Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Parachute robot vending machine figures
What: Ever since Imperial Toy's "Poopatroopers" of the 1970s, little plastic figures with parachutes attached have been a common offering in variety stores and toy vending machines. The little parachutes never seemed to work too well and would always get tangled beyond help after a few minutes, but they were still fun, and even if you wanted to cut the parachute off you'd still be left with a cool figure. One variation released over the years includes various robot figures, which appear to be bootlegs of Japanese robot toys. The figures in the first photo above are some of my earliest vending machine toys--I remember begging for quarters to get them out of a machine in a bowling alley around 1987/1988. The clear variations in the bottom photo are more current; they were being sold as party favors in bulk lots on eBay as recently as earlier this year.
For more photos of these figures, check out the Little Weirdos vending machine figures set on Flickr.
When: Mostly 1980s-1990s, but they still pop up sometimes (like the clear versions pictured above, which are very new).
Where: Toy vending machines, party stores, dollar/variety stores