Tuesday, July 25, 2017

#835 MICRO MACHINES - X-RAYS COLLECTION 4 (1991)


This series started in 1991, and uses the same models and the same casts than the Deuxe series, only the cars are made in transparent colour.

It is difficult for me to think why did Galoob bring this series out... maybe they just wanted to keep the Deluxe series living, but the casts for them were too expensive to produce new model. What seems clear to me, is that more "repaints" of the existing cars, plus mixing them up to create new collections wouldn´t work, after 3 years of doing this already. The X-rays ist just another turn of the screw, with which Galoob can present old models (and reuse old casts) in a completely different way. Note that the feature is not anymore that the micro car has practicable parts, but that you can see the interior of the car.

Of course, the only Micro Machines with interiors are the Deluxe models, so, by making them in transparent you would be able to see the seats, the motor and other parts which, of course, are painted to make them "visible".


The cars in the pictures are:
  • Chevrolet Camaro Z-28
  • Chevrolet Corvette '87
  • Packard
  • Ferrari Mondial
That year of 1991, all Deluxe Collections were discontinued, except the later "Space collection" (which included a moon rover, the Apollo capsule and a lunar module, just like the Deluxe collection XIII) and the "European Exotics" (which included a Lamborghini Countach, a Ferrari Testarossa and a Mercedes Gullwing, but in new, previously unreleased colours).

The X-Rays debuted with 4 collections (numbered #1 to #4), each of them with 4 cars each with no repetitions (all of them previously released as Deluxe models), so 16 different cars. The deluxe series had more different models (30 including the 3 belonging to the space collection, a.k.a. deluxe collection XIII), but only 16 were chosen for the X-Rays.

The following year (1992) the series was still available with the same 4 collections, only each of these included a "bonus" vehicle belonging to another series.

X-Rays are very fragile, and it is very common to find them with broken parts (for example missing doors). If you are looking for them pay attention to the details, to make sure they are complete.

FACTS AND FIGURES
  • Name: Micromachines X-Rays Collection 4
  • Scale of the cars: 1:150 aprox.
  • Year: 1991
  • Company: Galoob (U.S.A.)
  • Size: approx. 2 cm

Saturday, July 22, 2017

#834 SCHABAK – AUSTRIAN AIRLINES FOKKER 50, AIRBUS A310-324, and AIRBUS 321-111 (WB514, WB515 and NN) (Around 1993 and 2008)


I have seen these small planes for sale on airports in Germany and Austria, I assume they are also available in some toystores, but, being perfect scale reproductions, I would say they are not intended for playing or as a toy you buy for a child, but for teenagers and adult collectors.


I found two of them in flea markets over the years, plus a third one loose, and All three together will make a nice blog entry. Note that all three have Austrian stickers, although I am quite certain that they were also available with stickers from Lufthansa and many other major airlines. Schabak planes are made in 1:600 scale, or sometimes in 1:520.

What I like most about them are the boxes, small, with the picture of the actual plane, and the logo of the company, each box in the right size for the model inside. Very cute. The planes are protected with a soft paper, I don't know if this is original, or a later addition of the previous owner of these items.


The two boxed units are from the early 90s, while the loose plane is much more modern, probably from around 2008.

Fokker 50


 The company is based in Nurnberg, Germany, and is now property of Schuco. The story of these two companies is very much related, as I will explain next.

Schabak was founded in 1966 by Max Haselmann, Gerhard Hertlein, Horst Widmann and Wolfang Stolpe, and originally, it was a toy distributor, mainly for Schuco Modell. When Schuco went out of business in 1970, Schabak purchased many of their casts and tools (both for cars and airplanes) to start producing their own toys, although other companies like Gama did the same and also bought casts from Schuco and after several agreements with airlines, started producing these nice series.

Airbus A310-324


Schabak’s cars are all German-makes, first in 1:43 scale: BMWs, Volkswagens, Audis… many of them, officially approved by the manufacturers.
Later, Schabak moved to larger scales, producing miniatures of the same German cars in 1:24 scale. The products were oriented to an adult collector, and that’s why the brand is rather unknown, even for great die-cast collectors.

Airbus A321-111


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: AUSTRIAN AIRLINES FOKKER 50, AIRBUS A310-324, and AIRBUS 321-111 (WB514, WB515 and NN)
  • Scale: 1:600
  • Year: Around 1993 and 2008
  • Company: Schabak (Germany)
  • Size: approx. 4 to 6 cm

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

#833 MAJORETTE – GAZELLE (Nr. 371) (1976)


Majorette's helicopter is maybe one of the most iconic scale models made by the French die-cast manufacturer. It was first available in 1976, and it has been constantly re-released in new decorations until the late 90s.


It is bigger in size than the ordinary 3 inches car, and thus classified with a 300 reference. This is another price category, although the helicopter has many plastic parts and is probably cheaper to produce than the rest of the 300 series models. Maybe this is the reason why Majorette kept it so long in the catalogue...



Apart from that, it was surely a best-seller, since it was the only helicopter in the line until 1988, where the Dauphin 2 (Nr. 322) was also included in the assortment. Being different to the rest of your counterparts, makes you an eye-catcher, and, my theory here is that it sold very well.

It was also not uncommon to see it as the load to a bigger trailer truck, like that one the 600 series.



There have been so many decorations of the Gazelle that listing all would require a considerable amount of time. That is why, I am just showing the two I own. One of them (in "Red Cross" / "Croix Rouge" decoration) is quite old, while the second one (Rescue decoration) is more modern.
 

The blades can be bent in order to fit in a regular plastic box, and they are of course a bit fragile. Also the tail is made of plastic, and can present stress marks if it is not completely broken.


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: GAZELLE (Nr. 371)
  • Scale: Unknown scale
  • Year: 1976
  • Company: Majorette (France)
  • Size: approx. 10 cm

Sunday, July 16, 2017

#832 AIRGAM – BIRD MAN vs. PYTHON (Ref. 302 and 312) (1985)

 

I’ll continue the last entry with two more Airgam Comics characters, Bird Man and Python, again one member of the Superfantastics and another of the Superdiabolics. In this entry, I love both figures equally, I think the cloak both figures carry (they are different at the front) together twith the piece behind their heads are great great additions.



I’ll start with Python this time, a figure with the classic combination green with yellow and black details and an extremely cool head design, with a snake on the forehead. The boots are also interesting, since they reuse the Airgam Boys gladiator “shoes”. This figure very probably came with the pistol in the picture, although as commented in the previous entry, this information is difficult to confirm.


Bird Man, although similar in colour to Starsman, is in my opinion much better, only the cloak is already a great add-on, also the colour combination, with more blue and less red is better, and the muscles marked on the chest are small details that make this figure better than Starsman. The figure came also with a pistol, and very probably the one depicted in the pictures.



It is important to note, that, in this collection, figures have (or may have) several variants each. In the case of Bird Man, you can find this figure either with red or yellow logo on the chest. In the case of the yellow logo, the pants are mostly blue, although I have already seen a mixture of both versions (that would be a third version) with yellow logo and red pants. There are many examples thoughout the toyline, and I’ll be commenting them when I have the chance.

Bird Man with yellow logoand red pants. Recent addition to my collection.

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: BIRD MAN (Ref. 302) and PYTHON (Ref. 312)
  • Toy Line: Airgam Comics (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1985
  • Company: Airgam (Spain)
  • Size of the figures: Around 8.5 cm (3.25'')

Thursday, July 13, 2017

#831 AIRGAM – STARSMAN vs. DR. DIABOLIC (Ref. 301 and 311) (1985)


I have presented several figures from this toyline, probably my favorite toyline of all times, but very few of these were first wave figures. All figures from wave 2 (all I presented except Piranha) have extra swivel arm articulation as well as knee articulation.



Today I wil present two figures from the first wave, and not just two random figures, but the leaders of each faction: Superfantastics and Superdiabolics.


Starsman is obviously based on Captain America, it is a blue figure with red pants and a blue shield. The references to the American flag are not hidden, just in case you had not noticed it. It is not one of my favorite figures, because I think the figure could have been better, it is rather simple and the colours are plain and seen many times before.

I don’t know anymore which weapons came together with the figure in the blister. The shield is clear, but some carded figures seem to come with the big(ger) cannon, while others don’t.


The second figure is, on the contrary, one of my favorites. Note the colour combination purple and black, the nice pattern in chest, arms and legs and the two-part cloak, including the cool part behind the head with some long “holes”. It is truly a great design. Also the face is greatly designed with the skull on the forehead and some part of it hidden behind a purple mask. I always imagined this character may have had some damage, and that is why he hid himself behind a mask. The figure could be based in Marvel character Dr. Doom (and thus the name Dr. Diabolic). This figure came with one gun: from the three available models, the one which is depicted in his hand.


Sometimes it is quite confusing to match figure and accessories in this toyline. Unfortunately, I keep all in a box, and with the years I forgot which gun or rifle went with which figure. I tried to redo a list, but even with the pictures that can be found on the internet, it is a difficult job. I think the accessories added were most of the times the same ones, but they may vary in some occasions, since the quality control was probably not very exhaustive.
FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: STARSMAN (Ref. 301) and DR. DIABOLIC (Ref. 311)
  • Toy Line: Airgam Comics (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1985
  • Company: Airgam (Spain)
  • Size of the figures: Around 8.5 cm (3.25'')

Monday, July 10, 2017

#830 CORGI JUNIORS - STARSKY & HUTCH’S FORD TORINO and BUICK REGAL (1977)

Pic from yesterdaystoys.co.uk

Who does not know Starky and Hutch? It was one of the greatest TV hits of the mid to late 70s in many countries. The series tells the story of two policemen from sunny California.

Corgi released one version of the red Ford Torino in 1:43 scale (which was then “bootlegged” by Guisval), but also this nice small car set “Corgi Juniors Twins” or “Twin Packs” in 1:64 scale. The Ford Torino was also available in single packs. Mine is missing the white sticker that crosses both sides and the roof.




Both the Torino and the Buick Regal were also available before without the roof siren, but this set, as well as Kojak’s, Superman’s Metropolis Police Car or the Fire Chief Torino.

Both models are very nice in my opinion, the cars are beautiful and famous: they appeared in many movies of the late 70s.

The Buick was also used in different decorations, many of them in Police colours (e.g. Magnum P.I.).





To complete this entry, I will  also show a second police Buick with slightly different colours and a different siren. This one is much newer, probably from the late 90s.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: FORD TORINO and BUICK REGAL (45-B and 28-C1?)
  • Scale: Around 1:64
  • Year: 1977
  • Company: Corgi Toys (Great Britain)
  • Size: approx. 6 cm

Friday, July 7, 2017

#829 TOMICA – CITROEM SM, LOTUS ELITE and BMW 320i (F34, F47 and F28) (1977, 1978 and 1993)


Three more Tomica models. In this case, I put them together because there are all three European, a French Citroën, a British Lotus and a German BMW.


The first two are very old, I got them in the 80s as a kid, while the third one was bought in the late 90s and belongs to the late series known as “British line”. The first two are made in Japan, the third is Made in China.

As it is usual for Tomicas, models come in different scales, all of them very close to 1:64.


Citroën SM in green – F34 – 1:66 – 1977
Lotus Elite in white/cream – F47 – 1:63 – 1978
BMW 320i in dark blue – F28 – 1:62 – Around 1993 (original release “Made in Japan” ~1977)

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: CITROEM SM, LOTUS ELITE and BMW 320i (F34, F47 and F28) ()
  • Scale: 1:66, 1:63 and 1:62
  • Year: 1977, 1978 and 1993
  • Company: Tomica (Japan)
  • Size: approx. 6 cm
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