Some of the most collectible toys from the early 1980s did not come from any of the major companies. For instance, the Bugmen of Insecta were budget toys created by Multi-Toys Corp. This company was founded in 1982 and produced a few small toy lines, like Dragonriders of the Styx and Nightmare Warriors. While none of their toy lines ever became top sellers, they still have become beloved collectors’ pieces.
The Bugmen of Insecta crawled onto the scene in 1983. Even though this toy line may have felt like the budget, bootleg type that you may find at a convenience store, they were sold in stores like Toys’R’Us. Still, they were a budget product that used less expensive PVC plastics. Unfortunately, collectors need to be careful with these toys, because even sealed ones will become tacky and splotched as the PVC ages and breaks down.
While there was no comic or cartoon series to detail the story behind these toys, Multi-Toys Corp detailed their history in both a toy fair catalog and the back of the packaging.
The catalog detailed how:
Deep, beneath the planet Earth, there was a world that had been unknown to mankind. While the human species evolved on the Earth’s surface, most insects that also lived on the surface could not evolve into superior species.
However, those that remained underground did, indeed, evolve into a race of giant warrior insects. Daily, these brutal creatures battle each other for control of their world. While they battle each other today, they may battle us tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the back of the toy packaging told another tale:
The largest insects, the Spidermen, led by Webspinner IV, ruled Insecta until 25 years ago when a revolt occurred. Led by a coalition of Elephas of the Stag Beetles, King Stinga of the Killer Bees, Lord Grassa of the Grasshoppermen, and Carnivora of the Tiger Beetles, this revolt divided Insecta into separate nations.
Meanwhile, Webspinner IV sent the Black Widow and her Spider Assassins to cause havoc all over Insecta. Now, the Black Widow has returned and the Spider Nation is ready for the final battle to rule Insecta. The Slave Drones of Spiders, Roachmen, and Flies are also paused for battle.
Today, they battle for Insecta. Tomorrow, they may battle for Earth!
There were six different action figures that Multi-Toys Corp created for the Bugment of Insecta toy line. First, there was Lord Grassa, the Leader of the Grasshoppermen. There was also Elephas, the Strongman of the Stag Beetles, and Tinga, the Chief of the Killer Bees. Then, there was Carniva, the King of the Tiger Beetles. Finally, were two different spiders: Webspinner IV, the Emperor of the Spider Nation, and Black Widow, the Queen of the most vicious Spiders.
Each of these action figures came with a companion insect as well as a weapon accessory. The companions ranged from Cockroaches, Tarantulas, and Flies.
Unfortunately, the card backs for the action figures were all the same. There was no unique artwork nor even labels to help identify the characters. While the backs of the cards provided illustrations that told the history of Insecta, decyphering the identity of the action figures was difficult due to the line art and layout.
Meanwhile, Multi-Toys Corp reengineered the sculpts from two of their previous toy lines, The Dragonriders of Styx, to create two vehicles for this toy line. There was the Black Widow Flyer, which originated from the Demon Flyer’s mold. They also released the Grass Sled, which reused the mold from the Skull Sled. Each of these vehicles came with a 4” poseable bug warrior.
Despite the limited run and exposure of this toy line, these toys have become treasured by some collectors. The rarity of these pieces helps make them valuable. However, some have also pointed to a character from Toy Story 3, Twitch, that helped generate interest in the brand. Moreover, there are no signs that any company will revive the Bugmen of Insecta and return the toys to the market.
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How to use the Identification Tool to find your action figures and toy lines
Do you have an old-school G1 Transformers toy you are trying to identify? Don’t know the name? No problem! I’ll help you use this identification tool. For example, just type in “jet” in the figure name field and hit search. You’ll see all the Transformers G1 Toys that are jets. Maybe try “car” and select the color “blue” and a list of Transformers matching those results will appear. Maybe you don’t know what the finished vehicle will make, so try searching by “red” only. Did you forget to remove “car”? Now search just the color “red”. Perhaps you know the name, but can’t spell it try “Wheljck” instead of “Wheeljack” and all the Wheeljack characters are listed for you.
We have all the G1 Transformers list of characters in our database. You can search by Transformers name, as well as just line or subgroup. You can identify Transformers that are all red or all the figures that are orange. The Transformers toy list can even be sorted by package type. You can identify which came with a sticker sheet, or which came without instructions. Want to know all the 1984 Transformers toys and none of the others from 1985-1990? No problem, just select the release year from “1984” to “1984”. Perhaps you just want to know the list of G1 Transformers “Autobots”, or just the “Decepticons”, our ID tool can do that.
Mostly we made this so you could see if your action figures were missing some accessories or parts. So you can see that too.
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