Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Toys and more toys

When it comes to media, you can guarantee that soon after, there'll be a slew of toys and action figures. It happened in 1977 with the whole Star Wars craze. Indiana Jones is no exception. The first toyline hit store shelves in 1980 to coincide with the the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The "Adventures of Indiana Jones" toyline consisted of 9 action figures, 2 playsets and 2 vehicles. As well as a board game and a 12" doll of Indiana Jones. (which was Kenner's Han Solo doll in Indy clothing). The action figures were slightly more articulated than the Kenner Star Wars toys. They're considered pretty collectable by fans and toy collectors world wide. Sadly, the line never made it past it's 2 waves.

The second time Indiana Jones made it into toy form was LJN's Temple of Doom line in 1985. The line was intended to have 5 figures. However, Short Round and Willie never made it past prototype phase. 

These figures reasonably hard to find nowadays and can command quite a high price on the secondary market, if they are complete or carded. The figures had a battle-matic action feature which LJN would later use on their hugely successful Thundercats toyline. The only downside to the figures is that their sculpts don't resemble their actors at all. Infact, some fans claim that Willie looks more like Bette Midler than Kate Capshaw.

The 90s was sparse for Indy action figures. That was until the 2000s, when Disney parks brought out their own 4 inch scale Indy action figures.

Indiana Jones was back and available exclusively through Disney parks and online. Despite being ridiculed by fans for their lack of articulation, bad sculpts and exclusivity, there are fans out there, including myself that would love to bring these toys into our collections. The toys themselves actually feel like an early 90s attempt at making action figures. All 6 figures only have 5 articulation points. They swivel at the neck, shoulders and hips only. Now as for accessories, Jacket Indy has a revolver, sword, torch and whip. Shirted Indy comes with a removable shoulder bag, sword, idol and sandbag. Marion comes with a sword and frying pan. The Cairo Swordsman comes with two swords. The Mechanic comes with a barrel and a wrench. The German Soldier comes with a rifle and the Ark in a crate.

Now we get into the present day. In 2008, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hit theatres all over the world and to coincide with this, Hasbro released a brand new line of Indiana Jones action figures. Their first wave was a brand new collection of Raiders of the Lost Ark figures.

These figures were brought in line with modern articulated figures like Star Wars, GI Joe, Marvel and more, giving us ball jointed necks and more so we could pose our new Indiana Jones figures in any way we wanted and get some great action and fighting poses. The line continued with a huge amount of action figures, a playset and deluxe figures to bring even more to the table. However, when the Crystal Skull line hit, Hasbro made the mistake of putting out too many Mutt figures as thats what they thought kids would want and like to play with, so the shelves were full of them. The line slowly dwindled after the Last Crusade and Temple of Doom waves. In the end, the remaining figures that were due to hit by christmas of 2011 were released as part of a special 30th anniversary SDCC boxed set.

Indiana Jones has always been one of those cult and classic toylines. It's been around since 1980 and I'm sure there'll be many more iterations of Indy in toy form in years to come. Who knows? In another 20 years, when Indy hits his 50th anniversary, we might see another resurgance of the Indy franchise once again.


  1. Wow, the first toy line - the Adventures of Indiana Jones - looks incredible. Is it hard to complete? 9 figures doesn't sound a lot, but it all depends how rare they are. Who made them?

  2. Kenner made the original 80s toyline. They can be considered rare, since a boxed 12" Indy fetches $250. The Well of Souls fetches about $200 and the Streets of Cairo/Map Room can fetch up to $150 boxed and complete

  3. I love Indiana Jones. Unfortunately, he hasn't had the best of luck in plastic form though. The 2008 line was good, but didn't last long enough. Same thing for all of the other lines too.