After seeing a couple of different conversations regarding figures from Diener Industries here at the Retroist, I couldn’t resist sharing a couple of pictures from my own collection.
Throughout the years, Diener has released a wide variety of small rubber figures. Those of you who grew up in the late 70s/early 80s like myself were probably introduced to Diener toys through McDonald’s Happy Meals. Three separate collections I remember McDonald’s offering were the “Dinosaur” series, the “Monster” series, and these guys, the “Outer Space” series.
The “Outer Space” collection (my own name for them) consisted of 8 different figures that came in one of 5 different colors: orange, green, yellow, pink, and blue. As a kid you would have needed to eat a lot of Happy Meals to collect all 40 of these guys. Nowadays, you only need three things: a credit card, an eBay account, and a bit of patience. If you’re lucky enough to pick all of them up in a single auction, be prepared to pay for the privilege; I paid somewhere between $1-$2 per figure (before shipping). If you pick them up in small lots, expect to acquire lots of duplicates before you get them all. Probably the hardest part about tracking these figures down is that most sellers don’t know the proper name for them, so be prepared to spend a lot of time searching for things like “rubber orange robot thingy”.
Diener is infamous for reusing the same molds over and over again. The original McDonald’s releases were made from some sort of rubber, but I’ve seen the same figures released in both hard plastic and as pencil erasers.
Out of the 8 different figures, 4 are robots and the other 4 are space ships. Personally I like the robots much better: they stand up better, and assuming there’s any sort of scale going on in Diener-land, are monstrous in size compared to those tiny ships!