Ahhhh, the 80s… A time of dubious television programming, flat top hair and muscle packed blockbusters. What a crazy era of strangeness, digitalisation and senseless money wasting… and I loved it.
And if you had some money to waste as a kid, nice parents, or even just friends who let you play with their toys, you might remember one of these obscure gems… If you didn’t, then, errrm, sorry… I guess.
Number 7: RockLords
If you were to gather a selection of rocks and declare yourself the ruler of these said rocks, you may well describe yourself as a Rock Lord, and that’s exactly what this range of toys claimed to be. Although rather than ruling rocks, they were actually rocks themselves. Produced as a spin off go-bots toyline in 1986, they lasted 3 series before finally biting the dust.
Number 6: Muscle Men
When you’re surrounded by skin bursting 80s action movies, then the obvious thing to do is release a line of toys focussed purley on MUSCLE. Welcome to the tiny world of Muscle Men, in all their variable glory. Originally known as Kinkeshi in Japan, these original figures were a range of sculpted erasers, and we actually received knock off versions over in Europe around 1987.
Number 5: Garbage Pail Kids
Although not strictly a toy. This Topps sticker collection was everywhere throughout the mid 80s, with school kids swapping, sticking and dropping them everywhere. For me, I loved the certificates on the back which you could pass on to particular family members as and when you felt necessary.
Number 4: Fluffits
If your kind of thing was a chemical in a tube that released noxious gasses upon heating, then Fluffits from Tomy were your idea toy. Apart from making you slightly high, they allowed you to create your own T-Shirt designs which expanded to a foamy, fluffy 3D effect when heated with a hair dryer. Marvellous.
Number 3: Boglins
Released at the tail end of the 80s by Mattel, Boglins were a variety of rubberised hand puppets, available in large, small and baby sizes. As well as scrunching up their faces, you could roll their eyes and scare your sibling’s half to death with some strategic placement.
Number 2: Pound Puppies
Slap some dogs in boxes that resemble dog houses, sow a glossy label onto one of their paws and give them all a fairly similar generic look and you have pound puppies. A line of plush toys produced by Tonka from the mid 80s that won the hearts of children… urgh, me included.
Number 1: Cool Shades
What were cooler than shades in the 80s? Nothing that’s what. Absolutely nothing. So how then to make shades even cooler? Well, you slap some brightly coloured plastic around the edges in different fruit and fast food shapes and declare it job done. That’s exactly what happened with Cool Shades. Thankfully people quickly realised they were only cool when you took them off, dropped them, and trod on them repeatedly, and they died out… Well, for most of us, at least.
And so that wraps up this first collection of obscure 80s toys. Join me in the future when I’ll be looking at more 80s crap, along with the 70s and 90s all in due course.