There comes a point in every little boy's life when he decides, in the style of John Rambo, he wants (read has to have) a toy gun. And there comes a point in every parent's life when they have to decide whether it's morally right or wrong to go buy their kid a toy gun. And it seems that 1964 was the year most parents decided to abandon their morals, for the Johnny Seven OMA (One Man Army) Gun was the best-selling boys' toy that Christmas.
The Johnny Seven OMA (not to be confused with the far simpler Johnny Eagle Rifle of the 70s) had to be the biggest toy machine gun you could get back then, and more than enough to make you throw down your spud gun. In fact, it wasn't far off full-size! When fully assembled it weighed 4lb and measured an impressive 3ft long, at least. It also came with a raft of seven functions (hence the name Johnny Seven). All of the firing mechanisms were attached to the main rifle - the pistol (based on a design for a real 1950s gun, no less!) inserted from the bottom to provide the rifle grip (the pistol also held caps for authentic firing sounds). The Rifle function shot 12 white bullets one at a time via a bolt action spring mechanism through the silver barrel. Three different rockets (The green Anti Tank, Anti Bunker and the red Armour Piercing fired via spring-action on the main barrel. The Grenade Launcher was on top of the gun. Johnny Seven also featured a bipod that provided stability for the various rockets and grenade. The stock could be removed to shorten the weapon while in the Tommy Gun mode. Now seen as a collector's item, the Johnny Seven OMA has been known to fetch over £300 fully armed on eBay!
It really was the hot shot of its time. And if all those functions weren't enough for you, Deluxe Reading (who also produced Johnny Lightning Cars and the Crime-buster Gun) went on to produce a range of accessories under the Topper Toys umbrella for the Johnny Seven OMA, including spare ammunition to replace all those bullets you lost over the next-door neighbour's fence. To enhance the experience you could purchase a helmet and a pair of walkie-talkies.
These days, toy guns aren't particularly en vogue, and little boys turn instead to Indiana Jones whips and light sabres when attacking their annoying little sisters. Much less intimidating, admittedly, but less likely to get you a night in a police cell, too.