Raiders of the Lost Toyline: Part 4 – The (late) Spring of Indiana Jones, and dreams of what might have been
*Click Here to read Raiders of the Lost Toyline: Part 1 – The Summer of Indiana Jones
*Click Here to read Raiders of the Lost Toyline: Part 2 – The Fall of Indiana Jones
*Click Here to read Raiders of the Lost Toyline: Part 3 – The Winter of Indiana Jones
By the start of 2009, there was little hope left for the merchandising realms of Indiana Jones.
The majority of product for the acclaimed character and his friends, had hit its peak that previous summer, and as it stood, other lines were starting to wind down, from cold-cast statues, to the LEGO toys and games. Pretty soon, Indy-mania would be as fondly remembered as the excitement of a fourth Indy film.
For those who who were collecting Hasbro’s action figures based on the characters, the beginning of 2009 was a period where hope rose and fell.
At Comic-Con in 2008, Hasbro had included a slide that outlined the future of the Indiana Jones line beyond 2008. Their information had shown early prototypes and painted figures, for a second wave of toys. These would be additional figures based off of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
But, the expected release date of January 2009 came and went, and it seemed that those figures would end up being one of many Lucasfilm-related products that would never come to pass.
And then, came the announcement in the Spring of 2011. As Hasbro began to reveal their offerings for that year’s Comic-Con exclusives, they surprised many action figure fans, when they claimed that those lost figure moldings would definitely see the light of day!
Given that 2011 was the 30th Anniversary of Raiders, Hasbro decided to tie the exclusive release to this film’s major milestone. They then packaged 6 figures in the box design as seen on the left, and gave some lucky people the chance to get the last dregs of this promising, yet DOA toyline.
Almost all of the figures are new, with the exception of Indy in his jacket and fedora. This is a repaint/remold of the Raiders Indy that came out in the Summer of 2008. The figure does come with a few extra accessories, including the bag of sand he uses in the film.
Unlike the relic boxes that the figures from 2008 came with, these sport special stands with the Indiana Jones logo on them. This almost makes one wish there could have been a way to get additional ones, for the other Indy figures in our collections.
The set also has Indy in the German disguise he wore in his attempts to destroy the Ark before it could be opened. One can’t help but feel this release could have very well become the pegwarmer of the series. Even so, it does have a nice little bit with the red mark on Indy’s forehead: a souvenir of his attempts at getting the Ark back in previous scenes.
The set also gives us that rarity of figures from the series: another woman! Though in this case, the return of Marion Ravenwood, in the white dress given to her by Rene Belloq. Of course, this is after she is unceremoniously dumped into the Well of Souls, and loses a shoe. The sculptors and Hasbro have done a remarkable job in giving us a one-shoed Marion. She also comes with a small group of snakes, with a hooded cobra front and center.
The figure also improves over the previous Marion figure, in that her face looks a little more like Karen Allen, and has the additions of ankle and knee joints to move about.
The best thing this set did give us, was some include variety when it came to the amount of bad guys that Indy could go up against.
Satipo (played by Alfred Molina in the film) was one of the first casual baddies Indy encounters, when the timid assistant turns on Indy, attempting to make off with one of his treasures…before his own hubris gets the better of him. Satipo doesn’t really come with a weapon, but an assemblage of plastic spiders, meant to mimic the ones that clustered on his shirt after he and Indy went into the temple.
The German Mechanic that Indy goes up against, is also a nice touch. He not only comes with his cap, but also a gun and a wrench, and his muscles that soon ended up giving Indy quite a run for his money. And just like in the film, he towers over Indy, making him a formidable foe.
Though for many of us, the highlight of the set is Toht, the somewhat unhinged German with a Peter Lorre-feel to his interrogation methods. Of all the figures, Toht gets the lion’s share of removable accessories! He comes with a hot poker, the Headpiece to the Staff of Ra, and two interchangeable right hands (one normal, the other with part of the headpiece burned into it!) Along with a removable hat, he also comes with one of the coolest and disgusting additions: a melting head (the stuff that gave many of us nightmares as a kid)!
Thanks to a good friend of mine, I was able to get one of the sets from HasbroToyShop.com after Comic-Con 2011 for the $60 price tag (which breaks down to around $10 per figure!). The aftermarket value on the set has not let up after almost 3 years. You won’t find a full set running for less than $200 on eBay, and loose or single figures taken from the set will not be cheap either. The lowest I saw any one figure go for, was Indy in his German disguise, for around $40 loose. Even though I love the figures included in this set, I have not been able to bring myself to let them out of their packaging.
It is rather sad that on the secondary market, most of the fandom for Indiana Jones has been able to clean up pretty well. As it stands for those of us wanting to watch our wallets, it hasn’t been the best of times.
My Top 10 figures that Hasbro missed out on
With the release of the Comic-Con boxset, the final nail in the coffin container was sealed, and Hasbro pretty much ended any future hopes we’d be seeing other figures from the Lucasfilm productions.
Over the years, I have often lamented a number of characters that could have been perfect to have figures made of them, and so, I decided to include them in the list below:
10. Harold Oxley – This archaeologist and friend of Indy (played by John Hurt) would have been a decent inclusion to the adventures for the Crystal Skull. Oxley would most likely come with his poncho, the wind stick he had, and the crystal skull he carried around for much of the film.
9. Mac – Probably of all the people he’s worked with, there’s noone Indy has ever wanted to support and strangle more than George “Mac” McHale (Ray Winstone). A man who couldn’t seem to decide who he was working for, Mac’s figure would have been ripe for action figure roleplaying of some kid having Indy punching him in the face over and over again.
8. The Maharaja of Pankot Palace – Even though he had a rather small role to play in Temple of Doom the young Maharaja would have been a nice addition, with an Indy voodoo doll to carry around.
7. Marion Ravenwood (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) – While many blasted the 4th film for its Inter-dimensional beings and Shia Le Beouf, there was the quickly-forgotten return of many people’s favorite Indy girl: Marion Ravenwood (played again by Karen Allen). It would have been nice to have seen a figure of Marion in her more proper suit she wears for the remainder of their journey (right), let alone give Indy his love-interest for the film.
6. Colonel Dietrich (Raiders of the Lost Ark) – While there were many German officers seen in Raiders, the man who seemed to be heads above the rest was Colonel Dietrich (Wolf Kahler). The man who seemed moreso about making sure efficiency and the task at hand was all for the glory of Germany, one could definitely wish there to have been a figure for him to finish the triumvirate of evil that was himself, Rene Belloq, and Toht. It would be cool if he came with a interchangeable head where it shriveled up with the opening of the Ark.
5. Sallah (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) – Even though we already had a figure of Sallah, it was not in his more recognizable get-up in a white suit and red fez (and they say Fez’s are coming back in style these days!). The outfit would definitely have allowed Indy’s friend to get around better on crazier adventures than just digging in the dirt.
4. Marcus Brody (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) – Who could forget one of Indy’s first academic partners we see? Usually situated on the sidelines, Brody became part of the action in Last Crusade when he became integral to the overall storyline. In this case, he’d most likely be clad in his grey suit.
3. Lao Che (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) – The bad guy from the tail end of another Indiana Jones adventure that segued into Temple, this two-timing gangster from Shanghai would come with the poison antidote vial (see right), as well as the urn holding the remains of Manchu dynasty Emperor, Nurhaci.
2. Walter Donovan (Raiders of the Lost Ark) – Surprisingly enough, Donovan was the main villain of Last Crusade, but did not get any figures made. Then again, like most of the bad guys, he was a well-dressed man in a suit. Even so, it might have been nice to see him with interchangeable head/hands from when the false grail robbed him of life.
1. Rene Belloq – Indy’s first major villain, and one that I felt was sadly sidelined with his final ceremonial robe from the end of Raiders. Belloq was often a man of suits, notably his white one. This was the outfit he often wore, which made him pop out amidst the drab uniforms of the Germans, let alone act as a inverted color to the black-suited Toht.
And with that coda, this round of my column, Raiders of the Lost Toyline, comes to an end regarding the Indiana Jones action figure toylines. In the future, I’m hoping to talk about a few other toylines that reared their heads and then crashed on delivery, such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (yep, you heard right!).