From Transformers to Care Bears: The 10 best toys of the 1980s

6. Action Force/G.I. Joe (First appearance: 1985 — sort of)

Star Wars mercilessly swept away the old guard. G.I. Joe (Action Man in the UK) had soldiered (ha!) on since the 1960s, providing dolls with guns for angry young boys, complete with large and clunky accessories. Then came George Lucas’s merchandising savvy, resulting in small, varied figures, spaceships and Wookiees. No contest.

G.I. Joe

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. G.I. Joe morphed into an action-figure line much like the Star Wars one, but with better articulation. Cunningly, a story was also added, with G.I. Joe becoming a counter-terrorism force battling the evil Cobra. (Action Force took a while to catch up, suffering more reboots than a Superman franchise before finally matching the US outfit.)

Image credit: Denny Deluxe

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