Monday, February 09, 2015
Memory Bank: Alien Attack Galactic Wars Action Play Set (HG Toys)
When I was ten years old, in the summer of 1979, my family embarked upon a cross-country trip in our Ford van for the summer break.
For six weeks, we traveled from New Jersey to California and back again, camping along the way in Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota, Wyoming (where we saw Devil's Tower), Oregon and California.
It was an amazing experience, and one I have never forgotten. In 1982, we took the same trip from Jersey to CA, but on a Southern route to California (going through Louisiana, Texas and Arizona...).
On the first trip, however, quite a few of the days were spent traveling -- seeking our next camp site.
If we liked what we found at the end of the day (and after setting up camp), we would stay for a day or two to explore the local area. If not, we would move on the next morning, and seek a better spot. I remember, in particular, a glorious few days on the banks of Lake Superior. But over the weeks, we saw Mount Rushmore, Yosemite and even, finally, Alcatraz.
But to help me pass the time during the long driving days, I had a constant companion: the Alien Attack Galactic Wars Action Playset from H.G. Toys.
Early on the trip, we stopped at a Ben Franklin store in Wisconsin, and my parents purchased for me this huge set of aliens, soldiers, and spaceships. I set it up on the (green carpeted) van floor (which rumbled quite a bit while we traveled....) and had glorious space adventures, hours-at-a-time, days-on-end.
I can still remember my adventure. A group of colonists, supported by helmeted soldiers, hoped to settle on an alien world, only to find it inhabited by weird robot/alien/mutants.
Those of you who frequent the blog may recognize many aspects of the Alien Attack Galactic Wars playset. It was recycled by HG Toys in 1980 for Buck Rogers, in particular.
I have that particular variant set in my office, and play with it frequently with my son. Joel has a game he calls "Death Planet Nine" involving it, so a love of this play-set has actually passed from one generation to the next.
In Joel's version, however, the mutant/robot/aliens are minding their own business when nasty humans arrive and start mining the planet and launch an attack on the peaceful mutants. Usually, the human forces get decimated. Joel plays the aliens, and I play the (losing side): the human race!