Water Guns from Entertech
In 1985, LJN start selling a line of water guns, starting with the Water Hawk, branded as Entertech. It surprised all of my friends. Not only were they battery-powered motorized water guns, but they also eschewed the more colorful designs of most water guns. No, the water guns were not only sculpted to look realistic, they were also matte black to make them even more closely resemble a real gun.
At the time, there were a series of heavily publicized shootings of children who were carrying realistic looking toy guns, so this was a controversial choice. So while many safety and parenting groups were speaking out against them, my friends and I desperately wanted one.
How realistic were they?
They looked amazing and they were hard to resist. We were water fight fiends and as soon as summer rolled around, we would start visiting the toy section of a little store we had in town to stock up on toy guns and balloons to fill with water.
The water guns we had were the cheap transparent plastic kind. Brightly colored and leaky as all get out, they put more water on the shooter than the target. Still, we all had the same guns, so the self-soaking was fair, since it applied to all of us.
That was until a friend of ours came to play with the AK Centerfire from Entertech. This machine gun style water gun was like nothing we had played with before.
Not only could it fire water up to 30 feet (under ideal conditions), it had a replaceable cartridge, and looked super cool. This water gun was a superstar, and every one of us went home that day, soaked to the gills, and dreaming about how we could get an Entertech of our own.
It is amazing just how quickly the rest of my friends got their Entertechs. By the middle of the summer, everyone but me was packing some serious battery-powered water-throwing plastic. Most of them got the Centerfire, but at least one of them had the pistol, the “Side Kick.”
I would get to play with them, but my Mother refused to let me get one of my own. She watched and read a lot of news. The idea of me getting hurt by someone mistaking my water gun for a real gun was too much for her.
While I wasn’t too happy about that, I did talk about them enough that my grandmother picked up on it and bought me another Entertech product for Christmas, Photon.
Entertech would continue to sell their realistic looking firearms for years. They would even do a co-branding with Rambo, which was basically just a packaging tweak and a sticker popped onto the gun. I read articles from 1986 that said they were also doing a tie-in with Delta Force, but have not found a branded toy example online.
Here is the complete list Entertech line of toy water weapons:
M-60 (Rambo Edition)
R.P.G. Water Rocket Launcher (Also available in Rambo Edition)
Side Kick Pistol
Water Grenade Set
Eventually, due to pressure, Entertech would start selling versions with an orange tip. This would eventually lead to a brightly colored line of guns.
Entertech would also release two other water-based toys of note. Their line of color water shooting guns that went under the “Gotcha!” name and themed balls you filled with water and squeezed. They were called “Spitballs” and the Freddy Krueger one is amazing.
The Entertech line was terminated in 1990, right around the time of the Super Soaker phenomenon taking hold in the U.S. It’s a shame they didn’t survive, this was the last big water gun buying hurrah for my group of friends, and I am sure they could have come up with some great battery-powered alternatives to the Super Soaker.