Thursday, September 19, 2013

#327 SUNGOLD – SPECIAL FORCE: A TEAM OF MODERN ARMY (Around 1990)


These are some G.I.Joe: ARAH bootlegs I have found during the last 20 or 25 years. The original casts were made by a company called Sungold, which is mostly known for its Masters of the Universe bootlegs, “Galaxy Warriors”. It is difficult to find reliable facts about Sungold, so I will leave a “History of Sungold” entry for a future occasion.

This time I will just show some of these figures, and will tell what I know about them.


Two blue Dial-Tone figures made by Sungold. Note the different paint schemes.
The series comprises only 4 figures, based on (or directly copied from) 4 famous characters in the Hasbro toyline: Beachhead, Leatherneck, Dial-Tone and Alpine. These four characters appear in the blister card.
All figures are made of soft plastic, and have moving arms. They came originally with a few weapons which were also Hasbro’s knock-offs.

The first figure I ever had from the “Special Series” line, was “Beachhead” in green colour. I can remember I bought it around 1992, in the “100 pesetas” shop that had opened in my town just a few days before. It came with a few accessories that I still keep, but the figure lost one arm while playing. Since it was not very easy to repair it and it costed only 100 pesetas (0,60 Eur), it probably ended up its days in the trash bin.

Blister Type "1" by Sungold (pic: Darth Wince from froums.rebelscum.com)

Since then, I have found a few more figures. The next one in my timeline is the blue Dial-Tone figure, shown in the picture with the remaining weapons from my first Beachhead (a “Mainframe backpack” with a strap is missing, but was originally included, like in this pack above).



The first packages (type "1") included a few accessories. Later ones (type "2"), came with only one gun or rifle in a separate blister.

Blister Type "2" by Sungold (Pic: Kreatobergas from eBay)

Just two or three years ago, I found this new packaged figure (Alpine) in a flea market, and I bought it without thinking it twice. This new package (we will call it type "3") is much worse than the type “2” Sungold package, and includes just one blister in which the figure and the weapon are packed.


Knock-off, Blister type "3"


Information about the Spanish distributor
This packaged figure seems to be a recent re-edition of the Sungold figures by another manufacturer. Note that between blister “2” and blister “3”, the Sungold logo has disappeared from the blister and has been replaced by red-white-blue horizontal bars.

Additionally, Sungold figures are marked Sungold in the bottom, but the new ones are simply marked China. Who could be the new manufacturer? It is almost impossible to find out, so we will simply say, the later “China” figures are actually knock-offs of Sungold toys. The most probable explanation is that Sungold as a company disappeared sometime during the 90s decade, and these casts were bought by the second “mistery” manufacturer, which has been using them since them.

These last pictures show Beachhead China and Dial-Tone China and then a comparison between Dial-Tone Sungold and Dial-Tone China. I'll try to find each figure a knock-off rifle to have them complete.





Bottom marks comparison

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: "BEACHHEAD", "LEATHERNECK", "DIAL-TONE" and "ALPINE" (Ref. 906)
  • Toy Line: SPECIAL FORCES: A TEAM OF MODERN ARMY
  • Year: From 1990 on
  • Company: Sungold (China) / Unknown (China)
  • Size: Around 8 cms

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