Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Top 12 Toys From My Childhood (Part 2)

Top 12 Toys From My Childhood (Part deux)

Time for Part 2!

6. Mego Action Figures

First, let's get one thing straight. These are ACTION FIGURES NOT DOLLS. Yes, they have removable clothing but that does not make them dolls.  Okay, so the Star Trek figures had a mock Enterprise bridge that folded up in a little carrying case like Barbies. THAT DOES NOT MAKE THEM DOLLS.  I have never played with dolls and I am secure in my manhood.
"We are totally not dolls in a doll case!'

Okay, now that we've taken care of that let's talk about these Mego dol - er action figures. Mego made a ton of these things back in the 70's. I had both superhero figures and Star Trek figures. I didn't have the girlie Enterprise bridge doll case thingy 'cause I was way too butch for that, and my parents couldn't afford it, but mostly I was too butch. I had quite a few of the superhero figures: Supes, Spidey, Lizzard, Batman and Robin, Joker, Riddler, Penguin and Iron Man. I also had a couple of the Star Trek figs. Of my originals, only the Lizzard remains (lost the coat). I traded almost all my Star Wars figures for Star Trek so I have a decent Mego Star Trek collection now.

5. Kenner SSP Smash-Up Derby

I had a good number of SSP cars. Each car had a rip cord, or T-stick, that you inserted in a slot in the car and when ripped, the car would take off. These were fun but the best of these were the Smash-Up cars. You and a friend would each take a car, rip the cord, put them down and watch them jump the ramps and gloriously crash into each other with parts flying off in all directions. It hits all of the boy brain sensors. Speed? CHECK. Collisions? CHECK. Explosions? CHECK. Endorphins released. AW RIGHT!!
4. Playmobil

My dear wife is a beautiful, smart, wonderful woman. Unfortunately, she does suffer some delusions and one of them is that Playmobil is a greater toy than the #1 toy on this list. Not then. Not now. Not ever.

Not even on Bizaro world.

Still, her delusion aside, Playmobil is nevertheless, awesome. It was even more awesome when I was a kid. I had a whole bunch of Playmobil back in the day and I played the hell out of that mobil. I had the set pictured here. Nearly all my stuff was cowboy/western. Sadly, my Playmobil is long gone...

3. Micronauts by Mego

Micronauts were awesome sauce. I had many, many figures and sets. Unlike the Star Wars toys - these featured a LOT of shooting-your-eyes-out action! Micronauts were also famed for their interchangeability. Like the set featured to the left, which I owned, where you could take it apart and reassemble it in many different formations. The outer wings could also be used like guns. 
Karza: "Yes, I'm happy to see you."

My best friend and I were really into these things. He had Baron Karza (pictured right) and I had Force Commander. These figures were larger than the other Micronauts and had magnetized limbs, making them very customizable. They also had steeds (Oberon and Andromeda) so you could transform them into centaurs. They could also pummel foes  by shooting off their hands or firing bullets out of their belly buttons. There are so many days when I wish I could do this. I still have a few of these toys. I have Force Commander and Oberon, Acroyer, Pharos and Repto (my son broke him *sigh*) as well.

2. Hot Wheels / Matchbox Cars

I had this car. This car is now worth over $6000. I no longer have this car. Shoots self.

Actually, no it's not worth anywhere near that (so put the gun away Pete!) but still, a bunch of these cars are worth some good coin and I used to have 80+ of the damn things. But this is not a list about the value of collectible toys but about the play value I has as a kid. Aside from the #1 toy on the list, I played with die-cast cars more than anything else, especially in my younger childhood. Most often, I'd play a game called "Smash-up Derby." I would dump the cars on the floor, turn them all right side up, and, one by one, run them at each other. If a car got turned upside-down, it was "out." This would continue until all the cars had been eliminated and a winner declared. Needless to say, my collection would not be in pristine condition if I had it still.


LEGO. When historians rank the most important developments in human endeavor they will probably site fire, the wheel, and the lever. LEGO will probably not make the list. The historians can suck it. 

LEGO is such a monumentally epic toy that, of all the items on this list, it is the ONLY one that is still an active part of my life. Yes, at 45 years of age I still build, and play, with LEGO. I expect LEGO will be with me for the rest of my life.

What was my first set? I can't say for sure but the earliest one I remember was 565 Moon Landing. It featured brick built astronauts (the amazing mini figure had not yet been invented). I remember building a pirate ship in 2nd or 3rd grade. It was quite large and had a removable deck with cannons below. I was quite proud of it. Another early creation was my Battlestar Galactica. The ship was manned by Coast Guard and Fireman mini-figures (these were some of the first available). I used nearly every brick in my collection to create it. It was horribly out of scale (obviiously) and the "Vipers" were un-manned. One thing I can say about my early building was everything was color coordinated. I despised hap-hazard multi colored building, or, as my friend and I used to call it: "Partridge Family Bus building."

I was present at the birth of the mini figure: the genius pinnacle of this genius product. I still remember the first time I saw one. My best friend had just received set 709 Police Boat.  

 It contained exactly 1 minifig, but I was totally blown away. Understand, original LEGO minifigures had no arms, legs or faces and looked like this: 
Lame, Lame-o, and Lamest

These new minifigures were a BIG deal to us. Hell they still are! LEGO has just released a fourth series of collectible minifigures that give off Awegasmic radiation if you get to close.
Awegasmic radiation.

Not long after the Police Boat, LEGO released a Space line, (when I first saw it I self combusted), Knights (Unobtainium, in that, I couldn't obtain them for the longest time even though my best friend had them and I was totally not jealous and have long since gotten over not being jealous) and many many successive waves of awesome. The picture at the start of this entry was probably my favorite Christmas present: Beta 1 Command Base. Thank you LEGO for many fulfilling years of creativity, imagination and fun.

That's my list and I'd love to hear what your favorite toys were!

Honorable Mentions: 
  1. Slime (fun for maybe an hour or so - then dirty, gritty and gross)
  2. Creepy Crawlers
  3. Stretch Armstrong ( you could stretch him...and...yeah...)
  4. Shogun Warriors (kinda similar to Micronauts and really deserved to be on the list but I kinda forgot about them so, sorry Shogun Warriors!)


  1. Very entertaining, Honey! I would like to mention that, it seems to me, the "Man Brain Sensors" are not terribly different than the "Boy Brain Sensors". Nuff said. ALSO...Playmobil will always be better than those lego thingys with dots on them. My favorite toys include: Madame Alexander dolls, Barbie, Dancing Ballerina doll (that my stupid brother broke on CHRISTMAS DAY!!!, Play Do, Little Kiddle dolls (especially the scented ones in perfume bottles), Velvet doll (who grew hair) and china tea sets. Guess I was pretty girly, huh?

  2. Hotwheel and Matchbox cars were my first favorites along with Legos. When Star Wars came out, I got into action figures. I still have action figures and hotwheel cars today. My car collection is movie vehicles (trans am from Smokey and the Bandit, Dukes of Hazzard's General Lee and other cars. I'm still a kid at heart. I think guys never really grow up.

  3. Awesome John! Have you ever checked to see if you Hotwheel cars are worth anything? Man I wish I still had those...

    And I'm sure my wife would agree that guys never grow up!

  4. This blog is highly entertaining. Thanks for sharing yer stuff!

  5. I have a sealed in box 1981 Kenner T-zzzers Hod Rod Smash Up Derby set if you are interested box condition 9 out of 10.
    Very collectable set.

    I collect Tamiya RC kits New In Box I have about 150 kits give or take ,it all started in 1984 when I purchased my first Tamiya 1/10 kit and the rest is history my collection is always growing and takes up a good portion of my house.

    I also had as a kid Mego Micronauts Hydrocopter ,Mattel TTP Wild Riders Motorbike you would pump the bike up with air and let it go (Awesomebtoy),Also had Leggo (Who didn't),Kenner SSP Ultra Chrome Tough Tom and Buggem (Which I am still after in the box),Meccanno Space set (very creative toy),AFX set Camaro (light blue car with racing stripes).
    Thats all I can think of at the moment ,needless to say I am trying to hunt down all the toys from my youth .