Female Action Figures: Hits and Missed Opportunities

The place to discuss your favorite toys (action figures, dolls, building blocks, etc.), board games, and video games, as well their related industries and related news.
NoOneofConsequence
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Re: Female Action Figures: Hits and Missed Opportunities

Post by NoOneofConsequence »

Picking up where I left off before work, family stuff, and holidays distracted me.

We've talked ThunderCats and SilverHawks, so the natural follow up is TigerSharks.

TigerSharks debuted in 1987, mostly shown as part of The Comic Strip, a show made up of four shows shown in short form. All together, the TigerSharks' shorts added up to only 26 full episodes. The titular characters are human explorers who've come to the aquatic world of Water-O (wah-tare-oh), and use a transformation tank on their ship (the SARK) to morph into half human/half aquatic forms. They end up becoming the protectors of Water-O and its native Waterians from two rival crews of space pirates.

Following the same formula as Rankin/Bass's other shows, the main team had its old guy, leader, strong guy, skilled, and female member. That female member was Octavia, whose aquatic form was, naturally, an octopus. And, also naturally, her transformation kept her humanoid body, only turning her head into an octopus with the tentacles forming her "hair". Octavia is apparently the Captain of the SARK, as well as the communication tech and strategist.

Like ThunderCats, the team also had its two junior members, a brother and sister pair named Bronc and Angel. Angel is a research assistant (and presumably intern), and turns into a human-angelfish hybrid.

The only female villain among the two pirate crews was a woman with a samurai motif going on, and there seems to be some confusion as to what her name is. Wikipedia lists her as "Soulmate" while the ThunderCats wiki lists her as "Mankiller".

Sadly, none of these characters ever got action figures. TigerSharks only got a very brief release of 8 figures, all of which go for huge prices on the secondary market.
What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)
NoOneofConsequence
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Re: Female Action Figures: Hits and Missed Opportunities

Post by NoOneofConsequence »

So, one of the biggest TV hits of the early 80s was The A-Team. The show ran from 1983 to 1987, and would be one of the few brands to have figure lines in two different scales at the same time.

Galoob made both lines, one in 3.75" scale which used an 0-ring design simian to GI Joe (and a number of other lines). These came in a four pack of all four members of the A-Team, and a second four pack with a set of bad guys invented for the line. They were literally called "The Bad Guys" ("They came to challenge the A-Team") and given the names Cobra, Viper, Python, and Rattler. Which sounds like some guys who really wanted to join GI Joe's villain team. There were also vehicles, with the Face figure coming with his Corvette and BA coming with his van. Hannibal came, strangely, with a "patrol boat", and Murdock with a fighter jet. Then there was a "camp set" which also came with all four members.

The 3.75" scale figures were weird in that they all wore these single color cover alls. The other scale line, done in 6 inch, looked much more like their TV counterparts. They also made six inch versions of The Bad Guys. And, they made the sole female figure for the entire thing. Amy Amanda Allen, the reporter who tagged along with the A-Team during their first season and a half. Allen only came with "reporter gear" - a film camera and other items. She also has what is often regarded as one of the single worst head sculpts in all of action figure history. (None of the Galoob head sculpts are really great, but the Amy Allen one is just especially terrible, with her head jutting far too forward on her neck, with her hair almost going directly into her neck.)

In the middle of season two of the show, Allen was replaced (with little explanation beyond "being on foreign correspondent duty") by a similar female reporter character, Tawnia Baker. Baker never received an action figure, but given what happened with Allen, that might be for the best.

At the end of season four, the A-Team gained another fifth female member, Tia (no official last name ever given that I can find), the half-Vietnamese daughter of one of the A-Team's enemies, Gen. Fulbright. Tia was played by actress Tia Carrere, who had signed on to be on General Hospital when The A-Team's renewal for a fifth season were uncertain. So Tia just vanished with no explanation.

During the final season, when the team was blackmailed into working for Robert Vaughn's Robert Stockwell, Stockwell had an assistant, Carla, for the first half of the season. She was mainly his secretary and personal assistant, never doing much in the field. But, she's one of the reoccurring female characters in the A-Team's orbit.

Neither character ever had a chance of getting a figure, as the Galoob line had ended before their appearance.
What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)
Jabroniville
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Re: Female Action Figures: Hits and Missed Opportunities

Post by Jabroniville »

Man, how did I miss this thread this whole time! TREMENDOUS work and attention to detail!
NoOneofConsequence
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Re: Female Action Figures: Hits and Missed Opportunities

Post by NoOneofConsequence »

So, Centurions was one of Kenner's many attempts to regain the sales heights they once held with Star Wars (and much like Real Ghostbusters and MASK, never managed to bump Hasbro or Mattel from their top spots).

It was a pretty cool concept, with Jack Kirby and Gil Kane contributing some design work, and a decent cartoon that unfortunately only ran in select markets. (I only ever saw any of it one summer when my family went to Calgary for vacation.) In the near future, three adventure specialists, with the very on the nose names of Max Ray, Ace McCloud, and Jake Rockwell (their likenesses loosely based on Tom Selleck, Robert Redford, and Harrison Ford, respectively) who can be beamed down anywhere on the planet save the world from the mad cyberneticist Doc Terror and his army of robot drones. And they do this with a variety of mix-and-match weapons systems. All in all, a pretty cool toy line.
Unfortunately, the figure's scale let to the various weapons systems having a pretty high price point, which probably helped doomed the toy line. A second wave, with a few new weapons systems, was released. But the two new planned characters, along with various other items, were never released.

With its small cast, Centurions was a bit of a sausage fest, and naturally didn't have any female members, even as part of the planned second wave.

But in the cartoon, the the team was assisted by their person in the chair/eye in the sky, Crystal Kane, who ran Sky Vault, the orbital space station which held all of the weapons systems and enabled their global transportation system. I've never seen the full series, so I don't know if she ever actually got to go into action, but she never got an action figure.

On the villains' side of things, Doc Terror had a somewhat estranged daughter, Amber, who was very much in the same mold as the Baroness from GI Joe, just without the accent. She was a spy/thief/infiltrator and master of disguise. And no action figure either.

And that was Centurions. A short lived but fun line. I think you could've done something interesting with Crystal Kane and Amber Terror, perhaps with Kane's gear being based around information gathering and surveillance, and Amber's around breaking and entering.

And as part of the second wave, along side the Energy Expert Rex Charger and Infiltration Expert John Thunder (a Native American/Apache who was thankfully a bit less stereotypical than Chief Nevada Rushmore from MASK), I think there would've been room for a female medical/search & rescue specialist. There's a number of interesting gear sets you could do with that theme, I feel.
What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)
Spectrum
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Re: Female Action Figures: Hits and Missed Opportunities

Post by Spectrum »

I suspect that the Centurion gimmick would have been difficult to work with female characters, or really any character with a different body structure.

The male heroes were all pretty much (and may have actually been the same) buck that allowed the pegs from the equipment to be pushed into them, allowing for all kinds of different gear sets.

I can only imagine the outcry about pushing the pegs into the holes of a female body.
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Jabroniville
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Re: Female Action Figures: Hits and Missed Opportunities

Post by Jabroniville »

NoOneofConsequence wrote: Sat Jul 22, 2023 2:37 am So, Centurions was one of Kenner's many attempts to regain the sales heights they once held with Star Wars (and much like Real Ghostbusters and MASK, never managed to bump Hasbro or Mattel from their top spots).

It was a pretty cool concept, with Jack Kirby and Gil Kane contributing some design work, and a decent cartoon that unfortunately only ran in select markets. (I only ever saw any of it one summer when my family went to Calgary for vacation.) In the near future, three adventure specialists, with the very on the nose names of Max Ray, Ace McCloud, and Jake Rockwell (their likenesses loosely based on Tom Selleck, Robert Redford, and Harrison Ford, respectively) who can be beamed down anywhere on the planet save the world from the mad cyberneticist Doc Terror and his army of robot drones. And they do this with a variety of mix-and-match weapons systems. All in all, a pretty cool toy line.
Unfortunately, the figure's scale let to the various weapons systems having a pretty high price point, which probably helped doomed the toy line. A second wave, with a few new weapons systems, was released. But the two new planned characters, along with various other items, were never released.

With its small cast, Centurions was a bit of a sausage fest, and naturally didn't have any female members, even as part of the planned second wave.

But in the cartoon, the the team was assisted by their person in the chair/eye in the sky, Crystal Kane, who ran Sky Vault, the orbital space station which held all of the weapons systems and enabled their global transportation system. I've never seen the full series, so I don't know if she ever actually got to go into action, but she never got an action figure.

On the villains' side of things, Doc Terror had a somewhat estranged daughter, Amber, who was very much in the same mold as the Baroness from GI Joe, just without the accent. She was a spy/thief/infiltrator and master of disguise. And no action figure either.

And that was Centurions. A short lived but fun line. I think you could've done something interesting with Crystal Kane and Amber Terror, perhaps with Kane's gear being based around information gathering and surveillance, and Amber's around breaking and entering.

And as part of the second wave, along side the Energy Expert Rex Charger and Infiltration Expert John Thunder (a Native American/Apache who was thankfully a bit less stereotypical than Chief Nevada Rushmore from MASK), I think there would've been room for a female medical/search & rescue specialist. There's a number of interesting gear sets you could do with that theme, I feel.
I actually had no idea it aired where I lived. I remained only vaguely familiar with it via a toy at the local UMCA while my mother ran.
Sidney369
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Re: Female Action Figures: Hits and Missed Opportunities

Post by Sidney369 »

There were three more female Star Wars characters to get action figures: EV-9D9, Jabba's sadistic supervisor droid, in the Power of the Force line; Kea Moll, in the Droids sub-line based on the cartoon; and Urgah Lady Gorneesh, in the Ewoks sub-line based on the cartoon. They all came out in the final years of the toyline's run, so they're kind of obscure. (I know about them because I've seen them in a guide for the Star Wars toys) There were also prototypes made of Jessica Meade from the Droids cartoon and the evil witch Morag from the Ewoks cartoon.

The Headmaster Nightbeat's toy was based off that of a female Japanese series Transformer, Minerva.
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Sidney369
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Re: Female Action Figures: Hits and Missed Opportunities

Post by Sidney369 »

NoOneofConsequence wrote: Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:45 am . Alpine and Heavy Metal are both Finance Clerks (and this was the same year as Lady Jaye; I wonder if this was some sort of commentary by Larry Hama about the team roster getting so huge) ... and Spearhead (Finance - at this point, we have a full unit of fighting accountants).
They would have ended up battling Raptor, Cobra's accountant
Always ask before you use someone's Original Character.
Never ever use them without permission. Only Villains do that.
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Davies
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Re: Female Action Figures: Hits and Missed Opportunities

Post by Davies »

NoOneofConsequence wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 2:28 am
What makes this especially aggravating is who they picked as their four second wave figures. Daredevil, Falcon, Baron Zemo, and Hobgoblin. Four people who were not even remotely involved in Secret Wars.
Though this apparently inspired their appearance in a recently-published "untold tales of the Secret Wars" mini-series, so it just took about forty years. :)
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