Thursday, June 30, 2016

#694 ROBOTS, SPACESHIPS AND OTHER TIN TOYS (THE TERUHISA KITAHARA COLLECTION)


First I have to say that this is not exactly a book you read. It has exactly 3 pages with text, in which the author explains a couple of things about his collection. Mr Teruhisa Kitahara has established 7 museums in Japan and is a renowned and famous toy collector in his country.

The rest of the book (it has around 350 pages) are just (impressive) full page pictures of toys (photographed by Yukio Shimizu). There is a big chapter dealing only with robots and spaceships, and two shorter chapters dealing with cars and figures & scenarios.

The photos are impressive, because the toys themselves are amazing. Rare and mint pieces of toys from the 1920´s to the 1970´s, most of them from Japanese brands like: Nomura, Yonezawa, Line Mar, Horikawa, Bandai, Masudaya, Daiya... The fascination of Japan with robots comes since a long time. In the 10th issue of Figuras En Acción I wrote about robots, and there I learnt how the Japanese toy industry was created after WW2 and how they manufactured for American companies like Cragstan. This part is not in the book, if you want to learn more about Japanese tin robots, you´ll need another book, this one is only to look at and find marvelous old toys.

While watching it, I actually though of my recent visit to the Toy Museum in Singapore, that also features a great collection of toys, with one floor of their building dedicated only to robots and space toys.

So, I recommend the book for people who are interested in curious toys, but with the remark, that there is nothing to read about history or any interesting facts about the toys. Each toy has its name, the toymaker company and the decade in which it was built. In two particular cases, I detected that the deccade was wrong: in the car chapter, there are two different James Bond´s Aston Martin DB5 (from the Goldfinger movie), and they are both dated 1950s... while the movie is from 1964, if I recall properly.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

#693 CORGI – LOTUS ELITE and VW POLO “POLIZEI” (1976 and 1979)


Here are two more Corgi models, the first one is the Lotus Elite, 315-C1 in red (1976 to 1979). This model was also available in yellow (301-C1, racing decoration), green (315-C2, “Wings Flying Club”), dark blue (382-B1) and black (GS 32-B3 Lotus Racing Set)





The second model is more interesting, since it is a VW Polo “Polizei”, 489-A1 in white/green (German Police) (1979 to 1980).



The Polo was also available in yellow “ADAC” (4894-A1, German road service), yellow “POST” (289-A2, German postal service), green (289-A1), grey (302-C1, Racing decoration), yellow “Swiss PTT” (no number, Swiss postal service), plus other variants that do not appear in Force (see #340)


The cast was later modified and sold as VW Turbo (312-C1, White or Beige with racing decoration)
What interest me about this Polo model is that is has a German Police decoration, and it is not the only model. I don’t know in which numbers they were sold, but it seems that the German market was very interesting also for Corgi (not only for Matchbox), and by the end of the 70s, Corgi also tried to gain some market share in Germany. No matter what, the Polo is a very curious and nice model, since I am not quite sure, if the German police ever used the 1970s Polo as a patrol car.


For more information about Corgi Toys models in 1:36 scale, please visit entries #99 and #563.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: LOTUS ELITE and VW POLO “POLIZEI”
  • Scale: 1:36
  • Year: 1976 and 1979
  • Company: Corgi (Great Britain)
  • Size: approx. 10 cm

Saturday, June 25, 2016

#692 MAJORETTE – SAVIEM CITERNE (1975)


I have three different Majorette Saviem Tankers, which I want to show today. This particular model was manufactured between 1975 and 1983 in many different decorations.

I took a look at the catalogues and found this:
  • 1975 to 1978 – 245 Cîterne – Red and Yellow “Shell”
  • 1979:
  • 1980:
  • 1981 – 245 Citerne - Red and Yellow “Shell” and Red “Texaco”, this last one curiously marked “Gulf Tanker”.
  • 1982 – 245 Citerne - Red and Yellow “Shell” and Blue and White “Gulf”, this time correctly marked.
  • 1983 - 245 Citerne - Red and White “Shell” or Red and White “Esso”.




In 1984 it is replaced by a different tanker model (a Ford truck) with a more modern design.

During all those years, and although the catalogue images depicted four or five versions only, there were several colour variations available, like the Gulf version in red and white (instead of blue and white) or the Texaco version in red and white (intead of red only) among others. These variations are understandable because the Saviem truck was probably assembled on the go with one truck and then the tank. So if sometimes the colours did not match, this would not mean a big problem. Apart from that, the same casting was also available with a container box, a prefab house or some other load. The one with the house was first released in 1975 as well, and often comes with an older type of wheels. Both the tanker version and the house transport are “updates” of an older truck (a Bernard) which was available before in the same colour and with the same names (Citerne).

This six wheel model should not be mistaken with a very similar one with only four wheels.



The military version I am showing here is quite rare. It is the only one I have ever seen with those military symbols. There is another one with the text “US Army” and a white star over blue circle, but this decal is clearly different.




Other variations include a brown base or a black base (the brown one seems to be more common in older models). Most Saviem tankes have the classic mid to late 70s wheels (like the Texaco model), but some have the 3 spoke wheels too. Note that the Shell model have both types of wheels: 3-spoke front, the other on the rear. The mixing of wheel types is not rare, there are other examples on the internet.



The plastic base has two small tanks casted on both sides of the cabin. These are very fragile and often missing. Note that my only complete model is actually the Texaco model. The other two are “incomplete”.



FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: SAVIEM CITERNE “SHELL”, “TEXACO” and “U.S. AIRFORCE”
  • Scale: 1:100
  • Year: 1975
  • Company: Majorette (France)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

#691 SCALEXTRIC – LANCIA STRATOS (Ref. 4055) (1977)



 

The Lancia Stratos was first introduced by Scalextric in 1977, and was available in four colours: red, yellow, green and white with reference 4055, that is the car I am showing here today, although I have the white one also (I need to take more pictures, so this entry will be updated soon).


Among these first four, there were two types of stickers: “Alitalia” (RN: 5 or 8) or “Marlboro” (RN: 3 or 6). They are slightly different, so for not-trained eyed, they may look the same. Interestingly, there are cars with stickers and other with decals, while some parts are directly painted on the body. Note the "Marlboro" on top, plus the white triangle on the front are painted, with the sides are either stickers or decals.

First the version with decals, which is pressumably older:





Ad then, the second version with stickers:




This model is quite small compared with other cars, but the scale is still 1:32. I guess the real car was also quite small. However it is a bit “tall”, and this makes it difficult to drive.

Unlike other models, the Lancia was only re-released one time during the 80s, and it was in 1982. The new model was made in black and is known as “LePoint”. This one is much rarer than the ones from 1977, and carried reference 4065 and race number 7.

I also have the box for this model, and as I curious note, you can see the price tag marking 869 pesetas. That is approximately 5,22 Euros, which at the time was a lot of money. The box belongs to the version with decals.



The model has been more or less forgotten for almost twenty years until Altaya decided to re-release them in their kiosk collectables. I have already shown two beautiful models from 2001 (see entry: #480) and 2005 (see #562).

Apart from these two, there are two more from 2003 and 2006, and I guess it must be one of the next models to enter the “vintage” series.
FACTS AND FIGURES
  • Name: LANCIA STRATOS (Ref. 4055)
  • Scale: 1:32
  • Year: 1977
  • Company: Scalextric Exin (Spain)
  • Size: approx. 12 cm

Sunday, June 19, 2016

#690 G.I. JOE – BIG BEAR and FLAK VIPER (1992)


Among the newest series (most people consider “newest” the series from 1991 to 1994) there are a few figures that tower above the rest. These las classic series are considered by many to be very futuristic and cartoonish, with plenty of oversized weapons and neon coloured characters.

Big Bear is one of the exceptions here. The character belong to the “Oktober Guard”, the communist Russia’s counterpart to G.I.Joe. In some comic books, they teamed up with G.I.Joe, and made up great stories. These comics are also considered to be among the best in the whole history of G.I.Joe comics. One year earlier there was another Oktober Guard figure released: Red Star. After Big Bear, a bunch of other cool figures were released, but all of them in 1998 onwards.


 
The figure wears a green uniform and the typical Russian hat, and includes very cool weapons. It also includes the missile launcher (as every other figure from 1991 or 1992 on).


The second figure today is also appretiated among collectors, and is some anti-aircraft soldier from Cobra. The figure has a green, grey and blue uniform (which not everybody likes) although a second version was worse with pinkish red instead of blue. The weapons are slightly oversized, but the rifle is nice. Personally, I like this figure, its concept and even the double rocket launcher that is also a backpack.


FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: BIG BEAR and FLAK VIPER
  • Toy Line: G.I. Joe (Wave 11)
  • Year: 1992
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 9,5 cm (3 3/4'')

Thursday, June 16, 2016

#689 TRANSFORMERS – MICROMASTERS HOT ROD PATROL (1990)


This Micromasters squad comprises 4 “Hot Rod” cars. This type of cars are really interesting, I am curious about them, since I never saw any. I guess it is something you can just find in America.


The four small robots are (left to right) Big Daddy, Trip-Up, Greaser and Hubs. As you notice fom the pictures, I have the card and three of these Micromasters are still attached to the card inside the blister, while one was removed by its previous owner. I bought first the card with the three cars at a flea market, and then I found the fourth robot on eBay. It took me a while to complete this squad.







It is also the first 1990 Micromaster’s patrol I complete. Previously I showed sets fom 1989 an 1988, but those from 1990 are somehow more scarce and also more fragile, since they contain small parts (for example propellers, tow hooks, tank guns…) which are easily lost. Finding the other sets complete is usually a difficult task (considering you are not willing to pay a lot of money, of course). Notice the other two squads depicted at the back card.


And this time, I do not have to copy/paste the filecard of the robot patrol, because I can publish a picture instead. I always like that Hasbro/Takara included “how good” each character was in different categories, like speed, intelligence and so on. I like even more, when that data is somewhat hidden and you need a piece of red transparent plastic to read the stats. In this case you can read it plain, and has not such a high impact as the “secret” stats.




FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: MICROMASTERS HOT ROD PATROL
  • Toy Line: TRANSFORMERS (G1)
  • Year: 1990
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: Around 5 cm
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