Synopsis of Toy
“Remember, if it doesn’t say ‘Micro Machines,’ it’s not the real thing.”
What was it about Micro Machines that made us want them so badly? Was it an admiration of size-reducing skill, like buying those grains of rice with Shakespearean sonnets written on them? Was it the superior numbers—five tiny cars instead of one Hot Wheels racer? Was it the fast-talking guy in the commercials? Maybe there’s no point trying to figure it out. They were cars, they were little, and we loved them.
Galoob introduced its line of super-small vehicles in 1988, pitching them in a series of commercials starring John Moschitta (a.k.a. that FedEx guy, a.k.a. The World’s Fastest Talker). The hook was this: If you’re going to buy a miniature toy car, why settle for small when you can have really, really small? Micro Machines were about a tenth the size of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, and unlike their die-cast competitors, they were molded primarily from plastic.
Cars were the backbone of the Micro Machines line, but there was plenty of room in that wee stable for airplanes, motorcycles, trains, military vehicles and other people movers. Most were authentic scale-model replicas, but Galoob also went gonzo with prototype cars and other futuristic vehicles. Most came in multi-machine packs, often taking themes like “The 1930’s,” “Air Racers,” or “Corvettes.” Kids snatched up the pocket-sized vehicles, making Micro Machines an instant hit.
As the toys grew in popularity, they took on other themes from history and fiction—the Apollo 13 moon landing, Indiana Jones, and the mother of all licenses, Star Wars. The chance to own an entire lineup of Tusken Raiders, a scale-model Death Star or a full Ice Planet Hoth playset was too much for young Star Wars fans to resist. Scale-model human (and non-human) figures began to appear as well, ready for action in the Micro Machines universe.
Its small place in the toy pantheon secure (that’s small in size, never in importance), Micro Machines continue to pack plenty of power in their mini-sized frame. Tie-ins with G.I. Joe, professional stock car racers like Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt and a continued Star Wars alliance have kept Micro Machines running out of the 90’s and into the 00’s, still filling that inexplicable need kids have for tiny playthings.