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Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys

Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...

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How would you celebrate the 40th anniversary of Playmobil? Make a block booking, obviously.

Leaving aside the fact that joke probably refers more to their minifig mates, El Reg is delighted to see that the toy is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Our love of the tiny happy figurines is longstanding and cannot be rationally explained.

So it is with some pleasure that we tell you that during this month in 1974, the world's first Playmobil toys hit shelves around the world.

Known as a "klicky", the first range of figures included knights, native Americans and builders - a combination not seen again until the rise of the Village People a few years afterwards.

They were devised by the German inventor Hans Beck, who convinced the company Brandstätter to start producing them.

Four decades later, the world's Playmobil population is growing faster than humanity. According to the German firm's boffins, 3.2 Playmobil figures are produced every second, whereas just 2.6 babies are born in the same time period.

On its Twitter feed, the British Playmobil team has been attempting to whip up a bit of enthusiasm for the 40th anniversary.

Hopefully it's not toys based on the bizarre diorama seen beneath, which shows a creepy man from the seventies corralling a pack of dogs with a string sausages.

As with every period of mass immigration, the influx of plastic figures has set the world a-chattering. So what sort of people are these Playmobil folk?

Hipsters, apparently. Just replace the word Williamsburg for Shoreditch and you've got a picture-perfect portrait of a young urban Nathan Barley type.

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