The must-have rocket launcher for toddlers
London department store withdraws sell-out toy based on Soviet-era weapon after parents brand it 'sick'
Liberty, the luxury department store, apologised yesterday for selling wooden toy versions of Soviet-era Katyusha rocket launchers. The £23.50 toy, available in baby pink, yellow or natural wood, was described as "tasteless" and "vile", particularly as the colours and simplicity of the design appeared to be marketed at younger children.
Katyusha rocket launchers were first used by the Soviet Union in the Second World War and more recently by Hezbollah militants to fire rockets into Israel during the 2006 conflict and in Libya last year.
The toy version, which was available online and in Liberty's Regent Street shop in London, had been reduced to half price last week. It is made by the Dutch design company Kids on Roof, whose slogan is "for creative and playful kids and grown-ups". The Katyusha rocket launcher and a wooden Russian tank are listed on the Kids on Roof website under the category "uncensored toys", and the designers claim the toys are "not meant to shock. Let kids play war peacefully – as they have been doing for centuries and will do for centuries to come".
But Jo Swinson, a Liberal Democrat MP and parliamentary aide to Nick Clegg, who has campaigned against inappropriate toys and clothing for children, said: "Liberty can sell what they like, but I think it is bizarre. This very week negotiators at the United Nations are working to agree a historic arms trade treaty. When small children in conflict zones around the world are being killed and maimed by rocket launchers, it seems rather tasteless to be marketing a sanitised pink version to young children in our country."
The rocket launchers provoked a mixed response on the Mumsnet website yesterday. One chatroom member with the username UnChartered wrote: "Maybe there will be a range of dolls with horrific injuries too? I'm trying to joke about this, but feel increasingly sick." "Laudinum" wrote that her daughter thought it was a "sick joke" and that the "entire concept was vile".
But "TodaysAGoodDay" wrote: "A bit of a silly idea for a child's toy, but if it doesn't actually hurt anyone it's fine. I don't know any little boys who don't have a toy gun around the place, and if they haven't got one they usually improvise with sticks, cardboard tubes etc."
Kids on Roof did not respond to a request for comment yesterday. A spokesman for Liberty said: "These toys have sold out on the website and in the store. It was an oversight in terms of ordering something without thinking through what it was.
"This company does trucks and cars made of wood, things that our customers really like. But the rocket launcher was an oversight on our part. We do not condone warfare and we apologise for any offence caused. We won't be selling anything like that again."
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Licence fee: What is the BBC charge – and how will the changes affect you?
- 3 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
Pornhub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...