The Top Ten Terminator Toys from Kenner

The Top Ten Terminator Toys from Kenner

Years after James Cameron enthralled audiences with the first Terminator film, Kenner Toys became the first company to create toys for the franchise. Back in 1984, few companies believed that movie toys could net them a profit, let alone toys based on R-Rated films. Moreover, even though Arnold Schwarzenegger had previously starred as Conan the Barbarian, he had yet to become a superstar. So, neither Orion nor any toy companies considered creating Terminator toys.

By the time Terminator 2: Judgement Day was in production, all these factors had changed. Both James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger had proven their worth as powerhouses in Hollywood. Unlike the original movie, the sequel felt more tuned in toward younger audiences with its focus on the young John Connor and friendly T-800. So, it felt much more natural to market this movie to children, despite its R-Rating. Most importantly, the second Terminator movie cost significantly more than the original, so the studio wished to recoup its cost with merchandising tie-ins.

Furthermore, toy companies like Kenner had become ready to give R-Rated movie-based toys a chance. Kenner previously tested the waters when they created an impressively huge Xenomorph figure from ALIEN. Moreover, only a few years earlier, the ultra-violent Robocop film transitioned into a cartoon and toy line. They also loved taking on new licensed properties. So, they welcomed the idea of creating a creative toy line that focused on the Terminator franchise.

So, Kenner set out to create multiple toys that brought the battle against the machines home. They created several variations of the T-800 with Schwarzenegger’s face as well as a few T-1000 figures. While they created a John Connor figure, they featured no other humans, not even Sarah Connor, from the films.

Presenting the top ten Terminator toys from Kenner

10. Terminator 2 Power Arm Terminator (1997)

Terminator 2 Power Arm Terminator (1997)

As Kenner set out to bring Terminator to life in toy form, they created multiple variations of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800. Since the original movie, Arnold’s career had sky-rocketed, making him a recognizable and bankable face. So, it made logical sense to create multiple variations of his character, the T-800. The T-800 showed up in their toy line as the Battle-Damaged Terminator, Damage Repair Terminator, Secret Weapon Terminator, and many more.

However, one of the most classic variations of this toy appeared as the Power Arm Terminator. Like most of the other action figures, this figure featured multiple accessories, the missile launcher and grabbing claw. While the toy came with the missile launcher attached to his left shoulder socket, owners could change it out with his included arm. This action figure also featured extensive battle damage, which gave hints to this machine’s endoskeleton.

Even though Arnold never wore a pink shirt in the film, the toy’s clothing perfectly encapsulated the feel of his character. Kenner sculpted the figure to make it look like it wore the leather outfit from the film. Other than the pink shirt, they designed this toy with a sleeveless leather jacket that the T-800 never wore in the film.

9. Terminator 2 Bio-Flesh Regenerator (1991)

Terminator 2 Bio-Flesh Regenerator (1991)

Even though the film introduced audiences to T-800s who already wore an organic-flesh disguise, Skynet did not build these machines with the flesh present. Instead, it designed these endoskeletons for these machines first. In fact, many of the earlier models completely lacked the organic flesh exterior. Unlike their predecessors, Skynet designed the T-800s to infiltrate human strongholds. More importantly, the magnetic field for the time distortion machine would decimate the unexposed endoskeleton. The flesh exterior for the T-800s adequately shielded their machine components so that Skynet could effectively send them back in time.

With this in mind, Kenner set out to design a unique playset that allowed players to prepare Terminators for infiltration missions. The Bio-Flesh Regenerator used a pink, chalky powder that became the rubbery flesh for the Terminator. Notably, this powder was similar to the paste that dentists use for molds. Once mixed and properly set, owners could push the gel into the humanoid mold with the help of the included plunger.

Once the polymer set, the Terminator became ready to infiltrate human society. The bio-flesh became a thick rubbery skin that gave the included endoskeleton the appearance like Arnold Schwarzenegger. This skin easily tore off the endoskeleton, simulating battle damage or prepping the toy for another round in the regeneration station. The set also came with six different weapon accessories, so the Terminator was ready for battle.

8. Terminator 2 Techno-Punch Terminator (1997)

Terminator 2 Techno-Punch Terminator (1997)

To many fans of Terminator films, the bare endoskeleton of the Terminators is just as iconic as Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even though the endoskeleton only appeared in a few scant scenes, such as the opening for the second film, the chrome skeletal appearance made a massive impact. This look reminded viewers that a cold, nearly unstoppable machine was out to murder Sarah and John Connor.

Understanding the appeal of the machine, Kenner created several toys that featured the machine appearance of the Terminator. Many toys gave the Terminator a battle-damaged appearance, so Kenner could use both Arnold’s likeness as well as the machine. However, there were a few action figures that treated owners with the full appearance of the bare Terminator.

Such is the case with the Techni-Punch Terminator, which proudly stood as the T-800’s endo-skeletal appearance. Without a single shred of its organic exterior, the toy resembled the machine that hunted down Sarah during the climax of the first film. Kenner even detailed the machine to include the impression of the machine’s paneling. This action figure featured a super smashing action gimmick, which punched its opponents. This action figure also featured light piping that allowed its eyes to light up. It also came with two accessories: a scope and a piece of wreckage.

7. Terminator 2 Exploding T-1000 (1997)

Terminator 2 Exploding T-1000 (1997)

A Terminator 2 toy line would be incomplete without the villain of the movie, the T-1000. Unlike the machine from the original movie, the T-1000 featured a mimetic polyalloy, referred to as liquid metal, which allowed the machine to shapeshift. This machine could take on the shape of any human or even the surface of the floor. However, it could not become an object that was considerably larger or smaller than its base form. This Terminator’s shapeshifting abilities also let it create weapons to slice or clobber its victims to death.

So, Kenner designed the Exploding T-1000 action figure for its Terminator 2 toy line. This action figure hinted at the T-1000’s ability to change shape with the metallic segments of its body. Beyond having a sword for its left hand, half of this machine’s body featured the metallic sheen of the liquid metal. This action figure also came with three accessories, a rifle, a bent gun, and an iron beam.

As players pitted the T-1000 against the T-800, they could trigger this toy’s exploding gimmick. By pushing down on a button hidden on its lower back, the action figure’s upper torso exploded apart. They could then reassemble the action figure so that the T-1000 was ready for battle once more.

6. Terminator 2 Mobile Assault Vehicle (1991)

Terminator 2 Mobile Assault Vehicle (1991)

Kenner knew that any good toy line needed fun and exciting vehicles and playsets. So, they designed a unique mobile assault vehicle that the Terminator could ride into battle. This car resembled no vehicle that ever appeared in the movies. Instead, Kenner created a sporty convertible with mechanical weapons and accents.

This vehicle featured a black paint job with silver accents on the top half. Even the vehicle’s hubcaps featured the black and silver motif. Meanwhile, the bottom half and interior prominently displayed the vehicle’s red plastic. The front of the vehicle featured a chrome hood ornament that resembled the Terminator’s endo-skeletal head. Finishing off the look, a metallic T decal sat on the driver’s side of the hood.

This vehicle came with one large, prominent accessory, the launcher attack missile. This missile attached to the rear passenger side of the vehicle. When a Terminator sat at the wheel, he could wear the control mask that allowed him to aim the missile. He then could launch the ultra-missile and blow away his enemies.

5. Terminator 2 3-D Collector’s Edition T-800 Terminator (1997)

Terminator 2 3-D Collector’s Edition T-800 Terminator (1997)

Years after Terminator 2 hit theaters, James Cameron agreed to film a mini-sequel short film that became a hit ride at Universal Studios. Terminator 2: 3-D made its debut at Universal Studios: Florida in 1996. The attraction would later also appear at the Hollywood Studios location in 1999 and the Japan park in 2001. While the ride became a popular attraction, only the Japanese version of the attraction remains running as of 2022.

This attraction featured a short pre-show where Linda Hamilton resumed her role as Sarah Connor. Joining her, Edward Furlong portrayed her son, John. The pair warned the riders about Skynet and the upcoming Future War. However, their transmission cut off, and Cyberdyne’s Director of Community Relations, Kimberly Duncan, instructed the riders to ignore the warnings and board the ride. Once seated, riders experienced the 12-minute-long journey through time and space.

In celebration of this ride, Kenner created a Collector’s Edition action figure of the T-800. This twelve-inch-tall figure recreated the battle-damaged appearance of John’s guardian during the final act of the second film. However, Kenner gave the T-800 two flesh-covered hands, which the Terminator did not have during the final fight.

This action figure came with two weapon accessories: an assault rifle and a shotgun. Moreover, the T-800 wore cloth clothing that mimicked the biker outfit that the machine wore in the film.

4. Terminator 2 White-Hot T-1000 (1991)

Terminator 2 White-Hot T-1000 (1991)

As the T-1000 chased down John and Sarah Connor, the group exposed it to extreme temperatures, both cold and searing hot. Not only did they momentarily freeze it with liquid nitrogen, but they also lured the machine into a steel mill. There, the machine met its demise as the T-800 forced it into the mill’s molten metal.

While Kenner could not replicate the shine of the T-1000’s liquid metal, they could create a color-changing toy. Thus, they released the White-Hot T-1000 action figure that became a brilliant shade of white when users submerged it in water. Thus, they could imagine witnessing the machine melt away as it landed in the molten metal of the mill.

Kenner created two variations of this action figure. One variant came with a white arrow that shot from its launcher accessory. Meanwhile, the other version of the toy featured an orange arrow. Otherwise, the two toys remained identical.

3. Terminator 2 Heavy Metal Cycle (1991)

Terminator 2 Heavy Metal Cycle (1991)

Unlike the Mobile Assault Vehicle, Kenner pulled inspiration from the film when they created the Heavy Metal Cycle. Upon the T-800’s arrival, the machine stopped in a motorcycle bar when it acquired both clothing and a stylish chopper. From there, the Terminator began its search for John Connor so that it could protect the boy from the T-1000.

Since John feared both machines, he raced for safety on his dirt bike. While the T-1000 commandeered a semi-truck, the T-800 continued to ride on the chopper. While he rode on the bike, he used only one hand to fire multiple shots at the T-1000. In the end, the T-800 caught up the John first, pulling him onto his motorcycle.

While the Harley Davidson from the film was black and silver, Kenner used their artistic license to give the bike red highlights. This motorcycle also sported a prominent front wheel well, unlike the bike from the film. Still, it strongly resembled the bike that the T-800 rode in the film.

As no good toy could go without a weapon or projectile, the Heavy Metal Cycle featured a hyper missile that launched from a slot above the bike’s headlight. Moreover, the front of the bike could spring forward to create a battle shield.

2. Terminator 2 3-D John Conner with Motorcycle (1997)

Terminator 2 3-D John Conner with Motorcycle (1997)

Since John Connor’s birth, his mother had warned him about the impending danger of the machine war. She instructed him to be vigilant and taught him multiple skills. For instance, John learned how to use a credit card to break into secured locations. He also held a basic understanding of weaponry by the time he was ten years old. Despite her precautions, he chose to ignore them after her incarceration. With the rest of the world labeling his mother as insane, John also believed that her stories about the machine war were delusions.

His entire worldview changed when both the T-800 and T-1000 came for him. Once the T-800 caught up to him, he learned that his future-self sent the machine back to serve as his protector. Now understanding that his mother was not insane, he became determined to first save his mother then the future.

Kenner created two versions of John Connor over the years. The first version debuted with the rest of the Terminator 2 action figures in 1991. This toy came with a bright red motorcycle. Later, Kenner reissued this toy for their Terminator 2: 3-D toy line in 1997. Like the original toy, this action figure came with a red motorcycle. However, the paint for the bike was a darker tone. Moreover, John Connor gained a new paint job with darker shades of green and blue. The darker colors gave the figure a closer resemblance to his on-screen depiction.

1. Terminator 2 The Ultimate Terminator (1992)

Terminator 2 The Ultimate Terminator (1992)

When Kenner designed their Terminator 2 toy line, they knew that the T-800, with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s likeness, would be the most important character. So, they set out to create the ultimate version of this character in toy form. So, they set out to create the highlight of their toy line, a twelve-inch-tall version of the heroic Terminator.

Rather than creating a large-scale toy that simply resembled Arnold as the Terminator, they gave this action figure a battle-damaged appearance. The machine’s organic flesh gave way to show the machine underneath at several parts on the toy. So, fans could catch glimpses of the machine on the head, left hand, left knee, and through two holes in the chest. Further connecting the T-800 to its on-screen appearance, the machine wore an outfit like the biker outfit from the film. However, the shirt was a maroon color instead of dark grey.

The Ultimate Terminator toy featured multiple electronic elements, giving him glowing red eyes and several voice lines from the film. Thus, the toy could voice out iconic catchphrases from the film, like “Hasta la vista, baby” and “I’ll be back”. Furthermore, the toy featured two battle sounds. The toy also came with two accessories, a pair of sunglasses and a hand blaster. The weapon’s barrel even rotated with the help of a thumb wheel.

Without a doubt, Kenner created no greater Terminator toy than this version of the T-800. They even repurposed this toy for the Future War toy line.

What was your favorite Terminator toy from Kenner?

We have shared our picks for the top ten Terminator toys from Kenner with you today. We picked each of these toys based on the extensive options that they offered. However, it was not an easy task since each of Kenner’s toys took a fun and imaginative take on the franchise.

So, we would love to hear from you. What were your favorite toys from Kenner’s Terminator toy line? Let us know in the comments below.

Do you have old and used Terminator 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 Terminator toy collection.


Made in collaboration with:

Chris Ingledue 

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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!

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