Saturday, November 21, 2015

23 1980s Fantasy Playsets Ranked by Rarity

UPDATE 11/21/15  I know of 23 full sized boxed fantasy toy soldier playsets sold in the 1980s.  I just found a Toyco playset called Dragons and Demons that I had never seen before. It is an all English box which I have also never seen before from Toyco, except for the Tower of Terror small playset.  I have installed the new playset as no. 3 on the list.  So, let's say it is 23 and counting.

They are all rare. DFC's Dragonriders of the Styx is the most common and you still only see 5-10 of them on ebay each year. The scale is really from rare to insanely rare. I found the last playset I was searching for recently, ending a 15+ year search.  I did not even know that a few of the playsets on this list existed until they popped up on ebay. Years of experience has given me a good idea about how rare they are in relation to each other, but there is no data or science behind my list. This is based entirely on gut feelings and a few leaked NSA documents.    

I have added my best estimate of a value range for each playset. The fact is that you can still sometimes find this stuff cheap at garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets and the like. If you go looking on ebay and other places that sell to collectors you will have to pay more, particularly for items in very good to mint condition.  My value estimate is mostly based on what I have seen on ebay over the last two decades.  However, if you hunt for this stuff and are patient you can find better prices than what I have estimated.

Here is a list of all 23 1980s fantasy toy soldier playsets in my best guess at rarity order:

23.  DFC: Dragonrider of the Styx. ($75 - $125)

22.  HG Toys: Sword & Sorcery (Medium). ($50-$100)

21.  DFC: The Tower of the Night. ($50 - $150)

20.  DFC:  The Forest of Doom. ($50 - $150)

19.  Marty Toy: Galaxy Warriors Electronic.  ($85 - $125)

18.  DFC:  The Fires of Shandarr.  ($75 -$150)

17.  HG Toys:  Sword & Sorcery (small).  ($35 - $50)

16.  DFC: Giant Castle Playset.  ($90 - $125)

15.  Tara Toys:  Dark Adventure Playset.  ($75 - $150)

14.  Helm Toy:  The Castle of the Three Headed Dragon. ($100 - $175)

13.  Miner:  Dragon Crest.  ($50 - $100)

12.  Helm Toy:  Demon Mountain.  ($75 - $100)

11.  Toyco:  Tower of Terror.  ($100 - $175)

10.  MPC:  Mysterious Castle.  ($150 - $300)

9.  HG Toys:  Sword & Sorcery (Deluxe).  ($175 - $300)

8.  Toyco:  Demons & Dragonriders (store version).  ($150 - $300)

7.  Marty Toy:  Galaxy Warriors Non-electronic.  ($75 - $150)

6.  Toyco:  Demons & Dragonriders (catalog version).  ($150 - $350)

5.  DFC:  The Demons of Castlelon. ($150 - $350) 

4.  DFC:  The Dungeons of Castlelon. ($175 - $350)

3. Toyco: Dragons and Demons (English Box).  ($175 - $350)

2.  Durham Industries:  Fantasy Fortress.  ($350 - $500)

1.  Helm Toy:  The Fortress of the Wizard King.  ($200 - $600)


  1. Love that box art! I would love to get my hands on any one of these awesome sets!

  2. I'm surprised you put the fantasy fortress by durham at number one instead of the wizard king set. I know they are both insanely rare, but that had to be a close one. I would have to agree with your list beyond that though. Sadly the only playset I have off the list as of this moment is the HG 90 piece which is ranked pretty common. I have seen several of the marty toy electronic sets as of late, but I think the price has been too high on them so I haven't gotten one yet. In due time I'm sure. Thanks for the ranking, it certainly helps put these in perspective if and when they pop up for sale!

    1. Ya, could go either way on no. 1 & 2. I put Durham as most rare because I had never seen or even heard of the playset before it appeared on ebay. I had at least heard of the Fortress of the Wizard King before I finally found one. I also found a couple of the Wizard King Figures before I found the playset and they each had to come from a copy of the playset. Durham sold figures in bags as well as the playset. So, my gut tells me the Durham set is a little more rare, but I might be wrong.

    2. I just switched them so that Fortress of the Wizard King is no. 1. I have seen several Durham Fantasy Fortress Playsets on ebay the last couple of years.

  3. I have painted a number of these figures to use in my fantasy armies. I especially like the demons.

    1. I have seen some of your paint jobs on your blog. Outstanding work.

  4. So much amazing in one blog post. You've got to love the artwork almost as much as the toys.

    I'd love to get my hands on a Fantasy Fortress one day. I have a set of the figures, but not the Fortress.

    1. Yep. I made this post because I wanted to put pictures of all the playsets together in one place. I decided to list them in rarity order because it was fun to try and think about rarity. I am starting think I under ranked the HG medium playset. I found several years ago, but they seem hard to find these days.

  5. I had the one with the maze in it. That is the only one I had. Sure would like to acquire it again.

  6. Mysterious Castle Playset is unironically the most mysterious. I had one of these playsets as a kid, and I played with it in my grandmother's mysterious back yard. She bought it for me around '82 in Florence, Alabama. It included maybe four of the the larger snake like creatures with blank faces.

  7. Hello, I think you missed one set. I have a TOYCO set that is Dragons and Demons #1204. I didnt see it on your list, does that make mine more rare? Here is the link, let me know if anyone has more info on it.

  8. Wow, I have not seen that version before. It looks like the same playset as the large catalog version, but with an original box for store shelves instead of the DFC bootleg box. I did not know they finally made their own box. Thanks for the link.

  9. Outstanding. Thanks for doing all the work and thanks for the beautiful pics.

  10. Superb post Shaun, especially for the uninitiated like me. I'm a space toy collector but also love action figures. the Tara set, no 15, is interesting as it combines miniatures of two of my favourite figure lines from the 1960's: Colourforms Outer Space Men and LP Aliens [these maybe the same size]. Outer Space Men figures were Colourforms answer to Mattel's mega-hit Major Matt Mason and for me are the finest space figures ever made. the designer is still alive, Mel Birnkrant, and he has an amazing website detailing the inspiration for his figures. Since release in the 60's they have been knocked off many times and Tara's one of them. LP Aliens were part of various space sets in the Sixties and often surface loose on Ebay. They often came with small astronauts of later Tri-ang SpaceX fame. The LP aliens have been released by countless companies in plastic and rubber in all different sizes. One of the most distinctive sets was called Moon Platoon. I'm always amazed when companies like Tara decided to mash up two completely different toy lines from twenty years earlier to create a new set!

  11. Been looking for lost game for 30 yrs figured . No body would still have it in style

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  13. These are all super cool. I recognize some of the figures but I never saw the sets themselves. It's badass that there were a few companies putting together these kinds of adventure sets for kids. Pretty sure #1 is a re-molded Guns of Navarone (or vice-versa).

  14. There is a Sears Canadian Version as well. Looking on getting pictures as it is in storage. The Sears box is blank with some printing on it. Same set as the Dragonriders of the Styx. There is an order sheet that will clear up the original company. Pictured in the 1982 Canadian Sears Xmas catalogue.