Thursday, September 29, 2011

#67 ACTION TEAM – UN FRIEDENSTRUPPE SPECIAL-AUSRÜSTUNG (Ref. 6342 73) (1970)


I wanted to continue somehow the previous article, since I finished it with a catalogue image, in which this item is also displayed. The catalogue was printed by Schildkröt to promote the Action Team line in Germany. This set was sold in many different countries and many different versions. Each version is therefore “exclusive” of that land, that's why I'm just talking about the one made by Schilkröt.
The german version bag is obviously printed in German, with the Action Team logo and the words: “Action Team Ausrüstung” (Action Team Equipment). It is no ordinary soldier equipment, but U.N. Blue Helmet (Peace Troops’)­ equipment, because in Germany it is always important to reduce the military component of anything, specially if it’s a toy.
That’s why the helmet, which in other countries is a dark green one has been replaced by the blue in the picture with the UN sticker. Note that the catalogue image does not display the actual item, but some other panoply. This is because that picture was taken for American or British catalogue and Schildkröt probably changed the set after the catalogue was made.
The rest of the contents are very similar from land to land, and includes:
  • Bag with strap
  • A pair of black boots
  • UN blue helmet
  • Campstove
  • Flask
  • Mug
  • Radiotelecommmunications set
  • Lunchbox (2 parts) with knife, fork and spoon
  • Binoculars
  • Lebel revolver
  • Shovel
  • Dagger
  • 6 Grenades
  • Stirling submachine gun with strap and cartridge
Some of these items are still bagged... I didn't want to remove them from their original plastic bags.
In this picture of the actual set sold in toy stores can be seen that at least one version of this panoply included exactly those accessories. I think I got this image from some Ebay ad.
Especially curious is the radio set:
FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: UN Friedenstruppe special-Ausrüstung (ref. 6342 73)
  • Toy Line: Action Team
  • Year: 1970
  • Company: Schildkröt (Germany)
  • Size: approx. 12 cm (bag)

Monday, September 26, 2011

#66 G. I. JOE / ACTION MAN / ADVENTURE TEAM – BUNK BED (1964 / 1966 / 1970)

The G. I. Joe line has a great number of accessories. Not all of them are vehicles, outfits or weapons, there are also many accessories for the playsets made. These beds were in production during many years because it was used for G. I. Joe/ Action Man as well as for its peace sequel Adventure Team/ Action Team.
 
The first collection was manufactured in the U.S.A. by Hasbro since 1964. In the United Kingdom, Palitoy made the same type of figures since 1966, although with significant differences. From this country, it was exported to Australia and many other Commonwealth countries.
 
With a few years delay, the figures were also produced in other European countries, most notably in Germany (by Schildkröt) and Spain (by Geyper). At the time, most of their catalogues were Adventure Team sets and figures, but some military uniforms were also still being sold. The bunk bed however fits both collections, as it can be used for soldiers of adventurers.
 
These bunk beds are perfect for the tent I presented several articles ago (#36). Although in the first picture are four of them, they were sold individually (that’s no bunk, but just a stackable bed). Depending of the manufacturer and the year, it could be bought bagged, boxed or carded.
 
Parts of 1 bed
As you can see in the pictures, it’s a very simple set, and it looks great with figures in. The poles seem to be very fragile, as most of the beds currently sold in Ebay have repro parts. From my 4 beds only 2 or 3 of these poles are broken and carefully repaired by the previous owner, the rest are like new. The figures I used in the pictures do not belong to any of the collections mentioned above, but to Mattel’s Big Jim. Each set included, the frames for the bed (2 parts), two poles (2 parts each) plus a piece of cloth. The frames have a peculiar form that allows them to be stacked.
 
Schildkröt catalogue image found on the internet
FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: Bunk bed / Feldbett (Ref. 6342-72) / Litera de campaña (ref. 7305)
  • Toy Line: G. I. Joe / Action Man / Adventure Team / Action Team / Geyperman
  • Year: 1964 / 1966/ 1970
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.) / Palitoy (G. Britain) / Schildkröt (Germany) / Geyper (Spain)
  • Size: approx. 25 cm

Friday, September 23, 2011

#65 MICRO MACHINES – MICROCARDS SERIES 2





I found this small book on eBay and thought it might be a good idea to have it. I though it would be more of a catalogue, with all released models in series 2, but it is actually something completely different.

The book itself is just a collection of 96 pictures with a short description of the vehicle, plus a table of technical data. The interesting part is that you get a better idea of which car, motorbike or truck each MM model represents (sometimes is really difficult).

The other part of the book is a collection of 100 cards each of them with a Micro Machine picture on it and the technical data on the back.

The book was published by “Publications International” from Lincolnwood, Illinois in 1989, and they’re not affiliated anyhow with Galoob or any automobile industries.

These pictures show some sample pages, that may allow you to get a better idea of what it is to find in this book.





The cards are still in their sealed bags, since I have enough with the pictures and the technical data in the book.
 

This book is since a very long time out of print, and therefore, very difficult to find.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

#64 DINO RIDERS – ANKYLOSAURUS with STING (1988)


The smallest of all dinosaurs in the first wave (together with the Quetzalcoatlus) is the Ankylosaurus. Since the first wave is far more common and easy to find that any other, this dinosaur is the easiest to find and the cheaper one too. The Quetzalcoatlus is slightly more expensive since it is more difficult to find complete due to a couple of small parts. The Ankylosaurus armour consists only of the harness and a giant bow. The brainbox, that all Rulons’ dinosaurs have, is a part (not removable) from the harness. 

This box, unlike the others middle-sized Rulon’s dinosaurs doesn’t include any trap. It seems that Tyco wanted to make a toy that could be affordable for everybody, and that may introduce the line to children. Many of those children would become other (bigger) dinosaurs in some other occasion like Christmas or Birthdays.

Sting is an Antman. The Antmen is a group of Rulons led by Antor (rider of the Deinonychus), and include this type of creatures and the Mantismen (first available in the second wave), similarly to how occurred with the Sharkmen and the Raymen. Antmen are workers, but also warriors. The figure came with the usual set of weapons from the first wave, including everything depicted in the photograph, plus the shield (I didn’t have any as I took it), the comic book and the instructions. In this case, the rope ladder doesn't make any sense, but it was still included.

This diorama pictures at the beginning of this article you can make yourself an idea of the size and beauty of the dinosaur. The four legs are articulated, but not the head or the tail. In case you don’t know, this small herbivore, defends itself with a thick bone at the end of its short tail. The Ankylosaurus uses its tail as a kind of hammer that can break other dinosaur’s legs. Note that the eyes are painted, while in all the other dinosaurs (except the Quetzalcoatlus), the eyes are done much better, with some kind of shiny plastic balls, that look like real ones. 

BONUS Spanish instructions sheet:



FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: ANKYLOSAURUS with STING
  • Toy Line: Dino-Riders (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Tyco (U.S.A.)
  • Scale of the dinosaur 1:24
  • Size of the figures: 2½’’ or 6,5 cm
PS. Click on label "Dino Riders" to see more dinosaurs of this toy series!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

#63 MICRO MACHINES – TRAVEL CITY PLAYSETS: HOSPITAL (1987) and RENT-A-CAR (1989)

As a continuation of the previous entry, I’ll comment now the last two sets that I own of the travel city playsets.

The first playset today is the oldest one of all 4, that was released with the toy line in 1987. That’s the Hospital, with has a total of 6 pieces, and came with an ambulance, as it would be expected.

The Rent-a-Car came with a white MG TF, the playset consisted of 11 parts, being the most complex one of all that I own. There were however, other playsets with cranks and buttons (like the Rock Quarry, the Bridge or the Marina Air Base) that were far more complex than mine.

FACTS and FIGURES:

  • Name: TRAVEL CITY PLAYSETS: HOSPITAL and RENT-A-CAR
  • Toy Line: Micro Machines
  • Year: 1987 and 1989
  • Company: Galoob (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the vehicles: Approx. 1,5’’ or 2 cm
  • Size of the playset: 12 cm x 12 cm

Friday, September 16, 2011

#62 MICRO MACHINES – TRAVEL CITY PLAYSETS: BODY SHOP (1988) and CYCLE SHOP (1989)

This article and the next one will deal with the travel city playsets from Micro Machines that I currently own. This time I’ll show two of them, and tomorrow, the next two.

These playsets are relatively rare to find, at least in Europe. Maybe they didn’t sell as expected, or maybe children preferred bigger playsets, like that one that turned into a van (Super Van City, 1994) or the one that turned into a toolbox (Super City Toolbox, 1988). The fact is that these are great toys, and since they were portable and fitted most pockets, it was great to carry anywhere to play with. In America, they were sold for approximately 5,50 to 6,00 US$. In Spain, as far as I can remember, they were sold between 900 and 1000 pesetas (5,50 to 6 Euros approx.).

The advantage of these sets, in comparison to the above mentioned Super City sets, is that you could combine your city “parts” as you wanted. Each base included some pegs at the sides that allowed you to insert them within the pegs of another base, so each time the city was different.

This first two are the Body Shop and the Cycle Shop. As you can see in the last picture, all components could be kept inside of the box, so no parts could be lost. There was additional room for 3-4 cars in each box.

The car that is depicted in each picture is the one that came with the playset. All the cars I know that had been included in these boxes were also available in normal sets, so if you had bad luck, you could get a car doubled.

There were 3 series made, the first one came out in 1987 (with the start of the line), and consisted of 12 different boxes, in 1988, the collection was expanded with 3 new playsets, and in 1989, 6 more were added to the travel city. Although they were still part of the catalogue in 1990, no new playsets were made. Those was probably just the rest of the previous three years what they were selling.

The first of these two playsets is the Body Shop, a blue building with two garages. This was my first set, and I had it before the line was officially launched in Spain, since my father bought it abroad (in Paris, France). It’s a relatively simple playset with just 4 pieces (building, doors, roof and stop-sign), plus the (always included) two ramps. The car which was included was a blue Chevrolet Corvette from 1963, also known als “Stingray”.

The second playset is the Cycle Shop, a little more complicated set with 9 pieces. It came with a motorbike which seems to be a Honda CR750.

Check two more playsets here!

As a bonus, I include an old catalogue picture for the Travel City Playsets. It was taken from the Christmas' toy catalogue from Galerías Preciados (1990, Spain)

FACTS and FIGURES:

  • Name: TRAVEL CITY PLAYSETS: BODY SHOP and CYCLE SHOP
  • Toy Line: Micro Machines
  • Year: 1988 and 1989
  • Company: Galoob (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the vehicles: Approx. 1,5’’ or 2 cm
  • Size of the playset: 12 cm x 12 cm

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

#61 PLAY-BIG – RITTER GÜLDENSTERN (Ref. 5645 or 45) (1975)

In the second magazine of “Figuras En Acción”, you can find an article about Play-BIG written by Antonio Casal. That’s where I first read about these figures, so I was surprised when I found this nice box in a car boot sale. That article is focused on the Spanish variant of these figures, whose license was bought by Cefa toys (and the figures renamed to “Play-Cefa” and later to “Cefa-Boys”).

These figures remind instantly of the Playmobil figures. The Geobra Brandstätter figures are a little smaller in size, and not so good articulated. Note that Play-BIG can move their legs independently, as well as their feet. Like the first Playmobil figures, the hands are fixed and do not move. There were many different sets made, either individual figures, boxes with several figures, or bigger accessories, vehicles or playsets. The “Ritter Güldenstern” (lit. “Knight Goldenstar”) belongs to the Middle Age series, which comprised 5 figures plus various playsets, like a castle or a tent, or even horses in bigger box sets.

The fact that these figures came one year later than Geobra’s Playmobil (1974), made the second company to sue BIG. There was a trial that lasted several years, that was finally decided to allow the sale of PlayBig. The Federal Court of Justice of Germany ruled that “Play-BIG figures look self confident, sportive, aggressive men, while Playmobil look more like children, nice and still unconfident at their feet”. That’s was really so, because, Play-BIG pledged their commitment to more realistic sets, including for example a miniature Mercedes-Benz, great casted horses, as well as a military series including modern soldiers with weapons and uniforms, something which is far away from Playmobil’s concept. Another important difference, is that Play-Big figures have different face gestures, some are sad, other are angry, while Playmobils just laugh.

These figures are relatively rare to find, because they didn’t get to achieve a significant market share. The competition of Playmobil was simply too hard. In central Europa, Playmobil is the standard toy since its invention in 1974 (37 years now), and even today the most selling figures for children of both genders.

Take a look at its original box, where the actual toy is depicted in the front (first picture), and the other three knights of the series are depicted in the back (very nice figures by the way). Names and references of these toys are in one cover, while at the sides, there's a drawing of the figure showing their articulation points, and the accesories included in the box. It you pay enough attention, you'll note that the sword depicted in the box is not the one that came with my figure, and the face is different, it doesn't have the beard it should.

FACTS and FIGURES:

  • Name: RITTER GÜLDENSTERN (Ref. 5645 or 45)
  • Toy Line: Play-Big
  • Year: 1975
  • Company: Big Spielwarenfabrik (West Germany)
  • Size of the figures: Approx. 12 cm

Saturday, September 10, 2011

#60 GUISVAL – LOTUS 63/2 "Zandvoort" and "Clermont" (1970 and 1976)


Similarly to what we saw here (#23), these are two cars made within the first years of Guisval. Both are Lotus 63/2 and share the same cast, but one was built 6 years after the other.
The blue version was first made in 1970. In the previous years, Guisval had already built a few formula 1: Ferrari, Lola-Climax, Brabham, in several colours and carrying different decals. To tell between the F1s, the name of a famous racetrack was added to the name, for example: Ferrari F1 “Jarama”, “Spa” or “Reims”. Since 1970, the company kept producing formula 1 models, and although they were all different, they kept carrying a racetrack behind their names. In opposition to the ones made in 1967 and 1969, these were more “modern” not the old ones, with the typical cigar-like form.
Those casts were used during many years. If you want to know in which year approximately a certain model was manufactured, you have to take a look at the tyres. The most primitive ones are the ones in the blue model: they have two parts, the wheel and the tyre. These were used between 1967 and 1972. The second and third types are the ones in the Lamborghini Marzal and the Seat 850 respectively, which were used approximately between 1970 and 1975.
In 1976, all wheels are replaced by the new models, which are the one in the red Lotus. These are the most typical in the history of Guisval, since it was between 1976 and 1982, that Guisval built and sold more scale cars than ever.
If you try to find the differences between both cars, you’ll probably notice, that the quality of the toy has decreased from 1970 to 1976. The windshield has been redesigned and the mirrors are not present anymore. The pilot however remains, but with a new form (by the old Lotus F1, the pilot is unfortunately missing). On the back part, there’s another part which disappeared from one model to the other: the motor, and the exhaust pipes are poorly casted and made of plastic (one is half broken in the red model), while in the blue model, they’re made of metal.
Another difference, that allows to tell between old and older models, is that on the chassis from the older ones, you can read “Fabricado en España”, while on the newer models, that were already exported and sold in a few European countries, this same sentence appears in English.
Curious about the red "Clermont" model is that there was already a 1970’ Lotus 63/2 “Clermont”; it included a white rear spoiler, while the rest of the car was bright red, but it was made from a completely different cast than the Lotus 63/2 “Zandvoort”, so when it was re-edited in 1976, it is uncertain why it was named "Clermont", and not "Zandvoort", maybe it was just mistaken because of the colour by the person who had to name them checking old catalogues.
FACTS AND FIGURES
  • Name: LOTUS 63/2 (Ref. 37 “Zandvoort”, Ref. 34 “Clermont”)
  • Scale: approx. 1:60
  • Year: version 1: 1970-72, version 2: 1976
  • Company: Guisval (Spain)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

#59 ACTION FAN Nr. 19

The new Action Fan magazine is out now. Unfortunately I didn’t checked the new number (July 2011) until now, so another one will come soon, I hope you still have the time to read it before the new number comes.

This time Master Robert brings us a collection of articles, partly written by himself, with great collaborators. The most interesting articles for me are the ones dealing with vintage toy-lines and figures. This time there is an interesting article about Masters of the Universe, and a new “biography” section in which the most remarkable characters in the toy universe are analysed and commented. I really hope this section continues in the next numbers, because the Optimus Prime bio is really good. The cover-story and the best article in this number is a monograph on Green Lantern, including many pictures of figures made from this DC-Superhero. Most of these figures are modern sculpts, but it’s still worth reading.

Apart from that, there are many articles dealing with modern figures and statues, including X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Elvis Presley, Sideshow’s Thor and a small introduction to figure customization.

The link is the same as usual: http://actionfan.wordpress.com/descargar-revista/

You can find all already published magazines there! Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

#58 M.A.S.K. – MANTA with VANESSA WARFIELD/ WHIP (1987)

In the same document I once referred in article #42, it is said that Jim Shooter and Larry Hama suggested at one point to include female figures in the G. I. Joe toy-line, to what Hasbro’s chiefs answered that “female action figures didn’t sell”. Then, Shooter suggested to include female characters with the vehicles, although this might not have been taken very seriously, since the only female driver in the G. I. Joe line ever was Cover Girl.
M.A.S.K., however, seems to have had exactly this marketing guideline. Female figures were not sold in figure packs (Vanessa Warfield was sold in an European exclusive pack, but not in America), but there were two vehicles with female figures: for the M.A.S.K. team, Gloria Baker and the Stiletto, and for the V.E.N.O.M. team, Vanessa Warfield and the Manta.
There is an evidence that in most toy lines that dared to release female figures, these were more difficult to find than their male counterparts. Companies replenished toy stores shelves with the male figures, while the female figures were not produced at all or just in a lower scale. This made them very hard to find, even at the time. I remeber that, when I wanted to buy Teela and Evil-Lyn (from the Masters of the Universe series) as a kid, I had to order them in my local toy shop, because the shop owner also meant that they wouldn’t sell.
Well, back to the M.A.S.K. toy, the vehicle is stealth mode is a purple Nissan 300 ZX, which was a very popular sport car those days. Many details make this car great: the license plate has the name of her pilot: Vanessa; tyres are “Terror 2000”; it includes seat belts and the special features are perfectly well hidden.
The two intakes over the bonnet are two buttons. One of them activates the defense mode of the vehicle, that is an assault plane: two wings come out from the lower part of the car, while at the front, missiles and cannons come out of the headlamps. To complete the transformation, you have to turn the front wheels, ant you have to pull from the rear license plate to free the jet boosters of the plane plus a rear spoiler.


When the wings are expanded, you can launch the co-pilots seat by pushing the second button/intake. The “quick escape seat” will fall down.
Vanessa Warfield comes with her mask, “Whip”. The feature of this mask is that it “pretends to shoot an electronic whip to snap at the enemy”, as read in the box back. The V.E.N.O.M. organisation is the Vicious, Evil Networt of Mayhem (Mayhem is their leader).
In my opinion, this is one of the best vehicles in this toy-line between the ones I have seen. Transformation is great, car looks awesome, and the figure too.

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: MANTA with VANESSA WARFIELD/ WHIP
  • Toy Line: M.A.S.K. (Wave 3)
  • Year: 1987
  • Company: Kenner (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the vehicle: 7,5’’ or 20 cm
  • Size of the figures: 2½’’ or 6,5 cm
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