One of the more fascinating aspect of toys the 80s (and I am sure the decades before as well) is the fact that there was an abundance of cheap knock-off toys available everywhere. There was some effort to enforce copyrights on some things, but that really didn’t seem to have much effect until later decades. So your favorite toy you remember fondly might end up being a cheap knock-off of some more famous toy – and now you can’t find much (if any) information on it because it was so unofficial. Sometimes a few rare things will pop-up on blogs like Plaid Stallions, but that is a rare occurrence.
So you also have to wonder about the safety standards of the material used in these toys… especially the bane of all old childhood toys: lead paint. Yay.
While I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that could afford some of the bigger name Star Wars and Mego toys, I also had many family members that were “thrifty” shoppers – meaning they frequently hit the bargain toy racks at Gibsons, Eckerd Drugstores, and local mom and pop toy stores in the mall. These places were havens for stuff that would never be legally allowed today. And lets be honest – my parents also like to save money on things when the could as well.
One of my favorite toys in Kindergarten was this robot:
So much so that it is one of the few toys I have a picture with. I have cropped this old pic of me down to just the robot, and of course the awesome t-shirt with Spider-man playing football. Obviously, the first guess with this is that it is a Shogun Warrior toy. I have looked through every online collection I can find of Shogun Warrior toys – and can’t find one that looks like this. I have looked through their competitors – nothing. This toy was possibly an unlicensed knock-off. It was all plastic (Shogun toys this size at the time were die-cast metal), but the fists did shoot out… at first (until my parents decided that was too dangerous and they hot-glued them into the arms).
So who knows – maybe someone will see this and be able to tell me where to find more information about this toy?