Barnyard Commandos Background

Barnyard Commandos Animal Action Figures (1989)

The original Barnyard Commandos collectible animal toys were created by James Groman for American Greetings Corporation, and later produced by Playmates. It is based on the concept of anthropomorphic farm animals who mutated from exposure to radioactive materials left over from military experimentation.

The animals form two rival factions – the R.A.M.S. (Rebel Army of Military Sheep) and the P.O.R.K.S. (Platoon of Rebel Killer Swine), which spawned numerous waves of memorable action figures, as well as accompanying vehicles–armed to the gills with hilarious weaponry.

Barnyard Commandos 1990 TV Series

“The series is based around the concept of farm animals who consumed radioactive materials, left over from an abandoned military experiment, mutating them into hyper-intelligent, anthropomorphic paramilitary troops. This consists of two “hilariously harmless” opposing factions: the R.A.M.S. (Rebel Army of Military Sheep) and the P.O.R.K.S. (Platoon of Rebel Killer Swine).”


Brainchild of James Groman

Barnyard Commandos was one of James Groman’s first toy concepts after graduating from the Art Institute of Cleveland in 1986! He originally created the concept for American Greetings (along with Madballs), but Playmates picked it up 1989 and made the classic line of Barnyard Commandos animal collectibles and toys we remember so fondly today. He is currently providing art direction on Megalopolis: Premium DNA Madballs and Barnyard Commandos!

Exploring the 3 Biggest Toy Crazes of the 1980s

animal collectibles

People don’t rush for toys and collectibles like they did a few decades ago. Yes, when something like a new video game console, phone, or similar piece of technology comes out it is still a must-have item. However, between online purchases and appointment times at stores you won’t find crowds knocking down the doors of a retailer like they used to.

The 1980s were different. It was a time when animal collectibles, action figures, and even early video games were hitting the shelves all at once, and the only way to get them was in store. Let’s take a look at the three biggest toy crazes of the 1980s.

Action Figures

G.I. Joe, a military-based action figure, became iconic when it relaunched in 1982. It succeeded because it came with more than a figurine. It came with a story. The patriotic G.I. Joe would fight Cobra Command, a terrorist organization threatening freedom. Along with the toy itself, G.I. Joe had his own TV show, comics, and even movies. This became the model for all action figures. They were an opportunity for children to play out the stories they had seen on TV, with the hero of the show.

While action figures predate the 1980s, they’re still iconic to the era, and G.I. Joe, in particular, ushered in a new age of action figures. Soon it became a necessity to sell these figurines to promote media and vice versa.

Action figures are a craze that extends to today, be it through nostalgia or a simply high-quality product. Both collectible action figures and new ones are popular across age groups, leading to $1.45 billion worth of action figures being sold in 2016.

Care Bears

The cuddly animal collectibles have a similar story to action figures in that they thrived through their multitude of platforms. Still, the most iconic remains the plush, collectible animal toys themselves. Care Bears started as a greeting card cartoon but quickly made the jump into being a plush teddy bear for children. By the mid-1980s they had their own TV series and movie. The good times were rolling, and the Care Bears became a staple of childhood and shopping for presents, in the 1980s.

Just like action figures, the Care Bears have proven to have staying power. As recently as 2019 there was a relaunch of these animal collectibles and unique examples of Care Bears have sold for up to $10,000. That’s not bad for a teddy bear that humbly began life as a greeting card cartoon.

Cabbage Patch Kids

The ultimate in toy crazes was the Cabbage Patch Kids craze. These small dolls technically started in the 1970s, but their craze dominated the 1980s. How insane was this fad? It was reported that there were riots for the collectible dolls in 1983, as parents were desperate to land a Cabbage Patch Kid for their child’s Christmas present. To combat the chaos, many retailers introduced ticket systems for the dolls, much like at a Deli. This worked to an extent and is a precursor to companies like Apple setting appointments to purchase new products once they’re released. The issue was that supply still didn’t meet demand, and parents were willing to be violent to get their hands on a Cabbage Patch Kid.

Cabbage Patch Kids are still highly collectible today, with dolls commonly selling for thousands of dollars.

The toy world was changed with the advent of merchandising off TV and movies. This led to explosions in popularity for numerous toys, not so much for what the toy did, but for what it represented. Using merchandise to sustain a show became more popular in the 1980s because of the FCC relaxing laws related to character marketing. This flooded the market with every toy imaginable, from madballs to animal collectibles, and became what 1980s toys were known for.

How Barnyard Commandos Can Help You Defend Your Hobby

Over the course of your life as a comic book enthusiast, nerd, or action figure connoisseur, you’ve likely had to defend your status as an action figure collector. After all, your love for vintage action figures like Barnyard Commandos isn’t necessarily understood by everyone. However, there are worse things you could be doing with your time and the space in your home. If you’re a proud animal action figure collector, you can be ready to defend your hobby with these solid points about your collection.

Retro Action Figures Don’t Take Up Much Space

Unless your action figures sprawl your entire living space, you’re engaging in a cost-effective hobby. Your Barnyard Commandos contain rebels like P.O.R.K.S. and R.A.M.S., but these fierce battle buddies usually take up no more than 6 inches in any direction. Even if you’ve invested in creating some barnyard terrain for your animal friends, they really don’t take up too much space. Plus, when you’re not displaying them, they fit easily into most foam-lined collectible storage devices.

Animal Action Figures Help You Remember Your Childhood Fondly

Most of us have a favorite vintage brand. Whether it’s Lisa Frank, Caboodles, G.I. Joe, Astronaut Barbie, or Barnyard Commandos, critics of action figure collections usually just haven’t had the chance to reconnect with their own favorite beloved childhood brand. When advocating for your animal collection figures, ask the other person what their favorite childhood brand might have been, and remind them that your action figures provide you with that same warm, satisfied feeling.

The Next Generation Must Know About Barnyard Commandos

You can’t let the tradition be lost. Barnyard Commandos and other animal action figures brought you so much joy as a child, so it’s clearly a great tradition to pass down to your children, friends’ kids, or nieces, nephews, and cousins.

You can teach children to respect collectibles even though they’re also toys, and it creates a bonding activity for you and the children in your life. By exploring the Barnyard Commandos collection, each child can learn to express themselves by choosing a favorite of the animal action figures and articulating why they love it so much.

While the average price of a toy is only about $10, the nationwide sale of more than 3 billion units creates about $27 billion per year for the toy industry in direct toy sales alone. And consider this: collectors make up a hefty share of that market, as the love of collectible action figures lasts a lifetime.

If you’re ready to defend your collection with memorable and funny action figures, Premium DNA Toys is ready to ship you a single figure or full collection of Premium DNA Barnyard Commandos. Remember: they don’t take up too much space, you can pass the love of Barnyard Commandos and animal action figures on to the next generation, and they make you feel great about your childhood–all with the added bonus of making you quite easy to shop for.

3 Reasons to Invest in Collectible Action Figures

collectible action figures

Collectible action figures are more popular now than ever before. Collectible action figures take us on a trip down memory lane, and the experience is sentimental and fulfilling, to say the least. But why collect action figures?

Get Into a New Hobby

Investing your time in hobbies is a great way to keep your mind engaged. And when you invest in collectible action figures, much of the time you spend with them will be taken up with organization, cleaning, and maintaining them. You may even uncover an older action figure at a thrift store that needs some fixing up. From there, you could embark on a restoration journey with your new collectible action figure. From paint touch-ups to dusting and more, there are countless ways to engage yourself when you’re dealing with collectible action figures. Some collectors even recreate famous scenes from movies with the figures they collect.

The Nostalgia Factor

Nostalgia is a powerful thing. So powerful, in fact, that it will have fans of old franchises collecting action figures from that series or movie decades later. Consider shows like Power Rangers. Though the original series has long since left television, avid fans still purchase collectibles to this day. When fans form a deep connection to a character, story, or series as young adults, nostalgia can be a big motivating factor in their decision to collect items that remind them of that time in their lives. It’s the same reason someone might read books to their children that they loved growing up. Collecting action figures out of nostalgia is a very common phenomenon.

Passing Collectibles Down to Children

For some people, collecting action figures isn’t necessarily about keeping them in pristine condition or hoping to make money from them in the future. In fact, some collectors do the opposite — they keep collectibles from their childhood or that remind them of childhood to pass down to future generations. Whether these collectible action figures get passed down and maintained as collectibles or used for play is up to each individual collector, but passing down collectibles to younger generations is fairly common.

The U.S. toy industry is estimated to generate about $13.2 billion in tax revenue every year. Collectible action figures account for a huge chunk of the annual revenue, thanks to the rising number of action figure toy collectors.