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Sunday, December 23, 2018

#916 FIGURAS EN ACCIÓN (F.E.A.) Nr. 19 + THE ZOMBOOK (ALLAN GRAVES)



This is the newest issue of Figuras En Acción. It is a classical issue with a set of various (and varied) articles, in which one article about Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos and other Chuck Norris´ figures tower above the rest.

We also interview Martin Cage from Distinctive Dummies and Miguel De Luna, a Mexican Madelman collector. There are other two great articles dealing with Masters of the Universe 200x and a promotional set of figures from the TV series "Wisdom of the Gnomes" (in Spanish "La llamada de los gnomos"), as well as an article gathering a psychologist´s opinions on different kind of toys, like weapons, soldiers, board games, video games, disguises and so on.

A few other sections complete over 80 pages of vintage toy stories and images: news, books, museums and more.

Free download from the official blog of the magazine: 

I continue with another publication I have read in the last months.

 
The Zombook is not a book about toys, although some pages show toy figures customized as zombies. It is a book about art: painting, drawing, design, photography, make-up... and very different styles: from completely realistic to cartoonish, everything can be found in this eclectic volume.

Allan Graves gathered a group of over 100 international artists to provide the ultimate collection of Zombie art, and compiled everything in an imposing volume (approximately A4 size, hardcover, exquisite printing...) released by Grafitto. The book contains several chapters that follow the different stages of becoming a zombie, starting with "outbreak", and ending with "Apocalypse" and "Survival".

The mixed set of styles through the pages of this book make it fun and even surprising at times. Some of the images have also references to movie, television, celebrities or pop culture in general, and in many cases they have a certain dosis of black humour.

Very highly recommended!

Monday, December 10, 2018

#915 FOX´S PETER PAN AND THE PIRATES - ROBERT MULLINS AND ALF MASON (1991)


I was not aware of this toyline until, by chance I got two figures in a bigger lot of stuff. I think this TV series from 1990 and 1991 was shortly aired in Spain after the great success of Steven Spielberg´s Hook, maybe in 1992 or 1993.

If I recall well, the series was kind of disturbing to me, since the characters were very different from the Disney ones, or from the ones in the movie, and I couldn´t recognise most of them.


This toyline saw only one wave with 8 action figures (plus four plush dolls, sold only in America and not displayed in the European card shown in this entry). I am not sure if the toyline was initially intended for girls only or for both boys and girls, fact is that the female figures are very much doll-like, while the male figures look more like real action figures. I have these two pirates only. Note that they come with two action features each. The first one is some sword attack movement tha can be activated by pushing the button in their backs. The second one is activated pushing the button in their chest, and makes the figure lose its hat or fall its pants, which is something very cartoonish and funny.

Of course these pirates are quite secondary characters in the story. The collection also features Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Captain Hook and Wendy, plus the Mermaid (I do not recall any Mermaid, do you?) and Smee, who seems to be a third pirate.

The toyline is interesting, and apart from the U.S., it seems to have been only available in Great Britain, France, Germany and Spain, distributed by Ideal. They were sold in a small scale (compared to, for example, Mattel´s Hook), maybe this is due to the fact that the toymaker, namely THQ, Inc. was not a big player at the time.

THQ is an abbreviation for Toy HeadQuarters and was founded in April 1990 by one of LJN founders, Jack Friedman, after investing 1 million dollar. Only a few months later, in September, THQ acquired one videogame company called Broderbund, famous for Lode Runner or Prince of Persia. On January 1991, THQ released the videogame based on this same TV series, and was called "Peter Pan and the Pirates". The company grew rapidly when it was acquired by an investing fund called Trinity Acquisition Corp. With that fresh money, other videogame companies were added to the corporation, like Black Pearl Software in 1993. THQ Inc stopped produced toys in 1994, focusing only on videogames. Jack Friedman left the company in 1995 to found Jakks Pacific.



There were very few toylines made by this company, all of them very unknown, but some of them based on popular movies. Note for example the figure of Kevin or the board game from the movie Home Alone or Strawberry Shortcake dolls. A curious line was a set of figures representing the rap singer known as Vanilla Ice, who became hugely popular in 1990.



The company continued making videogames until 2012, releasing titles for many different platforms, from PC to Nintendo Wii or Playstation 3. Because I do not know much about videogames, and it is not the goal of this blog to talk about them, I will skip this part. This information can be found in many other websites.



FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: ROBERT MULLINS AND ALF MASON
  • Toy Line: FOX´S PETER PAN AND THE PIRATES
  • Year: 1991
  • Company: THQ (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: Around 10 cm

Sunday, November 25, 2018

#914 FAIE - MATRA SIMCA 670 (No. 8207) and PORSCHE 936 TURBO (No. 8208) (Around 1986)


Faie is another well-known manufacturer from which there is nothing to read out there. I wish we would still have breithaupts website, where we would probably be able to read a very educated article about this brand.

Unfortunately, there is nothing we know of this company, except that it was based in Hong-Kong, and it disappeared by the mid-90s. Their models are nicely done, some of them are copies of other major brands, some are shared with other similar brands like Tintoys. At some point the company moved the production lines to China, so some blisters are marked "Made in China".







The Matra seems to be copied from Majorette while the Porsche is somewhat similar to Tomica. I cannot confirm any of these assumptions, even though I have both the Majorette and the Tomica.

The variey of models is quite big, counting sport cars, F1s, sport prototypes, vans, trucks, utilitary cars...





They are quite rare, I am not sure if the newer models are all marked in the base or not. I guess they are not, so it is very difficult to recognise them against other models like the above mentioned Tintoys. That is maybe the reason why they are so difficult to find.

I have just two. The Porsche I own it since at least 15 years or so, while the Matra has been found recently in a flea market.

I wish I could tell more about these brand, but I cannot. If someone has more information, please do not hesitate to leave some comment below, so I can contact you.

 


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: MATRA SIMCA 670 (No. 8207) and PORSCHE 936 TURBO (No. 8208)
  • Scale: 1:64
  • Year: Around 1986
  • Company: Faie (Hong Kong)
  • Size: approx. 6 cm

Sunday, November 11, 2018

#913 MATCHBOX - F1 RACER (Nr. 74) (1984)


Matchbox is another brand that has not had (historically) many F1s in its 3 inches series compared to other types of cars. In the regular wheels era, there were just a few (I recall just 3). In the Superfast era, there were also very few (F1 Racing Car and Team Matchbox, any other?). Within this series, in the Macau years this F1 Racer (Nr. 74) is the only one that comes to my mind right now.


The original model was painted red in the Ferrari colours and RN3. To my knowledge Ferrari never carried this number around 1984, so the decoration might be not very accurate. The cast itself is also not very accurate, it looks a bit too high and "thick", which some people would define as "slightly toonified".

The second version is the yellow one, I think it does not match any racing team of the mid-80s so the decoration might be inspired from other competition like the Indy.


There was a colour changing version, that I presented in another entry not so long time ago.

After these three, there were other decorations that I do not own. While the models shown in this entry are made in Macau, these ones I mention now are marked Thailand.

Other variants include a blue/red one, a white/blue one, a colour changer completely in red (not the one shown in the previous entry), plus many promotional versions with eye-catching colours. There was even a "My first Matchbox" version in white, with some bits of colours over its body.

Some of these models have base plates that were modified/renamed to "Indy Racer" instead of "F1 Racer", and there are a lot of alternate decorations for the American market based on supposedly real Indy cars, all of them quite flashy and very colourful decorations. I do not have any of these, but I will consider writing another entry if I ever got any.


I recommend, as always, visiting Falkensteiner's web for watching all decorations and variants of every Matchbox car.

As the model was discontinued because the car was already looking a bit outdated, a new cast was designed with a model from the early to mid 90s. F1 (or Indy) racers was made available, and so it remained until 1995.

I am devoting many entries to F1s lately... sorry if you find this topic boring.


FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: F1 RACER
  • Scale: Around 1:64
  • Year: 1984
  • Company: Matchbox (United Kingdom)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Monday, October 22, 2018

#912 MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE - LASER POWER HE-MAN (Ref. 7060) (1988)


I finally decided to make the investment in this figure. It is considered to be the most difficult figure in the toyline if we do not consider the giants Tytus and Megator. I say investment, because I consider that difficult figures will still gain value in the next years, but that is another topic.



I already talked about the figure in entry #500, when I presented Laser Light Skeletor. He-Man is more difficult to find (at least complete and in good shape) mainly because of the fragility of its accesories: the cable that goes from the backpack to the sword, the harness pegs, the armshield peg and the battery cover. Also the crotch is sometimes broken in the part that is nearer to the legs because it is made of very thin plastic. It is true that Skeletor had its cloak, the "red" hand is sometimes broken or the golden paint sometimes fades out, but all in all, He-Man is a much more delicate figure than Skeletor. And because all this, it is also a more expensive figure.


Another interesting fact is that this figure came with two head variants. This one has the classic 1982 He-Man head (soft head), and there is another one with a head that resembles the actor Dolph Lundgren. I have in mind that the first variant was for Spain and the second one for Italy, the only countries in which the Laser figures were released.




I am not sure if that last statement is completely true. Were Laser Power He-Man and Laser Light Skeletor sold only in Spain and Italy? The Italian card was also written in French and English. The Spanish card was written only in Spanish. Why? Were some units sold in France or other countries?

In Italy and Spain the toyline was available slightly longer than in other places. It was still profitable in 1987, so the toyline was available one year more than everywhere else, and these are the only two new figures in this last wave.


Read More about MOTU here: http://toysfromthepast.blogspot.com/search/label/Masters%20of%20the%20Universe

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: LASER POWER HE-MAN (Ref. 7060)
  • Alternate Names: HE-MAN ESPADA LUMINOSA (Spain), HE-MAN SPADA LUMINOSA (Italy), MUSCLOR GLAIVE SUPREME (France)
  • Toy Line: Masters of the Universe (Wave 7)
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 5½’’ or 14 cm

Monday, October 8, 2018

#911 DINO RIDERS (ICE AGE) - GIANT GROUND SLOTH with ULK (1990)



 
The last wave of Dino Riders had a subseries called "Ice Age", that included 4 prehistoric animals, but no dinosaurs. For me, this was a complete error, since dinosaurs are so much more attractive! Maybe they thought that dinosaurs were very similar to each other and they were already reusing existing casts too much.
The four animals produced for this subseries in the closing wave by Tyco were:
-Woolly Mammooth with Grom
-Giant Ground Sloth with Ulk
-Killer Warthog with Zar
-Sabre-Tooth Tiger with Hub
Some people consider this subseries as a separate collection and until recently the interest for this series was very low. Now I regret not having bought these boxed a few years ago, when they were sold at very low prices. Currently they are becoming more and more difficult to find and the prices are rising accordingly.
Another news to this wave was a new figure cast, representing a prehistoric human, some are marked as Neanderthals, oder as Cro-magnons, but the cast is always the same.



These characters have rough-sounding, one-syllabed names and all play for the Valorians, not the Rulons. That is, they are nice guys. The figures have the same articulations than any other figure, but with some simian feature, like shorter legs, that have to have slightly bent knies to stand, and different colours ranging from light brown, to dark brown, to grey, to almost black. The characters carry also different paintings in their chests and different designs in their loincloths.
The four Ice Age animals included one figure each, equipped with grey weapons as the dinosaur´s figures from wave one, and four more figures from 2-packs. These came together with some Rulon figure, and the card also had some Ice Age decoration behind. Interestingly, this series 2-packs Rulons (also the two Valorians) were done in quite cold colours, like different blue shades, white, purple.. also giving the impression of an Ice Age, compared to the bright colours of the second series´ figures and the golden/silver of the first series´ figures.
As usual, the boxes in this series came in several sizes, the mammooth is big and has walking feature, the Warthog and the giant ground sloth are kind of medium, and the Sabre-tooth tiger is small. Maybe they thought this could be a bit short, so they also made three dinosaurs: the big Pachyrhinosaurus (also with walking action feature) and the small Quetzalcoatlus and Chasmosaurus. These three were probably decided after the Ice Age animals, since they are repaints of older models with slightly different heads or no changes at all and they do not match the concept of the line originally (although the line was already mixing dinosaurs from different geological eras).


In general, we could say that the dinosaur and animal armours for this wave are also quite simple compared to armours in previous waves. most of them come with a big piece that serves as a base from everyhting else, including the figure/seat. Two new types of pieces are those made of transparent plastic (like some kind of windshield or igloo) and flexible plastic tubes.

The Giant Ground Sloth (a.k.a. Megatherium) is maybe one of the references in series 3 with the most elaborated armour. Or maybe not the armour, because it matches the description above, but for two extra pieces that attach to the armour and that build an igloo with three cannons when assembled (leaving the animal unarmed!). It is the only dinosaur that comes with some detachable stratucture that can be played independently in the whole toyline (the Rulon traps cannot be attached to the dinosaurs) together with the Dimetrodon, that had something similar.




 

The animal itself is quite cool, it can stand on two or four feet and move its head up on down to look good either ways.




Excellent toy! Looking forward to get or complete the other three Ice Age plus all individual figures.

To finish the article, here are the German instructions for this toy.
 



FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: GIANT GROUND SLOTH with ULK
  • Toy Line: Dino-Riders (Wave 3)
  • Year: 1990
  • Company: Tyco (U.S.A.)
  • Scale of the beast: 1:24
  • Size of the figures: 2½’’ or 6,5 cm
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