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Masters of the Toybox

By: vkimo
I was born in 1986...and I curse my sweet mother everyday for it.

I came into this world on the tail end of arguably the greatest time period for boys in recorded history. Toys reached an unprecedented level of detail and complexity. Movies were larger than life, full of adventure and danger. Video games were bringing us into new worlds. But even with all those diversions, one group still held a boy's attention over all the others. The almighty action figure

Bask in the radiating glow of my polyethylene form, brother!

To me, dolls...AHEM, action figures were simply the most fun. Movies were cool, but I couldn't make Luke Skywalker lob off C3PO's head. Super Mario was fun, just forget about stepping to the side of an incoming Goomba. With action figures you could do anything you wanted. Their fates were in your grubby Cheetos stained hands. I grew up in the 90s for the most part, however being in a rather poor family my first toys were all 80s hand me downs from my older brothers. They were in such a dilapidated state by the time I got them that literally nothing was fully intact. Heck, until recently I thought MOTU was a specialty line of toys for juvenile amputees!

As you can imagine, I had a confused childhood.

Sometimes it seemed that adults always drew a fine line between action figures and....dolls. I remember my mom had got me one of those new age GI Joes' that were Barbie Doll sized and had removable clothing. When my dad saw me playing with a pant-less Duke, he passed a kidney stone so large we use it as a coffee table to this day. Looking back I can see where he was coming from. Why on earth does a boy need to accesorize a GI Joe? That's some commie propaganda if I ever heard it!

GI Joe "WITH M16 Assault Rifle and Pressed Slacks!"

Even though in elementary school action figures were somewhat taboo. Kids didn't want to seem like they were into "baby stuff" when you know they all had the latest TMNT variant variant variant (Emphasis on the variant....) I remember one day walking at recess and saw these kids huddled in a corner crouched over something. Normally I would have avoided such situations, and mentally processed this as a stranger danger scenario. However, I had to see what was up. I must have caught them off guard as they were a little spooked when I walked over. But lo and behold, there was a fantastic pile of figures between them. Spiderman, Robocop, various X Men, you name it. That spot was later consecrated as a childhood mecca by yours truly with a sacrifice of spilled capri sun. I soon found out they would gather once a week and show off their toys. Eager to join in I waited till the next week and gained immediate acceptance with an exhibition of my Terminator T800 and acid shooting Joker.

I had a lot of great times with my toys. From having water battles in the bath, to huge room melees where I would simply dump my whole collection on the floor and just start duking it out. Sadly, as time went on my collection dwindled. From damage, and my parents most likely selling or donating some when I wasn't looking. It's a strange memory, but one I want to leave you with.

I'll take that over a wife and kids ANYDAY.

I distinctly remember the last action figure I ever got from my parents. I was in a drug store with my mom. I saw this amazing looking Batman figure, he was a special suited Batman, amazing details and serious looking weapons. I asked my mom if I could get it, she said yeah and I threw it in the cart without a second thought. At the checkout though, I saw some other kids behind us in line. My mom was unloading her groceries onto the check stand, and when she took Batman out and I saw him moving across the conveyor belt, I felt embarrassed. it felt like a defining moment in my life to that point. Something I could never go back to. Life was waiting for me and I had to move on. It was sad and I'll always miss those days. I'm an adult now though, and I can do whatever I damn well please. I managed to save what was left of my old toys, and through patience and perseverance I am slowly amassing back my army of soldiers...

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Looking for more from vkimo?

optimus87 Posted on Dec 28, 2019 at 09:15 AM

wrestle mania was so cool

Posted on Oct 19, 2019 at 05:55 AM

hulkamania is very neat

Retro King of the Land Posted on Apr 04, 2015 at 06:36 PM

Once I heard the great vkimo was here, I made an account just so I can comment. Glad to see you back!

Hoju Koolander Posted on Sep 02, 2014 at 11:51 PM

"Heck, until recently I thought MOTU was a specialty line of toys for juvenile amputees", LOL, classic. Oh the moment of toy buying embarrassment, I know it all too well. Just replace Batman figure with Shannon Doherty from 90210 Barbie doll (totally a for real incident) and you've got my moment of shame. Oh no, I shouldn't have shared that, is your Dad going to have me deported? ;)

SegaFanatic Posted on Sep 12, 2013 at 12:02 AM

Just discovered this. Glad you're writing articles again! Great read!

AceNThaHole Posted on May 10, 2013 at 12:51 AM

We use to do some crazy stories with our figures. Stuff you wouldnt see in the cartoons for sure. Also nice collection!

Vaporman87 Posted on May 08, 2013 at 04:46 PM

Now days I when I purchase "collectible" figures I makes sure to buy one to keep in the box, one to open, and one to sell later on. Sometimes this isn't possible because of costs, but it's what I try to do normally.

vkimo Posted on May 08, 2013 at 04:23 AM

I like to keep figs I get in the package, in the package. But I still love to collect loose stuff as it's way funner to display!

raptor Posted on May 07, 2013 at 02:01 AM

Nice collection of figs you have vkimo. About everything I still have is in boxes because Im too lazy to dust around figures or take them off and dust. This was all fun to read and I enjoyed your recollection of toy memories man.

Vaporman87 Posted on May 06, 2013 at 03:29 PM

Awesome finds! I'm not often at yard sales or thrift stores, but when I have been I've never been lucky enough to come across such treasures.

vkimo Posted on May 06, 2013 at 03:17 PM

Thanks VH. I lucked out recently at a garage sale and scored a box full of assorted action figures. Plus at the local thrift store I lucked out on a treasure trove of M.A.S.K figures and MOTU guys. I think I'll just past them down to my kids one day. It would save me money in the long run too haha

Vaporman87 Posted on May 06, 2013 at 02:41 PM

I really enjoyed the image of your growing collection of figures from your past. Most of my figures were doomed to a similar fate as yours, with parents selling them off in yard sales (with, regrettably, my approval) or simply lost or tossed.

It seems that, despite your not growing up in the decade you really wanted to do so in, you were able to capture a bit of it with the hand-me-down toys of the 80's. That's a good start. :)

Great read vkimo! Thanks for this.

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