Remember Pulsar ? I know you do ! He was Mattel's answer to the Six Million Dollar Man line. Released in 1977 (even though he is stamped 1976), and billed as "The Ultimate Man of Adventure", Pulsar was a toy that had a lot of quirky features but little backstory. The box had a few catchphrases, but there was never a comic, cartoon, or any real support. I guess they left it up to your imagination what exactly he was and why he so "gifted".
Standing in at a massive 14 inches tall, Pulsar is imposing to sat the least. He is built like a tank and looks to be an older gentleman. A cool spandex jumpsuit that forms to his sculpted body with big white plastic boots adorn this guy. The figure sports some great detail and is really crafted well.
Here is where it gets weird .......
His head pops open and reveals a clear brain cavity that houses a sort of odd looking brain that holds two "mission discs". Apparently these discs are Holographic Mission Discs that I assume transfer information to him. The discs themselves are cool and spin around on a peg in his cranial cavity, but they do not do much else. The brain has a recess in it that I always thought should have held something, I think I put a Playdoh brain there at one time. Now looking at it, it just accommodates the hinge and band that open his head.
Pulsar's second feature is a clear chest cavity that reveals his circulatory system and groin. There is a button recessed in his back that you can push in and out that acts as a bellows. The pumping action expands and contracts his lungs/heart, while circulating liquid in his intestines. While this is a cool feature to play with, I cant imagine how this would help him at all. The fact that his reproductive system is missing is cause for concern. But it looks cool.
The third feature is probably the oddest. There are holes in the back of his head. While they are probably there to let the breathing action work, I imagine they were drilled in to let the "demons" out ! I remember someone explaining that they let the air out when you pumped him, but as a kid I was unconvinced. I talked and breathed through those holes like they were some sort of "Play Feature." Gross now that I think of it ......
Typical of the era, the figure is very solid and sturdy (even though mine has a broken hand, I'll need to get a new arm). There is limited articulation. Shoulders, knees elbows and neck move, but the lack of hand articulation is a huge downfall. His hands are stuck in a open Karate chop pose that allows no utility other than chopping his adversaries. Even a Hard Plastic Kung Fu grip would have been helpful. The jumpsuit is well made and durable. The lack of ankle articulation makes his pants difficult to maneuver on or off. The Hologram discs are cool but probably got sucked into vacuums quickly.
His shoes are pretty cool though. Instead of the "slip on" action that was common for the time, these hinge at the arch and snap together at the top. They are pretty easy to take on and off, but remain in place throughout tough play.
As a comparable, here is Pulsar in comparison to Steve Austin: taller and built thicker.
I had Pulsar early in the 70's and immediately he was an adversary of the Six Million Dollar Man. I never had Bigfoot (I was afraid of it), and only Maskatron was there to take on Mr. Austin, so Pulsar played the role. Stand alone, Pulsar is a weird toy that has no real use but as a supplement to the Six Million Dollar Man toys, he fits in good.
This figure is from a bygone era that is not likely to come back again. Big toys that were able to be played hard with. The price point back then was reasonable, but the lack of articulation and support of this line speaks of Mattel trying to keep the figure cheap enough to mass produce. My Pulsar got a lot of use beating up Steve Austin and my 12" Han Solo and I'm glad I now have him again in my collection. Now on to Ebay to find a new arm .....