Kenner / Toltoys Indiana Jones Figures
Just like a chocolate milkshake only Indy!
The Toltoys ESB Vader Large Size Action Figure
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.
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 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
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.
Ewok Adventure Kelloggs Tie-In
Hot on the heels of the TV spot for the Kelloggs Return of the Jedi competition I posted last week comes another lost Aussie Star Wars TV spot; an ad for the Kelloggs promotional tie-in with the Ewok Adventure movie in the mid 80’s.