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Saturday, March 23, 2019

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


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!

 

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'')

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
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