Air Raiders Relaunch, Part Two – To Theme or Not to Theme?

Airlandia: Next up is balok (from baloksblog), who has a treasure trove of cool toys, many in the Air Raiders scale or smaller and he takes a lot of pictures with interesting  poses, perspectives and cool background sets.

balok: Rather than reinvent the Air Raiders, a ‘continuation’ of this best-kept-secret of the late 1980’s is the direction I lean. Certainly, 30+ years of technological advancement will contribute, but the original elements of this fascinating line could do very well today:

  • SCALE: stick with a winner! 2-inch action figures for the epic vehicle & play set based line, allows the figures to be articulated with the hyper-detailed sculpting of the originals. Remain compatible with the originals, think continuity in scale (I just don’t understand reboots that change scales and ignore the potential of building on previous collections). For a modern tweak, perhaps some ‘hero’ characters with upgraded articulation among the standard 4-POA troops?
    armarauders1Look no further than ‘Armarauders’ pilot figure for articulated perfection with an Air Raiders look and feel at 2-inch scale.
    (Airlandia note: Or hopefully when Tecco Toys has a successful kickstarter.)
  • THEME: Environment and post-apocalyptic SciFi never go out of style, but the story itself was not the main attraction for most. Those carded army builder packs of articulated, armoured figures had kids immediately thinking of epic play fun; why tamper with a great presentation? Just add more factions and troop-types this time around please. Mainly, focus on interesting toys and keep the story simple enough to either adopt or disregard; it doesn’t hurt to stay a bit mysterious and let kids build their own worlds.Onell-GlyosOnell Designs GLYOS theme toys are an example of this, producing remarkable figures while keeping the background story not widely known, only as deep as fans want to dig.
    Glyos success: the GLYOS business model is one of the older &successful, independent toy makers (Indy toys) stories. They produce very durable and attractive toy figures for a limited, yet ever growing base of fans/buyers. The GLYOS interchangeable ‘peg &socket’ is an open-formatidea invented by Matt Doughty that he encourages and helps others use in their own GLYOS compatibletoys and it has spawned many other Indy toylines. A continued AirRaiders line could take advantage of the GLYOS system and gain immediate market and free word of mouth promoting withinthe GLYOS community (a possibility to explore?).Regardless, the point I find most attractive with the GLYOS world is mystery…there is no fixed story (and yet there is a very deep canon universe if one wanted to pursue it) allowing better use of your own imagination. Remembering childhood, I enjoyed my Star Wars toys in a different way, early on, before the story became so embedded in pop-culture. Later, I had difficulty ‘playing’ anything but Star Wars with them. Sometimes, the curiosity factor of “what are these?” is a great start.
    Part of what attracted me to Air Raiders was the relative obscurity, allowing me to use the figures and sets as I liked (often notice that Air Raiders soldiers are enlisted into Starcom and other toy lines). So basically a bit of freedom from the stricter, contained stories of say Marvel, Star Wars, etc. is part of the attraction.
  • GIMMICK: air powered, projectile shooting ships, vehicles and play-sets…still a good play idea! Why not partner with NERF to build hand-held ship/gun combinations and bring in some new scale target-play to refresh NERF products too?nerfWhat kid didn’t target lines of ‘army men’ with various projectiles? Still fun!
  • 3D PRINTERS: with almost daily improvements to access and quality 3D printing, an exclusive file or upgrade might be considered as part of the continued line. The items in particular could range from weapons upgrades to unique items for use with the figures: computer consoles, tables, lab accessories, a throne-room for the Emperor… just about anything to compliment the scale and figures. Who knows, in the near future this could extend to larger items like Airlandia terrain pieces, outposts, forts etc. Perhaps even a composite design that can be acquired and assembled over time.
    For example if I purchased some Air Raiders product, or registered in a fan club, I would receive a 3D file that I could choose to use on my own mid-quality home printer, or send out for higher quality rendering to a service like Shapeways.

Airlandia: Interesting, the idea of having little to no theme to allow for kid’s imagination to take over is a new concept to me. I don’t disagree with it but I would love to see the numbers on something like this. Obviously the history of toys has a ton of themed toy lines like Star Wars and Transformers but Glyos and Legos show the opposite is true too.

And I really like the 3D printer ideas like extra gear, terrain and a throne for Aerozar! Heck yeah! Big thanks to balok for sharing his ideas!

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5 thoughts on “Air Raiders Relaunch, Part Two – To Theme or Not to Theme?

  1. Good read Balok, & awesome ideas! I too like leaving the story to fans’ imaginations & the 3D file idea. Maybe that would be the way to offer the Air Refinery, as multiple parts offered as 3D files that can be assembled once they are all collected. Maybe pack-in larger pieces like the individual levels or parts of the exterior with vehicle purchases.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey thanks Replicant01 enjoy your ideas too! Airlandia, much appreciate the articles and pics you’ve built an amazing site for Air Raiders and quite a trip through related toys of the age too.


  3. I’m a total newb to the world of Air Raiders. I kept being intrigued as a kid and passing them by, only to finally cave about a month ago and start building the line.

    That said, I’d love to see a revival like Balok is proposing; stick with the small scale that allows for epic vehicles and play sets, and army building of troops and small vehicles, but modernized in whatever ways are feasible. With Mattel/Mega putting out minifigures in this scale with lots of articulation and detail, I think it would definitely be possible to jazz up the figures a bit while keeping scale consistent, and allowing them to blend with whatever collections people might already have.

    And the Nerf tie-in is pure gold. Honestly, I always thought Air Raiders used modified Nerf darts; I was surprised to see the totally different design when I got my first Air Raiders toy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Welcome to the club, Heli. Thanks for commenting!

    When I did some research on it, I found that Air Raiders actually pre-dated Nerf guns by a few years so who knows, it may have influenced them!


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