Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Retro toybox: MANTECH: Robot Warriors




MANTECH Robot Warriors was a toy line produced in 1984 by the famous Remco toy company, makers of many classics to be discussed later.

The basic idea behind MANTECH is a familiar one: humans augmented with technology. In a similar fashion to the more famous Centurions, MANTECH featured interchangeable parts and weapons. The difference is that all their parts were interchangable...theoretically...more on that later.




Research turns up surprisingly little about these forgotten plastic gems. There were vehicles, a comic book series, tv commercials, a standard good vs. evil storyline, but little else. Unfortunately, the line failed soon amidst the onslaught that was the 1980's toy market.

In my personal collection, I only have two figures. LaserTech (the blue good guy) is one of the few examples of a classic toy I have in the original packaging. I got a great deal on it from ebay last year. SolarTech (the red good guy) is the only one I originally had.


Notice that in none of the pictures above do SolarTech's upper legs detach from the body. Well, they're supposed to, but mine are glued on. Remember when I mentioned that all their parts were interchangeable? Well that's not exactly true. That's how they were advertised, but I found out the hard way that some of the parts are hard, brittle plastic that doesn't work well with the softer, more rubbery parts. I tried to plug the upper leg piece into a shoulder (why? why not? heck, I was a creative kid...) and the peg snapped. SolarTech spent the rest of the 80's with a masking tape pelvis cast--and in exile at the bottom of the toybox.

Each figure came with a comic book--similar to He-Man, Sectaurs, MASK, and about every other line at the time. The book wasn't really a masterpiece of epic literature, it really just gave a quick impression of the basic storyline and character roles (as well as advertise some of Remco's other products.)

So there they are...or were...MANTECH. I remember daydreaming about them and drooling over the commercials, but that goes for a hundred toys from the 80's. If you're looking to start a collection, they do turn up on ebay from time to time. Prices aren't usually too bad either.

That's all for now. Stay tuned for more cartoons, toys, and all the other goodness you've come to expect from this blog!

11 comments:

NoelCT said...

In that year and the ones soon after, I spent many a day at different kids' houses, diving through a huge variety of toys. During my teens, I hung out at my dad's comic shop which featured a huge variety of old toys.

I can, in all honesty, say that I have never once heard of or seen a Mantech figure.

I'm tempted to pick up the four Archie issues out of sheer curiosity. Question: Were the comics included with the figures full sized issues or mini-comics? The ones I found are full sized.

rebelwookiee said...

Never seen or heard of Mantech? Gee, I taught you something new!

The comics with the figures were mini-comics.

I just ran back upstairs to check it out again--the comic is 5 inches by 6.75 inches with 8 pages. The story briefly summarizes how they got their gear.

I'd also like to take a look at the regular series. I actually saw one in a bargain bin at Half Price Books the other day (when I bought the cartoons) and passed it up because there was only one, and it wasn't issue 1. Maybe it will be there next time. But seeing it reminded me of Mantech and led to this blog.

rebelwookiee said...

btw...it wasn't obvious in my original post...the last picture is of the mini-comic.

NoelCT said...

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=260971

This is great. I've got Tony introducing me to SECTAURS, and now you showing me MANTECH. Nostalgia is a blast.

rebelwookiee said...

oooooooooooh.....Sectaurs!

They're on my short list for future blogs.

NoelCT said...

I'm thinking about reviewing the SECTAUR comics and eps on my blog, too, just as soon as I get through this huge stack of miscellaneous comics that have built up over the years. The comics were by Bill Mantlo, one of my favorite writers, who penned the entire original runs of ROM and MICRONAUTS.

Anthony Williams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anthony Williams said...

I don't remember these at all from when we were kids, but I came across them in an action figure guide a few years ago and they caught my eye.

Thanks for great article.

The comics were by Bill Mantlo, one of my favorite writers, who penned the entire original runs of ROM and MICRONAUTS.

There was a Micronauts comic? Cool.

NoelCT said...

You didn't know about the MICRONAUTS comic? Wow. I figured they were out at just the right time to catch your attention.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micronauts_%28comic_book%29

They're an absolute blast.

At least tell me you're familiar with ROM.

Anthony Williams said...

At least tell me you're familiar with ROM.

I remember the action figure, but not the comic. Reading wikipedia, the comic is based on the toy and not vice versa. Odd because the toy, though retro-cool today, was kinda lame.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:RomToy.jpg

You didn't know about the MICRONAUTS comic? Wow. I figured they were out at just the right time to catch your attention.

I got a handful of the action figures second hand from my brother, but as far as comics go, I was still in the 'Casper the friendly Ghost' stage at that point.

NoelCT said...

If you're interested in checking them out, I've finally got reviews up of the four MANTECH issues from Archie.

#1
#2
#3
#4