Top 25 Strange, Useless or Just Plain Weird Action Figures
Written by Jeremy Conrady Tuesday, 12 May 2009 00:00
I don’t really consider myself an expert on toys in the broad sense, nor do I collect action figures even if I hold memories of playing with them as a child, but I do know weird dolls and action figures (and doll figures) when I see them. Below are 25 that, honestly, I can’t believe were made or even exist in the first place. Some are bad, some are bizarre, some are just plain funny. Hope you all here at TGWTG enjoy.
Porkins, also known as actor William Hootkins, also credited as "Morbidly Obese X-Wing Pilot" in Star Wars by a rather dickish George Lucas and studio, is a punchline amongst Star Wars fans. He's best known as the fat pilot with the five seconds of lines that include:
"I've got a problem here....no I can handle it....No, I'm all right.... AAAAAAHHHHRRRRAAHHHH!!"
before getting blasted to smithereens by some Death Star turrets. The actor was originally going to be the human stand-in for Jabba the Hutt...so...yeah, that actually explains a lot. So here's to you, William. You might have a pointless action figure but you've been etched in Star Wars lore (and actually had a pretty nice acting career afterwards).
24: Barack Obama
Bring Hope. Bring Change. Bring a .44 Magnum. From Japan comes our Commander and Chief in all his kick-ass, kung-fu grip glory. As expected, Obama can do anything. He can give us speeches, he can shoot guns, he can wave flags, he can....wield a lightsaber and duel Darth Vader? Yes! Yes he can!
23: Devo (The Entire Band)
Figures based on musicians are pretty standard, but not quite like this. Usually we think of the McFarlane line and their figurines like Elvis or Hendrix that aren't movable, just look good on a shelf. In the case of Devo, though, we get a little more awesomeness with the fact we can move it around. More importantly, though, It comes with five interchangeable heads, a whip and a red energy dome flowerpot hat. So what if you want to have all five members and have them have a whip-off? You could either buy four more packs and have a bunch of severed heads laying around, or you can take a lot of aluminum foil and craft your own figures to replicate Devo's Silver "Freedom of Choice" suit style circa 1980 from the cover of their thrid album. Not that I haven't thought intently on that or anything...luckily there is a package with all members and bodies for those dying to whip things with the full band, but that only shows how dumb the single pack really is.
22: Jareth the Goblin King
A nice looking figure. Well sculpted, good paint job and...oh my God look at his pants! As though sitting through Labryinth to have David Bowie's package thrust in our faces every few minutes wasn't bad enough, like he's trying to smuggle a sack of live hamsters, now we have an anatomically correct figure of it....him...those. Not quite as explicit as the movie, but man, couldn't they have given him some slack and lay off the stretchiness for the figure?
Just remember...In the end, though, you're just playing with David Bowie.
21: MC Hammer
What boy would want to play with a doll? What girl would want to play with MC Hammer? The answer? There isn't one. While MC was popular, the doll is still a doll, not quite an action figure with guns and lasers, just MC with a purple suit (there's also a gold version, and I like think of them made of smooth velvet) and glasses. Girls didn't care about MC, not when there's a whole line of New Kids on the Block on the shelf right above him. So, who exactly was this made for?
Oooh, and it comes with a "real" cassette inside, which, as we all know, is far superior than any "fake" cassettes. What's on the cassette? Maybe MC telling you that your just wasted 15 dollars.
I don't know why this was even considered as an action figure. Did children even watch "Kojak?" I could buy them watching CHiPs or Starsky and Hutch, but Kojak? Did they go to their schools and spout "Who loves ya, baby?" to their classmates? Kojak was a 40 something year old detective who, by all accounts, was rather greasy and may or may not have solved crimes. I was born a few years after it ended, so I wasn't around during the height of its popularity, but from all account, Kojak as an action figure just doesen't fit. Like a few others on the list, it has more to do with the fact that kids weren't into it, yet here he is, in all his bald, Greek glory.
The He-Man world and action figure line is pretty bizarre, if not suspiciously homoerotic with character names like Extender, Ram Man and Fisto. Mattel offices were probably rampant with drugs if we look at their action figure designs for Masters of the Universe. So it makes me wonder why the Hell they would give us Faker. In case you can't tell, Faker is just He-Man repainted. That's it. What's funny, though, is that Faker is actually supposed to do exactly what his namesake implies: to be an evil version of He-Man meant to trick He-Man's friends. Now, I could go off on how you'd have to be pretty dumb to not notice the change in He-Man's skin tone, a sudden blue hue being pretty obvious, but what I find interesting is the fact that it actually worked in the show. Do you know why? Because he's not fucking blue!
The fact that the episode is called The Shaping Staff is, I'm sure, not homoerotic in any way.
I had a hard time deciding if I should put this or Sonny Bono, as both are equally strange for a doll or figure, but I decided to to with these because more kids were likely to say "who the hell are Captain and Tennille?" Kids from the 70s didn't listen to Captain and Tennille, their parents did, and they definitely didn't want to play with them. They try to trick us, though, as Tennille's doll looks like the far more sexier Foxy Brown and Daryl's packaging has word "Captain" and "Dragon" on it, as though it would be a cool Dragon Captain that rides his fiery beast above battle and reigns terror to the sieged castle below....but no, it's just Daryl...and he sings soft rock top 40.
17: Captain Merrill Stubing
Believe it or not, there was a whole Love Boat line of action figures. I really don't know what would be "actiony" about them (Stubing comes with a hat, though), other than trying to recreate bad sit-com writing and drink pouring techniques with Isaac. "Love Boat" was a mediocre show from the late 70s and 80s that, as far as I remember, kids just didn't watch unless they were at their grandparent's house and forced to. We wanted Knight Rider and A-Team, those shows and their respective action figures were great, not a bunch of people on a boat. Here we have a boat captain on a show that, admittedly, ran for many years- but even during that time, no kid would go out of his way for a replicated Gavin McCloud (whose name if far, far cooler than the character he portrayed).
16: Carl Jung
If you go into any Spencer Gifts, or look at the toy section of large music stores, you can find a whole series of action figures that, more or less, are made to be ironic and funny/weird to begin with. I tried to keep most of those off this list: The Einstein, The Ghandi, The Jesus, because they’re supposed to be humorous and dumb. But then came along Carl Jung and it occurred to me: most people probably have no idea who Carl Jung is. Even if someone can’t quote Ghandi or understand Einstein’s theories, at least they know the name. Carl is someone you learn about in college and, for the most part, those that studied Carl are not going to buy an action figure of him, no matter how much Freudian baggage they carry (Sigmund is sold separately)
15: Flash with Motorcycle
I want you to look at the picture and just think for a minute, think about what the Flash's powers are…got it? Ok, I don’t think I need to say anything else.
I'm willing to think the meeting at Mattel regarding Food Fighters went something like this:
CEO: Gentlemen, we have had pretty good success in toy making. What can be done to offer the kids?
Employee #!: We could sell them cheaper toys.
CEO: I see, that's always good. What are the cheapest toys out there?
Employee #3: Hmmmmm...Dog toys?
Employee #2: Yeah, the kind that squeak.
Employee #1: But wouldn't that be a little insul....
CEO: ENOUGH! You had me at dog toys. Strap some guns to it, paint on a face and sell it. I'm going to lunch.That is exactly what happened, I'm thinking, as the Food Fighters line were cheap, hollow plastic toys that, had they squeaked, could easily be sold at the local Petsmart for medium-sized dogs.
12: Spiderman: Adventure Hero series
Safari Spidey, Beach Bum Spidey, Snowboarding Spidey, Skateboarding Spidey, Scuba Spidey, White Water Rapids Spidey, Web Climbing Spidey (wouldn't that just be Spiderman?) and Sky Diving Spidey not to mention some others I probably missed. Toy Biz, in what is one of the dumbest moves by an otherwise reputable company, more or less turned Spiderman into a Barbie doll line. I'm thinking the CEO lost a bet, maybe he thought Spiderman 3 was going to be amazing and the head of McFarlane toys said "Alright, I'll take it, but if you lose you have to put out the dumbest Spiderman line ever."
11: Hoverjet Batman
Somewhere I think someone started with a Green Goblin, and decided to turn him into Batman at the very end by slapping the extra Batman heads they had laying around onto the Green Goblin’s body. This one is literally a stones-throw away from being a bootleg toy. We could think that a company trying to cut a few corners and not bother explaining it might be reason for the figure, but I like to think it was a massive conspiracy at Kenner where the Joker caused the machines putting together the Batman figures to malfunction by sending a large electrical burst through the factory allowing him to gain complete control remotely of the machines once they've been shut down and he can now paint Batman whatever he pleases. Will this fallacious fallacy be faltered by our famous frustrated hero? Tune in next time.
That’s right, what’s more fun than getting your parents to shell out money to buy the meat-punching-bag from Rocky? Normally a manufacturer would include something like this in with the regular figure as an accessory packed in, but not Jakks, no sir...they're thinking outside the box. What’s amazing is that this “meaty” action figure came out only a few years ago as a part of the Jakks line, which itself wasn't that bad. Maybe they were desperate? Craftsmanship at its finest
I know, how dare I mock a transformer, right? But think about it…he turns into a boombox. I remember soundwave fondly as a kid. Optimus Prime will roll in as a semi, morph into a robot and Megatron will change into a gun just in time to shoot Prime 5 miles due east. And then there’s Soundwave, sitting under a parkbench playing some RUN DMC or whatever other 80s rap group you could fit in…that’s what boomboxes are for, right?
8: Ann Coulter
The popularity of Coulter amazes me, but she sure is fun to make fun of. Now you can play with and listen to her talk at the push of a button. I wonder if the doll includes her phrases “Jews need to be perfected” and “Liberals love America like O.J. loved Nicole.” Oh, the kids will have a blast with that. Political aspects aside, I still don't see any little girl dying for an Ann Coulter doll...they want Hannah Montana, damnit, not some overly-right political pundit.
Also, is it just me, or is the doll about 100x more attractive than Coulter herself? She looks like a low-pay actress you would cast if you were making a PSA commercial for heroin abuse and pay her with coupons for the methadone clinic. They did manage to capture her rather bitchy scowl, however.
7: William “The Refrigerator” Perry
The G.I. Joe line had a lot of figures based on real people. From real army heroes, to presidents, to Rowdy Roddy Pipers. There are also many action figures based on professional athletes. However, I submit to you the dossier of the action figure molded after William "Refrigerator" Perry, a widely loved pro-bowl defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears. Unlike the other figures in the "real" category of G.I. Joe figures or the other figures based on sports icons, The Fridge's G.I. Joe figure was unique: he was actually a member of the G.I. Joe team as their personal trainer, his figure was not made from previously made parts, the Chicago Bears or NFL were not referred to at all, and he beat people to a pulp with a football on a chain. Despite that it's often considered one of the worst G.I. Joe figures, the thing had a huge ad campaign behind it, including magazine ads and commercials. Even the JFK Figure didn't get that.
6: George Lucas
In another installment of his “Hey look at me, I’m George Lucas” self gratification series, George Lucas finalized and approved his image usage for Hasbro back in 2006. Thus the Lucas action figure was born. What’s more, though, is that they went and made it a “limited edition” and those words to collectors of anything causes mass riots in the street, in the case of Star Wars, the riot would probably look like a herd of passive sheep and smell like Cheetos and Clearasil. To acquire the figure, fans had to buy and mail (and pay for shipping) five proof of purchase stickers from Hasbro’s vintage Star Wars toy line (made to look like the original toys from the series by Kenner). So all this does nothing but add to hype, get people to buy more toys only to get what is pretty much a worthless toy to begin with.
5: Vanilla Ice
All right stop.
Collaborate and listen
Ice is back with my brand new invention.
A crappy cheap doll for you to destroy nightly
Set it on fire, watch it burn brightly
Will if ever stop, yo, I don't know.
Vanilla Ice....gonna....yeah....somethin' flow
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why white people should not rap, much less have a damn kids toy made after them. Especially white kids from the suburbs marketed by record companies en masse to other white kids from the suburbs.
What the hell is he doing with his hand, anyways? Is that supposed to be some kind of gang sign? Either way, one of the worst products of the 90s forever ingrained in pop culture now has something we can melt in microwaves, pretty fitting, if you think about it.
4: “Chou no Yume” Chouku figure...with friend.
I could have made an entire list of Japanese action figures here, especially the bondage line from Cyberworks, but I thought that would be a little unfair and potentially disgusting, so I limited myself to one of the more disturbing and bizarre ones I came across. I don’t think I necessarily need to describe it past the picture, but the Japanese love their Hentai action figures as such care and love went in to giving us “doggie rape woman” scene with fully posable limbs (the dog, I believe, is sold separately). Due to the fact that this figure is not safe for work, and I don't want to thrust it out there to anyone who doesn't want to see it, you can view it here.
You have been warned, now prepare to laugh (assuming you find this funny, which in case you do not then I hope you at least aren't turned on by it seeing as you have no sense of humor).
3: Tom Cruise Oprah Figure
This one isn’t so much an “action” figure or a doll of any sort as it is a bobble-head figurine, so I admit I'm cheating a bit here, but it does give us its share of action and fun. We are shown an exuberant Tom Cruise famously jumping up and down on Oprah Winfrey’s couch as he “manly” declared his love for Katie Holmes*. This…is actually one of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen. I might just have to get me one.
*Copy of Dianetics sold separately.
2: Gay Bob
It’s time to get Fabulous! That’s right, “Come out of the closet with Gay Bob, the first gay doll for everyone" was manufactured for the sole purpose of being sold to homosexual boys and girls (I doubt any heterosexual kid would be caught dead with it, much less the parents buying it). Look, if your kid is gay, it’s not going to matter if you have a doll that says its gay or not. To the kid, the GI Joes will be gay if he wants, Barbie will be gay if she wants, and He-Man will be….ok that one was a given. Point is, a homosexual isn’t going to buy something solely for the reason of it marketed as “gay.” It might have been made with good intentions and promote acceptance and diversity (although the packaging doesn't help in getting rid of stereotypes), we can't fault it for that, but the doll did the exact opposite of what the manufactures wanted it to do: become a laughing stock.
By the way, this doll is anatomically correct. I have to ask..."why?" Why does a doll need a plastic flacid penis? Don't answer that...
1: Adolph Hitler
For those lovely and warm neo-nazis in your life, get them the wonderful stocking stuffer of Hitler this Christmas.
I don't think I need to explain this one. It's Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi party, made into doll form. I came across many stories about it, as though it's some lost ancient relic, from it being Ukrainian, Asian, sold only in Russia...really nothing definitive. The only thing that's for certain is that it exists and is primarily sold is specialist doll shops around the world.
Yet, I have to ask: why? Do you know the people that are going to buying this?
The only place online I could find that actually sells the damn thing is (unsurprisingly) a neo-nazi website where you can also purchase Nazi flags, books, daggers, mugs and the ever-so-popular Hitler mousepads. You think the website is a joke at first, then you realize what you accidentally stumbled upon, close your browser window and slowly back away from your computer. There's also another (yes, we have two of these) that has multiple costumes so, you know...you can play dress up with Hitler...nope...nothing wrong about that at all.
Specialty figure or not, it's goddamn Hitler made to be a child's toy.
Nobody wants to play with someone like that unless you're raised to like someone like that.
Next thing you know, they'll be making Osama Bin Laden fig.....Oh, Damnit!
For more random, interesting or dumb stuff, there's always my website: Digital Polyphony.