Daily Lists, Toys

10 Greatest Action Figure Carrying Cases


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?The adult toy collector seems cursed to forever bear a stigma in society. After all, who do we think we are, trying to recapture our childhoods or, God forbid, maintain some small sliver of joy and innocence in our otherwise cold, career-driven hearts? And hey, aren’t we taking toys out of the hands of children? Basically, we’re stunted troglodytes who refuse to grow up, and we should be ashamed of ourselves. Factor in that kids are voluntarily abandoning action figures for video games earlier and earlier, and it’s no wonder that the action figure carrying case is virtually a thing of the past. After all, what self-respecting 13-year-old — let alone a career-minded thirtysomething — is going to carry around a brightly colored suitcase that clearly states “Contents: Toys”? Nobody, that’s who. Which is too bad, because there is no greater joy than knowing that you have ready access to a box full of adventure, including but not limited to a small arsenal of plastic battle axes. Without further fanfare or gilding of the lily, here are the ten greatest action figure (or similar toy) carrying cases known to man-child-kind (and woman-child-kind.)

10) Gobots Collector’s Case

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A vinyl carrying case was all well and good for most ’80s lines, but the
Gobots were not your normal toys. While frequently belittled as
Transformers-come-lately, the Gobots had one thing going for them: heavy
metal. The sheer weight of a dozen Gobots in one place was enough to
tear a handle off of a cardboard-and-vinyl carrying case like tissue
paper. That’s probably why the Gobots got this three-story, hard-plastic
parking garage with a variety of cubby sizes to accommodate the
various-sized vehicles in the line, and stickers with all of the
characters’ ridiculous, ridiculous names, in case you wanted to know
exactly where Hans-Cuff was supposed to go.

9) Star Wars Millennium Falcon

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Given George Lucas’s brilliant move to include the merchandising rights
to Star Wars in his contract, one has to wonder if he actually designed
the Millennium Falcon as a carrying case. It translates a little too
well, if you ask me. The handle fits perfectly between the two
superfluous prongs in front, the pack-in-figure is displayed in the
cockpit, and the broad-stanced action figures of the 1990s fit into the
pie-wedge-shaped compartments like a charm. Yes, there has since been a
larger, more accurate Millennium Falcon toy made, but back when
this came out, it was an inexpensive placeholder for the similarly-sized
real thing. Heck, it even came with an exclusive Imperial dockworker
figure, so you could pretend your toys were simply hiding under the
floorboards when he did his security sweep.

8) Harry Potter Knight Bus

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As the biggest toy company in the world, Mattel has to plan far, far
ahead, which is why they made this awesome Knight Bus carrying case for
their Harry Potter line, then cancelled the line before they’d made most
of the characters from the movie. Still, if any company was going to
roll the dice on making a purple, triple-decker bus that doubled as a
storage device, it was probably Mattel. Although it really, really
makes you wonder what Kenner would have done with the line if they’d
had it back in 1978. I’m picturing a giant Sorting Hat that you could
actually wear, but that also opened up to store your 3 3/4″ Harry Potter
toys, including vinyl-robe Dumbledore with telescoping wand. …Will
somebody please put J.K. Rowling in a time machine?

7) DC Super Powers Carrying Case

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While pretty much every action figure line in the 1980s got a vinyl,
suitcase-like carrying case of some kind, Kenner’s Super Powers case has
to get some props for its ahead-of-the curve design. Shaped and printed
to look like a book rather than a briefcase, the front and back covers
opened to reveal the hard plastic compartments within, and the inside
covers told the brief, comic-strip origins of the DC Comics superheroes,
which was more than the Transformers and G.I. Joe got. The “spine” of
the book was even printed “Vol. 1” — sure, there was never a Vol. 2,
but that design sensibility has carried over to a lot of modern action
figure packaging (Toynami’s Masterpiece line, for one), making it not
just pretty, but prescient as well.

6) Star Wars Bandolier

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Sure, Han Solo was coolness personified, and Boba Fett was a badass, and even Luke was pretty cool by the end of Jedi,
but didn’t every kid really want to be Chewbacca? Chewie was so tough
that robots let him win strategy games, and he carried a laser gun
shaped like a crossbow, because WHY NOT. The only problem was, how do
you dress up like Chewie without a stifling mask and a shag-carpet
hairshirt? Easy. You get a bandolier. Where do you get one? Kenner makes
one, and they made it so you can store your Star Wars action figures on
it like they were bowcaster ammo. It’s unclear why bandoliers weren’t
subsequently made for every Kenner toy line until their dissolution, but
a Predator bandolier would have been the tits.

5) Battle Bones

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“Hello, Skeletor? He-Man. Listen, some archaeologists over at the Royal
Eternian Natural History Museum have found this giant dinosaur skeleton,
and I’ve got the key to the place — don’t ask me how. Anyway, I know
you’re big into the whole necromancy thing, so I figured– Fifteen
minutes? Great, see you then. Sure, Mer-Man can come, why not?” Only the
sheer “wow” factor of riding inside the reanimated skeleton of an
Eternian dinosaur could possibly get the forces of He-Man and Skeletor
to share a carrying case. Even then, it’s pretty much a prehistoric
school bus, only salvaged by the spacious weapons storage inside the
beast’s now-tongueless oral cavity. We predict a tense distribution of
power sword fragments once they reach their destination.

4) G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero APC

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Now, the Armored Personnel Carrier may not be ergonomically designed to be a carrying case like the Falcon, but the fact that it’s both a halfway-decent case and
a fully functioning vehicle gives it an advantage on this list. It
seats over 20 G.I. Joes, so you can roll it up on a Cobra base, take the
roof off and unleash holy hell. Or you can clip the seatbelts in place,
pull out the fender/handle and tote your Special Missions Force down to
the corner store for a licorice whip. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

3) She-Ra’s Butterflyer

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While the Princess of Power figure line is pretty tame in comparison to
the hodgepodge of insanity that was the Master of the Universe line,
their vehicles were possibly more ridiculous. High-tech tanks and cars
were traded in for pegasi and giant swans, Battle Cat and Panthor got a
bright pink counterpart named Clawdeen, and rather than traveling
overland in a dinosaur skeleton (what I can only assume is a long and
uncomfortable voyage), the ladies of Etheria soared above the clouds in
the Butterflyer, a giant winged woman holding a butterfly. She seated
eight, had storage for weapons, and could reportedly alight on a cloud.
But was she a living, winged woman, or just a ship shaped like a woman? I
could research this further, but I prefer she remain cloaked in

2) M.U.S.C.L.E. Battlin’ Belt

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When Mattel brought the Japanese Kinnikuman line to the U.S. as
M.U.S.C.L.E., pretty much the only thing they kept about the line of
“kinkeshi” figurines was that they were wrestlers. So it makes sense
that the only supplemental item they made for the line was a wrestling
Championship belt. Yes, it only holds ten M.U.S.C.L.E. figures (out of
246) and the tiny wrestling ring on the buckle barely fits two
wrestlers, but how many M.U.S.C.L.E. men do you really need to
have on you at any given time? Plus, when you put the belt on, you’re
the heavyweight champion of the galaxy, and you didn’t even have to
fight a living building to do it. Despite all this, some M.U.S.C.L.E.
fans actually consider this a pretty shoddy carrying case, so for them
I’ll provide an alternate: a Japan-made Ramen Man figure that also
stores 10 kinkeshi… in his giant head. Less practical, but more

1) Return of the Jedi Laser Rifle

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Not a bootleg! Not an unproduced prototype! An actual, honest-to-God
product! Okay, so it’s kinda rare, but still — at one point, Kenner
manufactured a giant, generic laser rifle you could open up and store 19
action figures inside, and George Lucas signed off on it. Granted, 1983
was a more innocent time, but it’s hard to imagine a licensee being
given such freedoms today. Likely, they’d have to painstakingly
duplicate an in-movie gun that was originally made out of old camera
parts, and that’s assuming anyone at Lucas would approve the concept in
the first place. I’d personally like to see Hasbro revisit this idea,
but to make it so that the gun actually shot the action figures out
whenever you were ready to play with them. In this fast-paced world, who
has time to undo one latch, let alone two? Let’s get the kids using
their imaginations quickly, before their PSPs boot up.

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