Star Wars knock-off toys (and predecessors)

Gallery of vintage starwarsploitation products from the '70s and '80s. The pics are great, but it's a pity the Flash UI is so teh suck and there's no background information on the products depicted.

Link (Thanks, pj).

Boing Boing reader jonathan says,

One of the toys in the "Star Wars" knock-offs — specifically, the one you actually pictured on Boing Boing — is not actually a cheap rendition of a Lucas copyright. It's just a cheap toy from the Micronauts line, which came out a year before Star Wars. Check it out. I know this because, as a kid, some of the only comics i could afford were 25 cent back-issues of, well, the lame comic book inspired by these rather boring toys. Wheeeeee!


Chris Eng says,

Check out how bad-ass Baron Karza looks when he's not all small and sad and blurry! Cone missiles! Magnetic scowly-head! Intense! Link

Xogij says,

"Baron Karza and Andromeda were based on these Japanese toys 'Kotetsu Jeeg.' Link 1 Link 2."

EFF legal wizard Fred Von Lohmann says, "Cheap Star Wars knock-offs?! I still have both my Force Commander and Baron Karza micronauts. They were totally my favorite toys as a kid, and they rock, even 25 years later!" Link to snapshot of Micronauts in Fred's office, fighting for your right to download.

Looks like there's a new version of the Micronauts due out in mid-2005. Link to details, and more about the toy line's Japan roots.

Update: Why I love nerds, part umptybillion. Kirk Demarais, creator of the "Secret Fun Spot" site originally linked in this post, submits this heartfelt mea culpa — er, mea Karza

Hey Xeni, Thanks for linking to the "Fake Star Wars" page of my site "Secret Fun Spot." I'm sorry to offend so many by including Baron Karza of the honorable Micronauts, and I just wanted to explain my actions. I made the faulty assumption that they were rip-offs because…

1. They showed up in stores (and in the 1978 Sears wishbook from which the image originated) after the historic 1977 summer of Star Wars. From innerspace online… "Much like Series 1, this section entitled "Series 2-1977" actually came out about 1978, but the toys bear a 1977 copyright."

2. In color and robot-ness, they vaguely resemble Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper.

3. They shared the page with various Star Wars knock-offs.

That said, I'll remove the offending image from the gallery as soon as I am able.