Monday, April 13, 2015

ARCO: Dragons n' Monsters

Arco put out two sets of carded Dragons n' Monsters in 1982, Skull Turret and Headsgone Tower.  There are 8 45mm figures, all based on old D&D lead figures.  Rereleased in 1990 by Toys n' Things.


































21 comments:

  1. So great. I still would love to find pics of all of the lead figures these were based off. I think I have only been able to find a few of them.

    I love seeing the "Mutants and Monsters" packaging. I wonder if certain sculpt-color combinations were only released in those packages vs. with the towers, or vice versa.

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  2. I wonder about that as well. I have not seen any uncommon colors in the two packages I have pictured, but you never with small companies like Arco.

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    1. Would you consider the guy with the rope in red to be uncommon? I spot one in the first Mutants and Monsters pack shown above, and I don't think I've seen that one around as often as the others.

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    2. Also, it looks like the spikes on the back of the one dragon were shortened for the versions in the Mutants and Monsters packs. I've owned Arco figures with both the longer and shorter spikes and I always wondered about that difference.

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  3. Great insights. I think you are right about the red jump rope guy. I only have the one in that color. Maybe it did only come in the Mutants & Monsters packages. I did not realize that he is rare in red. You are likely right about short spike versions of the dragons as well. I have only seen the short spikes in the Mutants package and they seem to be at least a little rarer than the longer spike versions.

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  4. Another thing that probably plays into it is that the Mutants & Monsters packages came out in 1986 and 1987 which is 4-5 years after the original Dragons & Monsters. The molds may have been changed. I wonder if the later production by Toys n' Things also came with short spikes? I have mixed my figures together to the point that I can't be sure if any of my short spike dragons were from Toy n' Things.

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    1. Yeah, it really seems like long spikes = 1982 release and short spikes = 1986/1987/1990. I am almost sure I have only seen the Toys n Things version of that dragon as having short spikes. With the Toys n Things versions, each character seems to have come in only one color (genie and lizard man are always red, bird man and griffin-dragon are always green, etc). That Toys n Things spiked dragon is always blue. The Toys n Things plastic colors are also different shades and more opaque. When you put them side by side with the Arco figures, the Arco figures look glossier and more translucent.

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  5. Does anybody know if these molds were ever reused fairly recently? As in 200X? I would love to see these as knock offs. I do have the originals from 1980's. Only in recent times did I complete the sets with a Red Lizardman. He was missing from the first set. (only three out of four toys? Boy, was I heartbroken)

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  6. I don't think so. The last production run I am aware of was by Toys n' Things around 1989/90.

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  7. I have been grabbing these up wherever I can find them (mostly ebay), and I was curious about the possibility of a bootleg line after toys n things as well. My reason for this is the fact that all my original arco figures say made in hong kong, and pretty much all my toys n things figures have their name and made in china in the bottom circle in place of that. However I have 3 cyclops figures, all in the same darker orange as the toys n' things stamped version, that have no stamp at all. They still have the circle, just nothing in it. At a glance they could be slightly darker orange as well, when compared side by side with the toys n' things stamped figure I have. Anyone else here that collect these have any that are un-stamped at the bottom?

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    1. I have a few different Toys N Things versions that don't have the "Made in China" stamp--only the circle. I have my bag out now and I have a Toys N Things Brawn Hulk, Djinn and Cyclops like this. I am pretty sure they are actual Toys N Things figures as they are ones I would have got new as a kid. Also, the Toys N Things dragons keep the same "Hong Kong" markings from the Arco versions.

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  8. I have noticed that as well. My theory is that the ones with no stamp are Arco's later production under the name Mutants & Monsters. I don't know if that is accurate, but it is my best guess. I don't think there is a bootleg line, but anything is possible.

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    1. I have the Arco mutants and monsters carded 20 figure set (the one with the blue spine spike dragons) just like the one in your first picture above of the carded ones. I checked the bottom of the figures in that and they have the standard made in hong kong stamp. Maybe in time something else will pop up to explain the un-stamped figures, like a toys n' things mutants and monsters, or a tower/figure set with un-stamped bottoms, but for now I am stumped! Time will tell!

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  9. Well, that shoots my theory in the butt. I'll check the figures in my cards as well when I can find the time. Is yours the 86 or the 87 card?

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    1. Mine is the 86, so maybe it was the 87 card or something. If you find anything on your end when you check yours let me know! Like I mentioned, I have 3 of the unmarked ones, two of which I just got in the mail today, and the other came in a random lot. The people I bought them from don't know anything about them at all, so no help there either unfortunately!

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  10. Has anyone managed to ID which gaming miniatures these guys were based on?

    I have a few ID'd but not all of them.

    Troll with whip: "Troll Discipline Master" by Citadel:
    https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3815/12811109463_73e42b250c.jpg

    Genie: Heritage Djinni from their "Dungeon Dwellers" line:
    http://s.ecrater.com/stores/88954/55885be63c263_88954b.jpg

    Pustulous beast: Brawn Hulk, also from Heritage's Dungeon Dwellers line:
    http://www.dndlead.com/dungeon-dwellers/1200s/1257.jpg

    Reptile-man: Lizardman from Grenadier:
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-GdrU6zJmHls/UokXlCp8sxI/AAAAAAAAFCk/bzyKH-tMcTk/s1600/Rereleased+Lizardmen.jpg

    Still haven't found out where the rest are from. These old pewter miniatures were kind of before my time.

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  11. With regard to color variations, here's how they shook out in the sets my brother and I had in the early 80's:

    Skull Turret: amber dragon, green lizardman, red djinn, blue birdman.
    Headsgone Tower: green spiny dragon, amber cyclops, red whip ogre, blue warty buttock monster.

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  12. I had the purple skull turret as a kid. I'm pretty sure it had all the monsters except the spiny dragon.

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  13. You should stop by MikesToyBox.net if you dig weird knockoff mini-figures. I have a whole series there about the Mighty Max knockoff, Sammy Steel, and pretty much the only photos/info about the toy line on the 'net.

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