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Incredible Crash Dummies Collection


trj22487
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(Restored Post from NintendoAge - Originally Posted in 2013)

This is my collection of Incredible Crash Dummies items, these are only the ones that I still have the box for, I had/have many, many others.

These were my favorite toys as a child though. These were the first thing I ever began collecting as a child, probably as early as six years old I was making a point to convince my parents to buy duplicates when I could find them cheap to keep in good condition.
The five figures in the bottom left are all of the rares that only came packed in with vehicles. The baby and cat/dog were recalled.
I also have one finished unreleased US figure in there (Protek Dash) that I got from the Tyco factory. I have no idea how few exist.
Only in the USA did they have "The Incredible" moniker, in Canada & Europe they were simply "Crash Dummies".
Here is a shot from 2013 of some of my boxed and sealed items

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(5/31/2015) Here is a better look at my copies of the original six figures from the 1st wave. Only Slick, Spin, Daryl, and Spare Tire carried over to the 2nd.

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(6/3/2015) I have now completed the set of all four US motorcycles brand new sealed in box!

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(8/31/2016) I have finally obtained an unopened Crash Test Center! Dream come true!

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These are the three rarest figures, J.R., Flip, and Wack. They came with the Go Kart, ATV, and Lawn Mower (1st prints only).
Much rarer than the two (Dash & Axel) that came with the Crash Cars by far. I rarely see these three at all.
They were not part of the original Vince & Larry wave, and were not carried over into the Pro-Tek wave.

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(5/21/2018) I have finally completed the set of All Five special vehicles w/ figure CIB/Sealed! This completes my action figure collection for Wave 1!

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Here is the one unreleased USA figure I have Mint on Card, the Pro-Tek version of Dash.
This figure was supposed to be part of the 3rd wave of Incredible Crash Dummies figures, but the line was abruptly cancelled.
The figures were released very briefly throughout Europe, but the packaging is not the same.
I bought this from a former Tyco employee over 15 years ago and have never seen another for sale.
At the time he also had the unreleased versions of Slick, Spin, and Axel on card, but I only had enough money to buy one.
It's been over a decade since I've personally seen any of them online on a USA card again.

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Six new figures were previewed to come to USA for Wave 3, including the controversial female Darlene.
I anticipated these figures as a kid for months back in '93-94. They were never released.
Carded copies of Darlene and Skid the Kid have never been discovered to this day.

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Anyone else ever have these as a kid?

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There is easily twice what I have here. At one point I had nearly everything. Basically the only things I've never had was the Crash Test Center and Black Car. But there was a plane, a cannon, a white motorcycle, a junkyard, a truck, a dump truck, four bad guys, two vehicles for the bad guys, and I'm missing the Pro-Tek versions of Slick and Spin (the main protagonists) There was also a third wave of figures that only was released in Europe and was intended for America but was cancelled at the last minute. There is also a prototype for a female dummy named Darlene that can go for several hundred on eBay depending on how far in production it was.

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The first line was called "Vince & Larry" but the US Department of Transportation wanted to distance themselves from the toy line,
and therefore asked Tyco to swap Grey "Vince" and Blue "Larry" with the White "Slick" and Purple "Spin".
To save money they did not reshoot the new boxes, and did minor photo editing to the Vince & Larry names.
Here is the back of one of my boxes showing what the original line looked like. The original line also included the lawn mower, atv, and go-kart.
I liked the first line the best, there were no "bad guy" figures, the entire point of the line was that they were
doing safety test and supposed to show how the seat belts prevented the dummy from breaking.

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I really liked the three comics that were released at Citgo gas stations, I can vividly remember the massive billboard next to the gas prices during this promotion in 1991/92.
The comics used the original line of characters and everyone appeared at least once.
All of the dummies had their own personality traits that were often described on the back of the packages, and donuts were their favorite "food"

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The backs of these comics had a giveaway with many prizes
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The books also had coupons for several items, including these mailaway Slick & Spin figures that now have boosted value

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The second line introduced new characters, gave the old ones new suits, and introduced enemies and weapons for the first time.
In this line, safety took a backseat to the good vs. evil storyline. There were many new vehicles and sets in this line

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This was one of the new characters, Bull. Instead of having a button to break apart, he twists to hit enemies with his weapon.

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I have a few pictures of myself in the early 90's playing around with these things

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I found a vintage Newsweek article on these toys that was written right before the "Pro-tek & Junkbots" wave was introduced.

It gives a bunch of evidence to what a troubled toy line this was from the start and the roadbumps it went over toward existance.
It also holds written proof that the female character Darlene WAS part of the original line, and Daryl was NOT.

This confirms that the Daryl character was created off the rejected Darlene mold as I have heard some speculate in the past. This is the first written proof from a credible source I've ever seen of this. Daryl is a sex change. As a kid I never suspected a thing despite the slender form of the character. In the board game, which I have pictured in the OP, Daryl is not in the game, and Darlene actually is, though her name is changed to "Darla". I never thought it was weird as a kid though, it only seemed natural that there would be a selectable character for a girl to play the game. That was the only instance where Darlene/Darla was ever released to the public.

It also tells that the original packaging for these figures was white, and that it was Toys R Us who ordered that they would not stock the product unless the color was changed, thus the neon orange packaging. It also writes that K-Mart turned down selling these figures, which I think held true to the end, I never remember these being at Kmart stores. Bradlees, yes, Caldor, yes, Hills, definitely. But I've never seen one with a Kmart sticker. It also says Wal-Mart only ordered a limited supply early on, and I personally have only ever owned "Vince & Larry" merchandise with Wal-Mart stickers on them, never "The Incredible". It also seems to me that by the time they were moved to the Pro-Tek line, Toys R Us and Kay Bee Toys were primarily the last two chains keeping the line in stock. In my personal memory K.B. Toys were the last ones keeping these on the shelves, some items I was finding for years after the line was discontinued.

It also writes that the computer animated film was to appear on CBS. It ended up airing on Fox in September 1993 as the first computer animated cartoon ever. It also writes that New Line Cinemas was developing an Incredible Crash Dummies movie after the success of the Ninja Turtles movies. This never came to be.

Very cool tidbits of info!

Feel Like A Wreck?

By  Annetta Miller 12/13/92

It's known in the toy industry as the "crash 'n' bash" theory: give a 6-year-old boy a toy car and he's guaranteed to smash it against a wall or careen it off his little sister's bunk bed. The theory was unmistakably at work two years ago at a Tyco market-research session. Behind a two-way mirror, researchers watched a half dozen 5-to 8-year-old boys test-drive Crash Dummies, a new line of action figures and vehicles that Tyco hoped would be on every little boy's wish list for Christmas 1992. On impact, the car's fenders crumple and its wheels pop off. But even more irresistible: when the plastic mini-mannequins are left unbelted, their heads and limbs go flying. So appealing was the mayhem the toys created that most of the youngsters said they'd fork over their $25 consulting fee to own one. The response indicated a winner, says former Tyco executive Neil Werde. "Any time you have kids jumping up and down and squealing, you know you have a hit."

OK, so they may not be the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Cabbage Patch dolls. And parents may shudder at the thought of putting them under the tree this Christmas. But in an industry reeling from two flat years, The Incredible Crash Dummies are one of the bright stars of the holiday season. The result of an improbable venture between a federal government agency, a licensing company and a toymaker, the latest from Tyco Toys could rake in more than $50 million in sales this year-drawing a respectable chunk of the estimated $14 billion that Americans will spend on toys in 1992. In a market where there are few survivors-only a fraction of the 6,000 or so gizmos launched at the industry's annual Toy Fair in New York ever make it to market-the toy's evolution offers a rare look at what it takes to create a hit.

The story of the Crash Dummies is a two-year saga marked by bureaucratic maneuvering, controversy and shrewd marketing. The endearing dummies had an unlikely birthplace-the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 1985 the agency began airing a series of public-service ads starring crash-test dummies Vince and Larry-America's beloved seat-belt advocates. To get the word out to kids, the DOT hired two licensing companies to make Vince and Larry stars. Al Kahn, chairman of Leisure Concepts, tried peddling the dummies-as-toys concept to Mattel, but the company showed no interest. When he approached Tyco new-products guru Mike Lyden in March of 1990, however, the response was much warmer. "We were hungry for an action-figure line," Lyden recalls. "And with the public-safety message attached, it was a marketer's dream."

The challenge was to create a toy that not only got the buckle-up message across but was fun. Lyden turned the project over to Tyco's "boys' toys" team and reiterated the company mantra: think like a 6-year-old. In a three-hour brainstorming free-for-all, the group envisioned what the toy and its accessories would do. When a kid buckled a dummy's safety belt in its motorized sedan, Vince and Larry would blissfully survive the most heinous of accidents; leave it unbuckled, however, and the duo would become piles of body parts. The figures would be equipped with ejection buttons and jointed limbs that pulled apart. But keeping the car's price below $20 posed a problem. The solution: kill the costly motor and let the kids do the crashing.

To fine-tune their concept, the Tyco execs turned to some real experts-kids. In focus-group sessions, the company found that the DOT's female character, Darlene, didn't play well with little boys, who cringed at the notion of cracking up a girl. So Darlene became Daryl. "He still has a strangely shaped chest," says Neil Tilbor, the former head of research and development for Tyco's boys' unit.
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(The ultra-rare & valuable cancelled Pro-Tek Darlene, which is shown on the back of the Ted/Gold Junkman packaging as "coming soon", she along with Pro-Tek Skid The Kid is the holy grail of Crash Dummies collecting - I have never seen a finished version of the 1st Darlene build that was used in the 1990 demo testing)

(Unfinished version of the original Darlene *note the eyebrows* that was demo tested and rejected in 1990)

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(The first Daryl figure, released in 1991 before the Vince & Larry change)

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Persuading the kids to love crash dummies was easy; winning over Tyco's own sales force and merchants was tougher. Many were taken aback by the violent smashups. When Tyco's salespeople were first shown the line there was dead silence. "These guys usually give us a round of applause," says Lyden. "This was more like one hand clapping."

The applause was not thunderous from retailers at first, either. Kmart didn't buy Crash Dummies at all. Others, including Wal-Mart, ordered conservatively, fearing they'd be left with excess inventory if the controversial toy flopped. Toys "R" Us, the nation's largest toy retailer, liked the idea but hated the dull white packaging. Tyco responded by ordering up a fluorescent orange box-an alteration that cost nearly $100,000 and delayed production by four weeks. "We had no other choice," says Tyco senior vice president Jim Alley. "Toys "R" Us is a 2,000-pound gorilla."

Determined to win over the naysayers and preserve its $3 million investment, Tyco revved up its marketing engines. At a presentation for toy buyers at Tyco's Mt. Laurel, N.J., headquarters that fall, executives arranged for a car to crash through a showroom wall, throwing a human crash dummy onto the floor. After the audience regained their composure, the dummy escorted them into a room filled with swivel chairs customized with seat belts. There, they were shown the toys, test data-and a $700,000 computer-animated advertising campaign that included a 20-second safety message. The efforts paid off. By February, when Tyco officials took their product to Toy Fair, they had already shipped tens of thousands of units to stores across the country.

But Crash Dummies ran into still more brick wall. After its Toy Fair debut, the press criticized the toy's graphic violence-and animal-lovers objected to two Crash Dummy characters-Hubcat, a feline with tire treads on her back, and Bumper, a dog that gets squashed. (The company had backed off from the names Road Pizza and Splat the Cat.) The folks at the DOT were getting edgy, too. They worried that the toy would overshadow the public-service campaign and bowed out, prompting Tyco to replace the original DOT dummies with others named Slick and Spin. Instead of rolling over and giving up, Tyco committed $7.2 million to a safety-promoting ad campaign, which has solidified the toy's positioning for the yuletide season. (A typical commercial begins with one Crash Dummy saying, "I feel like a wreck!" "OK," replies his companion, and together they drive into a tree.)

If Tyco's hunches prove correct, Crash Dummies will be around for yuletides to come. The '93 line will feature villains called Junkbots-dummies gone bad. Meanwhile, Slick, Spin and friends show up on everything from backpacks to bandages. A 30-minute computer-animated special is scheduled to air on CBS this spring. And New Line Cinema, the filmmaker for those reptilian heroes on the half shell, is developing a movie based on the figures', um, lives. The producers must assume that some dummies will watch anything.

Parents just wouldn't buy Kenner's Savage Mondo Blitzers. With names like Barf Bucket, who could blame them?

 

(July 2018) These aren't mine, but another collector has his hands on a few very rare prototype figures I didn't realize exist.
These were never advertised in any way and I have no idea how close they ever came to release.
Rod & Gasket (these characters never existed in any form), Axel (without glasses) & one of the Darlene prototypes.
I'm amazed to see something new to me, but I feel like these would have been pretty needless figures to introduce.

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Edited by trj22487
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(5/31/2020) I have restored this thread because after many years of searching, I have come to terms with a seller on another unreleased USA figure Mint on Card
This is the 2nd version of Pro-Tek Spin, which was supposed to come out in USA in 1993, but was cancelled at the last moment.
This figure was released in limited quantity in Europe, but the packaging is different than what you see below. This is the USA version, with packaging in English only
After a bit of back-and-forth we agreed on $200. I have only seen this figure show up online twice in the last 20 years. I was NOT letting this slip through my hands again!

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This is now my 2nd unreleased figure MOC, after Dash. This gives me renewed hope that someday I will get a hold of Axel and Slick as well....
I am still under the belief that Skid the Kid and Darlene do not exist on card, but you never know....

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Edited by trj22487
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Very cool and interesting. I remember the thread of this you had over on NA. I'm glad you decided to post it here too. 

I collect some 90s action figures myself. Even though I don't have any of the Crash Dummies toys, I do remember them and I think it was a neat & creative toy line.  

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Got the unreleased Spin figure in my possession today. It blows me away that after over 25 years of waiting for these to show up on the shelves at Kay Bee Toys,
I actually have two of the four in my possession now. When I was six/seven years old, these things were all I wanted,
I was checking every single time we went to the store, and it never happened, they simply never showed up.
These just don't exist. They aren't supposed to. And yet they do. They should have been toys I played with often a child, yet weren't at all. So cool.

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I also finally picked up a carded copy of the Junkman, which was long overdue for my collection. As a kid I had all of the Junkbots.
Next to it is the Ted figure, which is the released special figure that teased the upcoming Wave 3 figures that never saw the light of day.
Ted was introduced and featured prominently in the Crash Dummies cartoon, which can been seen on Youtube. First computer animated cartoon ever.

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I wanted these toys SO bad back in the early 90s!  I thought it was cool that they exploded when you smashed them, or whatever...but I never got any though, and I can't remember why.  Pretty sure I saw them at Toys R Us when they were a-poppin'.

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  • 4 weeks later...
1 hour ago, trj22487 said:


Uh oh......guess I can expect the prices on these to jump even more....dammit

Being an ultra-fan, I couldn't help but struggle through some of the inaccuracies in this review....plus, this is a good game, dammit!
 

I think we all know that it's just a character, and it's not supposed to be 100% accurate or truly representative of the game.  However, it's definitely harder to accept that when they just happen to pick a game you enjoy or are passionate about.  

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Just now, Tulpa said:

I don't see there being a huge spike. The game goes for a little more than what most casuals would be willing to spend on an impulse AVGN buy.

I have no idea what the toys typically go for, but I could see a small temporary spike on the toys.  Despite the fact that I was never able to convince my parents to get those toys for me, I still remember them very well and the AVGN video brought back some of those memories.  I'm certainly not going to go out and buy any of those toys, but I certainly understand the urge some may have.  Those are some of the more interesting toys that I never got to actually own as a kid.  

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Member · Posted

Yeah, I have no idea on the toys, or how much influence AVGN has on that. He usually doesn't highlight toys too much.

The games that he ends up spiking are usually somewhat uncommon, but underpriced games, ones that go from $5-$15, and were flying under the radar.

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Moderator · Posted
1 hour ago, Tulpa said:

Yeah, I have no idea on the toys, or how much influence AVGN has on that. He usually doesn't highlight toys too much.

The games that he ends up spiking are usually somewhat uncommon, but underpriced games, ones that go from $5-$15, and were flying under the radar.

This is a beast to find a CIB of in decent condition for NES. It was one of the last 10 CIB’s I needed for the set. 

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4 hours ago, TDIRunner said:

I think we all know that it's just a character, and it's not supposed to be 100% accurate or truly representative of the game.  However, it's definitely harder to accept that when they just happen to pick a game you enjoy or are passionate about.  

Haha, my main gripe is in the video the action figures he was using are the Mattel toys from the mid 2000s.....not the Tyco 'Incredible Crash Dummies' not even the correct toy line! I hate those 2000s toys! People can buy those up, lol

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1 minute ago, trj22487 said:

Haha, my main gripe is in the video the action figures he was using are the Mattel toys from the mid 2000s.....not the Tyco 'Incredible Crash Dummies' not even the correct toy line! I hate those 2000s toys! People can buy those up, lol

I had no idea there was even a difference.  I remember the commercials for the toys and wanting to have them, but my only experience was getting to play with them at someone else's house.  

But again, for the purposes of the video, it really doesn't matter since 95% of those watching will be like me and not know the difference.  But I completely understand that it's harder to look past it when they pick a subject that you know well.  

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  • 1 year later...
Member · Posted

Picked this up locally for $50 complete in very good condition w/box protector, about time I got one of these to go with my Genesis and NES copies! I thought this was a really nice deal on a copy in this good of shape though so I was happy I waited. It had been quite a while since I got a new Crash Dummies item in my collection

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