Tuesday, April 30, 2013

#276 AIRGAM COMICS – ACTION-ARM and URUK (Ref. 1204) (1986)


One of my favourite series ever is Airgam Comics. One figure in this collection was my first action figure ever around 1986. This box, however, has been my latest additions to the collection.

I will present this box and I will review all available products from this line. At the end of the article, you’ll find a list of all reference numbers used by Airgam in this line.

This toy-line had two waves, the first one was launched in 1985 and the second one in 1986. The figures and vehicles were based in the older Airgam-Boys, figures which were similar to Playmobil, only a bit larger. These old plastic figures were redecorated in new colours and designs, making them look like superheroes.

It is important to mention, that exactly in 1985, Mattel made a strong bet for the “Secret Wars” line, based in super-heroes, which could have become the trend in the mid 80s. The Secret Wars line was not as successful as expected, being cancelled after only two waves worldwide and a short third wave in Europe.

Box Artwork depicting Action-Arm (Ref. 1204)

That was the beginning of the Airgam Comics line. The end would overcome two years later (1987), when the company declared bankruptcy. The economical situation by the end of the 80s deteriorated, and this fact was reflected in the toy industry. In addition to this, new, international brands entered the Spanish market, a market that had traditionally been controlled by national, small companies. When the competition grew, many toy companies disappeared. Airgam was one of them.

 Action Arm and Uruk Figures

The history of Airgam will be recalled some other time. Now, let’s go to the Airgam Comics toy-line.

The first wave comprised 10 figures, 8 vehicles and 4 accessories. The figures had exactly 5 points of articulation, as the old Airgam figures: head, arms and legs. Feet and hands could be also rotated, so if you count them, then you have 9 points of articulation.

Forgot to mention, that this toy-line is the classic good vs. evil action figure line, with two factions of characters. The good ones are the “Superfantastics” and the evil ones are the “Superdiabolics”.

The figures were a mixture of super-heroes, animals, and monsters, and they were available in single blisterpacks, or in double or triple gift boxes. With this “trick”, Airgam covers the whole price range in their collection, so people buying these products can spend the money they expected. However, the cons of this marketing trick, is that children could often receive doubled figures, or not find the pack that includes exactly the figures he wishes.

If you had a bit more money to spend, you could go for one of the vehicles, which were sold in bigger boxes with one figure each. Almost every vehicle (except the two motorbikes) had at least one spring-loaded missile launcher, and in the box were those missiles and some spare ones included.

Each of these 8 vehicles included a figure (always the same), so, this leaves two figures out: Capt. Laser and Spector. This two figures were available in blister packs with a helicopter backpack. Also in blister packs, two more references included Red Masker and Bad Tiger with parachutes.

 Figures, vehicles and accesories in wave 1. Picture by Raffotek.

The second wave included more sophisticated figures: the old figure described above, came now with articulated knees, elbows and also with swivel arms, so second wave figures are completely pose-able. Another news is that for this series, some special parts were newly casted, these were never used in other Airgam toy-lines before. We could say that the toy-line was in the right direction. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Airgam would have “survived” the crisis of the late 80s.

This time, there were 8 figures made, that were, again, available in single blisterpacks, double packs or triple packs. Since 8 is not divisible by 3, in one of the three packs was included a figure of Bird-Man (a figure from wave 1) with the new articulation points explained in the previous paragraph.


 The 8 figures released in wave 2

Again a new series of vehicles was released: 7 vehicles, each one assigned to a different figure, and including again missile launchers, as well as great decorations. The only figure that wasn’t assigned a vehicle was Action-Arm, maybe because the interaction of this figure with the vehicle is not as good as with the other ones (Action-Arm is the only figure with a missile launcher and an arm instead of two arms).

In wave two there were no smaller accessories released, but a huge and beautifully made castle/fortress. This castle was made of plastic and had three floors, including a dungeon, a supercomputer, a trap and also a movable gate. I still have this castle although some parts have disappeared after all these years.

Second wave vehicles and castle (prototype, produced castle is slightly different)
Finally, there were a few gift boxes released that included one or two vehicles plus a few figures and even accessories. There are only a few pictures of these in the internet, but they are pretty impressive. Maybe this was a way to sell out the stocks once it was clear that the company was going to disappear.
However, this collection has in my opinion a great play value. Some of the items listed below or shown in all those pictures are very hard to find. If you want to see one of the vehicles in the second wave or you want more information on this toyline, you can check more entries here

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: ACTION-ARM and URUK
  • Toy Line: Airgamcomics (Wave 2)
  • Year: 1986
  • Company: Airgam (Spain)
  • Size of the figures: 10 cm

ANNEX: List of produced toys:

 

WAVE 1 (1985)

 

FIGURES:

-Superfantastics-
Ref. 301 – Starsman
Ref. 302 – Bird Man
Ref. 303 – Red Masker
Ref. 304 – Panther Man
Ref. 305 – Capt. Laser
-Superdiabolics-
Ref. 311 – Dr. Diabolic
Ref. 312 – Python
Ref. 313 – Bad Tiger
Ref. 314 – Piranha
Ref. 315 – Spector

 

DOUBLE PACKS: (LIST IS PROBABLY INCOMPLETE, 2 REFs MISSING?)

Ref. 326 – Starsman and Dr. Diabolic
Ref. 327 – Capt. Laser and Python
Ref. 328 – Red Masker and Bad Tiger
Ref. 329 - Bird Man and Spector
Ref. 330 - Panther Man and Piranha

 

TRIPLE PACKS:

Ref. 335 – Capt. Laser, Starsman and Bad Tiger
Ref. 336 – Panther Man, Bird Man and Piranha
Ref. 337 – Red Masker, Dr. Diabolic and Python

 

VEHICLES AND ACTION ACCESSORIES:

Ref. 346 – Starsman with blue motorbike.
Ref. 347 – Dr. Diabolic with black motorbike
Ref. 348 – AquaBoat with Bad Tiger
Ref. 349 – AeroMoto with Red Masker
Ref. 350 – AeroBoat with Panther Man
Ref. 351 – Sub-Aquatic with Pirahna
Ref. 352 – Ultraligero “Ulm” with Bird Man
Ref. 353 – Ultraligero “Ulm” with Python

Ref. 361 – Capt. Laser with blue/yellow helicopter backpack
Ref. 362 – Spector with black/yellow helicopter backpack
Ref. 363 – Red Masker with red parachute
Ref. 364 – Bad Tiger with yellow parachute

 

WAVE 2 (1986)

 

FIGURES:

 
-Superfantastics-
Ref. 1101 – Sirdar
Ref. 1102 – Action Arm
Ref. 1103 – Fly-Man
Ref. 1104 – Megatrón


-Superdiabolics-
Ref. 1111 – Green Demon
Ref. 1112 – Uruk
Ref. 1113 – Rank
Ref. 1114 – Mad Rider

 

 

VEHICLES:

Ref. 1151 – Anfibius with Green Demon
Ref. 1152 – Fly-Man’s Kart with Fly-Man
Ref. 1153 – Turbo-Ski with Megatrón
Ref. 1154 – Flame Kart with Uruk
Ref. 1155 – CrestBoat with Rank
Ref. 1156 – Tri-Runner with Sirdar
Ref. 1157 – Rocket Bike with Mad Rider

 

PLAYSETS:

Ref. 1001 – Castillo Super Diabolic

 

DOUBLE PACKS:

Ref. 1201 – Sirdar + Mad Rider
Ref. 1202 – Megatrón + Rank
Ref. 1203 – Fly-Man + Green Demon
Ref. 1204 – Action Arm + Uruk

 

TRIPLE PACKS:

Ref. 1301 – Fly-Man and Action Arm and Rank
Ref. 1302 – Megatrón, Bird Man (articulated) and Uruk
Ref. 1303 – Sirdar, Green Demon and Mad Rider

 

GIFT BOXES:

Ref. 1251 - Sub-Aquatic with Pirahna + Bad Tiger Parachute version
Ref. 1252 - AeroMoto with Red Masker + Motorbike with Dr. Diabolic
Ref. 1253 – Tri-Runner with Sirdar + Fly-Man’s Kart with Fly-Man
Ref. 1254 – Turbo-Ski with Megatrón + Spector with helicopter backpack + Python (articulated) + Accessories

Ref. 1451 - Flame Kart with Uruk + Motorbike with Mad Rider + Red Masker with Parachute and Action Arm
Ref. 1452 - AquaBoat with Panther Man + Capt. Laser with helicopter backpack + Fly-Man + Uruk
Ref. 1453 – Anfibius with Green Demon + Action Arm + Dr. Diabolic (articulated) + Bird Man (articulated)
Ref. 1454 - Crest Boat with Rank + AeroBoat with Panther Man + Green Demon + Sirdar

2 comments:

  1. Genial artículo sobre estas postreras figuras de Airgam.

    Independientemente de lo curiosas que son o que ahora como adultos nos puedan parecer atractivas como producto “vintage”, soy de la opinión que para una figura de tan solo 10 centímetros resulta contraproducente el hecho de tener tantas articulaciones, algo que además encarecía al producto.

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  2. Gracias Xavier, efectivamente, ahora despiertan bastante interés en el extranjero de coleccionistas superhéroes, de rarezas y de bootlegs.

    Sobre las articulaciones, creo que efectivamente no aportan demasiado a la figura, porque en la imaginación de los niños las figuras ya adoptan cualquier posición. La relación entre el tamaño de la figura y el número de articulaciones es acorde al tamaño de las manos que van a jugar con las figuras, en ese aspecto las veo bastante bien. No recuerdo haber pensado nunca que las figuras fueran muy pequeñas o muy grandes o las articulaciones difíciles de mover.

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