The Bionic Six toyline is a series of 3.75'' figures made of a mixture of plastic and die-cast parts by the American company LJN. This toy company is most famous for having produced many videogames in the late 80s for Nintendo NES and Game Boy, or the Thundercats action figure toyline from the 80s and also the WWF Superstars in the early to mid 80s. The company LJN does not exist anymore, but it merged and is now part of Acclaim Entertainment, still active in producing videogames.
The company LJN Toys Ltd. was founded by Jack Friedman in 1970. Originally it was based in New York (Manhattan) but later they moved the headquarters to Lyndhurst, New Jersey. The name comes from Norman J. Lewis (NJL => LJN), who was the stakeholder at the creation of the company, although later sold his participation to a Chinese investor. Norman J. Lewis had been previously the boss of Jack Friedman in the 60s.
The company strategy during the 80s led to producing many toys with license of popular movies and tv shows like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, E.T., Gremlins, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Back to the Future II, Nightmare on Elm Street or Magnum P.I.
This bet on movies attracted MCA Entertainment, which would buy LJN in 1985 to get more out of their film properties for merchandising, and also produce more videogames based on MCA´s properties. Only four years later and after bad financial results, MCA sells LJN to Acclaim Entertainment. The sell would be official by March 1990.
Acclaim would cancel the toy section of LJN and would use LJN as a second brand to produce more NEW videogames. At the time, Nintendo only allowed designer companies to release a certain number of games per year, so Acclaim with LJN would be allowed to release twice as many games each year. LJN is still property of Acclaim Ent.
After LJN closed, Jack Friedman continued involved in toy companies, and founded THQ and Jakks Pacific.
And now… back to the toys: the Bionic Six figures were sold between 1987 and 1989, and somewhat later in Spain. At the time, any figure in this size would sell ver well, and still today it is common to find some of these figures in bigger G.I.Joe lots.
|Pic: The Cartoon Badlands|
The feel of the figures is different from the Hasbro figures: they are heavy and when you first take them, cold. The have an articulation in the waist but it is not based in an O-Ring, it allows just turning it to one side or the other, the casts are all different. Those figures representing kids or women are thinner are shorter than other figures representing men, some villains are quite dick... and then there is F.L.U.F.F.I., which is a huge robot, maybe 3 or 4 times as heavy as the average figure. This is something I always missed in the Hasbro ARAH series, but probably Hasbro thought that the smallest figures would sell worse, and it was kind of easier to make all similar and the produce the same numbers of each figure, without any estimation if a figure would sell better or worse.
I don´t know if this was also the case in the Bionic Six toyline, but my impression (maybe totally biased) is that the female figures are more difficult to find than the other ones.
Just a couple of notes more on the figures before we start with the analysis of each figure individually. The die-cast parts innovation may seem like a good idea, but the fact is that the figures, while playing with them, were hit, fell to the floor, got wet… and the metallic limbs or bodies started chipping (losing paint). Most used figures look very bad, it is difficult to find good looking figures like mine or in better condition. So, this toyline can be a headache for people looking for loose figures in pristine condition.
Also the articulations are not optimal, since the parts that joins together body and legs are made of plastic. These sometimes damage, think that the legs are metallic and quite heavy, and the part may be stretched if forced by pushing leg against body.
Additionally, as it happens with minoritary action figures toylines, the accessories are very very hard to find.
So, my objective today was to show the complete Bennett Family, that is, the Bionic Six plus the robot F.L.U.F.F.I. and in the next entry, I’ll do the same with the bad guys.
Each member of the family had, of course, his or her name, but also some nickname. I put both for completeness.
JACK BENNETT (BIONIC-1): He is the father and head of the family. Had several bionic implants that allow x-ray vision, energy blasts and other attack and defense capabilities.
The figure came with: a oxygen tank backpack with swimming googles and a sea sled.
HELEN BENNETT (MOTHER-1): Wife of Jack. She also has some kind of superpowers. Sometimes she can anticipate what’s going to happen (like all mother do, right?) and telepathically communicate with other living creatures.
The figure came with a blue backpack (missing)
ERIC (SPORT-1): Son. Has electromagnetic powers, can attract or repel metallic objects.
The figure came with a baseball bat and a baseball glove.
MEGAN (ROCK-1): Daughter. Has interest in music and can emit sonic beams from the pads in her shoulders (see accessory)
The figure came with a red belt
J.D. (IQ): Adopted son. Has super strength and super intelligence.
The figure came with: a cowboy hat and two accessories that attached to his arms (missing)
BUNJIRO „BUNJI“ BENNETT (KARATE-1): Foster son. Skilled martial artist. Also possess some bionic tricks that give him extra agility and super fast reflexes.
The figure came with one gun that attachs to one arm.
F.L.U.F.F.I. Is a gorilla robot that lives with the Bennetts and helps them at home. It is the butler that a bionic family needs.
The figure came with no accessories.
FACTS and FIGURES:
- Name: JACK, HELEN, ERIC, MEGAN, J.D., BUNJI and F.L.U.F.F.I.
- Toy Line: Bionic Six
- Year: 1986
- Company: LJN (U.S.A.)
- Size of the figures: Around 8 cm