The same year (1987)that Hasbro began releasing my beloved Battle Beasts they also released a similar toy line made up of 1.5 inch warring critters, Army Ants. Army Ants were comprised of two different teams, the orange ants and the blue ants. Each team had an 8-pack of figures available as well as 4 different 3-packs. The 3 packs were divided by squadron, like an assault team or an artillery team. Howler here is part of the Bazooka team. I remember when the commercial for these figures fits came out, there was a catchy little tune that went, “we are bad, we are boss. we’ve got guts that squish and squash.” I immediately wanted these things. Me and Doug took a different approach with these toys, we actually decided that each of us would collect a specific color team. I collected the orange team and Doug collected the blue. I actually don’t know how I ever got him to agree to it as the orange ants were way cooler than the blue. The orange ants were defined by their pointy beak like faces and the fact that they all had 4 arms. The blue figures were defined by big round noses that looked totally stupid.
None of the figures had any moving parts and they had very limited paint applications. They were molded in the color plastic of the team they were on with usually only their eyes and maybe a belt painted a different color. Each figure did have a removable weapon of some kind and all of them had removable butts. The “guts that squish and squash” from the jingle referred to a big rubber abdomen that was stuck to the tail-end of each figure via a plastic peg. The different squadrons had different color abdomens which you could pop off and swap if you so desired. The butts glowed in the dark which was kind of cool as well. The line disappeared from store shelves after the initial wave so I guess they didn’t sell all that well. It’s a shame really as I always saw them as a more bad-ass version of the Smurfs. If the line had continued on or maybe had a supporting cartoon I bet they could’ve done some neat stuff with the brand, introducing black ants and red ants and what not.
Doug and I never completed our collections, only ending up with 6 or so figures each. For some stupid reason we decided to sell the figures off at a yard sale. I’m not sure why, it’s not like they were taking up any room but c’est la vie. The pack-rat in me couldn’t let them go completely though and Doug and I opted to hang onto one ant each. I’m not sure why I chose Howler. He’s cool and all but not the best representative of the brand. His pose his pretty limited and you can’t even see his face. If his Bazooka were to go missing he’d be totally stupid as the side of his face where the Bazooka sits isn’t even sculpted, it’s just flat with a couple of peg holes to hold the bazooka in place. These figures may not have been nearly as cool as Battle Beasts but I still have a soft spot for them anyway, the orange ones at least. Go check out the commercial on youtube and enjoy the jingle for yourself. 4 out of 10.