Tuesday, April 30, 2013

#276 AIRGAM COMICS – ACTION-ARM and URUK (Ref. 1204) (1986)


One of my favourite series ever is Airgam Comics. One figure in this collection was my first action figure ever around 1986. This box, however, has been my latest additions to the collection.

I will present this box and I will review all available products from this line. At the end of the article, you’ll find a list of all reference numbers used by Airgam in this line.

This toy-line had two waves, the first one was launched in 1985 and the second one in 1986. The figures and vehicles were based in the older Airgam-Boys, figures which were similar to Playmobil, only a bit larger. These old plastic figures were redecorated in new colours and designs, making them look like superheroes.

It is important to mention, that exactly in 1985, Mattel made a strong bet for the “Secret Wars” line, based in super-heroes, which could have become the trend in the mid 80s. The Secret Wars line was not as successful as expected, being cancelled after only two waves worldwide and a short third wave in Europe.

Box Artwork depicting Action-Arm (Ref. 1204)

That was the beginning of the Airgam Comics line. The end would overcome two years later (1987), when the company declared bankruptcy. The economical situation by the end of the 80s deteriorated, and this fact was reflected in the toy industry. In addition to this, new, international brands entered the Spanish market, a market that had traditionally been controlled by national, small companies. When the competition grew, many toy companies disappeared. Airgam was one of them.

 Action Arm and Uruk Figures

The history of Airgam will be recalled some other time. Now, let’s go to the Airgam Comics toy-line.

The first wave comprised 10 figures, 8 vehicles and 4 accessories. The figures had exactly 5 points of articulation, as the old Airgam figures: head, arms and legs. Feet and hands could be also rotated, so if you count them, then you have 9 points of articulation.

Forgot to mention, that this toy-line is the classic good vs. evil action figure line, with two factions of characters. The good ones are the “Superfantastics” and the evil ones are the “Superdiabolics”.

The figures were a mixture of super-heroes, animals, and monsters, and they were available in single blisterpacks, or in double or triple gift boxes. With this “trick”, Airgam covers the whole price range in their collection, so people buying these products can spend the money they expected. However, the cons of this marketing trick, is that children could often receive doubled figures, or not find the pack that includes exactly the figures he wishes.

If you had a bit more money to spend, you could go for one of the vehicles, which were sold in bigger boxes with one figure each. Almost every vehicle (except the two motorbikes) had at least one spring-loaded missile launcher, and in the box were those missiles and some spare ones included.

Each of these 8 vehicles included a figure (always the same), so, this leaves two figures out: Capt. Laser and Spector. This two figures were available in blister packs with a helicopter backpack. Also in blister packs, two more references included Red Masker and Bad Tiger with parachutes.

 Figures, vehicles and accesories in wave 1. Picture by Raffotek.

The second wave included more sophisticated figures: the old figure described above, came now with articulated knees, elbows and also with swivel arms, so second wave figures are completely pose-able. Another news is that for this series, some special parts were newly casted, these were never used in other Airgam toy-lines before. We could say that the toy-line was in the right direction. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Airgam would have “survived” the crisis of the late 80s.

This time, there were 8 figures made, that were, again, available in single blisterpacks, double packs or triple packs. Since 8 is not divisible by 3, in one of the three packs was included a figure of Bird-Man (a figure from wave 1) with the new articulation points explained in the previous paragraph.


 The 8 figures released in wave 2

Again a new series of vehicles was released: 7 vehicles, each one assigned to a different figure, and including again missile launchers, as well as great decorations. The only figure that wasn’t assigned a vehicle was Action-Arm, maybe because the interaction of this figure with the vehicle is not as good as with the other ones (Action-Arm is the only figure with a missile launcher and an arm instead of two arms).

In wave two there were no smaller accessories released, but a huge and beautifully made castle/fortress. This castle was made of plastic and had three floors, including a dungeon, a supercomputer, a trap and also a movable gate. I still have this castle although some parts have disappeared after all these years.

Second wave vehicles and castle (prototype, produced castle is slightly different)
Finally, there were a few gift boxes released that included one or two vehicles plus a few figures and even accessories. There are only a few pictures of these in the internet, but they are pretty impressive. Maybe this was a way to sell out the stocks once it was clear that the company was going to disappear.
However, this collection has in my opinion a great play value. Some of the items listed below or shown in all those pictures are very hard to find. If you want to see one of the vehicles in the second wave or you want more information on this toyline, you can check more entries here

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: ACTION-ARM and URUK
  • Toy Line: Airgamcomics (Wave 2)
  • Year: 1986
  • Company: Airgam (Spain)
  • Size of the figures: 10 cm

ANNEX: List of produced toys:

 

WAVE 1 (1985)

 

FIGURES:

-Superfantastics-
Ref. 301 – Starsman
Ref. 302 – Bird Man
Ref. 303 – Red Masker
Ref. 304 – Panther Man
Ref. 305 – Capt. Laser
-Superdiabolics-
Ref. 311 – Dr. Diabolic
Ref. 312 – Python
Ref. 313 – Bad Tiger
Ref. 314 – Piranha
Ref. 315 – Spector

 

DOUBLE PACKS: (LIST IS PROBABLY INCOMPLETE, 2 REFs MISSING?)

Ref. 326 – Starsman and Dr. Diabolic
Ref. 327 – Capt. Laser and Python
Ref. 328 – Red Masker and Bad Tiger
Ref. 329 - Bird Man and Spector
Ref. 330 - Panther Man and Piranha

 

TRIPLE PACKS:

Ref. 335 – Capt. Laser, Starsman and Bad Tiger
Ref. 336 – Panther Man, Bird Man and Piranha
Ref. 337 – Red Masker, Dr. Diabolic and Python

 

VEHICLES AND ACTION ACCESSORIES:

Ref. 346 – Starsman with blue motorbike.
Ref. 347 – Dr. Diabolic with black motorbike
Ref. 348 – AquaBoat with Bad Tiger
Ref. 349 – AeroMoto with Red Masker
Ref. 350 – AeroBoat with Panther Man
Ref. 351 – Sub-Aquatic with Pirahna
Ref. 352 – Ultraligero “Ulm” with Bird Man
Ref. 353 – Ultraligero “Ulm” with Python

Ref. 361 – Capt. Laser with blue/yellow helicopter backpack
Ref. 362 – Spector with black/yellow helicopter backpack
Ref. 363 – Red Masker with red parachute
Ref. 364 – Bad Tiger with yellow parachute

 

WAVE 2 (1986)

 

FIGURES:

 
-Superfantastics-
Ref. 1101 – Sirdar
Ref. 1102 – Action Arm
Ref. 1103 – Fly-Man
Ref. 1104 – Megatrón


-Superdiabolics-
Ref. 1111 – Green Demon
Ref. 1112 – Uruk
Ref. 1113 – Rank
Ref. 1114 – Mad Rider

 

 

VEHICLES:

Ref. 1151 – Anfibius with Green Demon
Ref. 1152 – Fly-Man’s Kart with Fly-Man
Ref. 1153 – Turbo-Ski with Megatrón
Ref. 1154 – Flame Kart with Uruk
Ref. 1155 – CrestBoat with Rank
Ref. 1156 – Tri-Runner with Sirdar
Ref. 1157 – Rocket Bike with Mad Rider

 

PLAYSETS:

Ref. 1001 – Castillo Super Diabolic

 

DOUBLE PACKS:

Ref. 1201 – Sirdar + Mad Rider
Ref. 1202 – Megatrón + Rank
Ref. 1203 – Fly-Man + Green Demon
Ref. 1204 – Action Arm + Uruk

 

TRIPLE PACKS:

Ref. 1301 – Fly-Man and Action Arm and Rank
Ref. 1302 – Megatrón, Bird Man (articulated) and Uruk
Ref. 1303 – Sirdar, Green Demon and Mad Rider

 

GIFT BOXES:

Ref. 1251 - Sub-Aquatic with Pirahna + Bad Tiger Parachute version
Ref. 1252 - AeroMoto with Red Masker + Motorbike with Dr. Diabolic
Ref. 1253 – Tri-Runner with Sirdar + Fly-Man’s Kart with Fly-Man
Ref. 1254 – Turbo-Ski with Megatrón + Spector with helicopter backpack + Python (articulated) + Accessories

Ref. 1451 - Flame Kart with Uruk + Motorbike with Mad Rider + Red Masker with Parachute and Action Arm
Ref. 1452 - AquaBoat with Panther Man + Capt. Laser with helicopter backpack + Fly-Man + Uruk
Ref. 1453 – Anfibius with Green Demon + Action Arm + Dr. Diabolic (articulated) + Bird Man (articulated)
Ref. 1454 - Crest Boat with Rank + AeroBoat with Panther Man + Green Demon + Sirdar

Sunday, April 28, 2013

#275 WADDINGTON’S LEXIKON CARD GAME (1933)




Lexicon is the oldest toy I have presented so far… the game dates from 1933! (but was copyrighted in 1935). My father found it in a flea market, but it is in great shape, almost no use.

Lexicon was the forerunner to Scrabble and is one of the best-selling word-building games in the world. Unlike Scrabble, this deck of cards can be used to play many different games. The booklet included with this version has the rules for 23 games, although, to my knowledge, there were at least two booklets made, the second one with new games. All games are word building based, but it is still amazing that they got up to realize so many games. 


 


The game consists of a series of 52 cards printed with letters and score points, just like Scrabble tiles, the rulebook and a couple of promotional cards. These all are kept in a very nice book shaped case.

John Waddington and Wilson Barratt were publishers that founded the company with the name “Waddingtons Ltd.” in the 19th century. The company was based in Leeds and originally produced cards, boardgames, designed stamps and currency, and also different types of carton packages. The name was changed through the first years, until they arrived to “Waddingtons”. The first games date from 1922, after card games became popular by the end of the 1910s.

Waddingtons produced “normal” card decks (poker), but also its own original games (for example this “Lexikon”), and also licensed games from other publishers, most notably, Monopoly or Cluedo (both from Parker).

The company was bought by Hasbro in 1994. Waddington's No.1 Playing Cards can still be found in Britain, but today they are marketed by Winning Moves, who bought the brand from Hasbro, together with Lexicon.



These are some pages of the rulebook, including cover, first page, foreword and last page (64):

 





FACTS AND FIGURES
  • Name: WADDINGTON’S LEXIKON CARD GAME
  • Year: 1933
  • Company: Waddington’s (Great Britain)

Friday, April 26, 2013

#274 GOBOTS – SPAY-C, REST-Q, ZERO and FLIP-TOP (Nrs. 14, 15, 39 and 40) (1983, 1984 and 1985)

In this entry I will present 4 more robots from my Gobots/ Machine Robo collection. The robots belong to the same series are these presented in entry #179, that’s the small “MR” series. There’s nothing in particular to comment about these, since they’re relatively common models.

SPAY-C (MR-14) and REST-Q (MR-15)




ZERO (MR-39) and FLIP-TOP (MR-40)





FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: SPAY-C, REST-Q, ZERO and FLIP-TOP  (Nrs. 14, 15, 39 and 40)
  • Alternate Names: SHUTTLE ROBO, AMBULANCE ROBO, ZERO ROBO and KAMAN ROBO (Machine Robo names/ Japan)
  • Toy Line: Go-Bots
  • Year: 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1985
  • Company: Popy/ Bandai (Japan) / Tonka (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: Around 7 cm (between  2’’ and 3’’) in robot mode.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

#273 PANINI – MILITARY JETS (DIE-CAST MICRO MACHINES KNOCK-OFFs) (2000)

  
Similar to the die-cast planes we saw two days ago, and considering that these are commonly mistaken, I present today my small collection of die-cast, micro machines knock-off planes.

They’re almost identical to the planes that were sold in Panini bags, but these are marked China plus a number (instead of the name of the plane) The number ranges from 101 to (at least) 140, so we have again 40 different models. In this article I am showing 20 different.


I suspect, both Panini planes and these ones are actually made by the same company. The wheels are identical, and some of the models I own are the same casts shown in the back cover of the album. The only difference are the colours and that in this collection there seems to be no older planes, like the Zero or the P-51D.

But, which collection was first? Panini’s or those? We will probably never know. If my theory is right, most probably Panini hired this company to produce some models for their sticker bags.
 


Numbers in this picture are mistaken... I'll correct it asap.



UPDATE: I found on eBay two collections of war planes made by an unknown toymaker from China. I suspect some of the planes might be identical to these planes or the ones shown in the previous entry. These two sets are however much more modern (2000s). They also include an "Airbase Layout", just like the previous collection of micro planes.



UPDATE: I have new models...







UPDATE (Feb/2017):

I justfound out these planes are also from a stickers collection by Panini. Unlike the collection from the previous entry, this time the stickers dealt only with military planes, and it was called Militär Flugzeuge, or also Wings of Fire. It was published in 2000 and republished again later. I got confirmation by a guy who knows a lot about stickers in general and Panini in particular and I cecked it on the internet. The guy sold me one piece with the original paper that has a listing of all available models. Note that the 40 models are different.
 


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: PLANES (SEVERAL MODELS)
  • Scale: 1:150 aprox.
  • Year: 2000
  • Company: Panini (Italy) / Unknown Toymaker (China)
  • Size: approx. 3 cm
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