The Top Ten Indiana Jones Toys from Kenner’s Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Top Ten Indiana Jones Toys from Kenner’s Raiders of the Lost Ark

A year after George Lucas and Steven Spielberg joined forces to create the first Indiana Jones movie, Kenner released the first toys based on the movies. Even during the early eighties, the push to market movies with toys had not hit the instant urgency that we see today. Furthermore, no company had signed on to license the toys when Raiders of the Lost Ark hit theaters in 1981. Eventually, Kenner signed on to create the first series of Indiana Jones toys that began popping up in 1982.

In many ways, Kenner’s Raiders of the Lost Ark toy line had strong similarities to their Star Wars toys. Both lines featured toys on card backs with the figures positioned to the left side of the card. By setting the figures to the side, they could fill the card with large eye-catching scenes from the film. In addition to the main three and three-quarters inch tall figures, Kenner also created several playsets so that the toys could recreate scenes from the films.

While these toys only lasted for two waves, ending in 1983, fans still fondly remember the first set of Indiana Jones toys that ever existed. Despite the short run of this line, each of the major characters from the film popped up in toy form. So, nearly all on-screen brawls could be recreated by the full line-up.

So, which of these classic toys were the best from Kenner’s Indiana Jones toy line?

Presenting the top ten toys from Kenner’s 1982 Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark

10. Arabian Horse

Kenner's 1983 Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark Arabian Horse

When it comes to horse breeds, few are older than the Arabian breed. There is even archeological evidence that the breed’s origins date back as far back as 4500 years ago. Since the horses are well known for originating on the Arabian Peninsula, there was little surprise when this breed showed up in Cairo. Indy rode one of these stunning horses as he chased the Nazi caravan that held the Ark of the covenant.

Despite its brief appearance in the film, Kenner saw it fit to include the horse in the second series of Indiana Jones action figures. Since this figure was a horse, it was considerably larger than any of the human characters in the line. This toy also included a galloping action that activated with a squeeze of the triggers hidden under the saddlebags. Moreover, figures like Indiana Jones could easily mount onto this horse.

9. Belloq in his Ceremonial Robe

Kenner's 1983 Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark Belloq in Ceremonial Robe

In stark contrast to Indiana Jones, René Emile Belloq had no qualms about profiting from the artifacts that he uncovered. As he often targeted the same artifacts that Indiana Jones hunted down, the two formed a rivalry. Viewers first saw Belloq’s cut-throat tendencies when he ambushed Indy after he escaped the temple in Peru. Even as he disposed of the man who betrayed Indy, Barranca, Belloq demanded that his rival hand over the idol from the temple. Then, he allowed the Hovitos, who he had feigned friendship with, chase after Jones while he slipped away with their idol.

With his ruthless reputation, the Nazis decided that he would be the perfect man to help guide them on their pursuit for the Ark of the Covenant. Thus, Adolf Hitler directly hired Belloq to aid the Nazis. Later, when Indiana Jones found the Ark while Belloq dug in the wrong location, he quickly moved to steal the Ark. As he claimed the Ark for his own, he left Indy to rot in the snake infested Well of the Souls.

As Belloq performed the ceremony to open the Ark, he donned traditional Arabian clothing. While he did manage to open the Ark, he only found two things inside, sand and death. While the tablets had crumbled into sand eons ago, the spirits that protected the Ark still lashed out at Belloq and the Nazis. Thus, the entire group perished.

As the Ark’s ceremony was the climax of the film, Kenner decided to create a Belloq action figure that wore the ceremonial robes. These cloth robes only appeared in this special mail-away figure.

8. German Mechanic

Kenner's 1983 The Adventures of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark German Mechanic

As the Nazis prepared to transport the Ark away from Egypt, they brought along one of their top mechanics to maintain the Flying Wing at their hangar. This man was both a skilled mechanic and a mountain of a man. When Indiana Jones tried to steal away the Flying Wing, the mechanic quickly moved in to engage him in a hand-to-hand brawl to prevent the theft.

While Indy had previously easily dispatched a much scrawnier mechanic, the head mechanic removed his shirt and prepared to fight the archeologist. Just as Indy tried to get to the pilot of the wing once more, the mechanic called out to challenge him. While Indy could easily outmaneuver and overpower the smaller mechanic, this one both took his hits as well as delivered disorienting blows. As the two fought, Marion knocked out the pilot which led to the plane aimlessly spinning.

While Indy struggled to take down the German mechanic, he bobbed and weaved under the spinning plane. He even chased Indy up the wing to continue the brawl. After he took several of Indy’s strongest punches to the face and remained standing, he punched Indy to the ground. Unfortunately, as he taunted Indy, the plane spun in his direction. Thus, he died as the rotors tore him to pieces.

As the German mechanic’s fight was a significant brawl in the film, Kenner included him in the second series of toys. Thus, the mechanic hit store shelves in 1983. Like his on-screen appearance, the mechanic wore no shirt, not even the one he took off in the film. Instead, the only clothing on this figure is his army-issued pants and boots.

7. Streets of Cairo

Kenner's 1983 Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark Streets of Cairo

As Kenner released their second series of Indiana Jones figures, they included several playsets that resembled scenes from the movie. As Cairo played a key role in the film, they followed suit in creating a playset from the Streets of Cairo. This playset included several baskets, a table, and a cart. Since the playset also included several plastic fruits, the scene could be set up with the fruits on the table. Thus, the playset could feel like part of the bazaar present in Cairo.

This set also includes an exclusive figure, the Monkey Man, who turns out to be a spy. This action figure wears a blue and red cloth robe. In addition, there is a small monkey figure and a small child that come with this set.

In the film, the Monkey Man followed Indiana Jones and Marion as they moved through the streets of Cairo. Eventually, Indy stopped by the house of an elderly man who may be able to decipher the markings on Marion’s talisman, the headpiece to the Staff of Ra. Meanwhile, the Monkey Man attempted to poison the group with tainted dates. Unfortunately, his monkey ate the dates before any of Indy’s group. Thus, the death of his monkey quickly foiled his plot.

6. Marion Ravenwood

Kenner's 1982 The Adventures of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark Marion Ravenwood

As Indy sets out to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis, his first stop was to meet up with the daughter of his mentor, Professor Abner Ravenwood. As the Germans believe that Marion Ravenwood inherited the headpiece to the Staff of Ra, Indy traveled to Nepal to meet up with her.

While Marion refused to part with the headpiece, the Nazis soon arrived to take the artifact by force. As Indy returned to the bar to protect Marion from the Nazis, her tavern burned down. Because her livelihood had burnt to a crisp, she forced her way into Indy’s adventure as his partner. Thus, she traveled at his side to Cairo, where the two tracked down the Covenant of the Ark.

As the two continued to escape life-threatening traps and encounters, the romance that the two once felt for each other began to reignite. While their relationship remained complicated even to the end of the Raiders movie, Marion remained an important spark in Indy’s life. Eventually, the two parted ways, but not before Marion became pregnant with Indy’s son.

As Marion played a key role in the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Kenner decided to include her in the first wave of Indiana Jones action figures. Unlike most of the Indiana Jones toys, Marion Ravenwood lacked the improved articulation, like the jointed knees, that the others had. Instead, she had a lace skirt to accent the white dress that she wore in the film.

5. Cairo Swordsman

Kenner's 1982 The Adventures of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark Cairo Swordsman

When it comes to brawls in the Indiana Jones films, none have gained the infamy present in Indy’s face-off against the Cairo Swordsman. Originally, the production had planned a lengthy choreographed scene between Harrison Ford and Terry Richards. To prepare for this scene, Richards spent weeks training and preparing his sword-fighting skills.

Unfortunately, by the time that the production prepared to shoot the scene, Harrison Ford began suffering from intense dysentery. Since Ford could not stand the thought of extensive action scenes while ill, he suggested that Indy “just shoot the sucker.” Steven Spielberg quickly became convinced that ending the fight with a single shot would be the best course.

Thus, one of the most memorable sequences of the entire franchise came about. Rather than having the swordsman have a long sequence where he would accidentally slice through a fish, he instantly died after a brief moment of bravado. Since Indiana Jones was rushing to rescue Marion during that moment, it made perfect sense that he would just shoot the man.

Despite his brief appearance in the film, the swordsman made a significant impact on the film. Thus, Kenner included him in the first series of Indiana Jones action figures. This action figure wore a black cloth robe with a red sash. He also came with the single scimitar, as seen in the movie.

4. Desert Convoy

Kenner's 1983 Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark Desert Convoy Truck

After the flying wing burst into flames, the Nazis required a new means to transport the Ark. Thus, they loaded up the artifact in a covered military truck before driving to Cairo. As the convoy made its way to Cairo, Indiana Jones raced after them on the back of an Arabian Horse.

While the Nazis put up a valiant fight to protect the caravan, Indiana Jones caught up to them before leaping off the horse to land on the truck’s side. From there, he tossed out the passenger before he wrestled for the driver’s wheel. Eventually, he punched the driver out of the cab to completely commandeer the vehicle. Even though he now had control of the truck, he had to fight off the rest of the convoy. Thus, he systematically knocked off each of the armed vehicles off the road.

While he also knocked off most of the soldiers who had been in the back of the van, one soldier grazed his left arm. Thus, the final soldier, who climbed to the cab from above, knocked Indy from the driver’s seat with several punches to his injured arm. As the Nazis tried to run him over, he quickly moved to climb under the truck. He eventually used his bullwhip to tether himself back to the truck as he climbed his way back to the driver’s seat. With all the opposition disposed of, he drove off with both the truck and the Ark.

Kenner’s toy

Kenner knew this was one of the most action-packed scenes of the film. Thus, they included the Desert Convoy Truck in the second series of toys. Owners of the Well of the Souls could load the ark onto the back of the truck. Since the cab doors could open, allowing at least one figure to sit inside. Finally, the truck came with a string that would pull Indy back toward the truck as it moved forward.

3. Toht

Kenner's 1982 The Adventures of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark Toht

While Arnold Ernst Toht spoke little in the film, his leadership on the mission to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant for Adolf Hitler proved his ruthless nature. From the first time he appeared on screen, Toht threatened Marion Ravenwood with a hot iron. Even though Indiana Jones prevented Toht from leaving with the headpiece to the Staff of Ra, the man gained significant knowledge about the artifact when he grabbed it from the fire. The hot metal burned an imprint of the headpiece into his hand, which proved to be enough to lead the Nazis to the general area of the Well of the Souls.

Toht continued to lead the Nazis as they hunted down the Ark of the Covenant. Moreover, Toht arranged for various assassins to strike out at the American archeologist. As Belloq stole the Ark from Indy at the Well of the Souls, he gleefully tossed Marion down into the well to join Indy in death.

All Toht’s ruthless actions led to his group gaining full possession of the Ark on an island near Crete. There, Belloq performed the ceremony to open the Ark. While he successfully opened the Ark, the only power that they found inside was a series of death specters that slew all that looked upon them. Thus, Toht perished along with the rest of the Nazis.

Kenner included their figure of Toht along with the first wave of action figures for their Indiana Jones toys. This toy came with a removable overcoat, which gave the toy depth when it laid over his shoulders. Moreover, he came with a single pistol that he could hold.

2. Well of the Souls

Kenner's 1983 The Adventures of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark Well of the Souls

If there was one set that was paramount to the plot of the film, the Well of the Souls was it. This location was the resting spot of the Ark of the Covenant. Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood discovered the proper resting place of the Ark thanks to having possession of the full headpiece to the Staff of Ra. While the Nazis did gain half of the artifact’s inscriptions, the back of the headpiece explained how the staff needed to be shortened to reveal the location.

While the Nazis dug in the wrong location, Indiana Jones set up a site right above the Well of the Souls. Upon uncovering the cavern, he found that the Well was full of snakes. However, it also proved to be the correct location of the Ark.

Unfortunately, Belloq noticed Indy’s dig just as he was pulling up the Ark to the surface. Thus, Belloq claimed the Ark for the Nazis before he left Indy stranded at the bottom of the Well. Toht also tossed Marion down the Well to join Indy in death. Luckily, their friend, Sallah escaped execution before returning to the Well to rescue Indiana Jones.

Kenner released the Well of the Souls playset with their second series in 1983. The Well of the Souls was the only playset that came with the Ark of the Covenant. It also came with several small snakes to help cover the ground. This set also includes two gold arches that surround the resting place of the Ark. Finally, it came with a crypt cover to hide the Ark under.

1. 12” Indiana Jones

Kenner's 1982 The Adventures of Indiana Jones in Radiers of the Lost Ark 12" Indiana Jones

Even though Indiana Jones was a successful professor of archeology at Marshall College, he loved heading out onto the field to discover new artifacts. While he loved uncovering new finds about ancient civilizations, his moral code kept him from profiting from his finds. Unlike some of his contemporaries, like Belloq, Indiana Jones returned his artifacts to his college or other academic institutions for study.

After returning empty-handed from Peru, agents from the Army intelligence came to visit Indy at Marshall College. There, they explained that the Nazis were after an artifact that Indy’s mentor, Abner Ravenwood, supposedly obtained. Thus, he agreed to help the US government get its hands on the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis could.

As Indy traveled to Ravenwood’s last known location in Nepal, he met up with Ravenwood’s daughter, Marion. Even though she eventually agreed to sell the headpiece to the Staff of Ra to Indiana Jones for three thousand dollars, she forced her way into his adventure. Thus, the two traveled to Cairo to uncover the Ark.

As Indy hunted down the Ark, he often brawled with the Nazis. After the ark exchanged hands several times, the Nazis gained full possession of the Ark on an island north of Crete. While the Nazis paid no heed to the warnings on the Ark, Indy believed that no good would come with the opening of the Ark. Thus, he and Marion survived because Indy instructed them to close their eyes and not look.

Kenner’s toy

Kenner created several Indiana Jones action figures for their Raiders of the Ark toy line. However, none were more impressive than the twelve-inch-tall action figure. While Kenner cut corners by using the same sculpt as their Han Solo figure, the toy still looks impressive.

This action figure comes with several pieces of cloth clothing, including a pleather jacket. Moreover, it came with a felt fedora that Indiana could wear. Moreover, this figure came with a whip that Indiana could wield.

What were your favorite Indiana Jones toys?

Unfortunately, Kenner’s 1982 Indiana Jones toy line failed commercially, fans still love to hunt down the figures. At the time, Indiana Jones was the most popular figure in the toy line. However, the line had a lack of Jones available for fans to pick up. Thus, Kenner’s line faded out of existence in 1983. Still, collectors love to get their hands on the complete set of Indiana Jones toys. Each figure features a character that played a significant role in the film.

So, do you agree with our list? Tell us what your favorite figures from the Indiana Jones toy line in the comments bellow.

Do you have old and used Indiana Jones toys?

If you have a collection of old and used toys, you can turn those toys into cash. There is no reason to let those old toys collect dust. Contact us today to sell your Indiana Jones toy collection.

Made in collaboration with:

Chris Ingledue 


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!

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