Friday, August 31, 2012

#188 MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE – MEGALASER (1986)



This is the second MOTU accessory I show, so most about these is already said in the entry#94. This time I can expand the previous article with some pictures of the Megalaser, including pictures of this accessory MOC (Mint On Card).

The first three accessories we mentioned (Jet Sled, Stilt Stalkers and Megalaser) were sold carded, just like the figures, in packages of the same size and colours (these that were released in the 6th wave were sold boxed). The bubble was obviously different, and adapted to each item. This is the only collectable I own “carded” from the Masters of the Universe line and I have it also loose from my childhood days. My father bought it for me some time by the end of the 80s.

The Megalaser comes in four parts: a two pieces red armour, a black belt that also  attaches to the armour and the gun, that fits in a peg of the armor, over the right shoulder. The next few pictures should show that clearly.




Since I won’t be able to show any carded figure, maybe it is interesting to pay attention to the front of the package. It has the MOTU logo in blue over a red background of exploding stones. The new figures/accs. in each wave carried the word “new!” at the upper left corner. This package seem to be the American version, and is therefore written in English. It is very important to pay attention to the subtitle of each figure or accessory, that you know what you were buying and which affiliation does it have. This was specially helpful for parents, since the names are more difficult to remember than the descriptions. Parents are more likely to remember that they once bough the “Human Periscope” as “Mekaneck”, mostly when Mekaneck is mixed up with other figures with similar names and similar colours and looks.

Front of Megalaser's card
The Megalaser is a “Heroic wind up beam blaster”, for a child this name sounds great, although it really describes its mechanism. The Megalaser works winding up the small blue wheel at the top of the gun, what makes the other blue parts (two cannons plus two edges) move.

Back of Megalaser's card

Megalaser's illustration (cardback, detail)


Megalaser's instructions (cardback, detail)


Megalaser's catalogue (cardback, detail)


At the backcard, there’s a great illustration, which is unique to each reference, short instructions about the features of the figure/accessory, and a short catalogue of other references available at the same time.

The dioramas show Clamp Champ (our “official” accessory tester) with Roboto in a jungle expedition. Both figures and the Megalaser make a team with great firepower.


FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: MEGALASER (Ref. 2083)
  • Toy Line: Masters of the Universe (Wave 5)
  • Year: 1986
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: approx. 16 cm

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

#187 PLAYMOBIL EVOLUCIÓN E HISTORIA (XAVIER ARUMÍ)



Among all topics that Xavier Arumí’s books deal with, Playmobil is (or was) for me the most uninteresting, that’s why this book is the last one I read from all those that he has written. I have now read all of them, and I can now say, this one is the best written together with the one he dedicated to Exin.

I enjoyed this book quite a lot: maybe it was because I knew nothing about Playmobil, so I could learn many new facts about this toy-line, maybe simply because Geobra and Plamobil are amazing companies under the control of extraordinary people (Horst Branstätter, manager and Hans Beck, designer).

I have to say that after reading this book, I will recover my old Playmobils (they’re somewhere in a box), and I’ll check if they’re complete, in good shape and clean for new blog entries. After learning a bit about these figures, you see them in a different way.

As usual, this book is available at Bubok.es and has a price of 14,00 Euros (+shipping costs) or 3,75 in eBook format. Find it here:  

This book was recommended by Bubok, in its Youtube channel during December 2010.

About the autor: Xavier Arumí is the host of www.rosaspage.com, has already written a few books about collecting and about toys, comic books (that he also illustrate), and novels. He is a collector himself, and as you can check on his website, or reading his books, a great expert on toys, apart from a good writer. Two of his publications are: "Exin: Su Historia" and "Bburago: Su Etapa Clásica".

Sunday, August 26, 2012

#186 MAJORETTE – CAMPER CAR + CARAVAN, FORD CAPRI + St. TROPEZ and SIMCA 1100 + BOAT (Nrs. 313, 368 and 314) (1979 and 1980)


THE 300 SERIES BY MAJORETTE

We already talked shortly about the “pre-history” of Majorette with “Rail Route Jouets” in this entry.

Around 1969-1970, the original Rail-Route series (sometimes “series 100”) was replaced by the “series 200”, which were basically a very similar toy, the same size, more or less the same detail level… Some of these models were not cars, but trailers to be towed by the cars (they were all built in a scale of around 1:64 or 1:65, except trucks).

Almost at the same time, Majorette decided to launch the 300 series, in which you could directly buy, in one single package a truck or car and a trailer that belonged together: Some could also be purchased separately (for example the boat or the caravan), or some trailers were exclusive from a certain set.  The first are as early as 1968-69 (could be even older, Wikipedia is here wrong), so I suspect that there were already some of these in the Rail-Route series… only with other (or no) name.

The name comes simply from the numbering system that Majorette used (and uses) in their cars. 201, 202, 203… and 301, 302, 303…

 CAMPER CAR + CARAVAN (also DODGE CAMPING CAR + STECKERMAN LOVELY 400) (1979)

Majorette 313 Camper Car
  
Dodge Camping Car
  
Steckerman Lovely 400

Image from the catalogue 1979

Image from the catalogue 1980

As you can notice from the two last images,1980 catalogue was more ellaborated, with dioramas showing the cars offered in th all series (not only 200 and 300).

The series 300 were naturally more expensive than the series 200, because they were larger (16 cm or 6,5 inches), and needed more metal to be manufactured. A separate series would also have some “added value”, and children could get a single (series 200) or double (300) pack depending on how good they were, or on the occasion.

The following picture proves that in the year 1969 or 1970 there were already double packs.

Different Majorette displays (taken from 1969/1970 catalogue). Note some trucks and cars with trailers in all of them

An interesting thing to mention, is that toys belonging to this series were sold under many different packages. Even at the very beginning car could be purchased in a cardboard box, a jewel-case or a blisterpack. The type of blister you are watching her came later, and is a plastic blister box, designed to be stackable. These were the most spread packaging from the mid 70s to the mid/late 80s.

FORD CAPRI + ST. TROPEZ (also FORD CAPRI + CARAVAN) 
(1979)

Majorette 368 Ford Capri + St. Tropez


Ford Capri

St. Tropez

Image from the catalogue 1979

Image from the catalogue 1980

In the Simca 1100 model there is a factory error, because the package is labelled with the name of an older model, present in the 1979 catalogue, that was replaced in 1980 for this one. Probably they still had printed frames for the boxes, so they simply used them.

SIMCA 1100 + BOAT 
(1980)


Set 314 Simca 1100 + Boat

Simca 1100 - labelled "Police + Bateau" - Factory Error

Boat

Image from the catalogue 1979 showing the earlier model

Image from the catalogue 1980 showing my model

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: CAMPER CAR + CARAVAN, FORD CAPRI + St. TROPEZ and SIMCA 1100 + BOAT (Nrs. 313, 368 and 314) (1979)
  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: 1979 and 1980
  • Company: Majorette (France)
  • Size: approx. 16 cm (with trailer)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

#185 DARDA – TURBO, TORNADO, FORMULA 1, STRATOS and GT (from SERIES 10: Nr. 1608) (1979 and 1980)


The Dardas labelled as “Series 10” are the ones manufactured before 1984. Prior to that year, all models shared the same chassis, wheels and motor. Only the body of the car (plus seat, pilot or whatever) varied from one model to other. We are talking about many years of production (1977 to 1984) but there were only around 22 models casted. Each of them was normally released in 4 or 5 colours, so kids could choose the car in their favourite colour or even buy it more than once in different versions. The “variations” story is something new invented by (and for) collectors, I guess at the time it was very unimportant if the race number was yellow or white over red or green background.

Talking about variations, according the german site dardamania.de, these models have 80 (Turbo), 42 (Tornado) and 115 (Formula 1) registered variants…

Apart from this, in this website we can find a lot of catalogues, as well as many interesting information, for example the many patents from Helmut Darda, his biography, technical details, even physic lessons with darda racetracks, and a very nice (although short) trivia section telling that Darda cars were part of a NASA experiment, and they were actually taken to space in a mission, or used as part of a CERN experiment for which Carlo Rubbia received a Nobel Prize in 1984.

This time I think it would be ok to talk about Helmut Darda, the inventor of the Darda motor:




Helmut Darda (taken from dardamania.de)

Helmut Darda was born in 1927 in Westfalia, a German region. When we was only 16 he was conscripted to fight in WW2. He was made war prisoner and freed at the end of the war. At that time he was 25 and continued his studies to be a machine fitter, started before the war. In the year 1954 he came to Blumberg, a village next to the Swiss border, halfway between Freiburg and Kostanz, and got a job, but only 4 years later decided to work for himself in machines to process stones and also in casting machines.

For the first type of work, he designed a machine that would be his first invention and first patent. That was in 1964, and the world success of this invention gave him the economic support to keep inventing. His “hit” was the Beach-Buggy, a scale car with motor that could roll for- and backwards. In the Nürnberg Toy Fair they called it “genial and revolutionary”, and “motor of the century”. Helmut Darda, feet on the ground, said that he had only luck.

Despite his great success, he kept working in his workshop, with the rest of the employees. Even in hard times, he did not stopped or shortened the production, but the opposite, employed 50 people more. The workshop was replaced by a new building, two times bigger, and the production was accordingly increased. The new building had a swimming pool for the people working there, and in the upper floor, a nice entertainment room, where the works of Blumberg’s artists usually hanged. At the time, Helmut Darda had collected over 200 patents in Germany and worldwide. His hobbies were hiking in the mountains and ski, but also, and above all, working.

UPDATE: Pictures of new cars:

STRATOS (Nr. 1608-341)





FORMULA 1 (Nr. 1608-150)






GT (Nr. 1608-243)





UPDATE2: Second GT in grey (1608-266)




And Turbo in white with broken spoiler (very fragile!) (1608-576) and black (1608-550)







UPDATE 3 (May/2017) Stratos in white



FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: TURBO, TORNADO, FORMULA 1, STRATOS and GT (from SERIES 10)  (Nrs. 1608-540, 1608-421, 1608-100, 1608-341, 1608-150 and 1608-243)
  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: 1979, 1980
  • Company: Darda (West-Germany)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm
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