Is Transformers the longest running action figure toyline?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by griffin-of-oz, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. griffin-of-oz

    griffin-of-oz Ozformers site-owner

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    Apart from the USA, which had a break of about a year after the Original Series (Generation One), Transformers has been in continuous release in many countries since 1984/1985, with new products every year (like in Japan, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand).
    Does that make it the longest running action figure toyline in the world, or would there be some toylines in Japan that have been going longer than 30 (continuous) years?

    In terms of "Western" action figure toylines, the best-known ones that started before Transformers (MOTU, GIJoe, Star Wars), have all had a various number of years of no new products... but Transformers (apart from in America) have had new products every year in quite a few countries, making it a 31 or 32 years continuous toyline.
    If there aren't any others that have gone on longer than 31 years, I think it would make for a good boast when talking about our hobby to non-fans or media... but I wanted to be sure before I made that claim.
    .
     
  2. DocSeth81

    DocSeth81 Well-Known Member

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    I could be wrong, but I think GI Joe is. It doesn't get the love Transformers gets, but GI Joe started in the 1960s as a line and I believe 1982 for the 3 3/4 figures
     
  3. BenjaminXavier

    BenjaminXavier Well-Known Member

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    GI Joe: ARAH had no more than a year off between lines and has been around longer ('82 vs '84, not even having to include the 60s and 70s Joes) so Joes get the "longest running toy line" title, hands down.

    Ref: 3 3/4" G.I. Joe Action Figures only '95 and '96 with no new product. TFs were gone just as long in the early '90s.

    That said, they're really the only two options. All the other action figure lines are for properties that didn't last long enough (visionaries, mask, just about anything else) or had one property with multiple manufacturers (marvel/dc) so those wouldn't count either. Except of course Star Wars, and SW figures have had a much longer break after the 80s movies till things came back in the 90s.

    Edited to add: the two years there were no 3 3/4 figures, there WERE 12" figures, so while Joes were not around from '76-'81, there were products with the GI Joe name on the shelves in every other year from '64 till now:

    12" Figures
     
  4. Markus76

    Markus76 Well-Known Member

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    I think it's GI Joe as well. Not to mention Star Wars has been going on longer than Transformers by a couple years I believe. I think Diaclone started in 1979 and Star Wars started making figures with the New Hope movie.
     
  5. BenjaminXavier

    BenjaminXavier Well-Known Member

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    Except that Star Wars stopped selling figures from like '85 to '98 or some insanely long time. Both TF and Joe never had longer than a year or so off the shelves.
     
  6. Soundwinder

    Soundwinder I wind sounds!

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    ... question.

    Is GI Joe on shelves now? Because I haven't seen one on a peg in years.
     
  7. WishfulThinking

    WishfulThinking "Don't touch it! It's Zvil!"

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    1986-1994 were the years off for Star Wars. Kenner ended the classic series in 1985 and Hasbro rebooted it in 1995 with Power of the Force under the newly-acquired Kenner company brand.
     
  8. WishfulThinking

    WishfulThinking "Don't touch it! It's Zvil!"

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    They had product last year as a TRU exclusive. You can still find some leftovers there. There's supposed to be a new wave of figures for 2017, IIRC.
     
  9. BenjaminXavier

    BenjaminXavier Well-Known Member

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    Yes, TRU exclusive for the last few years but still a full toyline with 20ish figures and 4-5 vehicles per year.
     
  10. motorthing

    motorthing One of these days.........

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    Joe product this year?

    As a Brand GI Joe probably does have it, I can't think of any long lived European or Japanese Toylines that get anywhere near '64 to now (sort of) but Lego started their Mini-Figures in '78 and have had a properly unbroken run of them since. And in terms of numbers would dwarf anything else ever.

    But as these things are measured TFs are a pretty long lived line and maybe up in the all time top five if counting continuous World around presence since '84.

    Weird to thnk they do beat Star Wars.
     
  11. usernamedustin

    usernamedustin Banned

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    New gi joes are only at TRU. Some brand new ones just came out last week
     
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  12. openchallenge

    openchallenge Enough with the exclusives.

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    I know the Kenner X-wing was on shelves for a crazy long time by action figure standards. I'm curious about this because I totally dropped away from toys in highschool. I didn't even know what to do with a Nintendo I got for Christmas during that time. I was a little more in touch in the early nineties because there where a million comic shops. Star Wars was liscencing a lot of 12" clothed figures at that time so I don't think the IP slowed down at all, just Kenner did.
     
  13. ssjkazer

    ssjkazer mr dyslexia

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    Wel gi joe had a very long time where it didnt exzist in the 90s so....
     
  14. ssjkazer

    ssjkazer mr dyslexia

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    Not really, current starwars toys are horried lol
     
  15. depthcharge82

    depthcharge82 Maximal

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    does plastic army men count?
     
  16. konrathink

    konrathink Jared Magnus

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    I would think it would be Lego. Seems like they've been around forever.
     
  17. WishfulThinking

    WishfulThinking "Don't touch it! It's Zvil!"

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    Not action figures.
     
  18. BenjaminXavier

    BenjaminXavier Well-Known Member

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    Not true. There were only two product years (so about 12-18 months real world time) where there was no current GI Joe line on toy shelves. See my post above.
     
  19. BenjaminXavier

    BenjaminXavier Well-Known Member

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    Seconded. Not action figures.
     
  20. Killamarshan

    Killamarshan Iacon Tourist

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    From 1964 GI Joe, domestic to the US market, didn't manufacture figures between 77-81 (because of the OPEC oil crisis), 95, 96, 99. So out of the past 52 years Joes have been manufactured 44 of those years. So even considering those production hiatuses GI Joe is still the longest running action figure line in North America.

    If you're separating the Joe 3 3/4" line which started in 83 then I guess the honour goes to Star Wars.