"Whoever did this was strong. This is 340 pounds of Tonka-tough steel."
A toy, usually 1970s or 1980s vintage, that is considered so tough, it could survive a nuclear war (almost). It may suffer for countless years at the hands of a destructive brat
, but will only suffer minor scuffs and breakages
in the process. It will still look relatively unharmed after a 10-year stay in someone's poo-filled unheated closet located above a very greasy snackbar
. Better yet, in the hands of a collector, it will often clean up so well after such an event that it will look almost new. Sometimes it will be reissued
, and will then kick the ass of later
, more accurate products
. Usually, it isn't a very realistic and/or accurate representation of its subject, but this should not distract from its most important quality: its toughness
May also be applied to other nearly indestructible items, such as certain vintage computer systems (e.g. Game Boy
Compare Made of Indestructium
, which is mainly for fictional items with the same reputation.
Not to be confused with Nintendo Hard
, which is about difficulty, not durability.
- The Tonka Mighty Dump Truck was advertised as being virtually indestructible through the course of normal play, and damned near impossible to break outside of normal play. In one memorable advertisement for the truck, they had an elephant step on it, as seen at the top of this page. The truck was fine. Think about it... an eight-pound toy truck that could hold several tons of elephant foot and not break. This toughness extended (and still extends) to pretty much the entire Tonka brand, regardless of the toy.
- According to Hasbro (who owns the Tonka toy line), there are currently seven people around the world who, because of the Tonka guarantee, receive a lifetime supply of free merchandise because they somehow managed to destroy a Tonka toy through the normal course of play. Whenever a claim is made on the guarantee, Tonka sends out a team of investigators to make sure the toy in question wasn't destroyed intentionally (by detonating it with explosives, for example), or by extraordinary means that don't count as "normal play" (like accidentally running it through a machine press, for example). For Tonka, the Tonka Tough guarantee is Serious Business.
- Fischer Technik construction toys are made from super tough nylon, are either so hard or so flexible they can't be broken, and will usually survive 30 years of play and storage with only minor yellowing.
- Mattel Barbie dolls of humans and animals.
- Only exception being if you yanked the heads off (which could be surprisingly easy).
- LEGO bricks, and by extension its Duplo subbrand. Those things are Nigh Invulnerable to your average 10 year old boy, and when trodden on, will deal significantly more damage to you than you do to it.
- Thirty-year-old white bricks will yellow slightly, but colored bricks will be indistinguishable from new ones.
- Also very dog-resistant.
- This isn't entirely true, especially regarding BIONICLE/Hero Factory socket joints, infamous for shattering with very little effort (especially when lime-coloured).
- The newer Hero Factory sockets beginning from the 2.0 line are pleasingly tough, though. Also, a lot of the earlier pieces, like those in Slizers and Roboriders were fairly strong as well, and it wasn't until the designers changed the sockets' outer rim that they became so brittle.
- Using your teeth to separate two bricks that refuse to come apart is a bad idea. Your teeth will break before the bricks do. That is why you can actually buy these things called Brick Separators. As for taking apart non-traditional pieces (like the early BIONICLE heads)? MOCists have designed several types of separating-constructions for almost every individual case.
- Turns out a single LEGO brick can withstand 950 pounds of force before breaking.
- Fisher-Price Little People.
- Dave Barry once riffed that Fisher Price toys are so tough because they're made of a mysterious plastic-like substance from another planet. Furthermore he sees no reason why we can't make indestructible cars by enlarging Fisher Price toys and adding real engines and seats.
- The playsets themselves are nearly indestructible as well, even to rambunctious three year olds.
- Nintendo's systems (both console and handheld) are famous for this. It's often joked that they are made from "Nintendium".
- The NES:
- Have you ever tried to destroy any cartridge of the Famicom, the original Japanese version of NES? They have even thicker plastic and are able to shrug off a truck riding over them, unlike the (comparatively) flimsy American cartridges. The console itself is no less tough, although in this case its flat, streamlined shape helped as well. Nintendo cartridges in general survive washing machines just fine. The most that'll happen is the label coming off; dry them and they'll work just like on day one.
- Nintendo of Japan finally stopped repairing the Famicom after 20 years. In other words, they expected the console to last 20 years.
- The NES Controlers are made tough so that they can handle frustrated NES players. Their long cords could theoretically allow them to be used as makeshift flails.
- The cartridge batteries. Twenty years later, it still remembers all the save data from back then, even after 15 or more years without being used. And the speil in the instruction manual for pretty much every game says it should last five.
- The Super NES:
- The SNES cartridges are legendarily tough, but the SNES system can take a beating as well. Water dropped in the system? No problem. Accidentally dropped it down a set of stairs? Still works. Run it over with a car by accident while moving? The SNES shrugs it off with ease. One SNES and Super Mario World cartridge survived a fire that destroyed the rest of the house it was in!
- The Game Boy:
- Nintendo's early testing included throwing Game Boys from a three story building.
- There are a lot stories of them surviving being thrown from apartment windows, run over by cars, flushed in toilets...
- There is a Game Boy that survived a bombing in the Gulf War. (It is the page image for Made of Indestructium.) Now, the original screen was bacon-crispy and had to be replaced, but the circuitry survived. It's still running, playing Tetris, and is currently housed in Nintendo's store in NYC for the world to see.
- A couple of Let's Play people decided to test* whether the old Game Boy cartridges live up to the reputation. Throwing and hitting it didn't even leave a mark. Dirt jammed into it while it's in the Game Boy? No problem. Covering the contacts in alcohol and running magnets over it? Didn't bother it. Dunking it in water finally made it fail to start. So they dried it out by burning a hole through the cartridge. They BURNED the electronics inside the cartridge. Also failed to start. So they waited an hour and came back to it. Presumably, the Nintendium just laughed at them as it started right up. The most fitting part? The cartridge was of Pokémon Red Version.
- In a letter from a 1999 issue of Nintendo Power, one boy had lost his Game Boy Color in the garage, only to find it 3 months later sitting in a puddle of used oil. After carefully disassembling and cleaning it, it was able to work like brand-new, if a bit worse for wear. The editor recommended to all readers to not allow your systems to be submerged in any liquid for safety's sake, but also that this sounded entirely plausible.
- Electronic Gaming Monthly did an article about the then-new Game Boy Advance, in which the writer and their friends did all manner of abusive things to it, including flushing it down a toilet. After drying out for three days, the white GBA resumed working as though nothing ever happened, earning it the nickname Jesus from the staff.
- The GameCube's portable equivalent, the Game Boy Advance SP, has an equally strong reputation for being impossible to destroy, the only weak point being the hinges. Nintendo was apparently using a prime lode of Nintendium for that generation.
- The Nintendo 64:
- The Nintendo 64 once took a shotgun blast at point-blank range. There's a big gap in the casing but it works just fine.
- On an episode of Carlos Menicia's show, Mind of Mencia, a midget was smashing old electronics with a large sledgehammer. Everything was smashed to bits in one go, save for a Nintendo 64. It took two strikes before any visible cracks formed in the case, and a third strike before the casing began to dent.
- Averted, sadly, with the Nintendo 64 control stick. It was built in such a way that the plastic quickly wore itself down from the rotation, resulting in a loose stick with extreme center play. On the other hand, it uses optical encoders instead of potentiometers like later Nintendo controllers, which are significantly more durable and precise due to their contactless nature. It's a shame that the mechanical gimbal and pivot assembly can't hold up compared to the sensors.
- The Nintendo GameCube, that goofy purple lunchbox:
- The top of the disk case is a weak point, but with the open button taped down the system will survive most anything.
- One unit was demonstrated to survive bludgeoning with bats, thrown like a ball and towed on pavement by a moving car. It still worked.
- There are also stories of people using a GameCube and controller as an Improvised Weapon in self defense against a knife-wielding street mugger, with no lasting damage to the GCN.
- According to legend, one player lit his Game Cube on fire in a fit of rage. Mario Kart Double-Dash!! kept going for five minutes.
- In an X-Play segment called "Webb of Destruction", Morgan Webb attempted to destroy a PlayStation 2, an XBox, and a GameCube. She performed three destructive stunts: dropping a weight on each system, hitting each console with a sledgehammer, and dropping each system from a height. After each stunt, the systems were tested to see if they still worked. The GameCube's lid quickly snapped off, but this had no effect on its functionality, and it was the last console to be able to play games, or indeed to start up at all. Take a look.
- The show references this further when it mentioned the next Death Star will be made of the hardest material known to man: used Game Boy Advances.
- The Nintendo DS:
- The DS has a slightly less reputable history, most especially the DS Lite, which was prone to the hinge problems. The joint just below the R button can weaken and snap very easily, leaving a broken R button (which most games use as a major button) or a free swinging topscreen. Then, it only takes one clumsy drop just right for the screen to snap out of the right side and the wires on the left to be strained enough to render the topscreen almost unusable. All editions of the DS were prone to the L and R buttons occasionally going haywire. By the time of the XL, these had mostly been rectified and will presumably carry over to the 3DS.
- And, it has been tested that a Nintendo 3DS can survive, with no damage, being kept in the left jacket pocket of the coat of a driver, that hits a stationary vehicle at 35 miles per hour. However, the PSP can as well.
- GB, GBA, and DS cartridges have all gone through their share of washers and driers and continued working without an issue.
- As detailed in one installment of Iwata Asks, the Japan/Europe-only DS game Walk with me! Do you know your walking routine? came packaged with a pedometer called the Activity Meter. One man lost his while walking his dog, only to find it a month later, covered in mud and submerged in a puddle. Of course, it still worked perfectly.
- It's been demonstrated that even if the upper screen is removed entirely, the DS is still a perfectly functional Game Boy Advance.
- Referenced in Pokemon Black And White. After the first battle, your room looks like a tornado just hit it, but if you examine the Wii, you'll find that there's not even a scratch on it.
- The Wii Remote originally had a rather weak wrist strap, which led to a number of Remotes getting embedded in walls or TVs. Nintendo quickly updated its production with sturdier straps, but not for the Wiimote's protection: for the protection of everything else! Notice that in all those humorous pictures of embedded remotes, it is always the wall or TV that is damaged, not the remote.
- Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime explains - in a manner that suggests that he can't decide if he's Billy Mays or the Power Thirst announcer - the hard work and dedication that goes into making Nintendo products so durable in this video.
- The Wii U, Nintendo's newest console.
- This video demonstrates the durability of the Wii U gamepad by dropping it from various angles. The end result: Nintendo still has it.
- The Takatoku VF-1. By extension, all later VF-1 toys based on the same mold qualify: Matsuhiro VF-1J, Bandai's 1980s VF-1's, Bandai's early 2000nds VF-1 reissues, Bandai's late 2000nds VF-1 reissues and Jetfire.
- Bandai's mid-1990s Macross 7 1/65 VF-17 and VF-19 releases and their 2001 reissues.
- Bandai/Tonka's earlier Super Gobots.
- Most of Bandai's 1990s Super Sentai and Power Rangers toys.
- Quite a few Transformers toys are well known for the fact that they simply refuse to be destroyed, including quite a few of the 1987-1988 toy releases, which started using tougher, thicker plastic than many of the Diaclone-based toys, and several of the Beast Wars era toys, where the use of ball and socket joints as well as thick hinges meant that they could survive much tougher play. The main issue for those particular toys tends to be losing small, independent parts rather than damage or destruction of the toy. Other toys, however, are known to break at the drop of a hat, including many of the 1984-release toys and anything that suffers from Gold Plastic Syndrome.
- The 1985-1986 releases were made of diecast metal, so they fall under this trope as well. Those waves' Optimus Prime and Megatron are still in existence today. The Autobot Cars and Decepticon Seekers, as well as Decepticon Triple Changers such as Blitzwing and Astrotrain are also incredibly sturdy. An episode of the cartoon, "Child's Play", is sort of a big Lampshade Hanging of how hard they were to break.
- Also lampshaded in Beast Wars when the Autobots' ship proves to be nearly impervious to damage, and the assembled Maximals make remarks about it being die-cast.
- MSX machines made by Yamaha appear to be completely indestructible. It's not unheard of them surviving decades in the Soviet high schools with no apparent wear.
- Motorola's RAZR series. Able to survive anything, from dipping (returned to normal functioning after just one day drying) to being thrown from the third floor window — if you're lucky enough not to crack the screen. Metal case certainly helps.
- More generally, this tends to apply to quite a lot of older phones - you can throw them from the third floor and they'll be fine.
- The popular Star TAC line from the late 90's. Motorola even stated this in the user manual; the phone would work even after receiving case-deforming hits.
- A rancher called the cell phone company to report a lost/destropyed phone. He had dropped it in the pasture and heard his cow ringing.
- The government can't afford to buy armor when you're in tour in hostile territory? No problem, just make sure you always have your Panasonic Toughbook with you.
- Nokia 3310 model cell phone. Takes beating, getting wet, can be used as ice hockey puck and the damn thing still works.
- It can be put through a washing machine without any damage at all.
- The 3310 can only be destroyed in the fires of Mordor.
- A construction worker demolishing the Seattle kingdome dropped his Nokia 252 from the upper deck onto solid concrete - the only adverse effect was a cracked screen.
- As Top Gear discovered, the Toyota Hilux is indestructible.
- The humble air-cooled VW Beetle can withstand tremendous amounts of mechanical abuse:
- Running safely four times the amount of stock horsepower on stock gearbox;
- Withstanding temperatures from Arctic cold to Sahara heat;
- Running with no oil in the engine for almost a quarter of an hour before breaking itself;
- Floating on water like a boat (for short time);
- Carrying dozens of people or their weight in goods;
- Making stock horsepower 38 years later (40.84 wheel hp translates into 47 flywheel hp, officially quoted figure);
- In many incidents mechanical parts have been recovered for use from a bodywork rusted to pieces.
- The secret lays in some features which make it impractical as a modern vehicle: loose mechanical tolerances (whatever you do, it will still leak and burn oil), deliberately underpowered to prevent abuse, ridiculously low compression ratio even for its heyday, exposed axle parts which need greasing, assembly with barely any gasket. It had to be dropped from production because even the modern fuel injection systems and catalytic converters could not do it run as clean as a modern engine.
- In short, there's a reason that Harry Dresden drives one.
- Flash Memory is this, compared to other forms of data storage. Kid-friendly toys almost exclusively use it and stories abound of thumb drives being lost in the wash, sat on, dropped in freezing snow, found in desolate areas, etc.
- Western Electric's telephones during the days when the Bell telephone company (which would later be led by WE's owner, AT&T) reigned supreme. One part of the quality control series was to drop the phone ten feet onto a concrete floor, after which it had to make and receive a call (although cosmetic damage could be excused). Many of them are still in use today, often with superior sound quality to modern phones.
- The Glock handgun is often derided as a "Tupperware Gun" for its plastic frame and slide, but it can survive abuse barely known to man. Reportedly, a Glock representative demonstrated the durability of the gun by dropping it out a third story window, kicking it across the parking lot into a puddle of mud, and picking it up and firing a perfect group into a target.
- Youtube celebrity FPS Russia had a Glock torture test that STARTED with it frozen in a block of ice and shot out with a .45. After finding it almost perfectly intact, he used it as a hammer and knocked it against a pole to break off the remaining ice. To try and get rid of some of the ice that had frozen the mechanisms shut, he shot the gun directly with his .45 and none of the rounds did more than take a shallow chunk out of the plastic (the slide was even less locked up!). He let it sit for a few minutes in a wood burning stove, and he could actually remove the magazine and work the slide (albeit too roughly to really fire it). The gun was finally finished off by putting it on a block of tannerite and blowing it up, and it still remained mostly in a few large pieces and the slide and barrel were almost completely intact, to the point where he figured he could probably spend some money on spare parts and rebuild the gun.
- The Uzi submachine gun was designed to have simple, straightforward mechanics inside a casing that was durable enough to be run over by a tank, picked back up and continue to be used in combat. It's a huge reason for its worldwide popularity and the relative lack of fundamental design changes, both inside and outside.
- Just about every single weapon designed in the Soviet Union or in post-soviet republics was designed with this in mind.
- Most famous is the AK weapons family. They were designed to endure extreme levels of abuse and still function perfectly. They'll work at -50C (-58F, which is 90 degrees below freezing!); it'll work in the absolute coldest placed on earth. It'll work in the hottest places on earth. They can be used as improved ladders and climbing tools. The magazines, traditionally the weakest point of any firearms design, are often used to support the weight of soldiers doing pushups. You can clear this thing by dipping it in a muddle puddle. Oh, it's been buried for 18 years? Pour some oil on there and it'll be fine. There are original 47's still kicking around after sixty or more years of service, and they still work perfectly. Keep in mind that these same guns are typically achieving this in primitive conditions in developing countries, being used by people who are often a far cry from professional soldiers, or even just mildly gun-knowledgeable, who aren't going to be able to properly care for their weapons, or even do anything for maintenance. All the while, they're doing this all with corrosive ammo. What's that, filthy fourteen? I can't hear you over the sound of how AWESOME I am!
- The Makarov pistol is also crazy tough. It's even more reliable than the memetically tough Glock. The Makarov in this video survived the following things in order: #1. Being laid open eject port down in the mud, before being run over with a jeep. #2. Being thrown into a muddy puddle and stamped on. #3. Thrown into sand and buried. #4. Being thrown port-down into wet sand and buried. #5. Having the open-sided magazines thrown into and buried in sand. #6. Being sloshed around in a mud hole (This actually improved functionality). #7: Being fired underwater. There were only three malfunctions. One was from sand getting in the way of the hammer. Another was user error. The last was when it disassembled itself when fired underwater. Afterwards, it was put back together and operated flawlessly without any sort of cleaning. It was later sent in for refurbishment and a new coat. It came back and is still in use.
- The Mosin-Nagant rifle, despite being a product of the Tsarist period, is similarly adamantine. It took not just one, but actually two torture tests before it croaked. The thing that ultimately broke it was being fed a cartrdige purposefully filled to the brim (way over advised capacity) with random powders collected from a firing range, which will kill pretty much any gun. The action still held, and the action locked shut, meaning that it still did not catastrophically fail.
- The United States' iconic WWII battle rifle, the M1 Garand. Among the many reasons it was a GI's best friend was its reliability in all weather- it performed as well in sandy North Africa and the humid Pacific as it did in Europe. Many American and Russian-made weapons of WWII have similar reputations for reliability, but none are quite as ubiquitous as the Garand.
- The classic break-open rifle or shotgun (boxlock or sidelock) is quite similarly indestructible. It has only 3 moving parts (trigger, hammer, firing pin) and once properly oiled it can fire forever. The Victorian Age design has been devised to be carried in most climates, from Scandinavian frozen wilderness to Colonial African scorching heat, fired rarely and to be utmost reliable when the beast charges the hunter. It is, however, significantly more expensive to build nowadays, since it relies on manual fitments and testing.
- Possible the undisputable champion of Tonka Tough weaponry has to be the British Vickers machine gun, which served well in both world wars. It's service history is a chapter of incredible feats of endurance. To start off, the British Army had to get special permission to acquire them; under 1912 procurement rules, the Army had to know when something would break before they bought it and nobody could beak a Vickers (they ran out of ammunition after three days of sustained fire). Then, in 1916, the 100th Company of the Machine Gun Corps was ordered to give sustained covering fire into an area 2000 yards away to prevent a German counterattack. 12 hours later, they stopped, having swapped barrels 100 timesnote , and having expended in total 1,000,000 rounds without a single breakdown. Finally, in 1962 when the gun came to be phased out, in protest and to show its phenomenal endurance, one armory set one up and fired it, stopping only to change barrels, for an entire week. By the end, it had expended 5,000,000 rounds of ammunition. Upon inspection, the gun had no detectable faults after this ordeal.
- Various lines of Thomas the Tank Engine train toys can stand up to a child's railway adventures. The ERTL models were made of the same material as the engines on the show; surviving crashes from a great height with little more than a few scuff marks. The TOMY models are also as durable as you'd expect from a good train model.
- Both the 1987 and 2003 lines of Playmates' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures.
- Not only Nintendo, but Atari cartridges are also incredibly durable, to the point of being submerged in a lake long enough for the label to be demolished (making identification of the game impossible), fished out sometime in the mid 90's, and still remaining perfectly playable.
- CDs are incredibly forgiving, being still playable even after suffering all kinds of abuse, thanks to the error correction technology the discs use. There are basically two things which can render them unusable, both due to operator error:
- Excessive amount of scratches due to improper storage, no envelope, leaving them in the player for months and so on, until one quarter of the disc surface is matted out;
- CD-rot due to improper storage, exposure to variations in temperature, degradation due to light and so on. Infrequently encountered in Real Life in reasonable stored CDs, there are discs recorded in 1995-1996 which are still perfectly readable.
- Timex watches, especially those manufactured in the 40s, 50, and 60s, were advertised as being nearly impossible to break, and they were. In one memorable commercial, they strapped a Timex watch to a boat's propeller and took it out for a spin in a swimming pool. Sure, the watch's band separated after about 10 minutes, but the watch itself kept running as if it had spent a peaceful day in a dresser drawer.
- Here's a list of what punishment Panasonic's latest SD cards can take.
- There are military grade computers that can survive being run over, dropped in water, being out in the desert and still work fine afterwards. Some can even be in close proximity to explosions and still be completely functional.