(Toy Storied posts feature collectible toys from the 90’s to rekindle old memories, and find out if they have appreciated in value …at all)
McFARLANE TOYS: SPAWN NITRO RIDERS!!
AN AMALGAM OF SPEED AND BRUTE FORCE
(I’m not really sure what the fuck an “amalgam” is)
Year Released: 1999
MSRP at Release: $12.00 per figure
Number of Figures in Set: 4 separate models, two variant paint jobs for each, bringing the total to 12 for a complete set. These are Standard, Silvered (rare), and Golden (rarest) paint schemes.
Current value: $8.00 NIB from Tradesmart.
I remember these coming out at the tail end of 1999, when I was deeply entrenched in the throes of toy collecting. At the same time, I had also recently gotten my motorcycle endorsement and I was crazy for these because they had a small figure (with 18 points of articulation) and each came with their own unique bad-ass motorcycle. I remember picking my gold variant ECLIPSE-5000 model in the mall in Colorado Springs. Any trip anywhere out of town was not complete without an extra stop specifically for poking around toy stores to try to complete various collections. All the Nitro Riders I have are still in the boxes, but I did buy a double of the standard ECLIPSE-5000 model so I could open it up and play with it. The bike was heavy and had a cool neo-steampunk vibe to it, complete with all sorts of unnecessary tailpipes and afterburners and murder spikes. The little figure that came with the bike was able to be posed in any way imaginable and could kick G.I. Joe’s ass with a perfectly crafted sideways tiger kick. These figures would be amazing if they are used for stop-motion animation because they can be posed better than a porno starring nothing but gymnasts.
The only thing that looked silly was that when the rider was posed on the motorcycle (in a riding position), he was practically laying on top of it like it was a mattress and I don’t think laying horizontal on a bike that looked like it weighed 1,200 lbs would be a smart or ergonomic idea. So you just have suspend reality and to use your imagination. Just think that they are always in a state of perpetual motion and don’t have to ever stop at street lights or get hung up in bumper to bumper traffic. The Nitro Riders must only patrol the desolate crime-filled highways of North Dakota. While I adore the sky blue paint scheme of the FLASH POINT bike, the design of the ECLIPSE bike was the bee’s testes. All the variant silver and gold models looked more detailed than the normal ones because the singular color brought out lots of details in the actual sculpt that the normal paint would have obfuscated.
So why would I create a whole new topic category? I went shopping on Saturday (in 2016) and as I perused the aisles of my favorite second-hand store (they do not stock raspberry berets) I found a silver variant GREEN VAPOR bike in the box! This toy was over 17 years old and it was only $8.00! It was that moment that I realized that my “smart investment” back in 1999 had netted me a whole -$4.00 (per figure) towards my retirement fund. I thought if I could highlight some of these toys, I could shed some light on some of these weird franchises. Even though I was saddened for investing in a bum horse, I was still a little happy because I bought a bunch of Stone Temple Pilots albums and seriously pondered picking up a Ray Rice action figure but decided it wasn’t worth 24 dollars due to there being at least twenty of them still hanging on the sales rack. That, and probably would not end up being of much future value to anyone other than Ike Turner.
The four different models are:
After Burner’s main color scheme is yellow and orange. Featuring the only fully humanoid rider, this figure looks pretty cool. As far as the bike goes, it only has five or six exhaust pipes making it the most realistic bike out of the bunch. Add the guys spike strip to his back and this instantly turns into the insane lionfish of motorcycles, blasting across the deserts of the Borderlands.
This bike has the nicest paint scheme, and it looks like a cross between a sad scorpion and Kaneda’s bike from Akira. Lots of clear plastic parts adorn the bike from front to back making everything appear to be under a giant windshield, making it seem to be more Jetsons and less Mad Max. He comes with dorky extra tailpipes that attach to his back, just in case the other 15 pipes on the bike were not getting exhaust out of the motor efficiently enough. The action figure that comes with this model looks kinda rough, tho.
Green Vapor. So much green. This one bears the most resemblance to an insect from all the inlays in the windshield, looking like wing arteries. The action figure comes with bug wings and looks like an angry toaster (that is green).
The Eclipse 5000 is the best toy out of the collection, because the bike looks like its moving at 100 mph while still sealed in the package. The black matte paint scheme adds a dramatic flair to the bike, making it look like the vehicle to own after the apocalypse. The figure is also the coolest, complete with sweet dreadlocks and pipes attached all over the body giving the figure the appearance of just stepping out of the pink goo of the Matrix. The special accessory is a giant spike that looks like a jousting rod or a really creepy shoulder boner.
Although collectors don’t think these are very worthwhile, I still like them a lot because they are just so damn cool. They feel very solid and have real treaded rubber tires. There’s also lots of sharp points and spikes and coming out of it so it’s not a great toy for kids. Unless they are gifts for kids that you don’t like, or are looking for a sharp replacement for all those loose Legos on the floor. All four different molds look unique enough to collect them all without feeling that you’ve been ripped off. I don’t think these figures had anything to do with official Spawn comics canon, they were just a fun side project for the guys at McFarlane to try and tap into the adult Spawn fans as well as crotch-rocket motorcycle fans.
MEGATRON OR GO-BOT?
Now here comes the math part, the proof that’s in the puddin’. Are these figures appreciating in value or are they tanking harder than Kanye West buying up all the bracelets inside of a Claire’s Boutique?
I think these are sweet, but my collection of seven (I could swear I had more than that) would have cost me $84.00 retail. The current value for the figures I have are are $56.00 which is an $18.00 loss. If I apply the average Ebay value of my solitary gold ECLIPSE-5000, it only brings the total value up ten bucks which is still very much in the red.
Not a good collection to to base a kid’s college fund on, but if you love bikes, these are pretty awesome.