Sectaurs: Too Tall For Their Own Good

Actions figures should be 3 & ¾ inches tall. There can be no argument on this point. The 3 & ¾ inch standard became the standard for action figures after Kenner released their Star Wars figures in 1978, and I can’t stand any action figures that are any taller. The 6” A-Team figures from ‘82? No thanks? The 7” Rambo figures from ’86? No way. The Mego action figures from the 70s? They were more like action dolls than action figures.

There is only one action figure line to break the 3 & ¾ inch barrier that I have liked. That line was the Sectaurs.

Released in 1985 by Coleco (who brought us the Colecovision, the Telstar, the Adam, various handheld games, and, oh yeah, the Cabbage Patch Kids), Sectaurs were a line of 7” action figures. As a result of a genetic experiment gone wrong, the humanoids of the distant planet Symbion had been merged with insects. As is always the case with the victims of such genetic experiments (at least in movies and toy lines), the humanoids had largely adopted only the cooler parts of the insects, such as bug eyes and antenna. Sure, Skulk had an entire spider head, but most of the others were pretty much just insect-enhanced humans rather than pure insects.

So what was so great about the Sectaurs? Lots. They had cool metallic-blue and -green colors that were very insect like. They had awesome weapons and lots of them; every Sectaur was packing two or three very stylized guns, knives, swords, rifles, shields, or crossbows. They had sweet utility belts/harnesses to hold these weapons. And they had insect sidekicks (insectoids). Some of these sidekicks were small, about dog-size. These sidekicks could bite or spit or do other cool things. Others, though, were huge, huge enough for the Sectaurs to ride and for you to wear as a puppet. These sidekicks were connected to black gloves. You would slip your hand into that glove, turning your fingers into the sidekicks legs. These sidekicks could also do cool things: the beetle could snap his pinchers and the tarantula could bite. Some (the sidekicks of the main hero and villain) could even fly.

I got several of these Sectaurs for Christmas ’85 (I think), and I was quite taken with them. I was so taken with them that when Skulk’s bandolier broke, I wrote to Coleco suggesting they release accessory packs for the Sectaurs. I got a letter back from Coleco stating that while they appreciated the idea they couldn’t accept it. I’m not sure if it was a form letter or not, and I unfortunately didn’t keep it (I know; what was I thinking?).

Supporting the Sectaurs line was an animated mini-series and a Marvel comic. There was also a multi-part dramatic commercial. Each “episode” of this commericial told a continuing story using the toys.

Unfortunately, they did not support the line enough. The Sectaurs were not big sellers and Coleco discontinued the line before the planned second series of figures could be released. They had probably come to the decision to discontinue even before they got my letter. Short-lived though they were, though, the Sectaurs were some of my favorite action figures from that time. And they still are, even though they were too tall.

Note: I’m not the only one to have Sectaurs. See the Retroists’ Sectaurs write-up.

Doug

Doug is a child of the 80s who was raised in Ohio and is now living the life of oblivion in the bay area of California.

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11 thoughts on “Sectaurs: Too Tall For Their Own Good

  1. plaidman76 says:

    I completely agree with your 3&3/4 inch height requirement for action toys. They were the perfect size. Throw a GI Joe figure (the 80’s ones, not the Original GI Joe Barbies…..) in your pocket and go. Problem was people thought bigger was better, so we were left with lots of toys that while they were cool, could never hold hold a candle to Star Wars or GI Joe in my opinion. M.A.S.K. Figures, while a little smaller, were ok too. But He-Man, Centurions, A-Team figures were just too big to tote around.
    Now I know lots of people will disagree with this, The people who grew up up with the original GI Joes and Big Jim and stuff like that will probably like the 70’s toys over the 80’s toys. Well, they’re wrong. :)
    Just kidding, it’s a personal preference, but I think Doug made a compelling argument that bigger isn’t better with action figures.

  2. Doug says:

    Yes, the larger figures tended to be more like Barbies: soft plastic hollow bodies or soft hollow heads that could be squeezed in. They were harder to stand up and harder to pose. They didn’t look or feel as cool. And you usually grabbed them around the waist or legs with your whole hand. In contrast, you held a 3.75 inch figure at the shoulders between your thumb and forefinger. This allowed you to make him throw punches at another figure standing nearby. Thanks Kenner for the 3.75 standard.

  3. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Good arguments, Doug.

    Though as a 70s sandbox kid, I still feel Big Jim’s 10″ and G.I. Joe’s 12″ frames were suitably adventure-sized for rough and tumble afternoons.
    Plus, they had suitable apparel for specific missions.

    Uh, yeah…we dressed up our dolls! So what?!? Ya can’t go scuba diving in jungle gear!

    (…)

    Shaddup!

    (…)

    i don’t feel like playin’ no more

    (kicks sand)
    (sulks)
    (goes indoor for delicious, mood-altering Popsicles)

  4. Duke of Crydee says:

    They were really close though on that 2nd series. My wife worked at Coleco at the time and for the longest I had a bunch of stuff from it. It’s all pictured here:

    http://www.blueharvestcds.com/raretoys/sectaurs/

    I even got a mention and one of my pics published in the letters area of Toyfare once. lol

    Recently I sold the lot to a guy in Australia for a nice amount of cash. I still hold onto a set of 2nd series weapons though that are a proud part of my collection. :)

  5. Ha! Nice Vic. I just looked at the wall photos for The Retroist’s FB page and saw the Series 2 page. Not mine though. Someone else scanned that from a Coleco catalog. :)

  6. @Iamhrothgar Very nice, friend. Might I say the Island at the Top of the World poster you posted was incredible? :)

  7. DMerc says:

    Duke, so let me get this straight your wife worked at Coleco and you’re selling the stuff, hope you’re sharing the profits…lol.

    Curios what your wife’s name is? from the images you provided she may have been with design service or marketing because the images show of either patterns for the product line or models to be used for shows….Toy Fair and the like.

    I also worked at Coleco, in the Action Toy Group, and was very much involved with this line and others…especially with the Rambo action figures line. From a mechanical design aspect my duties, amongst others, was designing the internal mechanisms and components and and liaison with the Hong Kong/China Vendors and bring this line into production.

    Have received various Patents, specifically on this line. From figure body armature, which created the ball & socket design for the arms and legs articulation (Pat. #4,669,998) to the BodyBall (in your images) figure (Pat. #4,708,687) and others. (#4,622,020, #4,610,640, #4,608,025, #4,689,034)

    Hope to hear from you, are you and your wife still in CT?

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