Starcom: The U.S. Space Force

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Starcom: The U.S. Space Force
StarCom: The U.S. Space Force title card
Directed by Marek Buchwald
Voices of Philip Akin
Yank Azman
Robert Cait
Rob Cowan
Don Francks
Susan Roman
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 13
Executive producer(s) Andy Heyward
Producer(s) Richard Raynis
Running time 25 minutes<
Production company(s) DIC Entertainment
Original run 20 September 1987 – 13 December 1987

Starcom: The U.S. Space Force is an animated syndicated series in the 1980s that was spawned from a successful motorized toy line franchise in Europe and Asia for Coleco, despite its failures to succeed in its U.S. domestic market. The plot was based on the adventures of an American astronaut brigade as they fought off attempted invasions by Shadow Force, a nasty collection of aliens and robots led by the nefarious Emperor Dark.

The show was developed with the help of the Young Astronauts’ Council with the original intention of sparking young viewers’ interest in the U.S. NASA Space Program. However, Starcom did not get much of a chance to make kids want to join the space program as it was cancelled off the air after one brief season. It was revived for a short run in the early 1990s, but no new episodes were aired. It was produced by DiC Enterprises and distributed by Access Syndication.

The plot was classic Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers fare. The evil members of Shadow Force, led by Emperor Dark, were trying to take over the cosmos, and it was up to Starcom to stop them. Young hero Col. James “Dash” Derringer, an ace Starcom pilot, was the star of the series, and several of his teammates were family members. He was also backed up by the resourceful ace pilot John “Slim” Griffin, whose niece was yet another Starcom pilot. Other heroes on the Starcom side included Col. Paul “Crowbar” Corbin and Admiral Franklin Brinkley. The show had very high quality production, with top notch animation and relatively mature subject matter and dialog.

Together, the members of Starcom fought Dark’s legions of robotic minions, flying into battle in a fleet of advanced spacecraft.


Like many 1980s toys, the development of the Starcom toy line preceded the development of the cartoon series.

Starcom: The U.S. Space Force debuted on television screens in 1987, and the toy line hit stores around the same time. There was plenty of variety for the pint-sized empire builder to choose from: the complete series of Starcom toys offered 23 figures, 6 playsets, and 13 vehicles on the Starcom side, while the Shadow Force was represented by 15 action figures and 11 vehicles. The action figures were two inches tall and came packaged with a backpack, a weapon, and identification cards that explained who they were and what their equipment could do. Like the figures, the vehicles and playsets benefited from a sleek, attractive design.

The most unusual aspect of the Starcom toy line was its use of Magna Lock technology. The action figures had tiny magnets implanted in their feet. Not only did this allow them to stand on the vehicles and playsets without falling off, but it also activated devices in the playsets. For instance, if one placed a figure in the elevator of the Starbase Station playset, its Magna Lock magnets would cause the elevator to rise to the top by itself. On the same playset, if one put a figure within a cannon, the Magna Lock magnets would activate a mechanism that made it turn and fire its rockets.

The vehicles and playsets also delivered Power Deploy features, which uses automatic wind up mechanisms that allows them to perform multiple actions all in a touch of a button, without the use of batteries. For example, with the touch of a button, the Starcom StarWolf unfolds its front, and both its wings. All in all, they offered plenty of moving parts (hidden compartments, cannons, folding wings, etc.). Starcom toys never caught on in the U.S. due to poor promotion and the fact that its parent show only lasted a year in syndication. They were discontinued after two years but ended up doing very well in Europe, where both the show and the toys continued to be popular long after the American toys. The toys were successful and hugely popular in Europe and Southeast Asia only after coming under the production and promotion of Mattel. That company removed the US flag and NASA details from the Coleco originals and launched the toys with a second line of promotions in the early 1990s.


Colonels: John "Slim" Griffin (Starbase Command), Paul “Crowbar” Corbin (Astro Marines), James "Dash" Derringer (Star Wing)


Shadow Force[edit]

Episode list[edit]

Episode Aired Title
1 20 Sep 87 Nantucket Sleighride
2 27 Sep 87 Trojan Crowbar
3 4 Oct 87 The Long Fall
4 11 Oct 87 Caverns of Mars
5 18 Oct 87 Fire and Ice
6 25 Oct 87 Galactic Heartbeat
7 1 Nov 87 The Boys Who Cried Dark
8 8 Nov 87 Dark Harvest
9 15 Nov 87 A Few Bugs in the System
10 22 Nov 87 Turnabout
11 29 Nov 87 Hot Enough for You?
12 6 Dec 87 Flash Moskowitz, Space Cadet
13 13 Dec 87 The Last Star Ranger


DVD releases[edit]

So far only the first 3 episodes have been released on Region 1 DVD, but the disk is now out of print. So far there are currently no plans for a full series release.


Defenders in StarCom are divided into three categories:

Astro Marines[edit]

  • Col. Paul "Crowbar" Corbin
  • Capt. Vic "Dakota" Hayes / Laser R.A.T. Driver
  • Capt. Rick Ruffing / M-6 Railgunner Driver
  • Staff Sgt. Champ O`Ryan / H.A.R.V.-7 Driver
  • Sgt. Bill Travers
  • Sgt. Hector Morales
  • Sgt. Victor Rivera
  • Pfc. John "Cowboy" Jefferson
  • Pfc. Al "Cannon" Evans

Starbase Command[edit]

  • Col. John "Slim" Griffin
  • Capt. Pete Yablonsky
  • Maj. Tony Barona / Starbase Command - Starbase Commander
  • Sgt. Maj. Bull Gruff / Starbase Station - Station Chief
  • Pfc. Shawn Reed
  • Pfc. Rusty Caldwell

Star Wing[edit]

  • Col. James "Dash" Derringer
  • Capt. Rip Malone / Starmax Bomber Pilot
  • Lt. Bob T. Rogers
  • Lt. Tom "Bandit" Waldron / F-1400 Starwolf Pilot
  • Lt. Jeff "Bronx" Carrier / SF/B Starhawk Pilot
  • Sgt. Red Baker
  • Sgt. Ed Kramer
  • Sgt. Bob Anders / BattleCrane Pilot


  • Laser Rat - Rapid Assault Tracker / (Capt. Vic "Dakota" Hayes)
  • M-6 Railgunner - Ground Attack Vehicle / (Capt. Rick Ruffing)
  • H.A.R.V.-7 - Heavy Armored Recovery Vehicle / (Staff Sgt. Champ O`Ryan)
  • Missile Fox - Tactical Launching Vehicle
  • SkyRoller - High Rising Supertank
  • Starmax Bomber - Transport Missile Cruiser / (Capt. Rip Malone)
  • F-1400 Starwolf - Flexwing Astro Fighter / (Lt. Tom "BAndit" Waldron)
  • SF/B Starhawk - Strategic Fighter Bomber / (Lt. Jeff "Bronx" Carrier)
  • Battlecrane - Combat Cargo Lifter / (Sgt. Bob Anders)
  • Sidewinder - High Speed Jackknife Fighter
  • Tornado Gunship - Space/Air Transcopter
  • Six Shooter
  • Double Fighter - Massive Attack Jet


  • Starbase Station - Strategic Deployment Platform
  • Starbase Command - Headquarters
  • Medical Bay - Mobile Action Pod
  • Big Cannon Fortress - Mobile Action Pod
  • Command Post - Mobile Action Pod
  • Vehicle Repair - Mobile Action Pod
  • Laser Artillery - Mobile Action Pod
  • Missile Station - Mobile Action Pod


The Shadow Force is divided into two groups:


  • Emperor Dark (Appeared only as a special edition)
  • General Von Dar
  • Capt. Mace / Shadow Vampire Pilot
  • Maj. Klag / Shadow Bat Pilot
  • Maj. Romak / Shadow Invader Driver
  • Lt. Magg / Shadow Parasite Pilot
  • Sgt. Von Rodd
  • Sgt. Hack
  • Sgt. Ramor
  • Sgt. Borek
  • Cpl. Slash
  • Cpl. Storn

Robot Drones[edit]

  • General Torvek
  • Capt. Battlecron-9 / Shadow Raider Driver
  • Cpl. Agon-6


  • Shadow Bat - Battle Cruiser / (Maj. Klag)
  • Shadow Parasite - Attack Fighter / (Lt. Magg)
  • Shadow Invader - Rapid Strike Vehicle / (Maj. Romak)
  • Shadow Raider - Sneak Attack Vehicle / (Capt. Battlecron-9)
  • Shadow Vampire - Enemy V.T.O.L. Fighter / (Capt. Mace)
  • Shadow Spy - Disguised Enemy
  • Shadow Bandit - Enemy Pod Lifter
  • Shadow Blast Track - Enemy Tank/Transport
  • Shadow Upriser - Elevating Land Vehicle
  • Shadow Mini-Tank
  • Shadow Attack Trike

External links[edit]