Ever heard of Madelman?
Yeah, neither had I. I had to look it up. But to my surprise, there's barely anything on this toy line available on the World Wide Web. How is that possible in this day and age? I mean I found it in a toy store, the Net should have some info on it, right?
Turns out that the line was hugely popular in Europe, but was cancelled in 1983. From what I can gather, there was a brief resurgence of popularity when the company, Popular de Juguetes, re-launched the line with a slew of new designs, but they have since gone out of business.
It bummed me out that the line is already dead, seeing how these figures are pretty awesome despite being totally generic.
I only found two sets available in Toys 'R' Us in Galleria, both two packs with two figures each and a ton of accessories. There are also two sports related sets with a single figure and a vehicle, but as neither comes with a tank (it's a snowmobile and a jetski/windboard thing), I passed. Each of these sets was only Php 200.00, but the one with the raft quickly sold out, and the other was following quickly last I checked.
I love the way the figures and parts are all shown off though. Excellent work. And from the looks of it, the whole line had a very easily identifiable style.
It is kind of sad that all the info on the bottom of the package is already useless. I'd have loved to see www.clubmadelman.com when it was still actually live.
The box also shows a couple of the other sets that were available back in then, including an Arctic Commando set and what looks like a pair of Desert Rangers. Sadly, neither of these showed up locally. I've got a feeling that these were just leftovers from some discount store in Mexico (where some of the later figures were manufactured) or something and one of the local distributors bought them for a song.
I love it when that happens.
The first set I opened were the two divers. I have yet to find this set on the Web, so I don't know what they are officially called. I'm just pretending they're Navy SEALS.
They each come with a near identical set of equipment: cloth wetsuit with baklava, SCUBA tank, harness, hose and mask, a depth gauge, a knife and sheath, a pair of flippers, and what looks like an H & K MP5 with removable silencer and a shoulder strap. Oh and they've also got one watch to share between them.
The best thing about it? It's all in 1:10 scale, which, if you're not familiar with model scales, means it all fits with Marvel Universe or DC Universe Classics figures!
Deadpool, of course, wanted first dibs:
Of course, there's still some issues with me not being able to remove Deadie's harness or his "boots". He looks a little more awkward in the gear than the Madelman Ken dolls, but still, he's got a pair of new sub-machine guns with removable silencers and shoulder straps. I'd have paid the Php 200.00 for them alone.
And I haven't even talked about the raft.
Honestly, I'm not sure what to do with this thing.
It's great, just like the other accessories, but I don't think any of the superheroes would be caught dead in this thing. Even the Punisher would choose something less conspicuous. It's great that it's made of rubber though. I haven't seen a toy like this in a long time. Not sure I want to give it to a young kid though. Who knows what kind of led content this thing's got.
The second set is made up of two soldiers, one dressed in jungle camo, and the other dressed for desert warfare. Each of them has got some basic gear: a set of fatigues (jacket and pants), a helmet, a pair of boots, an M-16 rifle with removable bayonet, and a backpack. There is also one knife sheath, a radio (cellphone?), a pair of binoculars, a watch, a winch, plus a ghillie suit for the jungle soldier.
Oh, and an absolutely useless net made out of white string which I promptly lost.
It's amazing how articulated these guys are! There are 2 versions of the figures apparently (though really all that's different is the head), but both sport articulation that blows the early "super" articulated Marvel Legends figures out of the water. There were some quality control issues with my set (check out the two left thighs on the dude on the right), but the joints still work. When was the last time you got an ML figure to take a knee?
That being said, I only bought these things so that I could strip them down and use them for my Marvel Legends figures. I've already shown you Deadpool all decked out. I decided that the ghillie suit would work best on my variant Jungle Camo Punisher:
I couldn't fit the shorts over his own pants, and the jacket is way big, but still, I think it's a decent look if you take it all in.
After dressing up your Barbie, though, you've got to accessorize. That's when I break out my 1:10 scale bag-o-guns.
These Mandelman sets were a great find, and I wish that I could get more of them. It's too bad that these never really made it to the American market, because I think they would have killed any competition back in the day. 6" military figures with great accessories and 1:10 scale vehicles? Come on!
What's more, I read that there was even another Madelman line which consisted of G.I. Joe-compatible 3.75" figures called Madelman 2050 and featured mostly science fiction spaceships and astronauts. How cool would that have been to add to the collection?