Blast from the Past

Guess what I found while clearing out my family’s storeroom this weekend?  ‘Gadgets’ from my childhood days!  Unlike today’s PSP/DS Lite-wielding kids, I was entertained by the following toys and my endless rounds of pretend over my growing-up years.  These probably accounted for a good part of my active and vivid imagination *wink*.  Going through them, I also realised that these toys were at least 15 to 20 years old – and largely functional!  I don’t think I could say the same of my other, more recent toys, such as the original Nintendo, SEGA, and pretty much everything else electronic.  We just don’t make toys the same way as they used to eh?

Toy Soldiers

Toy Soldiers duking it out with American Indians

Toy Soldiers duking it out with American Indians

I still have several plastic bags full of them toy soldiers – of varying sizes, colours and type/pose.  An all-time favourite black hole of my time throughout my childhood.  I’m amazed how fun they can still be!  I tried laying out a bunch of ’em, but ended up giving up trying to cover my entire bedroom floor with them as I got overwhelmed by the tedium.  Hmm, I must have had more patience as a kid than I do today.

Mobile Armored Strike Kommand (M.A.S.K.)

My collection of M.A.S.K. toys

My collection of M.A.S.K. toys

Very antiquated, but functional – spring-loaded mechanisms to mimic transformations between the car and flying car modes of the Thunderhawk, and helicopter/fighter modes of Switchblade.  When I found them, they were a little creaky but still 85% functional.

Tracked Race Cars

Battery-operated tracked race cars, boxed up

Battery-operated tracked race cars, boxed up

Battery-operated tracked race cars, unboxed

Battery-operated tracked race cars, unboxed

Figure of 8 track

Figure of 8 track

Oh my god it still works after 20 years!

Oh my god it still works after 20 years!

Both cars are racing neck-to-neck...

Both cars are racing neck-to-neck...

I bought 4 D-sized batteries just to test this out – each vehicle had brushed metal under its chasis to pick up electricity from the tracks.  The polarity signs have long since worn off, so I got the direction wrong the first time round (cars went in reverse).  Good fun, but the cars kept flying off the track after a while.  The entire thing was a pain to dismantle at the end.

LEGO

Both my Lego sets

Fire Station and Police Station lego sets

The perennial favourite of many kids – these lego sets must be over 20 years old.  Surprisingly, I had stored them away fully-assembled (save the top halves of the buildings, i.e. the control room), so reassembly for photo-taking was easy-peasy.  Still, the lego bricks felt brittle – I wonder if these can last past the next decade, just in time for me to hand these down to my own kids!

Modeling

Unpainted model of aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise

Unpainted model of aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise

I received this plastic model as a birthday gift from a relative, and from its assembled but unpainted state, you can probably tell I wasn’t too into modeling.  I believe this was assembled when I was 14, although I ended up playing take-off and landing with the mini F-4 wildcats so much that most of them had lost their tiny struts.

Which of these toys do you identify with?  I’d love to hear your childhood toy stories.

About James Chan

James Chan is an entrepreneur, investor, geek, photographer and husband/father based out of Singapore. Apart from frequent travels to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia for work, James can also be found online via his trusty 15" Retina MacBook Pro or iPhone 6+.