Sectaurs! Not too many of you will remember these classic 80s toys, but they were definitely one of the coolest parts of my childhood. I forget which year it was, but I received a few of these early on a Christmas Eve. I was always given a couple of smaller presents before midnight, this was my parents' polite way of getting me to shut the fuck up and stop asking how many hours were left.
I hadn't heard about Sectaurs up until the point where I ripped off the wrapping paper and saw what was in front of me - a big frigging electronic bug that doubled as a puppet! Whoever made this one really had their finger on the pulse of the working child. Here, take a look...
Now if that isn't the pinnacle of what any 4-8 year old little kid wanted, I don't know what is. It touched all bases - bugs, warriors, puppets, monsters, and jaws that really bite! A toy and a weapon? Once you added in the fact that most of the toys came in that classy window box, resistance was futile.
What were Sectaurs? In true 80s fashion, Sectaurs was a really weird cartoon that took your classic battle between good and evil and put both sides in silly costumes. In this case... 'On the distant planet Symbion, a group of telepathically bonded warriors join with their insect companions in the ultimate battle of survival.' But all that's pretty unimportant. All you need to know is that the heroes were like 7' tall, the bad guys all looked like mutant insects, and the toys could pinch your little sister.
The Ultimate Toy: Sectaurs Hive Playset
You know how your old toy collection had that one Holy Grail - the thing you'd show around to your friends when you wanted instant access to their nightclubs without waiting on a long line? Well, this was it. First off, the Hive was huge. If you matched this thing up against your friend's Snake Mountain, chances are he'd start begging his mother for one before you even got a chance to break his Stinkor figure when he wasn't looking.
Secondly, the Hive had more features than a Swiss Army Knife. It could do everything. It had the infamous trap door & prison which was famous in 80s toy playsets. What's up with that? Everyone thinks of neon and Max Headroom when trying to give the 80s signification. Don't overlook this - toy imprisonment was bigger than Ray Charles Pepsi commercials back then.
As if that wasn't enough, the Hive came complete with Gnar, a monster you - yes you - could puppet. A trap bridge was also here, plus the end-all, be-all: a secret laboratory! Now, why any of these Sectaurs needed a lab is beyond me...all they did was fly into each other on giant insects. Maybe on their off-time they tried to create pupils for their eyes or something.
Either way, here's your chance to relive the magic. Now you can download the actual commercial for the Hive playset! It's a RealPlayer file, 342 KB. Click here to download!
And for more Sectaurs media, you can download another commericial by clicking here. This one involves a lot of insects flying around, dropping the good guys from 50' in the air while some guy in the background drones on about 'evil' for 30 seconds. These commercials were cool. They were split up into 'episodes', which kept all us kids pining for more Sectaurs action everytime we sat down to watch Man-At-Arms fuck up on the weekdays.
And if there was ever any doubt as to the popularity of Sectaurs...take a look at what they got named after them:
Colorforms! Yes! Remember these? They were quite possibly the stupidest idea for a toy on the face of the planet - but we still all loved them. Little plastic cut-outs of characters that you could stick on a background scene, rip off, and stick on again. Unfortunately, that's about all you could do with Colorforms. Add that in with the fact that it was nearly impossible to resist the tempation to either try to rip the plastic pieces in two, or chew them, and you really didn't have a toy that lasted too long on your shelf. But just the mere fact that Sectaurs got one - a line usually left to the bigwigs like Star Wars and Barbie, it's just another testament to the public's yearning for more ridiculous action figures based on bugs.
So today we pay tribute to the Sectaurs. Not only because General Spydax looked like the Bizarro version of the Toxic Avenger, but because it's one of the only toys of the 80s that let you scare people without having to chew those nasty blood capsules. And for that, we've got Sectaurs to thank.