Many toys these days have "spring loaded" features. For exapmle, action figures sometimes feature spring loaded arms and/or legs to simulate a punch or kick, such as the X-Men figures. Push a button, and Wolverine's arm will will slash down.

Other toys, such as GI Joe and Voltron, will feature spring loaded missles that you can shoot when pressing a button.

But twenty years ago, it wasn't all fun and games; spring loaded toys were the cause of some concern.

In the 1970s, many robot toys from Japan such as Mazinger, Gigantor, and them guys had spring loaded rockets and fists (some of those robot dudes made it here as part of the Shogun Warriors toy line).

But in 1979, a child choked on a Battlestar Galactica spaceship missle when another child shot it into his mouth. The parents sued Matel, the makers of the toys. This forced other toy companies to examine the safety of spring loaded mechanisms in toys.

After that, the Battlestar Gallactica toys had the rockets glued into the ship. Shogun Warriors dissapeared off the shelves. And Kenner, the makers of the Star Wars toys, who had advertised their mail-away Boba Fett figure as "rocket-firing", had a quick change of heart and glued the missle into the bounty hunter's backpack. Interestingly, they even mailed a letter with each Boba Fett figure, explaining why they decided to revoke Boba's rocket firing ability.

But I don't think this is because these toys were unsafe; rather, I think it's because most of these companies were afraid that parents thought they were unsafe, which is why they followed suit.

In the 1980s, spring loaded toys were few and far between. Sure, the He-Man figures would "punch" when you twised their waists, and some of them could "chop" (i.e. Fisto and Jitsu). And some of the DC Super Powers figures could too. But alas, no rocket-firing toys.

Actually, in the 1980s, Voltron could shoot his fists, and some Transformers like Perceptor could shoot missles, but the srping strength was so weak that the projectile would land a few inches from where the toy stood.

But in the early 1990s, GI Joe toys started to feature spring loaded firing mechanisms on their toys. And Kenner's line of Aliens action figures sometimes features spring loaded weapons. Since then, many toys these days, form Star Wars, to GI Joe, to Beast Wars Transformers, feature spring loaded firing mechanisms that can actually shoot with enough force to knock another toy down.

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