Remembering Super Naturals
Remembering – Super Naturals
Release their HOLOGRAM powers!
Holograms are everywhere these days, there on your credits cards and driving licences, they are not really that big a deal anymore. Sticker collecting was a huge hobby for most of us, back in 80’s, and the prized sticker would always be the foil backed hologram. You’d also spot them on promotional packs of cereals. So affixing a hologram to a toy was the coolest thing ever. I remember roaming my local toy store, when I first saw the large range of Super Natural figures on display. Arriving on shelves, a year before visionaries, in 1986, Super Naturals were a range of action figures with spooky holograms and glow in the dark weapons. Instead of molded plastic features, theses figures had flattened chests and faces, with a holographic sticker affixed to the flat surface. Theses posable figures really appealed to my darker nature, being made up of ghosts, skeletons and mummies. From the angry red and yellow logo, too the creepy forest backdrops on the packing, these toys were clearly a little more lurid. How could any young lad not find that appealing?
The story behind the Super Natural was told via the back of the toy boxes and mini comics that came with each figure. A group of heroic and evil warriors were sealed in the Tomb of Doom, only to be released hundreds of years later. Now as ghosts, these foes are destined to to do battle once more. And so the figure sets were divided between the Hero’s and Villains, led by Lionheart and Skull, respectively. The whole good vs evil thing was a familiar theme in most boys toys, from Transformers to He-Man. The good guys and bad guys could never see eye to eye, and alleways seemed to be at each other’s throats, so it was easy to understand the split, even if you did not know the story.
The main characters were six standard-sized action figures, that each came with a holographic shield and weapon. These larger figures had a chest piece that clipped over the hologram and a helmet. The overall effect was astounding, with the chest piece and helmet obscuring the toys big selling point. If you wanted to see the double-channel holograms in their full glory, you needed to buy the toys. But apart from being a cool marketing ploy, it made the figures look amazing.
A secondary range of smaller, and therefore cheaper, figures were produced by Tonka, in order to appeal to parents on a smaller budget. This set of 8 “Ghostlings”, were eerie cloaked figures that came with glow in the dark swords. The main section of these creepy things, were hard plastic with a flat molded face, for the hologram. The cloak and arms would slip over the top to create the character. This did seem a little weird though, as all of the Spooklings holograms had arms, meaning that you were literally strapping ion an extra set of limbs.
The figures looked pretty damn good, but it was the holograms that really made the toy. These double channel stickers would drastically transform as you moved the action figure around. The designs ranged from magicians too court jesters, each one intricately detailed. Ther magician, for an example, would transform into giant rabbit holding a hat, with a tiny version of himself inside the top hat. The more creepier creations appeared on the evil side of the range, with “Skull” transforming from a barechested, albeit one-eyed, warrior, into a putrefied skeleton. Some of the Spooklings “normal” faces were actually more creepy than their transformed versions. The hologram shields mostly consisted of animals or items relating to their characters. Skull for example, had his missing eye, floating around inside.
Along side the action figures, a series of vehicles and an action playset were also sold. I was lucky enough to own the playset, which consisted of a large removable coffin that sat underneath a creepy looking, helmet clad, skull. The coffin had a “David Copperfield” escape hatch, which would make any figure placed in it, disappear, revealing an otherworldly hologram instead. They may not have been as exciting or even had as many features, as other toy range accessories, but I remember being very fond of this gruesome castle.
Unfortunately, the Super Natural Range only ran for one series. The figures were expensive to make and the toys did not sell very well. This may explain why the Visionaries were made to a smaller size. The Super Naturals were well made, and cleverly designed. They were different enough to stand out amongst the crowd and certainly caught my eye as a child. These Ghost Warriors with double-channel holograms are the ultimate freaky mix .
Subplots that rock…