal Monsters in a glass cabinet. I asked to look at a couple and they were minty mint. The joints make that crack when I moved them. The seller gave me a great deal on the whole set. I was a happy collector that day.
Mego THE LOVE BOAT 1981
I’ve always thought it was hilarious that MEGO made Love Boat figures. But I’m glad they did. Its exactly the kind of pop culture kitsch I love.
Mattel BATTLESTAR GALACTICA 1978-1979
I rewatched the classic Battlestar Galactica series as I was finishing up collecting this line. I knew I wanted to blog about it and figured I should refresh my memory since I had not watched it since childhood. Boray with his club proved to be the difficult figure to get in this line. I finally broke down, exasperated, and spent more than I’d care to admit on that little brown piece of plastic. My buddy SpyMagician cast me some pistol and rifle replicas to save me from bankrupting myself further! As you all probably know, there is a lighter tan variant of Muffit.
Tomy TRON 1981
I recall needing the Warrior’s staff and stumbling on one at a local toy show. After buying it I looked around for a while more. Just before leaving I double checked my bag and, low and behold, there was a hole at the bottom and no staff. Ugg. So I very carefully retraced my steps throughout the entire auditorium. Believe it or not I found the staff on the floor under some other vendor’s table. What a relief!
Mattel CLASH OF THE TITANS 1980
Here’s another line that cried for more figures. I’ve got a pretty thorough wish list in my blog about the series. Last year at the Anaheim Comic Con I had Harry Hamlin initial the back of my Perseus figure. For some reason he thought that was pretty cool. I still do not own the Kraken that completes this collection. Some day.
Mego THE DUKES OF HAZZARD 1981
Speaking of Anaheim Comic Con … I was down to needing the two police officers in this Dukes of Hazzard line when I was looking around a table of very random toys an old lady had at that show. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted both Rosco and Cletus. Carded. (You seem to be good luck to my vintage hunting, Professor Pickett!) The only thing that threw me was that Cletus’s had a bent right arm. I remembered him having a straight right arm. Well, whatever. I made a deal and got them both. After some more research I came to find that Rosco and Cletus both have straight and bent arm variants. Oh, and don’t forget that Daisy has two variants as well.
Mego BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY 1979
I had just a couple figures from this line when I saw a Canadian auction for the whole set. I watched patiently and ended up winning it for a good price. Unfortunately, the package got lost in the mail. I was pretty sick about it. Not even so much for the lost money. It was upsetting to think that a pretty mint complete Buck Rogers vintage collection was just lost. Finally, after a couple months of correspondence with the seller, it turned out that the post office had the box but couldn’t read the address! Bidi-bidi-bidi!
Mattel MORK & MINDY 1980
What, no Mindy?
Galoob THE A-TEAM 1984
The pure awfulness of the action figures in this line is offset by the pure kick-ass-ness of the van. Which is hard to find and rather expensive when ya do. The bad guys all have the same legs. They’re the Rolled-Up-Pants gang. I love it when a collection comes together.
Kenner STAR WARS 1983-1985
OK, here’s a little Star Wars representation. A mini-collection within the larger line. The first four Ewoks to be released are common and easy to acquire. The second four, not so much. Its not that they aren’t out there for the buying. They’re just kinda pricey. So just be patient and watch lots of auctions. One time I took this set of figures out in the woods to photograph “on location”. As I was forcing Teebo’s axe into his hand (not a good fit) I lost control and it flew away. I spent the next half hour sifting through leaves and pine needles looking for it, to no avail. It was back to the auction block for another little piece of brown plastic.
LJN ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS 1983-1984
This is by far one of my favorite toy lines as a kid. I gushed about it here. I am still missing Peralay’s small sword. This is, of course, just the first wave. There is a second, more rare, wave that maybe someday (when I get a raise) I’ll go about piecing together. I do have all the monsters and beasts from this first wave but no longer have the Fortress of Fangs. Else3573 has been accumulating a nice collection of the more rare AD&D pieces, including the ultra-rare Cave Fisher wind-up, and has been posting about it in this thread in Vintage Varieties.
Tri-Star M*A*S*H 1982
Here’s another line that cracks me up, if only for the Klinger-in-Drag variant. It pure awesome that Tri-Star went the extra mile with that figure. Not a terribly difficult line to collect but I did have a surprisingly hard time getting a hold of the generic G.I., which is just Hawkeye with blonde hair. Can’t say for sure if both he and Hot Lips are natural blondes.
Mego THE BLACK HOLE 1979-1980
And then there’s The Black Hole. Which is what you’ll call your wallet if you actually collect the entire line. What you see here is the more common first wave. Well, the Sentry is from the second wave but was the only figure in that wave to be released in the United States. The other three figures, Humanoid, Old B.O.B., and S.T.A.R. were only released in Canada and Italy. They are all super rare. As in, you will pay a grand for a loose Humanoid. So, I decided to take my Black Hole portrait sans those figures since they won’t be joining the party any time soon!
I do have a couple other mini-collections in the works. Right now I’m focusing on Gabriel’s Zorro and Lone Ranger lines. And I search on the regular for the vintage LJN Magnum P.I. with Ferrari. But, as it stands, I’m pretty happy with my little collection of little collections.