Toys from the Past is sponsored by!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

#606 MATCHBOX CHOPPERS - STINGEROO, CHOP SUEY and JUMBO JET (Nr. 38d, 49c and 71d) (1972)

This three "chopper" motorbikes are a bit different from the other superfast models, which are mostly cars and trucks. By the early 70s, this kind of custom motorbikes were in trend and Matchbox decided to include these models in its 1-75 series. The three models belong somehow together because they are similar and each has the head of an animal: either a horse, an elephant or a cow/buffalo.

They were initially intended to be 6 models, but only 3 were released. They also came originally with chromed handlebars, but the paint chipped off very easily, and common versions came without that part chromed. However, motor, exhaust pipes, and other parts are chromed and degrade easily. Handlebars are also fragile and need to be observed to check the condition of the model.
Models with chromed handlebars are real rarities today.

All are dated in 1972 (see bases). All were discontinued in 1976.

  • Name: STINGEROO, CHOP SUEY and JUMBO JET (Nr. 38d, 49c and 71d)
  • Scale: Around 1:36
  • Year: 1972
  • Company: Matchbox (Great Britain)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

#605 PIATNIK - TOLLE AUTOS (Around 1972 and 1977)

Decks of cards (“technical” quartets) with cars are much more sought-after than decks about other topics, I can understand this, since there are much more people interested in cars than in planes, tanks, boats or whatever.

I also like cars more than any other vehicle, so I am always aware if I find one of these on a flea market or somewhere else. Both decks were bought in flea markets, the oldest “Tolle Autos” was not cheap (I think I payed 10 Euros for it), while I can´t remember how much did I pay for the other, but surely not much.

I wanted to talk shortly about decks of cards and “updates”. It is common for card manufacturers to periodically adapt their best-selling references with newer and more interesting pictures, so the deck remains modern, and it sells better. Tolle Autos was one of the decks that Piatnik has released a few times during their history, and I am showing today two of these versions.

The first one has reference number 281 and presents an old design of the cover card with five flags, a bigger picture, the “Tolle Series” header and a “mit Super-Trumpf” bubble. It is interesting that Piatnik coloured the German flag wrong…

The “Tolle Series” also included: Tolle Loks, Tolle Schiffe, Tolle Jets, Tolle Coupés, Tolle Flitzer, Tolle Bauten…

Reference number 281 previouly belonged to Kasperltheater from 1955. We do not exactly know when was this quartett released, but it was probably around 1968 in 1972.

The second deck has the reference number 4221 it was released in 1973 1977. If our guess is right, that would mean, that this update came after around 5 years. The new series is called “Super Trumpf”, and as a “gift” with this deck, you got “3 Extra Sammelnblätter Quartettkarten”, that is, 3 cards to collect. If you bought enough decks from the Super Trumpf series, you might end with a complete deck sometime. As you can notice, the three cards were still in the box when I bought it, and they actually come from an old quartett about cars.

If you compare both decks, they are pretty different. Some families are completely different. For example, family 2 goes from “Schwimm-und Flugautos” to “Spitzen-Autos”, or family 5 goes from “Pininfarina Studien” to “Funmobiles”. The families that keep their name include 1 or two new cards and keep the rest from the old deck.

I took the pictures at different times, so in one case the families are ordered differently from the other. Sorry about that.

Later I also got a "Heiße Öfen" Quartett by Piatnik, and interestingly, it also contains some cards which are identical to other in these quartetts. This deck will be shown some other time.

  • Name: TOLLE AUTOS (Nr. 281 and 4221)
  • Year: Around 1968 and 1973  Around 1972 and 1977
  • Company: Piatnik (Austria)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

#604 RICO / TONKA - HOT ROD (Around 1977)

Tonka is another great toy company from the U.S.A. They were founded in the 40s and, even today, the name is still being used by current toy manufacturers. The original company does not exist anymore, though. As it usually happen, the original company did not manufcature toys at the time of its foundation, but at some point they saw some bussiness there, and changed the production to toys.

Mound Metalcraft was founded in 1946 in Mound, Minnesota, with the intention of making and selling garden appliances. Their first products were two tie-rack models. The founders were: Lynn Everett Baker, Avery F. Crounse, and Alvin F. Tesch. At some point in 1947, they thought it would be a good idea to include a few toys in their portfolio, and manufactured the first Tonka trucks. By then, the company already had a new logo and a new name: Tonka, a variation of the Dakota Sioux word for "big" or "great".

Taken from

Toys became the main source of incomes for the company, so in 1955 Mound Metalcraft changed its name to Tonka Toys. During that first year, 37,000 metal trucks were manufactured, counting two models: a steam shovel and a crane.

Like every other company those years, they mostly used metal parts, that were later replaced with plastic parts from the late 70s on. The toys are characterized for being very sturdy.

The company Tonka bought Kenner Parker in 1987 and was later acquired by Hasbro in 1991. Currently, the Tonka brand is property of Maisto, that has a line of 1:64 trucks sold under this brand/series.

Information up to this point: mostly Wikipedia

But since I am from Spain, and this blog deals with many Spanish toys, my interest to Tonka is related to the licenses Tonka gave to other toy manufacturers around the world. In the particular case of Spain, it was Rico that manufactured many Tonka-licensed toys for the Spanish market. Toys are recognisable because Tonka always gave to its toys an unique, sturdy, bulky look.

One of the most famous lines back then was the "Sansón" trucks (Engl. Samson, like the Biblical character of enormous strength) That I would like to comment in this blog soon. Other series was "Diablos", and I am sure there were some more series available.

The Hot Rod shown in this entry is not a genuine Tonka, note that the brand TONKA is marked in the rubber tyres and the front grill, but this car is actually a Rico product, manufactured with the original casts by Tonka. It was sold under the line "Autos Locos", which roughly translates as "Crazy Cars". The name is probably not randomly chosen, since the TV series "Wacky Races" was also dubbed to Spanish as "Autos Locos", so maybe this name was appealing to the audience of the TV show.

I must say I have seen this line for the first time today, so now I am thinking that the "Old Cars" by Playtoy might be an attempt to copy this particular Rico series. Note that the reference 503 of the "Old Cars" is very similar to this model presented here.

  • Scale: Maybe 1:24
  • Year: Around 1977
  • Company: Rico (Spain) / Tonka (U.S.A.)
  • Size: approx. 12 cm

Friday, October 23, 2015

#603 MIRA - RENAULT 4 (Ref. 130), RENAULT 18 GTS (Ref. 178) and RENAULT 14 GTS (Ref. 181) (Around 1980)

Here a new entry with more MIRA models, they are very detailed miniatures in a scale slightly bigger than the classic 1:64, maybe 1:55 (like Siku). Many models are built with metal die-cast bases, and this is the weakest point in these models. Instead of making the models sturdier, the metal plate on the base is very fragile and the axles tend to break when the car falls down or is stepped on.

From the four models pressented in this entry, there are two different types. These first two cars have a kind of Wheel that reminds of the 1:64 series by Schuco. The axles are casted into the base, the wheels are made of black plastic and finally topped with a silver hubcap. The second model, present on both Reanult 4's is much simpler with one piece only. The axles are again casted into the base.

It is difficult to date these cars, since the catalogues by Mira are very scarce and they do not indicate any year. My opinion is that the more complex wheel type represents a middle (golden) age, which was preceded and also followed by other periods in which the simpler type of wheel was used. In this case, the Renautl 4 seem to be older (note also the lower reference number).

Unfortunately, Mira was only a big seller in Spain, and being Spain a relatively small market (with plenty of competitors) it was always risky to produce new casts. This led Mira to produce the same model in several versions each, by simply applying some stickers, changing colours or inserting some plastic details (like sirens).

  • Name: RENAULT 4 (Ref. 130), RENAULT 18 GTS (Ref. 178) and RENAULT 14 GTS (Ref. 181)
  • Scale: Approx. 1:64
  • Year: Around 1980
  • Company: Mira (Spain)
  • Size: approx. 8 cm

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

#602 G.I. JOE - MACE, LONG ARM and GRISTLE (Nr. 29, 31 and 33) (1993)

1993 was, to call it so, the last year of design and production for the G.I.Joe: ARAH era. There were still some figures released in 1994, but very few compared to 1993 or any other previous year.

Despite the fact that the creators of the line were running out of ideas, and they had already exploited all posibilities (space, ninjas, shooting weapons, popular videogame licenses, anti-drug forces...) the people in the design and casting unit would still produce great figures.

I have the impression, that in these last years figures´ paintwork is much worse than in the previous year, resulting in figures with one base colour and only a few painted details... totalling a three colour uniform. Take any of these figures, Mace has only painted boots and those details in his chest, Long Arm is almost completely orange and Gristle is a little bit more colourful, but still has only three base colours.

All figures in this series (Battle Corps series) came with a spring-loaded rocket launcher and a lot of accesories attached to a plastic tree. The missiles for the launcher and a plastic base were always included, the rest of the weapons, varied from figure to figure. So did the colour of the weapons. In some cases, there were catalogues, promotional or mail-in leaflets included in the blisters, as in Long Arm.

Another interesting fact is that despite being quite late figures, they are collected still by many people, who usually stop collecting figures made later that 1994. Because of the many accesories included (one of them is usually a very small knife), they are very difficult to find complete, and loose are often more expensive than carded. Depending on where you live, the shipping costs might be even higher than the figure itself.

The cardbacks include the famous filecard written by Larry Hama, but after hundreds of figures, the stories are not so interesting anymore. The format of the card was changed in the early 90s, and part of it is dedicated to comment the weapons, so there are less space left to create and elaborate a story.

In one of my first entries in this blog, I commented two more figures from this wave: Please visit entry #4.

  • Name: MACE, LONG ARM and GRISTLE (Nr. 29, 31 and 33)
  • Toy Line: G.I. Joe (Wave 12)
  • Year: 1993
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 9,5 cm (3 3/4'')

Sunday, October 18, 2015

#601 HE-MAN - THUNDER PUNCH HE-MAN and BATTLE BLADE SKELETOR (Nr. 5586 and 5705) (1992)

The last versions of He-Man and Skeletor in the He-Man (Masters of the Universe New Adventures) toyline were "Thunder Punch" and "Battle Blade"... these would be the last versions of these characters for quite a long time until the re-activation of the line in 2000 (and on) with the MotU 200X.

They belong to the 4th wave from 1992, which was the last of this toyline. We have several times commented that last waves are usually more difficult to find because at the time sold in much lower numbers than the previous figures. In this case, the wave 4 comprised the following figures:
  • Thunder Punch He-Man (Nr. 5586)
  • Spin Fist Hydron (Nr. 5788)
  • Missile Armor Flipshot (Nr. 7769)
  • Battle Blade Skeletor (Nr. 5705)
  • Hook Em Flogg (Nr. 9309)
  • Too-Tall Hoove (Nr. 7013)
From all 6, the versions of He-Man and Skeletor are the easiest to find, the other 4 are really difficult, specially if complete with all accesories and in good shape.

The He-Man figure is not very interesting, it doesn´t have any special feature but the good-old waist-twist that also had the very first He-Man figure from the original toyline. The accesories are pretty much in the fashion of those early 90s with lots of neon yellow. I´d like to point out that the sword is very fragile and the handle is sometimes broken. The shield is also fragile because the handle is made of hard plastic and is also sometimes broken. The name of the figure comes from the carved accesory on the wrist of the right arm, which was also available as a role-play toy.

The Battle Blade Skeletor figure is much greater. It has an amazing design with a skull body and a great head sculpt including hair. The figure has an strange gesture with arms in different orientations and this results in a strange action feature. The figure came with a brown/occre shield that can be fit to the wrist by means of a peg (sometimes broken) and another unidentified accesory, probably some kind of axe of other weapon with a "blade" (otherwise... the name wouldn´t make any sense). A last and great feature is that the skull carved in the torso of the figure is fluorescent, glow-in-the-dark, painted.

  • Name: THUNDER PUNCH HE-MAN (Nr. 5586) and BATTLE BLADE SKELETOR (Nr. 5705)
  • Toy Line: He-Man (also New Adventures of He-Man) (Wave 4)
  • Year: 1992
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 14 cm
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...