In 1986, Coleco joined forces with the Young Astonaut’s Council to promote space exploration with a new toy line: Starcom: The U.S. Space Force. These toys aimed to produce many creative takes on space exploration and vehicles. It also took note of the current trends of the day, where most successful toys had a transforming gimmick to make them more than what they appeared.
While years later, the U.S. would officially receive a Space Force, Coleco could not predict this event. Thus, the toys happened to receive a similar name as the current section of the U.Sl armed forces. Moreover, the current-day Space Force does actually have a StarCom, short for Space Training and Readiness Command, within it.
Instead, Coleco’s StarCom was Earth’s first line of defense in the U.S. Space Force. These heroes protected the earth and its space from the evil ambitions of the evil Emperor Dark and his Shadow Force. To help them on their mission, the StarCom forces used a wide variety of vehicles from the Starmax Bomber to the H.A.R.V.-7.
Most vehicles came with 2” tall action figures which represented either the StarCom or Shadow Force members. Each of these action figures was specifically designed for the toy line, for they featured a special magnet on their feet that either allowed them to attach to or activate special actions on the various vehicles and playsets. While most vehicles and playsets came with one of these action figures, some did not. Luckily, fans were able to create a full arsenal with stand-alone figures that were readily available as well.
Each vehicle and play set from the StarCom line featured a special motorized element that added hours of play to them. Moreover, most of these had basic transformations that allowed them to switch from one form, usually a storage cube, to a battle form. While most of the small vehicles transformed into cargo pods, others like the Starmax Bomber switched between landing and flying modes. Likewise, the playsets like the Starbase Station had two forms as well.
Moreover, these vehicles all featured Magna Loc Technology, which corresponded to the magnets on the action figures. While some of these magnets simply allowed the figures to securely sit and stand on the vehicles and playsets, others activated unique actions. For instance, the Starbase Command H.Q. had a Magna-Lock-activated door that allowed figures to pass through different parts of the base. There were also elevators and other unique Power Deploy actions on these toys.
As with most toys in the 1980s, StarCom received an animated television show to help promote the toy line. Coleco turned to DIC Animation to create the cartoon series that would help promote this toy line. Unfortunately, the resulting series failed to pull in interest. To many, the emphasis on science and exploration created a boring viewing experience. With middling reviews, the show only lasted 13 episodes.
Along with the DIC animated series, Coleco’s toy line failed to last in the United States. Even if the series had gained traction in the US market, Coleco went defunct only a couple of years after the end of StarCom in 1989. However, the story of StarCom did not end with Coleco.
After Coleco went defunct, Mattel became the new home of StarCom. After they determined that both the toys and series did well in Europe, Mattel decided to revive the toy line only for European customers. Thus, there were several years when a new line of StarCom toys could be found with the Mattel logo. Along with the change of company, this new line heavily deemphasized the connection to NASA and the United States. Thus, the tagline “U.S. Air Force” was dropped and most references of the US flag vanished from these toys.
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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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