20th Century Toy Collector

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Archive for May, 2011

MB Transformers series – Part 3

You might have noticed there was a lack of updates in the past two weeks. That’s because I’ve been slaving away over the third installment of my series of articles on MB Transformers. And finally it’s done! This third installment is the biggest one yet and is more than double the size of the previous installment on pre-Transformers in Europe.

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Just yesterday I remembered something funny. I’ve been walking around with the idea of publishing my research on the MB Transformers line for quite some time now. Originally I envisaged putting all the info down in one article. LOL… silly me. That would’ve been one big ass article that would’ve bored everyone shitless reading it, if it hadn’t made me go insane writing it and trying to give it some meaningful structure. In hindsight, breaking everything up into chapters was the best decision I could’ve made.

I’m not going to give an estimate for the next installment, because I’m going to take a nice, long break from this project between now and then so that I can dedicate my time to some other stuff. Rest assured that I will finish this 10-part series. It’s just that it alleviates some of the pressure for me if I don’t commit myself to a self imposed deadline and makes the process of writing a lot more fun. Again, thanks to everyone who has responded to the series so far. It’s the icing on the cake, that makes writing these articles an exercise that is gratifying beyond words for me.

Writing this third part was a lot geeky fun again. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time scanning MB Transformers catalogs, cleaning them up in Photoshop, compositing them into something new, trying to make sense of my research notes, writing stuff, rearranging stuff, throwing it away and starting again. I’ve spent hours and hours sifting through newspaper archives, asked myself the question why on earth I was spending so much of my time on this, pretended to look very serious while I was scratching my chin while looking up in the air and ultimately came up with the following epistle. Click here and enjoy!!!

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M to the B

Wow, collection wise it has been another very interesting past few days. Just last week I managed to add a whopping total of 5 MB Transformers to my collection thanks to a Belgian collector, which brings my collection to nearly 75% complete! I now have all the Constructicons complete and all the Insecticons complete. Also, I scored a very nice MB Shockwave. I will be writing dedicated articles for these MBs in the near future. For now, please enjoy these two snapshots of Shockwave and the Insecticons, that I made recently.

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I also updated my MB collection page to reflect these new additions. You can check out my complete MB collection right here.

“MB article series”

Thanks a lot to all of those who responded to the second installment of my article series on MB Transformers. Seems there is genuine interest in the history of the European Transformers releases and that’s just great!!

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As I alluded to in my last post, the interval between the various installments is going to increase way beyond my original intentions. This is mainly due to the immense amount of my spare time that putting together these articles requires. I’ve ultimately made my decision to do this right instead of fast. I hate to give another estimate, but the third installment should be published within the next two weeks. It’s going to contain a lot of interesting information about the introduction of the Transformers line in Europe by MB and a lot of background information that should give you a nice frame of reference; pan-European satellite television in the guise of Sky Channel, its children’s show Fun Factory that introduced Transformers to millions of European kids in 1985, Jetfire as leader of the Autobots, red foot Optimus Prime, red Tracks, European Transformers commercials and more!! Never a dull moment with MB Transformers! :-)

 

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MB Transformers series – Part 2

Last week I published the first part of what’s going to be a long running series on my favourite corner of vintage G1 (Generation 1) Transformers collecting: MB Transformers!! I’ve had some very nice feedback on the first installment from a couple of visitors of this website, either via mail or through the comments, which was very gratifying. Thanks!

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I’ve been working my butt off the past couple of days in order to complete the second installment and I can tell you it was quite the feat. I originally envisaged posting a new part every week or so, but this seems to have been a gross miscalculation on my part. I’m going to tone down the tempo and will publish subsequent installments “when they’re done”. Don’t worry, I am committed to finishing the series. All the installments are already laid out. I have the skeleton outline of the complete series done for a while now, they only need to be fleshed out for each installment. This takes a lot more time to do properly than I originally assumed, not in the least due to the attention to graphical design that I want this series to have.

The last thing I want you to think, oh hallowed reader of this blog, is that it’s a chore. I’m having an absolute blast of a time finally putting all my research down on paper and I keep getting new ideas for cool stuff for future installments. Knowing that even just one other person in the world will get the same kick out of reading this series as much as I had writing it, is what makes this totally worth it. So without further ado I would like to humbly present to you the second part of my series of articles on MB Transformers! I’ve gone ahead and configured our time machine for early 1984, location: Europe, subject: pre-Transformers! Click here and enjoy!

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Puzzlin’ Times

“Bergbeklimmer”

Some cheap stuff that I bought recently online here. First of all I bought a MOSC (mint-on-sealed-card) Dutch Cobra Action Pack from Hasbro’s vintage 3.3/4-inch G.I. Joe line. This is the Mountain Climber action pack, or “Bergbeklimmer” as it is known by its Dutch translation. The Mountain Climber action pack is a motorized accessory that was released in the US in 1987. The Dutch version was released in 1988, as will have been the case with all the other European versions of this toy. It was probably part of the last wave of G.I. Joe toys that were released in Dutch-only packaging. From 1989 Hasbro switched to dual language Dutch-French packaging for both the Dutch and Belgian market in order to cut costs.

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On the back of the card it is interesting to note that although the copyright year is 1988, the company name is still listed as Hasbro Bradley, Inc. As readers of my funky new series of articles on MB Transformers will know, Hasbro Bradley, Inc was only used between September 1984 and June 1985, after which they switched to just Hasbro, Inc. Now, of course it can take some time for this name change to trickle through to all their products, but 3 years???

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The U.S. version of this toy carries a (correct) 1987 copyright notice of Hasbro, Inc., so it’s kind of strange why this Dutch version of the toy that was released a year later still manages to carry an outdated company name on the copyright notice. Also interesting to note is that MB is mentioned on the card back as MB International B.V. in Utrecht, Holland. This was one of Hasbro’s many European MB subsidiaries after their takeover of the Milton Bradley Company in 1984. Hasbro continued to use MB for the distribution of their products like Transformers and G.I. Joe in the Netherlands up until the 1990′s.

 

“MB Puzzles”

I also got these G.I. Joe and Transformers puzzles. Since MB was well known for its puzzles and board games it was only logical for Hasbro to have MB create and sell puzzles based on two of their hottest properties. The Dutch MB factory was located in Ter Apel, Groningen and primarily created puzzles and some board games. It closed down in mid 1994.

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“One More Thing”

For those who are waiting for the second part of my MB Transformers article series, stay tuned! The next installment should be online within 24 hours!

 

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