Riding off the success of their toy lines from the early 80s, G.I. Joe and Transformers, Hasbro decided to experiment and create various new toy lines. One of these lines was the air-powered Air Raiders which focused on the vehicles over any specific action figures. Unfortunately, Hasbro decided not to use the formula that had landed them success in the earlier half of the decade.
As the Air Raiders prepared to make their debut in 1987, Hasbro got together with Marvel to get a promotional comic book series available for the line. This series went to Marvel’s Star Comics division, where it produced five issues from November 1987 to July 1988. With Howard Mackie writing the story and Kelley Jones providing the artwork, the comics attempted to present an exciting war between the Air Raiders and the Tyrants of the Wind for the freedom of Airlandia’s air.
Following the lead of Lt. Noble, the Air Raiders were ready to ride to the wind and take on the evil of Emperor Aerozar and his Lords of the Wind. Their member included General Rokk, Eeleta, Jad, Admiral, Sairra, and Jasun. Following the Emperor’s lead, the Lords of the Wind kept a tight grip on the precious air supplies of Airlandia. Their forces included Baron Sunder of the Northern Winds, Baron Jolt of the Eastern Winds, Baron Modrex of the Western Winds, and Baron Ee-lon of the Southern Winds.
As the air was more precious than gold in Airlandia, these two groups duked it out throughout the five issues. The air theme continued to the Air Raiders’ various targets. They even raided an air refinery in the second issue.
Hasbro’s Air Raiders Toy Line
When it came to the toys, there was little distinction between the various members of the Air Raiders and the Tyrants of the Wind. While both groups came with a 5-man group, the Battle Squad and the Enforcers, all of the action figures were made at 2” scale and designed to sit in the seats of the stars of the line, the vehicles. Each of these vehicles featured air-powered projectiles and other gimmicks.
The Air Raiders took the air in a large array of vehicles. These included the Thunderclaw, Storm Dagger, Twin Lightning, Thunderhammer, and Man-O-War. They even had a Command Outpost playset.
Meanwhile, the Tyrants of the Wind commanded the Wind Razor, Wind Seeker, Hawkwind, and Dragonwind. They also had a playset, the Air Refinery.
These toys also came with inserts that explained the story behind the Air Raiders. For instance, the formation of Airlandia page explained how the world had most of its breathable atmosphere stripped away by the passing of a comet. There was even an insert that gave insights into the various creatures that could be found on Airlandia.
Despite Hasbro’s imaginative premise, the Air Raiders only lasted one season and quickly vanished. Unlike their successes in the past, the Air Raiders never received a cartoon series. Instead, there were only a few animated commercials that advertised both the comics and the toy line. So, these toys have become rare collector’s items.
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