At the end of the 80s, when Kenner's MASK reached it's peak of success and the Cold War was still a fact, Coleco came up with a toyline called StarCom: The US Space Force.
The Starcom vehicles were pretty much the same size like the MASK toys. The smaller vehicles could be transformed into cubes (and vice versa), for transport by the larger ones. The gimmick was the vehicle's transform mechanism (not to forget about the magna lock!). When pushing a button, the vehicles transformed into vehicles automatically, without any batteries, by using a plain scroll spring mechanism.
In the cartoon, that aired in 1987, The US Space Force defends the cosmos against the fiendly organisation Shadow Force, lead by the evil Emperor Dark (who looks indeed pretty Russian to me). Dark and his army of Drones want to bring the universe under their total (or rather "communistic") reign. But like with all the other typical 80s toys' Cold War plots, in the end it's always the good (American) guys who're saving the day. Nevertheless, the cartoon is scrippted and drawn pretty good.
I was a big fan of StarCom, when I was a kid. I remember travelling to Italy with my parents in 1987, where we used to stay quite a long time (a think for about 6 months or something, since my father was working there). We went to the beach one day, where I saw a boy playing with an amazing action toy, that was supposed to be the StarCom Battlecrane.
Back in Germany, the 1st thing my granny got me was that sweet little thing! (Thanks Grandma, I love you!) It was the beginning of a tremendous StarCom collection to come. Sure, I sold all of it as a dumbass teenager at flee markets, like all the other cool stuff I used to have. Ironically it was at a flea market, too, where my beloved brother snatched some StarCom vehicles a few days ago. Among that lot was a fully functionable Battlecrane!
I'm still amazed about that vehicle. Its futuristic retro-design did lose nothing of it's old charme. But just take a look for yourself...
|The Battlecrane in "cube mode"...|
|... in "walker mode"|
|Battlecrane is steered by Sgt. Bob Anders|