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10 finest Nineteen Eighties toys: from Transformers to Care Bears

In a decade of extra, the toy panorama was additionally revolutionised. From Zoids to My Little Pony, playtime would by no means be the identical once more

Picture credit score:

Within the Nineteen Eighties, house computer systems had rubber keys, 98 per cent of all music was composed on a single synthesiser in a dingy London studio, and there have been solely 4 UK TV channels. However the toys had been sensible. At Stuff HQ, we racked our brains to give you an inventory of the easiest Nineteen Eighties toys.

A fast observe, Star Wars and Massive Trak followers — these toys had been Seventies strains, so didn’t make the reduce. Teddy Ruxpin, however, was omitted as a result of he was garbage. However do you in any other case disagree with our record? Be at liberty to say so within the feedback whereas lobbing rose-tinted specs via our workplace home windows.

Our decide of the most effective Nineteen Eighties toy strains

1. Transformers (First look: 1984)

Mother and father thought they had been intelligent when shopping for ‘robots in disguise’. Two toys for the worth of 1! Robots that became vehicles, fighter jets and in addition surprisingly giant cassettes, hinting at a really slight downside with scale!

Children didn’t care — they had been busy having robots punch one another within the face, solely often questioning why Heroic Autobot chief Optimus Prime was so bloody earnest within the cartoon and vulnerable to killing himself within the comedian.


Finally, Transformers succumbed to silly gimmicks, disappearing up its personal bottom with a line of non-transforming Transformers. However the idea lived on, repeatedly relaunched till Michael Bay found it, creating the costliest and explosive toy commercials in historical past for the large display.

Picture credit score: Rob Boudon

2. Zoids (First look: 1982)

Zoids mixed a Japanese penchant for mecha with a childhood fascination for all issues beasts, dinosaurs and building. Basically miniature Ikea robots, Zoids within the arms of a fairly adept little one would quickly rework from flat-pack plastic equipment to motorised indignant factor, solely often getting snared on the carpet like a confused Ray Harryhausen creation. Within the UK, there was even a comic book, detailing exactly why terrifying mechanical Triceratops Redhorn the Horrible needed to intestine Mammoth the Destroyer.

3. Lego: Gentle & Sound (First look: 1986)

Lego hit many peaks within the Nineteen Eighties — mini-figures may match inside autos, the City theme was massively expansive, and there wasn’t any obvious gender divide. Oh, and there have been flashing lights and WEE-OOO-WEE-OOO noises, which was equally vital.

Sure, mild and sound got here to Lego within the cunningly named Gentle & Sound System, amusing babies and scaring the residing daylights out of pets. The road petered out within the late Nineties, presumably as a result of youngsters had been not impressed by a tinny speaker and a few flashing bulbs.

4. My Little Pony (First look: 1983)

Though initially two plastic creations (‘My Fairly Pony’), My Little Pony is best-known for the following vinyl characters. Nearly devoid of articulation, the road nonetheless sank its hooves in, via that foolproof mixture of cute and collectable, this time with added hair-brushing.

My Little Pony

Solely six ponies had been initially launched, however the line quickly grew, including seated ponies, Unicorn and Pegasus ponies, seahorse-like sea ponies, cuddly ‘delicate’ ponies, and finally ‘Massive Brother’ ponies, which in actuality had been only a bit greater and never the truth is enigmatic dictator ponies. Extra not too long ago, the road’s been rebooted with creepy anthropomorphised variations of traditional characters. No, we don’t know why both.

Picture credit score: Katie Brady

5. Cabbage Patch Children (First look: 1982)

The story behind the Cabbage Patch Children — 16-inch-high dolls with plastic heads, cloth our bodies and sinister eyes — includes a boy being led by a BunnyBee (a sort-of bee with rabbit ears) behind a waterfall and thru a tunnel to a land the place a cabbage patch grew youngsters that wanted homing. Naturally, then, each child needed to undertake one of many issues, resulting in fights in toy retailers throughout the 1983 vacation season, dad and mom determined to safe one of many gurning infants for their very own (presumably gurning) infants.

6. Motion Drive/G.I. Joe (First look: 1985 — kind of)

Star Wars mercilessly swept away the previous guard. G.I. Joe (Motion Man within the UK) had soldiered (ha!) on for the reason that Nineteen Sixties, offering dolls with weapons for indignant younger boys, full with giant and clunky equipment. Then got here George Lucas’s merchandising savvy, leading to small, assorted figures, spaceships and Wookiees. No contest.

G.I. Joe

In case you can’t beat ’em, be a part of ’em. G.I. Joe morphed into an action-figure line very like the Star Wars one, however with higher articulation. Cunningly, a narrative was additionally added, with G.I. Joe turning into a counter-terrorism pressure battling the evil Cobra. (Motion Drive took some time to catch up, struggling extra reboots than a Superman franchise earlier than lastly matching the US outfit.)

Picture credit score: Denny Deluxe

7. Masters of the Universe (First look: 1982)

In hindsight, there’s one thing odd about Masters of the Universe, the place suspiciously muscle-bound males run in regards to the place in furry pants, hitting each-other with swords. However with spring-based action-punches and a various array of characters within the toy line, heroic He-Man, hapless evil Skeletor, and their varied comrades, captured the creativeness of numerous youngsters.

Masters of the Universe

If something, although, the road geared toward women of the day, She-Ra: Princess of Energy, was superior. It ambitiously aimed to gel Barbie with He-Man’s fantasy world, however positioned the heroes in a subversive underdog position, battling a tyrannical despot, Hordak.

Picture credit score: semihundido

8. Care Bears (First look: 1982)

Contemplating that they began life as illustrations on greeting playing cards, Care Bears have had a significantly good innings, and nonetheless exist right this moment. The important thing early on was in giving every of the bears distinct colors and symbols that signified a novel persona. So there was dour Grumpy Bear, with a cloud on his stomach, the yellow Funshine Bear with a grinning solar on her intestine, and irritatingly perky Cheer Bear, pink with a rainbow emblem.

Care Bears

Refreshes and films expanded the line-up, though we by no means did fairly get so far as Ex-Celeb Bear, with matted gray fur and a consuming downside.

Picture: John Trainor

9. Micro Machines (First look: 1986)

Gimmicks had been key within the Nineteen Eighties, and toy vehicles had been wanting a bit previous hat. In the event that they didn’t rework into one thing else, what was the purpose? Micro Machines bucked the pattern. The fundamental concept: take toy autos, make them absurdly small, inexpensive and collectable, and create little playsets that themselves had been pocketable. Genius. Amusingly, even Micro Machines caught the reworking bug throughout the Nineties, albeit with playsets morphing between two varieties.

10. M.A.S.Okay. (First look: 1986)

You may think about the boardroom assembly that birthed M.A.S.Okay. (Cell Armo(u)crimson Strike, er, ‘Kommand’): “Hey, youngsters like Transformers, proper? Children like Motion Drive/G.I. Joe, proper? ARE YOU THINKING WHAT I’M THINKING?”


The consequence: a toy line reeking of focus group, however youngsters cherished it. Motion figures may drive round in autos earlier than — SPROING! — hey, look, it’s now a factor with weapons! We reckon 95 per cent of the cool and craving was actually right down to Matt Trakker’s ‘Thunderhawk’ Camaro that become a fighter jet (i.e. the swing doorways went up, turning into wings, concurrently thumbing a nostril at well being and security); it definitely wasn’t right down to the ‘Rhino’ tractor trailer’s ‘cell defence unit’ mode, which was considerably much less spectacular then Optimus Prime’s transformation.

Picture credit score: Russell Warner

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