In 1994, to coincide with the release of the new Hanna-Barbera produced cartoon series, SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, Remco released a small collection of 6 inch action figures based on the show. The figures were not huge sellers and promptly disappeared with little notice from kids.
But jump forward in time to today, and SWAT Kats figures can command a good price on the secondary market. Just take a look on eBay, and you’ll see SWAT Kats toys with fairly high asking prices.
So, what gives? What exactly are SWAT Kats toys and why are some collectors (myself included) willing to pay a high price for them?
In this post, I am providing information about the toyline, along with the answer to that all-important question: Why are SWAT Kats figures so expensive?
What is SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron?
Before I discuss the toys, I must first fill you in on some details regarding SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron – namely, what is it?!
SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron was a short-lived animated series which aired between 1993 and 1994. The series – about two junkyard cats who moonlight as crime-fighting vigilantes – was produced by Hanna-Barbera and ran for 25 episodes.
In the series, Chance and Jake take on the guises of T-Bone and Razor respectively, to fight the forces of evil who threaten Megakat City. Each week, the SWAT Kats would find themselves up against a fearsome foe, but they would overcome the obstacles and manage to triumph – pretty much always with the help of their trusty jet, the Turbokat.
If you have never watched an episode of SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron (not even one episode), then I recommend you check out my posts: The eleven best episodes of SWAT Kats and The Creepiest villains of SWAT Kats. These two posts will give you a good starting point for the series, and will tell you what you missed out on.
OK, so that’s the SWAT Kats cartoon – now let’s talk toys.
The SWAT Kats toys
As mentioned above, during the early 1990s, Remco produced a wave of figures to accompany SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron. This wave included the two heroes, as well as two villains.
The SWAT Kats figure collection included:
- Dark Kat
- Dr. Viper
In the image above, you can see T-Bone. In the images below, you can see Dark Kat (or ‘Dark Cat’ as he is described on this box) and Doctor Viper (or ‘Dottor Viper’ as seen here).
T-Bone, Razor, Dark Kat and Dr. Viper were the only figures produced for this line. No additional characters from the cartoon series were ever released, and neither was the SWAT Kats‘ epic jet, the Turbokat.
Now you’re probably wondering why the names/writing on the above images are in Italian. Well, it’s pretty simple really – I own two SWAT Kats action figures, and both are on Italian cards.
I own these two figures on Italian cards because this is the only time I have ever seen these figures on card and at a price that wasn’t ridiculously expensive. As such, I bought them.
The figures are the same as their US counterparts, the only difference is the cards are slightly different and include Italian logos and descriptions. And for those who are not so good with Italian, ‘Igatti Volanti‘ translates as ‘flying cats’.
Are Swat Kats toys easy to come by?
Are SWAT Kats toys easy to come by? In short: No.
If you go on eBay, you will find some SWAT Kats toys available, but you won’t find a lot of them. They are there, but compare the number of SWAT Kats toys that are listed on eBay to say, the number of Power Rangers toys, or Mighty Max playsets that are listed, and you will see the difference.
Of the figures that are available online, they are usually coming from two places: Italy or the United States. And those that start with low bidding prices on eBay, tend to sell for a lot more by auction’s end.
So, yeah, online these guys are hard to come by. In the real world? Even harder!
I live in the UK, and out in the wild (i.e. at toy fairs), I have only ever seen one pair of SWAT Kats toys – the two that you see in this post. This is not a toy line that I have come across at toy fairs, and believe me, I have looked.
Why are SWAT Kats figures so expensive?
As highlighted above, SWAT Kats figures are pretty scarce. Back in 1994, the figures weren’t widely available and they didn’t sell all that well, meaning not that many were produced.
SWAT Kats toys are also practically non-existent in the UK, and even if you do come across them, they will almost always be loose, rather than on card. You want mint on card SWAT Kats figures? Good luck finding them.
In fact, I really, really want to open up my SWAT Kats figures, but I am very reluctant to do so, simply because I may not come across these carded figures again.
The good news is, from a collector’s point of view, if you are looking to collect this entire line, in theory, it is a pretty straight forward line to collect. With only four figures in the collection, it wouldn’t take you too long to buy them online… if you have the money.
If you’re willing to pay a high price, then eBay is your friend with SWAT Kats toys. But if you don’t shop on eBay and only get your toys from toy fairs, swap meets, flea markets, or car boot sales etc, then you could be waiting a long time to come across these guys.
Either way, happy hunting!
I hope this post about SWAT Kats toys has proved useful. For more SWAT Kats content, check out the highlighted links in this post.
And for even more posts, be sure to take a look at the recommended reads below. Here you will find discussions about other toys and cartoons.
3 Responses to Why are SWAT Kats figures so expensive?
BIG SwatKats fanboy. Have at least one set of carded, complete figures. Bought the figures, because they are SO COOL. When I downsize, I want them to go to a good home, without a exhorbitant sale price. Toys were meant to be enjoyed, not scalped. Me and my friends, we used to buy figures for each other. Then we had what we termed, ” A hostage exchange.” Lol Please. No emails.
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Nice to hear from a fellow Swat Kats fan! It was a great cartoon, with a great toyline. I wish it had been given a bit more time, but I am ever hopeful it will get a revival one of these days.
You don’t want a revival. Trust me on this one. Unless you enjoy Thundercats Roar, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and especially Teen Titans Go! that is.
“As highlighted above, SWAT Kats figures are pretty scarce. Back in 1994, the figures weren’t widely available and they didn’t sell all that well, meaning not that many were produced.”
You can thank Ted Turner cancelling the show 3/4ths through season 2! In fact, there were going to be toys for both Metallikats if it wasn’t for Turner.
Which reminds of a response I forgot to make from your best episodes article.
“In my humble opinion, SWAT Kats is one of the most underrated animated shows of the 1990s.”
Actually, the Swat Kats were HUGE at the time. Even with the Americanized Power Rangers to deal with, the Swat Kats managed to hold their ground.
It’s Ted Turner that was the problem. The two reasons given for why the Swat Kats got yanked before season 2 was completed are,
a) Failed toyline
I don’t agree with either one. With the toyline, it was never given the chance to succeed. No hype at every commercial break for every cartoon playing at the time.
The violence one is stupid since Captain Planet (a show that Ted Turner loved) was at times MORE violent than the Swat Kats (remember that one episode with Verminous Skumm that had a teenager with BLEEDING arms?). If Turner was so concerned with violence, then Captain Planet would have been cancelled as well instead of getting renewed for another season. Not to mention another Turner favorite, Jonny Quest. His 1996-97 revival was also at times more violent than the Swat Kats (Race Bannon BLEEDING in the season opener!). Again, if Turner had a problem with violence, then Jonny Quest would have been toned down a lot.
I personally think that Ted Turner did not like the concept of the Swat Kats is why he yanked them like that, and made sure they’d stayed buried in Cartoon Network/Boomerang purgatory. The catch-22 of not being greedy sometimes. Sadly, when Time Warner took over Turner’s empire, they didn’t bother to capitalize on the Swat Kats’ popularity. For shame.
PS – If you love Swat Kats, then you should check out a Rankin-Bass cartoon from 1987 called Karate Kat. Though Karate Kat is more like Hong Kong Phooey, but the similarities with the Swat Kats are there. Karate Kat is the one I would consider underappreciated, a lot.
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