Monday, February 29, 2016

#650 SIKU - RENAULT 5, OPEL KADETT, OPEL SENATOR and VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT I VARIANT "POLIZEI" (1979, 1982, 1981 and 1975)



These are a few European models made by Siku from 1975 to 1982. The Renault 5 is somehow a common model in the die-cast world, most manufacturers have at least one version in 1:64 scale. Opels (Vauxhall in Great Britain), however, are a bit rarer. That particular model of Kadett and the Senator are actually quite rare in scale, and the Volkswagen Passat is also quite rare, specially in the Variant version.

RENAULT 5 (Ref. 1038) from 1979 to 1988
available in red, blue or metallic yellow





OPEL KADETT SR (Ref. 1047) from 1982 to 1989
available in white, light orange, brown or blue





OPEL SENATOR 3.0E CD (Ref. 1040) from 1981 to 1988
available in red and metallic red, plus several other versions "Made in Hungary".





VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT I VARIANT "POLIZEI" (Ref. 1321) from 1975
only version available, other Passat I Variant available with other reference numbers.





FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: RENAULT 5, OPEL KADETT, OPEL SENATOR and VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT I VARIANT "POLIZEI"
  • Scale: 1:55
  • Year: 1979, 1982, 1981 and 1975
  • Company: Siku (West-Germany)
  • Size: 8 cm

Friday, February 26, 2016

#649 GUISVAL - RENAULT 12 TS POLICIA SERIE ESCORPIÓN (Ref. 109) (1979)


Which boy does not like to play with a police car? Even very small children are magically appealed by police cars with their loud sirens and lights on the roof. Almost all toylines involving figures or vehicles have policemen (or most rarely policewomen) and police vehicles. Also Guisval. From the beginning of the line in 1974 to 1978 they had a Ford Capri with Police decoration (and the same reference number), but in 1979, this car was replaced for the one in the following pictures. The Ford Capri by the way, seems to be inspired in a Corgi model.

The Escorpión series was already explained in #125, where I showed a Porsche Carrera. This line had a scale of 1:37, bigger than the classic 1:43. They were really striking back then, since most of them included some plastic accesories on the roof, front or back parts, and very nice decals.


This model is a car that to my knowledge was never used by the Spanish police, I have found a picture of the local police from Huelva (Southwestern Spain), but I don´t know how many units there were or when were they in service. No matter what, the car looks great with that police decoration, dark blue with white doors, It has practicable (front) doors and trunk.


The same model was also released in other decorations and with other reference numbers: Ref. 101 “Familiar” and Ref. 104 “Cruz Roja” (“Red Cross” Ambulance). Guisval also made this car in 1:64 scale (Campeón Series).

I  bought this toy from a guy, who had bought it himself from a model collector who collected only Renault models. The car is still in its original box, and I would even say unopened. One side of the box is still stuck together with sellotape from (what´s probably) an old toystore: "José Mocete" located in "Limites, 12" (street, number). I have checked if I could find such address in google maps, but got no results. I would like to know where was located that old toystore, but I will probably never know.


Under the car, there is a small folded catalogue with the Escorpión Series from 1979. I haven’t opened it, but if you are curious, just check it here: http://miniaturasenmetal.jimdo.com/serie-escorpi%C3%B3n/


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: RENAULT 12 TS POLICIA (Nr. 109)
  • Scale: 1:36
  • Year: 1979
  • Company: Guisval (Spain)
  • Size: 13 cm

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

#648 INVICTA PLASTICS – MINI MASTER MIND (1974)


I don’t think I can bring something new to what’s already been written about Master Mind. It is a great logic game, very popular at the time, and it’s being sold even today, so it must have something special.
 
I have one of this I got from my father, but exceptionally I am showing the pictures of this game I have found at my in-laws.
 
As you can see, Master Mind game was Game of the Year in 1972 and therefore it was released in this “mini” version, suitable to carry it in a pocket. The edition was made in several (ten) languages and cames with the instruction sheet in all 10 languages.
 
 
Something surprising is the cover picture, depicting two very elegant adults. The man was Bill Woodward from Leicester, the oriental woman, we do not know. Probably at the time, the game was intended for adults, it might be a bit difficult for children under 12, although current age recommendations are 8 years and up.
 
The special about this game sample in the pictures, is that it ha never been used, since the pegs are still in its original sealed bag… 44 years already.
 
 
Invicta Games was founded in 1945 or 1946 by plastic specialist Ted Jones-Fenleigh in Leicester. The company went into administration in December 2013, when 11 workers were “made redundant”, and only 24 remained. Only a few days after that, the company was bought by its formers directors, rescueing part of the business, but selling the educational and retail parts.
 
Years ago, it was an important company, mostly because of the success of Master Mind. They had one central office in Leicester, but other in the U.S.A. (New York), Germany (Nürnberg), Italy (Milano) and Japan (Tokyo). In the latest 1990s, they specialized in educational games and had 160 employes.
 
The company was always specialised in plastic and plastic injection mouldings, and it probably continued like that after 2009.
 
 
FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: MINI MASTER MIND
  • Year: 1974
  • Company: Invicta Plastics Ltd. (Great Britain)
  • Size: approx. 18 x 7 cm (game box)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

#647 TRANSFORMERS - POWERDASHERS ARAGON a.k.a. F-1 DASHER (1984)


I got this Transformers in a lot together with other toys, at first I though it was missing some kind of cockpit, canopy or pilot, but now I think it is complete.
 
This toy was marketed in different ways in different parts of the world. In the U.S. it was sold as a mail-in offer, in some European countries like Italy or France, they were available in single blisters, an in Japan under the Diaclone line too. It is actually one of the oldest Transformers I own, although in Europe it was probably available a few years later tan 1984. Despite being rare in America, the prices are not very high, probably a lot of Japanese and European samples have been already shipped to the U.S. and Canada.
 
The Powerdashers or Power Dashers were a line of three vehicles: a jet, a drill and a car. They didn't have very elaborated names, they were simply Sky Dasher, Drill Dasher and Car Dasher or F1-Dasher. In Italy, they had more appealing names: Cromar, Zetar and Aragon, respectively.

 
They all had a pull-back motor and a lot of chromed parts. This makes used toys a bit difficult to get in good condition, since we all know that chromed parts do not withstand well play, and the paint tends to fade or disappear.
 
 
Compared to other vehicles in its size, it is quite undetailed and its alternate mode does not look very nice. Those feet/spoiler are, in my opinion, badly designed. The car is marked Takara Macau and the stickers say F1-Dasher.
 
The bio is shorter as usual, and not very comprehensive. I think it was the same for all three vehicles.
 
BIO:
This Powerdasher is a new form of Autobot. Power is still growing. Fast and skillful. Little is known about its true strengths and weaknesses. Came to Earth to help the Autobots in their cause. Able to take on a variety of shapes and forms. Has the ability to operate at various levels of kinetic energy. Friendly, cheerful and obedient
 
FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: F-1 DASHER/ ARAGON
  • Toy Line: Transformers (Power Dashers)
  • Year: 1984
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.) / Takara (Japan)
  • Size in Robot mode: Around 10 cm

Thursday, February 18, 2016

#646 IDEAL - LAND ROVER SAFARI WITH FRICTION MOTOR (1974)


This is a toy I got in a lot with many other things. At first I didnt think it was something special, although the friction motor worked really fine. It takes a long time for it to stop, only after having gone over a long distance.

At some point I saw the marking (which is a bit hidden) IDEAL New Jersey 1974. Of course, I knew Ideal from before, it is one of the great historical American toymakers, so I started looking at this toy differently. The car is quite sturdy, although a small child that borrowed it made some cracks in the chassis structure by pushing too hard down. I repaired it. My son also dropped it a few times and the back bumper broke. This is the most weak part. I repaired it, and then reinforced it with some pieces of wood. My son likes it a lot.



So, back to Ideal toys, the company was founded in 1907 in Hollis, New York with a slightly different name: "Ideal Novelty and Toy Company", and its founders were Morris and Rose Michtom. They claim to be the inventors of the Teddy Bear in 1902, after that famous anecdote with president (Theodore "Teddy") Roosevelt and a real bear, although the real fact is that the Teddy Bear was invented simultaneously in Germany by Steiff too. So, the Michtoms are at least the co-inventors of the Teddy Bear.

The dolls were introduced in 1907 and gained popularity for being advertised as unbreakable, because they were made of a new material based on sawdust (wood dust) and glue called "composition".

One of the most renowned dolls were Betsy Wetsy, which was produced for more than 50 years starting in 1934. it was one of the first African American dolls ever produced. Today these are very sought after by collectors. The Toy Industry Association named it one of the 100 most creative toys of the 20th century.


The original name was changed in 1938 to Ideal Toy Company, and due to the Baby-Boom after World War II in the U.S., Ideal grew to be the largest American manufacturer of dolls, increasing its revenues and even selling licenses for other countries, including Australia, United Kingdom, Canada or Brazil.


The good business and success stories continued until the 80s, moving from New York to New Jersey, also reallocating factories in Hong Kong. In 1980-81 the company distributed the "official" Rubik's Cube toy, that was a little fiasco, there were many bootleg cubes and the bussiness was not as good as expected. Apparently Ideal sued many distributors and retailers.


In 1982, the company was sold to CBS Toys, and in 1987, CBS would sell it again to ViewMaster International, creating View Master Ideal. In 1989, View Master Ideal was bought by Tyco Toys, and Tyco Toys would merge in 1997 with Mattel.


FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: LAND ROVER SAFARI
  • Year: 1974
  • Company: Ideal (U.S.A.)
  • Size: Around 9 cm
  • Scale: Unknown

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

#645 REAL GHOSTBUSTERS - WICKED WHEELIE (1989)


In 1988, the Real Ghostbusters line released the Haunted Humans, ghosts with human appearance. This subseries comprised 6 figures (you can see three of them here: #360). The next year/wave, these figures were also available, as well as other ghosts "in disguise". These other haunted humans/objects were not marked with any subtitle, that is, they belonged to the general series, as the Fearsome Flush or the Full Speed Ahead Ghost (#105).




In this case, Wicked Wheelie is two ghosts in one, or a ghost with two parts. The driver´s face and belly can be opened revealing a mouth, thonge and eyes of a terrific monster. The motorbike turns into a terrifying insect-like monster. Has a certain similitude to the VW Bug "Highway Hunter" (#488). Both toys probably had the same designer.

There was a second, very similar, toy in this wave called Air Sickness, that comprised some kind of vehicle and a driver/pilot. When I complete it, I will update this entry.


FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: WICKED WHEELIE
  • Toy Line: The Real Ghostbusters (Wave 3)
  • Year: 1989
  • Company: Kenner (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 10 cm approx. (length)
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