My Pride and Joy
February 21, 2012

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.

TAGS:
Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann
Action figure anthropologist, Professor Cantina Dan Neumann has been a scholastic contributor to the online community studying the complex world of parumplasticus populus {little plastic people} since the turn of this millenium. His primary focus is the visual cataloging of species exhibits through photo-journalism.
Read other articles by Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann.

 

 

 

36 Comments »

  • Erik superfriend says:

    Dan, Fantastic stuff. I’m sure you could write a blog about each of these! Now get to work!

  • Clutch says:

    Boy, those Toy Gods have been kind to you, my friend. Some thoughts: 1. Topol and Brian Blessed made overweight guys positively collectible. 2. Classic monsters never go out of style. 3. The Love Boat crew would make for a hilarious USS Flagg diorama. Think “Sink the Montana” with Stubing as a Cobra. 4. The Battlestar Galactica line is far underrated when compared to Star Wars. 5. TRON deserved a second wave and more vehicles. 6. Ditto for Clash of the Titans. 7. I want to see a Dukes vs. Dreadnoks diorama with Boss Hogg selling moonshine to Zartan. 8. See number #4 above. 9. Anyone who shared my crush on Pam Dawber feels your pain. 10. If only they’d ditched those Skittles suits! 11. Lumat and Warok are Chirpa’s twins. I couldn’t tell those dudes apart. 12. You’re missing Peralay’s sword. I just need that AND Peralay! 13. The M*A*S*H cast makes for great additions to your G.I. Joe infirmary. Winchester would drive Doc and Lifeline up the wall! 14. Your only chance to have Ernest Borgnine and Anthony Perkins join the Great Plastic Universe. To sum up: AWESOME blog and pics as always. Can’t wait for Part II. Bring on the Gabriel goodness!

    • Danny CantinaDan says:

      Awesome comments, Clutch! Agree wholeheartedly with everything. Bug Daniel to write a blog about Ernest Borgnine action figures.

  • Miss Pretticute says:

    While I had fun last night packing your JLU guys for your big move, these would have been way more fun for a girl who’s pop culture obsessed and in love with anything vintage (just FYI for next time). Loved reading about them though.. you crack me up.

    • Danny CantinaDan says:

      Well, gotta say I loved watching you pack up my JLU collection, Professor Pretticute. Not every, ahem, colleague, would be willing to do that! Especially enjoyed the questions. ie: “Does this guy’s (Waverider) outfit count as a Yellow Track Suit?”

  • Jasper says:

    wow! I missed those A Team toys. I used to have the good guys. Feeling nostalgic now…

  • demoncat says:

    cool collections there. for can not believe of the black hole old bob and the other robots can run a grand to have. plus remember having that werduke from the d&d line. as for mash think that blonde is suppose to be their attempt at hot lips . though can not believe some toy exec wasted plastic on moffit that thing looked like the love child of a cylon and dr. whos k9

    • Danny CantinaDan says:

      Believe it or not, Moffit was actually played by a chimp inside that suit! And, yeah, I’d really really like an Old B.O.B. But I’ve even seen the value increase in the couple years I’ve been watching. Sheesh.

  • Chip Cataldo says:

    I love this blog, Danny. I’ll tell ya something about your photography, too…you could take shots of a turd and they’d be amazing. :-)

    • Danny CantinaDan says:

      Thanks, Chip! Means a lot. Well, at least I’m not having to take photos of a bunch of highly reflective metallic action figures! Cause that stuff is hard to shoot! ;)

  • Dean Schaeffer says:

    Have Twikki & Buck’s fighter. I know where to get one or two other figures and a Draconian Raider ship. This showcase is impressive! I love it!

  • George says:

    Great collection.

  • Hourman says:

    Best part of AFI.

  • Mario says:

    Chip’s right about the photography. Killer!

    Dan, I tell ya, we have the same taste in toys, that’s for sure. I also have all the Gabriel figs, form both lines. All I’m missing is Amigo’s horse, Picaro. I’ll tell ya though, it’s a pretty tough line to complete in terms of acquiring minty specimens. Legend of the Lone Ranger is definitely a little easier to put together than Zorro… Took me almost ten years.

    Anyways, great blogging as usual.

    • Danny CantinaDan says:

      Thanks, Mario! Wish I could’ve include MEGO Comic Action Heroes in this blog, but that’s another “in progress” collection. Zorro and Lone Ranger are tough because of those little guns and swords. You almost HAVE to collect it carded whether you want to or not.

      • Mario says:

        You’re absolutely right! Or like the crazy nostalgic collector in all of us, you buy multiple examples until you can piece together the perfect specimen. The Zorro that proudly sits in my collection was actually ripped from a really clean card… My friend wanted to murder my azz for that. You gotta do what you gotta do.

        • Mario says:

          That said, are you into Mego’s Pocket Super Heroes as well?

          • Danny Cantina-Dan says:

            Not so much with the Pocket Super Heroes. I do watch them, though. Just focusing on the bent knee club right now. I’m sure if the day comes that I complete CAH’s my attention will be diverted to the PSH’s! :)

        • Danny Cantina-Dan says:

          So true. I have three incomplete and one complete Zorro. Geez. Oh, and ripping vintage figures from cards. I hesitate to say how many of the figures pictured above came from that same scenario. There’s probably a level of hell reserved for us.

  • Teaessare says:

    A remarkable collection. But what about the Universal Monsters glow-in-the-dark gill man variant?

    • Danny Cantina-Dan says:

      Haha, I actually DO have the glow in the dark version of The Creature from the Black Lagoon. But that’s it. They actually made glow versions of all the characters.

  • turnbolt says:

    We need to get you a Magnum P.I.

    Love your loose collection. It is looking great. Is it just me or is Issac the coolest 3 + 3/4 figure ever or what?

  • Tony C says:

    Fantastic collection! Some of these lines are real head-scratchers (I mean, how are kids supposed to play with M*A*S*H action figures?) I seem to recall a CHiPs line in this scale. Ponch and Jon chasin’ down the Duke boys would make for a sweet series of pictures!

  • else3573 says:

    Great article Dan! Thanks for the shoutout in the AD&D section. I really love that line, and as far as I know, I’m one of the few people who have both a loose and a carded Cave Fisher.

    • else3573 says:

      *I forgot to mention, really dig the displays and the pictures you take. The Dukes of Hazard one is great, so is the A Team. Totally jealous of all your cool mini lines, but in a good way. I someday plan on collecting those Flash Gordon figures.

  • Excellent post with some really nice photos! This is a perfect example of Action Figure collecting done right!

    I just love the variety of the unique toy lines you’ve collected here. Heck a wife or girlfriend might even allow a collection like this on the shelf!

    Thanks for sharing your awesome collection! Btw I’m totally jealous :[

  • Laslo Hollyfeld says:

    Great article, you’ve got some of my personal favorite action figure lines included here – thanks for sharing! I always saw the Flash Gordon figures as a child but couldn’t understand why they didn’t look like the characters in the movie, I didn’t know back then that they were based on a cartoon (?!).

    I managed to attain a complete set of the Remco Monsters (including the carry case/play-set), a complete set of Battlestar Galactica (sans Boray’s club, of course) and a complete set of Black Hole figures – all within the last 2 years. I was really surprised because I had figured (no pun intended) that attaining these collections would be costly and hunting them down would be tedious.

    Best score of the bunch though was the Humanoid – I found one in a ziploc baggie (complete with robe AND boots) with old Star Wars figures at a local toy show; the entire bag cost me 10$. The Humanoid is missing his right thumb, but other than that, it’s good as gold. Never stop searching garage sales, flea markets etc, you’d be surprised at what you’ll find for a fraction of the prices on Ebay :)

  • Quirk29 says:

    Hey, great collections and photos, very informative. I have two 3 3/4 inch figures that I can’t identify. They have no manufacturing markings at all. Both are prolly “evil” with skull and crossbones on their outfits. Boss is in white with red v shirt, black boots, white hair, black fu manchu type mustache and beard. the henchman looks like a nazi stormtrooper, all red with black. Any idea who they are? I could send photos if needed. Thanks.

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