LJN Indiana Jones Blaster Balls

One green, one red. Indy might need to seek medical advice.

There wasn’t a lot of merchandise available for Temple of Doom, a small run of LJN action figures, some food tie-ins, soundtracks and such, but Lucasfilm were really scraping the bottom of the barrel with the licensed Blaster Balls shown above.
I have vague recollections of playing with this type of toy as a kid, you held one in one hand and threw the other at it creating a loud ‘crack’ as they hit.  A few hundred  ‘cracks’ later and you were left with two really bad marbles.
Kids today don’t get to play with explosives as much as they would like, so lets all enjoy a glimpse of a more innocent time, when the joy of handheld detonations could be had at your nearest toy store…

Toltoys Indiana Jones Figures

Kenner / Toltoys Indiana Jones Figures

Nothing screams “Buy Me!” more than a sticker telling you about a fabulous free toy you can’t get. While those lucky little sods stateside were sending off three POPs (Proof of Purchase) by the truck-load for their “Free Belloq”, little Aussie kids were only allowed to dream about ever owning the famed French archeologist the German’s called Bellosh.

Kenner’s Indy line was famous for completely stuffing up the case ratios in the release of the first four figures, heaps of Tohts and Cairo Swordsmen and bugger-all Indys and Marions.
I have a mate who recalls standing in Adelaide’s largest toy store searching through an entire wall of Tohts and Swordsman for either of the other toy and coming up empty. The figures were not re-ordered by the retailers in the quantities hoped, and the line died a slow death after a second release of five new characters.
The sluggish sales were likely the reason Toltoys opted out of printing their own cards, so we received the US versions with a corrective sticker attached telling us not to send of POPs to the US, although I wonder how many Aussie kids did? Tears before bedtime if they did!
So here we are all these years later and Indy is back on the big screen, and the first four Kenner Indy figures with the Australian sticker attached are now among of the rarest and most sought-after variations in the Indy collecting world.
The Marion Ravenwood shown here is the only completely sealed version found to date I believe. The Cairo Swordsman isn’t pictured, hopefully one of the Toltoys Mafia will send me a pic after reading this 🙂

1984 Kelloggs Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Just like a chocolate milkshake only Indy!

In 1984 Kelloggs thought they were on to a sure-fire winner with their Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom cereal tie-in.
Unfortunately there was an outcry from parents and family groups over the horror and occult themes featured in the film. Squeaky clean Kelloggs was of course already committed to their Temple of Doom competition featuring on kid’s classic such as Coco Pops, I imagine they didn’t hurry to extend the production once the flak hit the fan.
As a 13 year old at the time I was of course all over this, fighting off siblings to collect as many of the game cards as I could (I’ll be featuring them later this week) but failing to win one of the LJN figure sets as featured on the pack.

The LJN figures came and went at retail without much fanfare, there were very clunky looking and probably also suffered from the same fate as Kenner’s 1979 Alien figure – i.e. scared the bejesus out of kids and parents alike. “Hey kids, watch Mola Ram pull Indy’s still-beating heart from his chest!” Hours of fun for all.
More Indy coming this week…

Plaid Stallions

Plaid Stallions turns Two!
It’s hard to believe that it has only been two years since Plaid Stallions – the web’s greatest repository of 70’s toy legends and fashion implosions – first graced the world’s monitors.
To celebrate the milestone Stallion-in-Chief Brian has remodeled his conversation pit in flame-resistant Dupont shag-pile, giving the whole site a lovely new look.
Go have a giggle at the garish, a laugh at the lapels and a spew over the superbad today.

Toltoys 12″ Empire Stikes Back Darth Vader

The Toltoys ESB Vader Large Size Action Figure

Thanks to the great detective work of Bill McBride over at the Darth Vader Toy Museum we now have conclusive proof that persistent rumors of ESB boxed characters (other than Boba Fett and IG-88) being released at retail in Australia were true!

Ever since I started collecting I’ve been aware of stories about people who claim to have purchased ESB boxed examples of Vader, Stormtrooper and R2-D2 at retail in the early 80’s, combinations that should not exist since the line was cancelled after the release of the Fett and IG-88 mentioned above. Bill’s discovery proves that specific and different boxes were produced for at least Vader in Australia, ruling out suggestions that the examples discovered here were simply unreleased Kenner salesman samples or made up box-flats or similar.
Toltoys went to the trouble of producing three Toltoys branded figures for the Star Wars line, so couldn’t they have at least test-marketed some of the more popular characters in ESB livery? Stranger things have happened down here that’s for sure.
Check out Bill’s site above for all the details on how to spot the real thing, plus more than you ever thought you needed to know about the big man in the black hat.
The hunt is now on for the rest of the crew!

Mattel Shogun Warriors Mazinga with White Rockets

The White Rocket Mazinga

Australia is a big country, with lots of storage space. A big country demands a big toy. A really big toy. In 1979 that demand was meet by the good folks at Mattel when they unleashed 24 inches of the biggest arse-kicking missile-packing robot that the kids of Australia had ever seen- The Shogun Warriors.

Sure they were watered-down versions of the legendary Japanese Jumbo Machinders, but we didn’t know that at the time. All we knew was that something had arrived to stomp on our Deetail toy soldiers and Airfix models in accurate mega-robot scale. Oh, and they could shoot their missiles clear across the room. Oh yes.

It’s ironic that it has been Mattel in recent times that has been forced to recall toys because of lead paint and other safety issues. When we were kids a toy just wasn’t worth having unless it was double dipped in lead paint (or contained other toxic chemicals!) and able to maim from six feet away, as the Shoguns could. These babies took the cake on missile power, Godzilla’s power-punch fist is legendary still today, I took one in the solar plexus at a toy fair a couple of years ago, it’s not something I like to talk about.

The first type of missiles packed with the Shoguns were of the ‘red with white fins’ (or vanes) variety. Some keen beans noticed however that pictured on Gaiking’s box were mysterious ‘white with red fin’ rockets. Strangely though when you opened that box you just received the plain old red ones.

So were did those rockets go you ask? It appears that a small number of early release Mazinga’s did in fact receive a full compliment of 14 white rockets. They pop up very occasionally in the collector’s market today, the example pictured here was bought at retail in Australia (Tasmania to be precise) in ’79 or 80.

I’m glad I’ve started writing about Shoguns, they really are one of my all-time favourite toys and I plan to blog a fair bit about them before my time is done here. I even donated a late release Mazinga (sans rockets) to my kids to take on Barbie, never has such an evil looking toy been so loved.


Toltoys MEGO Hulk

Reversing the Toltoys diaspora – The Hulk returns!

Thanks to the marvelous network that is the Mego Museum I was recently able to bring this Australian released Mego Hulk back home. He had somehow found himself in the unfamiliar climes of Italy, no doubt taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of Roma.

But like all ex-pat Aussies he eventually decide to return home, taking the natural route (via the Mother Country).

Mego World’s Greatest Super Heroes are actually quite tough to find with the Toltoys distribution sticker, you more often see the Merry Men or even Wizard of Oz line carrying them.

Speaking of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes, if you haven’t picked up a copy of the new book World’s Greatest Toys, what are you waiting for?

This is without doubt the best action figure collecting book I’ve ever seen. Beautiful photos, absorbing and insightful text combined brilliantly with intricately detailed information on each character’s variations and packaging. Click the pic above to checkout some more sample pages of the book.

I’m sure that this hot potato this will sell out sooner rather than later so do yourself a favour and pick one up! You can order it through the link above or directly from Amazon.



Big Bubbles, Some Troubles.

You’ve got to wonder what WHAM-O were thinking when they decided to market a toy to children that was designed to be inflated by mouth, yet was not safe enough to come in to contact with painted surfaces or furniture.

(Re-)Introducing SuperElasticBubblePlastic. Basically you squeezed out a blob of this toothpaste-like goop, molded it over the end of a little plastic straw, and blew for all you were worth. When it worked it was something to see, huge multi-coloured balloons that lasted for as long as a few hours, or until your mum binned it. I often had blow-outs to one side or another however, in theory you could pinch the hole together and keep on puffing, but any engineer knows that once you have a weak spot it’s all over and you may as well start again.

I still remember the distinctive smell of these balloons, somewhere between burnt drinking straws and vomit as I recall.

I suppose we must give WHAM-O credit though for pioneering the field of flammable and creatively toxic kid’s toys. Lead paint was for wimps, you knew you were playing in the 70’s when you stuck a cocktail of Polyvinyl Acetate, Acetone, Pigments and Plastic Fortifiers in your little gob. Ahhhh the 70’s.


PS – Interesting WHAM-O / Aussie connection: WHAM-O introduced the polyethylene Hula-Hoop in the US in 1958, a year after it was created by the great Australian Alex Tolmer, founder of Toltoys. Tolmer sold 400,000 Hula Hoops in Australia in 1957, WHAM-O sold about a bazillion from 1958, and set off a craze that still comes around the school yard every few years even today. So there you go!*

* Page 142, The Playmakers

Toltoys Star Wars Laser Pistol

There they are, blast ’em!

One of the coolest toys produced for the Star Wars license was Han Solo’s blaster, sold as the “Star Wars Laser Pistol” by Kenner in the US and Toltoys here in Australia.

This was a top toy, fun sound effects and great feel in the hand. I still recall my disappointment with the flimsy inflatable light saber as a kid, and subsequent envy of the lucky sods running around the playground with one of these. Han Solo was right, ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.

It’s another example of an early release Star Wars toy completely re-branded by Toltoys for the Australian market. They turn up fairly frequently, although not often in good condition.


PS – It’s good to be back posting by the way, I have been busy collecting and working on some other stuff, I have a few nice little items to share that will make their way here over the next few weeks 🙂

PPS – I’ve added labels to all my previous posts for better navigation, as well as attempting to add an RSS subscription feed so that you can be alerted when a new post appears. Not actually sure if it works yet, it’s the little orange doohickey on the extreme right in the location bar of your browser. I sound so tech it scares me.