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Monday, June 17, 2013

Unreleased Toys: Visionaries' Iron Mountain!

06.17.2013 – Visionaries is one of the original 1980s cartoon from the same produces who brought you G.I. Joe and Transformers. However the series only lasted for 13 episodes which were abruptly cancelled.

This goes the same with the comic books that Marvel published under the Star Comics banner which lasted 7 issues. What made this series popular is the toys that was tied up with the cartoon which was also manufactured by Hasbro. It came out with vehicles and what made interesting the holographic gimmick.

The holograms played a significant role in the cartoon as animal totems in each of the characters chest. It also appears in vehicles and weapon staff that summons the animals or creatures in the cartoon series.

There were two factions in the series they are the Spectral Knights and the Darkling Lords. Then there was Merklynn the mysterious wizard who granted them their magical powers. The series was set on an alien civilization in planet Prysmos a world with three suns which recently aligned for the first time in millennia, and inexplicably caused all advanced technology to stop working.

Society was plunged into a feudal, medieval-like state. As interesting as the premise of the series it was something more of refreshing tale about a different place compared to G.I. Joe and Transformers which was always set on planet Earth.

The toys however are interest but due to the series and comics being cancelled the toy line was discontinued and it lasted only for a year.

The gimmicks of the toys are the holograms which revealed being outsourced by Hasbro that was expensive to make. These were made on some sort of plastic polymer, and displayed a much more three-dimensional image than the "foil"-based holograms that are in such common use today.

There were only ten action figures and four vehicles were sold which was generally received moving off the shelves.

If the series was never cancelled the toys would have expanded too, but the cost of the holograms definitely has ended the series immediately. The action figures where slightly bigger than the traditional G.I. Joe stand at 4 ½ and have basic design elements were virtually identical. The armor on the figures was highly ornate and very well detailed without exception with quality that Hasbro has made for this toy line.

The biggest vehicle that was released is the massive Dagger Assault that had a figure and the cool factor was the prison where they removed the animal totems which is by far the largest vehicle in the line. But what make the toy line interesting is the cancelled figures, vehicles and playset.

There was a 1988 catalog that went around online and revealed most of the unreleased toys for the following year. There must be prototypes and finished products that were supposed to be released if the series was never cancelled.

Some might not recall the series aside from the Inhumanoids and it sure is a unique toy line set on an alien world that has a medieval feel to the series.

But the clincher for the most part is the playset that was made but never released. It could have made it to the first year release but due to the complicated technology Hasbro has to abandon the toy line.

That playset is the IRON MOUNTAIN HOLODROME which would be the central part of every Visionaries fan who had the chance to collect the toys.

An immense construct, it was intended as Merklynn's home, with all manner of traps and snares against invaders. As you might expect, it was essentially the toy version of the origin story of the Visionaries.

The reason it didn't come out was once again holographic. The Hasbro catalog for 1987 advertised that this playset featured a PROJECTED hologram of the wizard Merklynn!

Its concept was too much ahead of its time and they never had the chance to make the “hologram” gimmick to work. The catalog of course just had Merklynn super imposed to appear it was working but it wasn’t and that put an end to the toy line.

Special acknowledgement to Thomas Wheeler who wrote a full article about the series and the story behind the unreleased toys plus the image he provided for this article.

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