Thursday, May 9, 2013
Remco Randomness: The AWA Variants
As I grew, my collection did as well. In 2013 I'm finally to the point where I'm only two figures shy of a full basic set as well as missing some accessories and variants. The latter is what we'll be exploring today. While I'm not usually that interested in action figure variants, the Remco AWA figures had some very fascinating differences that tie into the whole mystique of the line. Although they had the AWA license, these figures, like most Remco toy lines, were only a few steps above being discount store toys. It's not that they weren't made well, but they capture the primitive toy making techniques that were state-of-the-art a decade before the AWA line hit shelves. This point is driven home by the fact that the line had only a couple of different body types for every figure, crude packaging art, and so many variations that it's almost as if each figure was handmade by a different person as opposed to being a mass-produced product. It's these negatives that combine to make a giant positive: the finished product was awesome.
I'm a much bigger fan of the "fat" Gordy, as the figures with that body are also taller than the "muscular" body figures due to the style of the former having longer legs. Another example of figures in the line being produced with both body styles are Jimmy Garvin and the tag team of The Long Riders. Brothers "Wild" Bill and the late Scott "Hogg" Irwin were a biker tag team that are actually more remembered these days because of their inclusion by Remco as opposed to their days in the AWA. No matter the body type, this tag team came equipped with some great accessories including sunglasses, caps, duster jackets, and a black vest for Scott.
There's at least one more Martel "head" variant out there, and he has a Zbyszko variant to keep him company. Most of the standard AWA figure heads are soft and can actually be squeezed a bit with some light pressure. While it isn't one of the more talked about variants, there are at least Martel and Zbyszko figures out there made of a harder plastic as opposed to the rubbery substance of most. The detail on these harder heads is also a bit sharper and helps capture the likenesses a bit more. It's currently unknown when these changes happened, but I would venture to guess that these are earlier versions.
Is all of that confusing enough? Just another day in the life of a Remco AWA collector. Another fun day, that is. Collectors of other Remco action figure lines love these toys for the exact same reasons. It's a charm that is completely missing from the toys of today and will never be recreated. That is unless we get a "retro" wrestling figure line somewhere down the line. Don't scoff at the thought! An independent company recently began marketing a line of "fantasy" figures as a direct homage to Remco's legendary 1980's toys. The company even used some of Remco's original sculpts. The line is called "Realm of the Underworld" and stars a heroic figure aptly named "Hercules." Taking a look at that figure, you may just recognize the head. It's none other than a remolded and adjusted Nord the Barbarian! Maybe my dreams of a Remco-styled Verne Gagne figure will still come true after all!