Monday, February 19, 2018

#896 SCALEXTRIC - FERRARI 312 B3 (Ref. 4052) (1975)


Collectables from decades ago are each time more and more difficult to find. It is natural. They end up in hands of collectors, and these keep them for long periods of time.Only in extraordinary events, like the last crisis (from 2008 to 2012 or so), the offer grows and the prices fall. Since 2016 or maybe even slightly before that I have observed that prices are going higher and higher. At some point in the future, the prices will fall, but this is another topic.

With Scalextric I have observed exactly this behaviour, and I haven´t bought many in the last 3 years. This is one of them and the second is a yellow Porsche Carrera that will be shown when I update entry #420.

This is a car that I didn´t have yet in any version, so I was happy to find it. It was not very expensive considering it is complete, but still used and without the original box.

The car was first released in 1975 and discontinued in 1982, although rests could still be found in shops during a few years more.




A Ferrari is always an attractive car, but this model here was also 1975´s World Champion, driven by the young Niki Lauda. In the decals we can read the name of the Austrian pilot or the name of the Swiss pilot Clay Regazzoni, the "first" pilot at the time and the one who recommended Lauda to Ferrari in 1974.

Scalextric represents the model from 1974, using decals with both names, but also 4 different race numbers (RN): 11, 12, 20 and 35. This is also a common practice, since some sets were sold with two identical cars in different colours, and they needed at least two race numbers, and in case of Formula 1 or other famous racing cars, two pilot names.

The car ran the 1974 season with RN 11 (Regazzoni) and RN 12 (Lauda). Scalextric also assigned RN 20 to Lauda and RN 35 to Regazzoni in the alternative decals.

In 1973 and 1975 the same car that took part in some races, although the decoration used at the time may differ a little bit from the one chosen by Scalextric.


By the way, this car was available in red (like the real Ferrari), (dark) green, yellow and blue. So far I have only the green one, but I keep looking for the other three. If I ever get them, I will update this entry to make it more complete. Making cars in different colours was of course cheaper than making them with different casts, and most times, a circuit came with two cars of the same brand, only with different colours. That way the races were tighter, since different cars have different behaviours during the race. This F1, like most F1 is quite flat and has long rear axles, so I guess it is very fast. Green is maybe the less atractive colour, because some details have low contrast with the grey motor part, and also low contrast with the black tracks.

Note that the model has lots of pieces, many more than the average scalextric car. And also that the base or chassis has the same colour than the body. A real beauty.



FACTS AND FIGURES
  • Name: FERRARI 312 B3 (Ref. 4052)
  • Scale: 1:32
  • Year: 1975
  • Company: Scalextric Exin (Spain)
  • Size: approx. 15 cm

Monday, February 5, 2018

#895 HERACLIO FOURNIER - MASTERS DEL UNIVERSO and HE-MAN (1988 and 1991)



Two of my most favorite decks of cards of all times are these Heraclio Fournier. Of course He-Man and the Masters of the Universe are two of my favorite toylines, so any related article is for me very interesting. But I am also a collector of Heraclio-Fournier card decks, so my interest is double.



The first deck "Masters of the Universe" was released in 1988, followed by the "He-Man" deck in 1991. Both comprise 32 cards, plus the cover card with the instructions printed on the back. Both decks are very similar, with very few differences. Beside the design of the cards, the card back has different colours, (purple or orange), the rules belong to two different games and also the numbering of the cards is different.

Let’s stop at this last difference.

The Masters of the Universe deck has its cards numbered from 1 to 32, and then in the lower part of the card, we can read the name of the character, object or place depicted, plus some text in brackets. The first 12 are “Master Bueno” (or Good Master), the cards numbered 13 to 23 are “Master Malo” (or Bad Master), numbers 24 to 29 are “Horda del Terror” (name given in Spain to the Evil Horde), 30 and 31 are “Vehiculos” (or vehicles), and card 32 is “Varios” (or various). To the rules of the game, the Evil Horde, vehicles and various cards all belong together to a third group, so we may summarize, there are cards belonging to the “good”, “bad” and “others” groups. Note that there are some inconsistencies, like Hordak being marked “bad” instead of “Evil Horde” or Zodac being marked “bad” as well.





The He-Man deck uses the more common division in four families with 8 cards each (for example red 1, red 2, ... up to red 8, then yellow, then green and finally blue). In this case, all red and yellow cards represent characters or vehicles belonging to Skeletor and the bad guys and the blue and green families are showing only characters and vehicles of He-Man’s team.


And now, let’s focus on the illustrations.

The "Masters of the Universe" deck shows very interesting concept art drawings of many characters from waves 1 to 4. These illustrations were unknown at the time, what made it even more interesting. I have seen some of these in comics from Egmont (from the UK) or Ehapa (Germany), but I do not know where do they came from. None of them is taken from the cardbacks (except Zodac). I have checked the “The Art of He-Man and the Masters…” book, but I found none of them… any real expert who can put me on the right track here?

The text that go with each figure are sometimes freely chosen from the appearance of the figure, probably because Heraclio-Fournier did not have much background information about this or that figure. Note for example that the artwork for Stinkor shows the “Stench of Evil” over his head, and it vaguely looks like fire. In the description it is mentioned, that it owns a fire armour that makes him almost unreachable. This is just an example, but there are others.



And now, let's continue with the "He-Man" deck. Note that most cards show a picture of the actual toy, with only a couple of exceptions (both Battle Punch He-Man cards, green 1 and green 3). Note that the figures that represent the actual toy are taken from official Mattel catalogues and promotional leaflets. Interestingly, the cards show even the last figures released in 1992, which were never available in Spain.

This deck has no text, except for the names of the characters or vehicles.


Sorry for the quality in the He-Man deck pictures, they were taken several years before the MotU deck, and I didn't put much care in them.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: MASTERS DEL UNIVERSO and HE-MAN
  • Year: 1988 and 1991
  • Company: Heraclio-Fournier (Spain)

Monday, January 22, 2018

#894 MIGHTY MAX - SHRUNKEN HEADS aka MICRO HEADS (1993)



Some of the smallest Mighty Max sets were the Micro Heads. They are really small, and have space for exactly one Mighty Max figure, although in some cases it is kind of tricky to fit the figure inside the case.

Each head of these micro sets represents one of the well-known monsters or some recognizable horror icon: Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein, a skull, a zombie... what makes them very attractive to all horror fans. Each head opens revealing a very small scenery including the moster (casted) in it. The Mighty Max figure that fits each set mostly has some accesory in its hands that fits the theme of the adventure: a stake in the Vampyre set, a spray can in Insect, pliers for Lobotix…


Another interesting feature is that the figure fits almost milimetrically in the case, it took me quite a while to fit all figures in their correct positions, it might be quite challenging. I haven’t found out how to fit the figure in the last set (Insect), if anyone knows…


Here are the eight sets’ interiors. Note also the nice combination of colours in each set and altogether. There is a great production design behind this toyline.

VENOM



LOBOTIX




 MELTY


MUMMY




RAT



VAMPYRE


ROCK MONSTER




INSECT


FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: Venom, Lobotix, Melty, Mummy, Rat, Vampyre, Rock Monster Insect  (Shrunken Heads or Micro Heads)
  • Toy Line: Mighty Max (wave 2)
  • Year: 1993
  • Company: Bluebird (Great Britain)
  • Size of the playset: Around 3,5 cm long
  • Size of the figures (Mighty Max): 1 cm

Sunday, January 7, 2018

#893 MAJORETTE - SEVERAL BOXED MODELS (1972 to 1977)



There is not much that I can say about these models. They are very old Majorettes and all of them still in their original packages. Some of them are not mint, because the packages can be opened and closed anytime, so I guess, some of them have been removed from the box (before I did that to take the pictures) and maybe even slightly played with. However, they are in excellent shape, they are quite old (first 70s) and some are even rare. Note that some have fragile parts or easily lost pieces.

I bought them around two years ago in a flea market. First I bought only a few, then I regretted very much not having bought more. Surprisingly I had a second chance to buy the rest a few months later.

The hard plastic boxes are interesting. They seem to be cubic (well, rectangular prisms), but they are trapezoidal, being the upper surface smaller than the base. They consist of two parts plus maybe some inlay and maybe some paper or illustration inside. The two main parts are solidly attached to each other by means of two slids/flaps. I have fear when opening them, that one of the flaps break, but so far this did not happen. The inlay is made of a very thin plastic, and usually places the car with the front slightly higher than the rear part of the car.

Since the box is transparent, some models include a Majorette illustration below the car that probably tries to make the box more attractive, maybe thinking about those cars that are not sold in a nice display, but countertop.

All boxes also included a red sticker with the name of the car and the reference number.

Note that there are boxes come not only in short and long versions (for cars with trailers) but also in tall and short variants for normal cars or especially flat cars (like the Shadow F1).

And finally, the pictures, each of them with number, name, year of issue and a short comment about the model. We start with the series 200:

204 Pompier (Dodge Pompier) – color: red
First released in 1974. Note the very fragile chromed ladder, still in the box and in perfect shape.






206 Ambulance (Citroën DS Ambulance) – color: white
First Released in 1973. Rare version with thin wheels.





207 Jaguar E (Jaguar Type E) – color: blue
First Released in 1972.








211 Tracto Pelle – color: orange
First Released in 1974. The steering wheel is extremely fragile, 99% of the times is lost.





222 Multi Benne (Scania Multi Benne) – color: orange/ green

First Released in 1976. Nice model, a more modern version of this miniature was commented in entry #385. Note the price tag of 14,80 Austrian Schilling, something around 1,10 Euro.





223 Saviem Chantier / Fertighaus Transporter – color: blue
First Released in 1976. Previously was available with a brown hut/home in 1975. The load is very hard to find.








242 Service (Dodge) – color: orange
First Released in 1976, same model as Dodge Chasse Neige, but without the front loader. That model was available in 1974 and 1975. Excellent with its decals.





243 Shadow F1 (Shadow DN5) – color: black
First Released in 1977. Also commented in entry #587.




258 Dune Buggy – colour: light green
First Released in 1972. Commented in detail in #788.

Now the three boxes from the series 300:



320 Fardier (Scania –No Nr– + Fardier) – color: blue
First Released in 1976. Excellent vesion with real wood sticks. Unfortunately, not one of the oldest versions, but still remarkable.






343 Dinghy (Dodge Safari –No Nr– + Pneumatique) – color: orange/multicolour
First Released in 1974. Excellent multicoloured miniature with plastic zodiac boat in trailer. Trailer comes with a very old type of wheel.







354 Triqueballe (Tracteur Ford –253– + Triqueballe) – color: red

First Released in 1971. This is a curious model with a real wood stick hold by the trailer. This model appears in many catalogues from 1972 to 1979, but is discontinued in 1980 and replaced by a more moder model of tractor (Tractor 208), which, with very few changes, is still being sold, or at least it was until very very recently.







FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: SEVERAL BOXED MODELS
  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976 and 1977
  • Company: Majorette (France)
  • Size: approx. 3’’ or 7 cm
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