The world of international espionage came to life when Ian Flemming introduced the incomparable 007, James Bond, in 1953. Before he started his writing career, Flemming had served in the Naval Intelligence Division and 30 Assault Unit during World War II. He took aspects of the men that he served with and his background to develop the genre-defining character. Meanwhile, he looked to his love of ornithology for the character’s name. James Bond, the name of a bird expert that Fleming followed, was chosen initially because it sounded bland and plain. Finally, he poured many of his personal traits and quirks into the international spy.
Only a year after the first James Bond book, Casino Royale, appeared on bookshelves, studios began adapting the character’s adventures in other mediums. CBS introduced a one-hour adaptation of the first book in 1954. Later, a South African radio broadcast brought Moonraker to life in 1958. James Bond also received comic book adaptations beginning in 1957. However, the format that eclipsed them all was the realm of cinema, where a decades-spanning franchise was born.
Sean Connery became the first cinematic version of the MI6 agent in the 1962 film, Dr. No. As there was both a prior version of Casino Royale and Dr. No was published more recently in 1958, this novel was chosen to begin the film series. The charm of Sean Connery helped cement James Bond as a movie legend worthy of multiple sequels. Thus, he returned as the character for four more films: From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and You Only Live Twice.
As the excitement for James Bond rose with each movie’s release, the franchise looked primed to become a successful action figure toy line. The first company to give the spy a chance to conquer the toy aisle was AC Gilbert. They began by producing 3-inch figurines for the first two films before they felt confident that the character would sell as a 12-inch-scale action figure. These toys came out to coincide with the 1954 release of Goldfinger with two available characters: James Bond and Oddjob. They then expanded the line with clothing accessory sets in 1965.
As Gilbert was kick-starting the action figure scene, another company was bringing Bond’s iconic cars to store shelves. Corgi introduced a die-cast Aston Martin inspired by Thunderball in 1964. Their vehicle became a huge hit. So, they began to officially create an entire line-up of model cars in 1968. Corgi continued to produce James Bond vehicles well into the 1980s.
As the decade came to a close, the face of James Bond changed. First, George Lazenby took on the mantle for the 1969 film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Sean Connery returned one last time to play the spy in the 1971 film, Diamonds Are Forever. Then, Roger More moved into the role in 1973, and he remained the star of the films well into the 80s. More’s films included Live and Let Die, The Man with a Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, and A View to a Kill.
Along with the change in times came a new company with its take on the James Bond license. Mego created three 12” scale action figures based on the 1979 film, Moonraker. These action figures featured James Bond, Drax, and Holly. While America only received three action figures, Mego produced a fourth figure, Jaws, that only was seen in Europe. The region also received an exclusive variant of James Bond.
Mattel then joined in to create a vehicle based on the James Bond franchise. Released only in Mexico, Mattel introduced a few James Bond-themed toys to their Big Jim line in 1981. These action figures included James Bond, Professor Obb, and Boris. Then, they added the Supermobil to accompany these action figures in 1982. There was also a motorcycle, the Moto y Girocoptero Comando, released in 1983.
After over a decade as the face of Bond, Roger Moore stepped down as Timothy Dalton took over the role. He only lasted for two movies, appearing in the 1987 The Living Daylights and the 1989 License the Kill.
As the 90s rolled in, a new era for James Bond began. In 1995, Pierce Brosnan took on the role in Goldeneye. He remained the face of the franchise until 2002, with a total of four films. His films included Tomorrow Never Dies from 1997, The World Is Not Enough from 1999, and Die Another Day from 2002.
Meanwhile, James Bond appeared in possibly his most famous game, Goldeneye for the N64, in 1997. Rare developed this game with a true passion for the material. It also included one of the system’s most popular 4-player split-screen multiplayer. This mode included classic characters on top of those from Goldeneye. Thus, players could go into a match with Jaws, Oddjob, and many others.
Even though there was a new Bond on screen, toy companies were beginning to bank on the nostalgia from fans. Thus, Medicom introduced in 1998 the 12” scale James Bond action figure based on his appearance in Dr. No. This action figure recaptured Sean Connery’s appearance as Bond and included both a handgun and a briefcase.
This era also saw Hasbro return with a different 12” action figure. This time, they created 1999 toys that resembled various Bonds as part of their long-running Action Man toy line. There was a Bond from Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, Tomorrow Never Dies, and The World IS Not Enough.
In 2006, Daniel Craig became the most recent actor to take on the mantle of James Bond. His first movie returned to Flemming’s first novel, Casino Royale. His sequels included Quantum of Solace in 2008, Skyfall in 2012, Spectre in 2015, and No Time to Die in 2021.
Meanwhile, James Bond continued to pop up in various action figures and other toy lines. For instance, Hot Wheels featured a James Bond series of cars in 2015. LEGO produced the Aston Martin DB5 in 2022 as part of the Speed Champions subline. Playmobil also released an Aston Martin toy in 2022.
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How to use the Identification Tool to find your action figures and toy lines
Do you have any vintage toys you are trying to identify? Don’t know the name? No problem! We can help you out with this useful identification tool.
Using it is simple, you can easily search for any toy in your collection. For example, just type in “jet” in the figure name field and hit search. You’ll see all the toys that are jets. Otherwise, you can try “car” and select the color “blue” and a list of action figures with matching results.
Even if you know the name of your toy, but do not know its proper spelling, our tool will help you. For instance, you can type “Wheljck” and still find the results for various Wheeljack action figures.
We have an extensive list of toy lines from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s in our database. So, you can seek out G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, Voltron, and many more toy lines here. You can even seek out Star Wars toys in your collection, including ones from the sublines like Droids and Ewoks. Some of our other prominent lines include, but are not limited to:
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Beyond locating the basic information for each action figure, we our tool will help you with much more. For instance, you may discover whether or not your action figure came with a sticker sheet or instructions. Our identification tool also includes detailed information on which accessories and weapons were included with the toys. We even will help you determine the release date of your toys.