BanDai Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog The Drageen Action Figure BanDai, 1998
Day #2,021: September 11, 2018
The Drageen The Rare One
Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog Series 11 Blind-Bagged Collectible Figures
Item No.: Asst. 7770 No. 7780 Manufacturer:BanDai Includes:Armor, meat Action Feature:n/a Retail:$7.99 $3.99 Availability: ca. 1998 Other: Biting action
I bought a lot of figures in the 1998-2002 time frame - I was in college, Kay-Bee Toys were plentiful, and I had a lot of time on my hands by myself. The Drageen was whispered about on toy collector boards as a late entry, well-regarded, and somewhat scarce - so when I saw it, I bought it. Much like Kay-Bee Toys, it seems unlikely that the BanDai line Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog has any chance of making a legit comeback - but it does exist as evidence of just what a powerhouse BanDai was in the wake of Power Rangers. The action figure space was still big business in the 1990s, with constant new lines and entries across the board. Kay-Bee had a lot of de facto exclusives thanks to other stores passing on things, and it felt like there was no shortage of new things to explore alongside things you thought were long gone. If you left your house and went to the mall, between Suncoast, Kay-Bee, Babbage's, Software Etc., Electronics Boutique, and even some of the department stores you could see something newsworthy. Those were the days.
The 4-inch figure is a cool creature in a line consisting mostly of knights and warriors. It's about 6 inches in length, with articulated wings, shoulders, hips, ankles, and the neck/jaw can move too. There's a great mechanism activated by the leg - squeeze it, and he'll bite down. He includes a big slab of meat on the bone to "bite," and it's a lot of fun. The same basic head-drop-and-bite mechanism is currently being used in Mattel's Jurassic World line. However, this one also has flapping wings which are fun to play around with. Over time, toy companies seem to have whittled out the "toy" part of action figures, but the buyers of the 1990s still prized a lot of awesome action in the figures.
In addition to the meat, the figure has clip-on chrome red chest armor. These are all sculpted nicely, not as fancy as McFarlane's offerings from the era but certainly more impressive than many of the Sentai toys from the time. The figure doesn't do much other than eat, so the armor and food are really the core mechanism that makes the toy interesting. If you lose either, the figure just sort of opens its mouth and looks like it's wishing it could eat.
The Drageen aged well - I had it in a box for close to 20 years, and it's bright and clean. The chrome armor didn't flake, it doesn't feel sticky, and it just looks sharp. I can't say that about all the toys I've pulled out lately. As an aging weird toy, it's a keeper - and it's not terribly cheap. If you see one for a decent (low) price, get one. The current going rate is quite high, and I can't say it's necessarily interesting enough to throw down that kind of money. I never saw the show, which looked like someone wanted to adapt the action figure hero formula to swords, magic, and castles - and they were too early to capitalize on the trend that would pick up and succeed with Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter later. Fantasy was sort of unwelcome in the 1990s, but live-action TV shows with toyetic qualities were largely a worthwhile gamble. Saban had a lot of hits, a lot of misses, and a tremendous amount of success over the years, wisely selling to (and buying back from) other media companies before selling pretty much their entire asset library to Hasbro this year, save for one - Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty.
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