Monday, June 4, 2012

DFC fantasy playset figures: Nagas, ogres, lava men & more!

Nagas with and without a face--creepy both ways!
Ogre figures: The perfect touch to any baby shower
Wizards in a few different colors
Light red and dark red lava men
I think these are giants. Or vikings. Or maybe giant vikings.
As I blogged about before, a company called DFC (Dimensions for Children) released a number of fantasy-themed playsets in the early 1980s, with names such as "Dragonriders of the Styx," "Fires of Shandarr" and "The Forest of Doom." Each playset came with an assortment of monster and knight mini figures so kids could pass the time staging epic battles on their living room floors (because, you know, the internet didn't exist yet).

In my time collecting many of these figures, one of the most interesting things I've noticed is the color and sculpt variations of the different characters. Whether the original playset figures or bootlegs released later, these figures came in a lot of different, and often very random, colors. Take, for example, the two ogres pictured above. Apparently someone thought it would make sense to release them in baby pink and baby blue, as if they were party favors for a baby shower or something. Of course it makes no sense, but I do love that it happened!

Another interesting variation is with the naga sculpt (first picture above). Aside from the color differences, certain releases of this figure had no face. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

DFC figures are often pretty cheap-looking, but in my opinion they are appealing and collectible in large part due to these unique variations. Hopefully I'll continue to add more DFC oddities to my collection.

11 comments:

  1. I love these guys. By the way, there's also 'the tower of the night' and 'the dungeons of Castlelon' playsets. These figures are my collector item. The vikings are called giants but later labeled Titans. I think some Nagas are headless because of mold problems. The 'ogres' are called orcs. Later, DFC made ogres that are like gammorean guards in Star Wars. I have loads to say on the topic. If I feel like posting more, I will.

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    1. Thanks for the info on the additional sets.

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  2. Thanks so much for posting these. I miss these from my childhood. Hopefully someone repros them.

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    1. Repros would be cool, but I do see DFC figures turn up often on eBay for not too much money, so you should be able to find some fairly easily. :)

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  3. Does anyone recall another variant box of these characters called Orc Wars? I have some of these figures lingering, and I seriously recalled it being Orc Wars--not Dungeons of Castlelon...

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  4. Wow, my buddy and I used to have tons of these. In middle school we used to paint them all the time.
    http://actionfigureadventures.blogspot.com/2013/03/plastic-wizard.html

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    1. It's amazing how many people had/remember these. For a while I thought I was the only one. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I understand the nagas were altered to be faceless because of a lawsuit, or threat of one, from TSR.
    https://2warpstoneptune.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/dfc-toys-demons-of-castlelon-fantasy-action-playset-1982/

    Fans sometimes joked that TSR stood for "They Sue Regularly" (because they rather vigorously issued C&D letters to anyone who got within 10' pole reach of their IP.

    The lava men are pretty close to the "shambling mound" in the same AD&D monster book.

    The viking/giants and wizards are pretty generic but also bore similarities to TSR illustrations.

    One of my friends had one of these sets when were kids, and were also into D&D. I ended up with one of the ogre minis, and managed to hold on to it all this time, but I sure wish I could a find few more of these guys, what great memories.

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    1. Thanks for the info and link. When I was a kid I was so confused as to why those things had no faces, haha.

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  6. The Lava Men aka Flaming Men... Found only in the FIRES OF SHANDARR Playsets.

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  7. the LAVA MEN are exact scuplts of the "shambling mound" monster found in the first ed AD&D Monster Manual:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/c3/Shambling_mound.JPG/200px-Shambling_mound.JPG

    impressive, great page.

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