Starriors was a line of robot action figures with interchangeable parts developed by Tomy and introduced in 1984. Tomy partnered with Marvel Comics to create a storyline for the characters, and each toy included a Marvel-published mini-comic that supplemented Marvel's four-issue series of full-size comics. The toyline portrays two factions of biomechanical beings, the heroic Protectors, and the depraved Destructors, struggling to discover or hide the truth of the fabled existence of Man - that which both sides were created to protect until the time was right for Man to reawaken.
Starriors figures were available in several distinct body styles (each fitting a certain price point), each with an in-fiction name and function. The primary type were the Wastors, humanoid robots with interchangeable arms, legs, and heads. Every Wastor had a key-wind motorized mechanism for its chromed weapon, such as spinning saws, reciprocating cannons, or chomping claws. The initial waves of Wastors all featured the mechanism in the robot's chest, while later figures included arm-mounted weapons. The "Brain Module" (head) of each Wastor had a tiny human-looking pilot called a "Control Circuit", said to be the brain o the robot modeled in the image of Man. In reality, these tiny figurines were based on Zoids pilots, a remnant of Starriors' initial development as an offshoot of Tomy's well-established Zoids toylines.
The Wastors were supplemented by small, pull-back motorized vehicles like the Rammors, and the even smaller Trashors, as well as larger and more complex figures like the transformable Strazor and Starrunner. The some of the largest toys like the Vultor and Stalker could be ridden by Wastors, while the Cosmittor set featured remote-control motorized movement and projectile firing. The capstone of the series was the Armored Battlestation playset (called the "Citadel of Dreams" in the storyline), where it is rumored that Man slumbers. The playset features interactivity with the various sizes of regular figures and vehicles, as well as many compatible interchangeable weapons.
The initial wave of product contained offerings from all of the types, and was heralded by corporate solitictations as being supported by a massive marketing blitz. This surety was an error on Tomy's part, as there was intense competition in the robot action figure market from lines like 1983's Tonka GoBots and 1984' Transformers. Despite these retailer solicitations promising an even bigger marketing budget and an animated television series for 1985, the series was largely a commercial failure, and the second wave of products only included a handful of new Wastors, plus Twinhorn and Windstorm.
While Starriors was quickly relegated to the annals of 80s toy history, Tomy's continued market presence in the US and abroad meant some of the toys enjoyed a second chance elsewhere. Europe saw the release of R.A.T.S., the Robot Anti-Terror Squad, which featured several of the Starriors toys in new color schemes. Runabout, the Strazor, was similar in design principle to Zoids (owing to its history as a proposed toy for that line), and as such was knocked off as a battery-motorized Radio Shack Galactic Walker. Since the merger of Tomy with then-competitor Takara to form TakaraTomy, the Starriors have been included in various modern Transformers fiction as a separate universe in the Transformers multiverse, with occasional crossover appearances of some of the characters. In the multiverse of robot toys, all roads lead to Cybertron.