Between all the Transformers, Star Wars, and GI Joe toys of the 80s, seems like a lot of toylines didn't get enough credit for turning little kids into battlesome freaks. So, this article is a tribute to those secondary toylines...they may not have been that popular, but a lot of sure sure liked them...
First off, we have Wheeled Warriors. Or, more correctly, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. The name isn't important, what is important though lies in the fact that you could finally live out your dream of owning your very own mutant monster car. You could interchange the wheels, weapons, and assorted parts between the vehicles, so you know what that means...lots of lost parts. In fact, within one week of owning two Wheeled Warriors vehicles, all I had left were wheel-less shells of monster vehicles that couldn't roll much less pose a threat to each other on the toy battlefield. But, they were still kinda cool.
Super Naturals! These were so ghetto. After the Visionaries toyline flunked, toymakers everywhere tried to figure out a way to make a popular toyline that included the use of holograms, and Super Naturals were born. Though their stint on toy shelves was short, they were some kickass figures. A lot of you won't remember this, but holograms were a big fad back in the day. I remember my parents coming home with this framed clown hologram that cost about 150 bucks. They were ushering this thing into our living room like it was the second coming of Christ. Well, for 4.99 they couldn't just bought one of these figures, got their hologram, and had a mini-comic and glow-in-the-dark sword to boot! Suckers.
That brings us to Mask. Mask has one of the biggest cult followings around as far as silly toys go...unfortunately, I'm not personally an authority on these. What I can tell you is that these souped-up vehicles came with little human figures that had power-increasing helmets. Sadly, I'm a bit biased against them, cuz everytime I hear their name all I can think about is that weird movie with Cher and that guy with the fucked up face. Either way, you can consider this toyline a success among the 'indy circuit'.
Inhumanoids! A long while back I talked about my undying love for the giant green monster figure from this line, Tendril. I *really* liked these toys. They were fucking giant. My neighbor had that stupid My Buddy doll, and walked around with it as if they were pretending to be some proudly gay couple. I opted for these giant monsters as companions. The only bad thing about them was the fact that, as soon as you dropped them, their heads would pop off and you'd never be able to get them back on. And let's face it, there wasn't a toy any of us had that wasn't dropped on the floor at least 24 times a day.
Fire! Water! Water beats Fire! Water! Wood...Wood beats Water. Here are Battle Beasts, who managed to upstage those little pink M.U.S.C.L.E. figures in the coolness department through use of color, weapons, articulation, and yes, rub-signs! You could play a weird version of Rock, Paper, Scissors with these, but more importantly than that, for figures that were under 2" tall, they looked fantastic.
These toys may not have had very long lives, but they still played a major role in the childhoods of 80s children. And now that those kids are all grown up, they've decided they want to buy back some childhood memories, which is why these things fetch so much cash nowadays at collectible shops, and of course, eBay.
So, today we pay tribute, not to those toys that everybody had and loved, but to those secondary lines that a lot of us cherished despite their unfortunate lack of total domination of the Toys R Us circulars.