Random Toy Sighting!
New from the Connecticut Leather Company, it’s Starcom: The U.S. Space Force!
Yes, this exciting toyline comes from the Spacecamp-era of the mid-1980s, and, according to Wikipedia, “was developed with the help of the Young Astronauts’ Council with the original intention of sparking young viewers’ interest in the U.S. NASA Space Program.”
But, of course, kids tend to lose interest in things rather quickly, and when Starcom toys debuted in 1986 (with the cartoon following one year later) they went head-to-head with the Nintendo Entertainment System.
So it’s easy to understand why Starcom did not — ahem — blast off.
As I mentioned, the toys were produced by the Connecticut Leather Company, also known as Coleco. That was the same company that released Cabbage Patch Kids and the ColecoVision game system, which I had back in 1982.
After video games crashed, Coleco did alright with the dolls, and not so good with Starcom.
But they were some fun toys. The gimmick used to sell Starcom was the placement of magnets in each figure’s boots, allowing them to “spacewalk” all over the house.
Vehicles in the series also had magnets, which allowed them to carry cargo, shuttle figures, or just right onto another vehicle.
The Starcom space force fought an evil empire of aliens and robots named the Shadow Force. Characters had names like Col. Paul “Crowbar” Corwin and Pfc. Al “Cannon” Evans.
They weren’t exactly hitting home runs with the code names.
But I had the Al Evans figure, along with three or four other Starcom figures. I had three vehicles, but only one has survived over the years.
Pictured above you’ll see the Shadow Parasite attack fighter. At first it’s just a little triangle-shaped shuttle, but when you push the button, out pop its cannons and wings and rear thrusters. Pretty cool stuff.
That’s not the original pilot, Lt. Magg, in the cockpit. Magg is gone, I don’t know what happened to him.
The figure above is Capt. Mace, who was packaged with the Shadow Vampire V.T.O.L. fighter — another vehicle I used to own.
In my research I found a great website on all things Starcom. You can check it out here.
Anytime I do one of these Random Toy Sightings where I don’t have many of the figures left I get all nostalgic. Then I go on eBay to see how much they cost.
A mint on-card Starcom figure will cost you $25. I’m suddenly not nostalgic anymore.