Thursday, April 30, 2015

#540 COIBEL - HOVERCRAFT (Around 1981)

MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!
 

This is a die-cast company that very few die-cast car collector knows. They are better known for their die-cast guns, which are very realistic replicas of famous real guns. A quick search in Google for "Coibel die-cast" will reveal dozens of these. The most interesting toys in this section are licensed pistols, rifles and accessories from James Bond’s movies.

But they also made some models in 1:64 scale. One of the most frequent is a knock-off of the 007 Lotus Spirit made by Corgi Toys for the Corgi Junior series, only in the box they printed "Superboons" instead of "James Bond". The text and logos are cleary inspired in Superman. Curiously, other Corgi Junior models that were copied are the Supermobile (Nr. 11-C1) and also the helicopter (one of its versions was “Daily Planet Helicopter”, Nr. 6-D1). Maybe the designer was a great Superman fan!

Pic taken from todocoleccion.net, seller: sobrado

They also copied Corgi Juniors’ Batbike (Nr. 23-C1).

But the model I own and I am showing here today is this super-rare hovercraft, actually a knock off of a Matchbox Superfast model, you problably know. I have never seen this Coibel model anywhere else.



 
Coibel from Castalla, Alicante, was the toy marketer and Industrias Técnicas Auxiliares S.L. (short: ITA S.L.) from Ibi, Alicante, was the manufacturer. The first company still exists today, although they are now a bus company. The second company doesn’t exist anymore, and should not be mistaken with other companies with similar names.


The toys were produced in the late 70s and early 80s. The only mention to these companies that can be found nowadays come from the 11th of March, 1977. That day many newspapers published that the both companies had been fined with 5 Million Pesetas each for selling and producing pistols and guns that look real, for violating some law for the security and the possession of firearms. After that, ITA S.L. decided to export their guns to other countries, and that’s why they in November 1981 filled a trademark application (for the brand Coibel, which was the trademark they already used in Spain, and for which they had the logo, packages and so on) to sell their products in the U.S.A. and that’s what they did until 1989. Unfortunately, we do not know what happened afterwards. In that country, the toy guns made by Coibel are quite sought after, mostly those based in real models, like Mauser, Luger or Magnum.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: HOVERCRAFT
  • Scale: Unknown
  • Year: Around 1981
  • Company: Coibel (Spain)
  • Size: approx. 7 cm

Monday, April 27, 2015

#539 STRATEGIC PLAN – POWER DRAG ROBOT (Around 1987)

MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!
 

The end of the 80s were the golden years of Transformers in Europe and North America. As a result, plenty of plastic knock-off and bootleg robots were available in cheap toy stores at that time. Then, most of these toys were still being manufactured in Hong-Kong, but the first Made in China toys were already appearing.



In this case, this robot is not a knock-off and maybe not even a bootleg, since it is an own designed model. The robot comprises two vehicles/parts that can be combined as a "Gestalt". A futuristic red motorbike turns to legs and head, and a blue dragster car turns to chest and arms. They must be combined to form a unique robot, which, in my opinion, looks great, but each part separately is no complete robot.


I bought the blue car a long time ago as a part of a Transformers lot, but the motorbike was much more difficult to find. At first, I thought that the car was incomplete, or that I didn´t know how to transform it correctly, but searching the internet for "Drag-4" I finally found pictures of the toy, so I knew I had to look for another part: the motorbike or "Drag-3". Now it´s complete at home and being displayed in a glass cabinet.
DRAG-3




DRAG-4




Unfortunately, there is nothing I can say about the toymaker. I have seen other transformable robots in similar boxes, but there seems to be no information at all about the manufacturer in the box. Note how poorly written it is, they even misspelled the name of the robot (Darg instead of Drag). I don't even know if there are Drag-1 and Drag-2!

All pictures of the package are taken from todocoleccion.net


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: POWER DRAG ROBOT
  • Toy Line: Strategic Plan (?)
  • Year: Around 1987
  • Company: Unknown Manufacturer (Hong Kong)
  • Size of the figure: Around 15 cm (both parts in robot mode)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

#538 FUNRISE – MILITARY JET PLANES and GROUND VEHICLES (1988)

MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!


Some companies started producing knock-offs of other toys and have become big companies with the time. In these cases, all companies hide this early history in their webpages and it is difficult to find information about it. The case of Funrise is one of them. Today, Funrise is a big toy company, but we know nothing about their origins.

No matter what, one of the first products by Funrise were a series of small plastic cars in the Micro Machines style. They were the most serious competitor to Galoob, from the dozens of manufacturers that started producing micro-vehicles. They had the largest number of vehicle casts, and even got cool licensed series, like one from the movies "Back to the Future".

The Funrise products were much cheaper than Galoob´s original MM, and so they tried to compete against the strong advertising campaigs from Galoob. Unfortunately, Funrise could not replicate the many different series with so distinctive feature by Micro Machines (like vehicles with lights, colour changing paint, battery operated...) which was also one of the anty-copy features from the "genuine" Micro Machines. Just one note... I think Funrise also has some changing colour vehicles, but I´m not sure about this.

As a kid, I got/bought a pack of military ground vehicles, that I am showing in this entry, and around 7-8 months, I got these two jet planes collections in a lot. At first sight, the military ground vehicles could perfectly be original Galoobs, they are beautifully done, with accurate details and decent paintwork.



The planes however seem to be a bit newer. They are also nice casts, but the paintwork is much worse. They all have a base colour (colour of the plastic), and just a few emblems are printed on them. The colours chosen (yellow, pink...) are not very realistic, so somehow I find the plane collections not so cool like the ground vehicles, or other collections that I have seen on the internet.

There seems to be a colour variation of these planes. I found the images below on eBay:

 
 
FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: MILITARY JET PLANES and GROUND VEHICLES
  • Scale of the cars: 1:150 aprox.
  • Scale of the planes, trucks and tanks: Unknown
  • Year: 1988
  • Company: Funrise (U.S.A.)
  • Size: approx. 2 cm

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

#537 WWF - MACHO MAN & AX/SMASH HASBRO'S KNOCK-OFFs (1991)

MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!
 

I have no idea where these figures came from. They are not marked at all, and their quality is quite low. However they are very nice reproductions of the original Hasbro figures, and this turns that piece of plastic in a rare collectable.

Probably they were imported from China in 1991, maybe for the first pound/dollar/euro shops (at the time, in Spain, 100-pesetas-shop), although the only one I owned was purchased at a street market.


These figures are made of a rather soft plastic, much softer than the average PVC figure. Of course the figure has no action move, but it is still articulated (with classic ball joints). The paintwork is bad, but in most cases respects the colours of the original Hasbro figure.



The pictures are taken together with the original Hasbro figure. Note that the bootleg is slightly shorter than the original one.

Most figures from wave 1 plus a few ones from wave 2 were reproduced. There are around 8 different figures made.


UPDATE (FEB/2017): I also have the Ax figure from this bootleg series. Or is it Smash? I would say the body and head parts are based on Smash, but the hands added are those of Hulk Hogan, so at first sight, it may look more similar to Ax than to Smash. I guess the company behind these figures made just a few casts. If they copied the arms of Hulk Hogan #1, it wouldn't had made any sense to copy also Ax's arms, since they are so similar.

I also removed China as a country of origin, because it may also be Spain...



FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: MACHO MAN & AX/SMASH
  • Toy Line: Knock-Off of Hasbro's Official WWF
  • Year: 1991
  • Company: Unknown
  • Size of the figures: 11 cm

Sunday, April 19, 2015

#536 SOHBI – LANCIA STRATOS (D-E16) and VOLKSWAGEN GOLF MK1 (D-E17) (Around 1995)

MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!


SOHBI is a Hong Kongese die-cast toy manufacturer that I discovered only a few months ago. In a flea market I found an orange VW Golf that caught my attention… it was beautifully casted, but on the baseplate there was no information at all apart from a logo with the word SOHBI. I thought a VW Golf would always be a VW Golf and bought it. It represents the model from the mid 80s, the one now known as MK1 or first generation (1974-1983), the same that Majorette and Matchbox (among others) reproduced.

This model is actually a knock-off of the model made by MC Toy, or maybe, SOHBI purchased the casts from MC Toy, when they didn’t need it anymore, which is also possible.



The Lancia Stratos is a knock-off of a Zylmex model, but it could also be the same case as above. I would like to own either the MC Toy Golf or the Zylmex Stratos to compare the casts thoroughly, but right now, I don’t.




Both models include very nice and detailed interiors, as well as windshields and windows, which is something very rare nowadays in budget die-cast models.

The company SOHBI was founded in 1984, and is focused on die-cast toys and novelties products, like plastic playsets or keychains. They are exporting their products to every corner of the world. Despite being a Hong Kongese company, their factory is located in DongGuan, a Chinese city only 10 kilometers away from the border to Hong-Kong.

The wheels used are their own design, they are not similar to MC Toy, and look maybe similar to some Zylmex models. Suspension uses a similar mechanism to Majorette models, but it is slightly too soft for my standards. Cars are also tampographied, although in the VW Golf case, that tampography is worn and lost.

I’d like to mention that the tampographies of the Lancia Stratos are really funny: “Sosoline Gasoline Supplier”, “Can’t Catch My Tail” and “The Best Gasoline in the World”.

The date is a pure estimation, I am not really sure when were these two cars made.




UPDATE: Newly found VW Golf versin by Sohbi with nice decoration "Rettung 144", made expressely for the German market.




FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: LANCIA STRATOS (D-E16) and VOLKSWAGEN GOLF MK1 (D-E17)
  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: Approx. 1995
  • Company: Sohbi (Hong-Kong/ China)
  • Size: approx. 3’’ or 7 cm

Thursday, April 16, 2015

#535 X-CHANGERS - BATTLEHAWKS SKYWING (1986)

MONTH OF THE BOOTLEG AT TOYS FROM THE PAST!


Since the entry about the Cosmic Cowboys has had a great success so far, I will publish now another entry talking about a similar figure.

The Battlehawks are another toyline based on the X-Changers by Acamas Toys and Spearhead Industries. In this case, the line is future-themed, and its main characters are bird-alike creatures or birdmen, but there are also one character that resembles a tiger and another one that resembles a wolf.




Again, there are two factions, the heroic Battlehawks (Star Hawk, Skywing and Hawklord) and the evil forces (Nighthawk, Star Prowler and Iron Wolf) fight for the control of the cities in planet Falconstarr. There is a nice story in the cardback that recalls the origins of Night Hawk and theabilities of each member of each faction.



These figures ares, as explained in the Cosmic Cowboys entry, made of plastic and have approximately the size of a Master of the Universe. The special feature of this toyline and all the other X-Changers lines is that the arms and legs can be snapped off and on, and exchanged with other figures.


The only figure I own is Skywing, the “master of flight and agility and faithful protector of Falconstarr’s sky cities”. Each figure came with some accessories, in this case, Skywing came with a purple cloak (made of a tissue that seems to be plastic, or a plastic that looks like cloth), and a strange staff. According to pictures that I could find on the internet, all battlehawks came with some kind of stuff or small gun and maybe a harness or wings.



The figure is really great and as the Cosmic cowboys is very rare to find complete and very expensive anyway. This knock-off line was produced in very short numbers and today with the collectors of MOTU KOs they are very sought after.


I link here an interesting article in a blog that I would recommend you all to follow: Knock-Off Collector.

FACTS and FIGURES:
  • Name: SKYWING
  • Toy Line: BATTLEHAWKS (X-CHANGERS)
  • Year: 1986
  • Company: Acama Toys Ltd. (Great Britain / Hong Kong), Spearhead Industries Inc. (U.S.A.)
  • Size of the figures: 5½’’ or 12 cm
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