Johnny Seven O.M.A.

 

El Bucko has been after one of these babies for many moons now. The Johnny Seven OMA (One Man Army) and quite literaly it WAS!. An awesome firearm for any would be John Rambo but predated Stallone's era by a good 3 decades or so. This rifle from hell could unleash an amazing array of seven different lethal plastic projectiles varying from little bullets to big kill everyone grenades and anti tank rockets. Anyone who had a kid with one of these in their team whilst playing war would no doubt be victorious. The leader of any opposing team might just as well give up, retire to his bunker, sulk a bit, murder his fraulein girlfriend and then shoot himself in the head. It was as hopless as actually being Adolf Hitler himself. I cannot even begin to think of what would happen if each team had a Johnny Seven. Any one out there in Internetland who has experienced such a stalemate please contact us in the usual manner.

Topper Toys also released some strange helmets to go with the gun, but from what I have heard its the gun that all the kids wanted. Even today these harbingers of doom fetch over £300 for a complete one on eBay. And whilst we are on the subject why was every toy in the 60s called "Johnny something"???? Johnny Astro, Johnny Seven, Johnny Potatoehead, Johnny gitface. It all ended up with you still being a Johnny no mates! Strange. Any road up El Bucko now works (if you can call it that) on a team where one of his crazy colleagues has a virtually complete Johnny Seven so we collared the whimsical chap and asked him in time honoured SWL style to give us his story along with some nice studio stylee pictures and here it is.

Johnny & me 

Sounds like a bad twenties variety act doesnít it? But no, this is a short tale about myself, Mr Philip Wingfield, and the most sort after boys toy of the early sixties, the Johnny Seven.

Topper Toys released the Johnny Seven in 1964 and immediately every boy wanted one. It was beyond fab, it was a One Man Army and it said so on the stock ĎJohnny Seven OMAí. Why Johnny Seven? Iíll tell you, seven weapons in one stupendous toy gun. There was a grenade launcher, anti-tank missile, bunker buster missile, armour-piercing shell which shared the launcher with the bunker buster, sprung loaded gizmo that produced a tommy gun sound, bolt action rifle, and detachable cap gun pistol. One of the schoolboy/playground chants of the sixties was ĎWho won the war, in nineteen sixty-fourí? Iíll tell you who; anyone with a Johnny Seven.

So thatís the Johnny bit, how about me? Well, I was born in 1961 so when Johnny Seven was released I was a mere stripling of three and I doubt if I could have even carried it. I believe that after the initial craze the toy had a revival a few years later and that must have been when I got it. We didnít have much money in those days but as a kid, that isnít important. What were important were the constant toy adverts leading up to Christmas and the constant appearance of the toy to beat them all. Even my Dad canít remember exactly when I got it but his mum, my Nan, made sure that on the Christmas morning of í66 or í67 I awoke to one of the biggest boxes in the world at the foot of the bed. Johnny Seven was in the house.

He didnít stay long. As soon as I had got dressed and wolfed down some breakfast I was off to play war. No more ďyou didnít take your shotsĒ as Johnny Seven would be calling them. How can you shoot me, my bunker buster blew up you base, anyone who escaped was raked with tommy gun fire and the detachable pistol finished off the groaning near dead. I didnít take my shots as you didnít get any off. I killed you all, Johnny Seven reigns supreme, all kneel and praise him. OK, not really, but all my mates with their colt .45 cap guns and Winchester repeaters thought it was pretty cool and for a while I had some new friends I wasnít previously aware of. It may have been one of these Ďnewí friends who took a shine to Johnny Seven as not long after I got it I returned from a sortie to the rag and bone manís lock up to find the detachable pistol permanently detached from my possession. I now only had a Johnny Seven was emasculated; he was now a mere Johnny Six. I got over it and Johnny Six still kicked ass in the world of street warfare.

As I grew up and grew out of toy guns (I still canít believe it actually happened that I grew up and grew out of toy guns) [He hasnt grown up at all. He's a freaking loon PHIL HUBBARD], Johnny Seven/Six had less and less use. I canít even remember what happened to him in the end. I hope he went to a good home but I suspect that it got pretty beaten up, more bits were lost, and eventually it was consigned to the bin. However, if thatís too sad then forget it and imagine I passed him on to an orphans home where he is to this day blasting parentless children limb from limb, is that better?

Not the end of the story though. A few years ago I got to talking about Johnny Seven and how great it was. I started looking on Ebay but they commanded a hell of a price. One day I saw, not a complete gun but the pistol alone. I was temped to e-mail the seller and ask them where they were in January of 1966  (or 1967). I didnít do it but I carried on looking at the guns and eventually bought the one you see here for about £165. My old Nan probably turned in her grave when I did that. She probably paid ten and six for it on the Roman Road market in Bow. So Johnny and me are together again but he doesnít fight any more. My sonís mates are allowed to gaze upon it in awe and no one gets to play with it but me. OK, and my son Kyle, in the house, and under strict supervision.

Now a aged wizened old duffer, this man has not lost his aim

I have talked with other veterans of the sixties street wars of the possibility of it being remanufactured. But I think it is too much for todayís world where innocence is sometimes hard to come by and in parts of the globe, child soldiers are a grim reality. Lets face it; it would be the same with orange stoppers on the barrels and day-glo missiles so as not to be mistaken for the real thing. Johnny Seven belongs to the sixties or to the display shelves of grown up men who won the war in 1964.

Phil Wingfield

Click on the thumnails to view bigger pictures.

Little Philip Wingfield circa 1965(ish) Johnny Envy

 

Bikes * Stylophone * Space Hopper * Johnny Astro * Flight Deck *  SuperFlightDeck * Vertibird * Evel Knievel * Racing Sets * Weebles * Jaws * Big Trak * Steer-n-Go * Ricochet Racers * Tip-It * Baffleball * The Humphreys * Hai Karate * Johnny Seven O.M.A.  *Cascade

* EKCO Novaware *

 

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Author: Phil Hubbard

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