Battlestar Galactica : Toys

Battlestar Galactica : Toys

Synopsis of Toy

When Star Wars hit theaters in 1977, its success wasn’t limited to movie screens. Toys based on the film also became a massive success at stores, proving to manufacturers that toys based on sci-fi were the way to go and proving to producers that their entertainment could make as much money on the toy shelves as it could in theaters or on television. What followed was a wave of sci-fi movies and television shows that were accompanied by tie-in toys. Out of this sci-fi horde, a few major winners emerged, including a 1978 TV show/toy line called Battlestar Galactica. Like the program that inspired them, these toys became a hit and continue to be cult favorites today.

Battlestar Galactica debuted on television in 1978, chronicling the story of a fleet of starships wandering through the galaxy as they searched for a mythical paradise known as the planet Earth. Along the way, the voyagers faced plenty of space battles as they attempted to evade their robotic enemies, the Cylons. It was perfect source material for action figures, and Mattel complied with a series of six 3¾-inch action figures that same year: Commander Adama, Lt. Starbuck and the cyborg pet Daggit represented the good guys, while Ovion, The Imperious Leader and a Cylon Centurion represented the forces of evil.

When Battlestar Galactica became a prime time hit, so did its toys. Mattel responded to this success by releasing several new toys in 1979, starting with a new line of action figures. The new 3¾-inch figures included Baltar, Boray, Lucifer and a gold-colored Cylon Commander. There were also two 12-inch figures, a Colonial Warrior and a Cylon Centurion, both of which had battery-powered weapons that would light up. The Cylon figure also boasted a pulsing red light that would drift back and forth across his visor, just like on the show.

Mattel also debuted a series of vehicles for Battlestar Galactica in 1979. The good guys cruised around in the Colonial Stellar Probe and the Colonial Viper, plus a land-roving vehicle known as the Colonial Scarab. The heroes could also dock their ships at the Viper Launch Station playset. A saucer-shaped Cylon Raider was the villains' transport of choice. Mattel also produced a Radio Control Cylon Raider that its owner controlled with a small steering-wheel controller.
Most of these vehicles came with their own 2-inch pilot figures and had the capability to fire small missiles dubbed “laser torpedoes.”

This final feature of the Galactica vehicles may have been a nice, authentic touch, but it was also responsible for landing the vehicles on many a "dangerous toys" list. After a child was injured by one of these missiles, newer vehicles were modified so they wouldn’t fire the missiles with such force.

When Battlestar Galactica was cancelled in 1979, its toy line lost momentum and began to disappear from toy shelves. The show was revived with a sequel series, Galactica 1980, but no toys were produced for this short-lived effort. Just the same, the toys remained popular with the show’s die-hard fans and both the show and the toys acquired cult status as the years passed. Today, they remain as popular as ever with fans. In fact, they were popular enough to inspire a new line of toys released by Trendmaster in 1996. The fact that this show can inspire new toys almost 20 years after the fact shows that both Battlestar Galactica and its original toys are cult sensations with true staying power.

Release History of Toy

1978 - Battlestar Galactica

Sub Categories of Toys

electronic toys
action figures
tv tie-in

Toy and Game Manufacturer

Mattel, Trendmaster

Other Toy Links