DFC Toys: Dragonriders of the Styx Fantasy Playset (1981)

Dragonriders 1981

Dragonriders 1981-2

Dragonriders-2 1981

Dragonriders-3 1981

Dragonriders-4 1981

The coolest, and maybe the earliest, D&D-inspired fantasy playset I’ve seen so far. (I don’t count Warriors of the Galaxy, which is more of a MOTU-chasing spacy-fantasy.) The set is huge, first of all: it’s almost as big as the kid laying next to it on the box cover. Second, the figures are a good, creative mix, even if the dragon mount looks kind of like a Tauntaun. Third, I dig the maze with the gold prize in the middle, the obvious place for the green dragon to crouch.

UPDATE (4/6/14): As I said here, my assumption now is that Dragonriders is the first playset to be packaged and produced in response to the popularity of D&D.

‘Dragonriders’ was likely taken from Anne McCaffrey’s popular Dragonriders of Pern trilogy, released under that name in a collected edition in 1978. The Styx is a river in Greek Mythology running into the underworld. It’s also the name of a rock band—you’ll remember them from the 1983 hit single “Mr. Roboto.” Paradise Theater, the band’s only album to hit #1 on the US charts, came out in January, 1981.

Here’s the set—pretty expensive, compared to Castle Greyskull—in the 1982 J.C. Penney catalog.

Dragonriders Catalog 1982

Read a firsthand account of someone who owned it at Two-Bit Nonsense.

DFC also released an action figure line of the same name starting in 1983. I’ll talk about that in a future post.

(Images via eBay and Wishbook/Flickr)

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