Thursday, November 30, 2017

#881 RICO - COCHE "PULGA" (around 1950)

I have been delaying this entry since a very long time. Despite being a very popular toy, there are no resources on the internet about the famous "Pulgas" (Spanish for "fleas") anywhere on the internet.

There are similar toys made by different companies, although in Spain it is the "big two” that made them. In this case, the car shown is made by Rico, and, of course, the other "big company" is Payá Hermanos.

The car is around 5 centimeters long, and hence its name. Although that size is not so small compared with the modern 3 inches models of the H0 scale, at the time, they were seen as very small, compared to the big tin toys that were popular back then. Of course, one of these was much cheaper, just remember that toys at the time (30s, 40s) were luxury goods, not affordable for many families.

The mini-car has a clockwork motor inside that can be loaded by means of a key. The original key is missing, but with similar ones, it could still be loaded.

Despite their popularity, not many of these have survived: the tin body is not as resistant as modern zamak. Those that have survived, often have paint flaws, like mine or even worse.

The car was available in many colours, and some models even came in two colours (like a black/yellow Barcelona taxi cab). There was even a small trailer that could be attached to it, althouh I do not know if this was a especial reference. I have seen some for sale, but they must be very rare.

Here is depicted together with one Schuco model that is probably better known among toy collectors, for size comparison purposes.

  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: Around 1950
  • Company: Rico (Spain)
  • Size: approx. 3’’ or 7 cm

Monday, November 27, 2017

#880 SECRET WARS - CAPTAIN AMERICA and FALCON (1984 and 1985)

It has been a long time since I didn´t write about Secret Wars. I didn´t buy any in a long time, mostly because it is difficult to find complete figures at good prices in Europe. And since eBay introduced the Global Shipping Programme, I do not buy in the US anymore (I did once, and never more).

When I saw these two figures (in a lot) I had to buy it. Obviously the most interesting figure here is Falcon. It is complete with its two wings and the falcon accesories, which are very hard to find. The figures also included shields and its paper images, as depicted in the picture.

The figures are in great shape, and are basically the same as every other figure in the row. Same cast (except the head and the modification at the back for the wings), no action feature, same accesories (shields)... not much to say about the figures. The colouring scheme is very accurate (as in the comic books).

I am not very much into Marvel comics, but both characters were originally part of the same universe. The Secret Wars series mixed characters from different universes.

I am currently missing only 3 figures and 2 accessories… (and they are not the most difficult ones) let’s see if I can get them in the next months to close this toyline. I am not so interested in the vehicles for space reasons.

  • Toy Line: Secret Wars (Wave 1 and 2, respectively)
  • Year: 1984 and 1985
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: Around 12 cms

Saturday, November 25, 2017


I am interested in this character made by Rolf Kauka because I had some educational game books of him (and his dog Bello) as a kid.

When I came to Austria I realized that the character here was much more popular. It appears in books of all types, including comic books, educational, colour books and more. A magazine is still being published, aimed at children of ages 4 and above.

I wonder where this keyring comes from. It is definitely old, and I have found just one picture in the whole internet of it. I recently found the keyring in a thrift shop, and I bought it together with some plastic figures of the 80s. I have a second figure (without the keyring, just the figure, with a small hole in the head, so it also carried the keyring originally) that I found inside a Geocache. One possibility it that it is a giveaway of the Bussi Bär magazine, although it could also be a promotional giveaway for book or toy stores.

The figure is unmarked, so the manufacturer is unknown, but it is still copyrighted "R. Kauka".

Mr. Rolf Kauka´s work is very interesting. He was nicknamed the "German Walt Disney". It is worth taking a look at the Wikipedia. Rolf Kauka – Wikipedia

  • Toy Line: BUSSI BÄR
  • Year: 1984
  • Company: Unknown Manufacturer (Germany?)
  • Size of the figure: Around 3 cm

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


By the late 80s, Guisval released a series of Bigfoot cars. They were some kind of trend, other die-cast companies also had this type of vehicles, in this same scale (Majorette, Matchbox...) or even in the Micro Machines scale.

Guisval cars were a mixture of 4x4, ordinary cars and trucks: a Nissan Patrol (hardtop), a Datsun Patrol (pick-up with canopy), a Jeep Willys, Seat Ibiza and Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks.

The cars came with chromed plastic base, dark windows and no interior. They came in flashy colours (sometimes even metallic) and "Rally" stickers. They had to be cool, and they actually were, I recall other children having them and playing in sand or stones with them. It was a lot of fun.

Some of these were sold in jewel boxes like this one here, blister packs or loose in polystyrene displays.

From that catalogue I can put the reference numbers here:

Nº 30001 Ibiza 4x4
Nº 30002 Patrol 4x4
Nº 30003 Nissan Motos 4x4 (with 2 small red motorbikes) (see #319)
Nº 30004 Renegade 4x4
Nº 30005 Nissan 4x4 (canopy)

Note that reference 30003 and 30005 are incorrectly labelled both in the box and the base, since it is a Datsun Patrol, not a Nissan.

A later release in the 90s had black bases and "rally" tampographies, or no decoration at all. The Datsun re-release came without canopy for saving even more manufacturing costs. I guess the units that can be seen with chromed based but without stickers were made in between.

This small document has the manufacturer data and the security regulations in four languages.

Later on, already in the 2000s, there was a second batch of bigfeet with much bigger wheels made of rubber. These are different models, with very cool tampographies and the more modern of these, even with somr dirt-effect paint.

  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: 1987
  • Company: Guisval (Spain)
  • Size: approx. 3’’ or 7 cm

Sunday, November 19, 2017

#877 MATCHBOX – MERCEDES C.111 (K-30) and BERTONE RUNABOUT (K-31) (1971)

Here are two Speed Kings! And pretty cool models.

The Speed Kings is a splitted series from the Super Kings serie. Starting in 1971, the Super Kings which were cars (no trucks, machines or whatever) were equipped with new fast wheels and sold under a slightly different name, although the numbering was respected (K-xx). Some of the first models were previously available as Super Kings, maybe in different colours, for example the Lamborghini Miura. Those models had wheels with metal hubcaps and rubber tyres and some of them even had “True Guide Steering”, a feature that in the Speed Kings completely disappears.

In the catalogue of 1971, all references between K-1 and K-20 remained Super Kings, while K-21 to K-29 were the new Speed Kings (8 in total). The line would continuously grow until 1978, year in which the catalogue showed the maximum number of references… up to K-69/1 and K-69/2. The references, of course changed over the course of the years, and one single reference number may have had more than one models and/or several decorations. As in the 1-75 series or any other, each model was kept available for an indefinited number of years.

The copyright year in the base of each car usually means that the car was released the following year, so these cars with coyright 1971 appear in 1972's catalogue.

Read the text in this picture from 1971's catalogue

From the catalogue from 1979/80 on, the Speed Kings series is renamed Super Kings again, and merged with the rest of the vehicles, as it originally was.

Some of the earlier references are truly amazing and colourful models: dragsters, sport protos, sci-fi models… despite the size, they are very attractive to collectors. All of them had practicable parts and mind-blowing features, like those Mercedes C.111 headlights!


  • Name: MERCEDES C.111 (K-30) and BERTONE RUNABOUT (K-31)
  • Scale: 1:32 (approx.)
  • Year: 1971
  • Company: Matchbox (Great Britain)
  • Size: approx. 9 cm

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Another two squads of Micromasters for my collection. 
The first one is the Battle Patrol, Note this includes four figures, some of them with movable parts that are sometimes missing. That is why it took me a little bit to complete all of them. I had three of them since a long time ago, but one of them was missing its cannon.

The members of this squad are (left to right): Big Shot, Sunrunner, Sidetrack and Flak.

  • Faction: Autobots
  • Subgroup: Micromasters
  • Function: Rapid Deployment Strike Force
  • Motto: "It is better to strike first, then to not strike at all!"
  • Bio: This tough-talking, battle-hardened foursome believes that the best offense is one that's fast, furious, and ferocious! They don't slow down until the enemy has been defeated and thrown into the scrap pile! With this in mind, Big Shot, Sidetrack, Flak, and Sunrunner use their brute force capabilities to hammer their Micromaster adversaries with devastating attacks! .
  • Tech Specs for the Rapid Deployment Force:
    • Strength: 9
    • Intelligence: 7
    • Speed: 6
    • Endurance: 8
    • Team Work: 8
    • Courage: 9
    • Firepower: 6
    • Skill: 8
  • Motto: "One good shot is worth a hundred bad ones!"
  • Motto: "Good luck is the residue of good planning."
  • Motto: "A battle that isn't worth winnin' isn't worth fightin'!"
  • Motto: "Rule the skies and the ground will bow before you."

The second patrol is the Offroad patrol. Its member are (left to right): Powertrain, Mudslinger, Highjump and Tote.

 This series is simpler in contruction, are usually complete, since they came with no cannons or small movable parts.

  • Faction: Autobots
  • Subgroup: Micromasters
  • Function: Covert Activities
  • Motto: "Don't follow orders, follow instincts."
  • Bio: This quartet has an independence streak that runs as long as the Appalachian Trail. Experts at covert operations. Always work well together in any combat situation. Specialize in going where no one's ever gone and doing what no one's ever done. Continually caught up in some sort of enemy intrigue. Autobot Command trusts them to come up with brilliant counter-measures to be sprung on the Decepticons.
  • Tech Specs for the Offroad Patrol:
    • Strength: 6
    • Intelligence: 9
    • Speed: 3
    • Endurance: 8
    • Team Work: 9
    • Courage: 8
    • Firepower: 9
    • Skill: 6
  • Motto: "If I can't go through it, I go over it"
  • Motto: "No Road is too Rough. No Foe too Tough."
  • Motto: "Keep it Down and Dirty."
  • Motto: "A rolling Autobot gathers the most Decepticons."

  • Toy Line: TRANSFORMERS (G1)
  • Year: 1989
  • Company: Hasbro (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: Around 5 cm

Monday, November 13, 2017

#875 GOULA - COLEGIO (Ref. 600) (Around 1979)

As a kid I had a construction set from this brand. Now it is lost, but I would really like to find it and play with it, right now. Unfortunately, it was probably thrown away years ago, so I won't be able to do this.

Instead, I found this nice set in a flea market several years ago, the pieces are similar, although in the set I was referring to, there were basically building parts with a few cars, people and even some trees. On the contrary, this set includes only school or class furniture and people, but still the style of the manufacturer cannot be mistaken. The wood is very light coloured (light brown) and many pieces have some colour applied in one side, always in basic/plain colours.

Both the set I owned as a kid, and this one I have now belong to a celebrated series called "Construcción Urbis". They were the classic contruction block set, maybe in a smaller size than the usual game (probably to keep the prices as low as possible), and with dedicated sets including particular pieces not available in other sets. The series was divided in several subgroups according to the size of the box: Urbis, Urbis-2, Urbis-3... up to Urbis-5, which included the biggest boxes with the highest amount of pieces. Some sets were also available in bags.

Note for example this curious school class. The blocks have the shapes of desks, chairs an blackboards, and this pieces, of course were especific to this set. There are also some figures included, but they are made of plastic. It would be much more expensive to produce them in wood, but earlier versions of this game had wooden figures, in a less realistic style, and curiously, the teacher was a nun (something not very unusual at the time in Spain). The figures are slightly flat, in the tin soldiers style. My set is probably missing two pupils (at least compared with the picture in the box cover).

Note the nice sculpt of the different furniture: teacher´s desk (with platform), blackboard, pupil´s desk... it is a very interesting construction set, maybe also intended to be a toy for girls?

Among the boxes in this Urbis series and this size, which I think it was the smallest one (17x11 cm), the references were:
  • 600 Colegio (School)
  • 601 Granja (Farm)
  • 602 Fuerte (Fort)
  • 603 Garajes (Garages)
  • 604 Estación (Train Station)
  • 605 Aeropuerto (Airport)
  • 606 Zoo
  • 607 Castillo (Castle)

And now a few lines about the manufacturer. The company which made this toy is Goula, a Spanish company that is still active, although now it is part of a bigger concern, as it is Diset.

Theirofficial website ( tells us the story of a family business run since 1942. The brand name comes from the surname of the founder Josep Goula from Vic (near Barcelona).

The business probably derived from a carpenter´s workshop especialized in Christmas decoration goods. Soon they started producing wooden toys for children (around 1950) and since then, they have been participating in the Toy Fair in Nurenberg every year.

Currently their toys still use wood, but sometimes combined with other materials, like cloth or cardboard. The design is still being made in Barcelona, although nothing is said about production...

Goula is part of the Diset group and is the leader manufacturer in wooden toys in Spain. It exports to more than 60 countries. Great! I wonder if they ever thought about reissuing these Urbis sets. Do you think they would have any commercial success nowadays?

  • Name: COLEGIO (Ref. 600)
  • Year: Around 1979
  • Company: Goula (Spain)

Friday, November 10, 2017

#874 NOREV MINI JET - FIAT 131 S and FORD MUSTANG (1982)

Another Fiat 131 S for the collection, this time made by Norev.

The Ford Mustang is also quite nice. Usually a model in which lots of people are interested in.

  • Name:FIAT 131 S and FORD MUSTANG (Nr. 417 and 424)
  • Scale: Approx 1:64
  • Year: 1982
  • Company: Norev (France)
  • Size: 6 cms
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