Entry #6 dealt with the motocross Honda, so this is the second time that we deal with this toy line from Mattel. This time, another “sports” vehicle: the Boat ‘n Buggy set.
Released in 1973, this set is a huge blue buggy (it was also released in other sets in yellow), with two seats, steering wheel, and very nice stickers. The car is equipped with a tow-ball (a “tow-bar” actually) in which the boat trailer can be towed.
The boat is more interesting, because it’s made of plastic and it floats. It consists of several parts: two seats (thwarts), the engine and two rows that fit two holes at the sides. Although it’s a bit unstable, it can carry up to two figures. The main problem is that the plastic is relatively thin, and it breaks easily.
To complete the set, there are three more accessories: a box to carry fishing apparel, a fishing rod with a rather long thread and a hook, and a big fish. The box can be placed at the back of the buggy, and the rod seems to be missing the handle (I have it somewhere, just didn’t know it was from here, until I saw other pictures today). The fish can also be played in water, because it’s made of the same plastic than those inflatable mattresses we take to the beach.
The box is enormous. The front is printed in colours and presents a very nice illustration in which Big Jim fishes while Big Josh drives the buggy. The back of the box is printed in black and red, and shows a child playing with the figures. One of the sides shows the contents of the box. Unfortunately mine is not in its best shape, but it still looks very nice.
The figure in the pictures is Big Jeff, one of the friends of Big Jim. He’s blond and fits somehow the image that people have of Australians. In the first wave of Big Jim figures (1972) there are surprisingly no villains, just Big Jim and his friends Big Jack, Big Josh and Big Jeff. Chief Tankua was a native American character, that was also friends with Big Jim, and then there was Dr. Steel. He doesn’t seem like a friendly guy, so most children chose him to play villain. In the second wave, it was released as a part of the P.A.C.K., what proves him to be a good guy.
It’s curious, that when it comes to toy figures, children always prefer heroes better than villains. Some collections like this one, started without a villain, to introduce in the second wave of figures Zorak (1976). Zorak did not look like a man, but some green-faced creature.
I recently read, that Hasbro also had that marketing politics in mind when they designed the G.I.Joe: ARAH line. They didn’t want to include any villains on it!. M.A.S.K. (Kenner) is another toy line in which the good guys are much more numerous than the bad guys. Other companies that tried to be fair and made so many villains like heroes, had to correct their politics, and include more heroes in following waves, see for example Dino-Riders (Tyco). It’s an interesting topic to discuss, but this article ends here. Maybe some other time?
Leave me a comment if you wish!
FACTS and FIGURES:
- Name: Boat & Buggy Set (Ref. 8890)
- Toy Line: Big Jim
- Year: 1973
- Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
- Size: Buggy approx. 30 cm. Boat approx 35 cm.
- Scale: 1:8