As a kid, my Saturday mornings were filled with two things: Captain Crunch cereal and hours of cartoons. Tops among my favorites? Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon.
From 1983-1985, CBS ran 27 episodes of one of the coolest cartoons ever, based on the world of Dungeons & Dragons. It starred a bunch of kids who go on a Dungeons & Dragons ride at their local fair, only to find themselves transported to the exciting and dangerous world filled with dungeons, dragons, magic and more.
(DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links which help me earn a commission so I can buy even more figures to write about.)
Who are the kids from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon?
The six kids each found themselves transformed into a D&D character, complete with some sort of magical weapon. There was Hank the Ranger, Sheila the Thief, Eric the Cavalier, Presto the Wizard, Diana the Acrobat, and Bobby the Barbarian. It always struck me as odd that they all had real names except Presto. Unless his parents were big David Copperfield fans or something.
Hank (Voiced by ’80s mainstay Willie Aames) was the de facto leader of the group. He clearly had a thing for Sheila. Eric was the jerk of the group, always thinking of himself and causing more trouble than he was worth if you ask me. Bobby was Sheila’s little sister and always seemed to get himself captured.
The gang got help and some very cryptic advice from the short, balding magical wizard called Dungeon Master. He was pretty much D&D’s version of Yoda, without the lightsaber and green skin. And then there’s the big bad baddie called Venger.
Easily one of the coolest looking villains around (He only had one horn on his head!), there was definitely some connection between Venger and Dungeon Master beyond just being archenemies. The basic premise of the show was that the kids continued to search for a way home, while Venger wanted nothing more than to capture the magical weapons each of the kids possessed.
Toss in a crazy cool five-headed dragon named Tiamet, an evil Shadow Demon, Warduke and a little unicorn named Uni, and you’ve got yourself a Dungeons and Dragons cartoon.
Hasbro’s Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Figures
Other than a few rare books and DVD collections, there haven’t been many collectibles based on this classic cartoon. Until this year, that is, when Hasbro released two waves of Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics figures. The two waves included a Dungeon Master and Venger two-pack, and then individual figures of all six kids, including their weapons (and Uni, of course).
Overall, these figures are amazing. It’s like someone took my childhood and converted it into a bunch of posable action figures. The coloring and likenesses on all are spot-on. I really couldn’t ask for any better sculpts.
The two main complaints about the line overall, though, is that many of the figures feel very fragile. There are a lot of great points of articulation, but being really stiff, I was hesitant to turn arms or legs at times, for fear of breaking them. The other big complaint is that a few of the figures were incredibly hard to stand. The way they’re sculpted makes the overall posability a bit trickier thank it should be.
Those issues aside, I’m a huge fan of this entire line and want to share them all with you.
So join me as we enter the world of Dungeons and Dragons…
Hank the Archer
Hank was like the Luke Skywalker of the group and not just because of the blonde hair. He brought it all together and kept the hope of going home alive. He had one of the coolest magical weapons of the party, the energy bow. He never had to worry about running out of arrows, that’s for sure.
His figure comes with a normal bow, his energy bow and an eight-sided die.
My only complaint with Hank is that his right hand doesn’t do a great job of pulling back on the string of his bow. It’s neat how his two fingers are sculpted to look like they can pull back on the string of the bow. But it’s really hard to line them up with the bow so it looks like Hank’s ready to attack.
Sheila the Thief
It’s funny that Sheila, probably the one with the strongest morals of the bunch, would be cast as the thief. Her magical item was basically a cloak of invisibility. Whenever she’d reach back and pull the hood over her head, she’d turn invisible. Pretty helpful when you’re a thief.
I love the coloring here, which has that whole technicolor feel right from the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon itself. The sculpting on her thigh-high boots is a really nice touch too.
She comes with a normal cloak (as seen above), but you can replace it with…
…a hood and semi-translucent cloak.
It would’ve been a bit cooler if the cloak was more translucent than just the bottom part, but it’s still a nice touch. My big complaint here is that there are no instructions on how to switch cloaks. After some quick online searching, I confirmed that you need to pop off Sheila’s head in order to swap out the cloaks.
Hasbro could have included some basic instructions with the figure or even displayed it on the back of the packaging. With the delicate nature of some of these figures, I was super hesitant to take off her head. Which wasn’t an easy feat. Nor was putting the head back on.
Oh, and Sheila comes with the six-sided die.
Eric the Cavalier
Arguably the coolest part of any sculpt in these figures is Eric’s left eyebrow. It’s arched in that perfect “Excduuuuse me?” style.
The arrogant, complaining, scaredy cat of the bunch, Eric played the much needed heel of the group. Offering up a mutual point of focus for the team’s anger. He was often found cowering behind his magical shield. Yeah, not a very “cavalier” attitude for this character.
The only odd part of Eric is the coloring of his arms and thighs. In the cartoon (and even shown on the packaging), his lower legs had the silver armor, but above the knees, his pants were a dark blue, and his arms were the same color. The figure is basically grey on his legs and arms, though. Maybe there was a sale on grey paint? Or a shortage of blue paint?
Eric comes with his magical shield (the energy is removable to leave you with a normal shield) and an eight-sided die.
Presto the Magician
Maybe it’s because I was a bit of a nerd growing up (shocking, I know!), but I always related most to Presto. It could have have been the glasses. Or his nervousness and overall anxiety. Whatever the case, I always loved how Presto could pretty much pull anything out of that magic hat of his… he just had very little control over what appeared.
He comes with two different hair pieces. One is normal (above), and the other has a notch on it so that you can put the hat on his head.
When you put his normal hair on, Presto can hold the hat in his hand and attach a small energy burst item so it looks like magic is being conjured.
You can also add a larger swirl of magic into the hat but attach the other end to his wrist. It took me quite some time to figure out how best to put this together (Again, Hasbro, please put instructions with your figures.), but once I did I really love how it looks.
Presto wins the “Hardest Figure to Stand Up” award. The way his robe is sculpted makes it a bit tougher to stretch his legs out so he can stand easier. It is possible to get Presto to stand up, but you need to give yourself a lot of prep time.
He comes with the non-rolling four-sided die.
Diana the Acrobat
I played D&D a bunch when I was younger and I don’t remember there ever being an “acrobat” as a character role. Still, Diana was the tough girl in the group, bouncing all over the place to keep the team’s enemies on their toes.
Her magical item, the staff, was easily the lamest of them all. Honestly, I don’t even know what it did except glow and let her hit people.
Her figure’s articulation lets her hold the pole in a few different ways, mirroring her poses from the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon.
She comes with a normal staff (above), an energy-flowing staff and the always-coveted 20-sided die.
Bobby the Barbarian
Much like most classic sitcoms from the ’80s, the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon had its “cute little kid.” Bobby was exactly what you’d expect from a younger brother who’s given a magical club. He’s impulsive, hard headed and stubborn. Think “Hulk Smash” in a little kid body.
He also brought us the other ’80s mainstay: the adorable animal sidekick. Uni, the baby unicorn, basically became Bobby’s pet. Alternating between cute and annoying, Uni often saved the day with its magical power of teleportation.
Whatever the case, this set of figures would not be complete without a Uni figure. And yes, the head is posable too.
Joining Bobby and Uni are a hard-to-hold-in-his-hand club and a 12-sided die.
And finally, the two big guns left are Dungeon Master and Venger. Both figures aren’t very articulated (basically hands and head), but they look so crazy cool. The pair are sold as a two-pack and include a back-up pair of energy hands for Venger, along with a 10-sided die and oversized 20-sided die with an & instead of the 20.
It would have been nice to have more articulation from these two, especially with Dungeon Master’s arms. He can’t bend them at the elbow, so he can’t move around much except to perform part of the YMCA.
The pair also come with a cardboard tri-fold Dungeon Master screen covered with a scene from the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon.
Action Figure Packaging
One final extra touch of coolness with these two waves is the packaging. There are cartoon pictures of each character on the side of their package. When you line them up side by side, it combines for one big picture. I just love extra little touches like that.
D&D’s Action Figure Future
And there you have it, the first two waves of Hasbro’s Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon action figures. I’m hoping they put out a wave 3 to include more of the baddies of the show such as Warduke, Shadow Demon, Tiamet and Venger’s evil horse (yes, horses can be evil) Night-Mare. They could even whip up some cool variants such as an “invisible” Sheila and Eric as a Bogbeast!
All in all, Hasbro’s done a great job with bringing one of the greatest cartoons from the ’80s to action figure life. The colors, looks and accessories will instantly transport you to another realm. Improvements in articulation (loosening joints up so they aren’t so fragile and breakable) will only improve this fan favorite line.