Everyone knows and loves the ultra bad ass (not to mention uber-violent) 1980s action movie Commando, but what people might not know about is that there was a line of Commando themed action figures that hit store shelves in 1986 from Diamond Toymakers.
For the uninitiated Commando features Arnold Schwarzenneger as John Matrix former Commando and full time dad. When the bad guys kidnap his daughter in order to bribe him into get him to assassinate someone he goes after the kidnappers and murders his way through an hour and a half of beutiful violence and hilarious one liners like, “Let out some steam” after throwing a pipe into a guy. And to earn it’s R rating there’s even a big old pair of naked boobs for a few seconds.
Commando is famous for having one of the highest body counts in 80s action films, so of course this rated R flick made its way to store shelves to kids in the 1980s. What a wonderful time the 80s was. To be fair though, The toy line was Commando in name only. The only person from the film to make it into toy form was Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Matrix. The rest of the heroes and villains in the line are a rather generic mix of mustachioed dudes and Road Warrior rejects with super muscles (side note: everyone in the 80s had huge muscles. It was a different time). Diamond Toymakers really missed out on making an Allyisa Millano with a chainsaw.
The figures were 3-3/4ths scale, in line with most other toy lines at the time like the 80s version of G.I. Joe. Articulation was a notch above Star Wars figures, but below G.I. Joe. The plastic that made them was much more rubbery and fairly cheap, but that didn’t stop me from loving the two Arnold Schwarzenneger figures I got as a kid (an ultra white skin version and a camo paint variation).
The baddies, i.e. Forces of F.E.A.R., had a look that was more Road Warrior than Commando, but can you blame them? A pot bellied Freddie Mercury lookalike and Carla’s ex-husband from Cheers don’t make compelling action figures.
In addition to this smaller scaled line, Diamond Toymakers produced some 7 inch version of Arnold and a 17 inch version which seems to be a bit easier to find on the secondary market.
I have some fond memories of the line. I ended up with the two Arnolds, a good guy and at least one bad guy if memory serves. I wasn’t old enough to actually see Commando or 99% of Schwarzenegger’s other films at the time, but I did know he was a total bad ass. The culture of Schwarzenegger permeated everything. It was the national religion and I was all in.
Note: The toy pics came from this fine website “Zombies Don’t Run” and they have a great write up on the Commando line of toys.