Archive for the ‘Playmobil’Category

Kenbrite Playmobil / Pocket People Update

Kenbrite Playmobil / Pocket People Update
I’ve been remiss in not posting about the wonderful new third edition of Axel Hennel’s Playmobil Collector book. This great book is an extraordinarily comprehensive reference guide to Playmobil worldwide, containing 4500 images over 650 pages. This edition has an expanded Australian Kenbrite section, as well as increased coverage of promotional items and catalogs from all eras and locations. There is even a nifty limited edition available with an exclusive Klicky (single figure)!
Indispensible to any Playmobil collector, order one today!
I posted a scan some time ago of a 1977 promotional tie-in between Kellogg’s and Kenbrite, the Australian distributor of Pocket People / Playmobil. At the time I speculated whether it had actually occurred, since an example of the box or other supporting material had not surfaced.

I’m delighted to report the recent appearance of the back and side panel of this box, finally proving that the promotion did indeed go ahead. By sending away a 50c money-order (!) and nominating your choice of theme (Cowboy, Knight, Workman or Nurse) you could receive one Klicky (with accessories) from Kenbrite. I was more of a Coco Pops kid so I guess that’s why this one passed me by! The expiry date on the order form is December 31, 1977.

It’s pretty cool to know that stuff like this is still popping up more than 30 years after the fact! I presume the figures were sent bagged, I’d love to hear from anyone who might have sent away for this offer.


10 2009

Kenbrite Australia GI Joe Adventure Team Commercial

Kenbrite GI Joe Adventure Team Commercial

Check out this super cool GI Joe Australian TV spot from the early 1970’s, before colour TV was common in Australia!
The vintage 12 Inch GI Joes were distributed in Australia by Kenbrite, later famed for the Australian release of Playmobil, known here as Pocket People. Interestingly the old store stock Joes I’ve been lucky enough to uncover over the years were more likely to be of Canadian origin than USA, us Commonwealth nations have to stick together you see.
Meanwhile Toltoys were distributing Action Man alongside Joe on the toy shops of the 70’s, confusing the hell out of collectors today trying to sort though vintage part lots containing both!


02 2009

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Playmobil Promotion

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Playmobil Promotion

I found an interesting photo showing a 1977 box of Kellogg’s Australia Corn Flakes, with a Kenbrite Pocket People (Playmobil) mail-in offer. It appears that you could send in the coupon (and 50c) to receive a Playmobil figure.
Does anyone have an example of this box? I know there are some hardcore cereal collectors out there who must have seen it in their travels, I’d love to present a colour picture here on!
You can get me on email will(at)toltoys(dot)com anytime…

Kenbrite Pocket People

Missed an important birthday…

Yes I didn’t notice that turned 2 a couple of weeks ago. They grow up so fast *wipes tear*
But it’s not too late to celebrate, so I’ve called up the lads and they’ve rocked around with a a few cases of frosty Lowenbraus!

It’s not possible for me to hold my little Kenbrite Pocket People mates (Known to the rest of the world as Playmobil) in any higher esteem than I already do, I mean how many toys do you know that came accessorised with cases of beer? After a hard days firefighting a bloke needs a brew, and Playmobil knew it.
So here’s cheers to Playmobil and their visionary design crew, and to all the supporters and contributors of over the last two years.
Thanks all!


08 2008

Kenbrite Pocket People / Playmobil

Kenbrite Pocket People

As a kid who loved Lego in the 70’s I recall being a little sceptical when my brother bought home a Playmobil set one day. The figure (a fireman) was kind of clunky, his articulation was pretty limited and he was an odd scale – somewhere between my little Lego dudes and the bad boys of Kenner’s Star Wars. On the plus side he did have a maniacal grin on his face, and he was accessorised to the hilt with stuff like ladders, hoses and even a fire hydrant.

A few weeks later he brought home a bigger set, it had a bunch of fireman with red hats, a chief with a shiny gold hat, and best of all one of those handheld trampoline things that fireman hold out (rather optimistically I think!) at multi-story building fires. I was hooked!

My childhood figures went the way of the dinosaurs sometime during the last couple of decades, but when I began accumulating 70’s toys around 15 years ago I was delighted to add the set below to my collection.

I hadn’t thought much of it until I unearthed it again recently and went searching on the web for information on Playmobil. There are a bunch of great sites out there today, notably Collectibil , PlaymoBoard and the Playmo Database. I learnt a lot about Playmobil, but most importantly I found out that Playmobil was distributed in Australia in the 70’s (Probably 1974-78) by Kenbrite, who like Toltoys acted as a local distributer of successful international toybrands.

Through the sole Playmobil collector’s guide available Playmobil Collector I was able to see some great shots of the very first Kenbrite sets and figures, many of which were produced to Kenbrite’s specifications and include unique blister card sets (as opposed to the rest of the world’s boxed sets). What the guide didn’t mention (at least in the first edition) was that the Kenbrite Corporation at some point decided that “Playmobil” as a name just would not do for Aussie kids. Never mind that the first few years of product had used “Playmobil” on all the packaging and probably advertising (email me if you have any!), the brains trust sat up all night and came up with “Pocket People”. It’s not a bad name, but judging by the fact that I was a consumer of their toys in the late 70’s and had never heard of it I would say that it was either quickly abandoned or just spectacularly unsuccessful.

I haven’t been able to find out much about The Kenbrite Corporation, but by comparing the little “Pocket People” sticker on the Fort Union set (1976) box with the uniquely designed earlier sets I would say that sales of Playmobil in Australia didn’t live up to their expectations.

Kenbrite did have other lines to spend their time and money on, namely TYCO Trainsets and Hasbro’s G.I. Joe, but unless someone can dig up some company info for me 🙂 we may never know the full story of the mysterious “Pocket People”.



08 2006