This list was very hard to cut down. I had to make reluctant omissions, notably the Dino Riders T-Rex, The Thundercats Lair (Mainly because I didn't own it...) and Devastator.... But these are the stocking bulgers and birthday presents I treasured most....



10. SCORPONOK



Look at him... he's a monster. I can't overstate how large this toy was to me when I heaved him out of his box one Xmas morning. The sheer scale of him up against the other transformers was vast. Like Metroplex and Fortress Maximus, he also turned into a lil' base, as well as a gun laden armoured scorpion.



As you pushed the scorpion along the floor his lil' legs pottered up and down as if it was walking... class.
The only thing that let him down was the fact that he was a headmaster (little robot that turns into a head and goes on the main body) and his piddly little bonce made him appear like a bodybuilder who had overdone the steroids...


9. PROTON PACK


Okay, so this is more of a prop than the toy that we got so excited over... but I prefer to remember it this way, more than the thick chunky blue replica packs with their shiny stickers and bad noise making ability. But still, what better fun than to run around the house at night with fake proton packs (and separate ghost traps and PK detector that hooked onto the pack!) pretending to shoot shadows? Truth be told, I didn't own the pack, but my friend and his brother had a couple, so I craved the visits to his house. The fact that I actually believed quite strongly in ghosts might have had something to do with this appeal!


8. ECTO 1


Everyone's favourite converted ambulance... Complete with erm, bizarre roof mounted seat and strange grapple claw that came out the back. I think at the time I got this, I only had Winston Zeddemore, so he was alone in his set of wheels. It was a while before I got the rest, (although I never did get ahold of Ray unless you count one of those horrible toys that came later - complete with 'expression action,' i.e pop out eyes.) so I used to pretend that Winston was going out on calls by himself. Maybe he's had an arguement with the guys... maybe he was working nights alone... I don't know, I was a wierd kid. When I was a bit older I acted out a 'near death' experience with all the Ghostbusters and a strange force (i.e me) ripped the car in two as they narrowly escaped... what a criminal act. That must have been the first pangs of teen anger that were to follow..!


7. WHALE HOVERCRAFT


Although there would be bigger toys in the Action Force range, this was a beauty. My best friend was lucky enough to get bought the Moray Hydrofoil and I remember thinking 'how can that toy be topped?' This was how. Amazing amounts of space to cram in your troops, gun emplacements for them to sit in, working fans.... Maybe this should be at number 1...

The best thing about all of these AF toys was the sheer array of them. Combined with friends, you could literally have a bedroom floor full of vehicles, all waging imaginary war on one another... couple that with the fact that the WHALE featured heavily in the comics and the cartoon and you can see why it would make a lot of kids grin....

If I could only have found the Snake Eyes action figure that I lost somewhere in the garden... Oh and just so you yanks can feast eyes on our toys this side of the pond...


GI joe meant nothing to me!!





6. CASTLE GRAYSKULL


What? You rate it higher than 6th? Maybe. It was the first of the many 'fortress' toys I would own/play with at friend's houses (i.e Thundercats lair, Ghostbusters fire station, Turtles Sewer lair etc...) and holds a place dear in my young memories; but we just didn't play with it that much. I think the space inside was maybe a little cramped and we were aware that, while huge and looming, it wasn't exactly 'to scale' with the He Man action figures. We just kept stepping back to that Zoolander style frame of mind..

"What is this, a school for Ants!?!?" "It would have to be at least.... three times as big!!!"


If anything we got more play out of Snake Mountain and the Horde Lair (remember She-Ra?) Maybe the bad guys were just more fun....



5. SWORD OF OMENS


Right, lets get real.... this was THE weapon to run around a garden with. Thinking back, I remeber being disappointed that
a) It didn't start off as a dagger like it did in the cartoon...
b) Ditto it didn't cast a huge red beam into the night sky. But at least the Thundercats emblem (and what a cult symbol that has become today!!) did light up....

I often wonder what would have happened if they had put all the TC weapons into toy form... Panthro's Nunchucks would have been a recipe for broken coffee tables. My own sword of omens was given to a younger kid up the road as I got older; just about the time TMNT came out actually.
He was a little tyrant, p*ssing all over my memories of Lion-O by running around and pretending to be Leonardo. In his hands the sword pretty much became a gardening tool, hacking his poor mothers roses to pieces and occasionaly striking his friends really hard in the face, all the while shouting:
"Come on then dudes, come on then dudes, come on then dudes...."
There was a touch of the Ralph Wiggums about him...


4. JABBA THE HUT



"Balla-choo, wokka Solo..." Or something. This little baby came from a charity shop and as such my one was missing Salacious crumb and a couple of accessories. All the amenities the fat guy wanted were lost on some kid's bedroom floor somewhere. Now, couple with my Han 'in carbonite' toy, Bousch and Boba Fett (amongst others) and we were looking at a hell of a toy range.

What other franchise can boast such a terrifying complexity, so much so that toys existed of characters that were on screen for mere seconds...? They just don't make the effort any more.
Jabba didn't actually do that much, he just sort of moved his tail when you moved his head, but you know what they say...

Electronic movement, flashing lights... a Jedi craves not these things.


3. MILLENIUM FALCON


But my disappointment in Jabba was masked by her... and the AT AT.... and the X-Wing... And the exploding Speeder Bikes... and the AT ST and the... okay you get the point...
Now unlike my other toys, my SW ones came from Oxfam and as such my parents could afford to throw them at me with reckless abandon; they cost that little. If the providers, or us for that matter, were to know how much their value would rocket, we surely might have held them tight for a long time.

As it turned out, I had no qualms about using our dense garden as an Endor backdrop and the poor falcon was very lucky (well, durable) to stand up to the rigours it had to face. That garden claimed a couple of toys... (In fact, Snake Eyes from Action Force/GI Joe was in the cockpit of an AT ST at the time he went MIA...) and thankfully the Falcon, along with its assortment of features (smuggling panels, Gun turrets, little details like the electric chess game etc.) never got smashed in my disrespectful outdoor play!

2. OPTIMUS PRIME (1989)


Now Prime had many incarantions... part of the enduring nature of the character is that he can have lots of pants appearances (the worst, without a doubt, being the Gorilla in Beast Wars.) and always return to his mighty truck form for a new generation. Although his current guise in Armada doesn't look too bad, it's this toy I remember most, even more so than the 1985 original...

He could tranform to normal size or he could be combined with his trailer to make one big mutha of a robot... even if he wasn't quite up there with the afore mention Scorponok... but at least he had a proper head...

I forget the exact comic origin of this Prime, but it was something to do with a bunch of Humans finding his head... whatever the case it was dramatic and it just further complimented this toy!

I am aware that my choice of this Prime over the original will probably spark backlash....!


1. BOULDER HILL


Woooooo! Yes!!! It's the one and only....
What? What do you mean what is it?

It's the HQ of the Tracker family and the secret organisation known as MASK. Although an innocuous petrol station this was a veritable transformer... The boulder popped off the top of the mountain to reveal a gun turret, the front of the shop flipped over to become an armoured front, the petrol pumps became cannons... hell, even the sign turned into a weapon...

Maybe it was my diminuitive size as a 7 year old, but this toy was a behemoth when I opened it on Xmas morning... never have I been so struck by something after pulling off the wrapping paper.

If the fact that it was the centrepoint of all our little MASK battles wasn't enough it had another toy use.

When easily detached, the mountain part could be used in games of transformers...


Now that's cost saving... you could make the ARK when you got bored of MASK and have an epic game of Transformers!

Hhhhmmm... looking back the order might be a little screwy, but hey, who can really put a ranking order on such priceless items?

Thanks guys,

J