Paul Lawler, PR manager - Lego
“For me there is only one toy that stands out, and it is still as popular today – Lego. Strong, versatile and fuels the imagination, is there a better toy? I spent hours and hours playing with my Lego. I had an electronic Lego train set and loads of other sets which took over my entire bedroom. I still have all these sets some 30 years later, which my own son is now able to enjoy.”
Kevin Pratt, insurance editor - Crossfire
“A walled pitch with nets at each end. In each net is a gun that fires ball bearings. There’s a ball with a plastic ‘belt’, and the simple idea is to score by directing your fire at the target and driving it into the opponent’s goal.
“But you’ve got to manage your ammunition supply, reload your gun without spilling ball bearings all over the floor, take care not to slip on a dropped ball-bearing and spill your ale and, of course, balance ferocious attack and shrewd defence. Oh, and stop yourself screaming with excitement to the point the neighbours phone for the emergency services.”
Chris Rowlands-Barber, senior search executive - Big Track
“The Big Track was my favourite toy as a kid, a programmable six-wheeled tank that could fire phasers (read as “annoy parents”) and be made to drive round an obstacle course after spending ages programming in all the moves. Sadly, it met its end when I programmed it to drive off the landing windowsill and it fell down the stairs. But fear not, it was re-released in 2010 so I bought another one for nostalgia (and now annoy my cat with it…).”
Jody Oakes, video editor - Cabbage Patch Kid ‘Graham’
“Graham was my Cabbage Patch Doll. He was bought for me in 1986 when I was just three years of age. When Graham turned one, he received a birthday card in the post from Baby Land General Hospital – all a bit creepy when I look back, but it was obviously the ‘in thing’ to have. I still laugh to this day that my favourite doll was called Graham…”
Alan Catherall, Content editor, - Thundercat figures
“Thunder… Thunder… Thunder! Thundercats! HO! Yes, He-man may have been more popular and Transformers cooler but I really loved Thundercats. I was massively drawn in by the cartoon so it was inevitable I was going to hound the parents for toys… and what toys they were! How many other action figures at the time had “Battle-Matic-Action” (the arm chopped up and down when you pressed a lever) AND light-up eyes.
“Even though both Lion-O and Mumm-ra (Ancient spirits of evil, transform this decayed form to MUMM-RA, THE EVER-LIVING!) had illuminated eyes, I’d have to say my favourite toy of the lot was Panthro due to him having Nunchucks, double-armed “Battle-Matic-Action” and being the grumpy old man of the set. He was just ace.”
Mark Hooson, senior writer - Vac-Man
“When I was seven or eight, my brother and his friend overstretched my Stretch Armstrong, splitting his arm and spilling his gooey innards all over the carpet. I was distraught, but Stretch’s replacement would become one of my most beloved childhood toys.
“My parents bought me Stretch Armstrong’s arch-nemesis, Vac-Man – an alien counterpart that was not only stretchy, but also came with a vacuum pump used to suck the air out of his body, preserving him in whatever shape you’d stretched him into. There was a release valve on his head to return him back to normal, and I probably spent hours just drawing the air out of him and pressing that button.They go for around £80 on eBay these days!”
Les Roberts, senior writer – Star Wars Star Destroyer playset
“As a kid, the Star Wars films didn’t really bother me – watching films was so time consuming – but the figures were a different story, and I collected them obsessively, even collecting tokens to get the special weapons packs.
“I had pretty much everything, but pride of place, largely due to the fact that no one else I knew had it, was the Star Destroyer playset. Taken from The Empire Strikes Back series of toys, it came with a hologram of the Emperor (like in the film), an escape hatch (like in the film) and, best of all, Darth Vader’s meditation chamber, which was illuminated by a menacing red glow at the press of a button.
“I’m not exactly sure why it glowed red and, in truth, the red glow made it look like some sort of old fashioned oven – but it was ace all the same!”
Susan Donnan, executive publisher – Sindy House
“My favourite toy by far was my Sindy house. A huge three-storey construction taking up a whole corner of my bedroom. It had a lift at the side, a four-poster bed, dining table (with tiny plates and cutlery) and even a toilet. Many hours were spent playing with my Sindy dolls and that house – but it was a no-go-zone for my sister’s Barbie!
“Recently I was clearing out my old toys from my mum’s loft and found the house in bits stored in a box. Even though it’s gone yellow with age, I still can’t bring myself to throw it away so it’s now been transferred to my own loft. One day I might get it out and build it again, although I don’t think my little boy would appreciate it!”
Laura Howard, money editor – Weebles
“Being the youngest of three it was inevitable that all my toys were hand-me downs. But, this turned out to be a good thing, as I would never have otherwise had the chance to play with Weebles – a set of plastic egg-shaped people with no arms or legs, which became my favourite toy.
“My family of four Weebles were all the same size so slotted easily into the Weeble slide, Weeble see-saw and Weeble roundabout that I also inherited. That was it really, that’s all they did – but I loved them. In fact, when I saw my sisters’ children playing with them at my Mother’s house recently, I accidentally blurted out, “Oi! They’re mine!”