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Friday, May 10, 2019

#925 CORGI JUNIORS and HOT WHEELS! - FORD MUSTANG, FORD SIERRA, RAYGO RASCAL 600 and JAGUAR XJR12 (1981, 1983, 1989 to 1995)

In the last years, I have found several Hot Wheels cars that I already had as Corgi Juniors. They are at first sight identical, so I was wondering how many of these are out there and what is the story behind them.

We already commented in previous entries that Mattel bought Corgi Toys in 1989, and sold it again to a management buyout in 1995. With this purchase, all casts from the Welsh company passed to Mattel.

During this period (89-95) Hot Wheels seems to have released 16 different models with their own marking on the base, some of them identical to the Corgi Juniors models, other with slight modifications and improvements in the casting. Some models were previously unissued, others were simply better casted. I cannot really see many improvements comparing one model with the other... But it is a curious thing havin the same cast with two different brands in their bases. There were other similar cases in the die-cast world.

The wheels were also changed in some models for another one more modern looking (like the Mustang below), some of these wheels models still look great, but other doesn´t. At the time, this change was a great thing.


For more info, the chapter devoted to Corgi models sold under Hot Wheels! brand can be read in Mac Ragan's book Hot Wheels Cars HERE.

The models presented in this entry are:

Ford Mustang Cobra – Orange version from 1981, white version with American flag is probably from the late 80s. Reference number 104A.







Hot Wheels! model from 1989 to 1995. Note the better looking wheels.






Ford Sierra 2.3 Ghia – Yellow version from 1983. Reference number 129A.
Hot Wheels! model from 1989 to 1995. In this case, with low quality wheels, shared with other brands and not very good looking. Maybe a later re-release?





Raygo Rascal 600 – practically identical to each other. Corgi Reference number 44A. Hot Wheels! model from 1989 to 1995. Sorry I could not take the pictures together, I am not sure if I have the Corgi version or not.




Jaguar XJR12 by Corgi, mid to end 90s. This final model is a Corgi Juniors model with Hot Wheels tampographies. Curious. I guess it is also available with Hot Wheels base. Again with the "less beautiful" wheel type.




FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: FORD MUSTANG COBRA (104A), FORD SIERRA 2.3 GHIA (129A), RAYGO RASCAL 600 (44A) and JAGUAR XJR12
  • Scale: Approx. 1:64
  • Year: 1981, 1983 and 1989 to 1995
  • Company: Corgi (Great Britain) and Hot Wheels! (U.S.A.)
  • Size: approx. 6 cm

Friday, April 26, 2019

#924 UNKNOWN MANUFACTURER - DINOSAUCERS PVC FIGURES (Around 1990)


In a previous entry (#629) I presented this bootleg series, and I already mentioned that there were only two figures/casts available. I also mentioned the figures in "rarer" colours (not yellow/orange). I even put some pictures of the second figure, but that figure was missing its tail.

Now that I own a complete figure, I will do another entry to show it. This figure’s body seems to be based on Bonehead, one of the main characters of the Dinosaucers cartoon, although, the head I would say belongs to Rex, the leader of the Tyrannos. It is difficult to say, because the uniforms that the different characters wear are similar to each other.


Unfortunately, the design is not very good, and the tail does not fit very well. Many second hand figures of this kind come without the tail. This was somewhat different in the figure shown before, in which the tail fits much better, and it is almost always complete.

Note also that this figure has one of the heads I was missing in my collection. It is similar to another one shown before, but this one has an open mouth, so I would say this one is Rex and the one with the open mouth is Bonehead. Now I am only missing one head (Ankylo, the Ankylosaurus) of the 6 available originally. As mentioned in the first entry. Each "body" came in a blister pack with 6 different heads.

Pic: Todocoleccion.net

The second figure shown in this entry is also made out of the same cast, but it is painted in a rare purple colour, and there is another picture on the Internet with green skin. All figures whose skin is not the classic light orange, is rare. Why didn´t the manufacturer use different base colours? In the TV series, the dinosaurs have different skin colours. This way, children may have bought several dinosaurs of each kind to cover more characters.


Interestingly, the base colour of the head is green, and the base colour of the body is brown. They had to use more paint and more time in the process of painting the figure purple than in the more common figures. Maybe the purple figures were a first release, and later they decided to cut down the costs by not producing these anymore?


FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: DINOSAUCERS PVC FIGURE
  • Alternate Names: ASTRO-DINOS (German)
  • Year: Around 1990
  • Company: Unknown Manufacturer (China)
  • Size of the figures: Around 10 cm

Monday, April 1, 2019

#923 MEIPY - HÉROES DE LA GALAXIA - ANDROR and TARA (1985)


Last month I joined many other Masters of the Universe fans worldwide to celebrate the 35th anniversary of this great toyline in Spain. A friend of mine with a few other colleagues is writing a book about this topic that will be published soon. The title is "Yo Tengo el Poder: La Historia de los Masters del Universo en España", haven't you heard about it yet? Visit their Facebook site for all information regarding this topic, and don't miss the release!

 

Note that the book "Yo Tengo el Poder" does not only talk about Mattel's Masters, but also about other figures that bootlegged or were inspired by them, I am quite sure they will extensively cover this toyline we are going to talk about today, so if you are interested, you will be able to read more there.

I will start this time with the blister pack, reminiscent of the Star Wars movies, with a Tie-Fighter on the right side and another spaceship on the left, both in front of some unknown planets. The logo of the collection is clearly made after Masters of the Universe. The backcard shows the first 4 figures, although there is a second type of cardback that shows 8 figures, the complete collection.

Note that the figures are clearly inspired by He-Man, Skeletor, Beast Man, Teela, plus other characters that share characteristics with other Masters or characters of other movies. I own two figures, both in their blisterpacks:

Andror (Servidor del Imperio Oscuro) (Ref. 113)

Andror, the server of the Dark Empire is a remarkable character for having a fire sword and some metal armour and mask that gives him a rather menacing look. Among the first four, is the only character that does not have a clear counterpart in the Masters of the Universe world.


Tara (Reina de los Guerreros Zarka) (Ref. 114)

Tara is the only woman in the collection and comes with a sword and is wearing some kind of bikini. Interestingly, this amazon warrior does not appear in its own backcard


All figures come with exchangeable weapons and the blister is fixed to the card with staples.

These figures are very interesting, like all bootlegs are, and not much is currently known about the company. Meipy also made some other plastic figures (like the Meipy-Ñecos) and also other novelty products for kiosks like hairspins. There is an interview with the company owners in the Coleccionismo de Juguetes magazine nr. 13, but I haven't read it. Surely very interesting.



The second type of blister is this one that shows eight figures instead of four. Here we can observe the characters Zarkan (He-Man with longer hair), Serpidor (Skeletor with a reptilian twist) and Lioman (pretty much Beast Man).

Also present are Tara and three more characters. The first of this triplet is Icaron, a winged warrior the reminds me strongly of Pygar, a character in Barbarella (Roger Vadim, 1968). This character is the only one using a firearm.

Finally there are Volcam and Gladiator, two figures very similar to each other that look like a crossing between Man-At-Arms and a Roman gladiator. Volcam has a club as a weapon and Gladiator an axe.

Picture taken from coleccionismo80-90.blogspot.com
I wish I had more of these figures. If you want to see all of them, you can also visit coleccionismo80-90.blogspot.com, where Pablo has collected all blisters except one (but has this figure loose).

In my backcard somebody wrote with a pencil the price of the figure: 200 pesetas (that is 1,20 Euro). I think the price is original (I mean, it was written back in the mid or late 80s). I would say the price is quite high for such a toy, what maybe explains why they were not sold massively and are difficult to find nowadays.

Although I never saw them for sale in the 80s, they were widely available until somebody (or maybe some people) decided to take all of them from the popular auction site where they were available. Now there is none (or at least none complete with its accesory). Maybe they become valuable collectables in the next years, who knows?

Read more about Masters of the Universe in these links!





FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: ANDROR and TARA (Ref. 113 and 114)
  • Toy Line: HÉROES DE LA GALAXIA
  • Year: 1985
  • Company: Meipy (Spain)
  • Size of the figures: Around 9 cm

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

#922 HE-MAN - ROCKET DISK POWER PACK and TURBO TORMENTOR (1989)


This month I am joining many other Masters of the Universe fans worldwide to celebrate the 35th anniversary of this great toyline in Spain. A friend of mine with a few other colleagues is writing a book about this topic that will be published soon. The title is "Yo Tengo el Poder: La Historia de los Masters del Universo en España", haven't you heard about it yet? Visit their Facebook site for all information regarding this topic, and don't miss the release!
 

The New Adventures of He-Man started with a big set of figures and interesting vehicles in sizes ranging from small (Bolajet / Shuttle Pod) to huge (Starship Eternia). But that first wave also included two small accesories sold in blisterpacks, whose price was approximately the same than the price of a figure in a single pack. My Rocket Disk blister is tagged for 1.100 pesetas (6,60 euro), but I doubt this was its retail price, seems a bit too high for me. The price tag does not look very professional, so maybe it comes from a reseller or small toy shop.

Masters of the Universe, the vintage line, also had some battle accesories, but, again, not many considering the length and the number of references in the complete collection.



Well, the two accesories made for the He-Man toyline were the Rocket Disk Power Pack for He-Man or whoever heroic warrior was around and the Turbo Tormentor for Skeletor or any of his friends. These were small and cute backpacks that could be attached by means of a plastic harness to the figure and that had some shooting/firing function.

The Rocket Disk Power Pack could launch discs similarly to the Blaster Hawk from 1985, only in a much smaller scale. Each blister included 3 orange disks, that could be carried along: two in a special compartment, and the third one "loaded", ready to be fired by activating the corresponding trigger. The design is simple, but includes some kind of laser cannon on top to make it slightly more interesting (otherwise it would look just like a box).


The Turbo Tormentor also launches discs, but these fly like a propeller. The blister pack included two disks, either in bright yellow or in greenish yellow. The launcher is located at one side of the figure, with the tip over the shoulder. The backpack has again a slot where one of the disks can be carried, while the second one is loaded. The design is kind of more elaborated, not just because of the unsymmetric way to carry it, but also because the launcher looks like a futuristic cannon (not like a box).

The propeller stuff is a classic feature seen in many toys through the years, and a specially funny one.

While the first accesory commented in this entry was available worldwide, the Turbo Tormentor was an euro-exclusive item. I do not know the reason behind it, and it doesn´t seem to be due to law restrictions or safety regulations about shooting toys (there are later toys with this same feature available). Then why?

Many collectors claim that the mechanism behind the Turbo Tormentor never actually worked correctly, so maybe, after Mattel checked that this was actually happening, decided not to distribute this reference in the United States... it is also a possibility since it is also something that already happened before with Darius. Another posibility is that the propellers are actually too fragile and break easily, like Hasbro claimed when they recalled Roadblock v4. Despite being an European only release, the prices for this item are low or even very low, being very easy to find carded even today (30 years after its release). Same happens with the Rocket Disk accesory, it is also very easy to find.

Another comment... like the bubbles of the figure´s blister cards, these two accesories also carried sometimes the sticker promoting the "new" masters of the universe toyline, but the two carded toys I own unfortunately do not carry them.

Read more about Masters of the Universe in these links!




FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: Rocket Disk Power Pack (Nr. 3533) and Turbo Tormentor (Nr. 3531)
  • Toy Line: He-Man (also New Adventures of He-Man) (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1989
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 14 cm, backpacks are maybe 4 or 5 cm wide

Saturday, March 9, 2019

#921 MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE - FISTO and WHIPLASH (Ref. 7015 and 4935) (1984)



This month I am joining many other Masters of the Universe fans worldwide to celebrate the 35th anniversary of this great toyline in Spain. A friend of mine with a few other colleagues is writing a book about this topic that will be published soon. The title is "Yo Tengo el Poder: La Historia de los Masters del Universo en España", haven't you heard about it yet? Visit their Facebook site for all information regarding this topic, and don't miss the release!
 

My entry today will deal with two figures from the 3rd wave (1984): Fisto and Whiplash.

I got Fisto as a kid. If I recall well, it was one of my first three or four figures, and one of my favorites since back then. The concept is pretty cool, with that huge metal fist, and the action feature, although a bit simple, was also amazing. Probably it is the feature I used most among all figures.
The figure itself, leaving the fist aside, is not very interesting: it has the classic cast and one of the classic armours too. The head gets more attention, since there were not so many characters with a beard. The colour mix: grey, purple and brown is a plus, I would say, and the long sword is also unique and cool. I guess it had to be a sword, because his counterpart Jitsu also had one (a sword fits better to Jitsu than it fits to Fisto).


 


Whiplash, on the other hand, is a figure I never had, although at least two friends of mine had it, and I played with it when visiting them. Despite buying it a few years ago, being already an adult collector, I have a certain weakness for the character, since it was my nickname in the community forum "Nueva Dominion - Eternia", where I used to post regularly and where I met some other collectors and people who became friends until today and beyond. 

Back to the figure, it is based on a great concept, a muscled lizard that striked with its tail. In "battle" it is not a very practical feature, it is more handy to use the waist twist to punch other figures than to hit them with the tail, but it doesn't matter! It simply looks cool and makes the figure unique. The colour combination is not very original, just mixing two different shades of green (lizard=>green), and probably did not appel children as it does with adult collectors.

The figure came with an orange spear, matching its orage belt. This spear was originally straight, but with the time, if not kept horizontal, it tends to bend. Mine is not so bad.





I would like to say that I own two versions of Fisto (shown in the following picture). Note the different hair colour, the different shades of purple in the armour and the slips and the size of the head. The figure on the left is the one I had as a kid, and it was made in France. The plastic in his left leg is a bit damaged, but interestingly, this happened back in the 80s, maybe it was a factory production error. The figure on the right was made in Malaysia. Both swords are slightly broken, they are very hard to find unbroken due to its fragility.


The variants in the MOTU world are becoming more and more intereting for collectors. What are we waiting for to start a variants webpage like the one for Kenner's Star Wars at "The Imperial Gunnery"?

I also have this illustration from a Fisto card, which depicts our hero hitting no less than Skeletor. Great art!

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: FISTO (Ref. 7015) and WHIPLASH (Ref. 4935)
  • Toy Line: Masters of the Universe (Wave 3)
  • Year: 1984
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 5½’’ or 14 cm

Friday, February 22, 2019

#920 LARGO TOYS - THE LEGEND BRUCE LEE vs BATTLING MARTIAL WARRIORS (Around 1987)


Yet another company that has disappeared leaving no trace at all on the internet. Probably because it disappeared long before the common use of Internet was established and nobody has written anything yet.

What seems clear to me is that LarGo is probably a Hong-Kongese company with its headquarters in New York, so, officially, it is an American company, but the production was made in Hong Kong and the kind of toys they produced were very typical of those years, could be classified as novelty toys. Remember that Bruce Lee was American and Hong-Kongese. Also note that he died in 1973 and this toy was made later.






Apart from this series, about which we will talk next, they also made play-role weapons set for Rambo or Silverhawks, the kind of blisterpack with a gun, a knife, a compass and a couple of bits more that can be found not in toystores but in fairs and popular events. Both series mentioned seem to be built with an official license, they are not bootlegs or knock-offs, they look 100% legal.

This Bruce Lee series is the only series with action figures I have found on the Internet. They also had one line with plastic figures, some kind of beast-warriors that ride giant insects called Stingers and Wings, and a subline of The Legend of Bruce Lee, also with PVC plastic, static figures.

Finally, I have seen pictures of a Robotech robot character, but I am unsure if it hat some action feature, or if it was articulated.

Back to the figures, the blister pack is very nice. It shows a very well designed logo and a picture of Bruce Lee. It is also kind of original because it includes two figures placed left and right, leaving some space in between.


The first figure is Bruce Lee, with black trousers (real cloth) and naked torso. It comes with one accessory or weapon. The face is well casted, this figure really looks like the martial artist.

The second figure is an unknown character with moustache. This figure comes with black trousers and black and red kimono shirt. It also comes with a bo. I assume this character is a bad guy, maybe THE bad guy, since is the only figure I have seen in this collection other than Mr. Lee, although it sometimes comes in an all-black outfit. The moustache and his angry gesture also goes in this direction.

The figures come with articulations on waist, neck and arms, but the legs are fixed.

The weapons are not very realistic. Unfortunately, the nunchuck from Bruce Lee is made of yellow plastic, but well, it is a toy from the 80s and for kids, not for adult collectors. And despite this, I love these figures.



The importer of these figures for Spain was again Hisinsa, that during the late 80s brought us lots of bootleg figures in this style.



FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: BRUCE LEE and UNKNOWN CHARACTER
  • Toy Line: THE LEGEND BRUCE LEE vs BATTLING MARTIAL WARRIORS
  • Year: Around 1987
  • Company: Largo Toys (U.S.A. / Hong-Kong)
  • Size of the figures: 14 cm (5,5'')
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