Sunday, April 11, 2021

#971 MICRO ACTION/ FUNRISE – BIG RIG TRUCKS (1988)

APRIL IS THE MONTH OF THE BOOTLEGS and KNOCK-OFFs!

Funrise was one of the main competitors to Galoob´s Micro Machines at the time. Their models were great and had a variety that included many different vehicle types.
 
In this case we are showing four different cards with truck trailers, that, interestingly included two trucks but just one trailer, although other cards came with one, three or seven complete trucks, as well as other variations or as part of other sets. These are almost identical to the Semi-Truck collections of Micro Machines, but the Funrises do not have practicable parts. 




The trailers are interesting as many of them show existing commercial companies, unlike Micro

Machines, that were all invented (except Galoob itself)
 
There are two types of truck, that come in several colours, so there is not a great variety of models here, so having a few of them is enough for most collectors like me. I am very happy with this small collection, I do not need any more Funrise trucks.

The four cards are priced 1,99 dollars at Kay-Bee (K.B. or KB), which was a American toy store/retailer founded in Massachusetts in 1922 by the Kaufman brothers and went out of business in 2009, being absorved by Toys 'R Us. Below the sticker there seems to be some text indicated that one of the two rigs go for free, what would explain why there are two instead of only one. On the backcard, there are eight models depicted, but I would say there are even more.

FACTS AND FIGURES:

  • Name: BIG RIG TRUCKS
  • Scale of the cars: 1:150 aprox.
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Funrise (U.S.A.)
  • Size: approx. 2 cm truck / 3.5-4 cm trailer

Sunday, March 28, 2021

#970 DINKY TOYS – SINGLE DECKER BUS (283) (1971)

 
I do not have many Dinky models, I have maybe 5 to 10 models, none of them very valuable. Among all, this is the most impressive, as it is big, very well detailed and has cool features, asa it was usual for this and the other contemporary British brands.

The model is the Single Decker Bus, number 283, which was available between 1971 and 1973 (it was first sold in a cardboard box, then in a plastic blister with cardboard base). This is the most common red version, but there seems to be a darker red version with some shiny effect, which is even nicer and a green one, which was sold as unassembled in the DinkyKit series. There are also several variants, with different base or door colours.

It carries “Red Arrow” stickers, which, according to Wikipedia, is the brand name given to several routes used as a high frequency communter services in central London. The service started in 1966 and, at the time, used AEC Merlin buses, which is the model represented in this toy.


The toy came with two very cool features: the first one is the opening doors by sliding a button on the opposite side, and the second one is a bell hidden in the lower part of the vehicle, that can be ringed with the button on the lower side.


Some boxes included a small sticker sheet with three stickers, two of them indicating the route number “503” and “Waterloo Stn & 503 Victoria Stn”. Plus a red one with the text “Red Bus Rovers”. My model has lost the second one which should have been placed on the front over the windshied, but has two of the third on the roof (probably are placed wrongly, I have seen other models that carry this sticker on the rear between the headlights). The license plates and the white side bands were applied at the factory.

FACTS AND FIGURES:

  • Name: SINGLE DECKER BUS (283)
  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: 1971 (to 1973)
  • Company: Dinky (Great Britain)
  • Size: 16.7 cm

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

#969 CAPTAIN PLANET – HOGGISH GREEDLY and DUKE NUKEM (1990)

Captain Planet, I think I already said this, was one of the TV series I recall watching with more interest back in the early 90s. I also like the action figures by Tiger a lot, but they are difficult to get complete, since most characters came with several small pieces that went lost most of the time. The most difficult part to be found in many figures is the human-sized ring that was intended to be worn by the boy or girl playing with the figure. All five planeteer children characters had one (the four elements Earth, Water, Air, Fire, plus a fifth element referred to as Heart) which they used to invoke the Captain Planet. The Captain himself had another ring that he always wore.

Having said that, I present today two complete figures, none of them have difficult accessories, quite the opposite, those huge parts are not easily lost, so these two figures are kind of easier to find complete than the rest of the figures. 

In a previous entry I presented Dr. Blight carded, now I present two more villains from series 1: Hoggish Greedly and Duke Nukem.

Let’s start by Hoggish Greedly, a great figure. It is a human with a face that resembles that of a pig. Not a great metaphor, but you quickly realize this guy is one of the bad ones. It comes with a backpack that could be filled up with water and a gun connected to it by means of a hose. By pressing the backpack, the gun shoots a water beam. To dig in the pig resemblance, the backpack is also decorated with a pig logo. 

   
 
It is maybe worth commenting, that the character is depicted as big and fat, something common to another villain named Sly Sludge, and this could lead to mistakes as they are different characters. I wonder why they are both overweight, and why the planeteers are all fit. I guess today they would have been more careful when doing the character design, as this could be interpreted as insulting. Leaving this aside, this is a great figure, I would have wished nicer accessories or some action feature, but the sculpt, the concept and the colours are very good.

Duke Nukem is maybe even better, as it is some kind of radioactive man with a very particular and attractive look. In the TV series, he has the superpower of firing radioactive blasts from his hands. In this first version, the gesture on his face is quite menacing, but in the second version, with Hawiian shirt, looks nicer, as he becomes a good guy and helps Captain Planet in some of his missions. The second version is much more difficult to find, as it is an European exclusive.

It has a glow-in-the-dark feature, which is something very valued in action figures, but came without accessories.

 FACTS and FIGURES:

  • Name: HOGGISH GREEDLY and DUKE NUKEM
  • Toy Line: CAPTAIN PLANET and THE PLANETEERS (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1990
  • Company: Tiger Toys/Kenner (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: Around 16 cm

Friday, February 19, 2021

#968 MAJORETTE TRANSPORTS – COFFRET FERME / FARM SET (964) (1995)

Gift packs are usual in the die-cast world. Majorette had several types of them, being all of them very rare to find nowadays. Maybe it was the size that prevented most people to keep these boxes unopened or conserve the packaging.


Today I am talking about the 960 series, which came out for the first time in 1992 and consists in boxes containing a strange mixture of vehicles, as the few boxes made included each a big trailer from the 600 series, a car with trailer from the 300 series and a single car from the 200 series.

There were ony 4 references ever made, but these varied from year to year. These were:

  • 961 Coffrett Espace – Rocket Space Set (also Rocket Radar Space Set)
  • 962 Coffrett Miami – Jet Setters
  • 963 Coffret Secours Pompier – Fire Rescue Set
  • 964 Coffret Ferme – Farm Set

Catalogues from 1994 (left) and 1995 (right)

 
Later there were other boxes made, that did not carry any specific reference number or name, and they were simply referred as 960. I have at least spotted a construction set and, probably, there were not many more available. The four above (or variations of them) were also available without the name on the front part.

 

Despite the size of the set, it was probably not very expensive, as the series 600 (the big truck) is mostly made of plastic and was probably sold in a range of prices that was not so high, mostly considering its size.

The Farm Set I am presenting is probably the least attractive, but this box still has some interesting facts to comment. Note the illustration on the back that shows a drawing of the vehicles, including an El Camino SS, which was the car used in the first versions of the box. I think the original release came with a white version, but the 1994 box comes with a green version “New Decoration” which is exclusive to the box. 

Even later, the El Camino SS was replaced by the car you can see here, a Mustang GT Convertible. The blue version was a new decoration from 1993, but could be found in the ordinary 200 series as well. A second box I own includes the same car, but in its new decoration fom 1994. None of these cars show any relation to a farm, or do they? Therefore these boxes were probably released in 1995.



Mustang GT Convertible, model from 1993

Mustang GT Convertible, model from 1994

The tractor and the truck are just as the standard issues. The tractor comes with it rather simple and almost completely made of plastic trailer, and the big truck includes two horses in each color, four in total, that are easily lost. The horse box is a classic model in the die-cast world, nice, but, compared to other 600 series’ references, it is maybe not the most attractive one.

FACTS AND FIGURES:

  • Name: COFFRET FERME / FARM SET (964) (MAJORETTE TRANSPORTS, SERIES 960)
  • Scale: 1:64
  • Year: 1995
  • Company: Majorette (France)
  • Size: car is approx. 3 cm long

Sunday, February 7, 2021

#967 POLISTIL - ALPINE 3L ("P48" SERIES) (Around 1972)


I got this car by chance and bought it thinking it might be a cheap knock-off from Italy. When I looked it more thoroughly I noticed that the logo is actually the same that Polistil used, so I had a start to my research.

And it is definitely a Polistil car. It has no brand marking on the base, except the “made in Italy” and the reference number P48.


P48´s belong to a short series of sport cars, completely made of plastic (except the axles) and, thus, very low budget toys. All of them had the same base and the same reference number, which can be confusing to collectors. Also interesting is that each model was made in a variety of plain colours. Some of these were used in other toys (for example big car carrier trucks) or sold in cheap three-packs.

The available models (with their official codes) were:

  • Cod.A68 Porsche 908
  • Cod.A77 Ferrari P5
  • Cod.A78 Alfa Romeo 33
  • Cod.A81 Lotus Europa
  • Cod.A84 Matra 630 SP
  • Cod.A85 Alpine Renault
  • Cod.A87 D.R.5 Daytona

The casting is very good, as it is based in the same cast used for the die-cast version of the toy, but the durability is limited, as it can be easily broken, scratched of damaged. The wheels are the same in both models, as you probably can recognize.


There is more information and pictures is this website (in Italian): POLISTIL scala 1:32 Serie P48 (policar.org) (Went offline, shame!)

FACTS AND FIGURES:

  • Name: ALPINE 3L (A.85)
  • Scale: 1:43
  • Year: Around 1972
  • Company: Polistil (Italy)
  • Size: approx. 10 cm

Friday, January 22, 2021

#966 G. I. JOE – COBRA FANG II (1989)

 

This is the second version of the famous F.A.N.G. helicopter that was released in 1986 and profusely appeared in the TV series. For some reason, the evolution of that first helicopter lost the acronym (Fully Armed Negator Gyrocopter) and it is simply called FANG II. Later issues of the FANG were again renamed F.A.N.G.


 

The helicopter is not especially appealing to me, it looks nice, has cool colours, but that feature of helicopter that can be turned into a propeller plane has been seen many times before, an the cockpit is too open and it is difficult to fit a figure in it (no matter how hard you try, the figure does not sit properly in it.

 

Nevertheless it is a vehicle from 1989 series, which is the one (or one of the two) that hit harder in Spain and from which I keep the best memories. I never had this vehicle until recently, but at least one neighbor had it, and I had it in my hands.

I took these pictures last summer and I’d like to share them now with you all, I could have edited them and remove the threads that hold the toy in the air, but I thought it is OK to leave them as they are. I chose S.A.W. Viper as a pilot, although the artwork depicts H.E.A.T. Viper. I guess this choice has to do with the greater colour contrast with the purple/black/red helicopter.



FACTS and FIGURES:

  • Name: FANG II
  • Toy Line: G.I. Joe (Wave 8)
  • Year: 1989
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size: Around 20 cm long
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