Thursday, November 16, 2017

#876 TRANSFORMERS MICROMASTERS - BATTLE and OFFROAD PATROLS (1989)




Another two squads of Micromasters for my collection. 
 
The first one is the Battle Patrol, Note this includes four figures, some of them with movable parts that are sometimes missing. That is why it took me a little bit to complete all of them. I had three of them since a long time ago, but one of them was missing its cannon.

The members of this squad are (left to right): Big Shot, Sunrunner, Sidetrack and Flak.



BATTLE PATROL
  • Faction: Autobots
  • Subgroup: Micromasters
  • Function: Rapid Deployment Strike Force
  • Motto: "It is better to strike first, then to not strike at all!"
  • Bio: This tough-talking, battle-hardened foursome believes that the best offense is one that's fast, furious, and ferocious! They don't slow down until the enemy has been defeated and thrown into the scrap pile! With this in mind, Big Shot, Sidetrack, Flak, and Sunrunner use their brute force capabilities to hammer their Micromaster adversaries with devastating attacks! .
  • Tech Specs for the Rapid Deployment Force:
    • Strength: 9
    • Intelligence: 7
    • Speed: 6
    • Endurance: 8
    • Team Work: 8
    • Courage: 9
    • Firepower: 6
    • Skill: 8
BIG SHOT
  • Motto: "One good shot is worth a hundred bad ones!"
FLAK
  • Motto: "Good luck is the residue of good planning."
SIDETRACK
  • Motto: "A battle that isn't worth winnin' isn't worth fightin'!"
TUNRUNNER
  • Motto: "Rule the skies and the ground will bow before you."

 
The second patrol is the Offroad patrol. Its member are (left to right): Powertrain, Mudslinger, Highjump and Tote.



 This series is simpler in contruction, are usually complete, since they came with no cannons or small movable parts.



OFFROAD PATROL
  • Faction: Autobots
  • Subgroup: Micromasters
  • Function: Covert Activities
  • Motto: "Don't follow orders, follow instincts."
  • Bio: This quartet has an independence streak that runs as long as the Appalachian Trail. Experts at covert operations. Always work well together in any combat situation. Specialize in going where no one's ever gone and doing what no one's ever done. Continually caught up in some sort of enemy intrigue. Autobot Command trusts them to come up with brilliant counter-measures to be sprung on the Decepticons.
  • Tech Specs for the Offroad Patrol:
    • Strength: 6
    • Intelligence: 9
    • Speed: 3
    • Endurance: 8
    • Team Work: 9
    • Courage: 8
    • Firepower: 9
    • Skill: 6
POWERTRAIN
  • Motto: "If I can't go through it, I go over it"
MUDSLINGER
  • Motto: "No Road is too Rough. No Foe too Tough."
HIGHJUMP
  • Motto: "Keep it Down and Dirty."
TOTE
  • Motto: "A rolling Autobot gathers the most Decepticons."

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: MICROMASTERS BATTLE PATROL and OFFROAD PATROL
  • Toy Line: TRANSFORMERS (G1)
  • Year: 1989
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: Around 5 cm

Monday, November 13, 2017

#875 GOULA - COLEGIO (Ref. 600) (Around 1979)


As a kid I had a construction set from this brand. Now it is lost, but I would really like to find it and play with it, right now. Unfortunately, it was probably thrown away years ago, so I won't be able to do this.

Instead, I found this nice set in a flea market several years ago, the pieces are similar, although in the set I was referring to, there were basically building parts with a few cars, people and even some trees. On the contrary, this set includes only school or class furniture and people, but still the style of the manufacturer cannot be mistaken. The wood is very light coloured (light brown) and many pieces have some colour applied in one side, always in basic/plain colours.

Both the set I owned as a kid, and this one I have now belong to a celebrated series called "Construcción Urbis". They were the classic contruction block set, maybe in a smaller size than the usual game (probably to keep the prices as low as possible), and with dedicated sets including particular pieces not available in other sets. The series was divided in several subgroups according to the size of the box: Urbis, Urbis-2, Urbis-3... up to Urbis-5, which included the biggest boxes with the highest amount of pieces. Some sets were also available in bags.

Note for example this curious school class. The blocks have the shapes of desks, chairs an blackboards, and this pieces, of course were especific to this set. There are also some figures included, but they are made of plastic. It would be much more expensive to produce them in wood, but earlier versions of this game had wooden figures, in a less realistic style, and curiously, the teacher was a nun (something not very unusual at the time in Spain). The figures are slightly flat, in the tin soldiers style. My set is probably missing two pupils (at least compared with the picture in the box cover).




Note the nice sculpt of the different furniture: teacher´s desk (with platform), blackboard, pupil´s desk... it is a very interesting construction set, maybe also intended to be a toy for girls?

Among the boxes in this Urbis series and this size, which I think it was the smallest one (17x11 cm), the references were:
  • 600 Colegio (School)
  • 601 Granja (Farm)
  • 602 Fuerte (Fort)
  • 603 Garajes (Garages)
  • 604 Estación (Train Station)
  • 605 Aeropuerto (Airport)
  • 606 Zoo
  • 607 Castillo (Castle)

And now a few lines about the manufacturer. The company which made this toy is Goula, a Spanish company that is still active, although now it is part of a bigger concern, as it is Diset.

Theirofficial website (http://www.goula.es/content/sobre-goula-15) tells us the story of a family business run since 1942. The brand name comes from the surname of the founder Josep Goula from Vic (near Barcelona).

The business probably derived from a carpenter´s workshop especialized in Christmas decoration goods. Soon they started producing wooden toys for children (around 1950) and since then, they have been participating in the Toy Fair in Nurenberg every year.

Currently their toys still use wood, but sometimes combined with other materials, like cloth or cardboard. The design is still being made in Barcelona, although nothing is said about production...

Goula is part of the Diset group and is the leader manufacturer in wooden toys in Spain. It exports to more than 60 countries. Great! I wonder if they ever thought about reissuing these Urbis sets. Do you think they would have any commercial success nowadays?

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: COLEGIO (Ref. 600)
  • Year: Around 1979
  • Company: Goula (Spain)

Friday, November 10, 2017

#874 NOREV MINI JET - FIAT 131 S and FORD MUSTANG (1982)



Another Fiat 131 S for the collection, this time made by Norev.





The Ford Mustang is also quite nice. Usually a model in which lots of people are interested in.





FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name:FIAT 131 S and FORD MUSTANG (Nr. 417 and 424)
  • Scale: Approx 1:64
  • Year: 1982
  • Company: Norev (France)
  • Size: 6 cms

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

#873 BIEDERMEIER (LIDYA L. DEWIEL) and ZINN (RENATE DOLZ) (HEYNE BÜCHER)


This is a rare series of books edited in Germany in the early 70s dealing with antiquities. In principle, these books have nothing to do with toys, but, interestingly, most of them include at least a short chapter dealing with toys.

I have two books.

The first book is Biedermeier, an is written by Lydia L. Dewiel. Biedermeier is an historic period that goes from 1815 to 1848 and is specific to central Europe. It is commonly used to refer specificly to the arts an crafts that flourisched during those years, althought the term can be also used in a wider sense. This book includes a short chapter about toys:

The second one is Zinn by Renate Dolz, that explores the different types of objects made of tin and tin-based alloys (pewter) throught the ages. The last chapter is dedicated to tin figures, and although it is quite short it includes a nice introduction to the topic.

There are many other books in this series, I will definitely buy them if I have the chance. All are illustrated with drawings of objects, and also some photographies.

Monday, November 6, 2017

#872 TMNT - ROCKSTEADY (SOFT HEAD) (1988)


I got this figure by chance in a bigger lot. I was very surprised to find that the head of the figure was not like every other TMNT figure I have, but made of soft plastic, like some Masters of the Universe, if you know what I am talking about.

Apparently, soft-head turtles were the very first toys produced. To minimice risks, Playmates decided to make a first run keeping production costs as low as possible. The line may flop, as many other toylines have, so they took this decision. Of course, when they notice the big sale numbers, and the amazing success of the toyline, there was green light to produce hard, more qualitative plastic heads for all figures that had soft plastic heads. These were all figures except April.

*April also had a first version with a different paintwork (no stripes in the trousers), which is also quite difficult and expensive to find.

Hard Head (left) and Soft Head (right) Versions

These are more scarce, and more expensive to buy. They also came with lower quality accesories and a poorer paintwork.


Apparently, there are some figures which are rarer than others. According to the eBay's subtlethinker's Guide To Collecting Classic TMNT, the four turtles and Shredder are more difficult to find than Splinter, Bebop and Roksteady. And among the turtles, Donatello seems to be the rarest.

The soft-head TMNT figures were packaged with a Turtles Fan Club form, so even if they are MOC, they can be identified without opening the blisterpack. Well, the head looks slightly different, so I guess an expert could even identifiy one of these even in a picture.


FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: ROCKSTEADY (SOFT HEAD)
  • Toy Line: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Playmates (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 3.75’’ or 9,75 cm

Friday, November 3, 2017

#871 PIATNIK - AUTO-QUARTETT (Nr. 298) (1963)



What an amazing deck of cards I got! This is now one of the oldest car quartetts I own.

The game has 9 families, some of them are car types (oldtimers, trucks and racing) while other are countries (Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain, U.S.A. and a mixture of other countries).







Each car or vehicle is drawn, not photographed, over a (one or two) solid color(s) background. The result is amazing, a real design from the 50s and early 60s.

These set came in a plastic box and is a reedition. Aparently there are earlier versions from 1958 and 1961, I guess the earliest, if not both, came in the cardboard box. Note that in the “Racers” family, there are two models that indicate 1963.
According to Quartett-Blog, there are nine different set for this reference number:
  • 1959-1962: Auto-Quartett, with red Citroen ID 19 (4 different sets)
  • 1963-1967: Auto-Quartett, with yellow Citroen ID 19 (5 different sets)

Some (very few) cards seem to be different from one set to the other, but unfortunately, I have only this one, so I cannot compare.

The back of the cards show a tyre.



FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: AUTO QUARTETT (Ref. 298)
  • Year: 1963
  • Company: Piatnik (Austria)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

#870 MINIFLEX - VOLKSWAGON (VW 1300) (Nr. 4) (Around 1970)


I got this car together in a bigger lot with several die-cast models. I didn’t pay much attention to it at the beginning, but later that “Hong-Kong” in the base and the Miniflex brand made me thought. I knew similar toy cars made by Tomte of Norway and this one is actually very very similar in construction, material, colour and wheels.


It is the only one I have from this brand, and the only one I will probably ever have. Apparently Miniflex are rare knock-offs of other toys made by the mentioned Tomte, VynilLine, Galanite and other brands. Many of them were very famous in Scandinavia and Germany, but quite unknown in the rest of the world.


Unfortunately, nothing is known about the manufacturer.



There are 18 known models and they are numbered in the base. This “VOLKSWAGON” (note the misspelled word in the base) is number 4, and it is known only in blue. Other references seem to have been made in several colours.




Please visit this webpage: http://www.plastbilar.se/miniflex.htmhttp://www.plastbilar.se/miniflex.htm for more information about Miniflex and similar toy cars. It is in Swedish, but currently, the language is not a barrier anymore if you have the right translator. In the Miniflex sub-section of the website, there is a picture that shows an original Mini-Flex box, obviously based on Corgi Toys in yellow and blue colours, and with the text “Scale Model Cars” written in a similar typography than the one used by the company from Swansea.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: VOLKSWAGON (VW 1300) (Nr. 4)
  • Scale: 1:43
  • Year: around 1970
  • Company: Miniflex (Hong-Kong)
  • Size: approx. 9 to 10 cm

Saturday, October 28, 2017

#869 MAJORETTE - PEUGEOT 205 TURBOOM (1987)



Making innovative toys for children in the die-cast world is quite difficult. Darda made a great cars with a very strong pull-back motor, and Hot Wheels made excellent models that simulated having an accident. Many toys have used powder caps, like cap guns, or He-Man Thunder Punch, but combining all three features in one toy has only been made by Majorette.



In 1987, Majorette had already made a motor that was similar to Darda’s for its “Motor” series. This series, as explained in entry #803 was quite short, but the motor designed for it was reused in the Turboom series that we are talking about now.



So what is so special about Turboom? Well, it is a series in which the cars simulate an accident in a very realistic way. The hood/bonnet and the doors open when the car crashes, and on top of this, there is a powder cap that produces a very loud sound.


Of course to flint the powder the car has to crash at a very high speed, and that is why you need a very strong motor. The powder cap is placed below the hood, where it will be hit by a rod coming from the “main” part of the car everytime it crashes. Of course the car is still fun without the powder caps, only it won’t produce any noise.

This line is very very short, counting only two models (a Peugeot 205 and an unidentified Pick-Up truck). They were simply named Turboom 1 and Turboom 2. Each model came in two decorations. However, in the following years, other variants were released, so there are a few rare cars out there that do not appear in the catalogue image below.



The pick-up truck is even more interesting, since with each crash, the hood and the canopy will detach. In the case of the Peugeot 205 nothing detaches, so nothing can get lost.

To play with these cars and crash them against each other, there was a special track made, using parts of the Majorette Motor series tracks, but crossing them in a way that there is a chance that the cars will collide.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: TURBOOM 1 (PEUGEOT 205)
  • Scale: Approx. 1:64
  • Year: 1987
  • Company: Majorette (France)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

#868 PLAYART - JAGUAR E-TYPE 2+2, LOTUS ELITE and PORSCHE 928 (Ref. 7123, 7199, 7201) (Around 1982)

Here are a few more Playarts with similar reference numbers. This time, all three vehicles are sport cars.

7123 JAGUAR E-TYPE 2+2 (Corgi Juniors Knock-Off)






7199 LOTUS ELITE (TOMICA Knock-Off)





7201 PORSCHE 928





FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: JAGUAR E-TYPE 2+2, LOTUS ELITE and PORSCHE 928 (Ref. 7123, 7199, 7201)
  • Scale: Approx. 1:64
  • Year: Around 1982
  • Company: Playart (Hong-Kong)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm
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