Troll Force Viking 1

Troll Force
5 1/2 Inch scale
By: Toys N’ Things
Price Varies

Troll dolls first came to popularity in the 1970s, where a handful of hippies and stoners would place one on their wall. Apparently they were actually invented all the way back in 1959, but for all intents and purposes, Trolls didn’t really exist until sometime in the mid 1990s. You see, up to that point, troll dolls were likely the least popular holdover from the 70s. But sometime in the 90s, some kid found a troll doll and he told another kid it was cool and suddenly we were off to the races!

If you weren’t alive during this period, you might look back on troll dolls and think they were some brief phase that wasn’t a big deal. Of course, you’d be wronger than humanly possible. You see, the troll craze was huge. 1,000 times more popular than He-Man, Beanie Babies and Pokemon combined. I’m not kidding either. Trolls suddenly just appeared overnight EVERYWHERE! And everyone collected them.


Adults bought them. Kids bought them. Hot teenage girls bought them. EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE UNITED STATES (and quite possibly the world) WAS OBSESSED WITH TROLL DOLLS! Why were troll dolls so popular? I can’t say for sure, but I know manufacturers loved them because you could make 100 troll dolls for about a nickel and then resell them for at least three times that. All you had to do was slap some new hair on one and BOOM, new type of troll doll. Even though there were “official” Troll dolls, there was no copyright on the troll design, which meant everyone made trolls. Millions of trolls, of every shape, size and variety.

Eventually they started putting clothes on troll dolls. Then they’d add little gimmicks to them. Even if you didn’t want to collect troll dolls, you were forced to because it was virtually the only toy being sold at the time. I’m not kidding. I cannot understate how much troll dolls just infiltrated every facet of childhood life in the 1990s. This led to Hasbro and Ace Novelty releasing honest to goodness Troll “action” figures with Battle Trolls (“They’re outta conTROLL”) and Stone Protectors. The latter of which ended up with a cartoon, video games and god knows what else.

So naturally, someone would knock those off. At this point troll dolls had reached maximum saturation, with even gumball machines being filled with trolls. This led to the good folks at Toys N’ Things to create Troll Force! The subject of today’s review.

It’s hard to say exactly what Troll Force is. Are they a team? Do they fight each other? Do they all live in one big hippie commune? All I know is that they released 12 different figures in six different themes. Each theme had two figures. Today’s review is of the Viking, from the Medieval Warriors (labeled as just Warriors on the back of the card) theme. His partner in crime (or enemy?) was the Roman figure.  Continue reading

Every Friday we hop into our toy time machine and take a look back at a classic older toy. Today we’re taking a look at one of Kenner’s 1991 creations, the Savage Mondo Blitzers. It’s scary that it’s already been 11 years since these little guys were on the market.

While skateboarding is all the rage these days, it’s not the first time the “craze” has come around. It first hit in the 70s and then it came back around in the late 80s and early 90s. The big difference in those days was that the craze didn’t really hit middle America. Sure, I’m certain that some kids picked it up, but it wasn’t huge like everyone makes it out to be.

In California and places like that, clearly it took off. Paving the way for many of the famous skaters we know today. However for most of us, skateboarding was something that the Ninja Turtles did and the rest of us wished we could do. I had a skateboard, but I was the only kid in my neighborhood to have one. I couldn’t do much of anything on it and spent most the time just rolling down my Grandmother’s car port.

Now the skateboard invasion has taken full hold. Heck there’s a skateboard park right down the road from me. But back in 1991 all you had was Skate or Die and toys like the Savage Mondo Blitzers to tell you about how cool skateboarding was.

Savage Mondo Blitzers were just one of many toys of the era that put an emphasis on the skateboard. What made these little buggers unique is that they were sort of like Rat Fink and the hot-rod characters of the 50s & 60s but done in the 90s gross out mentality. As a result, most of these characters look like they could have come from a Troma film or something.

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WWE Entrance Greats – Series 5
The Undertaker
7 Inch Scale
By: Mattel

Yesterday in the 31 Days of Halloween we looked at wrestling Mummies and today, we look at the most famous wrestling zombie to date… The Undertaker! What’s scarier than this guy? Let me tell you, not much.

When the Undertaker debuted in the WWF in 1990, he was a sight to behold. On the surface, the idea was absurd. Undertaker was a “zombie” who could not be hurt. They never officially said he was dead, but that’s how he acted. WWF was able to restrain themselves and not make the gimmick over the top or cartoony. It might not have worked had they not rushed Undertaker into a feud with Hulk Hogan (who was unstoppable at this point) and had Undertaker defeat Hogan for the title.

Oddly enough, Mark Calaway had been wrestling for several years but never got over prior to appearing in the WWF. You see, Mark was big, but a bit awkward, not a very good talker and he didn’t look particularly fierce. He also sucked at selling. He had been brought in by Hulk Hogan to appear in Suburban Commando (underrated movie in my mind) and Hogan insisted that Vince McMahon hire him. Vince took Undertaker’s weaknesses in talking and selling and turned them into a genius gimmick. He wouldn’t really talk (his creepy manager Paul Bearer would do that work) and he wouldn’t sell much because he was a “monster”.

Add to that a relatively obscure version of the piledriver, that just happened to be named the Tombstone and you’ve got a success. It all clicked and Undertaker became an ominious force, which he remains today. Mattel decided to use their Entrance Greats line to show off this debut version of the Undertaker. Is it worth adding to your collection? Let’s head on down to the Funeral Parlor and find out!
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9 Inch Scale
By: Applause

When Disney backs a movie with their full effort, they really back it up. In the early 1990’s it seemed Disney was intent on having their own Batman-like blockbuster. First they rolled out the red carpet for Dick Tracy, which failed. So they tried again in just one short year, managing to repeat nearly all the same mistakes in marketing that they did with Tracy. In 1991, The Rocketeer saw Disney spend over $19 Million dollars in advertising and get tons of tie-in advertisements as well. The Rocketeer was everywhere in 1991, even though the film didn’t quite find it’s audience until it’s theatrical run was nearly complete and I’m not sure Disney ever knew exactly how to market the film.

The Rocketeer was marketed to kids, but missed one major aspect, action figures. Of course, for kids, The Rocketeer was a pretty boring film. The movie should have been marketed to adults, similar to the way Pirates of the Caribbean was. Of course, the kids could get in on the action just like Pirates, but alas it was not to be.

Although Rocketeer didn’t get an actual action figure, he did get a variety of other stuff, including what we’re looking at today. A vinyl figure from Applause. How does this vinyl figure shape up? Continue reading

As the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles really started to hit their stride by the early 1990’s, they achieved one feat that few other toy lines before them have. TMNT got a sugary soaked breakfast cereal, baby! The interesting thing about the Ninja Turtles cereal, beyond the fact that it was made by famed Dog Food maker, Purina, is that it actually stayed on shelves for quite some time. Few franchises ever get cereal, but to actually make an impression on shelves? That’s quite the novelty.

I remember only being able to get the Ninja Turtle cereal two or three times as a kid. It tasted pretty terrible, akin to Splinter droppings with marshmallows, in hindsight, but it was pretty neat to have Leonardo and the gang jumpkick my mouth. They packed the cereal with a TMNT bowl of one of the fearsome foursome. Anyone who claims to be a true TMNT fan probably has one of these bowls. I had mine for years afterwards. Of course, I had Michelangelo’s bowl. It eventually became the home of an SOS pad as my Mom thought it worked well to keep her dishwashing utensils dry.

The fascinating thing about this ad is that it actually features some interesting cross promotion. The Turtles are seen busting through on their Playmates Pizza Thrower. That pizza disc launcher was one of the most popular vehicles from Playmates early lineup, but it wasn’t like, an actual cartoon vehicle. I suppose it’s not entirely implausible that Playmates struck a deal with the cereal people, but I actually think this is just a case of the ad artist knowing nothing about the characters he was drawing and using stuff he saw in the toys.

The fact that it appears in this cereal ad, of all places, is quite peculiar. Someone over at Ralston-Purina must have gotten their TMNT info from Playmates. The detail on the vehicle is impressive, with even the stickers replicated in the food ad. It’s also curious that they chose to have Donatello driving the Pizza Tosser in the comic ad, just as he appeared as the man behind the wheel during Playmates early pictures for the item. No matter what the motivation behind this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cereal ad, one thing is for certain… Breakfast would never be the same.