Since we here at Wheeljack’s Lab have bought and sold toys for decades, we have seen many rare toys, like those that are AFA-Graded. It always excites us when we see one of these toys with professional grading pass through our doors. While finding a mint thirty-five-year-old toy is rare, these are even rarer. For, not every previous owner takes the time to send away their toys for grading services.
If you are not familiar with the Action Figure Authority, or AFA, they were the original company to offer grading services for mint toys. They began grading toys because the definition of a mint toy was very subjective. Thus, they set a standardized scale for judging mint toys. They judge elements like the paint and the packaging to figure out the grade of mint toys. They also reject any toys that have been double taped or previously opened. So, a toy with an AFA sticker will be of the highest quality.
So, we want to share our excitement with you with a small peak at the toys that have come through our doors. So, we have picked out the most exciting of the graded toys that we have had in our store. Each of these toys stood out for its excellent quality and rarity.
Do note that we have no affiliation nor standing with the AFA. If you would like them to professionally grade your toys, please check out their site. We strongly suggest that you examine their current wait times, since, at the time of this article, only the highest service tiers are available. So, current wait times average around 8 weeks.
Presenting: The top ten toys with AFA-Grading that have excited us
10. Hasbro’s 1985 Transformers Jetfire with an 80 AFA Grade
Jetfire is one of the most controversial toys that popped up in Hasbro’s Transformers line. Originally, this toy was a part of Takatoku Toys’ Macross toy line as a VF-1S Valkyrie. So, fans have often set it into an alternate transformation mode, the Gerwalk mode. However, Hasbro never acknowledged this form, nor does the toy lock up in this form. Instead, Hasbro featured an armored vehicle mode as Jetfire’s third transformation.
Even though Jetfire did not originate from Takara, Hasbro pushed ahead with marketing him in the Sunbow cartoon. While we do know that the story bible mentions that there were legal issues with Jetfire, no one has a clear picture of what those issues were. However, the result of Jetfire’s issues became apparent. Sunbow both reworked Jetfire’s design so that he became dissimilar to the Valkyrie and renamed him Skyfire.
Likewise, Matchbox saw similar legal issues with using the VF-1S Valkyrie for their Robotech toy line. As such, Hasbro’s Jetfire was the only choice available to Robotech fans at that time.
The AFA-Graded Jetfire toy that we received was in excellent condition. None of the subscores dipped below 80. While the box scored an 80, both the window and the figure itself scored an 85. Thus, this was an excellent example of a mint Generation One Jetfire.
9. Hasbro’s 1985 Transformers Pepsi Optimus Prime with an 85 AFA Grade
In 1985, Hasbro joined in a joint venture with PepsiCo to release their first cross-promotional figure. This figure was only available via a mail-away campaign in North America. So, it is an exceedingly rare variant of the Optimus Prime toy. Notably, the Canadian version of this toy is yet another variation. Rather than the smaller Pepsi logos, the Canadian Pepsi Prime featured stickers that covered the full length of the trailer.
The popularity of this toy led to future releases of Pepsi-branded Primes and Convoys. First, Takara brought over a Pepsi Convoy to their Transformers line in 2005. Unlike the original releases of Pepsi Prime, Pepsi Convoy featured a “bottle station” trailer capable of carrying full-sized drink bottles. Likewise, in 2007, Hasbro debuted a new Pepsi Optimus Prime with the same trailer.
Since Pepsi Optimus Prime is a rare variant, we were beyond ecstatic to see an AFA-Graded one come through our doors. This Prime netted a combined grade of 85, which made it a prime example of a Prime.
8. Hasbro’s 1986 Transformers Galvatron with an 80 AFA Grade
In 1986, Hasbro changed up their line-up and replaced Megatron with Galvatron as the leader of the Decepticons. Unlike prior Transformers toys, the characters created for the movie, like Galvatron, had animation models designed before the toy models. Hasbro then designed the toy based on the animation models for the movie. Unfortunately, when it came to Galvatron, Hasbro did not have the finalized design when they worked on the toy. Thus, the toy featured a color scheme that did not reflect the animation model, grey instead of purple.
While Transformer fans did not have an animation accurate Galvatron, they enjoyed the electronics that came with the toy. With the use of a 9-volt battery, Galvatron’s barrel lit up in gun mode while his eyes lit up in robot mode. Also, the toy produced three electronic noises. This toy also sported the largest range of articulation out of the Generation One toys.
Having an AFA-Graded Galvatron pass through our doors was a pleasant surprise. This figure was in excellent condition, which the grades reflected. He scored an 80 in both the box and window categories. Meanwhile, the figure itself had an 85 grade. Altogether, this toy carried an 80 grade from the AFA.
7. Hasbro’s 1986 Transformers Sky Lynx with an 85 AFA Grade
Hasbro debuted the most magnificent of the Autobots, Sky Lynx, to their Transformers lineup in 1986. While Hasbro sold Sky Lynx as a complete unit, he was two different robots. Combined, these robots formed a space shuttle or a griffin-like creature. However, separately, the shuttle becomes a prehistoric or monstrous bird. Meanwhile, the crawler-transported transforms into a lynx with two tails.
Unlike most other Transformers toys, Sky Lynx originated from a Toybox license. Since this toy did not originate from Takara’s licensed toys, he was not available in the Japanese Transformers toy line. Thus, Sky Lynx was one of the few Hasbro-exclusive Generation One toys.
The AFA-graded Sky-Lynx that passed through our doors was as magnificent as he sees himself. It netted a combined grade of 85 from the AFA. While this figure did not have a breakdown to give us insight into how the components scored, they all are in mint condition.
6. Hasbro’s 1986 Transformers Superion with an 80 AFA Grade
In 1986, Hasbro offered one of the first scramble-city style combiner Transformers with their release of Superion. This combiner officially formed when five plane-themed robots, the Aerialbots, combined. The Aerialbots consisted of Silverbolt, Slingshot, Air Raid, Fireflight, and Skydive. Officially, each of these robots formed a specific part of Superion; however, owners could change out their positions. Still, Silverbolt officially functioned as the torso. Meanwhile, Slingshot and Fireflight functioned as the left and right arms. Then, Air Raid became the left leg while Skydive functioned as the right.
As a Scramble City style combiner, owners of Superion could exchange the limbs with other combiner teams. Each part of the complete figure was interchangeable, so an arm could become a leg.
Hasbro offered Superion as both a gift set and as separate individual components. However, the most exciting collectible version of Superion was the gift set. This gift set featured all five Aerialbots, initially in their airplane modes. Thus, the gift set was an easily displayable way to obtain the full team.
The sight of an AFA-Graded Superion gift set excited us. This set garnered a total grade of 80 from the AFA. We could tell that it has minimal wear and tear at the corners of the box. Still, each of the figures was in excellent condition. Thus, it was an excellent mint set.
5. Hasbro’s 1984 G.I. Joe Destro with an 85 AFA Grade
Not long after Hasbro decided to relaunch their G.I. Joe brand, they brought Destro to the line in 1983. Destro stands out from the rest of the Joe’s adversaries with his silver-coated head. Also, while most of the villains were members of Cobra, Hasbro presented Destro as an “Enemy weapons supplier”. The toy stood at 3 and 3/4th inches tall. It also came with an array of accessories including a black briefcase and a black pistol.
Originally, Hasbro turned to Marvel for help with revitalizing their G.I. Joes for the 1980s. Thus, Larry Hamma’s then scrapped Fury Force became the basic premise for the new Joe brand. Destro’s first appearance in the pages of Marvel’s comics happened in issue #11, where he initially presented himself as a member of Cobra. However, he later revealed himself as the power behind M.A.R.S., who supplied advanced weaponry across the world.
The AFA-Graded Destro that we bought came in excellent condition. It had a total grade of 85 from the AFA, which made it an excellent example of a mint-condition toy. The toy was in excellent condition, along with the card back.
4. Hasbro’s 1986 Transformers Metroplex with an 85 AFA Grade
In 1986, Hasbro expanded their Transformers line-up with the inclusion of gigantic city-like figures like Metroplex. Later, Hasbro would label the toys of this magnitude as Titan-class figures. These figures were massive, offering multiple stories in their city mode. Owners could use the landing pad that the legs transformed into as a zone to park the vehicle form of other Transformers. Moreover, his weapons could move to new locations so that owners could create a unique look.
Metroplex had three different modes. First, he had his rolling vehicle mode, though the robot form’s parts were easily identifiable in this configuration. Next, he had a base mode, which offering ramps and parking spots for smaller figures. Finally, he had a robot mode that towered over the rest of the Transformers.
Getting our hands on an AFA-Graded Metroplex was an absolute joy. This MIB figure scored a total score of 85 from the Action Figure Authority. The box was in spectacular condition, with very minimal wear.
3. Hasbro’s 1985 Transformers Shockwave with an 85 AFA Grade
Another toy that did not originate from Takara’s toy lines, Hasbro introduced Shockwave into their Transformers line in 1985. This toy originally came from a Korean toy company, ToyCo. Since ToyCo licensed their Astro Magnum mold to multiple companies, other companies like Radio Shack produced toys from this mold. Thus, Transformers fans remember seeing Radio Shack’s Galactic Man and 4 Changeable Spark Man. Still, Hasbro’s Shockwave reigned supreme over all other versions of the mold.
Shockwave featured die-cast feet that gave his pistol form significant heft. Moreover, with the use of a 9-volt battery, the toy’s electronics created light-up mechanics and generic space shooter sounds. Thus, the owners could activate a combination of flashing lights and electronic noises by pulling the trigger. Notably, it is possible to obtain a Shockwave without a rub-sign, which Hasbro placed on the side of his torso.
While Shockwave is a popular figure, mint versions of him are rare and far between. Thus, we enjoyed the AFA-Graded Shockwave that passed through our store. Overall, the Action Figure Authority gave this figure an 85 score, indicating its excellent condition. While the box showed minor signs of wear, the figure itself was in excellent condition.
2. Hasbro’s 1984 Transformers Pre-Rub Megatron with an 85 AFA Grade
When Hasbro launched the Transformers brand in 1984, they required a leader for their evil troops, the Decepticons. Thus, Megatron became the most well-known Decepticon from the Transformers franchise. Given that there is one series with an Optimus Primal rather than Prime, though it still had a Megatron, one could say that Megatron is the most well-known name in all of Transformers.
Megatron originated from Takara’s Microman toy line as the Gun Robo – P38. Thus, he transforms into an accurate depiction of a Walther P-38 pistol, a testament to the era where he came from. Now, no toy company would release a toy that creates an exact depiction of a real-life gun. Hasbro also decided to release Megatron with the accessories available with the Gun Robo – P38 U.N.C.L.E. toy. Thus, Megatron came with a silencer, stock, and telescopic sight. The sight accessory then became his fusion cannon in robot mode.
While Megatron stays a popular collector’s figure, few from 1984 remain in mint boxed condition. So, the AFA-graded Megatron that we bought and sold was a rare opportunity. The Action Figure Authority gave this figure a total score of 85. While the box received an 80 grade, both the window and figure received an 85. Thus, this figure was in fantastic condition.
1. Hasbro’s 1985 G.I. Joe Commando Code Name Snake Eyes (with Timber) with a 90 AFA Grade
Often cited as the original black repaint, the original Snake eyes figure debuted in 1982. Since he remained a popular character over the years, Snake Eyes returned to store shelves in 1985. For the rerelease, Hasbro updated the mold to include his iconic ribbed visor. He also now came with new accessories, such as his wolf, Timber. Likewise, Hasbro updated the artwork for his card back with the updated appearance and wolf. Snake Eyes’ other accessories included a backpack, sword, and Uzi.
According to Snake Eyes’ file card, his real name is unknown and classified. He studied the mystic martial arts alongside a notable member of Cobra, Storm Shadow. Thus, the two have a strong connection and rivalry that carried over to future incarnations of the character. Also, Timber was his sole companion while he lived alone in the High Sierras before his recruitment into the G.I. Joe team.
The AFA-Graded Snake Eyes that came through our store was one of the best examples of a mint toy. The Action Figure Authority granted this toy a total score of 90, making it one of the highest-scoring toys we have seen. There is no visible wear and tear on the toy. Thus, this figure shines as an excellent example of a professionally graded MIB figure.
Are you looking to sell your collection of AFA-Graded toys?
Today, we have shared with you only a small sampling of the toys that we have seen with AFA grades. We are always looking forward to buying new samples of toys, especially MIB AFA-graded toys. So, if you are looking to sell your collection, feel free to contact us so that we can get your sale started. We look forward to hearing about your toys and will respond within 24 hours.
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Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!