Knights of the Holographic Light!


By Shawn Robare

After I started reacquiring some of my childhood toys recently, specifically picking up a number of the more obscure figures from the less popular lines, there have been a few figures that have rocketed up to the top of my to-find list.  Taking a break from the more well-known properties like G.I. Joe, Transformers, Masters of the Universe & M.A.S.K. and focusing on the lesser known stuff has been kind of liberating as my personal shopping list has become way more manageable and compartmentalized.  Instead of trying to track down affordable bulk lots or prioritizing my favorites from one of the larger lines I can focus on a single figure from a specific series since I tended to only have one or two figures from each of the weirder properties.  Happening upon a carded Gabriel Tonto figure, a Blackstar  demon, or a Dungeons & Dragons Warduke has been a really fulfilling experience, so when I went on the hunt for the next childhood treasure I had my sights set on a very specific action figure, Witterquick from the Visionaries!

Witterquick Filecard 2

Released by Hasbro in 1987, the Visionaries were sort of like a mystical, fantasy version of G.I. Joe.  In fact, not only were the toys manufactured by the same company, with similar designs (similar articulation and size), but the accompanying animated series was also produced by Sunbow with a number of the same voice actors and writers and had very similar animation.  Though not as popular, the toy line only had one wave of figures and the animated series had just a single 13-episode season that aired on Saturday mornings.  Though I have very fond memories of plopping in front of the TV and watching the cartoon, I only managed to acquire one action figure, the scarlet speedster who calls upon the power of his totem deity Light Speed by proclaiming “Sheathe these feet in the driving gale, make swift these legs, o’er land I sail!”

witterquick 1

One of the main conceptual draws of this toy line was the inclusion of holograms both in each character’s armor and in a totem staff.  There were two opposing forces, the Spectral Knights (with a unicorn as their group totem) and the Darkling Lords (who have a dragon totem.)  Holograms were pretty darn popular in the 80s and early 90s (as seen in these amazing Lazer Blazers stickers), and as far as I know this was the main toy line that incorporated the technology into the figures.  Though it could easily have come across as super gimmicky, I really love the way they’re used as the holographic images are a great stand in for the magical energy that the characters exhibited in the cartoon series…

witterquick 3

Not only were the holograms pretty darn awesome, but all of the characters had cool removable helmets, which was always a plus in my book.

witterquick 4

I feel pretty lucky that I managed to not only find a complete Witterquick (so many of these figures on the secondary market are missing their chest plate holograms and helmets), but the guy I bought the figure from kept him in very good condition and even had the original filecard clipping!

Witterquick Filecard

I’m glad the I got that as well because it has a some of the original packaging artwork intact.  Like the other Hasbro 80s offerings, the Visionaries boasted some amazing airbrushed artwork.  I also felt pretty lucky as I found this figure at a very reasonable price.  These tend to sell for pretty ludicrously inflated rates, between $50-$120 carded, and even upwards of $30-$40 loose and complete.

witterquick 2

Now that Witterquick has joined my collection, there is only one main obscure action figure left that I need to kind of complete my vintage toy collection, Quicksilver from the Silverhawks.  The hunt is on…

  • http://goodwillhunting4geeks.blogspot.com/ The Goodwill Geek

    Oh Shawn… I am so breathlessly jealous. Sooooo jealous. I’m soooo insanely, wear-an-astronaut-diaper-and-drive-cross-country-to-GET-you jealous. Witterquick was one of my favorite guys as a kid, and also the only Visionaries figure I owned. I promptly lost all of his accessories after I got him, but turned him into a sort of human-torch character whenever I played with him. With those Richard Chamberlain good looks and cerulean blue eyes you could swim in… how could I not love him?

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      I know, his eyes are strangely dreamy for an action figure. I don’t remember losing track of my original. Wonder what became of him…

      • http://stuntzombies.blogspot.com/ Stunt Zombie

        Man, I loved this series. I remember getting all the carded figures, as well as the Sky Claw and Lancer Cycle for Xmas one year. It’s a shame they never caught on, because they were amazing figures.

        I don’t even want to think about what happened to my figures, because I’m sure I did something stupid to them.

        • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

          Cool! I had a Christmas like that the first year M.A.S.K. came out. Got everything but Boulder Hill and the Semi.

          If I had to guess, my parents probably gave my stuff away… :p

  • Justin Gruchy

    I agree, I’d rather focus on specific characters and vehicles when it comes to toy collecting. Collecting for completeness sake is not as fun as finding those specific items that scratch that nostalgia itch. I have a particular fondness for Witterquick as well. He was probably the only Visionary I had when I was a kid. Good work.

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Yeah, I hope when I’m done I’ll have a nice overview of all the stuff I used to love as a kid that can fit in a nice compact shelf. Less nerd dusting, less expense, and more nostalgia bang per square inch. Also, by not re-buying everything I still feel like “the hunt” is still on and thus I won’t get that anticlimactic feeling that comes with completing a collection…

  • DUSTINDUSTRIES

    Nerd Dusting, I like it. I have a MOTU holographic toy a shoebox somewhere. I am not 100% sure what character it is but it is a small burgundy wizard like cloaked figure that has a Holograph front.

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Oh cool, I’m guessing that’s one of the Supernaturals wizards…

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      I’m guessing maybe Mr. Lucky the Magician?

    • DUSTINDUSTRIES

      Looks like you have come up with the goods, I always thought it was a MOTU extra that came with one of the figurines. I never had the over cloak with the hands so at first glance I didn`t think this was the same toy but after Googling and reading http://www.onepercase.net/2013/04/classics-corner-super-naturals-scary-cat.html I am sure this is it made by Tonka surprisingly.

      • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

        Yeah, I never had any of these growing up, but I’m always keeping an eye out in used toy stores and stuff…

  • TheNavigator

    You did well with this one as I wanted to make sure that the holograms were unbroken or too scratched so I had to hunt down a MOC Visionaries and Supernaturals (Opened them obviously). But it looks as though you got a great loose one, I had to get a few loose ones too as the MOC ones were too expensive such as Quicksilver, Lion O, Original Real Ghostbusters Venkman ETC.. but it can be done. I went for Cryotek rather than Witterquick as he was the one I had when I was younger but both are better than the so called leader Leoric (Bad Tom Selleck lookalike:))

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      Ha, yeah, some of the figures are VERY 80s in facial hair style. Yeah, I’d been looking for Witterquick in decent condtion at a good price for years. Guess it pays to be patient. Quicksilver is also proving very difficult. Most loose ones I’ve seen have a good bit of the chrome plating chipped or worn off…

      • TheNavigator

        Ive actually seen MOC Quicksilver’s with paint on the hand and face chipped as it was very brittle. Just try and find the best chrome as that took a lot more wearing down.

  • http://www.junkfed.com/ Tintod

    These guys are so cool. It’s interesting how holography, a relatively old science by then, really hit it’s stride in the eighties. For over a decade, I worked at a holography company as a designer. In addition to making and selling holograms, my boss was a collector of holograms. He’d stock up on works from fellow holographers (t’s a pretty tight knit industry) and we had shelves full of cool stuff ranging from Cookie Crisp and Nintendo cereal box embossed holograms, to Spider-Man and X-Men photopolymer trading cards. My favorites were the greenish gold photopolymers like the ones used in the Super Naturals and Visionaries, as opposed to the metallic embossed you see on credit cards or sports merchandise. They usually had more depth being shot from physical models rather than computer generated art.

    • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

      I always wondered about that too, similarly with the lenticular illusion process as well which boomed in the 80s. I wonder if the price to manufacture dropped? Either way, it was to our benefit for sure, and I agree, I love both the colored photopolymers and the model-based imagery as well. I need to find some Supernaturals figures…