Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Wild & Zany Heroes From The World Of Sports

I've never been much of a sports fan.  I can get into a game if I'm there in person, but I really don't go out of my way to attend any games.  Even sports video games aren't my thing.  There has to be a special weirdness to it for me to buy in (like NBA Hangtime for the N64, or World Cup for the NES).  The Sportfreaks line from the 80s had that special weirdness to it, and while I never tried to complete the line, I do remember it fondly.

Sportfreaks was one of those random all-original lines of bizarro characters that came out in the 80s, one of those fun lines that don't show up that often anymore.  The figures boasted a whopping zero points of articulation, but unlike other non-articulated toys, these guys were pretty friggin' big.  They were solid too.  You could probably beat someone to death with one of these guys.  You shouldn't, but you could.

I only had two Sportfreaks figures as a kid: Ox (shown above), and a smaller Sportfreak Miniatures baseball player (well, three if you count my brother's mini hockey player).  All of those originals are long gone, but like I said, I remember the line fondly and I look them up on eBay from time to time.  I was recently able to get Ox back, and I remember that even as a kid I couldn't figure out why I ever bought him.

There are plenty of weirder characters in the line than Ox.  He's got a pretty boring stance, and he comes with a football that he'll never be able to hold.  He's also got a lot of junk in the trunk, which is strangely distracting.  Even as a kid, I was like "man, that's a big butt".  But for what ever reason, I had him as a kid, so when I found him for a decent price on eBay, I got him.  Luckily he was being sold together with this guy:

Even though I remembered a lot of the Sportfreaks from my childhood, Off Guard here was completely forgotten.  That's strange, because as of right now I think he might be my favorite in the line.  It's all in that neck!  Without it, he'd really just look like any old basketball player, but that long neck is just so weird and freaky that he instantly appealed to me when I saw him online.  He looks friendly enough, just freaky.  I think I like when something normal becomes something bizarre.  I mean, there's a lot of bizarre looking figures out there, but when it's something that should otherwise look normal, I think it's great.  Kinda like how food or common household objects with crazy faces appeal to me so much.

It's hard to get Off Guard to hold his ball, but he can do it if you balance him just right.  That's still more than Ox can do.  But unlike Ox, whose secondary accessory is a bell that the figure looks plain without, Off Guard comes with a removable wristband that's just kind of there.  I guess he looks better with it than without it, but it could have just been sculpted on.  Some kind of neck accessory would have been better.

This next guy was found loose at a second-hand store, so he didn't come with any of his accessories.  Luckily his paint is nearly perfect.

It's too bad his accessories are missing, because in this case they were both useful.  His name is Battery Acid, and he is supposed to come with the baseball that burned a hole through him.  I'm not sure if the ball fits inside him or not, but it should.  He's also supposed to come with a base plate, which isn't as much of a loss.  At least his wristband is sculpted to him.

Food Processor here is a Sportfreak Miniature that I picked up on eBay, and from what I can tell the miniatures are harder to come across.  I prefer their smaller size, and there's a few more to choose from than the standard 7" guys.  The miniatures didn't come with any accessories.  They're just meant to stand there and look weird, and they do that well.

There were also some 15" monsters you could get, and I think these guys had some minor articulation.  Interestingly, both the 15" Hoop Dribbles and the 7" Slam Board have basketballs stitched to their heads.  Kinda makes you wonder what the story is there.

Oh yeah, the I'm not sure about all the sizes, but the 7" guys came with bio cards.  Ox's card mentions that he snorts fire, which adds some cool points to his character, but it also says that one of his hobbies is knitting.  I guess it would take some skill to knit when you have hooves for hands, but it still cancels out his fire snorting coolness.  Off Guard likes to work out and is fond of chin-ups, which might explain why he still has a gut.

I don't remember any Sportfreaks commercials from my childhood, and I don't recall any of my friends having any of the figures.  They're still not that uncommon to find second-hand on eBay, but packaged figures and miniatures are harder to come by.  There's plenty of other toy lines that take buying priority for me, but I'm sure I'll still look these guys up once in a while, and if I get any more I'll feature them in another post.  Until that happens, I'll use these heavy chunks of plastic as weapons and try to take over the world.  See you then!


  1. The bix Ox one reminds me of the old rubber wrestling figures; you could kill someone with those too (even though I'm sure they were made of rubber to avoid that, but DANG they were sturdy!).

    Anyway: You're a man of many interests! I will not always understand those interests, but they are many nonetheless!

    1. Well, what can I say? If my interests weren't mine, they would be a whole lot less interesting to me!