Take one part G.I. Joe and one part Fisher-Price Little People, mix in a few dashes of the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems paraphernalia, and you might just come up with the Mighty World line of preschool-friendly military action figures.
These very little soldiers, distributed by International Playthings, are well-provisioned with some of the very latest in 21st-century battlefield gadgets. Consider Major Mac and his stealthy reconnaissance drone (an ultramodern, top-secret stealthy reconnaissance drone, that is). "Operated from his laptop, it swoops over enemy territory and relays back vital field information," says the Mighty World site. Not via mere Wi-Fi, of course: "The camera mounted on the front is said to bounce its signal off orbiting satellites."
As far as we can tell, Mac's aerial gadget is so secret it wasn't even on the program with futuristic designs from Northrop Grumman and others at this week's drone-focused symposium of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.
The Mighty World drone, alas, is unarmed. When Major Mac and pal Captain Cliff, the ATV scout, need to engage wee bad guys, they have to turn to their newest gadget, the RDS (Robotic Defense System), "a multipurpose weapons system that can track incoming missiles and blast them from the sky just as easily as it can defend against land-based threats." That would seem to outclass anything the PackBot or Talon systems are carrying these days.
For amphibious operations, the figurine to turn to is Captain Perry. His gear includes a re-breather apparatus that would do any SEAL proud, and a Combat Rubber Raiding Craft equipped with satellite link and radar.
(Hasbro, we should note, has marked 2007 as the 25th anniversary of G.I. Joe--unexpectedly, in our eyes, given that Joe's time in service dates back to the early days of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. It turns out that the "vintage" action figure was retired in 1976, with the line returned to duty in 1982 by a "Real American Hero" version reinvigorated for the Reagan era.)
A tip of the garrison cap to Wired's Danger Room blog for alerting us to these tech-savvy toy soldiers.