The Ministry of Defence has caused controversy by launching a range of all action figures. The toys are based on military personnel in the navy, army and airforce and are being sold under the "HM Armed Forces" brand name. The M.O.D. will get a percentage of the profits from each toy sold. However the fact that the money will be used to top up the M.O.D's advertising budget rather than being spent on new equipment for frontline soldiers has sparked outrage amongst real-life service personnel. Each 10" figure wears authentic scaled down versions of the clothing worn by their real-life counterparts. There are three different action figures in each category. Each figure comes with its own accessories. There is a navy diver complete with wetsuit and flippers and a commando complete with his own canoe! Working vehicles including a remote control hovercraft which travels over water and land and also a tank with a spring-powered gun only add to the fun! Critics argue that the figures aren't true to life as they don't represent the many female and multi racial members of the armed forces. Only one black doll is included in the range and there are no female figures at all. The M.O.D. says it plans to rectify this by lauching a female figure and more black figures next year. There is also talk that Ghurka figures may also be launched. Some people argue that the toys glorify images of war and violence and could be a bad influence on today's children. Whilst others believe the figures represent good role models for children to look up to. An M.O.D. spokesman commented, "The British Armed Forces have a very high reputation in this country and throughout the world and we feel the toys reflect that. The products are realistic and accurate and are very much a tribute to the service men and women who always conduct themselves with professionalism and dignity".
Action Man figures and military toy soldiers have always been amongst the most popular boys' toys over the years. It is thought that the new M.O.D. toys will fill the gap in the toy market, left by poor Action Man's demise a few years ago. The new M.O.D. figures are now available to buy in good toy shops everywhere. They will however face tough competition from popular action figures already on the market including Power Rangers and Spiderman. Also many children nowadays prefer to play computer games rather than play with toys. In the days when Action Man was around, computers hadn't been invented! I always remember the original Action Man figures. With their familiar "bushy" close-cropped haircut, they were always very popular with children of my generation. My brother used to have one and had endless fun playing with it. I always remember one of the accessories was a "working" radio that came out with things like, "Bazooka attack!" Very authentic! Wonder if these new action figures have gripping hands like the Action Man toys of yesteryear!