?The ’80s were a magic time for action figure fans. Everything from Rambo to Police Academy received a cartoon and a toyline. But in the rush to get awesome plastic out into the hands of children everywhere, some designs and concepts could have been thought out a little further.
Sure, Batman needs his Batmobile and Wild Bill needs his Dragon Fly. And, hell, we wouldn’t have ever even touched the Dukes of Hazzard Megos if there wasn’t a General Lee for them to ride in. But let’s face it, not every vehicle can be as cool as the Millennium Falcon — and more importantly, not every character needed a vehicle to complete their image in the first place. Here are 11 vehicle playsets from the ’80s that made no sense for their figures or to kids.
11) Secret Wars Kang’s Hang Glider
?Kang the Conqueror is a time-traveling super genius from the 30th century. He has the ability to access technology from any time period, so assumably he’d grab something he thinks will best help him defeat the Avengers. By this reasoning, if the best Kang can grab is a hang glider, I think we can all kiss our chances of getting a jetpack anytime soon goodbye.
10) Masters of the Universe Dragon Walker
In a toyline where the main characters ride on cats, it takes a lot to stand out as exceptionally idiotic. The Dragon Walker is a slow, completely exposed tank-thingy that has also been designed to look like how a wax dragon may appear after it sat in a warm oven for two minutes. Its only skill — crossing very small gaps that Skeletor and his minions can easily walk over. Even the kid playing with Skeletor in the commercial can’t work up any enthusiasm. “What is that? Why is it stumbling slowly towards me? Better just back away carefully.”
9) The Thundercats Mutant Fistpounder
?The Mutants in the Thundercats were barbarous idiots, which may explain why this car is so stupid. Sure, the completely exposed gun-turret is ridiculous, but at least it actually could accomplish something. What anyone thought giant hydraulic arms that slammed into the earth could do is unclear. Compact the dirt? Because if they were meant to be used on a person, maybe they should have extended the fists a little further than the Fistpounder’s bumper. At least the weight of the heavy arms probably slowed the Fistpounder to a crawl, making sure whoever was in the turret was completely dead meat.
?The Ghostbusters have one of the most amazing cars in movie history, the Ecto-1. The cartoon introduced the Ghostbusters helicopter, the Ecto-2. So, land, air, and clearly, Ecto-3 should be a boat. But instead, it’s a go-cart with giant paddles sticking out of it. What were the paddles supposed to accomplish? The ghosts could easily just float through them. The only redeeming thing about this toy is the packaging illustration that captures the look of unadulterated joy on Egon’s face as he terrifies the most helpless looking spirit in the Ghostbuster’s pantheon.
7) Cobra Mamba
The biggest flaw in the Cobra Mamba is visible right away. The intersecting helicopter blades do not make any kind of logic from a design standpoint. But surprise! The two pods on the side of the Mamba pop off and become their own dangerous flight vehicles. Which also makes no sense. Why would these things ever be locked together? Why wouldn’t you just send up three separate planes in the first place? Maybe then you wouldn’t have a helicopter so heavy that it would need two gigantic and ridiculous intersecting helicopter blades.
6) The Food Fighters BBQ Bomber
?The Food Fighters might be the worst action figure line of all time. An anthropomorphic hamburger and pizza slice fought a Mafioso hot dog and taco (that was miraculously somehow not a gigantic Mexican stereotype). The Food Fighters were made out of the same material as, and were only slightly better than, dog toys. But even the wondefully named Mean Weiner deserves better than this vehicle. Why would an evil hot dog man want to ride on the same thing that chars his flesh? And what the hell is he going to do with that spatula? Flip someone over?
5) Robo Force Dred Crawler
?Robo Force was an insane toy line filled with suction cup footed robots with hidden weapons and bendy arms. The apparently sentient robots of Robot Force were locked in an epic battle to destroy each other for a never-really-explained reason. The Dred Crawler is confusing on several levels. I might buy into a gigantic transport meant to carry several robots at once, or a giant sentient robot that lets other evil robots ride on it as they destroy good robots together. But there’s something about the tiny, solo-piloted Crawler that just seems sad and overly small.
4) The TMNT Blimp
?Nothing about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Blimp makes sense. An enormous, slow-moving, easily attackable vehicle would seem idiotic even if the Turtles weren’t carrying tons of sharp edged objects that could easily puncture the hull. Then there’s the issue of storage. How do you get a gigantic blimp down into the sewers?
3) Cobra Pogo
Cobra engineers were never the greatest designers of all time. Hell, they built the Trubble Bubbles, glass domes that flew around with almost no serious protection. But the Cobra Pogo might be the most insane vehicle ever conceived for military use. The gigantic pod hops around from place to place, not quite flying, not quite driving. Poor Cobra Commander. Bouncing around in the bulky metal cockpit had to be a sure fire ticket for losing your lunch. I just hope the Commander’s Battle Armor has a vomit expulsion feature.
2) Anything from Air Raiders
?The planet of Airlandia has the ironic problem of having a limited air supply. So the Air Raiders and the Tyrants of the Wind have chosen to build vehicles that are powered… wait for it… by air. With any luck, the idiots of Airlandia suffocated themselves to death within hours of their first battle.
1) Super Powers Superman’s Justice Jogger
?Not only can Superman fly, he can run at speeds that rival those of his Super Powers teammate The Flash. More than anyone else in Super Powers, Superman is the least in need of finding any alternate form of transportation. But many people forget Superman’s greatest super power, laziness. Why soar like a bird when you can sit back and kick it in a bi-pedal easy chair?