Crystar Kickstarter
Back at the end of 2010, a new project called Backyard Legends of Yore was under development in a hot new medium called Kickstarter. It’s hard to imagine that just a few short years ago, everyone and their brother wasn’t trying to Kickstart something. At the time, only a handful of Kickstarter projects had been done for toys. We were wide eyed and optimistic about the entire concept and the seemingly infinite potential.

This toy line in particular, struck a chord with me because of it’s association with the classic Crystar toys. It had all the design quality of Masters of the Universe Classics, with none of the big corporation baggage. It also featured lots of translucent toy goodness and it was a throwback to classic toys that weren’t the “heavy hitters” of the 80’s. In that way it’s like the Realm of the Underworld toy line. But time passed and almost nothing has been heard about the Backyard Legends. It lead me to wonder, where is the Prince of Crystal and his pals?

Prince of Crystal 2
We started in 2010 and now it’s 2013 and I’ve can’t help but ask whatever became of that Remco inspired line that held so much promise? Originally the toys were going to start being made by January of 2011. Unlike so many projects, this Kickstarter project actually met it’s goal, plus some. The money was there, wasn’t it? It really seemed like this toy line was going to happen back in 2010, but what happened?

Aside from some great looking prototypes and a few rough first draft exclusives, we haven’t seen the Prince in action. The folks behind the line, the Working Class Villains, have been mostly mum on the official Facebook page. The Kickstarter page has updated a few times for backers (in a page that can only be read by those who donated money) but even those seemed a bit sporadic. It seems like the rest of the toy community has completely forgotten about the Prince of Crystal. For some, it is just a distant memory and likely believed to be “another” failed Kickstart toy project, like so many before and since.

I decided to track down Tony Fowler, the face behind the project to get an update on where things stand. I knew that Tony had some troubles with the project from a construction standpoint (as some of the molding process was having issues) and he had some personal plight as well. Certainly these things had been speed bumps and blockades, but is this project ever going to get done? Will I ever be able to buy a Prince of Crystal figure? Thankfully Tony was kind enough to answer some questions. Continue reading

Every Friday we’re going to hop into our toy time machine and take a look back at a classic older toy. We already review a lot of older toys on the site, but starting today, Friday will be the home of one guaranteed classic each week. This week, we’re hopping back to 1983 with the title character of his own comic and toy line… Crystar!

This is not a complete Crystar, but those are nigh on impossible to get these days without sacrificing your first born. Crystar was a little line by Remco that only lasted for a brief time. All of the figures can typically still be found, but for whatever reason, Crystar himself is harder to come by. A complete Crystar would come with a blue translucent sword, a translucent blue shield and a blue prism crystal. He also had a helmet that was red and you guessed it, translucent blue.

He’s seen here with wizard Ogeode’s axe/staff. It’s the only other weapon I have that’s blue and translucent. A lot of the weapons were interchangable in this manner because they were made of the same materials.

I absolutely loved this line. I’m a sucker for translucent figures and this one really takes the cake. There wasn’t anything else like this out in 1983 and in fact, there haven’t been many toys like this since! It seems unlikely that Crystar will ever make a proper return to the toy aisle, but the Working Class Villains crew are putting together their own fantasy line inspiried by Crystar. I can’t wait until that project is active.

As a kid, my Crystar broke pretty early on. A fall from high altitudes caused his hollow chest to burst into a million pieces. It was like he was made of glass! I also think it didn’t help that my brother and I used to put him into the freezer and make him cold. I’m not sure what that was about.

However he was one of the few characters we managed to “save”. With a hefty amount of Scotch tape and using part of his prism crystal, we rebuilt his chest and Crystar lived on to battle Moltar! Of course he had to be pretty gingerly played with in battle… But it was worth it. I don’t recall the battle that finally saw his death, but I’m certain it was epic.

Crystar remains one of my favorite figures (and toy lines) of those crazy days gone by. I think we must have lost his helmet right out of the package as I never recall him wearing it much. So aside from lacking his sword, this guy feels mostly “complete” to me. Crystar didn’t need any fancy gimmicks to get by, he just looked so cool… Plus he had articulated knees! That made him more articulated than about 75% of the figures in the early 80s!

Although the line was being clearanced out by 1984, you could still find the remains of Cyrstar figures for quite some time at K-Mart locations. Much like the heyday of K-Mart and Remco itself, Crystar is a distant memory for many. That’s why he makes a perfect first entry into Flashback Friday!

Today’s Classic Comic Ad is like one of it’s main characters, it embodies good versus evil. It’s Marvel’s Crystar toy line from Remco. This 1983 ad shows off all the core characters and reminds you that it’s available at K-Mart. I don’t know if it was a line exclusive thing or not, but K-Mart was still probably the biggest major player back then. In recent years K-Mart has tried to make more of a grab for the toy market, which I can appreciate.

The ad itself shows off nice artwork and it depicts all the principle characters. I do think a little story or biography on the line might have helped it be a little more clear, as this is a bit vague. Of course any kid who saw the Remco line was likely to have their socks blown off because the translucent crystal figures were really unique in 1983. Heck, they’re still quite unique today. I’d love a new Crystar line. Actually, why the hell hasn’t Marvel done anything with Crystar? They own the property lock, stock and barrel.

Some interesting new developments on the homebrew toy front, as the guys over at Working Class Villains have put together a unique new toy line. It’s called Backyard Legends, Action Figures of Yore. The concept is to recreate those “second string” toy line characters that aren’t licensed by any major toy companies today. Basically taking say anything Remco ever produced and turning it into a modern toy line, MOTUC style. You can see more at their Backyard Legends Facebook.

Of course these figures are completely unlicensed and as such, they are simply an homage to classic characters. First up in the “Prince of Crystal” who is similar to one of my old favorite toy line characters, Crystar. Right now they’re taking “pledges” that sort of work like preorders. If you’re just looking to help fund the project, you can donate any amount. If you’re looking to buy the Prince, he’ll run you a $45 donation. There are various levels of pledges. Think of it as PBS fund raiser for plastic! You can check that out at the Backyard Legends Kickstart Donation Page.

I really like the $200 level, which sees you get the Prince, a custom colored Prince of your choice and the follow up character based off of Moltar. Of course that’s a lot of bones to donate to a cause without a single figure produced. We’re going to keep an eye on the Backyard Legends and we’ll report back when more news comes about. The preliminary work looks excellent and all indications seem to say that this outfit knows what they’re doing. Production is supposed to start this January, so let’s hope this turns into a rousing success.