Welcome Back Satellite Subscribers!
All Heroes report to the briefing room, you are all about to get your flash memory sync on classic 80s toys..Today we got a rare one for you, Revells 1983 Action Figure Line…POWER LORDS!! Revell was a popular plastic model company who made its fortune off of model cars which up until 1980 was a very lucrative business in North America as well globally as well. The plastic model market first showed sign of drying up and thus the effects were felt on the company’s bottom line. Revell looked to expand outside of the model market and create new and exciting properties which would keep the company profitable. One of the waters they chose to test was The lucrative Action Figure market which was booming in the 1980s. The Result was Power Lords: The Extraterrestrial Warriors.
E.T. The Extraterrestrial had won audiences hearts at theaters in 1982 and so the buzzword in the early 90s was Extraterrestrial. Revell was a model company that made many models for lines such as Star wars and many sci-fi based themes so it only made sense to play in the science fiction toy pool. So came Power Lords. The story in a flash :
Adam Power an Earthling (A fact which is in dispute as the DC comic book series hails Adams planet of Origin as Toran!) is chosen to get the most powerful piece of cosmic bling this side of the infinite gauntlet..THE POWER JEWEL so he is able to ward off the intergalactic threat of the insectoid Arkus and his alien insectoid hordes! The Jewel gives Adam the power to transform himself into a powerful extraterrestrial, and joined by Shaya, The Queen Of Power and Sydot the Alien intellectual they are on a mission to save the world! Sounds amazing huh?
The actual promotional campaign for the toys was not great but Power Lords seemed to click with their target audience, The Saturday Morning Cartoon demographic..which was me! Damn right! Revell had high hopes for these toys and launched an advertising campaign in all the usual suspects like comic books and select TV spots! The actual commercials and ads said little about the actual origin of the characters and there was never an animated series to follow-up the toy line which was suicide in the 80s. If you were not on TV or the silver screen your concepts fell on deaf ears. Despite minimal promotion..Revell felt the early launch would be a success. Revell even published a document or media flow chart for potential sellers of the products and investors that dictated the “invasion” of the Power Lords brand on the toy market! If I was in a board room looking at these figures I would have thought this toy line was the second coming of Star Wars.
But were the toys any good? The answer in one mans opinion was yes and no. They were over-sized and didn’t play well with popular lines of the day such as GI Joe and Star Wars. Their uniqueness was a standout feature there was nothing on the market like them! Each toy had a unique action move that was triggered by depressing a button usually located on the lower back of the figure. Adam Power himself with a flick of his back-switch completed twisted his torso to become his unusual alien counterpart “Lord Power”. The figure itself was unusual because no matter what form you had Adam in, the other side of him was visually exposed on his backside! Adam resembled an incredibly alien like conjoined twin. (Thats not a knock on those kids,god bless them, that`s just what it looked like!) Others were less unusual, Shaylas hidden form was concealed by a hood and cape, Arkus wings flapped and Gripptogg simply turned his head to reveal another alien head!! You get the point! The molds were also made of very hard plastic with very little give plus the joint screws were not replaceable if one came loose so if a Power Lord broke..good luck to ya. My Adams arms met a cruel fate but were revived two more times thanks to the fine folks at Crazy Glue! The Crackle for Lego Movie fans!
Power Lords had some very basic vehicles like the Power Ship (Creative name!) and Trigore, The Creature Crusher which looked like some one threw up a lizard. Both toys were awkward and didn’t really play well as well it was a minor struggle getting the figures in or on these machines. These would improve in the next generation of Power Lord toys.No Toy Line would be complete in the 80s without a great play set! Masters Of The Universe had Castle GreySkull and Snake Mountain, G.I.Joe had the PITT and The U.S.S. Flagg..and Power Lords had Volcan Rock! A Volcano play set with computer technology that was simply great!! See for yourself!
Power Lords didn’t hit massive hysteria like peaks that Revell had predicted and was not on every lunch box and T-Shirt, but did manage a second wave of figures and vehicles. Wave two upped the caliber of Vehicles but the figures themselves did not continue the theme of the original line and adopted patterns often found in popular figure lines such as Masters Of the Universe. The Part man, Part Machine ,Beast Machines were VERY inspired shall we say. Check out Beast machine Savor and tell me that isn’t He-man!! So close that some one in creative should have been worries that the copyright cops were close on their heels!
As the line expanded so did the volume of vehicles and characters. Without the support of another comic book series or cartoon show, few fans (outside of diehard collectors ) recall the second generation of Power Lords and their newer bigger better and badder vehicles!
The Power Transporter and The Power Patroller were two very cool toys for the collection! The Transporter was actually a double for a carrying case which was all the rage in the era! If you had a serious collection like Star wars or GI Joe or even Barbie you had a carrying case or some sort! Power Lords were no exception. The transporter was a Spaceship case, slick white, which held up to 10 Power Lords!! Sadly only a prototype was ever made and it never saw official production! The Power Patroller presented a slick single glider style vehicle for Adam Power who was one of the few Power Lords that could actually fit in this ship! Spyzor The Adam Crusher (Which was a horrible name). yet another disappointing vehicle for Arkus. The vehicles were a big upgrade however for the collection and far superior to the original Power Ship and Trigore!
Generation 2 featured obscure Power Lords , Bakatak, Tork, Drrench, and Disguyzor. Very Master Of The Universe like, these characters did not have the market penetration of the first wave but served to up the rogues gallery for Adam Power and his small group! In addition to the Beast Machines Adam Power was grossly outnumbered!! Sadly both versions of the second wave are not often referenced when discussing the Power Lords collection and were left off the 2013 Power Lords reissue.
Boulder Blaster, Trap Rock and The Exploder were also three very cool but unproduced mini playsets for the collection that was only ever shown in the Revell Toy catalog in 1984, Alas in 1984 Power Lords went away as quick as they came and these were the last of the toys produced at the time!! Power Lords however did carry on into other meduims…most notably the Comic Book World with DC comics launching a 3 issue mini series of the property of which I owned two issues! Thats right I have never finished that series and dreaded the fact that I had the opportunity to complete this collection several times in the past and passed up on the opportunity stupid like! So as my cheap plug..if any super fan of this little blog has an extra copy of the mini and would love to gift it to old Charlton Hero here I do accept gifts LOL!
The Power Lords franchise also found moderate fame in the gaming world with a reasonably rare board game!
The description on the box reads..”
You are Adam Power. Using the Power Gem, you become Lord Power, a being of supernatural strength!
“The evil dictator Arkus, and his monstrous servants, Raygoth, the Goon of Doom, and Gripptogg, the four fisted brute, have taken over a starbase near the edge of the galaxy. Arkus must be stopped. You must make your way through the space maze, acquire a secret weapon, and gather your allies. Shaya, the Queen of Power and Sydot, the Supreme do battle with Gripptogg and Raygoth and prepare for the ultimate conflict with the evil Arkus. Accept the challenge, fire up your power ship, and jump into hyperspace. Meet your enemies and drive them from the galaxy to win for all of us.”
I did not have the honor of buying or playing this gem of a board game so if anyone out there has a review on this thing by all means send it in on the comments section on this post! The board featured first generation Power Lords characters and some decent artwork. The picture of Adam Power on this board is pretty hilarious!
No collection is complete without a coloring book!! Notice how Adam looks different again in this artists depiction!
How about the Power Lords puzzle!! Seems Revell TRIED to make the most of this ill-fated toy-line!
The Coup de Gras of all Power Lords merchandise was The Power Lords: The Extraterrestrial Warriors video game for the Odyssey 2 video game console!!
The game got a mediocre review and upon reviewing the game play looks like a whole lot of Power Ship flying around killing a giant snake. Hmmm..Not the best. Perhaps a prototype that was unreleased for the Probe console and The Atari VCS would have been better. The Atari version was not much better and featured two alternating screens but basically was no wonder why it did not make an official release.
In 1984 Power Lords were benched. Revells big new property was a mere flicker in the scope of the universe. Power Lords however had a devoted following who kept the concept alive. In 2013 4 Horsemen Toys re-released the Power Lords line to great fan fare at SDCC in 2013. They and are currently available at the Four Horsemen Studios online store.
Climb on to your Power Patrollers Power Lords and lets re-engage on the deck of The Satellite. Our time in 1983 has been well served but we have other years to discuss so strap in tight..Till next time subscribers..This has been Super-Hero Satellite. Hope you have enjoyed the journey! By all means feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me on the Twitter
@Charlton_Hero and use the #SuperHeroSatellite