Blessed Are The Geek

Before he gave his life to the service of the Church, the Reverend Peter Organ dedicated his passion to spaceships, sticker albums, orcs and laser-swords. Now married with two children of his own, he’s yet to find a cassock which covers the geek completely, and wonders how he’s going to explain his Warhammer collection to the Bishop…

They don’t make kid’s toys like they used to - and this is a good thing. Putting aside the obvious lead paint and sharp pointy-bits issues, toys of yesteryear could still be quite lethal. Sometimes the injuries they inflicted were not so serious; I can remember getting my fingers skinned on several occasions by a friend’s Tauntaun. (How often am I going to be able to type that sentence?). Palitoy had cunningly designed their Tauntaun with a sprung hatch in the top, so you could insert the legs of a Star Wars figure and make it look vaguely (very vaguely), like they were riding the Hoth beasty. In actual fact it merely looked like a horrible genetic experiment had been conducted, producing the Tauntaun version of a Centaur (Tauntaur? Centaun?) This, coupled with a rubbery split in its belly that enabled you to insert Luke in an “And I thought they smelled bad on the outside” fashion, meant with the application of a poking finger or two you could push C3P0 straight through the unfortunate animal, in some bizarre form of giving birth. The problem was the spring on the "saddle-hatch" was rather potent, so each abhorrent droid birth was often accompanied by real blood.

But this minor injury was as nothing compared to what you could get up to with your Dinky.

Did you own a Dinky? I probably had several, mostly cars of various designs, but the only ones I had any great love for were the Batmobile (obviously), and the Klingon Battlecruiser. This was a thing of beauty, released to tie into Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I believe there was an Enterprise available too, but for whatever reason I was given the Klingon spacecraft of choice (before the invention of the Bird of Prey that is).

Made of die-cast metal, it was rather heavy, but its real threat came from the fact that it fired photon torpedoes. I’m not talking about little beams of light here either. These were solid slugs of plastic which were potentially deadly for two reasons. Firstly, they could be loaded into the big hole in the top of the bridge section, then fired at high velocity at unsuspecting targets (Star Wars figures, small mammals, sisters). I never did find out what the Klingon for "Not the face! Not the face!" was, but it would have come in useful. The second problem with the torpedoes was their size, shape and colour, which closely matched a popular brand of extra-strong mints. This must have led to some harrowing swallowing incidents, I can’t help feeling.

And speaking of sticking things in your mouth that you shouldn’t - did you enjoy sucking on alien head as a child (definitely the only time I'm going to be able to type that sentence)? Specifically I’m talking about the rubber-headed aliens from the Britains’ Star Raiders figures (known only as "The Baddies" in my home). As well as producing popular farm toys and various assorted knights, Britains had a range of sci-fi toys, mainly spaceships that had a limited amount of customisation available to them via the interconnecting parts they were made of, along with various figures, humans and aliens. Some of the latter had the most enjoyably chewable rubber heads ever known to humanity. Forgetting the sensual pleasure of writing on the bottom of your slipper with a biro, noshing on these ugly mugs was the best experience available to an eight-year old of my generation. The only down-side was the fact that the paint tended to come off and stick to your tongue. Oh, and I nearly choked on them several times.

But still, good times eh? I'm kind of craving for a chewable mutant head now. I wonder what Ben 10 figures taste like?