Retro action figures – a new twist on old toys.

I like to pretend I am in an alternate universe. An alternative universe where the great movies of the 80’s and 90’s got action figure lines. Fueling this mania in my brain is great companies like Funko and Warpo.

Vintage ReAction Jason


Where did this all begin? Let’s hop in the nearest handy time-travel device and zip back to the magical times of yore. The year: 1979. Kenner had a hit toy line that they had taken a big chance on called Star Wars. The inexpensive pocked-sized figure format proved successful with kids and Kenner was looking for ways to expand that format. Director Ridley Scott was releasing a high-profile space/Sci-Fi movie with great characters and amazing creature designs, so could it be a good candidate to release figures from? Honestly, the “R” rating was a hurdle. Kenner released an 18 inch Alien Warrior figure which was met with either indifference or outrage by the public – depending on who you ask. Kenner used this data to decide to scrap the 3 3/4 inch line, leaving Alien fans to mourn about it for decades.

Enter Super 7’s Brian Flynn, who in collaboration with Funko, helped study and recreate the unused Alien figure prototypes and actually released them for real using the “Reaction” figure label. This action set off a chain – here it comes – “ReAction”  and suddenly they were releasing retro versions of several movie licences all at the same time. Warpo jumped on the boat as well, with the amazing “Legends of C’thulhu” retro line. Biff Bang Pow and Zica Toys also followed suit with retro entries based off the Twilight Zone and The Six Million Dollar Man, respectively.

New Vintage Action Figures

Currently, you can buy figures from:

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Alien
  • Arrow [TV Series]
  • Back to the Future
  • Big Trouble in Little China
  • Breaking Bad [TV Series]
  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer [TV Series]
  • The Crow
  • Escape From New York
  • The Fifth Element
  • Fight Club
  • Firefly
  • The Flash [TV Series]
  • Friday the 13th
  • The Goonies
  • Gremlins
  • Halloween
  • Hellraiser
  • H.P. Lovecraft (C’thulhu Mythos)
  • Jaws
  • The Karate Kid
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Predator
  • Pulp Fiction
  • The Rocketeer
  • Scarface
  • Scream
  • The Six Million Dollar Man
  • Star Trek [Classic TV Series]
  • Taxi Driver
  • The Terminator
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day
  • Tomorrowland
  • Trick ‘r Treat
  • The Twilight Zone
  • Universal Monsters

The best part? These little suckers integrate seamlessly with the vintage figures of the past. Put them next to your vintage Star Wars figures and nobody would likely know the difference. The vintage feel extends to the packaging as well, forcing me to choose which ones I want to leave carded in the package and which ones to open up and play with  display on my shelves.

I want to fill a duffel-bag with these suckers, like I had back in the 80’s and then let them sit in the closet and then sell them at a garage sale. No, wait. Wrong kind of nostalgia.

One last thing… Hasbro, WHERE ARE YOU? You should be on top of this trend, cranking out new vintage figures. This is both in your wheelhouse and totally do-able from a cost standpoint. If FUNKO can swing this – you and your deep pockets can surely crank out some smaller-run collector sets.  In fact – you totally dropped the ball on vintage-style Guardians of the Galaxy figures, dammit.
I want those.

Vintage Figure Goof

Which are your favorite figures from these lines? Do you think the trend should die? Chime in below!

Also be sure to check out Gregg’s review of the Alien Xenomorph here!

About Dug (Wugmanmax) 241 Articles
(AKA – Wug, Dug, Foug) Hailing from the Twin Cities, Wugmanmax is an avid toy collector, graphic designer, video producer, firefighter, and podcast co-host.

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