Monday, December 30, 2013

#364 MONOGRAM MINI-EXACTS - VARIOUS AMERICAN SEDANS (H0 SCALE) (1989)


SHORT HISTORY OF MONOGRAM

Monogram was founded in Chicago in 1945 by two ex-exmployees of Comet Kits: Jack Besser and Bob Reder. They started with balsa wood models of planes and boats.

In 1953, Revell starting making similar kits in 1953, only in plastic, so Monogram also started producing plastic kits to compete with Revell, named "Plastikits". First models were a red plastic midget racer and a Hot Rod model A. Followed by some other models, some of them offered with C02 "Jet Power". At the time it was advertised that models were made of "acetate parts moulded to shape". At the time plastic was still quite rare in toys.

Planes were the last balsa wood toys by Monogram. The assortment was gradually changed to plastic. By 1954 the airplane series were called "Speedee Built", that were rubberband powered. The planes made of all plastic were rare, other had balsa wood fuselage but also plastic parts.

The competition on car kits came later, by the end of the 50s. The manufacturers AMT and Jo-Han started also around 1953, but focused first on promotional models. At some point they started with kits, so Monogram had to react against them including more and more models, both real and imaginary models. These competition extended for over 20 years and many scales, ranging between 1:8 and 1:87. Some models had even an electric motor.
During 1960, Monogram and Revell excelled over the rest of competitors, like AMT, Jo-Han or MPC. Their catalogues were more extensive, including not only cars, but also planes, naval craft and military vehicles. Monogram also offered some additional features like moving parts, or removable pieces.

The 70s would characterise for larger models, including some of the most impresive cars in 1:8 scale. Those years would be dominated by Hot Rods and custom vehicles, which waa a change in the company policies, until that moment quite conservative in their models both civil and military. The responsible for these models was stylist Tom Daniels, while other companies hired George Barris, Bill Cushenberry, the Alexander Brothers (all AMT) or Dean Jeffries (MPC).

Tom Daniels would also be an important designer for Hot Wheels diecast. Monogram was bought by Mattel (also owner of Hot Wheels!) in 1968. Some models were released in both Monogram and Hot Wheels: Ice-T Buggy, the Red Baron, the Paddy Wagon, the Sand Crab, the S´Cool Bus or the Tarantula (which was also made by Mebetoys, Italian company owned by Mattel). Monogram focused on race and custom cars, while Revell would release more real cars, American or Foreign. Other designers that worked for Monogram are Tom McEwan and Don Prudhomme.




In 1984, Mattel sold off Monogram to Odyssey Partners of New York. That same year, that same company would purchase Revell of Venice, California, merging both rival companies in one. The factory would move to Des Plaines, IL, and the headquarters to Northbrook, IL. This is the time in which the Monogram Mini Exacts (in H0 scale) were released. These cars have plastic bodies and metal chassis. On this particular models, it can be read: Monogram Models 1989, but not the name of the car.  The bodies are very well casted, although the colours are not very appealing. With some extra paintwork, they would be great models. The line would be sold to Herpa in the early 1990, and the chassis would be then casted in plastic instead of metal.



Revell-Monogram would be sold again in 1994 to Hallmark Cards, and again in 2007 to Hobbico (RC Airplane maker). Between 1987 and 2005, the logo of the company showed Revell logo and below Monogram logo, but since the acquisition by Hobbico, the Monogram logo has diappeared. Hobbico owns under one brand Revell, Monogram, Estes and is exclusive distributor for Hasegawa.

Cars in this entry:
-Yellow: Z-28 Camaro
-Black: Buick Grand National
-Red: Pontiac Grand Prix SE
-Blue: '89 Ford T-Bird SC

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: Z-28 CAMARO (Yellow), BUICK GRAND NATIONAL (Black), PONTIAC GRAND PRIX SE (Red), '89 FORD T-BIRD SC (Blue)
  • Scale: 1:87
  • Year: 1989
  • Company: Monogram Models (U.S.A.)
  • Size: approx. 4 cm

Friday, December 27, 2013

#363 INTERNATIONAL PAYÁ vs. MATCHBOX - VARIOUS MODELS (Around 1968)


“International Payá” was the die-cast line in 1:64 scale made by Payá, the famous Spanish toymaker from Ibi (Alicante). There were more than 50 references made in the last 60s or the early 70s, and most of them are copies from Lesney’s Matchbox.

B.R.M. F1 and LOTUS F1 (2 models)




One of the most important collectors of this particular brand is Miguel Pascual Laborda, who in www.autoescala.net published a list of all known Payá International models, taking as a reference his own collection, cardbacks, catalogues and everything he could find. The list is the following:

2102 - Lotus Formula 1
2103 - B.R.M. Formula 1
2104 - Chevrolet Impala
2105 - Cadillac Ambulancia
2106 - Ford Galaxie (Jefe Policia)
2107 - Ford Galaxie (Jefe Bomberos)
2108 - Camión Volquete
2109 - Fiat 1500
2110 - Ferrari Berlineta
2111 - M.G. 1.100
2113 - Microbús Mercedes
2115 - Camioneta auxiliar
2116 - Ford GT40
2117 - Seat 124
2118 - Mercedes 280 SL
2119 - Ferrari P5
2121 - Seat 600 D
2124 - Seat 850 Coupé
2130 - Simca 1.000
2131 - Renault R-8
2132 - Citroën Dyane 6
2133 - Road Master
2134 - Ferrari 312 Formula 1 (NM)
2139 - Barreiros Volquete (NM)
2140 - Barreiros S-42 Volquete (NM)
2141 - Pegaso Volquete (NM)
2143 - Jeep
2144 - Barreiros Caja (NM)
2145 - Barreiros Industrias Lácteas (NM)
2146 - Barreiros Maderas (NM)
2147 - Barreiros Correos (NM)
2148 - Barreiros Congelados (NM)
2149 - Pegaso Caja (NM)
2150 - Pegaso Toldo (NM)
2151 - Pegaso Ganado (NM)
2152 - Pegaso Frigorífico (NM)
2153 - Pegaso Mudanzas (NM)
2154 - Barreiros S-42 Caja (NM)
2155 - Barreiros S-42 Abonos Químicos (NM)
2156 - Barreiros S-42 Construcciones (NM)

(NM) indicates that the model is Not Marked on the base as International Payá. These model are all trucks (Pegaso oder Barreiros) plus the Ferrari 312 Formula 1.

All these models were die-cast made. A few models were also made in plastic, those were intended for special racetracks, and were equipped with some kind of wind-up mechanism (I’ll show this racetrack in a future entry).

LOTUS F1 (Matchbox / International Payá)



Vehicles were available in two models of blister cards, being one larger than the other. There are some very rare promotional sets as well: the most complete and famous of these sets were promotional giveaways from a washing powder brand “Skip”. There were 4 sets of 3 cars and a few traffic signs each.

Some of these models were copied from casts made by Matchbox. Other models are not 1:1 copies, but have some differences. In my case, I only have models which are copies from Matchbox, as you can see in the pictures.

CADILLAC AMBULANCE (Matchbox / International Payá )



The condition of the cars varies from one to the other, but they’re all quite worn. Note that the chassis is made in all models except the formula 1s in plastic, so the durability is more limited, than if it was full die-cast made. Paintwork is also not that good; all cars have many chips, probably because of a mixture of bad storage and playtime. Even carded models present sometimes different kinds of problems like paint damage, plastic chassis about to crease and break… definitely, they were not made with the high quality standards that the company applied in its other toys. No matter what, they’re super-rare models, so difficult to find. And even if they’re not mint, they’re very sought-for collectibles.

FORD GALAXY (Matchbox / International Payá)




The models with the lower reference numbers seem to be easier to find than the later ones. Probably, these were available during a longer period of time, and sold more units than the higher reference numbers. It is unknown to me, in which year was each reference available. Maybe in the future, we will be able to find this out.

CAMIÓN VOLQUETE Ref. 2108 (International Payá)



DUMPER TRUCK (Matchbox) / CAMIÓN VOLQUETE (International Payá)


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: PAYÁ INTERNATIONAL: LOTUS F1 (Ref. 2102), B.R.M. F1 (Ref 2103), CADILLAC AMBULANCIA (Ref. 2105), FORD GALAXIE JEFE BOMBEROS (Ref. 2107) and CAMIÓN VOLQUETE (Ref. 2108)
  • Name: MATCHBOX: LOTUS RACING CAR (Nr. 19D), S&S CADILLAC AMBULANCE (Nr. 54B), FORD GALAXIE (Nr. 59C), DUMPER TRUCK (Nr. 48C)
  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: Payá International: Around 1970
  • Year: Matchbox: 19D and 54B (1965-1970), 59C and 48C (1966-1970)
  • Company: Payá International (Spain) Matchbox (G. Britain)
  • Size: approx. 3’’ or 7 cm

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

#362 HERACLIO FOURNIER – GRAN PRIX and ESTRELLAS NBA (1988)



I have observed, that most of the card decks that I have presented in this blog come from Austria (Piatnik) or Germany (various manufacturers), so I decided to give today a try to two Heraclio Fournier’s quartets.

They are “technical” quartets, the first one deals with Formula 1, the second one with NBA players.

Both decks are already 25 years old, and the pictures show a very different sport from what we can see nowadays. The cars look completely different, and some teams competed with only one car, in some cases quite amateur-made, but also the basketball players, with those haircuts. Check the spectators in the game which can be seen in some cards! And also amazing, that Karem Abdul Jabbar was still playing at a very high level when he was 41 years old!

GRAN PRIX 


This quartet has 8 families with 4 cards each. They show formula ones and formula 3000 from around 1987. Below each car is the name of the pilot, and then, we have 5 parameters to challenge other car: Engine, Cylinders, Power, RPM and Weigth. Some cars are much worse than others, so the quartet is not very well designed.


ESTRELLAS NBA (NBA STARS)


Again a quartet with 32 cards, although they are not ordered in families. They’re simply numbered from 1 to 32.

In this case, each card is an NBA player, and there is at least one player from each team in the 1987 season. The Boston Celtics and the L.A. Lakers have three players each, buth other teams only have one player represented in this game.

The cards have 6 parameters, although one of them cannot be compared, these fields are: Age, Heigth, Position, Points (avg. per game), Rebounds (avg. per game) and Assists (avg. per game). This is a great quartet to play with, since each card has strong and weak points, and you can choose your play accordingly to the card you have. If the player is very tall, he is more likely to have a good average in rebounds, if it is a base, might have a good assists average... One of my favourite decks by HF.





FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: GRAN PRIX and ESTRELLAS NBA
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Heraclio-Fournier (Spain)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

#361 FIGURAS EN ACCIÓN (F.E.A.) Nr. 9


And here’s again, like every Christmas, a new edition of the online toy magazine I write for. This may sound old, but this number is probably the best number ever. After the change of director in the last number, the magazine is taking form with some new members and some improvements in its contents and layout. Number 9 has almost 100 pages with articles, interviews and some surprises (longest issue ever).

The classic sections are again there, and this time, the articles deal, among other topics, with: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (an extensive article with around 20 pages), Bootlegs from the Masters of the Universe, Madelman, collecting original soundtracks or the Spanish board game “En Busca del Imperio Cobra”.

For the first time, we have two interviews. First we interview Roberto Fernández, manager of Kekoflex and then Isidre Monés, the great illustrator and comic penciller.

I would recommend you to download, and take a look at it, if you can read Spanish, you’ll enjoy it quite a lot. And if you like what you see, please share it with your friends. We would like to reach more and more people with it.

Download it here: http://www.bubok.es/libros/229942/REVISTA-FIGURAS-EN-ACCION-N9--DICIEMBRE-2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

#360 REAL GHOSTBUSTERS – HAUNTED HUMANS (Part I) (1988)


The Haunted Humans, or “Les Cache Demons” (French) or “Bezeten Buurtbewoners” (Dutch) are six figures in the second wave of Kenner’s Real Ghostbusters.

They are figures that look like humans, but that hide a monster inside. The first three will be presented now, the other three will have to wait a little, since I still need one to complete the series. So today: Granny Gross (a nice old lady), Mail Fraud (the postman) and Tombstone Tackle (the football player)


I’ll start with Mail Fraud, since it was my very first figure in this collection. I already recalled how I got this figure in the first entry dedicated to the Real Ghostbusters. A friend of mine picked Peter Venkman, and I picked this one, since it seemed much funnier to me, and I still think, the transformation from human to monster is amazing! For this reason, the figure has a special value for me. By pulling up his upper body, the monster reveals itself with huge jaws were the belly was, eyes in the pocket of the shirt and the tie turns to some kind of nose. If this was not enough, you can pull the hat (or the trousers) down to see how the jaws close and open. It is so funny! Arms are articulated, but not the head or the legs.

The bad part is that the figure has a weak mechanism, and the peg that holds the upper body up (in monster mode) tends to break. That is my case, so I took a toothpick and cut it in the exact length to hold the body from behind. It works fine.



 Granny Gross is a nice old woman, with her nice dress and her bonnet (hat). This figure has again articulated arms, but not the head or the legs. In this case, the front part of the dress opens to reveal giant jaws with a moving tongue, the bonnet goes up revealing a third big eye, the other two eyes pop out of the head, and a part of inner part of the mouth can be seen from outside (including the uvula!). The transformation is also amazing!

The weak point of this figure is the paint loss in the eye behind the bonet and the sun damage in the white parts, that tend to go yellow. The figure also moves its teeth, by pressing the head.



And finally, Tombstone Tackle, quite an impressive figure for its size, it’s really big. This figure is the most articulated in the series, with moving arms and legs. It was necessary to include articulation on the legs, so the figure could bent a bit forward. From its back, comes some kind of terrible mouth. The eyes of the creature are hidden on the number on the t-shirt. Also interesting is some kind of alien on the tongue, which can be moved by moving the head of the figure.

 


FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: GRANNY GROSS, MAIL FRAUD and TOMBSTONE TACKLE
  • Alternate Names: MAMY BEURK, FACTEUR CROQUEUR and ARMOIRE-À-GLACE (French) / GRIEZELIG GROOTJE, GHOST POST and BRULLENDE BRANUESCHOPPER (Dutch)
  • Toy Line: THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS (Wave 2)
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Kenner (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 12 to 18 cm

Monday, December 16, 2013

#359 STAR WARS – BIKER SCOUT, AT-ST DRIVER, TEEBO and WICKET W. WARRICK (1983 and 1984)


I prepared a small diorama almost a year ago, and I never had the chance to show it here. I took 4 Star Wars figures from Episode VI: the Return of the Jedi, and placed them in my garden, I mean, in the woods of the Moon of Endor.

Ewoks aAttack!


These figures are:

BIKER SCOUT (1983)



In this case without the “bike”, I do not have it yet. The figure came with a small blaster in grey, which in this case is repro. It is memorable, how in the Return of the Jedi, this bikes drive through the forest and the Ewoks set some traps to destroy them. The Biekr Scout was available a few months earlier than the other three figures. It first appeared in the “65 back card”, while the other three in the “77 back card”

AT-ST DRIVER (1984)



The AT-ST (All Terrain Scout Transport) is the big two-legged machine seen in the Return of the Jedi (also shortly in the Empire Strikes Back) and here’s its pilot. The figure came with a small blaster, which in my case is again a repro weapon in grey-ish blue (same colour as the original).

TEEBO (1984) 


I can’t remember very well which role this character played in the movie. In any case, it was one of the Ewoks in the tribe. Apparently plays a major role in some novels, but not in the film. The figure is nice, a big Ewok, with three accessories, all of them original: some kind of hat/headgear, an axe and a horn to call for battle.

WICKET W. WARRICK (1984)



 
This tiny figure is one of the Ewoks that fight in the woods against the Empire. Despite being so small, I guess it sold well, since it was maybe the nicest character in the whole toyline. It was also funny in the movie, with a few memorable moments. The figure came with a hood and a spear. Both are original.

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name ame: BIKER SCOUT, AT-ST DRIVER, TEEBO and WICKET W. WARRICK
  • Toy Line: STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
  • Year:  1983 (Biker Scout) and 1984 (Rest)
  • Company: Kenner (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 3 ½¨ or 8 cms
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