I love looking at toys from the 90s. I know the sculpts were crude and the paint apps were almost non-existent, but something about Fire-Armor Batman carrying a golden bazooka just makes me smirk. While today’s toys are way more high-end in sculpts, articulation, attention to detail, and, well, pretty much everything, there really is something to be said for the gimmicky nonsense that was being pumped out in the early 90s.
Take, for example, Toy Biz Toys’ 1990 release of the Captain America Turbo Coupe- part of the Marvel Super Heroes line. Now as far back as I can remember, Cap has always elected to take to the streets on some sort of motorcycle, but even today toy companies prefer to put the Star-Spangled Avenger behind the wheel of something on four wheels. I don’t really know why.
So, much like Batman, Captain America got a sweet lil’ ride in his Turbo Coupe, or, as I will refer to it for the remainder of this review, the CapCoupe.
The CapCoupe measures in around 12″ long and is decked out mainly in white with some blue and red paint apps around to complete the ‘murica! look. Most of the details are painted on, like the solid black windshield and the stripes along the side, but the car also features some stickers with the Captain America logo. It looks suitably “CapCoupe” even without the logo on it, but I guess Toy Biz wanted to make sure you didn’t confuse it with the rarely-seen presidential muscle car Reagan used to tear through town in.
Now one thing that bugs me about the construction of the CapCoupe is that while the toy is made to put a figure inside (only one will fit. Sorry, Bucky) the design, with its full roof and painted windows, doesn’t really let you SEE Cap in the driver’s seat. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I’d like to see that I have a toy in the car. I guess since the CapCoupe doesn’t come with a figure it made it easier for kids to pretend they had someone driving to the rescue, on the off chance they got the car but had no Cap to go with it, but it irks me.
The front of the car is adorned with Cap’s trusty shield, or some battering ram version of. The colors are a bit off, and I’m not really sure if there was any real reason to change it other than someone in at Toy Biz didn’t want to get up from his desk to grab the control art.
When it’s in a “resting” position, the shield looks like a giant hood ornament- but criminals beware! With one push of the red button on the hood, the shield launches out and knocks the villains into next Tuesday! Oh yeah, I loves me some cheesy gimmicks!
Back in the 90’s, though, it wasn’t enough to just put Cap in the seat of a fancy car with a face-smasher on the front . Oh no, a patriotic Batmobile just wouldn’t do. Let’s say Cap gets to a crime scene, but the bad guys are no where to be found. Oh, they are clever, these generic fiends- they know Cap would show up in his CapCoupe, so they take to the rooftops for their well-planned escape. Ha! There’s no way the stalwart hero will be able to follow them!
Well think again, you devilish crumbums! With the roof opened up, all Steve Rogers needs to do is activate his CapCoupe’s hidden weapon- a jet sled thing! Yep, just lift the spoiler from the back of the car and the guts of the vehicle come with it!
The “Glider Wing”, as the box calls it, is essentially the seat and spoiler of the CapCoupe with some jet engines on the sides and retractable landing gear. I don’t understand why a glider needs engines, or how something that can lift off from a dead-stop on the ground can be called a glider, but hey, it’s freakin’ neat!
Some sort of propeller on the top would have been cool, and it would help me understand how the physics of this work, but as it is, the Glider Wing is a fun little “surprise” inside the cereal box that is the CapCoupe. It is cast in the same white plastic the rest of the vehicle is in and features a star symbol on each side.
Sadly, the CapCoupe will never be as recognizable as the Batmobile, or even as sought after as the X-Men’s Blackbird, but as a 10 year old Cap fan, this toy was well worth my parent’s hard-earned money. And as an adult, it’s worth every inch of shelf space it takes up.