The Spiral Zone is an action, adventure, animation television series that Atlantic/Kushner-Locke produced. The animated television series only lasted for one season, sixty-five episodes, which aired from September 21 to December 18, 1987. Initially, the Spiral Zone toys from Bandai Japan were the inspiration for the Spiral Zone series.
Eventually, Tonka then obtained the rights from Bandai. So, they made some adjustments to the animated series, then created an awesome but sadly short-lived toy line.
The General Plot
The Spiral Zone series and the toy line both follow events after an intelligent mad scientist invented the Zone Generators. The Zone Generators radiate an energy field mixed with chemicals that have the distinct ability to bend people against their will or even total mind control. The mad scientist was intent on distributing the Zone Generators all over the world. However, his plan remained incomplete, so he could only cover half of the world, leaving half of the world ‘unzoned’.
To set up his authority and further his plan of total world domination, the mad scientist created a special evil assault team that includes criminals and named them Black Widows. To defeat the mad scientist and his team of supervillains, the remaining half of the world also came together to form their elite team of Earth’s most powerful soldiers and named them Zone Riders.
Both the animated series and toy line show these two forces fighting against each other. The Zone Riders are the good side, while the Black Widows are the evil side.
Only Tonka held the rights to produce Spiral Zone toys in America. So, they produced a very well-accepted toy line that unfortunately only lasted for one wave of release. The toy line includes fully articulated 7 inches’ action figures, four vehicles, some added weapons and accessories, and some suits that could fit any of the action figures.
Presenting, the top ten Spiral Zone toys:
10. Sledge Hammer (1987)
Tonka released the Sledge Hammer in 1987 as one of two Black Widows action vehicles in the Spiral Zone toy line. The Sledge Hammer is like an armored wheelchair, and it is the replica of the Black Widows’ Sledge Hammer portrayed in the animated series. The action figure features moveable ton bashers as wheels and about four laser cannons strategically placed in front of the action figure.
The Sledge Hammer tank is the main battle vehicle of the Black Widows. As such, the figure can carry one of the many action figures produced in the toy line, preferably a Black Widows member.
9. Zone Riders Armored Combat Cycle (1987)
Tonka released the Zone Rider Armored Combat Cycle in 1987 as one of only two Zone Riders action vehicles for the Spiral Zone toy line. This Cycle is a mono-wheel cycle and replica of the Zone Riders’ favorite vehicle. The Zone Riders use the one-wheeled vehicle in several operations in the zoned area, such as search, rescue, and even battle. The Zone Riders favor this cycle because of its speed and ability to swiftly maneuver obstacles while maintaining its high speed.
The action vehicle can house one action figure at a time, but this time, it must be a Zone Rider to sync with the storyline. The action vehicle comes with two heavy-duty machine guns strategically mounted on the front of the action vehicle and a spring-loaded laser cannon that can fire backward as well as forward when flipped.
8. Bull Whip (1987)
Tonka released the Bull Whip Cannon in 1987 as the second Black Widows action vehicle in the Spiral Zone toy line. The Bull Whip is a multi-wheeled assault vehicle with up to eight tires. It is the replica of the Black Widows’ battle command vehicle as depicted in the Spiral Zone animated television series.
Tonka designed the Bull Whip with Overlord, the leader of the evil Black Widows, as the intended driver. Thus, the vehicle accommodates one action figure that is supposed to be Overlord according to the lore.
The figure’s wheels are moveable, and it comes with a spring-loaded whip that can launch from the front of the figure. The figure also has a hidden compartment that houses a spring-loaded rocket launcher.
7. Rimfire (1987)
Tonka released the Rimfire toy in 1987 as the second Zone Riders vehicle in the Spiral Zone toy line. The Rimfire is a donut-wheeled monocycle. It is also the replica of the Zone Riders command vehicle depicted in the Spiral Zone animated television series.
The Rimfire action vehicle can house one action figure within the wheel, preferably Colonel Dirk Courage, to sync with the cartoon series. The action vehicle features a moveable wheel, a spring-loaded plasma cannon, and a replica of the Rimfire’s distinct four exhaust pipes. Colonel Dirk Courage with his backpack can fit into the action figure.
6. Bandit (1987)
Tonka released the Bandit action figure in 1987 as one of the Black Widows soldiers in the Spiral Zone toy line. Bandit was a high-ranking Black Widow soldier, second only to Overlord himself. He is the ultimate master of disguise who can alter his physical appearance and voice to mimic anyone.
The Bandit action figure comes with an array of accessories that includes a microwave communication system, bulletproof chest armor, bulletproof boots, and a removable zone camouflage suit. The figure also has a chest-mounted hand weapon, a helmet, and a pistol that the figure can holster in its boots.
5. Sgt. Tank Schmidt (1987)
Tonka released the Sergeant Tank Schmidt action figure in 1987 as one of only three Zone Riders in the Spiral Zone toy line. Sergeant Tank Schmidt is an exceptional soldier with an enormous build. His engineering skill makes him a valuable member of the Zone Riders. The war against the Black Widow is personal to Sergeant Tank. For, his only son stays trapped in the Zone along with other innocent people.
The Sergeant Tank Schmidt action figure comes with a series of accessories. These accessories include a removable army camouflage suit and a helmet. He also features a removable backpack that also serves as a communication system. The figure also comes with a pistol and a rocket launcher.
4. Duchess Dire (1987)
Tonka released the Duchess Dire action figure in 1987 as one of the Black Widows in the Spiral Zone toy line. Duchess Dire is also the only female action figure that Tonka released. Thus, she is a must-have for your Spiral Zone collection.
Duchess Dire is a troublesome spoilt brat from a very wealthy family. In a bid to join the Black Widows, she walked into the Zone intentionally.
The Duchess Dire action figure comes with a Zone camouflage suit and a helmet. She also has a backpack that serves as a microwave communication system. The figure’s pistol can remain holstered in her bulletproof boots. Then, she has removable bulletproof chest armor, and a riffle, among other things.
3. Lieutenant Max Jones (1987)
Tonka released the Lieutenant Max Jones action figure in 1987 as one of the three Zone Riders figures in the Spiral Zone toy line. Lieutenant Max Jones is one of the best soldiers in the United States military. He even has many accolades for bravery during battle. He had also previously served under Colonel Dirk Courage. The fight against the Black Widow is very personal to Max Jones. Unfortunately, his father, mother, and sister remain captives in the Zone.
The Lieutenant Max Jones action figure features a removable light-colored army camouflage suit with his white-colored accessories. These accessories include a long rifle and a pistol that can store in the right boot. He also comes with removable bulletproof chest armor and two wrist armor gauntlets.
2. Overlord (1987)
Tonka released the Overlord action figure in 1987 as the leader of the Black Widows and the brilliant mad scientist that created the Zone. He had once pitched the idea for the zones to the United States government, but they turned down his proposal. Thus, Overlord hijacked a newly developed space shuttle and used it to disperse his Zone Generators before they shut them down. He, however, had successfully zoned half of the world.
The Overlord action figure comes with a red and black zone camouflage suit, a microwave communication system backpack, a helmet, and a mini lab around the waist. The Overlord action figure also comes with a weapon with three nozzles.
1. Colonel Dirk Courage (1987)
Tonka released the Colonel Dirk Courage action figure in 1987. Colonel Dirk Courage is the fierce leader of the Zone Riders charged with the search and rescue of innocent people in the Zone and defeating the Overlord and his Black Widows.
The action figure comes with a removable khaki cloth outfit, a removable backpack that has two guns strategically mounted on the shoulders, and a handheld pistol. The figure also features removable body armor and two wrist gauntlets, with a helmet and another small pistol holstered in the right boot.
Since the Spiral Zone toy line only lasted for a year, these toys have become rare and valuable collector’s items. Let us know if your favorite Spiral Zone toys made it to our list.
Do you have old and used Spiral Zone toys?
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About the author
Author: 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!