When Were the Original Starcom Action Figures Made?

Coleco, a significant player in the mid-1980s toy industry, joined forces with the Young Astronaut’s Council in 1986 to create a toy line that would inspire children to play and dream about the cosmos. Christened “Starcom: The U.S. Space Force,” the original Starcom action figures drew from the fascination of the space age. Starcom was all about exploration and advanced space vehicles. Let’s explore the vast history of these action figures.

Starmax Bomber WHITE Transport Missile Cruiser 100% W Box Starcom 1986 Coleco

The Starcom Story

Within the Starcom narrative, our heroic defenders of Earth, the Starcom force, were locked in a thrilling battle against the villainous Emperor Dark and his Shadow Force. This storyline offered a robust backdrop for imaginative play and infused a sense of adventure into the action figures.

At the heart of the Starcom toy line were action figures standing 2” tall and a range of versatile vehicles, all uniquely designed with transformation gimmicks. Utilizing the popular Magna Loc Technology, Coleco equipped the action figures with magnets on their feet. These magnets enabled interaction with the vehicles and playsets that were part of the line. Moreover, the Starcom vehicles featured motorized elements that could transform into various forms. Small vehicles could change into cargo pods, and the Starmax Bomber could alternate between landing and flying modes, further amplifying the play potential of these toys.

Shadowbat Battle Cruiser W/2 Parasites 100% Complete WORKS Starcom 1986 Coleco

Starcom’s Rise and Fall

To boost its market reach, Coleco partnered with DIC Animation to produce an animated television series based on the toy line. However, this series was criticized for its perceived focus on science and exploration, causing it to be less successful in captivating its young audience.

By 1989, just three years after its inception, the Starcom toy line had faded from U.S. toy shelves, and Coleco went defunct. But the journey of Starcom did not end there. Mattel, another toy industry titan, took over the Starcom line, rebranding it for the European market. This revival shifted from the original U.S.-focused narrative, dropping the “U.S. Air Force” tagline and most references to the U.S. flag.

Sgt. Bill Travers Starcom 1986 Coleco Vintage Action Figure NEW MOSC SEALED


The original Starcom action figures hold a special place in the annals of toy history. Despite their short-lived initial run, their innovative design and ambitious vision have made them a treasured find for vintage toy collectors. Their journey serves as a reminder of how ambition and innovation are timeless, even in the world of play.

Do you have old and used Starcom 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 versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!

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