Thursday, May 31, 2012

Goofy friends...

Robocon Gashapons (3), Bandai, China, 1998

Sometimes it is nice to have someone, For a robot like Robocon, it is even nicer to have 5 pals.
Goofy, yes. Funny, even more...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Picasso ! Where are you ?

Do they have art in the future? Yes, but it's been automated... This little color robot gets his name of a great Dutch master - Rembrandt. No oil paintings for this one, no sir! Put the 4 pens in the base and batteries and magic! Just like a spirograph, geometrical figures will appear on the sheet of paper you put underneath, or on the kitchen table if you did forget the paper...

Mr. Rembrandt, Ideal,
USA, 1970
Don't forget the felt
markers !
This face, is this bot
shouting ?

Moonrocket on wheels

Don't have a clue who, where or when it was made...

Ach ! Plastic and space travel - the perfect combination ! The design is somewhat Russian, but you can relate the feet of the rocket to the Tintin one... strange little toy.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Going to Motorama this year ?

Futuristic car, Tudor Rose or Kleeware (Pyro mold),
England, 1950's

Nice ride... by the way, do they issue traffic tickets on Mars ?

Harley Earl... they copied your fins ! Is this an escape or a
reactor exhaust at the back ?

Drawings from Cadillac styling studio
for 1954 Motorama 
Drawings from Cadillac styling studio
for 1954 Motorama

Ulysses 31 and half a NONO...

Keychains, JA LISBOA, Portugal, 1983

Each country has a different twist on something. While Portugal made cool keychains for the Ulysse 31 cartoons, French kids could open Nono's belly not to find a little bolt to eat but a gum to chew on...

Nono candy container, Gum Trésor,
France, 1980's

What ? where is my gum ?

For Walt...

Mickey - Twistable, MARX, Hong Kong,
This is another toy that has never left me since my childhood. Marx toy-company produced a bunch of Walt Disney Characters in this range (from the ever popular Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to the more obscure Ludwig Von Drake...).

A classic with lots of sentimental value.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Action figures - Space Pirate style !

Harlock, Tadashi and Key, Takara, Japan, 1978

Takara and Takatoku were the 2 toymakers in Japan that followed the original line of Captain Harlock toys. Here are the 3 Takara action figure toys that were made at that time. Each one came with detachable belt and pistol(s) - and harlock had a fabric cape. As a collector, I like these blisters a lot because they have a "sliding" bubble and could be opened and closed again after play (why don't my Star Wars figures have blisters like that ?). Each figure also came with plastic stand.

Captain Harlock, Takara, Japan, 1978

Key Yuki, Takara, Japan, 1978

Tadashi Daiba, Takara, Japan, 1978

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Another K-9 in space...

This one is a classic... lots of generations grew up with Dougal and the other members of the Magic Roundabout...

Astronaut Dougal (Pollux in French), SD/AB, ?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Talking Batmobile

Talking Batmobile, Palitoy, Hong Kong,, 1977

And you thought that K.I.T.T. was the first talking car ? Wrong ! Our favorite caped cruzader already has one of those when Michael Vincent was still wearing diapers.

The slots in the back window are for the speakers,,,

A new kind of superheroes for a cuter kind of universe...

Superfrog and Spidermouse, ?,China, 2000's
No comments. The pricture says it all...

Boom ! When your robot goes Boom !

Kids always love to see things blow up. Being it the Death Star, or a simple firecracker.

Well, in this case things are a little safer. At least your fingers will not fall of and you can rebuilt the bot as many times as you like...

EXPLO robot, Nikko, Japan, 1970
EXPLO robot, waiting to be repaired...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gatcha or don't Gatcha plastic ? That is the question !

Another one for the tomb of the unknown toymaker (unless you guys and galls have some clues to give, of course...) this is Jun from the Gatchaman series.

Found in Spain. "La chica de la Batalla de los Planetas" looks like a chico, is made of hard plastic, has blue knickers and is doing a rather inappropriate salute - still a remain from Francoism ?

June, ?, Spain ?, 1980's

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chubby (not thin, nor flat !)

Sometimes size does not matter - these 2 Tetsuwan Atom (=Astroboy's name in Japanese) are tiny little toys, but full of charm. Astro, you need to go on a diet ! By the way, what does an android like this one munch on ? Bolts ?

Astroboy keyhanger, Yutaka, China,

Astroboy, no markings, ?

Flats (= not thick nor chubby)

Spaceman, maybe ALPIA,
These 3 either suffered greatly from G-forces when going to orbit, or decided to join the Martian branch of WeightWatchers. I know spacefood is not great, but come on ! Look at the sour face of the middle spaceman... Feed me ! Feed me please  ! If you know more about these please send information.

Spaceman, maybe ALPIA,
Spaceman, maybe ALPIA,

Studio Ghibli's flying pig...

Porco Rosso SAVOIA S.21, Fine Molds, Japan,

Porco Rosso SAVOIA S.21, Fine Molds, Japan,

Does a pig fly ? Yes, over the Adriatic in the 30ies and with a Savoia S.21 ! The Ferrari of the skies !

A beautiful plane indeed, and one I had the pleasure to built and paint with my son, David.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gakeen robot

In the aftermath of Mazinger and other super robots, let me present you mighty Gakeen. (don't confuse with Gaiking - same genre, but completely other serie).

Takara created a diecast Magnemo version of the robot (= with magnetic joints so that it could be taken apart). Originally part of the Henshin Cyborg line - but quickly merged with the Microman line.

This one is also interesting... it has a sort of disc activated by a crank... seems to me some kind of voice box, or some kind of dynamo to produce electricity... (hence the magne robot name...) The company logo "ONDA" on the back of the robot is not one of the mainstream toy-makers for Japanese robots... Some sub-division of Takara ?

Magne robot Gakeen, Onda, Japan,

In the chest is a weird mechanism activated by a crank in
the back... did not find out yet what it does...

The head is detachable, and the box comes with a sort of keyholder that lets you fix that part so you can carry it with you to school and other fun places (while leaving the body of the robot home).

Very weird concept. I can imagine the average Japanese kid in the 70ies with a bunch of robot heads dangling from their rucksacks...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A pirate needs a ship...

Maybe not as known as the Yamato from Starblazers to the U.S. audience, this is the ship of Captain Harlock in "Arcadia of My Youth", "Galaxy Express" etc.

For the story, the original ship is the blue one (as seen in "Albator 78" - the serie with the Sylvidres / Mazones). Due to a problem of licensing rights with the blue vessel (between Takatoku, Takara and maybe Bandai ?), Leji Matsumoto had to re-design his ship for the full-length movie and the following episodes. Gone was the cutting blade (which would come back for "Endless Odyssey" !) and the nose was replaced by the Jolly Rogers - sweet !

Super Mechanics Arcadia, Taito, China, 2000's

When you see this flag you better run...
Main turret and guns...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bubbles ? What bubbles ?

"Explorer" moon car, Comansi, Spain, 1980's
"Space Bird", Comansi, Spain, 1980's

Another interesting design for spacecraft was the one adopted by Comansi of Spain. With the success of the  Playmobil / Famobil space line going on at the time - they had to jumb on the wagon and get some spacetoys of their own. This is the result : bubble like pods either on wheels or with reactors in the back. The Space Bird makes me think of an Eagle (Space 1999) - but without the central part and with blown up cockpit.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Futuristic Swallow Plane

(Swallow) plane, ?, USA, 1930's

You don't need a spaceship to travel in style and with speed. In the 30'ies, a propellor and the most streamlined set of wings available would do the trick.

This airplane is a mixture of Buck Rogers meets Flash Gordon meets Howard Hughes. No markings - maybe someone can help me identify the maker of this toy... It seems pre-war (cracklin of the natural rubber of the tires) and I'm quite sure of American origin. Hubley ? Tootsietoy ? The design is superb. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hey ! This one has a bazooka !

Spaceman, Best, USA, 1950's

Why would you take a flimsy raygun to a space battle when you can have heavy artillary ? This baby can take down a whole spaceship in less than 1 parsec ! All you need to do is load a match in the barrel and pull the string-loaded piece at the back. Voilà !

Spaceman (back), Best, USA, 1950's

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bibendums Michelin on the moon...

Oh no ! There goes the rocket and we forgot our helmets !
Tintin, Haddock and Snowy, Moulinsart, China., 2010's

Hey ! A bunch of Metro's

(from left to right: Diecast Popy (Singapore),
Plastic Popy (Macau), Plastic Maia e Borges (1983 Portugal))

Aren't you ashamed of dressing like that ? People will
see your underwear !
Another of the great cartoons of my childhood - and another co-production between French and Japanese studios. They had a serie about humankind ("Il était une fois l'homme"), about the human body ("Il était une fois la vie") and about space ("Il était une fois l'espace").

Wonderfull mecha (= spaceships and other futuristic designs for the non-geeks between you) and great stories - with hints of pacifism and ecologic hidden messages.

Hocus Pocus...
...and I am a helicopter !