After Star Wars was first released in the 1970s, the look of most science fiction toys changed forever. Battlestar Galactica also seems to have had an influence, particularly on English companies like Britains and Airfix. Timmee was the last American company still producing figures in the USA, and continued under the name Processed Plastics Co for a couple of decades. I am splitting a fine hair on what I call vintage on this page. These are figures made before or during the 1980s that were not made in Asia. I am going to do a another page all about the wild sci fi figures that did come out of Asia in the 1980s and after. The figures below are the last cheap figures that I know of, made in the USA and Europe, that show influences from Star Wars, Battle Star Galactica and other 70s/80s Sci Fi franchises.
Timmee: Galaxy Laser Team/Star Patrol
I must admit that I didn't much care for these figures as kid. I wanted armymen that had the Star Wars look and not the old pulp look. These figures tried to have it both ways and I only came to appreciate them as I got older. Timmee/PPC put them out for what seems like at least 20 years in various bags and playsets. They have been re-released by the new Timmee in bagged sets. There are also a lot of bootleg figures from Mexico and South America.
Britains: Stargards/Star System
I had just one of the yellow figures as a kid. I got him in a trade with a buddy and neither of us knew anything about it other that it was one of those guys you had to buy one at a time in the expensive toy store. The guy I had was missing his base, helm and weapon, but still stood up just fine. I was actually disappointed when I found some completed figures because the weapons and space bubble helm looked old fashioned to me. Again, they were not Star Wars enough for me. The movie had that kind of effect on just about every boy I knew between 10 and 16 for about a decade after the movie's first release. I would not change a thing about them now. You can see the Battle Star Galactica influence in the robots, which are just robot heads on the same bodies (including the female body).
Airfix: Space Warriors
These figures are a strange mix of influences. I see old school pulp, Battle Star Glactica and maybe Krull and Dr. Who. I also under valued these figures as a youngster.
Atlantic: Space Battle
I am not 100% sure these came out after Star Wars. They are about 40mm.