Linkits was a construction toy line manufactured by Matchbox in the mid-1980s. It wasn't a great success, and is now remembered by practically nobody. However, this all worked out for me as a child, as it meant myself and my brother accumulated a huge tub of the things when they hit clearance. Of course, at age 13 I allowed them to get rid of them all due to stupidity, so at age 26 I'm tracking sets down from ebay.

The Linkit system was pretty simple, consisting of hollow 'connectors' and frame-like 'links' that fit together in three different ways - defined as 'Joints', 'Pivots' and 'Side Joints'. There were other pieces obviously, but those are the bricks of the operation.

It'll probably be easier if you look at the diagram to the right. O_o >>>

From my research (i.e. looking at the pictures on the back of the sets I have) there appear to be two different phases to the line.

The first, around 1984, involved making necessarily odd creatures out of the bricks. These were generally either alien robot types, or vague approximations of animals and the like - most of the range is shown in the Matchbox catalogue scan to the left. The biggest set was the Space Station.

The early stuff is easy to distinguish due to the boxes having photos of the model on the front, as opposed to the artwork used later on. It seems to have been the only Linkits stuff released in America.

This stuff sold moderately well, and in 1986 the whole line was given something of a revamp. Matchbox decided to add a mythos to the line, which was printed on a leaflet included with the toys: -

Far out in space, on Planet Linkit, lived the Robugs.

The world of these hard working, amiable creatures was based around Yeng - the philosophy of the cube. Its endless permutations for construction showed them that whilst there are many answers to the same problem no one answer is ever the complete solution.

To help with all the hard work of building new spacecraft and spacestations the Robugs built the Robots. The Robots were happy with this way of life, but some Robugs were very dissatisfied. Although there were good and bad Robugs, life on Planet Linkit was generally peaceful.

One night during an intergalactic megastorm a fiery red meteorite struck Middle Linkit. One of the splinters struck a Robot factory. As a result some of the Robots under construction developed strange powers.

Certain bad Robugs saw this as a chance to use these Robots to take control of the planet.

Initially the bad Robugs were driven back; across the Purple Plains, home of the Stridants, through the swamps and the mountains, where they programmed their Robots to construct the ultimate fighting machines.

The good Robugs, realising the power of the meteorite, sent out Artillus Units to protect it and harness its power for the good of the galaxy.

Meanwhile, the bad Robugs made many attempts top capture the meteorite with their remote controlled Espions, LK1-11's and even more complex fighting machines built by their Robots.

As the struggle continued, the good Robugs and their Radions sent messages across the galaxy to the Space People, inviting them to help protect and share the 'power'. But unknown to anyone, the evil Kranials had also picked up the signal. They too were heading for Linkit. The race was on!

Whose side are you on?
What can you create?...

The basic set was the Robug, available either as a good version (blue/yellow, friendly-looking) or as an evil version (red/black, angry, angry eyes).

These came packed with an audio cassette, with Edward Judd reading an extended version of the above, adding the character of Ricky Linkit to the story and dealing with the arrival of the Space People (or Traidons) and Kranials on Linkit. This tape is actually rather good fun, and an MP3 version can be downloaded here.

The line also received a serial in the British Eagle comic, following the same rough storyline and named Legend of the Linkits - it was actually pretty light-hearted for a 1980s Fleetway strip from the one instalment I have, as absolutely nobody gets mutilated or dies from blood loss.

Other Good Robug kits included Ricky, the Artillus Unit, Radions, the Macro-Robots and Traidon robots (the Traidons themselves consisted of a single 'connector' with removable rubber limb parts). Against this lot were the bad Robug kits, which included the Terra-Trek (a sort of armoured car), Stridants (big leggy things), the LK1-11 (a massive jet), the Kranials' robot crabs, scorpions and crocodiles (the Kranials themselves were the same sort of thing as the Tradions, just with more out-there faces) and their Agrobot robots.

Both sides also had bases, the good Robugs had a version of the Agrobot but I'm damned if I can remember what the thing was called. This second batch saw a much larger variety of parts, meaning some of the figures almost looked normal. Sadly, it doesn't seem to be long after this that Matchbox decided they were better off selling toy cars, and Linkits seems to have got the chop with a year or so. Shame.