Action Man maker Hasbro is to be sued for failing to provide adequate equipment for toy soldiers going into battle. A support group representing the plastic fighting dolls is claiming that Action Men have been put at risk by being sent into battle with faulty or unsuitable military hardware. A spokesman for the group told reporters ‘It’s an international disgrace that can only be called penny pinching. Plastic boots, guns that don’t fire and ‘armoured’ cars that afford no protection against being knocked off the sofa with a giant plastic sword; our boys deserve better.’
But Hasbro have defended their record, issuing a statement saying ‘Spending on equipment for Action Man (or G.I. Jo as he in known in America) has increased by 15% in real terms in recent years, and we refute all allegations that our soldiers have been sent into battle with anything less than the very best in toy weaponry.’
One Action Man, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed ‘My plastic boots were a nightmare to get on and off from day one. In the end one of the boots came off with my foot still inside it.’ Another reported problems with his Eagle Eyes that left him permanently looking left. This resulted in a disadvantageous battle situation against a large plastic dinosaur and some small plastic cowboys on the difficult terrain of the living room carpet. ‘Our boys should never have had to go into battle with trousers that had lost their popper at the back,’ said one military expert. ‘They never stood a chance against that giant real life kitten.’
This is just the latest in a series of problems to have rocked the toy-maker in recent years. Four years ago it’s ‘Action Man – Invisible Weapons of Mass Destruction’ model failed to convince anyone, and a talking Action Man that said ‘You’re going straight to Guantanamo Bay’ and ‘Wow, these torture scenes will look great on You Tube’ proved controversial.
Fellow toy maker Mattel has also faced similar problems in its attempts to make Barbie more topical, with ‘Burkha Barbie’ and ‘Suicide Bomber Barbie’ both selling very few units.