Fitz’s Toy Chest #9: Superion

Hey guys welcome back.

This week I’m going to break format slightly.

Up until now every installment of Fitz’s Toy Chest has showcased an item that’s been in my collection since childhood. But this week will be a little different…

Every year around Christmas I’m reminded of the one that got away. My “Moby Dick” if you will. This year was no exception, and so I thought for this edition of the Toy Chest I’d share one of the few, possibly ONLY, item I had my heart set on as a child that Santa didn’t deliver on.

I’ve mentioned before what a hardcore Transformers kid I was between ’84 and ’87. It’s hard to believe that all of those Transformers memories took place in 3-ish years.

Transformers were awesome. And yet in 1985 they figured out a way to make transformers robots even AWESOMER.

How could they accomplish that you ask? Simple. By taking transforming robots and giving them the ability to combine together to form and EVEN BIGGER robot. Genius.

The first of these “combiner” teams was the evil Constructicons who, naturally, transformed into various kinds of construction equipment. Dumptrucks, cranes, cement mixers, etc. They could then combine together to form the titanic 50 foot tall Decepticon, Devastator!

When they debuted on the cartoon our minds were completely blown. How would the poor Autobots be able to fight off such a behemoth? And more importantly what would the toy look like? It didn’t take long to find out.

Hasbro release the constructicons both seperately and boxed together in a complete set gift box. I can still see the bright green and purple Constructicons singles hanging on the pegs at Sears (yes at one time Sears was an awesome toy store).

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Is it bad but I can’t recall for sure whether I got the gift set or if I got them individually, but either way I got them and even though the toys didn’t quite fit together as nicely as they did on the cartoon, they were still badass and towered above the puny autobots. (Stay tuned for a future Toy Chest where I dig out my Constructicons…)

Then not long after the Constructicons were released, the answer to my second question came and as usual it came via the cartoon. How would the autobots defeat Devastator? Easy. By creating a combiner team of their own. The Aerialbots.

Aerialbots (Superion)
Company: Hasbro
Acquisition Year: 1985
Acquired via: n/a
Years In Possession: 0

 

Air Raid, Fireflight, Slingshot, Skydive, and their leader Silverbolt (who I shit you not transformed into the Concord)

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These robots in disguise (as various airplanes) could combine together to form Superion, the natural enemy of Devastator.

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I wanted Superion SOOOOO bad. The anticipation for this toy’s release was crazy high. My friend and I would call both Toy Chest AND Children’s Palace multiple times a week to pester the poor clerks there about whether they had Superion in stock just so we could go look at it.

Every time we were met with confusion, irritation, and an inevitable “no”-click.

See the thing is, that first year they were available, it was almost impossible to find them. Like the constructicons, the aerialbots were released as a gift set containing all 5 planes and the pieces to form Superion.

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But UNLIKE the Constructicons, they weren’t release as single toys until later. They were also (if memory serves) released late in the year which made them one of the hottest toys that Christmas.

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I think I managed to see the bundled set once in the store. Ever.

But it didn’t matter. I knew Santa would come through. (Yes, I know I was 12, stf up).

Christmas came and I did not. There was no Superion for me.

It sounds really terrible to talk about how disappointed I was. I got plenty of great stuff that year, and every year. We were lower middle class, we weren’t made of money, but my parents always made sure we never wanted for anything (well, for the most part we never missed out on stuff). So it feels really shitty to still be lamenting this after 30+ years (albeit in an exaggerated way to be humorous)

But still, this was a real bummer. And to make matters worse, my best friend DID get one. Jealous.

So at least I got to play with “a” Superion even if it wasn’t “my” Superion. It was better than nothing.

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With the exception of maybe the Kenner Return of the Jedi sarlacc pit skiff (which was pretty much advertised and never produced meaning it would literally have been impossible to get) I can’t think of anything I wanted for Christmas and didn’t get other than this stupid hunk of metal and plastic.

Looking at it now, that toy is pretty awkward and kind of ugly as hell. I can also remember it being even harder to keep put together than Devastator. The design of its connections were definitely not well thought out, and the big robots body (which was Silverbolt) always had loose joints and stuggled to stay standing upright. Of all the many combiners they would eventually make, I think Superion had the most issues with this and was by far the most fragile.

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To this day, from time to time I circle ebay like a creepy old dude in a van, scoping out prices for a complete Superion. Out of the box it’s really not that pricey relatively speaking. Especially compared to MIB specimens.

One of these days I’m going to pull the trigger on one and fill the hole in my collection.

But for now I’m content just occasionally day dreaming about of one that got away.

Well that’s all for this special edition of the Toy Chest gang. Possibly the last entry of 2018. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to more vintage toy talk in 2019!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays. May you all get the Superion you were wishing for!

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Fitz’s Toy Chest #7: Cobra Commander

Hey gang thanks for joining me for another look into musty toy collection!

So far in this series I’ve covered a couple of Star Wars mail-away figures.  This time I’m sticking with that theme but switching franchises!

In 1982, the first wave of G.I. Joe figures only offered 2 figures for the Joes to fight, a Cobra soldier and a Cobra “officer”. They basically looked identical with just a slight difference in their paint schemes.

Then Hasbro pulled a Kenner and introduced the first G.I. Joe mail in figure.  And it was a DOOZY.  No longer were these two hapless Cobra soldiers running around the battlefield willy nilly, now you could add their supreme leader to the fight!

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I can remember he arrived packed in just a clear plastic bag with his file card.  No cardback or bubble.  Which I should’ve mentioned in the previous mail in posts was the standard for these things.  No fancy packaging whatsoever.

Cobra Commander
Company: Hasbro
Acquisition Year: 1982
Acquired via: Mail-in
Years In Possession: 36

This figure was a bold departure from the color schemes they had been using on these guys. Up until now they had been all greens and browns and navy blues.  But this cat came kitted up in a bright, almost baby, blue dress uniform.

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But what really made him cool was that mirrored face plate.  Unfortunately, it was around this same time that scratch off lottery tickets and other “scratch off” items were getting popular and to my stupid 9 year old brain I thought OH SHIT I wonder if you can scratch that silver off and reveal his real face?  Dumbass.  So that’s why mine is missing some of the silver paint.  Spoilers: there’s nothing underneath it.

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You can also see this one has the chest emblem that was only available on the mail in version of the figure.  Later they did put this guy out as part of other sets and as a carded figure, but the chest logo was tightened up and looks a lot smoother.

I also discovered a bit of trivia while looking up the history of this figure.  This was the last Joe figure to be made with the “straight arm” design, after that all the figures changed over to the swivel arm battle grip.

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Another cool feature of this figure was a unique channel on his back where you could snap his gun in and have him carry it on his back.  Mine never really stayed in place, and was lost to the ages.

This is one of my most prized Joes, and is one of the more rare and valuable loose figures around.  There were a couple of times I nearly parted with this figure during a figure swap of some kind with my cousin who was also way into G.I. Joe (possibly even more than I was).  I was very lucky not to have let this one go.  And even though his face is marred, shockingly his thumbs are still solidly intact!

That’s going to do it for another edition of Fitz’s Toy Chest!  Thanks for reading.  Come back in 2 weeks for another trip to the 80s!

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Fitz’s Toy Chest: #5 – Hound

What’s up guys, welcome back to Fitz’s Toy Chest!

I’ve mentioned it before, but there were 3 main pillars of toy collecting in my life. I’ve shown you pieces from two of them so far, Star Wars and G.I. Joe. This week I’m digging into the third.

In 1983 I started seeing commercials for these new toys that could change from cars and jets into robots. As you can imagine, they blew my mind.

These toys were called GoBots and they were tits. I had at least half a dozen, maybe more. They were small, rugged and pretty inexpensive.

Then, in 1984 I saw something that made GoBots look like the hot garbage they actually were. Commercials started appearing for a line of GoBot killers. They were of course, Transformers.

Hound
Company: Hasbro
Acquisition Year: 1984
Acquired via: Gift
Years In Possession: 34

744.jpgAt first I was resistant. I’m loyal to a fault, even in regards to toys. I didn’t want to like these GoBot ripoffs, but it didn’t take long for them to break me. They were bigger, shinier, more well designed and overall sexier than the the GhettoBots.

Their cartoon was even light years ahead of the shitty Challenge of the GoBots show.

Many of the G1 Transformers were just repackaged and rebranded toys from Japan. They were made with higher quality craftsmanship and the steps to “transform” them were far more complex. They were like action figure Rubik’s Cubes.

Of course they were also way WAY more expensive than GoBots, which presented a challenge for me, a kid from a lower middle income family.

I would obsess over the sale ads in the weekend paper, pointing out which ones were the coolest looking. For some reason I was drawn to the army jeep (maybe because it reminded me of G.I. Joe?)

It took awhile, but one day my dad came home from work with a surprise. My first Transformer. I don’t know where he got it, but it was the jeep, Hound.

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I loved it.

Did I mention the added fun of putting all the decals on yourself? They came completely unadorned with a small sheet of stickers and an instruction booklet. The instructions not only showed you step by step how to transform the toy, but where to put all the stickers.

Much like the Joes, Transformers had a profile card on the packaging. The gimmick with these cards were the ability stats were “encoded” for secrecy. To “decode” them, you placed a thin piece of red trandparent plastic over the card which canceled out the red noise printed over the stat graph. It was genius and captured my imagination.

20180902_152939.jpgOver the next couple years I took it DEEEEP with Transformers. It defined my Christmases in 84/85. It seems like that period lasted so much longer. It’s hard to believe that it was really just 2 years between my first introduction to Transformers and the release of Transformers The Movie which effectively killed my passion for the line for many years. Looking at it now, that movie is fantastic, but it’s hard to watch so many characters meet their brutal end. Definitely scarring for a kid.

Luckily I got over it, and to this day I love the G1 Transformers and enjoy revisiting the original cartoon (fuck you Beast Wars) from time to time.

Well, that’s all for this week guys. Join me again next time for another peek inside Fitz’s Toy Chest!

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