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10 Coolest Action Figures Ever Made
The Coolest of the Cool
By Robert T. Trate
April 16, 2010
Hasbro’s Soundwave from Transformers
© Hasbro/Bob Trate
There have been hordes of action figures over the years. Many were mass produced and had nothing but different heads or paint jobs to distinguish them from the others. Eventually boundaries got pushed and even kung fu grip came into play. There would come a figure now and again that would change the game completely, a figure so cool he usually spawned copy cats. To remember those figures here are Mania’s 10 Coolest Action Figures Ever Made.
10. Darth Vader(with removable helmet)
By 1998 there had already been a few Darth Vader figures on the market. They were all the same: Dark Lord of the Sith, cape and lightsaber. There was an Anakin Skywalker figure made but a variation on Darth could not be found. Hasbro finally put Anakin in that costume by making a Darth with a removable helmet. Hasbro put the character back in the figure and made him coolest Darth Vader of all time.
9. Clay Face
Batman the Animated Series changed the cartoon genre forever. The figures for the series were perfect reflections of their 2 dimensional counterparts. The Clay Face figure broke the mold and capitalized on what the character could do. Not only was it the scariest figure in the line it was the epitome of what was on screen. It was the coolest of the cool and one of the last great Kenner figures produced.
8. Death Row Marv
I never would have known that Death Row Marv even existed if some parent group wouldn’t have complained about him. McFarlane Toys was the first to capture this cool moment back in 2000 from Frank Miller’s Sin City Comic. Not only do you get to the flip the switch to juice Marv but he has blinking red eyes, shaking hands and a voice chip to say his classic line.
If you look at most Masters of the Universe figures they either have one set of arms and legs or another. All of that changed when the evil beast of a thousand bodies hit the toy stores. Modulok was one cool Masters of the Universe figure in that he could change into anything you could think of. Grant it losing any one of his 22 different pieces wasn’t tough to do but he was unique and totally cool. Ram-Man was unique too. Well, he was more “special” than unique.
6. Jabba the Hutt
Outside of the occasional tall figure, R2 unit or little figure most Star Wars figures were the same. Then came the coolest gangster in the galaxy: Jabba the Hutt. Now Jabba wasn’t big on the action part of his figure. No Jabba made the action happen. He did come with a cool smoking pipe and a munchies bowl. When you put all the original Star Wars figures together one clearly stands out above the rest. Jabba!
Yes, Storm Shadow and Firefly were totally cool but could then turn a different color? The master of disguise took action figures in a whole new direction for G.I. Joe. He came with two different faces, removable pads and his own mini vehicle. To top it all off when you put him in the sunlight he turned a different color. He was the coolest action figure from the eighties and every kid wanted him. What wasn’t so cool about him? He tasted like poison. Don’t ask.
Some changed into a car, others a jet, two even changed into guns. Soundwave broke the mold by becoming a tape player. Adding to his cool factor, outside of his voice, was that Soundwave came with an additional Transformer which resided inside him. He was big, bad and totally cool as he rocked an evil jam on the show. As cool goes no other Transformer ever came close.
3. The 6 Million Dollar Man
Some will ask where are the original G.I. Joe or Big Jim figures? Here is a cool figure that is worth 6 million of those guys. Steve Austin in action figure form was produced by Kenner and was packed with accessories. No, they didn’t come with him they were attached to him. There was the fisheye lens in his eye socket and a switch on his back to elevate his right bionic arm. Steve even came with a built in flashlight. Let us not forget his bionic grip. All this made him more than just an action figure. Steve Austin was the coolest 12 inch figure in the entire world. Sorry G.I. Joe.
There have been many since but the original Alien figure from the 1979 film still reigns supreme. Action figures were just starting to take over from the giant G.I. Joe and MEGO style figures. However Kenner went out of its way to produce this giant sized Alien figure. What makes this figure incredibly cool is that the inner jaw has a trigger in the head which activates it. Plus the look of it completely captures H.R. Giger’s designs. Though what really makes it completely cool is that here is a figure from an R rated film. That was unheard of in 1979.
Why they ever produced a Godzilla figure for the Shogun Warriors line is beyond me. The 2-foot-tall Godzilla is on my permanent must have list. Godzilla’s coolness factor hits several points but the biggest was his fist firing hand. Why Godzilla’s hand did this had to do with the Shogun Warriors line but shouldn’t this have been Mechagodzilla then? Perhaps with some tear away skin? There are very few toys that are quintessential for collectors and Godzilla is one of them. A truly cool toy if ever there was one.
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