Blackstar Action Figures

Blackstar, action figures made by Galoob, 1983 - 1985

For those of you who don't know who Blackstar is, this was Galoob's attempt at a Sci-fi / Fantasy themed action figure line based on a cartoon series, which predates Mattel's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe action figures.

The Blackstar animated series was produced in 1981 by Filmation, who would later also produce the He-Man animated series. Only 13 episodes of Blackstar were ever produced as the series and the action figures never quite caught on. At least not enough to keep the series going. I for one was and still am a huge Blackstar fan. Galoob was also producing A-Team action figures in 1983, which were far more popular and successful than the Blackstar toy line. You can see the A-Team figures from my collection on the 1980's page of this blog.

Here is a you tube video showing the opening theme for Blackstar:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVihkuPqZq8



All 13 episodes were released on DVD in 2006 however the set is no longer available. It appeared in stores only for a short time. I waited too long to buy the DVD set and missed out!!!


Fortunately the first 7 episodes of Blackstar (Disc 1) were also included in another Filmation DVD set "Heroes and Heroines" which I have!



Perhaps one of the reasons I like Blackstar is that he is in fact Tarzan! Of course, I don't have proof of this, but it seems quite obvious to me. Filmation had already produced a Tarzan animated series in the 1970s and in an effort to keep costs low, TV shows that used limited animation often reused key animation scenes over again. As Blackstar was produced in 1981 after Tarzan, animation scenes of Tarzan in action could have been reused simply by adding Blackstar's hair style, thicker eyebrows, necklace, wristbands, belt and boots to the existing artwork.....take a look at the Tarzan pictures below and see for yourself.

Tarzan by Filmation
 
Tarzan and his "twin brother" Blackstar, both by Filmation
 
I've always liked Blackstar figures better than He-Man figures. For one thing they are a bit bigger and each figure is unique rather than a re-used mold in a different colour. Only the arms and legs for some of the characters were re-used, and the small PVC demons were offered in different colours, but that is about the only re-use of parts for these figures.

Here is the Overlord and Mara from the first series, produced in 1983. I've noticed that there are three different versions of the Overlord figure: The one shown here, an identical one with the flicker addition made in 1984, and one that has different arms and legs. The Mara action figure was only produced in 1983 and was dropped from the series in 1984 to be replaced by the figure of Klone, which I don't have. All the figures in the first series came with glow in the dark weapons. The Overlord had a sword, and Mara had a bunch of weird shaped accessories including one that went on her head as part of her helmet. All of the poseable figures from series one were made with rubber-like heads that are slightly flexible, however Mara's head is solid plastic.

Here is the back view. This version of the Overlord figure originally came with a fabric cape that matched his burgundy outfit. Mara had a removable blue plastic piece on her back that may have been her hair. I always thought it was weird that her hair was removable?

Here are the bad guys. All of these are from the first series and were later re-issued with the flicker feature. I can still remember taking the yellow tiger guy out of the package for the first time! I played with this figure a lot when I was a kid. His head fell off a few times, and eventually his hollow torso split open so that he became a fun 3D puzzle! He came with a rectangular case that held weapons and attached to his back. The bat and the chicken (?) figures were my brothers. Below is the back view


The above 3 figures are from 1984 or 1985 and have the "flicker" light feature that, according to Tomart's Price Guide, was added to the line in 1984. I also have the original 1983 Blackstar figure that does not have the flicker feature (I'll add a photo of it eventually). The original Blackstar figure came with a small red fabric cape that was tied to his neck with a gold coloured thread, and a brown plastic scabbard that attached to his back. The wizard with the purple outfit and the white guard shown here were introduced after series 1, and are only available with the flicker feature. These two figures are made with a different type of hard, hollow plastic rather than the solid plastic that the rest of the figures are made with. Blackstar and the wizard both have soft rubber-like heads.

Here is the back view showing the flicker mechanism. When you turn the wheel with your thumb it rubs a piece of flint, which makes a spark and lights up the inside of the figure. It's the same type of mechanism that a cigarette lighter has only without the lighter fuel! The flicker mechanism can be pulled out of the figure's back at the bottom end so that the flint can be replaced when it wears down. The white guard is missing the removable piece that holds the flint, as well as the flint, so it no longer functions.
 
Here are the Trobbits which are PVC figures. Each of the larger articulated Blackstar "good guy" figures came packed with a Trobbit figure. I've seen several photos online that suggest the Trobbits were randomly packaged with the larger figures, so if you are looking for mint in the package Blackstar figures several combinations of figure and Trobbit are possible. I recall that the Trobbit with the moustache (shown in the middle) came with both Blackstar and Mara, so I ended up with duplicate Trobbits! The Trobbit with the big ears and the one next to him on the left were included with the Trobbit balloon vehicle. In all, six Trobbits were made so I'm still missing one of them. A seventh Trobbit, named Burble, was seen on the TV show but a figure of it was oddly never produced. Poor Burble. I've seen custom made versions of Burble being sold online, so don't be fooled if you see it in an online auction. The figure is not a scarce find, Burble was never produced by Galoob. 

Back view of the Trobbits.

Here are the PVC figures that were packaged with the larger "bad guy" figures. For the first series only the yellow demon was included with the bad guys. The blue demon was included with the wizard in the purple robe shown above, from the second or third series. The demons were also made in other colours, including orange and pink. The green goblin guy with the helmet is painted in such a way that it looks like he's not wearing any pants! There is also a yellow goblin character that I don't have. Below is the back view.


With all the variations and characters, this series has been a challenge to collect. I still don't have Blackstar's Dragon, Warlock, and there are a few more action figures that I don't have. Blackstar figures have become very collectable today and, unfortunately, are also quite pricey. I doubt I'll be adding new characters to the collection any time soon!

Here is Blackstar in his spaceship, which is missing a few pieces including the wings and tail fin. This is the re-issued version of his ship. The original one is grey plastic.

I added this picture to show how the missile compartments at the front open, as well as the storage compartments at the back.

I have the Overlord's Ice Castle too! Unfortunately the plastic that it's made out of has become very brittle, and has since broken into several pieces (darn it!). It's ironic that the ice castle has shattered! If ever I manage to glue it back together I'll add a picture of the whole set up. For now, shown above are some of the accessory pieces that I found in the box with the figures: The Overlord's throne, the top section of the castle (this was a separate section that was attached during assembly), the gun and base (which fired suction cup missiles!) and the cardboard floor that was originally glued onto the base of the castle.

 Here is the back view. Everything is hollow!
 
 
Below is the balcony that attached to the inside of the castle. The curved line on the inside of the balcony is a groove for inserting a cardboard picture of a computer console that had a large screen showing Blackstar riding on his dragon Warlock. When I was a kid I cut the computer section off of the picture and just kept the screen section with Blackstar, which is shown above. (Click on it to enlarge the image.)


This production cell image was found on at this link: http://www.vegalleries.com/filmaopc3.html
There are several other Blackstar cells images at the same site.

Here is an awesome site all about the Blackstar toys with more photos! The text is not in English though.
http://www.nijirain.com/BLACKSTAR%20MARA%20OVERLORD%20FILMATION%20HE-MAN%20TOYS%20GALOOB%20BLACKSTAR%20TROBBITS%20WARLOCK%20MASTERS%20OF%20THE%20UNIVERSE%20KNOCK-OFF%201981%201983%20BLACKSTAR.htm


I'll post more pictures from my collection on this page soon!

2 comments:

  1. Found some Blackstar figures at a garage sale - couldn't figure out what they were until I saw your site - thanks!

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  2. Glad I could help! Wow, I'd love to find some Blackstar figures at a garage sale!!! You are soooooo lucky! :)

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