Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rarities - Early Wave Funskool Figures

The early years of Funskool figures featured collector favorite molds in colors that were supposed to be close to the look of the American figure release.  In most cases, Funskool followed this pattern.  But, in some cases, they departed from the character's established look rather radically.  We'll start off with a Funskool catalog that was inserted with many vehicles of the day.

Early Funskool Figures, Catalog
Funskool Figure Catalog Insert
You will notice that Stalker is black (and appears to be wearing a backpack), Zap is straight arm holding the early bazooka that was only released in the U.S. and that many of the figures appear to be stock photography of American figure releases.  However, you do see Cobra Commander with the Crazylegs with which he was released in India.  So, you have a mix.  What you don't see here, though, are the multitude of variants that accompanied many of these figures when they were released in India.

Of the 6 Joes shown, three of them (Zap, Short Fuse and Stalker) all have many Funskool variants, all of which are very different from one another.  Gung Ho, Hawk and Chuckles still have variants.  Though, they are minor in comparison to their counterparts.  Below you can see examples of a Red Stalker (with caucasian skin) and an Emerald Green Zap figure.



The Cobras shown have equally dramatic variants available.  Of the 10 figures, 4 have major variants. (Scrap Iron, Buzzer, Ripper and Major Bludd)  The rest are somewhat different from their American counterparts, but are designed after the iconic appearance.  There are lots of small variants within each figure.  But, none as major as those for the four listed above.  Scrap Iron has a very rare green trimmed figure.  Ripper has a purple trimmer variant that is also tough to find and very famous which is shown.  You'll also see examples of a blue and yellow Major Bludd as well as a dark haired, red vested Buzzer below.






In addition to these catalog figures, Funskool also had a wide variety of other characters who were released, some in drastically different colors.  Below you will see the yellow Torpedo, the black version of Snake Eyes with silver highlights as well as some examples of the hard to find Funskool Clutch figure.  There were many more rare variants, too.  Included in these are blue versions of Hawk and Short Fuse, the yellow and red Beach Head and the blue Snake Eyes.  All of them have become highly sought after these days and high quality specimens command premium prices.





Funskool likely had to change these alternate versions to something more similar to the American releases so that the characters matched their appearances in cartoons and print ads.  Funskool was obligated to follow Hasbro's color palette for characters that Hasbro deemed important.  That's why all of these major characters have Funskool versions that are nearly identical to the American release.  But, figures like the 1991 Grunt and Wild Bill were no deemed important by Hasbro and Funskool was able to produce those figures in any color scheme they desired.  Thus, we have so many wacky repaints from the early 2000's era.

3 comments:

  1. You can create your own Funskool torpedo, just take a domestic release and leave out in the sun for a long time.

    I like that Bludd is reminiscent of the Super Sonic Fighters one, though the yellow arm is a bit much maybe.

    Major characters that didn't have Funskool releases...Destro. Also funny how Funskool Cobra didn't have a human army builder at first, just BATS.

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  2. That Emerald Green Zap figure is a thing of beauty. That yellow arm on Bludd really looks clunky. I never noticed how bad it was until I seen this pic. If I had that Clutch. the customizer in me would break out the black gloss acrylic paint, no problem,lol.

    Fantastic article. I wonder who had the final decision on some of those wacky colors or if they were chosen by what ever plastic and paint they had available.

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  3. I believe that the black Funskool Snake Eyes has Quick Kick's lower arms and Torpedo's waist.

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