Boasting a supernova lineup that included Darth Vader in go-go boots, Chewbacca in cutoff jeans, a Luke slash Han slash Buck Rogers character, a not quite Lieutenant Uhura, a kinda sorta R2-D2, an X-F-16-Wing Fighter Jet-Spaceship, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong respectively, and last but certainly not least the most famous Lobster Turtle Alien of all, these little plastic figures ala Green Army Men, released under the banner 'Galaxy Laser Team' and 'Star Patrol,' are arguably the most well known, well remembered and well loved Star Wars knockoff toys of all time.
Manufactured by Tim Mee and reported to have first hit the scene in 1978 (according to an article in 'Playset Magazine' issue 52), these simple little packaged space adventurers were available through the early eighties, were released in 5" jumbo size in 1979, saw print in a comic called 'El Pueblo Perdido del Espacio' in an Argentinian publication called Ekaton in 1980, were ripped off by Screamin' Yellow Zonkers in the mid eighties, and even saw a re-release sometime in the nineties...and now in 2012, just in time for the end of the world...they're back!
If you were a kid in the late seventies or early eighties, chances are you had some of these guys in your toy box. Like the ubiquitous plastic Army Men, dinosaurs and Cowboys and Indians, these things seemed to just appear (and disappear) from kids' collections all through the eighties, as if some Galaxy Laser Fairy was shuffling them around the world. And if you, like me, somehow lost track of yours over the years then rejoice, because now you can get a brand new pack made from the original molds by the original manufacturer right here in the good old US of A!
And this time you don't have to deal with gaudy neon pink and green, because the reissues are made in awesome manly black and grey!
Toy moments like these are rare indeed, and we can all thank Jeff Imell of Victorybuy.com:
"I've offered various plastic army men for sale online since about 2002. A few years ago, I purchased some of the final production run soldiers from the folks that bought Tim Mee. I was frustrated by the lack of US made figures and declining quality of many of the less expensive imported figures, so I kept in touch with the company and was eventually able to get a small production run of the classic Tim Mee Vietnam Era soldiers manufactured in the fall of 2011. During this process, I found out they still had some other figure molds, but wasn't offered much info as to what they had, other than some tiny catalog pics of bagged figures with generic descriptions. I began doing research on figures Tim Mee had produced in the past, so I could get a better idea about what molds they might still have. While doing research on the Internet, I found a couple of blogs about the space figures and was immediately hooked. I knew that the Galaxy Laser Team had to be the next set of Tim Mee figures to resurrect, and was finally able to get them manufactured this spring."
As for these figures themselves, they are as great as I remember them. The figures are crisply detailed and the plastic is high quality. They'll easily stand up to kids play and your own play for years to come. If you owned these in the past you owe it to yourself to buy a new pack (especially since the old figures tend to be a little pricey on eBay etc.) If you've never owned them, you should! If your kids don't know the awesomeness that is simple monochromatic plastic figurines, then they need to put down the X-Box controller and take a pile of these out to the lawn.
They come in a package of 48 (six of each character, three in each color) with two X-F-16-Wing fighters.
Thanks Jeff, your efforts are truly appreciated by this old toy collector!
If you want your own: Buy your Galaxy Laser Team reissues now at Amazon!