In particular, in 1979-1980, Diener produced a variety of two-inch figures that would be sold in the cardboard H.M. boxes along with the burgers and fries.
A variety of figurine sets from Deiner were produced. There were McDonalds figures (like Mayor McCheese and Ronald McDonald...), Space Creatures (which included a Ymir, an Outer Limits alien and the alien from I Married a Monster From Outer Space ...), not to mention sets of both jungle and undersea animals.
But as a kid, I collected the "Space Raiders" line obsessively.
In particular, I remember collecting these figurines during a family cross-country van trip from New Jersey to California (and back...) when I was nine years old.
Back in those days, a visit to McDonalds was a big (and rare...) treat, and my older sister and I would beg my parents to let us stop there so we could get Happy Meals...and collect these figures. More often than not, our parents indulged us.
These little toys were of paramount importance to me as a youngster that summer, because I had very few toys with me on the cross-country trip. As I said, we were traveling by van, and space was at a premium. Which meant -- for me -- very few action figures and almost no spaceships. These Space Raiders toys offered a whole new world of adventure, and they were small and compact.
The 2-inch Space Raiders figurines came in orange, pink, yellow, blue, green and brown. There was a whole array of characters and ships in the set. They were all made of a very soft but relatively durable rubber (and they could double as erasers, actually, should you get mad at them).
The characters in the line were ZAMA (a robot who resembles a cross between the Lost In Space B9 robot and R2-D2), BRAK (a creature who looks like the Metalunan Mutant from This Island Earth), DARD (a Darth Vader knock-off), and the angry-appearing HORTA.
Going back to my childhood, we had all of these characters, but I played with a blue ZAMA and my sister adopted a pink HORTA. Our brown DARD was sort of the universal bad guy, and I can't remember how BRAK fit in the mix.
Of the ships, there was a Forbidden Planet-style flying saucer called LYRA-4. We had a green one, I recall, and at some point, needed a replacement for it because the first one developed a fracture. But there were other spaceships too, including the rocketship ALTAIR.
Not pictured here -- though I recall that we had them -- were the KRYGO-5 (a sort of space shuttle design) and another ship...which I don't remember at all except it was shaped like a cigar and featured a dorsal booster.
As a kid in the seventies, I got a lot of mileage out of these figurines. Today I wonder how many other Generation X'ers remember looking forward to new Space Raiders inside McDonalds Happy Meals.
For more information on the Diener Ind.'s 1970s Space Raiders collection, check out Light Years to Yesteryear.