Friday, December 30, 2011

#100 TFTP: 100 ENTRIES, 10.000 VIEWS and TOYS FOR TRADE

News regarding TFTP!

First is that the blog is going great, and receiving many visitors each day. We are already over 10.000 visitors from all over the world. We have improved the quality of the pictures, keeping most of the times it original size, so you can really zoom on them to see the details.

Something else, that you probably have noticed, is that I publish 11 articles each month. This was just a coincidence the first two months of the blog, but I then decided to keep it so, publishing an article each 3 days, plus one or two shorter ones (book, continuation of a previous one, or this one) randomly. This will remain this way, since I think it is a good average for a blog written by only one person. The last article of the first year is number 100 just by chance.

I bring a few stats that no one will care about, but maybe some of the most “loyal” readers.

First is a graph, showing how many articles have appeared so far in this blog sorted by year. The highest peaks are located in 1988, 1989 and 1970. This is so because I was born in 1981, and most toys I had were released around 1988. The peak in 1970 is just a chance. Figures tend to appear after 1975 and cars before 1980, but there are exceptions.

Another interesting graph is the “cloud” of labels in all articles published until today. Most recurrent labels are "U.S.A.", “figures”, “car” and "Spain". U.S.A. is the country of the most important toymakers, Spain appears because I'm writing about many toys I had in my youth and Figures and Cars are the most generic labels for my articles.

And probably the most interesting stats from any blog, the top 10 articles and the top 10 countries by number of visits.

Among the top articles, it is surprisingly high the article about Kidco’s Key Car Knight 2000. I didn’t expect it to be so popular, and even more surprising is the high rank of the Hero Quest article in just one month and a few days.

The top 10 countries by number of visitors list show no surprises: 1. United States; 2. Spain; 3. United Kingdom; 4. Germany; 5. France...

(All stats were registered on the 18th December 2011, )

And finally, I have started some kind of market to trade the toys I have doubled. It has been working for around one month now. Check it here: Toys for Trade.

I prefer to exchange toys, rather than sell them, although if you don’t have anything to exchange, but you're interested in something, you can always ask me if I would sell this or that. Contact email is on the right side of this window.

I tend to value those toys according to Ebay auctions: I search for finished auctions (or “Buy it now” listings) that have ended recently. I think this is the best indicator of the price that is being paid for a certain thing.

As you can probably deduct from this blog, I am interested in many vintage toy-lines. I have “want-lists”, but they are long and need a lot of space, if you have vintage toys you want to get rid of, I might be interested in them.

By the way... Happy 2012!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

#99 CORGI – FERRARI DAYTONA (1973)

This car is made in a pretty unusual scale: 1:36 is between the classic 1:43 and the slot cars scale 1:24, but is not compatible with either one or the other. In this article I’d like to say that corgi built in more scales than the classics 1:64 and 1:43.

The first cars released in this scale were the 1972 formula ones “Surtees TS 9” and “Yardley McLaren M19A” (in several versions each). This is probably so, because to build an F1 they do not need so much material (F1s are much smaller than normal cars), and due to their form, they would be maybe too small to the boxes they used for the 1:43 cars, and maybe wouldn’t sell that well in comparison to heavier autos. This is maybe how the first cars in this scale were launched. Rare enough, not many cars were released at this scale other than formula ones… it took a few years to include some models apart from these, in 1975, 1976 and so on more models were released. Cars of this scale came to be nearly the 100% of the available products from 1978 to 1983.

This means that they were successful, they were bigger than those from the competitors, and since it included many plastic parts, they might be cheaper than other smaller models. And when it comes to size, it does matter in toys. Adults tend to buy the bigger toy between two or more with the same price, so the 1:36 scale somehow expanded the lifespan of the company a few years. In 1983 the company went into liquidation.

The story of Corgi Toys does not end here. It was sold to a management board and it was reborn in 1984 as Corgi Toys Limited. This brand would exist until 1994, although it had one more owner during this period of 10 years: In 1989 it was acquired by Mattel.

The toy giant sold the company in 1995, and the new management decided to change the name to Corgi Classics Limited. This company was finally sold to Hornby in 2008, to whom it currently belongs.

Versions of this car exist in other colours:

  • Yellow: released with the number 324 (73-75) and had JCB/Corgi decoration with RN 33.
  • Green: with RN 5 and Shell stickers (# 300)
  • Black: (# 490)
  • Blue: came in the Gift Set #29 (GS29) including a trailer towing a formula 1. It has "Duckhams Racing Team" stickers.

This entry is very likely to be updated soon, because I think I have the blue Ferrari somewhere and I'll post a picture of it when I find it.

FACTS AND FIGURES:

  • Name: FERRARI DAYTONA 365 GTB4 (Nr. 323)
  • Scale: 1:36
  • Year: 1973 to 1978
  • Company: Corgi Toys (G. Britain)
  • Size: approx. 12 cm

Saturday, December 24, 2011

#98 TRASH BAG BUNCH – WAVE 1 FIGURES 25 to 36 (1991)

In this last article of the “Trash Bag Bunch” series, we’ll check the last 12 figures of the first wave and we’ll take a look at the second wave. I can’t show pictures of those figures because I don’t own any.

These are the figures 25 to 36:





Figures 35 and 36 were aimed not to be sold directly, but to be hidden in the bags from other figures. There was an extra figure in one bag out of every 24, so if you were lucky enough, you could get two figures for the price of one. If you compare figure #36 with the figures with lower numbers (specially #5 Sterilizor), you’ll realize, that is there were the figure belongs. Incinerator (#36) is therefore a disposer.

As we said before, Galoob had planned to build a second wave of this toy line, but for some reason we don’t know, not every figure was made. In this second wave, some casts were the same of the first, but painted in different colours, and some casts were new designs. 24 new figures were made and sold only in Sweden and Denmark. The reason behind this strange marketing campaign could be that the ecologist approach fits very well in the mentality of north-Europeans. The thing is that these 7 or 8 cms. high, plastic figures can be sold for up to 100 Euros (140 US Dollar).



In the previous images, we can see the prototypes that we don’t know if they were ever produced. The figures marked with the pink diamond were produced, because they are the same that appear in the Swedish/Danish cardback (see below). The ones without the diamond were maybe intended for the American market, or as an extension of the wave, but, as said before, we don’t have a proof that they actually exist.

Trash Bag Bunch II (2nd wave cardback - swedish/danish market)

Additionally to the figures, there were two playsets made: the first one was called “Trash Can Playset” and was some kind of briefcase to transport the figures and to play with them when open. The second one is the “Grip’n Dip Bagger”, a crane to drop the bags in water containers. We don’t know if they were actually manufactured, or if the images that run through the internet are prototypes. From the Grip’n Dip Bagger there are only images of the box to find, not the toy.

NOTE: The text of this article was written by Pablo G. Del Río and myself for the magazine "Figuras en Acción".

FACTS and FIGURES:

  • Name: MUCKOID (#25), STINK BUZZARD (#26), JUNKER (#27), SEWERBAT (#28), FUMINOID (#29), JUNK JACKAL (#30), TRASHER (#31), INFECTOR (#32), WASTOR (#33), SKUZBEAST (#34), SEWEROT (#35) & INCINERATOR (#36).
  • Toy Line: Trash Bag Bunch (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1991
  • Company: Galoob (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 2½’’ or 6,5 cm

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

#97 TRASH BAG BUNCH – WAVE 1 FIGURES 13 to 24 (1991)

The figures that finally got to be released and sold came in a bag (that looked like a tras bag, but that was actually made of pressed paper). As you bought the bag in a toy store, you didn’t know which figure would you find inside of it. These bags were marked with a number, with which you could see at the cardback which figure you’ll find in that bag, although that didn’t worked as expected because of the misplace of some figures in that kind of checklist. What are we supposed to do with a trash bag? The idea was simply to drop it in lukewarm water, and wait until the bag disappears in sparkling water. That water would also be stained green and some people also assure that it also stinked! There it was! Your figure.

This toy line consisted of many figures with colourful decoration. There were 36 of them: monsters, robots, mutants, humans. Unfortunately, no TV series was ever made to promote this toy. The package was also a little poor, always the same one, with a short description of the toy concept at the back. This was no obstacle for the figures to be massively sold, and a second wave was designed, produced, and sold, but only in two countries, as we’ll see in the next entry.

As we just said, there were 36 characters in this collection. They were divided in two factions: the “good” ones were called “Disposers”, while the “bad” ones were called “Trashors”. Each figure was about 7 cms high (2,5 inches) and they had not a single articulation point. They were made of PVC, which seems to be a plastic with toxic components (toxic for humans). The same number that was printed in the sticker at the bag was also engraved in the figure, usually at a talon, or leg, so you can control which figures do you already had, and which were still missing.






Disposers habited the planet Garbagio. With the help of Prof. Garboff, they expelled the trashors from that planet, but these creatures arrived to the Earth. Now the Disposers will come and help fighting these toxic terrorists. The Disposers are mostly robots and humans/humanoids, equipped with guns, cannons and lasers. See figures from #1 to #17 plus #36.

The trashors are mostly different kinds of monsters and aliens, with many different colours and looks. Their aim is to pollute as much as they can, and turn the Earth into a filthy, toxic planet. See figures from #18 to #35.

Promotional picture, with prototypes of the figures. Note that there are slight differences in the sculpt and the colours of some figures.

NOTE: The text of this article was written by Pablo G. Del Río and myself for the magazine "Figuras en Acción".

FACTS and FIGURES:

  • Name: D-STAIN (#13), JANITAX (#14), SPARKLER (#15), KAPT. KOLLECTOR (#16), SGT. WASTENOT (#17), SLOBBER (#18), SCUM LIZARD (#19), WILDEYE (#20), GARBEAST (#21), MUCK MASTER (#22), PLUTOR (#23) & LICEPLANT (#24).
  • Toy Line: Trash Bag Bunch (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1991
  • Company: Galoob (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 2½’’ or 6,5 cm


Sunday, December 18, 2011

#96 TRASH BAG BUNCH – WAVE 1 FIGURES 1 to 12 (1991)

The trash bag bunch was a figure line produced by the American toy company Galoob in 1991, and distributed in Spain by Famosa one year later. The toy line repeats the basic schema of good vs. evil, with an ecologic element. It tried to make children aware of the environmental threats to the Earth, and the importance of recycling and caring for our planet. It’s important to remember, that in the early 90s, the ecology get up strength as an idea and the people start thinking about the importance and the necessity of taking care of the envinment, the ozone layer or the water of the oceans.

Almost contemporary of these “Trash Bag Bunch” were the cartoons “Captain Planet and the Planeteers” and the action figures made by Kenner. This series also had an ecologist approach. Both the cartoons and the figures were available in Spain, although they were not very popular at the time, and didn’t sell very well.


We don’t want to forget other American cartoons with the same or similar approach, like Toxic Crusaders, that also had its own series of action figures (made by Playmates, with the inspiration of the famous film “The Toxic Avenger” from 1984), or the Ninja Turtles (also made by Playmates, -Bandai in Spain-), in which we can find many figures that represent mutant monsters living in the sewers surrounded by trash and rats.

The origin of this figures is also quite curious. On one side, Galoob had produced in 1987 a series of cheap plastic figures called the “Magic Diaper Babies”. These figures were babies (and dog’s or cat’s puppies) with diapers that turned blue or pink in contact with water, to find out if the baby/puppy was male or female. These extremely cheap figures (around 30 cents of a dollar each) were sold massively.

On the other side, the designer of this line, Mel Birnkrant saw one year later how the State of New York wanted to build a trash dump in his neighbourhood. At the same time, Mel was thinking how could he develop a similar toy line to the “Magic Diaper Babies”, but this time for boys. Thinking about toys and trash dumps, he imagined which animals and “beings” would be attracted by the dump to his neighbourhood (rats, worms, snakes, mosquitoes,…) , and made one drawing with what it would be the initial concept of the “Trash Bag Bunch”. The original name gave by Mel was “The Garbage Bag Gang”, and built a display stand with empty garbage bags.

Galoob had a series of plastic figures that were already produced and provisionally named “Robots, Aliens and Monsters”, but they hadn’t found yet an eye-catching way to market them. That’s were the two different way converge to create the “Trash Bag Bunch” toy line. The name was changed because “Garbage Bag Bunch” was pretty similar to “Garbage Bag Kids”, the parody of the “Cabbage Patch Kids”. Mel didn’t participate in that project anymore, except for contributing new ideas to extend the line.

To see the more images of these prototypes, concept art, and to know more about Mel Birnkrant , we recommend to visit his website: http://melbirnkrant.com/trash/

NOTE: The text of this article was written by Pablo G. Del Río and myself for the magazine "Figuras en Acción".

FACTS and FIGURES:

  • Name: TRASHBLASTER (#1), VAC-U-ATOR (#2), KLUTCH (#3), BREEZOR (#4), STERILIZOR (#5), SANITIZOR (#6), BIO-DEGRADOR (#7), FUMIGATOR (#8), GRIMESTOPPER (#9), DR. SHEERN (#10), WHITE WASHER (#11) & PROF. GARBOFF (#12).
  • Toy Line: Trash Bag Bunch (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1991
  • Company: Galoob (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 2½’’ or 6,5 cm

Thursday, December 15, 2011

#95 PIATNIK – BLUMEN QUARTETT and TIER QUARTETT (1955)




Here’s two of the oldest sets of cards that I own. They are quartets made by the Austrian cardmaker Piatnik, and here they're presented with its original case from the first editions. There are also later re-editions in which the cards were sold in plastic cases. 

The case is made of carton, and has an inner part and the outer sleeve. This outer sleeve includes a drawing taken from one of the cards, the name of the company at the time (“Wiener Spielkartenfabrik Ferdinand Piatnik and Söhne” or “Viennese Card Factory F. Piatnik and sons”) and gold bands at the sides. The “jockey” in the horse has always been the logo of Piatnik. This flowers-set was released with the reference number 278.

The deck consists of 40 cards divided in groups of 4, as in other "quartett" games. Each card has a drawing of a flower plus its name and category in German, English and French.

Back of one Tier Quartett Card
In the back of the cards, many facts about the plant/animal are explained. It’s not a single card game; it is also a little book in which children can read a lot of information about flowers and plants and animals, so it is also an educative game.

This card back tells us that the deck (both decks) does not belong to the very first edition, but to a later one. Older versions have a girl with a watering can or a girl with a dog (in the flowers quartett). Because of the many reeditions it is very difficult to date this deck exactly, but the original decks with the reference numbers 278 and 279 were released in 1955.

Blumen Quartett seems to be a more recent edition than the Tier-Quartett, according to the box style, font used, horse logo not present, and information on the front of the "Schuber" (case).
As I usually do when presenting card games, here is every single card in the game:

BLUMEN QUARTETT:


TIER QUARTETT:







FACTS AND FIGURES
  • Name: BLUMEN QUARTETT and TIER QUARTETT (Nr. 278 and 279) 
  • Alternative Names: „FLOWERS QUARTET“ and "ANIMALS QUARTETT"
  • Year: 1955
  • Company: Piatnik Wien (Austria)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

#94 MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE – STILT STALKERS (1986)


Along with the figures, the creatures, the vehicles and the great playsets, the Masters of the Universe line is not complete without a few battle accessories released through the lifespan of MOTU. 
 
If we do not consider the weapons pack from 1984 (a packet of regular repainted weapons), these Stilt Stalkers were the first accessory to be launched in 1986. Along with it were released the Jet Sled and the Mega Laser, which will be shown in future articles.

After them, in 1987 were the Scubattack, the Tower Tools, and the Cliff Climber release. Some people consider the Beam-Blaster and Artilleray from 1987 as an accessory, but I see it more like a vehicle.

After that, the line was cancelled in 1988, so no more items belonging to this category were released. I do not know how well they sold, I can just remember they were sold carded and they were not much cheaper than the figures, and in comparison, a new figure has much more playing possibilities than these accessories.

I prepared some time ago these two pictures showing the Stilt Stalkers. As you can see, the stilts are armed with a gun in one of the hands, some kind of visor in the other hand, plus a rocket launcher and a radar dish on the feet.

Additionally a special harness is included. This part allows to carry the stilts on its back, and fits each figure with the “classic” torso. 

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: STILT STALKERS (Ref. 2082)
  • Alternate Names: ZANKOR (Spain)
  • Toy Line: Masters of the Universe (Wave 5)
  • Year: 1986
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: approx. 16 cm

Thursday, December 8, 2011

#93 MICRO MACHINES – PRIVATE EYES COLLECTIONS #6 & #8 (1990)

Collection #8
The private eyes is in my opinion one of the most original subseries from Micro Machines ever. Maybe in a great second place after the “Shake and Sniff” collections from 1991/92.
The cars look like any other MM, as a matter of fact, most casts were already available in the regular series, with the only difference of a black window on the roof of it. This window is intended to peek through it, and to observe what’s happening inside of the car, just like the kid in the card is doing. Note that it was possible to peek through one of the cars in each blister.

Carded Private Eyes Collection #10. Picture taken from online shop.

Cars included in collection #8 are:
  • International Travelall (green) (in other sets available in yellow and bright yellow)
  • Ford Delivery Van (blue/white) (in other sets available in red and green/white)
  • Toyota MR-2 (yellow) (in other sets available in red and blue)
Collection #6
 Cars included in collection #6 are:
  • Porsche 959 (white/red/yellow) (in other sets available in blue/white and blue/green)
  • '55 Panel Van (light brown) (in other sets available in white/black and white/blue)
  • Taurus (blue) (in other sets available in black/white -police- and yellow -taxi-)
The combination of these three cars is probably intended to play “police and thief” with the Van acting as moving obstacle.

These collections were available during two consecutive years: 1990/91, but unlikely other collections, during both years exactly the same 12 packs were available, without colour variants.
This picture was taken from the back card of Private Eyes MM, and shows which are the different inside slides that you can find in these vehicles.
Picture courtesy of Alex from m-m-world.com

Note that the slides with the scenes were not randomly applied to the vehicles. Depending on the type of vehicle and it decoration, the most suitable scene has been selected. For example, in the dog pound van, the scene with the dogs is used; if it's a police car, then the policemen are inside, and so on.

FACTS AND FIGURES
  • Name: Micromachines Private Eyes Collections #6 and #8
  • Scale of the cars: 1:150 aprox.
  • Year: 1990 - 1991
  • Company: Galoob (U.S.A.)
  • Size: approx. 2 cm
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