Back then my mum bought a couple of packs of these figures for my boys for Christmas. They opened them on Christmas day and....really weren't bothered about them at all. They sat in their box of Ben 10 toys unused & unloved. I got them out and had loads of fun fiddling about, but they got no reaction at all from the children.
Flash forward to now...
Opinions are now reversed. Now Dad hates these little monsters with a passion and the kids LOVE them! They're out and played with every single day.
Which is partly why I hate them, but I shall come on to that in a minute.
The idea of these toys is that you can create your own aliens (which you probably guessed from the name). They start off looking like regular Ben 10 aliens. A bit like this:
Then you plug the green key shown in the picture into their backs and, hey presto, you've got this:
From which you're supposed to start playing until you come up with some fantastic creations such as mine:
Any idea yet why I hate them? Yep, it's the middle part. I do not want to know how many times I've had to hunt round the house trying to find missing pieces, how many times I've stepped on one and screamed in pain. Despite how many times I've told the boys to keep them all in one place, no matter how many times I've threatened to take them off them, I still spend hours each day hunting for Echo Echo's head.
Knowing how much it irritates me, my youngest has the annoying habit of taking them to pieces and then deliberately hiding them. It's like a kind of medieval torture.
The boys call these figures either as 'Exploding Ben 10s' (due to the key causing them to, well, explode) or 'Baby Ben 10s' (since they're smaller than the regular 10cm line - probably about half the size).
An uncooperative child retreats upon spotting the camera.
As I've mentioned before, I think Ben 10 toys are the few action figures still aimed at a child's pocket money. £6 for two small figures isn't bad these days, especially as you know exactly what you're getting (unlike the single packet Lego/Doctor Who/whatever which seem to be the latest trend).