Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"How to dismantle an atomic bomb"? Boys, I've done that loads of times.

The back room, as we called it, was the one with the packing crates for floorboards that you didn't want to jump up and down upon too often. In there were kept my toy boxes, which contained the ruins of at least three childhoods before mine came along and the scraps of my hobby of disassembling things into minute parts and never being able to put them together again.

All the kings horses and men had nothing on me.

I was always bothered about why toys come in different scales. On the one hand I had one large green plastic army tank (sans wheels), that had a great turret that moved 360 degrees and could be pulled off to simulate an explosion like they had in Warlord, the weekly comicbook. Then, by contrast, there were about fifty or so small green plastic soldiers, way out of scale to the tank. I got over that be watching Godzilla movies and reading about dinosaurs. Suddenly, the idea of the giant menacing monster facing off against bevvies of human-sized victims had a real appeal. Legions of helpless soldiers were run down by the giant tank until someone managed to lob a last gasp hand-grenade through its driver's window and Boom! off went the turret. The day was won!

I think my mother might have been perturbed at my propensity to distruction, because she finally settled on a toy I could take apart and put back together: Lego.

Lego makes good exploding tanks. With the right kits, you could get moving turrets, tank tracks (Lego constuction-site machinery put to a reassembled use), and even put together a fairly impressive spaceship. Exploding turrets in primary colours are as much fun as green Made-in-Hong-Kong ones.

The TV show, Space 1999, was a great inspiration. Most of the spaceships in this sci-fi afternoon hide-behind-the-sofa epic looked like they'd been modelled out of Lego anyway.

Warlord was my favourite comic. It was a real stiff-upper-lip, how-we-won-WWII British publication, but it didn't matter. Comicbook action heroes in army uniforms were the staple fare, except for super spy, Lord Peter Flint, who sometimes could be seen in civvies. The faceless hoards being exploded by limpet mines and other wonderful boyish weapons was the great attraction. It was no surprise that I moved on to a collection of WWII factual part-works discovered in another corner of the back room, although the real-life photos of death, cruelty and destruction were no boyish entertainment.

I haven't disassembled a toy and found the bits more interesting than the whole in years and years. I wonder are they even made the same way these days?


Storm said...

Amusing stuff :). Keep writing.

Willie_W said...

Thankee... :-)

Peter Fitz said...

"The TV show, Space 1999, was a great inspiration. Most of the spaceships in this sci-fi afternoon hide-behind-the-sofa epic looked like they'd been modelled out of Lego anyway."

Ah. Space 1999. I made loadsa Eagle spacecraft from the lego in the biscuit tin. It's being repeated on satellite telly these days. I watched and thought it was gas. A more simple time. Ha ! now that's hard to believe :-)

Willie_W said...

I saw some episodes on the digital channels about a year ago and was as dug into them as the originals. I was happy to find that the giant rubber space spider didn't send me nightmares the second time around.