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Friday, September 30, 2016


Ferdy is a not so popular cartoon aired in Spain at the end of the 80s. The series tells the adventures of an ant named Ferdy (Ferdinand) and a few of his friends: a ladybug, a spider and several insects.

The series is a co-production of Czechoslovakia and the United Kingdom, and it was aired for the first time in 1984. It is based on several books written by the Czechoslovak author Ondrej Sekora and whose main character is Ferda Mravenec (which translated something like: Ferda, the Ant). The series knew a certain success in many European countries, but also in far away countries like Iran or Indonesia.

Since the series was also aired in Germany, Schleich made 6 different figures from the show. All are marked with the copyright from 1986, but some are made in Germany and other in Portugal. Probably the figures made in Portugal have another earlier version made in Germany, like it happened with the Smurfs (see #543).

From the six characters made by Schleich 3 are easily recognisable, but to the other three I cannot give the proper names. Maybe some friend out there can help me?
  • Ferdy (Ant)
  • Gwendoline/Laura (Ladybug)
  • Arambula (Spider)
  • Sniffy (Bug/dog?)
  • Gobbler (Green Bug?)
  • Woody (Brown Bug?)

Of course there were other characters in the TV series, but these were the only manufactured. It would have been quite cool to have the grasshopper, but I guess the cast for this figure is technically complicated with its long legs.

I could buy the complete set at once for a reasonable price. It is not one of the series I like most from my childhood days, but still something I watched every now and then, when it was on TV.
  • Year: 1986
  • Company: Schleich (Germany)
  • Size of the figures: Around 5 cm

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

#726 PIATNIK – HEINZELMÄNNCHEN (Nr.4052) (1976)

This set of cards is based on the works of Will Huygen and Rien Poortliet, who in the 70s created and released several books about these creatures from the forest. Although originally from Holland, those books where soon translated to other languages, so at least in Europe they are more or less well known.

In Spain, however, I cannot remember those books, but anyone over 30 years will inmediatly recognise these characters from the TV cartoon series “David, el Gnomo”. This cartoon was a coproduction between Spain and Japan and was cordinated by BRB International, a company that during the 80s created many unforgettable cartoons. This one is one of the most mythical ones.

The series was aired for the first time in 1985 and 1986, but then has been repeated several times during the next 20 years. Of course, after the great success of the cartoons, many books were published, so I guess at some point the original books from the Dutch creators were also available in Spain.

The deck of cards has 8 families (32 cards) plus one cover card and came in a so-called “soap-box”. The copyright is from 1976, although the copyright and the year of manufacture are most of the times two different things.

Each family is devoted to one aspect of the life of the Heinzelmännchen: which types are there, how do they look depending on their age, what do they do for a living, who are their enemies, what do they do during a normal day, what things do they have at home, which animals are their friends and other customs they have.

Needless to say that the illustrations are beautiful, and that I can imagine that these books caught the attention of kids at the time. The gnomes, kabauter, Heinzelmännchen or gnomos have today a certain “cult” status in most European countries. I am aware of many toys (for example PVC figures) based on these characters, but unfortunately, I do not have any.

  • Name: HEINZELMÄNNCHEN (Nr.4052)
  • Year: 1976
  • Company: Piatnik (Austria)

Sunday, September 25, 2016


One of the shortest and rarest (relatively) recent series by Matchbox is the "Superfast Minis". These are small (around 2 inches, maybe 1:72) die-cast cars with plastic base and a big wheel on the base. This wheel is very interesting, since it allows a great playability and maneouvrability.

I am surprised that this series was discontinued after only 2 years, since it is quite fun to play with and the size was very popular those days (well, it´s a bit bigger than Micro Machines), but there was also “World’s smallest Matchbox” series which was even smaller than a Micro Machine.

The models I own are only three:


I love the selection of cars Matchbox made for this series: BMW M1, Ford RS 200, Chevrolet Stingray, Ferrari F40, Porsche 911, Lamborghini Countach… actually my three models are the most boring ones…

The series are marked MD plus a number (either one ciffer or three). There seems to be 12 models, each of them in two decorations. Note that the catalogue picture presents the Camaro and the Jaguar in other colours than mine.

Not to forget is the nice mini-launcher to do some racing against your friends. I love this kind of add-ons. This one seems to be not only a launcher, but also a small container box for one car. There were several of these made, with different colour combinations and several brands printed on them, depending on the cars that they came with. I have seen double blisterpacks with 2 cars (same model in two decorations) and a launcher or with 4 models (2 models, 2 decorations each).

  • Scale: Approx. 1:72
  • Year: 1990 and 1991
  • Company: Matchbox (Great Britain)
  • Size: approx. 4 cm

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Boglins are a line of hand-puppets made by Mattel between 1987 and 1990 or 1991. They are made of soft rubber, just like many figures used in special effects for science-fiction and horror movies in the second half of the 80s. Most sources of information point out that they were probably inspired by movies like Gremlins, Ghoulies, Critters that were very popular back then (and some are still today). I am not so familiar with those movies (except Gremslins), but they seem a bit different to me.
Something remarkable were the boxes in which they were sold: they were cubic cardboard boxes simulating wood and the front, instead of a window had bars like if it was a jail. Nice details like "do not feed" and "do not touch" signs were the perfect appeal for children to touch the puppet with their fingers and having that funny-but-disgusting feeling of the soft rubber touch. It is kind of humid but dry, and soft but cannot be deformed. The back of the box included a description of the species with an evolutionary tree written as if they were a real species. Very funny to read.
There were several Boglins sub-series in different size, but all of them shared some distinctive features. Most of them have bigs heads, short tails and also arms.
From the inside you can control the opening of the mouth, but also the eyes (or eye), in a very impressive effect. The arms are articulated, and could be move from the outside. With some practice, you could really move the puppet and make it look like a living creature. The biggest ones (called simply Boglins, or in latin: Boglinus Humungus) were really big and you could control all previously listed features. The Small Boglins (boglinus minimus) were slightly smaller. The white Boglin I am showing has this same size (but is not a small Boglin). There were 7 characters available in this size. Here you cannot control the arms, which simply hang under the head as in their bigger brothers (where you could insert one finger in each arm).
There were many other sub-series or sub-species of Boglins, including the Soggy Boglins, Baby Boglins, Halloween Boglins, Acrobat Boglins, Mini Boglins, Hairy Boglins, Talking Boglins, Bash'em Boglins, Action Boglins, Baby Squirt Boglins, Glow Boglins, Ric Fair Boglins (something in common with the wrestler?), Batty Boglins and Moggy Boglins (the last two were never mass produced nor released). Every sub-series included characters in different colours, and depending on the previous category, they came with hair, fluorescent paint to glow in the dark, detachable body parts...
The white Blogin I present today is a Glow Boglin, and was only available in Europe, not the US, so an "EURO exclusive".
I have been looking at some commercials and pictures, and I must say they look amazing. Some (like the Halloween Boglins) look really frightening even today. i understand that they are still very sought-after by collectors worldwide. Unfortunately, I have some doubts about their durability. I think in a few years, maybe 10 more or maybe 20, the rubber skin may deteriorate, harden and finally break into pieces, so they are not a line I would "collect" or spend much money on. They are cool toys, but in my opinion, they are not collectables.
I also own one "Baby Boglin", which, in comparison, is quite simple and boring. Just a very small creature with goggly eyes in which you can insert one finger (one adult finger), but you cannot move the mouth, arms or anything else. They were among the cheapest Bogling you could buy, and came in a plastic egg. The skin and the feeling of touching it is the same as in the small Boglin that appears in the pictures, but the playability is very low.
Here is a very good source for Boglins, both normal, small, baby and all the others:
I wish Mattel releases something similar for children around 8 years, which I think would like to play with them. They are great toys: enhance imagination, coordination skills (eye-hand coordination) and are actually a lot of fun to play with. But... do these toys still have a chance against Pókemon Go and similar games?
  • Toy Line: BOGLINS
  • Year: 1986
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: Around 9 cm tall the big one and around 6 cm long the small one

Monday, September 19, 2016


I bought this toy car in some kind of collector's fair held in the city I live. The seller was a guy who knew well what he had, and what he was offering. The car is rare, there is no discussion here, so I decided to keep it despite being more pricy than the other models I usually buy. At first I thought it was Russian, because of the name and the characters written on the base, but when I arrived home I found out a bit about MEHANOTEHNIKA.

The Company is based in the current Slovenia, although by the time it was manufactured it was still Yugoslavia. I was very surprised to see that the Company still exists, although since 1990 it is called MEHANO. There is a bit of information on the Wikipedia and also on their own website (see corporate history).

If you pay attention to the pictures, you'll notice the similarity between this model and the one made by... Norev (Mini Jet Series). It is clear to me, that the cast is the same, so it is for sure no bootleg, copy or any other counterfeit product. Also, if you have this car in your hand you can notice the high quality with which it is made. Norev probably sold the casts to Mehanotehnika when the models were discontinued at the end of the 80s, and Mehano continued making them. I guess these were sold only inside Yugoslavia, but I cannot be sure about it, maybe they were exported to other nearby countries.

The base of the car is much simpler that the Norev equivalent, and it only shows the word Mehanotehnika in capital letters over a plain base. The base and how the axles attach to the base it identical to Norev, so I guess these models have the same problems if the axles go inside of the body and the wheels stay inside and the body lower than usual. So handle with care.

Unfortunately, I do not own the Peugeot 305 by Norev, so I chose another Peugeot (a 604) for comparison. If I ever get one, I'll change these two last pictures for more clarity.

UPDATE: I add pictures of a great Renault 30 in bright yellow, acquired some time after publishing this entry.

  • Name: PEUGEOT 305 and RENAULT 30
  • Scale: Approx. 1:64
  • Year: Around 1988
  • Company: Mehanotehnika (Yugoslavia, today it would be Slovenia)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Friday, September 16, 2016

#722 BBURAGO – MERCEDES 190 E and BMW M3 (1985 an 1995)

The Mercedes 190E was, if I recall well, the cheapest Mercedes model by the mid 80s, and so, a car that could usually be seen on streets. It is nice, but this decoration in blue with “Monroe” stickers is not especially nice. It is one of the most common decorations from this car, that was available from 1985 to 1995 and then again between 1998 and 1999.

The other two cars are actually the same model in two decorations, and I grouped them together with the Mercedes because they are German makes and their decoration is probably based on the DTM championships. Despite the similarities, it’s ten years between one and the other, so we see how the design (in general) has changed from straight lines, to a more curvy design, with rounded angles and improved aerodynamics.

The other two, as I was saying, are two BMW M3.

The white one has Warsteiner and Fina advertisements on it and is number 4197 was available between 1995 and 2003.

The second one in green has Tic Tac stickers and reference 4167, which was available from 1995 to 2000.

Despite the roughness of Bburago models in this scale, they have been played and present several defects.
  • Name: MERCEDES 190 E (4102) and BMW M3 (4167 and 4197)
  • Scale: 1:43
  • Year: 1985 and 1995
  • Company: Bburago (Italy)
  • Size: approx. 9 cm

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Because we need to catch up, I am presenting two more TMNT figures today, again one turtle and one villain: Michelangelo vs. Foot Soldier.

As I mentioned in the previous entry, Michelangelo was the children's favorites. In the cartoons, he used to make a lot of jokes and was the funniest of all 4 brothers. In addition to that, he used the nunchuks, which, at the early 90s (times of many ninja-exploitation movies) was like the pinnacle of coolness. I remember that in the arcade machine, it was placed in the center-right position, and was also a turtle that many people would choose to play with (the arcade was revolutionary, because it allowed four players simultaneously). The favorite in the arcade, however, was Donatello (center-left position).

I also think Michelangelo was probably the figure that sold best during those first years, or at least, the favorite figure to start a collection with.

Every turtle in the first wave came with the same set of weapons: wooden frame, 2 shurikens (ninja stars), 1 strange straight and curved double sword (what's that?), a triangular knife and a small pick. Additionally, each turtle came with two specific accesories: Raphael came with two sais, and Michelangelo with two nunchuks. These specific accesories could be attached to their straps either on the back side or in the front. Most people simply ignored the strange set of weapons, and played only with the "official" ones. As a matter of fact, the wooden frame, with is a defense weapon was disposed thinking it was the plastic tree to which the rest of weapons attached. It was quite difficult to find the only one I currently own, and until new notice, I will consider all my turtles complete even if they do not have that frame.

The second figure today is the Foot Soldier, the standard trooper of the foot clan. There are literally hundreds of them, and they are supposed to be skilled ninjas, but they never knew much success in the battle, being mostly anihilated by the turtles and their allies. It comes with the foot clan colours, which are dark and not very common in children toys, but personally I love the combination of black, grey, blue and purple. The position of the legs and head is also remarkable, kind of crouching, and it has very long arms, almost like an ape. This figure came with a series of amazing weapons, including that strange stab with a jaw at the end, a machete and a mace. This figure also included the wooden frame, only in grey. This last accesory is missing.

Something more, now we are talking about accesories, is that the same figures from 1988 were reissued several times since then including the same package (with vey subtle differences) and the same accesories. The figures are marked on the back with the year of each reissue, and the accesories suld be the same, but, I have noticed differences in the colour and also other differences in the cast, like in the following picture were the Foot Soldier staff is slightly shorter than the original (I assume the upper one is the original, maybeI am wrong).
  • Toy Line: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Playmates (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 3.75’’ or 9,75 cm
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