Ah, what could have been.
Robocop was a classic 1980s violent cult hit dystopian movie with some cerebral value that spawned two mediocre-to-awful sequels, a short-lived live action TV series, various comic book series, and THREE cartoon shows. For kids.
Kid Tested. Mother approved.
“Robocop: the Animated Series” was one of those “Marvel Action Hour” shows that only sporadically appeared on Sunday mornings where I grew up, and I don’t remember it much at all. It teamed Robocop up with the Ultra Police against a gang called the “Vandals.” In 1988-89 Kenner Produced 16 total 5” figures, and 7 vehicles . The ED-260, a mech-like robot cop with big guns based off of the ED-209 in the movie, is a particularly nice piece. Kenner also has an unproduced 12” talking Robocop figure that’s pretty rare, with what appears to be only prototypes produced.
In 1995, Toy Island stepped into Robocop production with figures made for the live-action “Robocop: The Series.” The Toy Island figures range from the pretty good to the tragic . The sizes range from a 3 ¾” GIJoe-scale Robocop up to 5”, 8”, and another talking 12” figure. The Toy Island vehicles are a bit more realistic than the Kenner line, with a Tactical Field Ambulance Humvee for the 5” figures. Overall, the Toy Island figures are good sculpts with quality painting.
Alas, doesn't say, "Dead or alive, you're coming with me."
The Kenner figures are fairly generic in appearance – 5 inches tall, standard 5-point articulation and generic good-guy, bad-guy stuff, but they are unique in one aspect – they have this action where you can load some caps in the figure’s back and make ‘em go bang-bang. Unfortunately, the non-Robocop figures appear so nondescript, if you aren’t aware of what they are, they’re easy to pass by. Many of the Kenner figures you can find in action figure lots on ebay. The Kenner accessories, while mostly unrealistic, could be a lot worse. There’s quite a few with the standard whacky coloration and bizarre function, but many of the Robocops have some decent standard military accessories and his trusty Auto-9.
The more I look at the Toy Island figures that are good, the more I like them. Toy Island paid good attention to detail with their sculpting and color, and actually tried to use realistic accessories for the figures. The battle-damaged Robocop in particular is a nice item, with a fun sculpt and interchangeable parts.
If you want to army build, you don’t have many options from either line. There aren’t any specific faceless good guys or bad guy army-building figures, but it would probably be cool to get a bunch of Kenner’s ED-260’s together and some of the vehicles from both lines would make a pretty good fleet for a futuristic police force.
Fightin' Crime in a Future...wait...
None of the Kenner figures outside of the 12” prototype are particularly rare. The only two figures that seem to be somewhat hard to find is Kenner’s Toxic Waster (a “vandal”) and Gatlin’ Blaster Robocop, but a little patience can net you those at a reasonable price, even MIP.
What may set you back is getting the vehicles together. Two Kenner series two vehicles were made in low numbers – the Vandal-1 and the Robo-command, and two of the vehicles were unproduced. The 7 Kenner vehicles total about $200. Completing the entire Kenner line MIP should cost less than $300, and maybe even under $250 if you’re good and patient.
Maybe we should stick with the Crown Vic...
The Toy Island Robocop figures and vehicles are better made and colored than the Kenner versions, with more detailed sculpts and more realistic accessories. They’re also a bit harder to find and more expensive – while I was able to find every figure and vehicle for the Kenner line on ebay, I was unable to find all of the Toy Island line with specific name searches. The other problem here is that very few were up for auction, with nearly every Toy Island figure was at a Buy-It-Now price, so I couldn’t get a good feel for what people may be willing to pay. The best I can figure, you’re looking at probably $700 or so to complete the entire Toy Island line, including the 3 ¾” and 12” figures. However, I think that price could be mitigated with a year’s worth of patience. If you’re going to complete this line on a budget, you’ll have to be looking in the multi-figure lots; otherwise, you better be willing to pay the price when a figure pops up. I’m also not sure as to which vehicles or figures didn’t make it to a full production run. I would also advise keeping an eye on some of the off-ebay dealers or the trade boards on websites like www.action-figures.ca.
Keep in mind also that the Robocop’s iconic Auto-9 gun and Robocop’s helmet aren’t found much with any figure if it’s loose. I’ve had 5-6 of the figures, 2-3 helmets, and maybe a single Auto-9 pass through my hands.
The Robocop figures from Kenner and Toy Island are a fun look at what the Late 80s and early 90s offered on the action figure shelves. Kenner’s line was similar to the other lines of the era, suffering from overproduction, mediocre paint and sculpting, garish colors and a mediocre cartoon for marketing; while the Toy Island figures, though good, were closer to the end of an era with waning interest in figures and the shows that promoted them.
The original uncut version was rated X for violence.