Raiders of Nostalgia with Mr. Nostalgia

If I had the money, which I don’t, to collect any toy line I wanted to and get a complete set, it would have to be the toy line based off of the 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark.  This is by far my most favorite toy line ever.  Now, I know I’ve written about Indiana Jones before.  He was my boyhood hero and Raiders is one of my all time favorite films ever.  And yes, I know I wrote about how I sold off my collection, but this is about if I had money to buy anything I want.


There are many reasons why I love this toy line, first and foremost, it’s Indiana Jones.  Second, it reminds me of my childhood.  A third reason would be the articulation the figures had in the hips and knees areas (Indiana Jones could site on a horse much like an actual person would and look real) as well as some figures (like Indiana Jones or the German Mechanic) having quick arm action for striking or drawing their weapons. A fourth reason would  be the simplicity in the line.  There were only 11 figures made in total, 3 play sets, 1 vehicle and a horse.    They kept to a strict core group of characters without going over board and making a toy for every character that appeared in the film.


If you look at the back of the card for the first four figures made  you would see pictures for Indiana Jones, Toht, the Cairo Swordsman, Marion Ravenwood, a play set for the Well of Souls and the Map Room, and instructions for a mail away offer for a Belloq in ceremonial robe (which he wore when he opened the Ark). On the front of the card was a small picture of Belloq in the outfit advertising the free figure.


Indiana Jones came with his pistol and whip, had the quick arm action mentioned above, was poseable, and articulated at the neck, shoulders hip and knees.


Toht came with a gun and a removable black coat, his hand had the scar from the medallion, he was poseable and was articulated at the neck, shoulders hips and knees too.


The Cairo Swordsman came with his sword and dagger, had a cloth robe, was poseable and articulated at the neck, shoulders, hips and knees as well.


Marion Ravenwood came dressed in a white dress (the one Belloq gives her to wear) has the monkey with her, is poseable and moveable at the neck, shoulders, hips and knees.


The mail away Belloq toy was poseable, had bendable knees, moveable head, arms and legs, and came with a removable gold ceremonial staff.  The offer for this figure expired March 31, 1983, and you were able to get it buy sending in 3 proofs of puchase off the backs of the toys.  The figure was not sold in stores during the promotion.


The Well of Souls play set came with two arches, poles to carry the Ark, the Ark of the Covenant, a replica Ark cover, twelve snakes, two torches, a grappling hook with string, a mummy and a breakaway wall.  No figures were sold with this play set, but it was by far the larges of the play sets.


The Map Room came with an Indiana Jones figure in desert disguise, the Staff of Ra, a scale city which reveals the location of the Ark, a grappling hook, excavator’s pick, notebook and a surveyor’s transit.


Later on the cardbarks would have nine figures on the back (Indiana Jones, Toht, Marion Ravenwood, the Cairo Swordsman, Sallah, Indiana Jones in German disguise, the German mechanic, Belloq in his white shirt and pants, as well as the Belloq in his ceremonial robe. (At this time the mail-away offer was over.  I never saw a Bellow in Ceremonial robes in the stores or on a card, but if this figures does exist that way, I would think it would be quite rare.) It had the Well of Souls and Map Room play sets on the back, as well as a third one for the Streets of Cairo, as well as the Arabian horse Indy rides on.


Sallah came in clothe robes and a torch, was poseable and moveable at the neck, shoulders hips and knees.


Indy as the German shoulder was in a green German outfit with hat, came with a bazooka, was poseable and moveable at the neck, shoulders hips and knees.


The German mechanic comes with a monkey wrench, is poseable, moveable at the neck, shoulders hips and knees, and had quick action arm for realistic play.


Belloq came dressed in a white shirt and pants, had a map, was moveable a the neck, shoulders, hips and knees.


The Streets of Cairo play set came with Monkey Man in a clothe robe, a dagger, a molded figure of Marion Ravenwood that could hide in any of the three baskets it came with, a molded figure of the monkey, a merchant stand with removable fruit and a street cart.


The Arabian horse was sold on a card and if you pressed it’s saddle bags (there was a button hidden underneath them) his legs would move as if galloping.


The Desert Convoy truck came with retractable rope feature (to pull Indy to the truck), a removable canopy, and it had storage compartments under the seats.  It did not come with a figure.


Like I said, a core group of figures and play sets and vehicles, just enough to recreate the film with or make up your own adventures with.  I don’t know if more were ever planned then these figures listed above, but one could imagine, if they were to make more, an Indiana Jones in his teachers suit and play set of his classroom, a Marcus Brody figure, a figure of Jock, Indy’s pilot from the beginning of the film, with his seaplane, or even a figure of Capt. Katanga of the Bantu Wind (the ship Indy, Marion and the Ark stowaway on) being created.


Two things I would have loved to have been made was the German flying wing that Indy fought the German mechanic around.  This would come with a German pilot and would be around the size of the Millenium Falcon toy.  Another thing that would have been cool would have been a play set of the Peruvian temple from the beginning of the film.


This temple play set would be large much like the Ewok Village was and could be sold in one box or as pieces to put together.  It would have the circular room where the Fertility Idol was (with a weighted base so that when you take the idol off the base it sinks down), a corridor filled with boobytraps, and of course a piece where the boulder chases Indy out of the temple.  A figure of Indy’s scared helper Satipo would come with the play set.


If I had the money I would definitely track down these figures, play sets, vehicles and horse, perhaps even get two of each, one to keep mint in the box and another to open and display in front of the carded toy.  They’d look beautiful in a glass case  for display.




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