We’re going from looking and action figure lines with practically no army builders to one that is almost ENTIRELY army builders.
Specifically, robots. Machines. Gun-toting inhuman mechanical automatons with attitudes and Austrian accents.
We’re talking Terminators, baby (or, if you're Ah-nuld, “Tuhminatuhs”)
Come with me if you want to live.
Kenner is a bit of an easy target for their interesting toy production in the 1990s and loving reuse of molds (Yeah, I’ll get to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Will I EVER.), but they had an impressive ability to turn out decent figures in 5” scale and corresponding accessories and vehicles (maybe Kenner was a dry run for Skynet). Most wound up with a certain amount of mediocrity, but many of their figures tended to be sturdy and didn’t have accessories that were as easily lost as smaller figure lines.
Kenner's Terminator action figures are no different. They're divided into three lines: Terminator 2; Terminator Future War; and T-2 3D: Battle Across Time. They are all practically the same line due to their size and mold similarity, with several of the same figures simply repackaged on different cardbacks. They’re mostly Arnold Schwarzenegger or Robert Patrick copies to one extent or another, but there are a couple of bizarre inclusions in the Future War line that make me wonder if there was an aborted cartoon. I actually sent an email to Hasbro, Kenner's successor, and they didn't have the information available.
Who ARE these guys?
My overall impression of the Kenner Terminator line is bit mixed. Here’s a list of why:
Mediocre sculpts with solid construction.
That wasn’t in the movie or comics!
Oh, so THAT’s what that random accessory in my random accessory box goes to.
“Come with me if you want to live.”
Oh, that’s a John Conner action figure and bike.
There’s plenty of “wait…what?” with the line, but if you take a step back it’s not bad. For instance, the Techno-Punch Terminator – one of the endoskeleton figures - has an odd action feature, two weird accessories…and is a well-sculpted figure that has fun details and just works well for what it is. The same can be said for the Cyber Grip figure. Cyber Grip has no real bearing on the Terminator franchise, but looks all sorts of neat and would fit in well with pretty much any similar-sized sci-fi or super hero line.
The accessories range somewhere between neat ideas and bizarre rocket launchers (but I repeat myself). There are several figures that have removable arms with battle damage or claws or weapons, and they all tend to fit on almost all the figures, so there’s some potential along those lines. The guns and other oddities are rather dumb-looking, though, and are among some of the more mediocre accessories for action figure lines of the era.
There weren't many vehicles or playsets for the line, either. Kenner DID provide a Harley for the Terminator to ride, and I think it's about as good as it could get for this line. They also borrowed the Vandal-1 mold that saw limited use from Robocop for the Mobile Assault Vehicle. The single playset was the bio-flesh regenerator, which came with a couple of endoskeletons and some funky goo that attached to the figure.
I need your clothes, your boots, and your rocket-firing motorcycle.
For army building, a collector could probably find an excuse to get multiples of pretty much any figure in the entire line. If you’re looking for just the endoskeletons, there’s a nice selection. The Endoglow, Techno-Punch, and Metal Mash Terminators are affordable and easy to find – I usually have one or two laying around in the batches of figures I get. Armies of a few dozen endoskeletons would probably look pretty cool.
On rarity, the regular Terminator 2 and Future War series aren’t too hard to obtain MIP; however, the John Connor figure is a bit of a surprise as to how much it doesn’t show up on ebay searches, though I’ve come across it enough times that I think that people just don’t know what it is – the John Connor figure IS a fairly generic-looking action figure kid, and if you don’t already recognize him or his motorbike, you won’t know what figure line it goes to.
Have you seen this boy?
The T2 3D figures, which are all repaints or reproductions of the earlier figures, are a little difficult to obtain, and trying to purchase them singly can be a chore. I’ve seen them run in the $30+ range, with some only currently available out of the UK.
The other rare figure is the big endoskeleton in the T2 3D line. It’s something like 15” tall and a pain to find more information on, which makes me curious as to the production numbers.
If you’re trying to get the entire line MIP in singles, you’re looking at over $700 to spend. However, this is yet another of those 1990s toy lines which, with some patience, you can obtain MIP figures for less than $10 each and loose figures in the $1-$3 range or cheaper. Plenty of random action figure lots have a Terminator figure or two loose, and the weapons are also fairly common.
Although a little expensive, the Terminator figures of the early 1990s as a whole, are about average for the era. There isn’t much spectacular about them, but I believe that they add good play and collector value when combined with other lines. A shelf-full of the 80s/90s sci-fi lines like Terminator, Alien, and Robocop may make a nice view at a reasonable price, and beats the modern pricing limitations of army building action figures from popular franchises.
Ebay seller 3218Barry