Thursday, September 22, 2016

#724 BOGLINS - GLOW BOGLIN KLANG and BABY BOGLIN BOINK (1986)


Boglins are a line of hand-puppets made by Mattel between 1987 and 1990 or 1991. They are made of soft rubber, just like many figures used in special effects for science-fiction and horror movies in the second half of the 80s. Most sources of information point out that they were probably inspired by movies like Gremlins, Ghoulies, Critters that were very popular back then (and some are still today). I am not so familiar with those movies (except Gremslins), but they seem a bit different to me.
 
 
Something remarkable were the boxes in which they were sold: they were cubic cardboard boxes simulating wood and the front, instead of a window had bars like if it was a jail. Nice details like "do not feed" and "do not touch" signs were the perfect appeal for children to touch the puppet with their fingers and having that funny-but-disgusting feeling of the soft rubber touch. It is kind of humid but dry, and soft but cannot be deformed. The back of the box included a description of the species with an evolutionary tree written as if they were a real species. Very funny to read.
 
There were several Boglins sub-series in different size, but all of them shared some distinctive features. Most of them have bigs heads, short tails and also arms.
 
From the inside you can control the opening of the mouth, but also the eyes (or eye), in a very impressive effect. The arms are articulated, and could be move from the outside. With some practice, you could really move the puppet and make it look like a living creature. The biggest ones (called simply Boglins, or in latin: Boglinus Humungus) were really big and you could control all previously listed features. The Small Boglins (boglinus minimus) were slightly smaller. The white Boglin I am showing has this same size (but is not a small Boglin). There were 7 characters available in this size. Here you cannot control the arms, which simply hang under the head as in their bigger brothers (where you could insert one finger in each arm).
 
 
There were many other sub-series or sub-species of Boglins, including the Soggy Boglins, Baby Boglins, Halloween Boglins, Acrobat Boglins, Mini Boglins, Hairy Boglins, Talking Boglins, Bash'em Boglins, Action Boglins, Baby Squirt Boglins, Glow Boglins, Ric Fair Boglins (something in common with the wrestler?), Batty Boglins and Moggy Boglins (the last two were never mass produced nor released). Every sub-series included characters in different colours, and depending on the previous category, they came with hair, fluorescent paint to glow in the dark, detachable body parts...
 
The white Blogin I present today is a Glow Boglin, and was only available in Europe, not the US, so an "EURO exclusive".
 
 
I have been looking at some commercials and pictures, and I must say they look amazing. Some (like the Halloween Boglins) look really frightening even today. i understand that they are still very sought-after by collectors worldwide. Unfortunately, I have some doubts about their durability. I think in a few years, maybe 10 more or maybe 20, the rubber skin may deteriorate, harden and finally break into pieces, so they are not a line I would "collect" or spend much money on. They are cool toys, but in my opinion, they are not collectables.
 
I also own one "Baby Boglin", which, in comparison, is quite simple and boring. Just a very small creature with goggly eyes in which you can insert one finger (one adult finger), but you cannot move the mouth, arms or anything else. They were among the cheapest Bogling you could buy, and came in a plastic egg. The skin and the feeling of touching it is the same as in the small Boglin that appears in the pictures, but the playability is very low.
 
 
 
Here is a very good source for Boglins, both normal, small, baby and all the others: http://www.ghostofthedoll.co.uk/boglins.php
 
I wish Mattel releases something similar for children around 8 years, which I think would like to play with them. They are great toys: enhance imagination, coordination skills (eye-hand coordination) and are actually a lot of fun to play with. But... do these toys still have a chance against Pókemon Go and similar games?
 
FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: KLANG (GLOW BOGLIN) and BOINK (BABY BOGLIN)
  • Toy Line: BOGLINS
  • Year: 1986
  • Company: Mattel (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: Around 9 cm tall the big one and around 6 cm long the small one

Monday, September 19, 2016

#723 MEHANOTEHNIKA - PEUGEOT 305 (AROUND 1988)


I bought this toy car in some kind of collector's fair held in the city I live. The seller was a guy who knew well what he had, and what he was offering. The car is rare, there is no discussion here, so I decided to keep it despite being more pricy than the other models I usually buy. At first I thought it was Russian, because of the name and the characters written on the base, but when I arrived home I found out a bit about MEHANOTEHNIKA.


The Company is based in the current Slovenia, although by the time it was manufactured it was still Yugoslavia. I was very surprised to see that the Company still exists, although since 1990 it is called MEHANO. There is a bit of information on the Wikipedia and also on their own website (see corporate history).


If you pay attention to the pictures, you'll notice the similarity between this model and the one made by... Norev (Mini Jet Series). It is clear to me, that the cast is the same, so it is for sure no bootleg, copy or any other counterfeit product. Also, if you have this car in your hand you can notice the high quality with which it is made. Norev probably sold the casts to Mehanotehnika when the models were discontinued at the end of the 80s, and Mehano continued making them. I guess these were sold only inside Yugoslavia, but I cannot be sure about it, maybe they were exported to other nearby countries.


The base of the car is much simpler that the Norev equivalent, and it only shows the word Mehanotehnika in capital letters over a plain base. The base and how the axles attach to the base it identical to Norev, so I guess these models have the same problems if the axles go inside of the body and the wheels stay inside and the body lower than usual. So handle with care.



Unfortunately, I do not own the Peugeot 305 by Norev, so I chose another Peugeot (a 604) for comparison. If I ever get one, I'll change these two last pictures for more clarity.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: PEUGEOT 305
  • Scale: Approx. 1:64
  • Year: Around 1988
  • Company: Mehanotehnika (Yugoslavia, today it would be Slovenia)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Friday, September 16, 2016

#722 BBURAGO – MERCEDES 190 E and BMW M3 (1985 an 1995)



The Mercedes 190E was, if I recall well, the cheapest Mercedes model by the mid 80s, and so, a car that could usually be seen on streets. It is nice, but this decoration in blue with “Monroe” stickers is not especially nice. It is one of the most common decorations from this car, that was available from 1985 to 1995 and then again between 1998 and 1999.




The other two cars are actually the same model in two decorations, and I grouped them together with the Mercedes because they are German makes and their decoration is probably based on the DTM championships. Despite the similarities, it’s ten years between one and the other, so we see how the design (in general) has changed from straight lines, to a more curvy design, with rounded angles and improved aerodynamics.

The other two, as I was saying, are two BMW M3.


The white one has Warsteiner and Fina advertisements on it and is number 4197 was available between 1995 and 2003.




The second one in green has Tic Tac stickers and reference 4167, which was available from 1995 to 2000.




Despite the roughness of Bburago models in this scale, they have been played and present several defects.
FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: MERCEDES 190 E (4102) and BMW M3 (4167 and 4197)
  • Scale: 1:43
  • Year: 1985 and 1995
  • Company: Bburago (Italy)
  • Size: approx. 9 cm

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

#721 TMNT - MICHELANGELO vs. FOOT SOLDIER (1988)


Because we need to catch up, I am presenting two more TMNT figures today, again one turtle and one villain: Michelangelo vs. Foot Soldier.

As I mentioned in the previous entry, Michelangelo was the children's favorites. In the cartoons, he used to make a lot of jokes and was the funniest of all 4 brothers. In addition to that, he used the nunchuks, which, at the early 90s (times of many ninja-exploitation movies) was like the pinnacle of coolness. I remember that in the arcade machine, it was placed in the center-right position, and was also a turtle that many people would choose to play with (the arcade was revolutionary, because it allowed four players simultaneously). The favorite in the arcade, however, was Donatello (center-left position).


I also think Michelangelo was probably the figure that sold best during those first years, or at least, the favorite figure to start a collection with.


Every turtle in the first wave came with the same set of weapons: wooden frame, 2 shurikens (ninja stars), 1 strange straight and curved double sword (what's that?), a triangular knife and a small pick. Additionally, each turtle came with two specific accesories: Raphael came with two sais, and Michelangelo with two nunchuks. These specific accesories could be attached to their straps either on the back side or in the front. Most people simply ignored the strange set of weapons, and played only with the "official" ones. As a matter of fact, the wooden frame, with is a defense weapon was disposed thinking it was the plastic tree to which the rest of weapons attached. It was quite difficult to find the only one I currently own, and until new notice, I will consider all my turtles complete even if they do not have that frame.


The second figure today is the Foot Soldier, the standard trooper of the foot clan. There are literally hundreds of them, and they are supposed to be skilled ninjas, but they never knew much success in the battle, being mostly anihilated by the turtles and their allies. It comes with the foot clan colours, which are dark and not very common in children toys, but personally I love the combination of black, grey, blue and purple. The position of the legs and head is also remarkable, kind of crouching, and it has very long arms, almost like an ape. This figure came with a series of amazing weapons, including that strange stab with a jaw at the end, a machete and a mace. This figure also included the wooden frame, only in grey. This last accesory is missing.

Something more, now we are talking about accesories, is that the same figures from 1988 were reissued several times since then including the same package (with vey subtle differences) and the same accesories. The figures are marked on the back with the year of each reissue, and the accesories suld be the same, but, I have noticed differences in the colour and also other differences in the cast, like in the following picture were the Foot Soldier staff is slightly shorter than the original (I assume the upper one is the original, maybeI am wrong).
 
 
FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: MICHELANGELO and FOOT SOLDIER
  • Toy Line: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Playmates (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 3.75’’ or 9,75 cm

Monday, September 12, 2016

#720 TMNT- RAPHAEL vs. BEBOP (1988)


If you follow my blog, you were probably wondering where I hid the ninja turtles. I have been postponing this entry because I like presenting toys which are complete (with all original accesories), and for TMNT, it is quite difficult to find 100% complete figures, especially if you do not collect them seriously. Let me explain this... I have maybe 40 figures or so, but all of them bought at flea-markets for very little money. I also have some accesories (most of them traded for other figures and accesories) but they belong to many different figures. Consider that, in this series, each figure had unique accesories that no other figure shared, and if you really want to complete figures, you have to spend a lot of money either in 100% complete figures or loose accesories.

So here’s my first entry about this great toyline from the 90s, one of the most famous of all times and also one of the vintage toylines that has a better health today, still being rebooted every back an then and being made into movies.

I should write something about the TMNT here, but I am feeling kind of lazy, because I already wrote everything I could for an article in the magazine F.E.A. nr. 9 together with my friend Pablo (you cand a link for this magazine in entry #361).

There we wrote around twenty pages running around the creation of the TMNT by Eastman and Laird, about the comics in which they are based, of course, about the toys, but also about Playmates as a company and many other toys rather than figures and merchandise made over the years. The article is in Spanish, but if you cannot read it, I assume there are thousands of web that can tell the history of these turtles better than I could ever do.


I will focus now on the first two toys I am presenting today: Raphael and Bebop. Raphael was the first turtle that was created, and many people's favorite. At least in the early days (I do not follow the TMNT since a few years), Raphael was the rebel of the group, and usually lose his temper during the fight, becoming more violent than the others. Interestingly, I would say, that among children in the late 80s, Raphael was the least favorite of all 4. People were especially fond of Leonardo, for being the leader, and Michelangelo and Donatello for their cool weapons, but Raph somehow was seen as the less interesting hero. For people who read the comic, Raphael is often ranked as the favorite turtle, probably because of his attitude towards life, being a rebel, sarcastic and several problems he had during the first issues of the Mirage comics.

Bebop, on the other side, is a character that didn´t exist in the original Eastman and Laird´s universe, but was created for the toyline and cartoons. Maybe there were not enough characters to start a proper toyline, and Playmates invented Bebop and Rocksteady. In the first comics, only Shredder and Foot Soldiers appear, together with other characters that would be available in further waves, like, for example, Krang. Curiously, Bebop was my favorite character when the line came out, for many reasons: because it is a pig, for its colour combination, for that strange drill-weapon, for the nice details casted in its clothes and body... I still appretiate the nice toy it is, but I would now preffer the Foot Soldier or Shredder.
FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: RAPHAEL vs. BEBOP
  • Toy Line: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) (Wave 1)
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Playmates (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 3.75’’ or 9,75 cm

Friday, September 9, 2016

#719 ASS – HEIDI QUARTETT (3172/7) and SCHNIPP-SCHNAPP HEIDI (1986 and 1979)

 


Heidi is one of the most successful cartoon series ever in Europe, I don't know if it was also popular in the US, Japan and other countries, but in Spain, Germany and Austria it was very very popular. There were thousands of related toys and articles for children, like the walking doll I showed a long time ago, the PVC figures from Germany or the two decks today.


One of the decks is based on the original cartoon, but it has a different style, note that the drawing are not exactly like the ones in the TV series.

This deck is not the original release, but a promotional re-release from the 80s of an Austrian Bank (P.S.K.). At some point in the 80s, the P.S.K. gave away some promotional mini-quartetts with popular topics of those years. This is the only one I own, but I have seen more.




The second deck is based on the live action, TV series Heidi from 1978. This was a West German and Swiss co-production, but unfortunately I haven't seen it. The card deck, however, is newer. It seems to have been released in 1986. 





FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: HEIDI QUARTETT (3172/7) and SCHNIPP-SCHNAPP HEIDI
  • Year: 1986 and (around) 1979 respectively
  • Company: Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten Fabriken A.G. (Also ASS) (West-Germany)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

#718 MIRA – LAND ROVER (Ref. 165) and SEAT RITMO (Ref. 169) (Around 1979)


Two more models made by Mira, the great die-cast maker from Ibi in Spain. I have mentioned in many previous articles how great these cars are, so here are just two more examples: a Land-Rover and a Seat Ritmo, both very popular cars by the mid 80s.



The Land Rover was, in fact, manufactured in Spain under license of the British company Land Rover. In Spain it was called Land Rover-Santana, and was pretty much the only 4x4 that could be found in the market. As a result in rural areas was very common to see this impressive vehicles around. The toy was available in several colours and decorations. In the pictures also a rare "ambulance" model.







The Seat Ritmo was released in 1979 and replaced the 124 model. It was common to see it during the 80s, although it was for sale only until 1982. Don’t know the reason why the discontinued the model so quickly, being replaced by the Seat Ronda. In comparison, the Fiat Ritmo was sold from 1978 to 1988.

 
FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: LAND ROVER (Ref. 165) and SEAT RITMO (Ref. 169)
  • Scale: Approx. 1:64
  • Year: Around 1979
  • Company: Mira (Spain)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm
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