Monday, November 28, 2016

#748 HOT WHEELS!/ LIONEL TRAINS INC – 3 FLIPPERS/ REVOLVER MODELS (1990)


I was surprised to see that there is almost no information about these toys on the internet. I have seen a few message boards were people look for them, and, althouhg many people remember them, almost nobody seems to know what their name was. They are called “Flippers”.

Flippers because you can flip them and then you have a completely different model, kind of a car with two sides.


You can see several characteristics that made this cars very recognisable: they are quite flat, the have big wheels, and they are made of metal except the central part, which is made of plastic. This part moves up or down, depending on which side of the car is up. Another characteristics are the bright colours with appealing tampographies (very in the 90s fashion) and being fictitious cars, or at least, no accurate reproductions of any known car. I guess it is very difficult to make a car look like a real one when you have such “flat” constraints.

They were sold in reversible blister packs (a blister pack that could be hang either upside-down or downside-up, with two "hooks") and there were even some sub-series in which the car could also emit sounds "Flashmagic", like Majorette´s Sonic Flashers. There are different cardbacks. In one of them, there are 8 models/ references depicted (4 really, but with 2 ecorations each). I think there were only three "flashmagic" made, and they had references: 8862, 8870 and 8871.

There were even some speed tracks especially designed for the Flippers.

Interestingly enough, the card is written in English, French, German, Italian, Dutch and Spanish, and the addresses are from Mattel in the U.K., France, Belgium, West-Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Spain… researching a little bit, I found out, that these cars were never available in the U.S., but they somehow made their way to South and Central America (at least some countries).

They are not marked at all with "Hot Wheels!", "Mattel", but with “© L.T.I.”, so they are quite difficult to identify if you did miss their release in the early 90s. The hint again is on the backcard, where we can read:
“Mattel, Inc. Manufactured and sold under license. © 1990 Lionel Trains, Inc.
Made in China. Produced by Chief Industrial, Co. All rights reserved”

That means, that the real designer and maker of these toys is Lionel Trains Inc. (Hong-Kong), not Mattel. Therefore L.T.I. Mattel probably and simply found the models very good and decided to get a license for them for Europe.

The original cars by Lionel trains were called “Revolvers”, and were available in the US (Note the address from Michigan in the card front). They were also licensed to another toy company named Irwin for (at least) the Canadian market. Since the product was already available in the U.S., we have a reason why they were not sold under the HotWheels! Brand.

The interesting thing is that Lionel Trains also had 8 models (actually 4 in two decorations each), the same ones that later released Hot Wheels. Still there are some cards which are not in any of the next cardbacks, so I guess Hot Wheels maybe made a second batch of cars with new decorations, or maybe was it Lionel Trains?

These are the 8 Hot Wheels models, carrying references: 6001 to 6004 and 6007 to 6010. I wonder if the two missing references 6005 and 6006 are the two I have…

Picture taken from ebay.co.uk

This is another picture of a Hot Wheels Flashmagic cardback.

Picture taken from Swifty’s Garage (http://swiftysgarage.net/topic/7441162/1/)

These are the 8 Lionel Trains models. The second starting from above is the one I am showing in the the pictures: The yellow side is called “Dirt Shifter” and the black/purple side is called “Turnin’ Burner”.

Picture taken from Swifty’s Garage (http://swiftysgarage.net/topic/7441162/1/)

I remember their commercial, and that they had a certain popularity back then. I have had these toys in my hands for many years, although I never owned any. It has been only recently, that I got my first three (or I should say six?)

They went as they came, and the line has been long forgotten. I just expect that this blog entry wakes up some memories in people who had them or collectors from the US who are looking information about them now on google.


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: 3 HOT WHEELS! FLIPPERS/ LION'S TRAINS INC. REVOLVERS MODELS
  • Scale: 1:64
  • Year: 1990
  • Company: Mattel/ Lionel Trains Inc. (U.S.A.)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...