Effigies of iconic figures date back as far as man has been around (and that's a mighty long time!). Toy effigies for children have been around almost as long. Such representations, called dolls or "action figures," are considered important articles in the growth and development of children; they "inform" children about the world around them and also let parents know what interests a child is developing.
Science fiction toys are interesting because, being based on speculative fiction, they have no direct link to a child's present; they are "what if?" toys in the extreme. Unlike a doll based on a popular figure or a realistic model of how life is, such dolls present questions: if the doll is popular, what is this saying about both the children who love it and the people who created it?
How does one explain the popularity of dolls that represent a non-human future, one that seems increasingly likely in our modern society? Perhaps there's a clue in the phenomenon of the "Micronaut" toy line I'll explore a bit below.