The mid-90's were the Dark Ages of action figures for me. It was a transitional period: I had stopped playing with toys as a kid but I hadn't yet started collecting toys as a collector. Many fun and interesting toy lines were lost on me during this time, including Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. In fact, I wasn't even all that interested in the movie at the time, so this property almost entirely fell under my radar. I've since come to appreciate the hilarious time capsule that is Bill & Ted, so I thought I'd pick up the hero figures from the toy line, namely the Wyld Stallyns themselves! Let's check them out!
Size: 5 inches
Price: $10 each on eBay
The sculpts do well to capture the likenesses of the actors. I'm no Bill & Ted historian, but it doesn't seem like either figure's outfit is entirely accurate to either the movies or the cartoon. Still, the figures' likenesses exude a lot of fun personality and there's no mistaking that these guys are the Wyld Stallyns.
Like many figures from this time period, Kenner tried to embellish Bill and Ted's sculpts with random details to add more interest. Bill's pants have a tic-tac-toe game and upside-down question mark printed on them, while Ted's have a smiley face with a "Save the Humans" slogan. The detailing is still not nearly as involved nor as inventive as other toy lines from the time period like TMNT or Beetlejuice, but that's understandable given the design of the characters.
The paint apps are about what you'd expect from the early 90's: minimal, but effective. I love the fun, toy-like coloration of both figures.
Both Bill and Ted feature the standard Kenner 5 points of articulation: swivel head, shoulders, and hips. Unfortunately, the action feature (see Coolness below) limits some of that articulation. Bill's head can swivel to his right only so much before it's restricted by the action mechanisms; the same with Ted's head, which is limited to his left. The action feature also hinders the movement of the right arm of both figures. But this was the early 90's... often the action feature was more important than articulation anyway.
Each Wyld Stallyn comes with his own guitar: Bill's guitar is orange while Ted's is purple. Although the guitars are crucial to the characters, they're just not enough considering contemporaries like TMNT came with a plethora of equipment. Maybe Bill and Ted could have also come with snap-on knight armor or extra instruments for their band.
Another thing to note is that the straps are attached to the guitars by little pegs that look like they're just waiting to snap if you exert too much force taking the guitars on and off the figures. Be careful, dudes!
ValueAt 10 bucks each, the Wyld Stallyns aren't as inexpensive as my usual bargain-basement retro purchases like TMNT or Batman. The lacking accessories further drive the value down. Still, $10 for mint and complete 20-year-old figures isn't all that bad.
That's right, the Bill & Ted franchise is over 20 years old! Let that sink in a little...
This bodacious duo is just a heaping helping of cool. With their toy-like sculpting and coloration, they are perfect representations of what made the Bill & Ted movies fun. Although I normally scoff at action features, these guys have a great one: if you squeeze their legs together, they not only strum their guitars with their right hands, but they also dart their heads to one side. Bill glances to his left and Ted to his right, so they look at each other while they play just like in the movie. The effect works surprisingly well and it adds so much to the personalities of the figures.
One other thing: Bill and Ted can "play music" by attaching one of them to both the official Wyld Stallions Speaker set and a portable tape player via a wire that hooks into the hole on the back. I don't know how that works and I probably never will since I haven't had a portable tape player for a few decades now, but there you go.
Bill and Ted's great likenesses and fun play features are off-set by their minimal accessories, comparatively high price tag, and hindered articulation. Still, these guys are all kinds of fun and they're such a product of their time that I'd recommend picking them up. Sellers don't seem too eager to let them go for cheap, so you'll need to stay frosty if you're looking to pick them up on eBay.
To cap off this "most excellent" review, check out these YouTube videos. I can honestly say that I've never seen anything regarding the cartoon. I wonder how it was..?