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Friday, February 8, 2019

#919 SCALE MODEL SPORT MOTORCYCLE - KAWASAKI Z-SERIES? (1983)



This is a plastic motorbike made in Hong-Kong by an unknown manufacturer, but imported to Italy by a company called R.M.G.

With that name, it is kind of difficult to trace back which company is that. It is copyrighted in 1983 and labelled as "Scale Model Sport Motorcycle". At first sight I thought it may be a Mercury knock-off (same scale and detail level, much worse quality), but now I think it is just a motorbike made in the same scale.


Regarding the quality, note the orange part on one side should be over the exhaust pipe, and not below it.

The motorbike seems to be a Kawasaki (that´s what the sticker says) and it definitely looks like some early 80s models from the Z-series, like Z750, Z500, and so on, but the exhaust pipes are kind of strange. I haven´t found any Kawasaki with this kind of seemingly inverted pipes, they all have rather low ones.



Maybe during the production, they run of the proper exhaust pipes and mounted those from another model, or maybe there were only just one model for all motorbikes? I am not sure if many of these motorbikes have survived to this day. I would say any motorbike removed from its package has certainly been damaged or destroyed by play. The plastic parts, like the brake levers, race number holder, mudguards and so on look so fragile, that I cannot imagine that a played motorbike is still 100% complete.

Anyone has one of these new and in a box? How many models were made?
Which is this R.M.G. misterious company? Too many questions. In any case, the motorbike is a curious toy, looks nice in it box and deserves being in this blog.



FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: SCALE MODEL SPORT MOTORCYCLE (KAWASAKI Z-SERIES)
  • Scale: Around 1:32
  • Year: 1983
  • Company: R.M.G. (Italy) / Unknown Manufacturer (Hong-Kong)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Monday, January 21, 2019

#918 UNKNOWN MANUFACTURER – GERMAN PLASTIC FERRARI and LOTUS F1 (Around 1982)

I have three cars of this series bought in the last 10 years or so. I thought they might be promotional items, but in the early 80s these kind of novelty toys were very common in kiosks and small toy shops.

RN 2



Among the probable makers, I discarded Manurba, but I am not familiar with many other German novelty toy makers or importers from these years, I also discard Hans Postler (H.P.) because this company was mostly an importer, and the toy is marked "Made in W. Germany".

The Formula Ones are models from the early 70s, made in bright plastic with black wheels and metal axles. The car usually has three parts: body, chassis and motor. Due to the colour, the casting´s details are difficult to see. The cars come with different racing numbers and they have a nice casting. Note also that the same Ferrari base has been applied to two different cars (yellow an green models)!

RN 5



They are similar to others made by Matchbox or Majorette, but I would say they are own casts.

The cars are marked "Made in W. Germany", plus the car brand, for example "Ferrari".

Has anyone out there some information on these?

RN 6




FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: FERRARI, FERRARI and LOTUS F.1
  • Scale: Around 1:64
  • Year: Around 1982
  • Company: Unknown Manufacturer (West Germany)
  • Size: approx. 6 cm

Sunday, January 6, 2019

#917 UNKNOWN MANUFACTURER - PLASTIC CAVEMEN FROM THE 90s


I found this cheap figures in a flea market. I couldn´t resist! they are so cool and would be perfect to display along with my Ice Age Dino Riders or to make other nice diorama photoshoots.

The person who sold them to me had a lot of toys from the early 2000s, and nothing from the 90s or older. Later I found another figure in a big lot of figures from various decades, being the newer from the mid 90s. I also asked Hugh from Small Scale World about them, and he told me that they came in sets with plastic dinosaurs, so they were probably popular after each Jurassic Park movie in the 90s. That is why I think they were probably made in the early 90s, and reused and resold many times since then. Hugh already informed me, that they are "generic" figures, that is, figures that have been sold under many brands and in very different sets over many years, so it is difficult to trace back those casts to one manufacturer.



No matter what, these four figures may not be the complete set, they represent cavemen in different positions. One is holding a stone over his head, another one is walking with a club in his hand, another is crouching and lighting a fire with two stones, and the last one seems to be collecting something from the ground.

I took several pictures of these figures that I present now.






FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: UNKNOWN CAVEMEN
  • Year: Around 1990?
  • Company: Unknown Manufacturer (China)
  • Size of the figures: 3 to 5 cm

Sunday, December 23, 2018

#916 FIGURAS EN ACCIÓN (F.E.A.) Nr. 19 + THE ZOMBOOK (ALLAN GRAVES)



This is the newest issue of Figuras En Acción. It is a classical issue with a set of various (and varied) articles, in which one article about Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos and other Chuck Norris´ figures tower above the rest.

We also interview Martin Cage from Distinctive Dummies and Miguel De Luna, a Mexican Madelman collector. There are other two great articles dealing with Masters of the Universe 200x and a promotional set of figures from the TV series "Wisdom of the Gnomes" (in Spanish "La llamada de los gnomos"), as well as an article gathering a psychologist´s opinions on different kind of toys, like weapons, soldiers, board games, video games, disguises and so on.

A few other sections complete over 80 pages of vintage toy stories and images: news, books, museums and more.

Free download from the official blog of the magazine: 

I continue with another publication I have read in the last months.

 
The Zombook is not a book about toys, although some pages show toy figures customized as zombies. It is a book about art: painting, drawing, design, photography, make-up... and very different styles: from completely realistic to cartoonish, everything can be found in this eclectic volume.

Allan Graves gathered a group of over 100 international artists to provide the ultimate collection of Zombie art, and compiled everything in an imposing volume (approximately A4 size, hardcover, exquisite printing...) released by Grafitto. The book contains several chapters that follow the different stages of becoming a zombie, starting with "outbreak", and ending with "Apocalypse" and "Survival".

The mixed set of styles through the pages of this book make it fun and even surprising at times. Some of the images have also references to movie, television, celebrities or pop culture in general, and in many cases they have a certain dosis of black humour.

Very highly recommended!

Monday, December 10, 2018

#915 FOX´S PETER PAN AND THE PIRATES - ROBERT MULLINS AND ALF MASON (1991)


I was not aware of this toyline until, by chance I got two figures in a bigger lot of stuff. I think this TV series from 1990 and 1991 was shortly aired in Spain after the great success of Steven Spielberg´s Hook, maybe in 1992 or 1993.

If I recall well, the series was kind of disturbing to me, since the characters were very different from the Disney ones, or from the ones in the movie, and I couldn´t recognise most of them.


This toyline saw only one wave with 8 action figures (plus four plush dolls, sold only in America and not displayed in the European card shown in this entry). I am not sure if the toyline was initially intended for girls only or for both boys and girls, fact is that the female figures are very much doll-like, while the male figures look more like real action figures. I have these two pirates only. Note that they come with two action features each. The first one is some sword attack movement tha can be activated by pushing the button in their backs. The second one is activated pushing the button in their chest, and makes the figure lose its hat or fall its pants, which is something very cartoonish and funny.

Of course these pirates are quite secondary characters in the story. The collection also features Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Captain Hook and Wendy, plus the Mermaid (I do not recall any Mermaid, do you?) and Smee, who seems to be a third pirate.

The toyline is interesting, and apart from the U.S., it seems to have been only available in Great Britain, France, Germany and Spain, distributed by Ideal. They were sold in a small scale (compared to, for example, Mattel´s Hook), maybe this is due to the fact that the toymaker, namely THQ, Inc. was not a big player at the time.

THQ is an abbreviation for Toy HeadQuarters and was founded in April 1990 by one of LJN founders, Jack Friedman, after investing 1 million dollar. Only a few months later, in September, THQ acquired one videogame company called Broderbund, famous for Lode Runner or Prince of Persia. On January 1991, THQ released the videogame based on this same TV series, and was called "Peter Pan and the Pirates". The company grew rapidly when it was acquired by an investing fund called Trinity Acquisition Corp. With that fresh money, other videogame companies were added to the corporation, like Black Pearl Software in 1993. THQ Inc stopped produced toys in 1994, focusing only on videogames. Jack Friedman left the company in 1995 to found Jakks Pacific.



There were very few toylines made by this company, all of them very unknown, but some of them based on popular movies. Note for example the figure of Kevin or the board game from the movie Home Alone or Strawberry Shortcake dolls. A curious line was a set of figures representing the rap singer known as Vanilla Ice, who became hugely popular in 1990.



The company continued making videogames until 2012, releasing titles for many different platforms, from PC to Nintendo Wii or Playstation 3. Because I do not know much about videogames, and it is not the goal of this blog to talk about them, I will skip this part. This information can be found in many other websites.



FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: ROBERT MULLINS AND ALF MASON
  • Toy Line: FOX´S PETER PAN AND THE PIRATES
  • Year: 1991
  • Company: THQ (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: Around 10 cm

Sunday, November 25, 2018

#914 FAIE - MATRA SIMCA 670 (No. 8207) and PORSCHE 936 TURBO (No. 8208) (Around 1986)


Faie is another well-known manufacturer from which there is nothing to read out there. I wish we would still have breithaupts website, where we would probably be able to read a very educated article about this brand.

Unfortunately, there is nothing we know of this company, except that it was based in Hong-Kong, and it disappeared by the mid-90s. Their models are nicely done, some of them are copies of other major brands, some are shared with other similar brands like Tintoys. At some point the company moved the production lines to China, so some blisters are marked "Made in China".







The Matra seems to be copied from Majorette while the Porsche is somewhat similar to Tomica. I cannot confirm any of these assumptions, even though I have both the Majorette and the Tomica.

The variey of models is quite big, counting sport cars, F1s, sport prototypes, vans, trucks, utilitary cars...





They are quite rare, I am not sure if the newer models are all marked in the base or not. I guess they are not, so it is very difficult to recognise them against other models like the above mentioned Tintoys. That is maybe the reason why they are so difficult to find.

I have just two. The Porsche I own it since at least 15 years or so, while the Matra has been found recently in a flea market.

I wish I could tell more about these brand, but I cannot. If someone has more information, please do not hesitate to leave some comment below, so I can contact you.

 


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: MATRA SIMCA 670 (No. 8207) and PORSCHE 936 TURBO (No. 8208)
  • Scale: 1:64
  • Year: Around 1986
  • Company: Faie (Hong Kong)
  • Size: approx. 6 cm

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.


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

Monday, October 22, 2018

#912 MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE - LASER POWER HE-MAN (Ref. 7060) (1988)


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: http://toysfromthepast.blogspot.com/search/label/Masters%20of%20the%20Universe

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: LASER POWER HE-MAN (Ref. 7060)
  • Alternate Names: HE-MAN ESPADA LUMINOSA (Spain), HE-MAN SPADA LUMINOSA (Italy), MUSCLOR GLAIVE SUPREME (France)
  • Toy Line: Masters of the Universe (Wave 7)
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 5½’’ or 14 cm
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