Sunday, April 30, 2017

#804 JUNIORS – HARROD’S SCENES OF LONDON - DOUBLE DECKER BUS and LONDON TAXI (P334 and K510) (Around 2010)


MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!

Honestly I don’t know if these two qualify as a bootleg or a knock-off. I found them at a flea market not so long ago, and I bought them because I had never seen this brand before. Later, when searching information, I found out they were very recent (around 2010) and that they were sold together in some kind of souvenir pack, I guess at Harrod´s (London).


The London taxi is identical to the one made by FEVA (see #456) and the bus is also identical to the one made by Playart, and which is at the same time a scaled copy of a Matchbox Super Kings bus.


I know this is a great souvenir for children, and it probably sells very well even today in tourist spots in London and other cities, as similar sets have since decades. It doesn’t matter if the bus and the taxi are already a bit off (there are newer models in the streets since many years ago), but this is a minor detail. Apparently this set is exclusively sold in Harrod’s, although I would have expected something better from this famous department stores in London. Note the stickers on the bus.


I was observing the blister pack in which these two toys were sold and I noticed that on the back card that this same set is made exclusively for Harrod’s by Juniors, but in older blisterpacks, I notice that instead of Juniors, it says FEVA, and both blisters share the same address, so we could affirm that Juniors is the same company FEVA after 2008, when it had to close. The two following pictures have been taken from eBay.



And I say they may not qualify as knock-offs because the cast were acquired legally from Playart (or from themselves, after the closing of FEVA in 2008). Probably the Taxi shown in the referred entry is part of a similar set.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: DOUBLE DECKER BUS and LONDON TAXI (P334 and K510)
  • Scale: Around 1:100 and 1:64
  • Year: Around 2010
  • Company: Juniors/FEVA(Great Britain/China)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Friday, April 28, 2017

#803 MAJORETTE – RENAULT 5 MAJORETTE MOTOR (1985)


MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!

Not only small toy companies copy other bigger toy companies, sometimes it happens the opposite. The Darda Motor cars were invented in the 60s (1964) and they were quite popular in Germany.


Many years later, in the 80s, Majorette designed and patented a similar pull-back motor that was supposed to be as strong as the Darda motor. Note that the base of the car has an US patent number. Of course the motor is different from Darda´s, otherwise no patent would have been granted, but the concept is the same and the motor looks also very similar, and is used in the same way. Even the cars are slightly cartoonish, like Darda´s.

Unfortunately, I don´t know what happened with this series, only that it was cancelled only a few years after it was launched. What was the reason? Aparently, the motors were not so durable.



As it was stated in the catalogues, the motors could deliver a speed of 5 meters per second without batteries, just by pulling back the car a few centimeters.


There were 4 cars in total made, each of them in two different decorations, although other colours were added probably later, since other colours are known.
  • Reanult Alpine A110
  • Renault 5
  • Porsche Turbo 911
  • BMW Turbo
Several circuits were also made especially for this line, most of them with loopings.

In 1987, the cars were modified with  a red button on the roof that would start the car when pushed, that is, the motor could be loaded, and would remain loaded until the button was pushed, this way it was easier to use the circuits with more than one car. This series would then be called “Start Motor”.

The Motor series (or the Start Motor series) should not be confused with the “Turboom” series. This other series had the same motor, but was prepared to “explode” when crashing. We will analyse this series in some next entry.


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: REANULT 5 “MAJORETTE MOTOR”
  • Scale: Around 1:64
  • Year: 1985
  • Company: Majorette (France)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Monday, April 24, 2017

#802 INTERNATIONAL WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP (IWC) GIANT FIGURE - HULK HOGAN (Around 1991)


This is a toy which I think should attract much interest, since there are many great wrestling collectors worldwide who probably have never seen this interesting knock-off of the famous Hasbro figure from 1990, only supersized.


This figure is probably inspired by the 12 inches (talking) figures by Hasbro, released also in 1990 but in another pose. I have taken the picture above for comparison purposes, in which the small figure is the original Hasbro figure from the regular line (series 1).

The plastic from which it is made is the same in which most dolls are made, some kind of slightly flexible and hollow plastic. it has articulations in head, waist, shoulders, groins (legs) but also half in the arms and half in the legs. Also note that the T-shirt is plain yellow, without text.

The cast is very similar to the one used for the small figure, very similar details, identic pose, I would say it has been bootlegged/copied.

The figure is completely unmarked, but I found out that the toyline under it was sold is IWC (International Wrestling Championship), not to be confused with International Wrestling Champions by Mannix. Nothing is known about the manufacturer, maybe they were hiding themselves from possible lawsuits and demands from the WWF.

Interestingly, there were a few figures made, all quite similar, and I could find some boxed examples on the internet. Despite it’s rarity, they are not very expensive, so I guess they are either not very well known or not interesting due to its size. This brand also had mini-wrestlers, which are also quite rare to see.

The following pictures were found on eBay. Note that the masked wrestler is made up using the same cast of Hulk Hogan except for the head.


 
FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: HULK HOGAN
  • Toy Line: IWC Wrestrling
  • Year: Around 1991
  • Company: Unknown toymaker (China)
  • Size of the figures: Approx. 30 cm.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

#801 BLUE BOX – MORRIS MINOR (Ref. 7434) (Around 1960)


MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!

This is a plastic car with a size smaller than three inches, it could actually be confused with an H0 1:87 model, although I guess it is just small because the original Morris Minor was a very small car.


The car is marked “Nº 434 Hong Kong” and it took me a bit to find out which manufacturer is behind this Matchbox knock-off. The answer is Blue Box, a company that has already appeared once in my blog, and whose story is kind of paradigmatic for a Hong-Kong company that started copying toys from England, and later became a great and powerful toy company.


Compared to the Matchbox car, I would say this one is based in its own cast, since there are many big differences to come from a cloned cast. The toy is quite fragile (note the broken window frame on one side, and the missing part in the chassis), so it is quite surprising to have found this item still in such a good shape. Its previous owner was surely a very careful guy. It is a nice substitute for the
Machbox model, since this is one of the hardest to find.

This last picture shows the Bue Box model among others in a very nice blisterpack with the characteristic blue label. The car was also available in single boxes, and other multi-packs including 8 or 6 cars.

Picture from Vectis.co.uk
 
Picture from planetdiecast.com
 
FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: MORRIS MINOR (ref. 7434)
  • Scale: Around 1:64
  • Year: 1960
  • Company: Blue Box (Hong-Kong)
  • Size: approx. 6 cm

Friday, April 21, 2017

#800 GUIDED LAUNCHING BASE – 2 IN 1 POWER PLAN (TRANSFORMERS ACTION MASTER PROWL with TURBO-CYCLE KNOCK-OFF) (Around 1991)


MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!

This box contains a Transformers Action Masters knock-off (KO, as the Transformers collectors like to call them).

The Action Masters is not one of the most popular sub-series of Transformers, so one Action Master KO is maybe not the first choice for collectors, that's why this toy is kind of surprising.


The figure is Action Master Prowl. The original Hasbro figure was released in 1990, although this one has a different colour scheme. The Hasbro figure was sold in a box including exactly the same content. The box of this KO is made of very low quality cardboard and the inlay is made of very thin plastic, as you can see in the pictures.


The figure comes with a motorbike called Turbo-Cycle that transforms into a missile base called, according to this KO box, "Guided Launching Base". As you know, the Action Masters characters do not transform, but their accesories do. I didn't want to open the bag with the small bits and additionally, the motorbike and the robot have very stiff joints that I fear may damage if I move them somehow. That's why the pictures are only the pieces as they came in the box, without transforming or moving anything.

The Hasbro toy is actually based in the same cast, so if you are curious about the transformation, you can find many pictures of it on the internet.

And about the name… well, the guy who made the box had no idea what to write and probably copied things from here and there in different sizes and places. I just titled this entry with the words written in the biggest font size I could find. The “Power Plan” is actually a picture of the Action Master displayed in the box/blister of the Hasbro original transformers that indicates some fictitional features of the robot.


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: GUIDED LAUNCHING BASE – 2 IN 1 POWER PLAN (TRANSFORMERS ACTION MASTER PROWL with TURBO-CYCLE KNOCK-OFF)
  • Toy Line: Unknown
  • Year: Around 1991
  • Company: Unknown Manufacturer (China)
  • Size of the figures: Around 10 cm

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#799 GALAXY ROBOTS - SPACE FIGHTERS (Around 1988)

 
MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!

This is an interesting Masters of the Universe bootleg (for me, all MotU bootlegs are interesting!) based in a cast which we already know from other toylines, but with remarkable differences and singularities that we will check in this entry today.

The name of the toyline is "Galaxy Robots", and as far as I could find on the internet, there are only two pictures in Google Images that show the exact figure that I own. No other (different) figure with the same card has been spotted so far. One of the pictures belongs to an eBay auction that ended without a buyer (150 Euro, although it was relisted and retired, so the seller probably got an offer outside eBay) and the second one is a picture of a collection of X-Changers with this blistercard in the back.


The character that is depicted in the card is somehow different from the one that actual figure, maybe there were more figures made? Note that the guy seems to have no clothes below the armour and that the helmet and chest armour look somewhat different. It is a mistery if there are more figures from the same series somewhere out there.

The figure is a bootleg of a Sungold toyline called “Lazer Force” (not to be mistaken with Lanard’s 3.75’’ Lazer Force), a toyline whose main feature was the use of LEDs in weapons and armour parts. The figures I could find of Lazer Force are similar to mine, only with knee and elbow articulations. To my knowledge there are at least two Sungold figure casts, but several variants of each figure.

This figure also comes with several armour parts, as you can see in the picture (it could actually be mistaken with an X-Changers). The armour parts are: an oversized helmet (that makes the figure look a bit odd when carded, I don´t know how does it look like when the helmet is not on), a chest harness/armour, thight and leg armours (2 parts each leg) and arm armours. Additionally, there is a big part on the lower left corner, that could actuall be a backpack, or some kind of briefcase.



Of course I am not willing to open the blister to find it out, this small treasure must remain in its original box.

I also found that the rare (and long forgotten) wave of the Turly Gang also had at least three figures that came with these same accessories, as you can read in the Knock-off collector blog.

The toy is made in China but was imported to Spain probably in the late 80s. This is the kind of toy found in popular events like fairs, and sold by street vendors in their caravans. These toys were mostly low quality items that were opened immediately and destroyed in a few days while playing.

This figure seem to be rare, so it was probably a very short number of items that were imported to Spain. By the way, the other two blisterpacks seem to have the same sticker in the upper left corner than mine.

The back of the card is plain, has no text or images at all.


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: GALAXY ROBOTS (No. 8836)
  • Toy Line: GALAXY ROBOTS SPACE FIGHTERS
  • Year: Around 1988
  • Company: Unknown Manufacturer (China)
  • Size of the figures: Around 16 cm

Saturday, April 15, 2017

#798 UNKNOWN MANUFACTURER - SEVERAL CARS IN MICRO MACHINES SCALE (Around 1995)


MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!

This is an unknown series of Micro Machines copies. I do not even know if they belong together (I mean, if they were originally sold together), but in any case, I bought all of them to the same guy.

Despite I do not usually buy MM bootlegs, I thought these were nice models that really resemble real MM. I later realized they are probably knock-offs, but I didn’t compare them to other real MM in my collection yet.

 
The cars are made of a worse plastic than the real MM and the colours and paintwork are also clearly inferior. However the selection of models is in my opinion great. The models are (left to right):
  • BMW 635 (very similar to the one in #577)
  • Mercedes SLC
  • Ferrari F40
  • Porsche 911 Carrera
  • Land Rover
 
I don´t know what the manufacturer was, so I could have also published this entry in January, as part of the "month of the unknown". If anyone has more information, I´d love to know more.
 
 
FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: SEVERAL CARS IN THE MICRO MACHINE SCALE (KNOCK-OFF)
  • Scale of the cars: 1:150 aprox.
  • Year: Around 1995
  • Company: Unknown Manufacturer
  • Size: approx. 2 cm

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

#797 PILEN – COCHE FANTÁSTICO KITT (KNIGHT RIDER) (Ref. 343) (1986)

 
MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!

If the last entry dealt with a knock-off of the Knight Rider, why not continue with another bootleg of this same TV icon? This one is completely different: the car is a die-cast model, but its scale is also 1:43 and it was also made in Spain.

The cast of this car may be familiar to people who have been reading my blog since the beginning, because I already mentioned this toy a long time ago. Visit entry #45 now or at the end of this article.


I presented a Indra by Pilen made in the 70s. The cast by 1986 was probably completely outdated and probably kept in some dark room somewhere in the factory, but the airing of Knight Rider in the Spanish television gave it a second life. In order to create a new toy that more or less resembles the car that appeared in the TV series, Pilen recovered this cast and with some modifications, they were able to market a new reference which would be a potential best-seller.


Note the differences between both the old Indra and the new KITT: in the front, that angle to put the red lights that gave kind of “personality” to the car, on both sides, the rear windows have been covered, and also a spoiler has been added at the back. The rest of the cast (except for the base) remains unchanged to my eyes. I would say the guy who modified the cast to create K.I.T.T. did an excellent job, obviously considering the limitations of faking a Pontiac Firebird with an Indra. The rear part is especially different.

UPDATE: Thanks Steve for pointing out the different engine cover, which in the Indra is flat, and in K.I.T.T. it has some kind of bulge. Quite cool!


The base is marked “Coche Fantástico KITT” (Coche Fantástico or lit. Fantastic Car was the name of the TV series in Spain), then “Pilen - Ref 343 - Made in Spain” and finally “Escala 1/43”. Rear lights are painted red from factory.


Although this car is not especially expensive or difficult to find, it is a small treasure for me.
FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: COCHE FANTÁSTICO KITT (Ref. 343)
  • Scale: 1:43
  • Year: 1986
  • Company: Pilen (Spain)
  • Size: approx. 8-9 cm

Sunday, April 9, 2017

#796 GLOBETOYS - FERRARI BB 512 “FANTÁSTICO” (KNIGHT RIDER) (1986)


MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!

This model shares its cast with the BB 512 by Guisval, released in the Furia series (see #223). Globetoys and Guisval are actually the same company, as I explained only a few entries ago (see #672), so why should Globetoys copy Guisval?


In my opinion, Guisval wanted to avoid any legal problems when copying or bootlegging other toys. In this case, the toy is its own design, but the decoration as K.I.T.T., the Knight Rider is not legal. The TV series was launched in Spain in 1985, and many companies tried to make toys based on the black Pontiac Firebird named K.I.T.T.


Unfortunately the model in the pictures is missing some stickers, but it still looks quite impressive in black with red hubcaps.


The base is completely unmarked, but I could identify it thanks to catalogues and comparing it to other Guisval models.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: FERRARI BB 512 "FANTÁSTICO"
  • Scale: Approx. 1:43
  • Year: 1986
  • Company: Globetoys (Spain)
  • Size: approx. 8 cm
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