Friday, February 28, 2014

#386 NINJA WARRIORS – KAMIKAZE KID and HARA-KIRI (1986)



These two figures I show today are Spanish exclusive figures from the Hasbro toyline “Ninja Warriors”, which was renamed in Spain as “Guerreros Yakse”. Don’t ask what “Yakse” means, because I have no idea. Probably it was just a name that sounded exotic with a “y” and a “k”, maybe a bit like “Yakuza”. About the names of the figures, some creative mind in Hasbro Spain probably chose the names for them…
Which are the most famous Japanese words? They are used in other languages around the world too, also in Spanish: Harakiri und Kamikaze! That’s probably how they got these names.


As we explained in a previous article, Ninja Warriors had a larger lifespan in Spain as anywhere else, and after the first, well-known 6 characters, in Spain there were two more of them made. I dated them on 1986, although they were probably made around 1989 or 1990, since the figures arrived some years later than their release in the U.S.


They are repaints of two known figures, with new colours and new pieces of cloth.
Kamikaze Kid is a repaint of Dojo Kan (yellow instead of white), while Hara-Kiri is a repaint of Dragon Master (yellow instead of blue). The pieces of cloth have actually the same “cut”, but the colours are also different. I find quite amusing the idea of a ninja dressed in leopard kimono.


Something new that I couldn’t show in that article was the back of the card. Those three figures were packaged in card with an unprinted back. Note the nice illustration of the six figures in action, each one fighting another one. The background story says:
“When the demons of the darkness attack, the masters of shadows use their physical and mental powers to defeat the Evil that hides in the night. They are masters in the art of Ninjutso and they greet us from far horizons. They are our only defense. They are the Yakse Warriors… enemies of Evil”.
FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: KAMIKAZE KID and HARA-KIRI
  • Toy Line: Ninja Warriors (English, Int’l) / Ninja I Guerrieri delle Arti Marziali (Italian) / Guerreros Yakse (Spanish)
  • Year: 1986 (Hasbro)
  • Company: Child’s Play (U.S.A.) / Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figure: 12 cm

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

#385 CORGI JUNIORS, MAJORETTE and MATCHBOX – SKIP LOADER TRUCKS (1972, 1976 and 1976)


This entry is a bit peculiar, since I am presenting three die-cast trucks from three major European die-cast manufacturers. I recently put the together, as I observed that they are very similar. Why did all three manufacturers chose the same colours for the same type of truck?


Corgi Juniors model (Nr. 54) Ford D 1000 Container Truck was already presented in this blog entry here. This model was available between 1972 an 1978, although it is difficult to say which version came when.
In red with yellow base and yellow container
In red with grey base and grey container
In orange with yellow base and yellow container
In green with white base and white container
[…]







The Majorette model (Nr. 222) Multi-Benne was available:
1976-1978 in orange with a green container. Grey chassis.
1979-1982 in orange with a blue container. Black chassis.
1983-1984 In the version you can see in the pictures. Black chassis.






Matchbox has chosen a futuristic look truck model (which was a common practice in the Superfast series in the 70s), while Corgi Juniors and Majorette chose real truck models. It was named Skip Truck (Nr. 37C) and it was available between 1976 and 1980 wit several variants:
Red with yellow container silver or grey interior (several window colours)
Red with blue container
Yellow with orange container
Yellow with yellow container
Blue with yellow container
[… including many international variants]





They are difficuly to find complete and in good shape. Being the containers made of plastic, their break easily, and being removable, they get lost. In case I find some variants of these models, they will be posted in this same entry.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: FORD D 1000 CONTAINER TRUCK, MULTIBENNE and SKIP TRUCK
  • Scale: 1:100 (approx.)
  • Year: 1972, 1976 and 1976
  • Company: Corgi Juniors (Great Britain), Majorette (France) and Matchbox (Great Britain)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Saturday, February 22, 2014

#384 FAR MEN – FAR BOYS TORERO (Around 1980)



This figure is a “Far Boys” made by the Spanish company “Far-Men S.A.”. The only information available about this company is available in several patent applications made by several inventors, as well as some products for sale in different auction sites.
The Patent for the “Far Boys” action figures is dated the 28th of August, 1979, and it was submitted by its inventors Francisco Bulls Plana and Andrés Cadenas Iparraguirre. The company, was settled in Beniparrell, the town in which Play-Me was also settled. It can be consulted here: http://www.famobil.ekiwi.es/web%20far%20boys.htm

Back to the articulated figure, the patent explains that the figure can be easily assembled, and that they expected children to assembly the figures first and then to play with them, something that was not possible with Playmobil or Airgamboys. However there is no evidence that Far-Men finally sold disassembled figures, maybe because of the risk that small parts could be swallowed by little children.



The figure has practicable head, arms, legs and feet. Legs can be moved independently. They are made of plastic, and they wear paper clothes. Sometimes they included accessories, like in this case, a "montera" (bullfighter's hat) and a "estoque" (bullfighter's sword).

There were dozens of Far-Boys made. The most interesting ones are monsters (Frankenstein, Werewolf, Dracula, the Devil, a Skeleton…) and superheroes (Spiderman, Hulk, Batman, Captain America, Flash Gordon…), although there were also several soldiers, cowboys, romans and more. Two very common figures are “Zig y Zag”, which are a knock-off of the famous comic “Zipi y Zape”.

Unfortunately, these figures were not very successful, despite their low prices. They were often sold in press kiosks rather than in big toystores.



Apart from these figures, Far-Men also produced and sold a knock-off of Masters of the Universe named “Guerreros del Espacio”.

Another interesting toy produced by Far-Men are die-cast guns and pistols, in many different forms and sizes. The package artwork is very nice, as it depicts pirates, conquistadores, cowboys or even superheroes (a fake Superman and a fake Aquaman!). Other packages included one gun and one Far Boys.

They also produced plastic cars and trucks. The patent for the truck (1987) is also available online.

Special thanks to Akela who helped me identifying this figure and Raffotek, who has a wonderful website with information about this type of figures.

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: TORERO
  • Toy Line: FAR BOYS
  • Year: Around 1980
  • Company: FAR-MEN S.A. (Spain)
  • Size of the figures: 7 cm

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

#383 CORGI JUNIORS – CENTURION TANK, COMMANDO V100 and DAIMLER SCOUT CAR (Nr. 66A, 83A and 84A) (1976 and 1974)


Hi and welcome to another lazy blog entry.

These three models are military miniatures made by Corgi Juniors. You can recall the history of the Corgi Juniors in this entry, which is the only one dedicated so far to the 1:64 scale line of Corgi… although these vehicles are not 1:64 scale… I do not know which scale could they have, since I don’t know how big these vehicles in reality are.



Military die-cast was very popular back in the 70s and the 80s, and has become less popular in the last few years, at least in toys for children, I guess many parents do not want their children to play war.

The models are:

CENTURION TANK - 66A - Made between 1976 and 1978





COMMANDO V100 - 83A – Made between 1974 and 1977




DAIMLER SCOUT CAR - 84A – Made between 1974 and 1978: The sticker and the soldier are quite fragile, pay attention to this if you're looking for this particular model.




FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: CENTURION TANK, COMMANDO V100 and DAIMLER SCOUT CAR (Nr. 66A, 83A and 84A)
  • Scale: Unknown Scale
  • Year: 1976, 1974 and 1974
  • Company: Corgi (G. Britain)
  • Size: approx. 3’’ or 7 cm

Sunday, February 16, 2014

#382 HERACLIO FOURNIER – “LOS MINIS DE FOURNIER” (1979)


Following foreign trends, Heraclio Fournier released a collection of small sized card decks for children. All games were quartets consisting of 24 cards (instead of 32, which is the most common number of cards –that’s 6 families instead of 8–). These new format was more appropriate to children’s pockets and easy to take with. Due to their low prices, they were also sometimes used as give-aways or promotional articles. As a matter of fact, some of these small card decks have several versions including an advertisement on the back of the cards.

Almost at the same time, FX Schmid released a similar collection called “Super Minis”, and other German and Austrian cardmakers had the same idea. For example, Berliner released “die Liliputs” and Pelikan the “Mini-Quartett”.

Ass had the “Maxi Minis”, which counted up 26 references from 1977 to 1983. That´s where Heraclio Fournier got the license to reproduce some references and to sell them under their own brand. Take a look for example at this first deck “Coches Deportivos”. In the cover card, we can read: “ASS Leinfelden/ Stuttgart”. This card set is identical to “Rassige Sportwagen” (3302/9) made by Ass around 1977. All cards are the same in the same order, but the table has been reordered for unknown reasons. The power of the car is only given in horsepower (HP).








Other licensed card decks are number 2 “Motos Veloces”, which is really “Feuerstühle” (3304/7) and number 4 “Coches de Carreras”, which is “Heiße Rennwagen” (3306/5). In exchange (see comments to this entry), ASS got "Mount Everest Expedition" (63547366), "Foto Safari" (63547357) and "Weltreise" (635 47375), which are numbers 5, 6 and 7 in the HF reference list.





I cannot say much about these sets, since their quite ordinary quartets. The first one mixes quite ordinary cars with supersport cars, making the game a bit unbalanced, similarly to set number 4, which mixes formula 1 with other racing categories like formula 2, although this time cards are divided in (almost) equally big groups.

The decks licensed from Ass (numbers 1, 2 and 4) are technical quartets, but the other 17 “Minis de Fournier” I know are normal quartets, like for example the next example “Bravura en Moto” (“Bravery on a Motorbike”).





This set is quite special because it is copyrighted by Fournier, but the pictures are courtesy of Bultaco, a legendary motorbike maker from Barcelona. The deck has 6 families: Children, Trial, Motocross, Dirt Bike, Great Feats and Champions. Each card show a big picture with a short text. In this case, there is much more to comment, for example we can see people (also children) riding motorbikes without a helmet, what today would be unthinkable in a game for children. Card A1 depicts Francisco X. Bultó riding a bike with a boy, who could be his grandson Sete Gibernau. A lot of famous riders from the 70s are also depicted, but all of them run for Bultaco, like Vesterinen, Lampkin, Everts, R. Tormo, A. Nieto, T. Elías, N. Casas, “Bimbo” Pomeroy, M. Soler, J. M. Lladó or Schreiber.

After these first sets, HF looked for other themes to extend the “Minis”-line and then they included a mixture of comic characters and adventure or sport themed decks. Here’s the complete list (Number – Name – Copyright)

  • 1 COCHES DEPORTIVOS © ASS LEINFELDEN/STTUTGART
  • 2 MOTOS VELOCES © ASS LEINFELDEN/STTUTGART
  • 3 BRAVURA EN MOTO © FOURNIER (CORTESIA DE BULTACO)
  • 4 COCHES DE CARRERAS © ASS LEINFELDEN/STTUTGART
  • 5 ATAQUE AL EVEREST © EXPEDICIÓN TXIMIST AL EVEREST
  • 6 SAFARI FOTOGRÁFICO © FOURNIER
  • 7 PAISES DEL MUNDO © FOURNIER
  • 8 ARTES MARCIALES © FOURNIER
  • 9 FLASH GORDON © KING FEATURES SYNDICATE, INC.
  • 10 EL HOMBRE ENMASCARADO © KING FEATURES SYNDICATE, INC.
  • 11 EL PRINCIPE VALIENTE © KING FEATURES SYNDICATE, INC.
  • 12 MANDRAKE EL MAGO © KING FEATURES SYNDICATE, INC.
  • 13 AVENTURAS DEL PATO DONALD © WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS
  • 14 ESTRELLAS DE WALT DISNEY © WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS
  • 15 DISNEYWORLD © WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS
  • 16 AVENTURAS MICKEY MOUSE © WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS
  • 17MORTADELO Y FILEMÓN © EDITORIAL BRUGERA S.A.
  • 18 ZIPI Y ZAPE © EDITORIAL BRUGERA S.A.
  • 19 PEPE GOTERA Y OTILIO © EDITORIAL BRUGERA S.A.
  • 20 EL BOTONES SACARINO © EDITORIAL BRUGERA S.A.
As you can see, many are licensed by Walt Disney, King Features or Bruguera (a comic publisher from Barcelona -among other famous titles: “Clever and Smart”-)

The last two card decks today are “Flash Gordon” (Nr. 9) and “Mandrake el Mago” (Nr. 12), both copyrighted by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Each family of these sets presents one character: For example, cards A1 to A4 are dedicated to Flash Gordon, B1 to B4 to Dale Arden, and so on. The cartoons are great and beautifully coloured, as the comics were. Mandrake the Magician is a character I have never read, but looking at the cards, and reading the information, it looks quite interesting.









FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: LOS MINIS DE FOURNIER: COCHES DEPORTIVOS (Nr. 1), BRAVURA EN MOTO (Nr. 3), COCHES DE CARRERAS (Nr. 4), FLASH GORDON (Nr. 9) and MANDRAKE EL MAGO (Nr. 12)
  • Year: 1979
  • Company: Heraclio-Fournier (Spain)
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