Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys

Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...


How would you celebrate the 40th anniversary of Playmobil? Make a block booking, obviously.

Leaving aside the fact that joke probably refers more to their minifig mates, El Reg is delighted to see that the toy is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Our love of the tiny happy figurines is longstanding and cannot be rationally explained.

So it is with some pleasure that we tell you that during this month in 1974, the world's first Playmobil toys hit shelves around the world.

Known as a "klicky", the first range of figures included knights, native Americans and builders - a combination not seen again until the rise of the Village People a few years afterwards.

They were devised by the German inventor Hans Beck, who convinced the company Brandstätter to start producing them.

Four decades later, the world's Playmobil population is growing faster than humanity. According to the German firm's boffins, 3.2 Playmobil figures are produced every second, whereas just 2.6 babies are born in the same time period.

On its Twitter feed, the British Playmobil team has been attempting to whip up a bit of enthusiasm for the 40th anniversary.

Hopefully it's not toys based on the bizarre diorama seen beneath, which shows a creepy man from the seventies corralling a pack of dogs with a string sausages.

As with every period of mass immigration, the influx of plastic figures has set the world a-chattering. So what sort of people are these Playmobil folk?

Hipsters, apparently. Just replace the word Williamsburg for Shoreditch and you've got a picture-perfect portrait of a young urban Nathan Barley type.

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022