No announcement yet.

Release dates for vintage toys?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Release dates for vintage toys?

    Does anyone know of a source for release dates for vintage toys. We broadly know what year figures came out. It's clear that the first four figures offered were He-Man/Skeletor/Beast Man/MAA, and the rest of the first wave came out a bit later. But do we have any release date information for any vintage toys? Maybe not even the exact date, but it would be cool to know what month Mekaneck was released, for instance.
    Heroic human battering ram, catapult, and space warp device.

  • #2
    Probably Emiliano and the other MOTU historians know the answer to this!


    • #3
      Unless someone has access to Mattel's records, it's going to be very difficult, especially since distribution could be so uneven in those days--there were parts of the country that never received some toys, for example.

      I think we can make some extrapolations based on licensed material, ads, memories, and other odds and ends. Based on that ...
      • Faker and Evil-Lyn probably showed up in late 1982/early 1983.
      • Mekaneck appears likely to have been a late 83/early 84 release. The weird thing is that while a lot of people treat him as 'Wave 2', the numbers don't balance unless you assign him to Wave 3. Screech and Panthor probably arrived about the same time.
      • The Evil Horde was probaby later in 1985 than the Heroic and Evil Warriors figures--their arrival was hyped up as a Big Deal in the commercials and magazine in the Summer of 1985.
      • The Comet Warriors were definitely a late 1985/early 1986 release. The ads and their appearance in the Winter 1986 magazine (which actually shipped out at the end of 1985) support this, as is the fact that they were probably designed to tie into the celebration of Haley's Comet making its pass by Earth. And again, the numbers don't balance unless you strip them out of the regular 'wave' structure.
      • Judging from the William George 1986 poster and the magazine, it looks like the standard Heroic Warrior and Evil Warrior waves, as well as Mosquitor and Beam-Blaster/Artilleray from 1987, at least, showed up late in 1986. But a whole bunch of the figures for that year might have been rushed out--I remember getting a Tyrantisaurus Rex only a few days after Christmas, and Buzz-Saw Hordak, Blast-Attak and Beam-Blaster/Artilleray on January 23rd, 1987. Also, you can see Sssqueeze and Ninjor on the 1986 Macy's parade float, and Blast-Attak and Ninjor were in the Power Tour. What I do feel confident about saying is that the Movie figures, Rotar and Twistoid were later in the year, and Power Gear distribution was very spotty. (The three Power Gear sets are the only toys from the US vintage line that I had to acquire later on.)
      Last edited by Matthew L. Martin; 02-10-2015, 10:04 PM.


      • Battle Ram Man
        Battle Ram Man commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for this!

        Your comment on Mekaneck makes sense to me. I've long suspected that he's actually a wave 3 figure. He never seems to show up in catalog ads showcasing wave 2 figures. His back is stamped 1983 - typical of figures that came out in 1984. Also he has two piece armor that snaps together, again typical of wave 3 figures. He doesn't show up in any wave 2 mini comics. He shows up in wave 3 mini comics. Plus, as you say, the good/evil ratio balances out better with him in wave 3/1984.

      • Matthew L. Martin
        Matthew L. Martin commented
        Editing a comment
        I always thought of Mekaneck as a "Wave 3" figure. It wasn't until everyone online started talking about him as 'Wave 2' that I doubted it, and the thing that really clinched it for me as an 'in-between' figure is that the 1984 dealers catalog doesn't flag him as 'new for 84'.

        However, checking those catalogs shows I was wrong about Screech and Panthor--they appear to have been part of the 1983 wave. Faker, Evil-Lyn, Screech and Panthor are all in the 1983 catalog and tagged as 'new for 83'. However, those four appear to stand somewhat apart--they aren't advertised nearly so much on the 83 packaging, and they have no appearances in the 1983 mini-comics that feature everything else from that year.

    • #4
      I'd love to see a Mattel distribution calendar from that time. Probably a long lost document though. Fingers crossed that the Power & Honor Foundation has this stuff.

      My dad did a lot of traveling for business and would get me figures in California, and those came out earlier than where I lived in the East Coast. I'm curious as to what places got figures first, I bet California was one of the first since they're closer to the boats.


      • #5
        I received a toy list from Mattel back in 1987--it was a dot-matrix computer printout--and while I no longer have it, it did give us a few keys to the division. Faker, Scare Glow, Ninjor, Sorceress, Clamp Champ, and King Randor were on the front page of '1982-87' releases (and flagged 'current'), while Cliff Climber, Tower Tools, the Movie figures, and the PoG dinosaurs--including Gigantasaurus (!)--were on the back side, listed as '1987' releases. I honestly don't remember where Rotar, Twistoid, the Horde figures and the Snake Men fell in that division.

        But again, I remember getting Tyrantisaurus Rex a few days after Christmas 1986, so the division may not have been quite so rigorous. I get the feeling it was, with a few exceptions, 'ship as available'. I do know that the Slime Pit was advertised in January 1986, but my parents couldn't find one until May, for example. hosts all the Mattel dealer's catalogs from the era, but that doesn't help us much if we're trying to break down things by year. (Although they can be interesting in other ways--the 1986 catalog, for example, can't seem to make up its mind on whether or not the Snake Men are working with or against Skeletor. )

        ETA: Another note from reviewing the 1987 catalog--Blast-Attak is listed with the Evil Warriors, while Faker's nowhere to be seen. I have suspicions as to the shift and substitution--a desire to even out Snake Men pack numbers, and the need to find a fill-in to keep the Evil Warriors balanced--but nothing concrete/
        Last edited by Matthew L. Martin; 02-23-2015, 03:30 PM.


        Unconfigured Ad Widget