Friday, March 30, 2012

#133 TFTP’s 1st ANNIVERSARY!

This same day, one year ago, the first entry of this blog was published. I never thought I would come to publish 133 entries in this time, but I got it. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it, the increasing number of visitors, followers and friends are the reward to all those hours spent in writing and publishing the articles, and also taking the pictures for them. 

It is also very fulfilling to see how that what I have written is each time better positioned in Google, and receiving many visitors. Some of my articles have been referenced in other blogs, and I have achieved an important number of followers until now.

The most interesting thing is, in my opinion, that I have discovered what it is to be a blogger, and I have (virtually) met other bloggers that are also great people and very learned on toys, with which I can share opinions and knowledge. 

Thank you all for your support and comments!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

#132 POLIGURI – PEUGEOT 405 TURBO 16 and MERCEDES 200 (1988)

These die-cast miniatures (~1:64) are pretty rare ones. They’re made in Portugal in the 80s (by the end of the 80s) and are very difficult to find. I bought them in an old kiosk in Portugal during a trip some years ago, together with a green trailer that I will show some other time. 
 
Die-cast models made in Portugal are relatively rare. The only brand I knew was Novacar, which I have read that it was part of the Majorette group. Another brand named Luso also built die-cast models in Portugal, but I don’t own any of their models.

Poliguri Indústria e Comércio de Brinquedos, Lda is the company we are going to talk about today. Apart from Poliguri, other names to refer to this company are "Guri" (which was also the registered trademark) and "Guricar". The company was founded in the 80s and had its base in Cacém, a city 10 kilometers west from Lisbon.
There is very few information about the company or the factory. Apparently, it was very difficult to obtain import-licenses from foreign toymakers at that time in Portugal, so a group of people thought that it would be a good idea to develop the casts and manufacture the cars in Portugal. The factory was fully automatized and had 52 employees working in two shifts.
The lifespan of the company was quite short, since it is believed, that the company closed around November 1989. In a catalogue it is mentioned that a prototype of a Lancia Integrale would be released on that date, but that never happened. Due to its short life, Poliguri only produced a handful of models, but with many variants in several colours each. Such a shame, because these cars are really quality toys, beautifully done in metal and using unique casts. I own only these three that I am presenting here.

At first look, we recognise that the Peugeot 405 could be a Siku model. The wheels are almost identical to those used by the German toymaker during the 80s. A closer look reveals that in the wheels, instead of “Siku”, we can read “Guri”. As far as we are concerned, Siku never released any Peugeot 405 Rally. Majorette did, but the casts are completely different.

A blick at the Mercedes models doesn’t reveal much, since the cast is again original. My models have a 5 or 8 radius wheels, but there are other Guri models with a three-radius wheel, that is, again, almost identical to those used by Majorette during the 80s. This Mercedes model was also released as a Taxi cab or Police versions.

These models are exceptions, since other models seems to be copied from (or maybe licensed by) Siku, for example, the Mercedes Unimog and the Mercedes 207 and 307. I do not own any of them so I cannot compare with a Siku model to confirm this supposition.

Apart from all the mentioned models, a 1:50 Fiat Uno was also made in many different colours and with different decorations. This car seems to be as well an original cast.
Information for this article was obtained from this site and this other site. Note that both sources of information could actually be the same. 

In the above mentioned links, a list of references can be found. It is also very interesting, that apart from the cars, small sets containing one car and some accessories were sold (a little bit in the “siku” style). These sets (named Guri Kits) mostly comprised a few traffic signs, plus some element like a bus stop, phone booth or gas pumps.

The cars were numbered according to those webs and catalogues 701, 702,… to (at least) 712, while the Guri Kits were numbered 700A, 700B, … to (at least) 700O


If you pay attention to the original packaging of the cars in the pictures, you’ll notice that all of them consist of the same blister and bubble (in which the car could be positioned over the card, or perpendicular to it). In all three cards, the reference is 700C. This does not match what I just said a paragraph above: my suspicion is that this could be because these models (or the models at this time) were the last produced ones, and they were simply sold as they could package them.
The cards are not printed on the back, and those red lines over gray background reminds a little bit of Majorette packages.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: PEUGEOT 405 TURBO 16 and MERCEDES 200
  • Scale: 1:62
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Poliguri (Portugal)
  • Size: 6 cm

Sunday, March 25, 2012

#131 HERACLIO FOURNIER vs. FX SCHMID - SUPERMAN (1979)

Superman films are very well known. They were very popular at the time they were released, and more than 30 years later, they still have many fans worldwide. They have become cult-movies. Already in 1979, when the first movie was released, merchandise was made: toys like plastic and action figures or die-cast vehicles were released, but also clothes, school equipment and party goods. These two card sets are also toys, and since I own two very similar decks of cards, I’d like to compare both in the following entry.
The first card set is made by the German company FX Schmid, a classic company in what refers to board and card games. The second one was released by the Spanish cardmaker Heraclio Fournier, the largest playing-card maker in Spain, and also one of the largest companies worldwide.
FX-Schmidt cards
Both sets are from 1979, and both depict scenes from Superman I, some scenes appear in both sets, but most are different from one set to the other. Both sets have 32 cards. The FX-Schmid deck is quartet-game, like others that we have already shown in this blog, and the cards are numbered from 1 to 8, and each number has 4 appearances (A, B, C and D). The Heraclio-Fournier set also uses that kind of numeration, but instead of letters, they use colours: yellow, green, red and blue. The rules are almost identical to another classic game named “briscola”, in which the players try to play the highest card in each draw to win the trick. In this same rule-card, it is also indicated that the card deck can be used to play the classic quartet-game.
The text in each card describes the scene and all together build a extensive synopsis to the movie. In my opinion, the German texts are slightly more complex and better written. Another point for FX-Schmid is that the back of the cards are decorated with a flying superman, instead of the standard pattern from Heraclio. If this was a boxing match, it would be a draw.
Heraclio-Fournier cards
FACTS AND FIGURES
  • Name: SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN, DAS SUPER-QUARTETT ZUM FILM (No. 61422)
  • Year: 1979
  • Company: Heraclio-Fournier (Spain) and FX Schmid (West-Germany)

Friday, March 23, 2012

#130 ACTION FAN Nr. 21


A new number of AF has just been released! I have already read it, and it surprises me, that the magazine brings each time more and more articles about vintage toy lines, this are great news (for me at least). This time there are articles about the following topics:
  • Bravestarr
  • Masters of the Universe (Interview with Mike Bock)
  • Madelman
  • Star Wars vintage figures
  • Resident Evil
  • Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos
  • Muhammad Ali
  • and some more...

I like the mixture of popular toy lines with others that are quite rare nowadays. Also interesting is the mixture from toys from the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and 10s, so there's for sure something interesting in it.

I recommend that you download it from its website: actionfan.wordpress.com. Have fun!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

#129 PRINCESS OF POWER – ENCHANTA (1985)



INTRODUCTION TO THE PRINCESS OF POWER LINE:


The Princess of Power line is, to say it short, the girl’s equivalent to the Masters of the Universe for boys. Both lines were designed by Mattel, and to unify both universes, She-Ra and He-Man are siblings. They’re more than siblings, they’re twins! She-Ra was stolen from Eternia as a child, and now lives in Etheria. She also has a double personality: Princess Adora turns into She-Ra with the spell: “For the Honor of Grayskull!”. Etheria, by the way, is also the native planet of Hordak and the evil Horde, that’s why in the She-Ra cartoons, the evil Horde appears very often.
The toy line started in 1985, three years later than the MOTU line. In those three years, Mattel had made a lot of money with the figures, so when they decided to launch She-Ra, they created a huge first series: 8 figures, 4 creatures and the Cristal Palace playset, which is as big as the Castle Grayskull.


The lifespan of the series was not as large as probably Mattel would have liked. There were only three waves ever released, being the third one much shorter (and now very hard to find) than the previous ones. This last series was released in 1987, year in which the MOTU series was also cancelled in most parts of the world, so even if the PoP line was selling good (which I doubt), it didn’t make much sense to keep producing it. It’s a shame that the line didn’t start earlier, because much more characters and figures would have been released.


In these two pictures, the saddle is not correctly placed, it should be "closed" at the breast of the swan.

Today I want to focus on the creatures. Since these figures were aimed for girls, no vehicles, like jet planes, tanks or walking dragons were released, and the creatures, that in the MOTU line were Panthers and Eagles, were replaced by horses and swans, which are much more beautiful animals. Note also that none of the figures came with firearms, but only with swords or bows.
The creatures carried no weapons, but were equipped instead with combs and brushes to comb their mane. In this case the creature is a Swan, (that is, a bird!) but it has some mane in the neck too.
The saddle is correctly placed this way
The figure is made of hollow, hard, plastic, very similar to the battle cat. The wings and tail are made of a rubber plastic, and can be inserted in two holes and a slot. A saddle, a bridle and two combs are its accessories. Note that the saddle is actually made of silver-coloured cloth and pink plastic, and decorated with hologram-stickers.
This is a toy I found in an old toy shop. The box is complete but it was already opened, and the toy had been displayed. At the bottom of the swan, there’s a price tag marked 3575 pesetas, which is around 21,45 Eur. That was a lot of money in 1985 or 1986. All instructions, quality control sheet and parts are included. The box front is slightly sun-damaged.
Original Spanish Instructions
Quality Control sheet
Very interesting is that this toy is made in Spain, as you can see in the next pictures. I don’t know if all Enchantas were made in Spain, or if only these for the Spanish market were made in Spain.
FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: ENCHANTA
  • Toy Line: She-Ra: Princess of Power (wave 1)
  • Alternate Names: She-Ra y el Reino Mágico (Spain)
  • Year: 1985
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 29 cm

Saturday, March 17, 2012

#128 MICRO MACHINES – ULTRAFAST COLLECTIONS #2, #10, #18 and #35 (1989)


The Ultrafast Collection are one the first collections in the Micro Machines Toyline. The name was intended to describe that the axles of the cars and the wheels are designed and improved to allow the small cars to roll faster and further, exactly like HotWheels! wheels or Matchbox´s Superfast wheels many years before.

The first wave ever in 1987, consisted in several vehicle collections, without any indication of series. They were simply "collections". In the second wave, the first “Deluxe Collections” were released, but the normal collections kept unnamed. It was first in the third wave (1989) that many "special" collections (with special features) would come out. Those collections without any other distinctive feature were given the "Ultrafast" name, and since then, "Ultrafast" describes the basic Micro Machines.

Being the simplest cars, these were sold in 5-packs, the largest standard packs that were available at the time. There were special collector´s or starter packs with 10 or 20 cars, but these were rare editions.

So, from wave 3, this Ultrafast collection #2 -City Supers- consisted of the following cars:
  • ’69 Camaro
  • ’85 Camaro
  • ’86 Corvette
  • ’64 Stingray
  • ’68 GTO
Not every collection comprised cars, there were collections that included aircraft, boats and more. This is one of these collections.
Collection #10 - Aircraft II:
  • F4-Phantom
  • P-51
  • 747 Jumbo Jet
  • Corsair
  • F-15



 
And now another UltraFast collection, the #18 Formula Racers.
These models, released in 1989, are to my knowledge the only micro machines made completely of metal (or almost, the spoiler is made of plastic). The same casts were used in two repainted #18 collections (1988, 1990) as well as for several cars in “mixed” collections.
 
If you pay attention, you’ll be able to recognise two different casts. The pink and yellow cars (Renault) share the same cast, and so do the other three (Indy). The names given by Galoob to these cars were:
  • Indy 33
  • Renault 11
  • Indy 9
  • Renault 7
  • Indy 5
The numbers were applied after the starting numbers of the first 5 micros released (the set in 1988), and for the next releases the names were kept, although the new repaints had different race numbers. In this set, Renault models should be numbers 5 and 18, while Indy models should be 4, 7 and 27. Correct names would have been:
  • Indy 4 (green/yellow)
  • Renault 5 (yellow)
  • Indy 7 (orange/white)
  • Renault 18 (pink/black)
  • Indy 27 (white/pink/blue)
And finally, one of the most impressive collections in the Ultrafast series in 1989. Collection #35: Presidential
  • '50 Bubble Top Lincoln
  • '61 Lincoln Limousine
  • '82 Lincoln Limousine






FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: Micromachines Ultrafast Collection #2 (City Supers), #10 (Aircraft II), #18 (Formula Racers) and #35 (Presidential)
  • Scale of the cars: 1:150 aprox.
  • Year: 1989
  • Company: Galoob (U.S.A.)
  • Size: approx. 3 cm

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#127 DARDA – PORSCHE 911 CLOSED TOP and FORD RS 200 (Ref. 1668 and 1674) (around 1983)


I have found more Darda models at home, and since the first Darda article I wrote has received many visitors, I’ll publish another one. The car has almost the same characteristics than the Renault 5 already shown, same year, similar serial number. Both cars are even the same type (rally cars), so they make a great group.





 
The Ford RS-200 is also a very famous Rally champion. Darda made in at least 10 versions, some in red, other in silver, blue or white, all with the reference 1674.

The second car is a Porsche 911 Hard Top (also Closed Top), from which more than 60 different decorations exist. This one in blue is number 1668-002.




This classification was taken from a website that I would like to recommend if you are interested in this brand. They have the most extensive database of Darda cars with their references, variants and more information. Take a look if you have the time... http://www.dardacollector.com/

In this entry, I would also like to make a second recommendation. Not in the last entry, but in the comments to it, Speedy (from Hisparobot) and I shared a video from the Darda Brothers. Please go to youtube and check one of their videos to see with much detailed how do these cars work, and how do the tracks look like. I tried to explain it, but a picture is worth a 1000 words…

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: PORSCHE 911 CLOSED TOP and FORD RS 200 (Ref. 1668-002 and 1674-072)
  • Scale: (Estimated) 1:64
  • Year: Around 1983
  • Company: Darda (West-Germany)
  • Size: 7 cm

Sunday, March 11, 2012

#126 TRANSFORMERS – SKYDIVE and TALON (1992)

The Hasbro’s Transformers original line was cancelled in 1991. The last figures released in that 7 years period were the “Action Masters”, that had very poor sales.

Only two years later, in 1993, Hasbro re-launched the series. To tell between the Transformers from the first period from the new ones, these were named “G2” (G is for Generation), what automatically turned the old transformers in G1. This new generation would only last for 3 years, but other transformers concepts would take over the franchise.

The new G2 series consisted of many repaints of old characters and new figures. This time, they were equipped with launching weapons, light sabers, water shooting weapons or even sound. The logos were also redesigned. These repaints are very interesting, but even more interesting are the European-exclusive (also released in Canada and Australia) figures, like these two here.

In Europa, this G2 line is considered to start one year earlier, in 1992, and as you can see from the pictures, the Decepticon logo is still the one that has always been used up to that moment. This series it's often referred as G1,5.

Skydive and Talon belong to the “Predators” sub-group, that consisted of 6 robots:

  • 4 of them are fighters in this same size (these tow plus Snare and Falcon)
  • 1 of them is a larger fighter (Skyquake)
  • 1 is a missile launcher tank (Stalker)

Both TFs are complete with their missile launcher and their 3 green missiles each. A feature of these transformers is shown in the picture above, and it is the “supersight”. Talon has the supersight of Thunder Clash, while Skydive has Boss, this should be some kind of long range scanner, in which the robot detects the presence of some Autobot enemy and reveals its weapons.

In alt-mode, the missile launcher can be inserted in the lower part of the fighter, or it could. Skydive has a slightly different casted part that does not allow to carry the launcher. The wheels of Skydive are built nearer to the supersight visor, andd therefore a knob had to be added in order to make the visor more practicable.

Printed on the box there was always a short description of the characters, as well as a series of stats from that robot, like strenght, speed or courage. I include these decriptions as a bonus:

SKYDIVE (Japan: Dark Jet -TF-06-)

  • Faction: Decepticons
  • Subgroup: Predators
  • Function: Scientific Advisor
  • Motto: “The cruelty is the highest form of art”
  • Bio: Revels in the science of battle. Cold, calculating and entirely cruel. Not even understood or trusted by his fellow Predators. As plane uses the farseeing properties of Megavisor to the ultimate as a lean and hungry fighter. As robot calmly attacks with hand-held missile power.
  • Tech Specs for Skydive:
    • Strength: 8
    • Intelligence: 9
    • Speed: 9
    • Endurance: 7
    • Rank: 6
    • Courage: 8
    • Firepower: 8
    • Skill: 10

TALON (Japan: Moon Jet -TF-08-)

  • Faction: Decepticons
  • Subgroup: Predators
  • Function: Advance Fighter
  • Motto: “Don´t get me mad… when I get mad, I get even”
  • Bio: Incredibly strong and vicious. Mows down all in his path as a terrifying wall of attack in battle. Low intelligence combined with brute force and a vile temper -- a dangerous enemy. As plane, plummets down to wipe out targets pinpointed with heightened vision of Megavisor system. As robot attacks mercilessly with hand-held missile launcher.
  • Tech Specs for Skydive:
    • Strength: 10
    • Intelligence: 4
    • Speed: 8
    • Endurance: 9
    • Rank: 4
    • Courage: 8
    • Firepower: 8
    • Skill: 5

FACTS and FIGURES:

  • Name: SKYDIVE and TALON
  • Toy Line: Transformers G2 (Predators)
  • Year: 1992
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: Around 11 cm in robot mode
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