5 Toys That Weren’t Built To Last

Some of the most awesome of toys are made with some unknown flaw or material that ends up being it’s downfall. Or its downfall is just an over zealous kid that played with it too hard. Either way, here is a list of toys that I had that didn’t last past the first week of owning them.

1. SilverHawks – Flashback

God, I was such a fan of the SilverHawks. I tuned in everyday when I got home from school but sadly I never had any of the toys. That was until I came across the time-traveling hero Flashback.

Flashback was in the second wave of figures and he was truly unique with his green armor and angler face. Hailing from the 29th Century, Flashback went back in time to save the original team from dying in a botched mission against one of Hardwires devastating creations. Long story short, he returned to the 29th Century after saving the SilverHawks and the original members were still alive and kicking.

Now for such an awesome character his figure wasn’t. I can’t say if all of the figures suffered from the same problem, so I only can comment on ol’ Flashback but all of the SilverHawks had an action feature of squeezing their legs together to have their arms spring up to mimic their awesome underarm glide wings forming. Flashback was different though, instead of having the same underarm wing set-up his toy had the wings on the back, which sucked. It also sucked that after one squeeze to many on my second day of playing with him, like a 90 year old down a flight of stairs, his right leg snapped off at the joint in his lower hip  Guess even with his time traveling powers he didn’t see that coming.

2. Wrist Racers – General Lee

Some things just go together perfectly. Peanut butter and Jelly, fish and chips, trailer parks and crystal meth, and toy cars and wrist watches.

With the Wrist Racers line from Knickerbocker Toys, they aimed at mixing wrist watches and toy cars together. The idea was to have a small, wind-up car encased in a plastic holder atop your wrist, that once it was ready to go and you extended a small ramp from the same plastic holder, it would speed off and do “tricks”. Bullshit!

Capitalizing on the popularity of the American treasure known as The Dukes of Hazzard, Knickerbocker released the General Lee and one of Boss Hogs crooked ass police officer cars. Ever since the first commercial I was hooked and I wanted nothing more than to have a Wrist Racer of my own. The commercial showed them zooming out of the wrist holder, jumping over ramps, and smashing through cups.

My Aunt got me one for Christmas and I think it didn’t even last an hour. After winding it up more than 10 times, the winder broke and the South didn’t rise again from that point on.

3. Transformers – JetFire

The 1980s were a great time to be alive. I was blessed to come home from school everyday and watch Robotech AND Transformers. So there was no better toy on the market to honor both series than JetFire.

Made from the same mold as the VF-1S Super Valkyrie, JetFire was one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. My grandmother got him for me for Christmas in 1984 and I babied and cherished JetFire like my life depended on it. If I had a stroller I would card around this little plastic, transforming baby.

Then one day tragedy struck. While in the middle of one of his heroic transformations, JetFire lost an arm. Oddly it didn’t seem to break, just slip out. I dare not glue it and ruin what articulation he had, so I lived with placing it gingerly back onto its arm peg and still playing with it. Then he lost the other arm and all hell broke loose.

I still have ol’ JetFire and his arms…sadly I can never seem to find them both at the same time. He’s still a kickass jet though.

4.Star Wars – Snowspeeder

Ever since I saw it in theaters in 1980, The Empire Strikes Back has been one of my all-time favorite movies. So it was an awesome surprise to get the Rebel Snowspeeder for my 4th or 5th Birthday from my grandmother.

It feels like in hindsight that the thing broke 5 minutes out of the box, but it could be me just reconstructing the past. What happened was as I was zooming around the backyard with it, it slipped from my gruppy little paws. From the impact one of the cannons snapped off the front. My father glued it back in place but it never lit up again for some reason.

There was still plenty of playing left in it but it never felt the same.

5. Masters of the Universe – Webstor

There feels like there was a time when you didn’t really have a finger on the pulse of toy releases as a kid. When your birthday or Christmas rolled around you were surprised by some toys because you didn’t know they existed. With figures like G.I. Joe or Masters of the Universe there were wave after wave of figures coming out at different times of the year and it was hard to know what was coming and going. Also back in those days toy stores were pack to the gills with selection that you don’t see nowadays.

One such surprise came from my grandmother (again). It was Webstor the spider-like villain from Masters of the Universe. This blue hued baddie was awesome and it instantly became my favorite as soon as I ripped the wrapping paper off of him.

Webstor had a backpack molded into his snap-on armor that allowed him to climb when his hook was placed some where and you gently pulled the string on the opposite side. The key word here must be gently because my older cousins some how got the string tangled up in the inside of the backpack and he never climbed again. His evil schemes didn’t even make it an hour outta the package. My father tried to fix him but after a few failed attempts we cut the string off and Webstor lived in a web of shame for his remaining years.

 

Its the horror stories like this that I still carry with me that I have turned one of the work benches on my side of the laundry room into a toy hospital. Over the years I have saved screws, gears, and other brick-a-brack so that in any toy emergency I could be somewhat prepared because I don’t want my kids to have the same bad memories over toys that they once loved.

 

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16 thoughts on “5 Toys That Weren’t Built To Last

  1. Nice article! It really is hard to find Webstors with working backpacks. I bought one advertised as working, but it only worked partially and soon quit. I was able to fix it (not a simple process), but it’s definitely a delicate mechanism.

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  2. I never had a problem with my Webstor back in the day and I was actually surprised to find it on the list! I never realized people had issues with it. I remember seeing more Battle Armor He-Man and B.A. Skeletor spring mechanisms break on my friends. Can I mentioned that I hated the Silverhawks? HA! Actually, I hate Thundercats, too, but that seems to be sacrilege!

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    1. Believe me, the only love I have for those cartoons is from when I was in elementary school. I tried watching them a few years ago and I didn’t last long. As far as Webstor, I probably wouldn’t have had an issue if my asshole cousins hadn’t messed with him…lol

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  3. Never had a problem with Webstor but I had plenty of issue with the wrist racers I actually had two and both took a shit with in a week. Silverhawks (for me) greatest issue was the shine wore off the more you played with them (figuratively and literally) and would end up dull. Terrible toy. My Jetfire along with 80% of them it seems had the same arm issue.

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  4. Wow – discovering these blogs/articles is like re-discovering my ’80’s past. Thanks again for all of these trips down memory lane. I also remember my Webstor MOTU figure getting all tangled up re: the backpack. That was terrible, because it was such a great figure. I’m not collecting the new MOTU Classic figures, so I’m not sure if the new Webstor has the same issue, or even the same feature. I never got the Vintage ’80’s SW Snowspeeder, but recently did pull out the POTF2 Snowspeeder that I got back in ’96, and noticed (not for the first time) that this had no electronic features. But, the front cannons do fall off easily – makes sense, since the used the same sculpt as the ’80’s version; cool toy, in any case. I always wanted the Jetfire Transformers figure – that was actually my most wanted Transformers toy. However, I never got this. I think there was a much smaller Jetfire TF figure that was produced in the 200X’s, but it wasn’t nearly as big as the ’80’s version.

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    1. No and they had to drasticly change its transformation to make it different than the Robotech version. Ever since the change he wasn’t as cool to me. I would love to get some of the newer MOTU toys but club and Internet thing just turns me off. I’m a find it in the wild kinda guy. Rather go to a flea market over eBay any day. Collecting to me is all about the hunt, not just who has more money and can buy more stuff.

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  5. I’m a little surprised that Swoop didn’t get a dishonorable mention. The tip of his ptero beak snapped off if you even looked at the thing wrong. Good luck trying to find one in good condition secondhand; they exist but they are expensive.

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