Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#122 TOMICA – TOYOTA CELICA LB 2000GT, HONDA CIVIC COUNTRY and MAZDA SAVANNA RX-7 (NR. 33, 34 and 50) (1978 and 1979)


Following the last article, I’d like to introduce three more cars from the same series and characteristics than the two Nissans shown there. This time, the cars are a Honda, a Mazda and a Toyota. Again, only Japanese cars.

left to right: Honda Civic Country, Toyota Celica LB 2000GT and Mazda Savanna RX-7

The feeling of having one of these cars in your hands, is completely different from having a Matchbox or any other die-cast car. Tomica are delicate, beautifully done, and runs smoothly. If you checked the pictures in the last article, you might have discovered that the cars are decorated with lines in other colour than the body, the interiors have different colours, the license plates are all of them casted with some kind of message, and they had practicable doors. The Nissan Skyline also had a chromed front and a sun-roof. These three models also share this characteristics, they are no exception.


Let’s check them again:

Pad prints: decorations in the body are not stickers, they are quality pad prints. Note for example the Honda Civic Country, that has along the sides a band simulating wood.

Chassis: Beautifully decorated, and including many details: Tomica, number, scale, country of origin and car model and year of issue. Note that some chassis are made of plastic and some other are made of metal. This has nothing to do with the year in which it was released, and it doesn’t indicate that the car is a re-edition. The interesting thing is that metal chassis are fixed only with one rivet, while plastic ones are fixed with two rivets. This is made to give more resistance to the toy and to avoid that it could be easily opened, and broken into pieces. Little pieces always represent a danger of suffocation.

Wheels: Very thin, in the style of the Matchbox “Superfast” from the 70s. The pattern that represent the hubcaps are the same for all models.

Chromed parts: Mostly front parts of cars including bumper, make the car looks more realistic.

Interiors: Different for different models, were made in different colours, but the same model was always equipped with the same colour (no variations). Japanese models have the steering wheel on the right side, while Foreign have it on the left side (except maybe English models).

License Plates: All include some numbers or letters that are related to the model name, or Tomica reference number.

Practicable parts: In the 5 models I am presenting, the doors are practicable, although bonnets, trunks, are also common practicable parts. In trucks and other vehicles, practicable parts are also present: cranes, container doors, telescopic ladders, the box of a dump truck....

Windshields: Are also decorated, and different for each car. Many models have also sun-roofs.


Those were the features I wanted to point out. I have many models made by Tomica in the late 70s, and they are all great. I’ll try to bring more pictures of them soon. Tomica models from the 70s and 80s are valuable collectibles, if you have the chance to buy a couple of them, don’t hesitate, get them!

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: TOYOTA CELICA LB 2000GT, HONDA CIVIC COUNTRY and MAZDA SAVANNA RX-7 (NR. 33, 34 and 50)
  • Scale: 1:63, 1:59, 1:60
  • Year: 1978 and 1979
  • Company: Tomica (Japan)
  • Size: 6 cm

Saturday, February 25, 2012

#121 TOMICA – NISSAN FAIRLADY 280Z-T and NISSAN SKYLINE 2000 TURBO GT-E-S (Nr. 15 and 20) (1979)

This article is the first of a series of two articles dealing with the history of the Japanese manufacturer Tomica, and the different series of 3'' models that can be found, while I show some Japanese cars they made. These models are very rare to find, since the European manufacturers never produced them (as far as I am concerned), and should only be available by Japanese manufacturers.

I’ll start with two Nissan models, the Nissan Fairlady 280Z-T and the Nissan Skyline 2000 Turbo GT-E-S both from 1979. About casts, wheels, interiors and practicable parts will deal next article.

Headlights are painted by myself

Tomica toys are still in production and are very popular in Japan. They produce many car models from the Japanese market, but also European and American cars. Tomica is the die-cast car line from Tomy. Tomy was founded in 1924, but it wasn’t until 1970 that it started producing scale cars under Tomica name. Tomy merged Takara (the other great Japanese toymaker) in 2006 and the company’s name is now “Takara Tomy”, although the English name is only Tomy. Some products are released just with the Takara brand, while others just with Tomy, and some other with both. About Takara and Tomy, we will talk some other time.

There are Tomica cars in several scales, although the most famous and best sellers are the 3’’ models (what we call here 1:64). There are many series from these “regular” Tomica, including the domestic series (Japan), foreign series and common series.

The “domestic series” started right from the beginning in 1970, and consisted only of Japanese cars. The initial assortment consisted of 6 cars, although the 7th model was released that same year 1970. The line grew until 109 models in 1978 (nos. 1 to 108 and 110, 109 was designed but not produced), including other types of vehicles apart from cars. New models issued from that day on, replaced an older model taking than its reference number. A few years earlier, Tomica started exporting its models to other countries, first to the U.S.A. and Canada (since 1974) and later to Europe. Since the Japanese models were not well known in America and Canada, they didn’t sold very well, so Tomica decided to produce new foreign models too, starting thus the “foreign series”. This series comprised 70 models numbered F1 to F70.

The “common series” came later, in 1988, when Tomica decided to combine its two series in just one. They took 80 domestic models and the first 40 foreign models, that were renamed with its original number plus 80 (that’s F1 turned to be 81; F2, 82 and so on).

There is also a "Limited Series", featuring cars made with higher detail than the other ones, rubber tires and more, but since this series started in 2001, it is not interesting for TFTP.

Almost every Tomica model has practicable parts

The domestic series were sold in boxes with black background, while in the foreign series, the box was white and blue, and included a flag of the country in which the model was produced. The common series were sold in a red and white box. To Spain, however, many of those models came in blisters (an entry showing Tomica blisters will be published sometime in the future), at least in models made after 1993. In 1990 the first models produced in China were brought to the market, to reduce manufacturing costs. Three years later, the whole production had already been moved. Through the history of Tomica, the only models that were not produced in Japan, were 6 models made in 1971 and 1972 that were made in Hong Kong.


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: NISSAN FAIRLADZY 280Z-T and NISSAN SKYLINE 2000 TURBO GT-ES (NR. 15 and 20)
  • Scale: 1:61, 1:65
  • Year: 1979
  • Company: Tomica (Japan)
  • Size: 6 cm

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

#120 PAYÁ – CHRYSLER AIRFLOW POLICÍA CON SIRENA (Ref. 639) (Around 1959)

It has taken me 120 articles to publish something about Payá. I'm very sorry about this, because Payá is the pioneer company in the Spanish toy industry. The problem was that I couldn't get pictures of my Payá toys until very recently. I want to "redeem" myself, so this time I bring a very long article dealing with a very valuable toy.


The following article has been translated from the blog of Raimundo Payá, with his permission. The same article can be read in Spanish there, as well as many other articles dealing with toys made in Ibi.


Notes about the history of Payá Bros. Toys:

1893. The production of toys starts in a tin forge. Their first toys are miniature household and kitchenware in soldered tin, which are sold in fairs and street markets around Ibi.

At the beginning of the XXth century, soldering is replaced by staples. Their power at that time was generated using animal draught: a donkey-drawn winch.

1905. Rafael Payá Picó sells the forge to three of his sons: Pascual, Emilio y Vicente the 3rd of February.


1909. In Valencia a Regional exposition (trade fair) is hold, and Payá takes part in it with a modernist showcase containing already a wide variety of tin toys. In their application (nr. 95) they advertise themselves: “The unrivaled. Metallic toy factory. Payá system. Contruction through staples. Incredible resistance”. They are awarded with the gold medal.

1910. Payá is invited to participate in the Nacional Exposition from 1910, hold in Valencia too, and in another one that took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to commemorate the 100 years of independence. The success of their products already goes beyond the Spanish borders. After this great success, the first competitors appear: four of their employees establish “A.B. Verdú & Co.”, that seven years later would change its name to “Rico S.A.”.


1912. The company turns into a “Compañía Regular Colectiva” and changes its name to “Payá Hermanos” (Payá Brothers). By this time, they already have a gas motor to produce power in their factory. The company employs over 100 people, 200 in the first 20s.

1924. Payá turns into a S.A. (Sociedad Anónima, or Unlimited Co.) the 2nd of July with a starting capital of 1 million pesetas. The factory had a extension of around 16.000 m2.

1931. Payá launches the Bugatti Race Car, and the first electric railways model, superseding the existing ones (mostly clockwork or wind-ups).

1934. Raimundo Payá registers the brand Rai, with which he might name the first toy cinema with sound worldwide. The “Cine Sonoro Rai” is patented in 6 different countries: U.S.A., England, France, Germany, Switzerland and Argentina.

1936. The famous motorcycle Tuf-Tuf is produced. The Spanish Civil War began in July, and Alicante was initially on the Republican side. The 3rd November the company is given to the workers council and fusioned with Rico, forming the company “Socialized Industries Payá-Rico”

1937. On the14th September, the company is renamed Rai Coop. The number of workers is now 500, 350 of them are women.

1938. The weaponry office takes over the cooperative, and then, it became the National Factory nr. 27, commanded to the manufacture of ammunition: mostly 7 mm bullets, cannon fuses and other military munition. The factory was operating 24 hours a day, everyday of the week.

During wartime, a toy-militian was made in tin, with a rifle leaning on his shoulder and his fist raised. This toy was a variation of the policeman that was included in previous year’s catalogues. Atypical was the manufacture of legal currency in the town. Around 10.000 coins of 1 peseta and 1 real were minted.

1939. After many difficulties, and once the war was ended, the factory returns to its original owners. At this time it was very difficult to obtain raw materials, but even more difficult was to obtain power, due to the restrictions. The old gas motor had to be used again in the factory, and sometimes it produced power to illuminate the rest of the town.
The problem with the raw materials was overcome using food cans, toys had to be simplified to spare on tin. At this time appeared the first “pulga” cars (flea-cars), named like this due to its small size.

(Around 1940)

1943. Pascual Payá Lloret is awarded with the Golden Medal of Merit in Labour/Work (Medalla de oro al Mérito del Trabajo). In September starts the “Apprentice School and Vocational Education”, whose goal was to form the employees of the mechanical Workshops in machine press and fit. This school was the source for many new bussinessmen, that later would be engaged in the toy industry in Ibi.

1944. The locomotive “Santa Fé” is made at the same time that RENFE (the Spanish Railroads company) starts using them. At this time, Payá made many trains and railroads, that also sold very well. During many years, and because of this, the image of Payá was placed with trains.

1948. The Payá factory in Alicante is inaugurated officially, after three years of construction. It was specialized in toys for girls, like the famous “Palomitón”, “Dulcecotón” and toy kitchens.

Payá acquires the first machine in Spain for plastic inyection. These were years of expansion.

(1962 and 1963)

1962. The Citroën DS is made. It is the first toy to have a tv-commercial in Spain. And after it, many other racecars are made, like a Lotus, a 250-P-5 Ferrari, other one named “Le Mans”, the “moto-ciclón”, the C-111 Mercedes,… all of them remote controlled, with lights and practicable doors. Race tracks are also made under license of Strombecker and a very celebrated series of trucks and tractors by Barreiros.

1985. After many good, profitable years, the crisis of the mid-80s takes the company with it. Payá is forced to declare insolvency. The Payá cooperative comes up then.

The funds of the Payá toys (4400 toys), move to the “Valencian Toy Museum in Ibi”, constituting the most important and precious treasure of the entire collection.

(All pictures for this article are also courtesy of Raimundo Payá)




And now, the police car... I didn't wanted to interrupt the article with pictures.

The car was acquired around 1959, and still looks great. It only has some rust in several parts of its body, but it's complete and working, more than 50 years after it was bought. Let's go for several views of the car. Note that the key has to be inserted under the left rear door.


In the next picture the wind that is activated with the key can be seen through a rear window.



Another great feature is that we can turn the wheels in one direction or the other.


And here's the complete view of the lower part of the toy.



Although I didn't come to photograph the whistle, the wind-up also activates it, and it produces a siren sound, very similar to real police cars.

In this last picture the part of box which is still preserved is shown. The piece of cloth is not original, the toy came without it. At one side of the box, there is very interesting information about the toy. First is the stamp of Payá Hnos. It has the form of the above mentioned "Rai cinema with sound", and at the lower part the inscription says: "Luxury Tax - Permission Nr. 179", and it was really a luxury item to buy: It's price in 1959 it was 125 pesetas. This amount of money is 0,75 Eur today, but in 1959, it represented almost the minimum monthly revenue of a worker.


The word written over the stamp says "Sirena" (Siren) and on the right side, the number 639 has also been stamped on the box. Below this number, a round blue sticker (from which only a part remains) that surely indicates the colour of the car. This means, the car was made at least in one more, different, color.

I'm sorry that the pictures are not that good, and that I watermarked them over the toy, but I didn't want somebody to edit them (or at least so easily), and use them for their own purposes.

Hope you enojoyed this article, and that it receives many visitors. More articles about Payá are coming in the next months.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: COCHE DE POLICIA con SIRENA (CHRYSLER AIRFLOW)
  • Alternate Names: POLICE CAR with SIREN
  • Scale: 1:18 (approx.)
  • Year: Around 1959
  • Company: Payá (Spain)
  • Size: Around 30 cm

Sunday, February 19, 2012

#119 HASBRO’S WWF – BIG BOSS MAN #1, AKEEM, AX of DEMOLITION #1 and SMASH of DEMOLITION #1 (1990)

9. Big Boss Man with Hard Time Slam!

The first version of the Big Boss Man was not very good in my opinion. The figure is casted with a prominent belly, which the wrestler did not have. The movement wasn’t very appealing, since it was the same than Macho Man does, but with much weaker arms. The figure came with a nightstick which is very easily lost, due to its size.

10. Akeem with Body Slam!


Akeem shares the movement with André the Giant. These are the only figures with the body slam in the entire collection, and two of the most difficult to find in this series. I never saw him in action, so I know nothing about him. The figure, however, was received as a present from my grandfather once, and I liked it quite a lot.


BONUS: Spanish Filecard

11. Ax with Ax Attack!


Performing the same movement than Hulk Hogan, Ax is also a great figure to play with. I liked the outfit of the demolition since they look very dangerous. On TV, they also played that role. I forgot to mention, that figures with open hands could be missing one or more of their fingers.

BONUS: American Filecard plus cutted card.

 

12. Smash with Demolition Smasher!

The Demolition tag team was sold separately in wave 1, but later repacked in a double blister with Smash and Crush. The look of these guys was clearly inspired by the rock band “Kiss”. Smash also has the pull-back punch. This was also one of my figures as a kid. Smash and Ax were sold without masks, that’s just the figure with no accessories.

BONUS: Spanish Filecard

In this one plus the last two articles I have talked about the first wave of WWF wrestlers by Hasbro. Some other time, I’ll talk about other waves, figures or maybe the ring to play with them.

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: BIG BOSS MAN #1, AKEEM, AX of DEMOLITION #1 and SMASH of DEMOLITION #1
  • Alternate Names: BIG BOSS MAN “EL POLI LOCO”, AKEEM RECIO, “AX” DEMOLITION and “SMASH” DEMOLITION (Spain)
  • Toy Line: Official WWF (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1990
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 12 cm or 4,5’’

Friday, February 17, 2012

#118 HASBRO’S WWF – JAKE “THE SNAKE” ROBERTS, “MILLION DOLLAR MAN” TED DIBIASE #1, BRUTUS “THE BARBER” BEEFCAKE #1, “RAVISHING” RICK RUDE (1990)

5. Jake the Snake Roberts with Python Punch!
Jake the Snake was most of the times the bad guy. He also had his figure (only one) and this one performed a punch. It would have been great, if the figure could make some kind of DDT, but well the punch is not that bad. Many figures have this feature. The figure came with Damien the snake. As the other figures with accessories, if complete, it’s more expensive than the rest of the series.
6. Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase with Million Dollar Punch!
Ted Dibiase was also most of the times a nasty, unsympathetic character. It came with his dollar belt, and dressed in a black tux. Quite elegant. The figure features a punch with his left arm, due to a pull-back mechanism (like die cast cars) inside of the body. This punch is performed by many figures.

7. Brutus the Barber Beefcake with Sleeper Hold!
This wrestler is another one I never got to see in action. I have read by 1992, he was injured and recovering, and I must have missed the chapter in which he came back. Anyway, I got this figure for Christmas, and I liked it quite a lot, because it performs the jump explained when talking about the Ultimate Warrior #1, but has the arms in a different position, and it was great to play with. The figure came with red shears, which are difficult to find due to its reduced size.
BONUS: Spanish Filecard

8. Ravishing Rick Rude with Rude Awakening Headlock!
He was my favourite wrestler at the time, so this was the first figure I had. I guess I always sympathize with the second-raters, and Rick Rude always lost against the ultimate warrior. The figure is a little too slim for what’s the real person was. The special movement is, however, quite original, since only three figures in the whole 11 series have it (together with Ric Flair and 1-2-3 Kid).
BONUS: Spanish filecard
FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: JAKE “THE SNAKE” ROBERTS, “MILLION DOLLAR MAN” TED DIBIASE #1, BRUTUS “THE BARBER” BEEFCAKE #1, “RAVISHING” RICK RUDE
  • Alternate Names: JAKE “EL SERPIENTE”, TED DIBIASE “EL HOMBRE DEL MILLÓN DE DÓLARES”, BRUTUS BEEFCAKE “EL BARBERO”, RAVISHING RUDE “EL CARIÑOSO” (Spain)
  • Toy Line: Official WWF (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1990
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 12 cm or 4,5’’
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