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Sunday, November 11, 2018

#913 MATCHBOX - F1 RACER (Nr. 74) (1984)

Matchbox is another brand that has not had (historically) many F1s in its 3 inches series compared to other types of cars. In the regular wheels era, there were just a few (I recall just 3). In the Superfast era, there were also very few (F1 Racing Car and Team Matchbox, any other?). Within this series, in the Macau years this F1 Racer (Nr. 74) is the only one that comes to my mind right now.

The original model was painted red in the Ferrari colours and RN3. To my knowledge Ferrari never carried this number around 1984, so the decoration might be not very accurate. The cast itself is also not very accurate, it looks a bit too high and "thick", which some people would define as "slightly toonified".

The second version is the yellow one, I think it does not match any racing team of the mid-80s so the decoration might be inspired from other competition like the Indy.

There was a colour changing version, that I presented in another entry not so long time ago.

After these three, there were other decorations that I do not own. While the models shown in this entry are made in Macau, these ones I mention now are marked Thailand.

Other variants include a blue/red one, a white/blue one, a colour changer completely in red (not the one shown in the previous entry), plus many promotional versions with eye-catching colours. There was even a "My first Matchbox" version in white, with some bits of colours over its body.

Some of these models have base plates that were modified/renamed to "Indy Racer" instead of "F1 Racer", and there are a lot of alternate decorations for the American market based on supposedly real Indy cars, all of them quite flashy and very colourful decorations. I do not have any of these, but I will consider writing another entry if I ever got any.

I recommend, as always, visiting Falkensteiner's web for watching all decorations and variants of every Matchbox car.

As the model was discontinued because the car was already looking a bit outdated, a new cast was designed with a model from the early to mid 90s. F1 (or Indy) racers was made available, and so it remained until 1995.

I am devoting many entries to F1s lately... sorry if you find this topic boring.

  • Name: F1 RACER
  • Scale: Around 1:64
  • Year: 1984
  • Company: Matchbox (United Kingdom)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Monday, October 22, 2018


I finally decided to make the investment in this figure. It is considered to be the most difficult figure in the toyline if we do not consider the giants Tytus and Megator. I say investment, because I consider that difficult figures will still gain value in the next years, but that is another topic.

I already talked about the figure in entry #500, when I presented Laser Light Skeletor. He-Man is more difficult to find (at least complete and in good shape) mainly because of the fragility of its accesories: the cable that goes from the backpack to the sword, the harness pegs, the armshield peg and the battery cover. Also the crotch is sometimes broken in the part that is nearer to the legs because it is made of very thin plastic. It is true that Skeletor had its cloak, the "red" hand is sometimes broken or the golden paint sometimes fades out, but all in all, He-Man is a much more delicate figure than Skeletor. And because all this, it is also a more expensive figure.

Another interesting fact is that this figure came with two head variants. This one has the classic 1982 He-Man head (soft head), and there is another one with a head that resembles the actor Dolph Lundgren. I have in mind that the first variant was for Spain and the second one for Italy, the only countries in which the Laser figures were released.

I am not sure if that last statement is completely true. Were Laser Power He-Man and Laser Light Skeletor sold only in Spain and Italy? The Italian card was also written in French and English. The Spanish card was written only in Spanish. Why? Were some units sold in France or other countries?

In Italy and Spain the toyline was available slightly longer than in other places. It was still profitable in 1987, so the toyline was available one year more than everywhere else, and these are the only two new figures in this last wave.

Read More about MOTU here:

  • Name: LASER POWER HE-MAN (Ref. 7060)
  • Toy Line: Masters of the Universe (Wave 7)
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 5½’’ or 14 cm

Monday, October 8, 2018


The last wave of Dino Riders had a subseries called "Ice Age", that included 4 prehistoric animals, but no dinosaurs. For me, this was a complete error, since dinosaurs are so much more attractive! Maybe they thought that dinosaurs were very similar to each other and they were already reusing existing casts too much.
The four animals produced for this subseries in the closing wave by Tyco were:
-Woolly Mammooth with Grom
-Giant Ground Sloth with Ulk
-Killer Warthog with Zar
-Sabre-Tooth Tiger with Hub
Some people consider this subseries as a separate collection and until recently the interest for this series was very low. Now I regret not having bought these boxed a few years ago, when they were sold at very low prices. Currently they are becoming more and more difficult to find and the prices are rising accordingly.
Another news to this wave was a new figure cast, representing a prehistoric human, some are marked as Neanderthals, oder as Cro-magnons, but the cast is always the same.

These characters have rough-sounding, one-syllabed names and all play for the Valorians, not the Rulons. That is, they are nice guys. The figures have the same articulations than any other figure, but with some simian feature, like shorter legs, that have to have slightly bent knies to stand, and different colours ranging from light brown, to dark brown, to grey, to almost black. The characters carry also different paintings in their chests and different designs in their loincloths.
The four Ice Age animals included one figure each, equipped with grey weapons as the dinosaur´s figures from wave one, and four more figures from 2-packs. These came together with some Rulon figure, and the card also had some Ice Age decoration behind. Interestingly, this series 2-packs Rulons (also the two Valorians) were done in quite cold colours, like different blue shades, white, purple.. also giving the impression of an Ice Age, compared to the bright colours of the second series´ figures and the golden/silver of the first series´ figures.
As usual, the boxes in this series came in several sizes, the mammooth is big and has walking feature, the Warthog and the giant ground sloth are kind of medium, and the Sabre-tooth tiger is small. Maybe they thought this could be a bit short, so they also made three dinosaurs: the big Pachyrhinosaurus (also with walking action feature) and the small Quetzalcoatlus and Chasmosaurus. These three were probably decided after the Ice Age animals, since they are repaints of older models with slightly different heads or no changes at all and they do not match the concept of the line originally (although the line was already mixing dinosaurs from different geological eras).

In general, we could say that the dinosaur and animal armours for this wave are also quite simple compared to armours in previous waves. most of them come with a big piece that serves as a base from everyhting else, including the figure/seat. Two new types of pieces are those made of transparent plastic (like some kind of windshield or igloo) and flexible plastic tubes.

The Giant Ground Sloth (a.k.a. Megatherium) is maybe one of the references in series 3 with the most elaborated armour. Or maybe not the armour, because it matches the description above, but for two extra pieces that attach to the armour and that build an igloo with three cannons when assembled (leaving the animal unarmed!). It is the only dinosaur that comes with some detachable stratucture that can be played independently in the whole toyline (the Rulon traps cannot be attached to the dinosaurs) together with the Dimetrodon, that had something similar.


The animal itself is quite cool, it can stand on two or four feet and move its head up on down to look good either ways.

Excellent toy! Looking forward to get or complete the other three Ice Age plus all individual figures.

To finish the article, here are the German instructions for this toy.

  • Toy Line: Dino-Riders (Wave 3)
  • Year: 1990
  • Company: Tyco (U.S.A.)
  • Scale of the beast: 1:24
  • Size of the figures: 2½’’ or 6,5 cm

Monday, September 24, 2018

#910 BEST BOX and EFSI - FORD TAUNUS 17M and OPEL REKORD (2511/401 and 405) (Around 1969 and 1972)

There is something I haven´t shown yet in this blog: a real Best-Box car model. So far I had only models marked Efsi on their base, but thanks to Pablo from I got my first Best-Box. It is not in its best shape, but still it is intereting to have it in my collection, mostly since I am capable of comparing it with the same toy car marked Efsi.

The model is the Ford Taunus 17M. The Best-Box reference number is 2511, while Efsi´s is 401. Beside the obvious differences (color and markings in the base) both models are identical.

In previous entries about Efsi, I wrote the story of the company using several sources, but since the last entry, I received a comment from Ron Kolk, I responded, but he didn´t write back. I wonder if he is an ex-employee of the company, if he is the writter of the dutch wikipedia entry for me or if he just translated it for me, because he corrects the information displayed in entry #175. In any case, thank you so much Ron!

Ron Kolk November 3, 2017 at 4:09 PM
In the late 60's, the mines were closed in Limburg. DSM (The State Mine) tries to provide the miners with new jobs. Among other things, DAF comes to Born.

The state mines had workshops where invalidly affected miners could carry out work, so as to have a decent day-to-day spending. These "WIM Workshops" were transformed into Social Workplaces after the mining ceremony and housed by the Social Services Fund (FSI), which her social workplaces resumed at the Foundation for Companies of FSI, abbreviated as SFB . One of those activities was the continuation of the model car production of Best-box. Initially still under the name Best box, one goes to Efsi, a phonetic pronunciation of FSI in the seventies.

The company was moved to De Beitel in Heerlen. Initially, it was produced with the available molds. Later the molds were made by a company in Portugal. After making these dies ready-made, an alloy of zinc and aluminum (Zamak) was used to pour cars, lorries and buses. One had separate molds for the plastic parts, where the wheels, interiors, windows, bumpers were cast. The plastic came from DSM in the form of grains in various colors that Efsi mixed himself. The passenger cars were phased out in the late 1970s.

The maintenance of the dies and the machine park was carried out by EFSI engineers.

At the end of her life, Efsi was renamed in Holland-Oto. In 1986, after the closure of the FSI, the Holland-Oto molds were taken over by an entrepreneur from Weert. Efsi models can be found in Holland-Oto packaging. The former Efsi factory is still located on the Sourethweg in Heerlen, at the Beitel industrial site, opposite the former midwifery school (now called Imstenrade). The building is owned by the Employment Office Oostelijk Zuid-Limburg (WOZL).

Ron gives some interesting key that may explain why are there in proportion many more truck and van models than car modesl by Efsi. The passenger cars were phased out in the late 70s, and no new casts were produced. Trucks and vans usually take longer to be replaced in the market for new models... Also interesting that mention to a portuguese company... which company is it? There are not many die-cast manufacturers in Portugal.

The exact address to which Ron refers is Sourethweg 2, Heerlen. I captured some pictures from Google Maps.


  • Name: FORD TAUNUS 17M and OPEL REKORD (2511/401 and 405)
  • Scale: Around 1:64
  • Year: Around 1969 and 1972
  • Company: Best Box / Efsi (Netherlands)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Friday, September 7, 2018

#909 POLISTIL - BRM P 201, FERRARI 312 T2, WILLIAMS FW07, FERRARI 126 C3 and MCLAREN MP4 (RJ7, RJ55, RJ70, RN24 and RN25) (1976, 1978, 1980, 1983)

Something I enjoy while writing about Polistil F1s is browsing the wikipedia for the years in which they ran, who were their pilots and how well they did that year. It is very interesting and informative, reading what happened in the F1 seasons from the 70s and the 80s.

I collected 5 more race cars ranging from 1976 to 1983.

We will go from older to newer. And precisely the first one is the most interesting of the lot. From the 1976’s season, the BRM P 201 is a rare model. Except Polistil, I do not know any reproduction of the car in this scale. This is probably due to the fact that the car was not very good (the golden era of BRM was long gone) and this car did not achieve any points in the championships. This model was reproduced by other manufacturers too. As a reader of this blog pointed out, there are BRM P201s made by Yatming, Playart, Tintoys, Summer and TimmyToys... maybe even more.

Driven by Ian Ashley (with RN14) in 1976, it was also used the next season with the same number by driver Larry Perkins. The BRM team (Stanley BRM) ran its last season in 1977 and disappeared as such.

BRM P 201 (RJ7) – 1976, Ian Ashley RN14
FERRARI 312 T2 (RJ55) – 1978, Gilles Villeneuve RN12

The car is not in excellent shape but it is rare to find. I guess it did not sell as well as Ferraris and other faster cars back in the days. It has reference RJ7

The car near the BRM is, of course a Ferrari. Most accurately, the 312 T2 from 1978. This model represents the car driven by Gilles Villeneuve with RN12. He didn’t do a great season, ending 9th, but winning the last GP of the season in Canada. The figure in the cockpit is not original.

The William FW07 with Saudia stickers is one of the iconic cars of the 1979 and 1980 seasons. It was a great car, making a third place in 1979 (and winning 4 races) and winning in 1980. I am talking, of course, about the Australian Alan Jones. Both years he carried RN27. In 1980, Williams-Ford won the constructor’s championship with a huge difference to the second team.

MCLAREN MP4 (RN25) – Niki Lauda 1983, RN8
WILLIAMS FW07 (RJ70) – 1979 and 1980, Alan Jones RN27

The next car is a McLaren MP4 with RN8. This car was driven by Niki Lauda in the 1983 season. This was not a very successful one for the Austrian pilot: he got only 12 points in 11 races, making two podiums in the first two races, and then two 6th places. He would win his third championship the following season.

And finally, we see another Ferrari, this time the model that ran the 1983 season. The RN28 belonged to René Arnoux, who did a great season, ending 3rd, right in front of his colleague and countryman Patrick Tambay (RN27), what gave Ferrari the constructor’s trophy.

FERRARI 126 C3 (RN24) – 1983 René Arnoux RN8

  • Name: BRM P 201, FERRARI 312 T2, WILLIAMS FW07, FERRARI 126 C3 and MCLAREN MP4 (RJ7, RJ55, RJ70, RN24 and RN25)
  • Scale: 1:55
  • Year: 1976, 1978, 1983, 1980 and 1983 (respectively)
  • Company: Polistil (Italy)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm
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