Thursday, January 31, 2013

#243 EL LEGADO DE EXIN (XAVIER ARUMÍ)




This book is already the second one by Xavier Arumí dealing with the Spanish toymaker Exin. After “Exin: Su Historia”, which was based on the history of the company and its most popular lines, this second book explains what happened with many toy lines that belonged to Exin after the company closed in 1993, and therefore it’s title (Exin’s Legacy).

So technically, it is not a book about Exin, but about Scalextric, Cinexin, Exin Castillos, Tente, Ibertren… and how these lines/licenses were exploited by other companies like Tyco, Educa-Borrás, Giro Toys or Popular de Juguetes (PdJ). There are many curious stories about people and companies, and as it is usual in this author, the texts are very well written and in a way that anyone could follow what’s being told.

This book is a bit different from the previous books by this author, because it does tell stories that happened just a few years ago, mostly in a time in which I didn’t have any interest in toys, and for this reason, it was particularly interesting. As usual, the book is very well documented, and uses first hand information sources, including interviews with employees and managers of the involved toy companies, that Xavier Arumí exclusively arranged for this book.

And last, I’d like to thank the author for including TFTP in his acknowledgements, and also for signing my book for me.

The book has 150 pages and can be purchased directly from Rosaspage.com.
 
And if you still don’t have “Exin: Su Historia”, you can order both and get a discount as well as the free eBook "Juguetes y Jugueteras".

Monday, January 28, 2013

#242 GUISVAL – SPORT PROTOTYPES (Around 1990)




I wanted to bring a few Guisvals from more recent times, and now, after a series of relatively old toys, is my chance to show these 4 models of sports-prototype cars made by Guisval in the early 90s, probably 1990 or 1991. They were purchased by myself, probably some of the last cars I ever purchased in a toy-store.

If you pay attention, you’ll notice all cars are doubled except the silver one. The ones I purchased, and therefore, the “first editions” of these cars are the ones with stickers. Later version were already decorated with tampographies, although these tampographies were, in some cases, very similar to the first version stickers, so I am almost sure the tampographied models are a “2nd issue”. In this later models, we can observe very nice details that were “hidden” in the first issues by the stickers. See for example the sides of the Aston Martin AMR1!

And I talk about “issues”, because I have seen on the internet these same four models in a series of alternate decorations (for example a golden Mercedes Sauber C9, a yellow Jaguar XJR9, and more), which are to me later versions of these. After all, the recolouring and reuse of casts is something common to Guisval and many other die-cast manufacturers.

We may note that these “later” guisval have plastic bases, and include “racing” wheels, similar to some used by Majorette. At this time, Guisval already had to compete with toy cars from China with very low prices, and therefore, the models are relatively simple in their casts, plastic bases and simple interiors. The chosen models are also simpler than other models to reproduce, which also happened with a series of Formula 1 released at the same time than these sport prototypes, and that I will show some other time. Despite their simplicity, they still have windshields and plastic headlights (it’s the same piece).

The reproduced models are:



ASTON MARTIN AMR-1:



 

JAGUAR XJR-9:









MERCEDES SAUBER C9 (in the base SAUBER is misspelled SANBER):






PORSCHE 962C:




Even more interesting is that these models are decorated like actual cars that took place in competitions in 1989 and 1990 (World Sports-Prototype Championships, Group C), and the stickers are still relatively accurate, and include names of real companies, like Castrol, Michelin, Silk Cut or Mobil.

These four models (especially the Porsche and the Aston Martin) are very rare in this (1:64) scale. I never saw the same model by other die-cast manufacturer. Mercedes Sauber was also done by Matchbox or Darda, although Guisval made it better in proportions, colour and details. The Jaguar XJ9 is also rare in this scale, but it has been released by Scalextric in 1:32 scale, as well as by other toy companies in 1:43 scale die-cast.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: ASTON MARTIN AMR-1, JAGUAR XJR-9, MERCEDES SAUBER C9 and PORSCHE 962C
  • Scale: Around 1:64
  • Year: Around 1990
  • Company: Guisval (Spain)
  • Size: approx. 6 cm

Friday, January 25, 2013

#241 NOREV – SIMCA 1500 and RENAULT 4L (H0 SCALE) (1957)




I do not collect H0 trains, cars or figures, but I once found these three cars somewhere and bought them. To my surprise they’re quite rare and quite expensive.

H0 scale (1/87) is the most important scale in electric train models, and for this reason, there are many car models, buildings and plastic figures made in this scale. Norev also manufactured models in this scale, and these are good samples. Norev made cars in H0 between 1957 and 1970. Some were made in a plastic compound named Rhodialite, other were die-cast. Some of the plastic models were also available as keinchains. These models can be recognised because of two small holes on the roof, were the ring attached.

  
Unfortunately, I cannot date these models accurately. In this site, there is a list of all released models. Renault 4L has the reference 511 and the Simca 1500 is number 529. Cars were available in many different colours. They were sold in several types of boxes, since they were probably produced during more than 10 years. Earlier boxes seem to be made of cardboard, later are small plastic boxes with a black base and a transparent bubble, in the exact size of the car. Renault or Michelin used these cars as promotional items, and designed their own personalized boxes. Renault, for example, made them cylindrical.



 

Very interesting for H0 collectors is that many of these Norev models were actually made in Spain by Anguplas, because the production was at that time much cheaper south of the Pyrenees. About Anguplas, I’ll prepare another entry some other time, let’s say only that Norev used Anguplas casts, and Anguplas used Norev casts. The French company produced mainly French cars, while Anguplas made a lot of Spanish cars. Both manufacturers had a very similar quality standard, and I find these miniatures great.

After this series ended in 1970, Norev remained more than 25 years without any H0 models. Not so long ago (around 1996), they started again producing models in this scale made of plastic or metal. They represent both modern and old car models.





FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: SIMCA 1500 and RENAULT 4L (H0 SCALE) (1957)
  • Company: Norev (France)
  • Year: 1957
  • Scale: 1:86
  • Size: Around 3 cms

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

#240 STAR WARS – BIB FORTUNA and WEEQUAY (1983)





I took some pictures of Star Wars vintage figures around one year ago, but after publishing two articles, the pictures disappeared, and I couldn’t write about them anymore. I have now replaced those pictures, so I can continue showing these cool figures.


These two were released in 1983, as the first batch of figures from the Return of the Jedi movie. There are two figures (Admiral Ackbar and Lando in Skiff Guard disguise) that have copyright from 1982, but they were released together with this first group of 1983 RotJ figures. More figures from this film are copyrighted one year later (1984), and these were sold in a second batch of figures. If you check cardback images, there are some including more figures than others. It is interesting to see, that this same cardbacks include a lot of figures, because some (or most) characters were sold during many years. In this case I think it wouldn’t be right to talk about “waves”, I don’t know which term applies best.



The figure on the left is Weequay, one of the bounty hunters that open the film in Jabba’s sail barge. Weequay came with a gray staff, that was also used with other figures. The one in the picture is a reproduction.








The figure on the right is Bib Fortuna, one of the servants of Jabba the Hutt. This figure came with more accessories: a staff, a cloak made of cloth and a belt/breastplate. All accessories in this picture are original.





The characters are relatively unimportant in the films, so I don’t know much more about their background. Check the wookiepedia entries if you want to know everything about them.


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: WEEQUAY and BIB FORTUNA
  • Toy Line: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
  • Year: 1983
  • Company: Kenner (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 11 cms or 3,75’’

Saturday, January 19, 2013

#239 POLITOYS-M – ROLLS ROYCE (Art. 518) (1966)




This car miniature depicts a Silver Cloud III Mulliner-Park Ward 2-door coupé. It is among the oldest Politoys model I own in this scale, together with these two models. Compared to these other models, this one if better finished, with many luxe details. Maybe it’s just it is a Rolls-Royce, while the other are Alfa-Romeos, or maybe it’s just I have this one mint in box, and is in a better condition.




The Silver Cloud III miniature is great as a whole, but let’s check one by one its amazing features:

  • Opening bonnet, trunk/boot and doors: Not that rare in a model from 1966, although some years later, this became a very rare feature in a 1:43 model. 
  • License plates: A nice sticker represent license plates from Milano.
 






  • Jewel headlights on front (plastic on back): Super-realistic headlights, including 6 pieces of jewel. The rear lights are not suitable for jewel headlights, because they’re two groups of three too small lights each, so jewels have been replaced by a plastic part.
  • Painted turn signals: Somebody took the effort to paint the turn signals in the front part of the car red to make it even more realistic. This hasn’t been painted by me or its previous owner, this paint was applied during the manufacturing process.
  • Chromed bumpers, frontal and motor: also adds a lot of realism to the car. The only negative point I see, it’s that the emblem of RR is not present. Not because it’s broken, but because the cast was made like this. Maybe the part was too complicated to manufacture and would have broken easily.

  • Realistic hubcaps and tyres: I think this casts were later reused with different hubcaps. These are the original, Rolls Royce type hubcaps.
  • Velvet seats: I’m not kidding! Take a closer look at the pictures, you’ll see that “velvet effect” (some kind of flocked hair) on the seat and the whole interior (also on the boot and rear seats). The dashboard is made in the same colour, which is also a nice detail.


The box is the original one and comes with a window through the buyer could see the actual model.






The car (also the two alfas in entry number #5) belong to the Politoys-M series. That “M” stands for “Metal”, because this series included the first metal models ever produced by Politoys. M-Series were launched around 1965 and all of them were made in 1:43 scale. Before that year, cars were made in 1:41 scale of some plastic or fibreglass compound.

Back to Politoys-M, the first batch of cars comprised 16 references starting with number 500. This model is number 518, released one year after. This series had such a high quality, that only 3 or 4 manufacturers back then could match it.

In 1968, some of the M-models were released not as Politoys-M but as Politoys Export. These models are made with remarkably fewer details and less quality, but they are also numbered 5xx. By 1970, the 100 references (between 500 to 599) were used, and the numbering system was changed to E XX, and even later, EL and HE.
 
All M-models can be opened and disassembled just by unscrewing one or two screws. This is not recommended, because many models are really difficult to reassemble. However, the try is worth if you have two incomplete model and you want to make one of these two. We recommend visiting this site, for more information on Politoys-M.


A similar model in 1:29 scale was shown here. Although both models are RR Silver Cloud III, there are differences among them, maybe there were several versions of this car made.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: ROLLS ROYCE (Art. 518)
  • Company: Politoys (Italy)
  • Year: 1966 (discontinued 1970)
  • Scale: 1:43
  • Size: Around 11 cms

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

#238 BIG JIM – ADVENTURE GEAR: COW PUNCHER, JUNGLE GUIDE & SCUBA DIVER (Ref. 7435) (1975)



 Big Jim's "Adventure Gear"

Apart from figures and the vehicles, Big Jim also had a great number of accessories and outfits. There were several types of sets that didn’t include any figures; for example, the “Action Sets”, or the “Mission Packs” (both carded or boxed).

Among all sets, the most simple and cheaper to buy were the “Adventure Gear”. The difference between “Adventure Gear” and the rest of accessory sets is that they didn’t include any clothes, they mostly comprised plastic accessories, that are cheaper to produce than the outfits. This way, Mattel covered a wider price range, from one of these sets to a big vehicle or playset.

They were sold carded, and the cards were all the same, so this way they could be p roduced even cheaper. Some of this sets were also available as “action sets” with some extra clothes, so it might be a bit confusing when looking for names, references, years of release or when trying to identify loose pieces and bits.

I am presenting here three sets I own. Some websites say they were released in 1974, other in 1975, The most complete website to see all outfits seems to be www.bigjimforum.com , most Big Jim references are pictured there.

As said in the title, the references I own are:

Cow Puncher: includes hat, belt, rifle, boots and lasso


Click here to see this item in its original package.

Jungle Guide: includes hat, axe, rifle, boots and leather pouch

 
Click here to see this item in its original package.


Scuba Diver: incluyes flippers, mask with cable (not in the picture) and tank with harness


Click here to see this item in its original package.


FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: ADVENTURE GEAR (Ref. 7435)
  • Toy Line: Big Jim
  • Year: 1975
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Scale: 1:8

Monday, January 14, 2013

#237 FUNDIPLASTIC/ EL GUERRER S.L. – RENAULT 5 (Around 1984)



This will be a short article about a cheap toy I found around one year ago. It is a plastic Renault 5 with a friction motor, more or less in 1:20 scale, that’s around 13 cms long. I found it in a flea market and the seller still had the original package. In each box there were 6 Renault 5s in 6 different colours. Some had already been sold.

Original Package with all six models. Pic taken from todocoleccion.net.


All six models were decorated with nice stickers. The white model, for example, is a driving school car; the blue one is a road service car, the green one is tv repair service and the orange a rally car. The red one has ICONA stickers. ICONA was the old name of the Spanish administrative entity that took care of the natural environment. The yellow model is especially curious because it has a Superman sticker on the bonnet.

As a nice detail, the cars are casted with plates “MO-586-A”. This number is fictitious, because there is no province in Spain with MO, but MO are the initials of the town name: Mogente.
This cars were produced by a toy company that is completely unknown. The name of the company is “El Guerrer” (Valencian for “the warrior”), and seems to be a subsidiary of Fundiplastic, a plastic manufacturer in Mogente/Moixent (Spanish/Valencian). In this little town was found a bronze warrior from the 5th or 4th century B.C. that soon became the symbol of the town. This warrior gave name to this small toy company.  


    
Although I don’t know any other products from “El Guerrer”, Fundiplastic produced many plastic toys in the 70s and the 80s. A famous series were different plastic cars in this same scale (14 cm) and also with friction motor, for example a Seat Ritmo, a Ford Fiesta, and also the Renault 5 (only in different colours).

There were also cars in a bigger scale (28 cms) made, with practicable doors. From these, there were at least a Chrysler 150, a Renault 18, and a Talbot Horizon made. And in an even bigger scale than that, there were several models of trucks. In one catalogue there's even a cable controlled truck.

The following pictures show some products by Fundiplastic. Note that the figure of the warrior appears in the catalogue images below. These are also taken from todocoleccion.net. The catalogue is for sale here.

 
Fundiplastic's cars in 1:20 scale: Seat Ritmo and Renault 5

Fundiplastic's Talbot Horizon

Trucks by Fundiplastic. Note that the truck in the upper picture is carrying three bricks.
It had to be huge!

The difference between both companies are unknown to me. Anyhow, Fundiplastic quality standards are higher than they were at El Guerrer. The motor of my Renault 5 is not correctly fixed to the chassis, so it’s not suitable for “rough” play. 



If you have information on Fundiplastic/El Guerrer, and you’d like to share it with us, please write me.


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: RENAULT 5
  • Year: 1984
  • Company: FUNDIPLAST / EL GUERRER (Spain)
  • Size: Around 13 cm.
  • Scale: Around 1:20
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...