Wednesday, June 4, 2014

#421 U.S. FORCES/ AMERICAN FORCE/… – BRUSHFIRE (US2) (1986)


SHORT HISTORY OF REMCO

Remco Toys is an important American toymaker. It had its golden years during the 50s and the 60s. The 70s were also good years for this manufacturer with a lot of licenses from DC and Marvel comics, Star Trek and Universal films and then, during the 80s it went down and started producing lower quality toys, many of which were similar to other famous and successful lines of other toymakers.

The company was founded in the 40s by two cousins: Ike Heller and Saul Robbins, and soon afterwards, Armand Daddis joined the group. The name Remco actually comes from “REMote COntrol”, as among their first products there were some remote controlled toys, as well as some walkie-talkies, and battery operated toys. The company was the first toy company to advertise their products on television, according to Ellen Schroy.

By the early 60s, the company also presented some toys for girls, since all the toys produced to-date were intended for boys. From this time comes the slogan: “Every Boy Wants a Remco Toy …and So Do Girls!”.

Remco was also one of the first companies to base many of its toy lines in TV shows, music bands and comics by purchasing the rights to do it. The had toys during the 60s based on the Beatles and the Monkees, but also on Lost in Space, Star Trek, Batman…

The company was initially settled in Newark, NJ, and later (1963) they moved to Harrison (also NJ). In 1971, the company declared bankruptcy and was purchasd in 1974 by Azrak-Hamway International Inc. (AHI).

During the 80s, Remco would again produce a bunch of great toy lines, one of them, for example is the “Universal Monsters”, based on the characters from Universal Pictures like Frankenstein, the Mummy, Dracula and some others. These figures had previously been produced by AHI, and today are highly sought-after collectables. After them, the company never achieved a similar success. The end of the 80s and the 90s are full of second class toylines, most of them related to toylines of competitors.

In 1997 Jakks Pacific bought Remco from AHI.



The toy today is one figure from the toyline U.S. Forces, which is exactly the same size and has roughly the same construction than a G.I.Joe from Hasbro. The toyline had many names depending on where was it available. Some figures were even repackages for big supermarket chains like Sears (“Commando Force”). Unfortunately, not much information about the toyline is available so far, no listings, no background information… I hope this changes soon.

In some websites, a similar G.I.Joe knock-off toyline is mistaken for this Remco figure. The other “American Defense” line, made by Agglo (sometimes also credited as “The Demon Enemy”), consist of cheaper and worst made figures, pretty much ripped off of “Gen Patch and Evil Enemy”, by Galoob. The toyline from Agglo and the toyline from Remco have, in my opinion, nothing in common.

A more modern toyline with that name have again nothing in common with Remco. In this case, the unbranded figures are recasts of other toylines like Mission: Kaïdo or M.P.A.C.T.



Back to the figure today, Brushfire, I’d like to point out that it came with a rifle, a knife and two more accessories that could attach to his body: a bag for a gun, could be placed on one leg by means of a peg, while a knife-belt could be attached to one of his arms. These accessories are very small, I guess they’re easily lost.




I also keep the backcard of the figure, which is written in French. As in the American blister packs, each figure came with a nice sticker. On the back catalogue, you can see up to 20 figures with their names in French.

Althought the figures were made in China, the French distributor was Delavennat.



FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: BRUSHFIRE (US2)
  • Alternate Name: CHEVEUX DE FEU (No.2) (France)
  • Toy Line: U.S. Forces, American Force, American Defense, Commando Force…
  • Year: 1986
  • Company: Remco (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 9,5 cm (3 3/4'')

2 comments:

  1. Im a big fan of these guys and Remco in general. Some of my favorite items in my collection are old Remco toys like the Tin man robot made in 1969.

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    Replies
    1. Many thanks for your comment, I only have two figures in this collection, but I have seen many more in pictures, and they look great. Unfortunately I never saw or had any other Remco toys... Cool that you are posting again! Saw some of your photographs recently.

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