When you think of iconic toy lines for each decade, the Big Jim action figure line may not be at the top of your list for the 1970’s, but that’s exactly what Big Jim was. Besides Star Wars and GI Joe, Big Jim stood out as the third highest globally selling action figure line of the decade, which is shocking considering how successful Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes and Kenner’s Six Million Dollar Man lines were. To understand Big Jim’s journey to becoming an iconic toy brand, we need to go back to 1970. Mattel Toys was enjoying massive sales and success with their ultra popular Barbie Doll line for girls, but Mattel was inspired by the newly introduced GI Joe Adventure Team line and decided to start an Adventure type action figure series of their own, but with a twist. The figures would be shrunk down to a more economical 9.5 inch size and the line would not only focus on adventure themes but also basically anything a boy would dream about getting into, such as exploring, action and every sport your could think of at the time. In general, Big Jim was going to be a man’s type of man who excelled at everything he did. At the same time Mattel was creating Big Jim, Mego was creating a military adventure line of their own called Action Jackson in an 8 inch size. This meant Mattel would have to step up their game and step it up they did. The new Big Jim figures featured a chopping action feature that could be activated by a button on their back, and a bicep muscle flexing feature that would make it look like the figures had bulging arm muscles. Another great feature that Mattel introduced was TONS of accessories. One trick Mattel learned from their Barbie line was to create bunches of accessories and Big Jim got the same treatment.
Big Jim’s All-Star series was a hug hit for Mattel, and their sales numbers were off the charts during that period. When the line began to fade a bit in 1975, Mattel made the decision to change things up a bit by giving Jim a new team of rough looking fighters called the Wolf P.A.C.K (Professional Agents Crime Killers). The figures would remain the same 9.5 inch size, and many of the accessories and figures would be re-branded to the new P.A.C.K line. The focus of the new theme would turn Jim’s group of fun loving sports enthusiasts and adventurers into professional crime fighters, thwarting evil terrorist plots across the world. The new Wolf Pack team consisted of Big Jim the Leader, the Whip, Warpath, Dr. Steel and Torpedo Fist, while the lone villain was Zorak. The P.A.C.K figures still featured the chopping action feature that could be activated by a button on their back, as well as the bicep muscle flexing feature that would make it look like the figures had bulging arm muscles. If you were a child growing up in the 1970’s, this was definitely one of the coolest group of figures on the market. The Big Jim Wolf Pack line stands out as one of the most complete and well-done action figure lines of the decade and still holds up incredibly well even to this day. Since the Big Jim toy line was created, it has always been a huge hit with big sales numbers across the country, but that pales in comparison to what Big Jim did on the global scene. It’s certainly not uncommon for a successful toy line to launch in foreign markets as well, but Mattel took that to a whole new level with Big Jim. They went on to release several unique and original Big Jim lines across the world that were never made available in the United States. These lines included Mark Strong, Kid Acero, The Pirate Series, The Space Series, The Spy Series and the Global Command in 1986, which would mark the final Big Jim line ever produced by Mattel.
Mattel released some real quality Big Jim products during its run, and just like every toy line, the values of certain items can greatly fluctuate over time. This is based on several factors, including the item’s time period, scarcity, consumer demand and overall condition. The good news for Big Jim collectors is there always a demand for items from this era, as Mattel created some truly iconic pieces. Loose individual figures from any of the Big Jim lines can certainly be found in most secondary markets, but boxed figures are becoming harder to find in good condition and can fetch very high values, especially the P.A.C.K figures. The foreign issued figures and accessories can prove very tricky on the secondary market, as they were never made available in the United States markets. Many American collectors don’t have the attachment to these foreign lines as they do for the All-Star and PACK series, so the values can greatly fluctuate. That being said, values on Big Jim items from any line remain steady with not many recent changes but the market remains strong due to an ever present 70’s and 80’s nostalgic desire. Boxed versions of most of the playsets and vehicles from the All-Star line can be found fairly easy on the secondary market at reasonable prices but items from the P.A.C.K line remain tough finds and usually fetch high prices in good condition. The figures, playsets, vehicles, packs and other sets from the Big Jim lines will only increase in value as these figures and sets become rarer and harder to find in the future.
Click These Links to See The Individual Big Jim Pages
Big Jim All-Star Series 1972-1975
Big Jim P.A.C.K Series 1975-1976
Big Jim Foreign Releases
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