Sunday, May 31, 2015

#551 EKO - SEAT 600 (Around 1960)



Eko is one of the most famous Spanish toy manufacturers outside Spain. Their miniatures in 1:87 (H0) scale were imported to many European countries and probably also to America.
If you want to read the history of this company, we recommend you to visit Rosaspage and read a great article (in Spanish) about the company covering all important aspects.
If you cannot read Spanish, I will make a very short summary to cover the basic aspects.
 
In 1956 two cousins named Blasco founded the "Industrias Blasco" in Barcelona. They created toys and complements for children, like H0 dioramas or H0 vehicles. One of the cousins also manufactured and distributed cheap toys, but their followers in the company decided to manufacture a better quality product, and here is where EKO was born. At the beginning the company was a family business, but they made some profit and started growing rapidly. They even moved from Barcelona to Hospitalet de Llobregat, to a more suitable factory. The top number of employees they reached was around 12. Surprising for such a well-known manufacturer.

Their products were still cheap compared with other European brands (Wiking, Roco, Anguplas), and their quality was a bit lower. We would say today that they specialized in the lower-end market. Anguplas would sell their casts to Eko after they disappeared in 1967.
 
Their products included many cars, trucks, busses, military vehicles and accesories (people, traffic signs, small buildings...) in H0 scale as well as another series in 1:43 scale, all of them in plastic. They also produced other types of toy goods, like plastic children glasses or children watches.
Some brands used Eko miniatures as promotional give-aways, or incorporated in products of other companies, like Congost, Ibertrén or Electrotrén.

By the beginning of the 80s, the company production became lower and almost disappeared. However, today they still produce toys under the brand "Toyeko" www.toyeko.com
 

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: SEAT 600
  • Scale: 1:87 (H0)
  • Year: Around 1960
  • Company: Eko (Spain)
  • Size: approx. 3.5 cm

Thursday, May 28, 2015

#550 YUGO AURO METAL – ZASTAVA KORAL (Around 1987)


Also known as Yugo or Innocenti Koral, the Zastava Koral was an utilitary made in Yugolasvia during the communist era and after it. The car was designed in Italy taking the base of the Fiat 127. The car sold very well in Yugoslavia, but also outside Yugoslavia, being exported even to the U.S.A. and selling more than 140.000 cars there (it was a low-cost car, priced under 4000 US$). It was on production between 1980 and 2008, and today it seems that most of the remaining units are in Serbia.


Yugoslavian children, as children from anywhere else, loved miniature cars. Foreign brands like Matchbox were very coveted, and very scarce due to the political and economical situation back then. However, some Yugoslavian company decided to build miniature cars, and they chose a local car model. I have searched information about the company, but I found nothing. I also searched for other models "Made in Yugoslavia", but I only found this one in different colours. Did Yugo - Auro Metal (sometimes mispelled "Auto-Metal") only build this single model? Probably yes, and probably the company built any other kind of die-cast products for the industry or whatever and was commisioned to build this toy.


Yugo Auto Model are rare and difficult to find, and also quite exotic. The car itself is a great quality model, sturdy, with opening trunk, quality paintwork, and accurate scalling. The base is metallic and casted there is a "Made in Yugoslavia" and "Yugo Auto Model". Interior is made of brown plastic, and windshield/windows are also present. It even has some suspension, and quite a good one. I would say it is one of the most robust toy cars I have ever seen.


EDIT: A visitor to this blog named Milos Mihajlovic wrote me on May 2016 an email to add and correct some information from this entry. Many thanks! I include here part of his email

"The Yugo car model you have is actually made by Auro Metal, from town Subotica, not Auto Metal. Auro Metal (I think it is from word Aurum, meaning gold) was a state company processing metals, mostly precious, into small products like badges, also jewellery, goblets/cups, and similar stuff. Yugo car model was, as far as I know, the only one they ever made. I find it very interesting, as it is very different from other products they made, so it was probably a big challenge for them and a pioneering effort. Small metal car models as this Yugo were not produced in Yugoslavia at all, if I know correctly, only in late 1980 did Metaloplastika Sabac briefly make some Bburago clones of slightly lower quality."

 
FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: ZASTAVA KORAL / YUGO
  • Scale: 1:60 (approx.)
  • Year: Approx. 1987
  • Company: Yugo Auto-Metal (Yugoslavia)
  • Size: approx. 3’’ or 7 cm

Monday, May 25, 2015

#549 HE-MAN - BATTLE PUNCH HE-MAN vs OPTIKK (1990)




We have sometimes commented that the main character(s) of a toyline has to be available in each wave. The Masters of the Universe and later the He-Man toylines made available in each wave the figures of He-Man and Skeletor, and each time a different figure with a different action feature.

 In the He-Man series, the first He-Man figure is very common and easy to get, but the second and third versions are very rare and also quite expensive for that series. This is the second one (we would say “v2”), and it features a quite impressive move, never seen in any other figure of the line. The accessories included with this figure are a rather big (slightly oversized) and a shield. Despite the size of the weapons, they are quite rare to find.



The second figure presented in this entry is Optikk, one of the evil characters working for Skeletor. It is one of my favorite figures of this line, because the design is really amazing with that big eye instead of a head. The figure came only with a pistol/rifle and its action feature is a spring-loaded punch with the left hand. As in many other toylines, the figures of the evil faction have quite dark colours, and this character has a dark brown with golden details outfit.



FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: BATTLE PUNCH HE-MAN and OPTIKK (Ref. 1340 and 3262)
  • Toy Line: He-Man (also New Adventures of He-Man) (Wave 2)
  • Year: 1990
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 14 cm

Friday, May 22, 2015

#548 TOMICA – NISSAN FAIRLADY Z 300 ZX, CHEVROLET CORVETTE and CHEVROLET CAMARO Z28 (Nrs. 15, F21 and F34) (1982, 1977 and 1983)


These are three more old Tomicas, two of them belong to the foreign (F) series, while the third one belongs to the normal series.



Nº15 – Nissan Fairlady Z 300ZX – Scale 1:61 – 1982 (original car 1981)

NºF21 – Chevrolet Corvette – Scale 1:64 - 1977
A newer version of this model was shown here, the yellow model is made in Japan, while the white one is made in China, and is part of the so-called "British Line".

NºF34 – Chevrolet Camaro Z28 – Scale 1:66 – 1983 (original car 1982)


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: NISSAN FAIRLADY Z 300 ZX, CHEVROLET CORVETTE and CHEVROLET CAMARO Z28 (Nrs. 15, F21 and F34)
  • Scale: 1:61, 1:64, 1:66 (respectively)
  • Year: 1982, 1977 and 1983 (respectively)
  • Company: Tomica (Japan)
  • Size: approx. 6 cm

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#547 MICRO MACHINES - DRIVERS COLLECTION #1 (1991)



I have already talked about several Micro Machines series, but there are still many more to be commented... Today I want to focus on the Drivers Collections.

It was a rather short subline in which every model came with a (not removable/detachable) miniature driver/pilot. Just as simple. Most models were actually cabrios or race cars, although there were also motorbikes and military collections. The figures are made is a softer gum plastic, so my guess is that they are simply glued to re-decorated old models.

There were 4 collections made in 1991, and other 4 collections in 1992, each of them with four miniatures (except “bonus” vehicles). Each “drivers” collections have a subtitle.
 
I own “Hotfoot Collection #1”, that includes:
  • Kurtis Kraft Racer
  • March 707
  • `88 Camaro Cabrio
  • Corvette Cabrio

Maybe not the most imaginative sub-series, but most vehicles look really nicer with drivers on top! Motorbikes especially.

FACTS AND FIGURES
  • Name: DRIVERS “HOTFOOT” COLLECTION #1
  • Scale of the cars: 1:150 aprox.
  • Year: 1991
  • Company: Galoob (U.S.A.)
  • Size: approx. 2 cm

Saturday, May 16, 2015

#546 HASBRO’S WWF – RICK “THE MODEL” MARTEL, SID JUSTICE, VIRGIL, SKINNER and WARLORD (1993)

In this entry I´ll show the last 5 figures of this series:

Rick the Model Martel
Rick Martel was another unsympathetic character: snobbish, elitist, posh and even corny. He had his own perfume called "Arrogance", that he used against his opponents. The figure is quite boring, since its is exactly the same cast used for Macho Man #1, just with a new head.



Sid Justice (Sidney Raymond Eudy)
Sid Justice was the good guy and in my opinion a bit similar to Mr. Perfect. He was the character to fight cheaters and fighters who worked dirty (and there were a few of this). The figure has a nice action, but looks very much like other figures, since the figure is only dressed with a blue trunks and boots.



Virgil (Michael "Mike" Jones)
This figure is a very nice one, looks quite different to all the others. A nice figure to have, despite its action arm being too short, and his chest too prone. The action move rather ineffective. The character was a nice sidekick to Million Dollar Man and his team Money Inc.



Skinner (Steve Keirn)
The crocodile hunter from Florida Everglades had a great figure: its outfit and its "rare" action move makes it quite a singular figure, doesn´t look like any other in the whole collection. The wrestler however wasn´t very popular, because of his bad manners and customs. He used to chew tobacco and spit it on a bucket or over their opponents face.



Warlord (Terry Scott Szopinski)
I remember just one or two fights with Warlord, but it was so impressive, I have not forgotten his entrance to the ring with a metallic staff, and that silver pad on his face. It was really frightening. The figure has an impressive armspan and huge hands, looks slightly bigger than the rest of the figures. Maybe because of this, the fingers of the figure might break, in a problem which is common to all figures performing this mode.

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: RICK “THE MODEL” MARTEL, SID JUSTICE, VIRGIL, SKINNER and WARLORD
  • Toy Line: Official WWF (Wave 5)
  • Year: 1993
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 12 cm

Friday, May 15, 2015

#545 HASBRO’S WWF – HULK HOGAN #4, MACHO MAN #4, I.R.S., JIM “THE ANVIL” NEIDHART and THE MOUNTIE (1993)

The next wave to appear in this blog is number 5. There were 10 new figures were released in 1993, 8 of them new characters, plus the fourth versions of Hulk Hogan and Macho Man. This wave was the first one that wasn´t sold in Spain, so these are difficult to find there and are usually a bit more expensive than the figures from the previous waves. If they were sold, it was in small amounts and on foreign (American?) cards.

None of the figures is especially difficult to find. The Mountie includes his cattle prod, which is one of the most difficult accesories in the collection. It is a long bar of black plastic, can be easily mistaken for something else, and it is mostly missing. In the chapter "fragile figures", I would only include Macho Man #4, whose fingers and hat are often broken. The rest of the figures are quite sturdy.

The first 5 (of 10) are:

Hulk Hogan #4
Another Hulk Hogan figure, the first one without t-shirt. I guess no matter how many previous versions of him were, the figure was always a good selling one, as we can deduce from the many bootleg figures made of him in all possible forms, sizes and materials. The figure has the straight punch action move, but the torso cast is different from the one used for Jake Roberts in series 1. It is more muscular and has a straight belly.



Macho Man Randy Savage #4
And also the 4th version of Randy Savage, this time with a white cowboy jacket, a white hut and colourful pants. This figure is the first one of those four with jumping action. The figure is quite flashy and I would say it is among the favorite figures for many people in the whole collection. It is a fragile figure, note the fingers in the right hand which have a strange pose. These two fingers are often missing.



I.R.S. (Irwin R. Schuster)
Another remarkable figure with an unique cast and a rare movement. I think the concept is quite nice. Even nicer was his name in Spanish (I.R.P.F.) and the many jokes with taxes and money that the Spanish commentators made. The figure performs the stomp move, which is not very playable, but its still a good thing to have a big variety of moves (until now, the only Stomping figure were Ted DiBiase #2 and one of the Bushwackers).



Jim the Anvil Neidhart
Unfortunately, I cannot remember much of this wrestler. I never saw him in action, but the figure is quite nice. That beard is very distinctive and the colours of his trousers are also flashy and nice. The movement was at the time a very nice one, although with the time it became a very common one, so now it is not very interesting anymore.



Mountie (with cattle prod) (Jacques Rougeau)
This is a wrestler I saw in action a few times on TV. He made great shows, I think the biggest one was against Big Boss Man. He was mostly an unsympathetic character, since he always used his cattle prod to shock his opponents, most times "illegally". The figure is also remarkable because of its mounted police uniform, which red jacket, black trousers and hut.
 


FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: HULK HOGAN #4, MACHO MAN #4m, I.R.S., JIM “THE ANVIL” NEIDHART and THE MOUNTIE
  • Toy Line: Official WWF (Wave 5)
  • Year: 1993
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 12 cm
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