Starcom: The US Space Force, or simply just Starcom was one of my favorite toys growing up. But let me back up to the animated TV show in conjunction with the toy line.
The animated syndicated show was developed by the Young Astronauts’ Council and was at the height of the space race and all things NASA (and American!). It’s original intention was to recruit or garner interest in NASA, I mean – who didn’t want to be an Astronaut growing up?
But like most things animated in the 80s, the show was more of a vehicle to market and sell the toy line. DiC Enterprises produced the 13 episodes, and all of them have been released on lovely VHS cassette tapes and one DVD.
I have those VHS tapes and that one DVD, guess it wasn’t popular enough to release a complete series set, which is a shame, it’s only 13 episodes.
But like all things DiC, the animation quality varied, different overseas animation houses were contracted to do episodes in order to meet the tight turn around. But what we do get are some nicely animated episodes. The plot of the show was the typical good vs. evil stuff.
Starcom is basically the American Astronaut military fighting off the invading forces of the Shadow Force, led by Emperor Dark and a slew of cannon fodder Robots. Although there were Shadow Force and Invasion humans in Emperor Dark’s employ.
The main draw for me were the three main characters Slim, Dash and Crowbar. All of them Colonels in charge of the three different sections of Starcom;
Head of Starbase Command Colonel John “Slim Griffin
Head of the Astro Marines Colonel Paul “Crowbar” Corbin
Head of Star Wing Colonel James “Dash” Derringer
My favorite episodes are;
-Nantucket Sleighride – which feature a great shot of a harpon firing
-The Long Fall – which features superb stock animation of the Starmax and Starwolf in action
-Galactic Heartbeat – this is by far the best animated episode, it utilizes the Astro Marine’s vehicles in some great chase/pursuit sequences.
I also distinctly remember the ending with Torvek walking through the desert
-A Few Bugs In The System – this has a great foot chase sequence
Another, and perhaps the biggest, draw for me would be the toys that this animated series was advertising, they had gimmicks, but they didn’t feel forced.
The figures had magnets on their feet, and knee joints, they were very detailed for being rather small, about 2 inches. For me that made total sense, cause with no gravity in space they had to use their “magna-lock” to keep from floating away.
Then the vehicles themselves had metal plates for the figures’ feet to stick to, plus you could put them on the refrigerator, and they were packed with other features. One in particular would be the spring motors that would either activate a cargo hold with the Bomber, or an elevator with the Space Station.
You had the larger vehicles that would carry the “pods” and the pod sized vehicles, everything was just interchangeable and compatible. It really drove my imagination because it had this logic to it, space machinery would be designed this way, of course, that’s what my kid mind thought.
The Coleco Toys were way ahead of its time, and strange how they found a following in Europe.
And here are the episodes, in case you don’t remember, you probably don’t