Friday, July 23, 2021

#978 HERACLIO-FOURNIER – BARAJA OLÍMPICA (1988)

The Olympic Games from 2020 in Tokyo have finally started. The opening ceremony was celebrated today, so I will comment this deck of cards made by Heraclio Fournier in Spain in 1988, when the games were celebrated in Seoul.

It is one of my favorite H-F models, as it has really well done illustrations of many olympic sports. There are 32 cards, although some cards represent several similar events. For example, the card for cycling counts for indoor and route cycling.




Some cards has short descriptions of the event(s) or categories, other have a listing of world records, both for men and women. Unfortunately, all drawings show men, it would have been great if half of the cards would show female athletes. Interestingly the box depicts a female gymnast, which does not appear in any of the cards. Probably they noticed the error and tried to correct it by choosing that cover.

The set includes a 3rd cover card with the instructions on the back. Heraclio-Fournier had another, much older, sports deck, but the drawings were made in a completely different style.

FACTS AND FIGURES:

  • Name: BARAJA OLÍMPICA
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Heraclio-Fournier (Spain)

Thursday, July 8, 2021

#977 MAISTO – FERRARI COLLECTION (Around 1995)

This is a rather common gift set from the mid-90s made by Maisto that, at the time, was entering most Western markets with great force, and taking advantage of the relative weakness of more traditional brands, such as Matchbox or Majorette.

I am not a Maisto collector, but a MC Toy one, and I already have all these cars with the pre-maisto brand in their bases, but not all in red and/or mint condition. And, on top of that, it was a very cheap set, so I could let it go.

The models were great at the time, and were also priced much lower than the other brands.

The box has 5 windows and includes 5 Ferrari models: F40, 365 GTB, 308 GTB, Testarossa and 250 GTO. The box is way to big for its content, more if we consider the upper flap from where it could be hang from a display.


You can see other MC Toy Ferraris here. MC Toy models were unlicensed, were these early Maistos really Ferrari licensed products, or is the seal at the back of the box a fake?

FACTS AND FIGURES:

  • Name: FERRARI COLLECTION (FERRARI F40, 365 GTB, 308 GTB, Testarossa and 250 GTO)
  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: Around 1995
  • Company: Maisto (China)
  • Size: Around 7 cm

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

#976 BUDGIE – PANTECHNICON REMOVAL VAN (Nº58) (1960)

Budgie is one of the brands from which, being relatively well known, I never owned any models at all. It was first one year ago that I got my first Budgie from a friend. I guess that at the time they were made, not many were exported, and therefore, they are very difficult to find outside of the United Kingdom.

Budgie history has been extensively covered in books and Internet sites, so I will skip most of it. I’d just like to point out a few facts about the company. Before changing its name to Budgie, the manufacturer operated in London under the name Morestone, or Morris & Stone, the name of its founders. This was as early as the 1940s. Interestingly, some Pre-Budgie models are marked “Modern” or “Modern Products”, as they were produced by a different company by that name.

The brand Budgie was first used in 1959, but not for long. The company was sold in 1961 to S. Guiterman and went out of business in 1966. Modern Products continued the production until 1969, and the casts passed that same 1966 to H. Seener Ltd., who specialized in die-cast cars for the tourist market, either under Seener or Seerol brands. These models were actually casted by Corgi in Swansea, as Seener had no factory or production means. It is difficult to give an exact date of when were these models discontinued, as there was still one more owner for the casts, a company called Starcourt. Recently (since 2017) DG Copy Models is offering Budgie Models based on the original castings. Zebra Toys and Autocraft/DGM also made models based on old Morestone casts.

During the 40s and 50s, Budgie was best known for its horse carriages and stagecoaches, or horse-drawn vehicles in general.
 
Budgie toys are slightly smaller than the classic Matchbox toy and had a poorer paintwork, they also could not adapt very quickly to the quality level of this competitor, or the first Hot Wheels. 

I have only this small truck, which is really beautiful. Reminds of early Lesneys with casted wheels. I think from all the available colours, this shade of green was the latest one used, but it is also the one I like most, ast the beige/cream and light brown colours are too similar to the colour of the decal applied on both sides of the van.

The rear door can be opened, and small items can be kept in the box, so it is quite playable as well. Nice!

FACTS AND FIGURES:

  • Name: PANTECHNICOLN REMOVAL VAN (Nº58)
  • Scale: 1:100 (approx.)
  • Year: 1960
  • Company: Budgie Toys (Great Britain)
  • Size: Around 5 cm

Sunday, June 6, 2021

#975 NOVACAR – NISSAN 300 ZX, FERRARI TESTAROSSA, MERCEDES 500 SL (CABRIO), KENWORTH (T600) (1994)

This is a set of four vehicles I exchanged with a friend around 2 years ago. I think my first Novacar entry is quite complete, and has been quite successful, being even translated in message boards as well as referenced many times, so I won’t make any more references to the history of the brand or the series they produced.

We can take a look at the packaging, as this time, all four models are mint on package. Unfortunately, all cards are the same. They are not very elaborated, colourful and rather small. The card shows a three-lane road with two Lamborghini Countachs. The only difference among all four lies in the bubbles, which are different sizes to fit different models. The back part shows the safety instructions in many languages: Portuguese, English, French, Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Swedish and Greek, so we can figure out it was exported to all these countries and more.


The cars are all from 1994, and, therefore, the first decoration of the two available:

  • 102 – Nissan 300 ZX in light blue
  • 104 – Ferrari Testarossa in red
  • 105 – Mercedes 500 SL (Cabrio) in grey
  • 108 – Kenworth (T600) in blue

 

 




 

 

The cars have nice colours and/or tampographies, especially the Nissan and the Kenworth. The Ferrari Testarossa might be confused with the 348 GTB, which is reference 101. Both models are very similar, and exchanged their colours in their first and second decoration. The 348 was yellow in 1994 and red in 1995, and the Testarossa was red (this one in the pictures) in 1994 and yellow in 1995.

FACTS AND FIGURES:

  • Name: NISSAN 300 ZX, FERRARI TESTAROSSA, MERCEDES 500 SL (CABRIO), KENWORTH (T600) (Ref. 102, 104, 105 and 108)
  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: 1994
  • Company: Novacar (Portugal) / Majorette (France)
  • Size: Around 7 cm

Monday, May 17, 2021

#974 FIGURAS EN ACCIÓN (F.E.A.) Nr. 24

 

This is the latest issue of Figuras En Acción (F.E.A.), you may want to take a look at it. As always, it is free to download!

The main articles this time deal with the Spanish toymaker Geyper, as well as with the Bionic Six action figures by LJN.

If you are a Masters of the Universe fan, you should not miss this issue, because here you will find articles about Jinetes del Espacio, a MOTU-bootleg series by a small Spanish company called JUYBA, the Demolition Man action figures and a special review of the He-Man New Adventures character named Sagitar or Tharkus (depending on which side of the Atlantic you are).

But that is not all! We also talk about the vehicles from the Mini Bruder (or Bruder Mini) series, made in Germany in the 80s  and the 90s and elsewhere until today.

Click HERE to get your free copy!

Sunday, May 2, 2021

#973 SHOGUN WARRIORS – 3 INCHES/COLLECTOR’S SERIES GREAT MAZINGA, POSEIDON and COMBATTRA (1979)

 
Mattel imported and sold under his name several series of robots made in Japan by the end of the 70s. They represent famous robots from popular anime series of the time.

The figures shown here are the smallest produced (Collector’s series), and have around 3 inches of height. There were other 5 inches (Die-Cast Metal), 6 inches (Two-in-One) and up to 24 inches (Jumbo). All but these have spring loaded missile (or fist) launchers, and therefore included small accessories that are easily lost.

This series I present today were sold in individual cardboard boxes with window and inlay.

Great Mazinga

The characters were basically the same for all series (with some variations). There were also vehicles. For the collector’s series, the characters included were:

  • Great Mazinga
  • Poseidon
  • Combattra
  • Dragun
  • Grandizer
  • Gaiking

A second release would add:

  • Dangard
  • Leopaldon
  • Voltes V
  • 17

Poseidon


The collectors series were later sold in a different kind of package “Mini GoDaikins”, and they are identical except for a Taiwan instead of Japan marking on the back and metallic stickers. Some are very rare, while others are much more common. As always, only complete und unbroken toys are really valuable, and some of the references in this toyline are really fragile. See the little antennas of Combattra, or Mazinga head’s spikes, they are often missing! Also stickers are important. The Poseidon in the pictures is missing its head sticker, that it why it looks so strange.

The Shogun Warriors toylines with firing missiles were discontinued in 1980 due to safety regulations, but this line continued for a few years more. Because of this, and also because they were cheaper than the others, there are much easier to find nowadays. They were very popular in Central Europe.

Combattra

I’d definitely like to get all 10!

ReAction recently released a series of articulated figures inspired in this old Mattel collection.

FACTS AND FIGURES:

  • Name: GREAT MAZINGA, POSEIDON and COMBATTRA [COLLECTOR’S SERIES] (3 INCHES)
  • Toy Line: SHOGUN WARRIORS
  • Year: 1979
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A./Japan)
  • Size of the figures: Around 7 cm (3-3.5 inches)

Thursday, April 22, 2021

#972 METALCAR - RONY ROBOT (Around 1986)

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

Some years ago, I published an unknown toy car that some reader helped me identify as a Metalcar from Hungary. Since then, I have as a task to write an entry about this company. 

Unfortunately, there is nothing I could find about this maker from Hungary, maybe there are some information sources in Hungarian in the net, but I didn´t found them, so I cannot talk about the company at all.

What I could find are many products made by Metalcar, where most of them are Matchbox knock-offs. This ambulance robot is much rarer, as it was more expensive to produce due to its great number of parts and difficult assembly.


The model may be familiar to many of you, as it is a knock-off of a Go-Bot called Rest-Q, released by Tonka/Bandai in 1983. It was probably made around 1985 or 1986 and it is an ultra rare figure. It was probably made in very low numbers, and its construction is not very sturdy. You can see that the paintwork is not very good, and some parts are scratched or missing its stickers.


It was sold originally in a blister pack, either with the Metal Car brand and the name Rony Robot, or in a generic blister card with the name “Transformer”. In the pictures I could find (in the-liberator.net), the blister “Rony Robot” shows a figure with red body, while the Transformer blister has a robot with blue body. Maybe they were packaged randomly, or there could have been even more colours available. The figure is completely unmarked.

Blister packs taken from www.the-liberator.net


 As a knock-off, the figure is the same size, construction and even the materials are similar. There are only subtle differences among them. The most significant is the wheels, which in this knock-off case, are made of only one piece. The original Go-Bot wheels had plastic hubcaps and gum tyres.



The cast and the stickers are also copied, but they are not identical. In the blister pictures, we can see that the stickers came unapplied.

Other differences are: red windshield, no chromed parts, body in red or blue instead of White, simplified head part.



FACTS and FIGURES:

  • Name: RONY ROBOT (GO-BOTs REST-Q Knock-off)
  • Toy Line: None?
  • Year: Around 1986
  • Company: Metalcar (Hungary)
  • Size of the figures: Around 7 cm (between  2’’ and 3’’) in robot mode

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
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