During the awesome toy mania of M.U.S.C.L.E. in 1985 that our very own Doug has posted about once or twice came another toy line towards the end of its run in 1987 called Army Ants. Back in the day I didn’t collect Army Ants, I was firmly a M.U.S.C.L.E. fan through and through but as I’ve grown older I still enjoy collecting small figurines like those produced under the Minimates line. The other day though at my local comic shop I stumbled across a bag of Army Ants…not in the best condition but they look good on top of my computer…and I realized that I made a mistake in my youth. I should have been collecting Army Ants as well because they are pretty awesome!
The Army Ants were produced by Hasbro and the backstory involved two opposing armies fighting over the resources of your own backyard, the Orange Army led by General Patant and their diabolical foes in the Blue Army led by General Mc-Anther. The General Patant’s Army consisted of an assault team, sniper team, bazooka team and an aerial assault team. General Mc-Anther had a mortar team, artillery team, flame thrower squad, bomber squad, and his personal special forces team.
[Via] Just King 81
The toy line didn’t do that well but a little research shows that it was extremely popular in Italy were they were produced by the GIG corporation, a toy manufacturer that also produced the Italian versions of M.U.S.C.L.E. which were called Exogini. In Italy the Army Ants were called Kombattini and were a bit different than their counterparts in the United States. For one we could buy them in squadron sets of three or up to eight figures the Kombattini were available in packages of one, buckets of 4, and pyramids of 8 or 14.
Our Army Ants each had an individual codename, similar to G.I. Joe but with Kombattini they were given spoofed names of famous politicians, celebrities, and sports stars.
The Kombattini figurines were painted a single, solid color with no detailing for the weapons and gear, the Orange Army soldiers were painted iridescent blue, green, or white while Blue Army soldiers were painted iridescent black, pink, or gray. Both armies also had rare transparent ants and each model of ant was available in all four colors for its army with the abdomens (called “ampolla della forza”, “ampules of force”) being see through and filled with glitter.