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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

#661 JOAL – CHAPARRAL PROTOTIPO 2F (Ref. 113) and ADAMS BROS PROBE 16 (Ref. 118) (Around 1973)

These are three Joal models in 1:43 scale that my father bought a couple of years ago in a flea market. They are in great shape, although the Adams Bros is not 100% complete. It is missing the plastic roof, a very hard to find bit.

Joal chose a mixture of prototypes, ordinary and sport cars, and these are an example of sport and race cars, check also my entries dealing with the Renault 10, the Ferrari 512S or the Monza G.T. and the Alfa 1600.


We have mentioned several times that Joal usually "borrowed" designs from other companies like Tekno of Denmark, Polistil from Italy or Corgi from the United Kingdom, but we are not sure if the models are actual copies, licenses or if Joal bought casts from other companies. In the case of the Chaparral, it might be similar to a model made by Mercury, and the Adams Bros. Probe similar to Corgi´s. I cannot compare them, because I do not have these, only the two Joals, so this is only a guess.


As usual in Joal models, these were available in several colours each: the Chaparral is at least available in red, green, yellow, gold and blue, while the Adam Bros. Probe is available in red, green, blue, yellow and orange.

  • Name: CHAPARRAL PROTOTIPO 2F (Ref. 113) and ADAMS BROS PROBE 16 (Ref. 118)
  • Scale: 1:43
  • Year: Around 1973
  • Company: Joal (Spain)
  • Size: Around 10 cm

Sunday, March 27, 2016

#660 MAJORETTE vs. MATCHBOX – RENAULT 11 (1984 and 1985)

The Reanult 11 was one of the most popular cars in its range during the 80s. It was Car of the Year in 1982 and was available during many years. As a matter of fact, the 11 and the Renault 9 are often seen as the same model. For the 11 there were several “facelifts” and this particular Matchbox and Majorette models are the 1st one, the 1st phase from 1984.

Considering both the 9 and the 11 are the same car, it was available in Europe from 1981 to 1989, and during a few years also in the USA as Renault Alliance, where it was chosen as one of the 10 best cars in 1983. After that, and during the 90s it was also built for the South American market, as well as in Turkey and Taiwan.

Both Majorette and Matchbox models are really accurate, and very similar to each other. The most significant differences are in the front headlights, metallic in case of the the Majorette model an plastic for Matchbox. Another interesting difference is that Majorette made the lower half of the body in plastic, as the real car had, and also added a practicable sunroof, which is really nice.

Majorette made this model in 1984 for the first time in (dark) red, one year later in bright red. In 1987 it got a new decoration in white with black and yellow rally stripes, that was also available in 1988, and in 1989 it was not available anymore.

Matchbox premiered this model in their 1986’s catalogue in black, an it was available until 1989. In 1990 the model was replaced by the Mercury Sable Wagon, so there are no other versions than this one. When a model is so many years in catalogue without new decorations, it probably means that the model didn’t sell very well. There are of course some international variants, and a very interesting blue version with a taxi light on the roof from James Bond’s film “A View to Kill”.

Majorette  RENAULT 11 TXE (Nr. 275)

Matchbox RENAULT 11 (Nr. 33)

  • Name: RENAULT 11 TXE (Nr. 275) and Matchbox RENAULT 11 (Nr. 33)
  • Scale: Around 1:64
  • Year: 1984 and 1985
  • Company: Majorette(France) and Matchbox (Great Britain)
  • Size: Around 8 cm 

Friday, March 25, 2016

#659 BURGER KING - KID'S CLUB - BOOMER, JAWS and I.Q. (1991)

These figures were a giveaway of Burger King in their children menu box, named, back them, "kid's meal". This promotion was launched in 1991 (although the figures are copyrighted 1990), and is the only one I remember. My parents never took me to this kind of fast food restaurants, so I just had a chance to actually go inside the restaurant once for a birthday party. I saw these figures and I remember thinking how cool would it be to have those figures. The way they were presented, their colours and their quality were astonishing, at least for a 10 year old boy. I cannot remember any commercial on TV, or any advertising in magazines, it was just once that I saw these figures.
Later I got some in a flea market. I saw them, and I bought them very cheap. It was only recently that I sold them. I liked them, but I was not very interested in collecting them. After all, you cannot collect everything. I took pictures of them for my shop, and that's what I show in this entry. Sorry for the bad quality of the pictures.

I have found some information about this promo in the U.S., but I am not sure if it was the same in Europe, or particularly, in Spain. Apparently there was a first batch of four figures, consisting of:
  • Kid Vid: the leader of the gang, and the "cool" guy. Personally, I think it is the worst figure, since it does look very strange. There are no kids like this one, or, at least, I never met any.
  • I.Q.: The smart guy in the gang wears some kind of long jacket with a bow tie, has messy hair and wears glasses. Three cliches in one. The figure is nice, It is probably the one I like most.
  • Boomer: The girl in the BK Club is very fond of sports. She wears skates and has a pony tail. The figure is also nice, but the skates make it loose some stability. 
  • Jaws: The last member of the BK Club is a more generic figure, with no distinctive feature. Aparently he was always willing to eat a hamburger.
Later, the series was expanded with more toys and some more characters, exactly 4 children and a dog. I do not have any references of them, but these were:
  • Wheels: A boy in a wheel chair.
  • Lingo: Seems to be a smart guy.
  • Snaps: A blonde girl used to take many pictures.
  • J.D.: A dog with a helmet.
  • Jazz: A girl whose passion was music. This was introduced much later, by the 2000s.
There was also a second batch of figures released, in which each character included some accesory, and then much more series where the kids played sports, or rode on insects, vehicles... the Kid's Club promotions expanded until the mid 2000s, with promotions every now and then.
Most figures from the first series are today unexpensive and easy to find. I guess there not so many fast food toy collectors out there compared to how many of these figures were actually sold (or given away) at the time.

  • Name: BOOMER, JAWS and I.Q.
  • Toy Line: Kid's Club
  • Year: 1991
  • Company: Burger King (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: Around 7 cm tall

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


The communist takeover of China in 1949 also brought a lot of refugees travelling to the nearby colonies of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau or Singapore. That meant very cheap labour to work in factories and this fact brought economic growth to all these regions.

One of the goods manufactured was plastic toys. Starting as early as the 1950s, these cheap toys would arrive to Europe and America and would put in serious trouble other traditional toymakers.

Many of these Hongkongese toys were copied from British and American models. In a high percentage, they are not marked other than "Made in Hong-Kong", so identifiying them is quite difficult. The brand name and logo was shown often in the box, but, as we know, very few boxes survive after 10, 20 or 30 years. In addition to this, most manufacturers were rather small, and some didn´t even used a brand name. Instead, they worked for some foreign distributors that would sell these items under their own brand.

This distributors were sometimes the ones that took the toys to Hong-Kong and asked the local manufacturers to copy them. Some british distributors that produced toys in Hong-Kong were: Telsalda, Clifford Series, Fairylite, OK, Emu Series, Laurie Toys... Classic toy manufacturers created second brands for cheap toys, like Cragstan from the US and Woolbro, the cheap brand for Woolworth markets.

Some European makers had to leave out plastic toys, that were not profitable anymore and developped more complex toys. Apparently the paradigmatic example of this is Tri-ang, that started producing slot cars.

Some of these small manufacturers actually progressed to become independent, most notably Lucky Toys and Blue Box.

There are not much details about this brand. Most companies that have survived to the present day try to hide their humble origins. Blue Box was founded in 1952 by Peter Chan Pui. They started making dolls but soon they started producing toy cars, most of them copied from Matchbox, Corgi and the rest of major European manufacturers, only in plastic.

The rest of the story is already known, European and American makers would finally start their own factories and facilities in Asia, to save costs over the years. Now it is not Hong-Kong anymore, but China.

  • Scale: Around 1:55 and 1:100
  • Year: Around 1970
  • Company: Blue Box (Hong Kong)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Saturday, March 19, 2016


The Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken AG (short: ASS) made this beautiful deck of cards around 1967. The copyright from Hanna-Barbera dates from that year, so I guess it was probaby manufactured around that year.

The deck consists of 36 cards (6 families) and one extra card to play Schwarzer Peter. Each familiy tells a story in 4 cartoons with some text in the lower part of the card. These stories deal with different situations like a car race, flying an airplane or hunting a dinosaur.

The most interesting fact about this deck is to observe how the cartoons are not made by the original artist from Hanna-Barbera, and these are not taken from the TV series or anywhere else. They have been remade by another artist, and you can tell that these are not the original Flintstones, but a little bit of a fake. Despite this, ASS apparently got the copyright, so it is a legal "reinterpretation" of the original characters.

The game comes with the cover card and another one with the instructions printed on it. The cover card, on its back side has a monochromatic cartoon depicting all 7 main characters with their names in German. Everything comes in an oversized box, much deeper than it is actuallz needed. A common practice, to make the deck/game look more than it actually is.

  • Year: 1967
  • Company: Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken AG  (West Germany)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

#656 HUSKY - SEVERAL TRUCKS (From 1964 to 1966)

Husky is a brand from the Mettoy Company, the makers of Corgi model cars. We have talked about both Corgi and Husky before. Husky models were all in 3 inches size ("1:box" scale) and originally made exclusively for Woolworth´s in Great Britain, Canada and the United States. They were available in that supermarket chain between 1964 and 1969. However, some models were available in other countries from 1966 on. In 1969, after the Woolworth contract expired, the line was renamed "Corgi Juniors". Many models are available in two different versions that differ only in the logo on the base. Corgi was very popular in 1:43 scale, selling better than Dinky and other contemporary brands.
The bases of the different vehicles are mostly made of chromed plastic, although some were made in more robust metal, and originally with plastic grey/greenish wheels. These wheels were later modified for more durable metallic wheels with plastic tyres (see Guy Warrior Milk Tanker, Nr. 17-B2). Most models include windows and interiors, which is fine. The casting is quite good, but the durability is not the best. Another weak point is the suspension based on a plastic flap (in the plastic based models).
In 1969, shortly after Mattel´s Hot Wheels and the rename from Husky to Corgi Juniors, the "Whizzwheels" were introduced only in some models, which were more expensive than the "ordinary" series. The "fast" models were included in a series called "Corgi Rockets" that also included some tracksets, but from 1970 on, Corgi decided to mount Whizzwheels in all models, and shortly afterwards, the Corgi Rockets series was discontinued and the models released in the Corgi Juniors series.
The competition by Corgi to Hotwheels was successful and they got their own piece of cake. Hot Wheels lost a lot of market share and also started downgrading some features to be able to sell cheaper and cheaper.
10-A1 Guy Warrior Coal Truck
25-A1 S & D Refuse Truck

17-A1 Guy Warrior Milk Tanker (Oval)
17-B1 Guy Warrior Milk Tanker (Squarish) (only model with 2-component wheels)

11-A2 Land Rover Forward control
29-A1 ERF Truck (Cement Mixer)

  • Name: 10-A1 Guy Warrior Coal Truck, 11-A2 Land Rover Forward control, 17-A1 Guy Warrior Milk Tanker (Oval), 17-B1 Guy Warrior Milk Tanker (Squarish), 25-A1 S & D Refuse Truck and 29-A1 ERF Truck (Cement Mixer)
  • Year: 1964, 1965, 1966
  • Company: Husky (Great Britain)
  • Size: Around 7 cm
  • Scale: Around 1:100 (trucks)
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