Vintage Toy of the Month! Captain Power!

Picking out an all new Vintage Toy of the Month is always a thought provoking task. I sit around in my archival room and debate with all my vintage items to find out who will take the coveted spot for each new month. It gets challenging! However, there can only be one winner, and this month we are going to take a look back at a toy line that was going to revolutionize how we played with our toys: Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future!

Captain Power was a live action show aimed at kids but it contained many adult type themes. It aired in the late 80’s, about 1987 I believe, and only lasted for a little while. It was a different type of show. There simply weren’t that many children’s programs at the time that were live action shows. There would also be segments in each episode where you could use your Captain Power toys to shoot at the screen to garner points. It was like a light beam toy. I never had the bigger toys and play sets, but the interactive aspect of the toys had me hooked, even though Captain Power was not something I would have usually gone for as a kid.

The basic story took place in the future. The world is controlled by Lord Dread and he wants to create the perfect race of monstrous computer creatures. His goal is to wipe out all living things, but Captain Power and his team plan on stopping him cold turkey!

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Up first is Corporal “Pilot” Chase, the only female figure in the line. The card for Pilot is full of 80’s high-tech goodness. From the font of the title to the futuristic tech background, it was a very interesting looking card.

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Pilot is the technical expert for the Soldiers of the Future. Encased in a simple plastic bubble, Pilot does move around some in the bubble as does her proton spanner. The figures were in the 3.75 inch scale and were slightly better than the G.I. Joes at the time. Here’s why: they didn’t have any pesky rubber bands holding their torsos to their crotches. Captain Power figures had about the same level of articulation as a G.I. Joe, but their torso and waist were all solid. Plus each figure had a vac metal application that made this a really fun and shiny line. (This was of course super fun for my five year old self.)

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The back of the card is another example of how different Captain Power was from other toy lines at the time. There is a greater emphasis on the character bio and the details about her armor. Instead of displaying all the figure options, like most toy lines do, Mattel really focused displaying the vehicle selection available for the interactive experience with the show. It made collecting this line very interesting, because you did not really know about the figures that were available.

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Corporal Pilot’s real name is Jennifer. Her bio is really interesting. I particularly get a kick out of one of her special interests being 20th Century Culture. Oh I can’t help but wonder what folks from the 22nd Century would be thinking about the 20th. Jennifer is an interesting character though from Captain Power. Spoiler Alert: At the end of the first and only season, Jennifer dies by sacrificing her life to self-destruct a place filled with Bio Dread robots. The episode was written by J. Michael Straczynski who has worked on many wonderful things, including my beloved She-Ra. Larry DiTillio, another person who worked on He-Man and She-Ra was also a part of Captain Power.

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Anyways, the next little section of the card explains the main story. There is also a listing of items to purchase at stores. The Power On Energizer shines a light through Captain Power and sort of charges him up. Captain Power’s Powerjet shot out light beams for use on the TV, much like Lord Dread’s Phantom Striker. Both jets look really cool and sleek. The Interlocker Throne does the same thing as the vehicles, but it is an anti-aircraft throne. All Lord Dread has to do is sit back and attack.

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The final image on the card shoes off the basic idea behind the interactive toys and show. I love how there is a disclaimer that says, “Intensity of light beam is for illustration only.” Well that’s a good thing! Actually though, like a few toys from the 80’s, Captain Power did not go over well with parental groups. Some parents were up in arms that they had to purchase expensive toys to interact with a show, while others thought the nature of the show and toy line was too violent for kids.

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Here is my loose Captain Power. He is the leader of the Soldiers of the Future and I just loved all his shiny gold. (Such a perfect candidate for a date with Entrapta!) He had a hole in his back for the Power On Energizer to shine through. The symbol on his chest is of a phoenix rising. He also came with a golden gun. It is important to note that each character had a specific Power Suit. The shiny Power Suits were what gave the Soldiers of the Future their power.

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Major Hawk Masterson is an interesting figure from this line. First off he originally came with some glider wings that snapped on to his back as well as a weapon that was similar to the one with Pilot. Looking closer at the figure though, doesn’t he slightly look like Flipshot/Icarius from the New Adventures of He-Man? Or at least something similar?

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The lone villain from my collection is the vile Lord Dread! Personally I think he is one fantastic figure! I love his cape and his whole look. The silver vac metal combined with the matte black plastic over parts of his chest is just a nice effect, he just really is sinister looking. He also originally came with a sword like weapon. As I mentioned earlier, each of these figures has the same level of articulation; at the hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, and neck. The lack of a rubber band holding a torso and waist together is also a bonus. These toys have actually held up pretty well over the years.

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As a group the figures work really well together. Each figure has uniqueness but everything also blends well together. They all look like they belong in the same world. Sadly Captain Power just did not catch on like it should have. Some of these items can be found for a decent price on the secondary market, but some folks know that there is a value to be had on these pieces.

The value may actually be rising even more for vintage Captain Power items. First reported on Ain’t It Cool News and followed up on other sites including the Captain Power Lives Tumblr page, there are some talks of Captain Power returning in a new series entitled Phoenix Rising along with a possible Captain Power Classics line that would be an updated styling of the older figures. If you’ll recall, the symbol on the soldier’s Power Suits was of a phoenix rising. We shall see what happens, but with Captain Power already out on DVD, I am hoping that there is a proper return to form for a show that deserves a second chance.

So that’s about it for the Vintage Toy of the Month. I have a soft spot for Captain Power and I hope that these images and some vintage toy talk have been entertaining. Do you have any memories of Captain Power? Feel free to leave a comment. There is always some great stuff on Nerd Society, and Vintage Toy of the Month will be back on the 15th of April. Take care everyone!

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