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Archive for June, 2011

MOSC Vintage Dutch G.I. Joe’s!

Ooh boy! I was screaming like a 12 year old school girl when I got the following items in the mail last week! I’ve been seriously collecting boxed and carded vintage G.I. Joe items since mid 2009 or so I guess and as I have often mentioned before on this site I specifically try to collect the first three waves of G.I. Joes that were released in the Netherlands in all-Dutch packaging in 1987 and 1988. Although it’s pretty hard to find boxed items in Dutch packaging, finding vintage G.I. Joe action figures that are still sealed (MOSC, mint-on-sealed-card) in all-Dutch packaging is virtually impossible as most veteran vintage international G.I. Joe collectors will agree with me.

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Only a couple of months ago I finally scored my first sealed Dutch vintage G.I. Joe action figure, Chung-Ho, from the third wave. Just last week I couldn’t believe my luck when I came across no less than the four MOSC vintage G.I. Joe action figures in Dutch packaging from wave 2 that you can see above! These particular items were found as part of the inventory of a Dutch toy store that went bust a couple of years ago, so they’re in sublime shape with near perfect backer cards and bubbles!! Let’s have a more detailed look!

“Zarana & Zandar”

First off, we have Zartan’s sister and brother Zarana and Zandar! Just like their brother Zandar, these two action figures had a very cool gimmick. They were made of UV reactive plastic that turned blue when exposed to sun light! Sort of like a crude chameleon effect.

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“Baco and Waterrat”

The next two are Baco and Waterrat. Baco is part of the Dreadnoks sub group and US readers will probably recognize him as Monkeywrench. The Dreadnoks were called “Waaghalzen” (plural) in the Dutch line, so that’s why you see “Waaghals” (singular) printed on the card. Waaghals, by the way, translates literally into “daredevil”, because there’s no real fitting translation for the word “dreadnok” in Dutch, I guess.

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Waterrat is known in the US as Wet-Suit. Waterrat means just what you would expect in Dutch. It means water rat. I guess that sounds more acceptable as an action figure name in Dutch than it does in English.

“Klaas van der Meulen”

One of the many aspects that makes me appreciate the effort that Hasbro put into the promotion of their G.I. Joe line in Europe, is the fact that a lot of the action figure file cards featured Dutch names and Dutch birthplaces. For example, did you know that Waterrat was born in Pieterburen, Friesland, the Netherlands? And that his real name is Klaas van der Meulen? No? Well, now you know:

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Waterrat's Dutch file card

 

I understand how some patriotic US G.I. Joe fans find it is a blasphemy that G.I. Joe was changed from a real American Hero to an international fighting force in Europe, but quite frankly, (as a European myself) I have to commend Hasbro for going that extra mile. I know that the toy line appealed to me that much more back then, due to these translations and attention to detail.

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"De Internationale Helden"
"The International Heroes"

 

The seller I got these four vintage Dutch G.I. Joe’s from was a really nice guy. He sold them to me way below their market value. He could easily have asked double the amount that I ended up paying, so I was really lucky there. I guess feverishly checking classified ads each and every day (like I do) tends to pay off once in a while. LOL!

 

“Dutch G.I. Joe’s – wave 1 (1987)”

I wonder if I’m going to score one of those elusive first wave Dutch G.I. Joe’s any time soon. At first I was very pessimistic about the prospect of ever finding these, but my recent hauls have given me some hope! For reference, below are all the action figures that were part of the first wave.

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Dutch G.I. Joe action figures - wave 1 (1987)

 

If you have any of these above in Dutch packaging and want to sell. Get in touch with me!! :-) If you want to see what else got released as part of the first wave, check out the scans of the first wave Dutch G.I. Joe pack-in catalog that I made here.

 

 

 

posted by 20th Century Toy Collector in G.I. Joe and have Comments (2)

Lightning Strikes: Wheeled Warriors!

1985 saw the introduction of a new toy line by Mattel, called “Wheeled Warriors”. A cartoon was introduced that same year called “Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors”, which was loosely based on the toy line. This was probably also the cause of the line’s downfall, because there was just too much disparity between the cartoon continuity and the toy line, which led to poor sales and so Mattel cancelled the line the very next year. The cartoon itself has never gained the same level of popularity as, say, the Transformers or Masters of the Universe cartoons did, but it was a kick ass cartoon nevertheless with one of the coolest 1980′s theme songs ever, composed by veteran Shuki Levy.

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Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors cartoon title card (1985)

 

“Lightning League vs Monster Minds!”

The Wheeled Warriors toy line was divided in the usual two factions of good and evil. Evil being the Monster Minds, part vehicle and part organic plant life and the Lightning League, who were the good guys doing battle with the Monster Minds. The toy line saw a total of eight regular vehicles and two large motorized vehicles, evenly divided over the two camps. There was also a giant Lightning League Battle Base gift set and two accessory packs that came on blister cards.

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Wheeled Warriors vehicles

“Characters? Who needs characters?”

The afforementioned cartoon featured the eponymous character of Jayce who was in search of his father to unite two parts of a special root that would end the menace of the Monster Minds once and for all. None of the good guy characters from the cartoon were available in Mattel’s toy line. Instead, the Lightning League was nothing more than a couple of unnamed, dorky looking action figures with the posability of a stick.

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"Hi! I'm generic Lightning League guy.
I prefer wearing flesh coloured shades."

 

It was quite clear that the toy line centered heavily on the vehicles instead of the characters. When the time came to create a cartoon series to promote the toy line, the creators obviously had to make up their own characters in order to give the show at least some appeal.

“X-Changeable Parts”

Where would a 1980′s toy line be without a gimmick? Nowhere, right?! So Mattel cooked something up for the Wheeled Warriors line which was actually pretty cool. The line featured exchangeable parts, so you could mix and match vehicle parts and create your own personalized vehicles, within the confines of what was possible of course. You could e.g. take off all the wheels from a vehicle and use them with another one. All vehicles came with extra X-changeable parts so you had enough to choose from. Quite an interesting way to encourage kids to buy more vehicles, because the more vehicles you bought, the more spare parts you had to play around with!

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"Yeah, it's me again. Look, I could use a little help replacing
this tire. I can't see shit through these flesh coloured shades."

 

“Collection”

I currently have two Monster Minds vehicles in my collection (the leader Saw Boss and K.O. Cruiser), which will look very familiar to anyone who’s ever watched the show! I also recently got a Lightning League vehicle from a good collector friend of mine as part of a trade; Quick Draw. The Monster Minds are MISB (mint-in-sealed-box) so I won’t be opening those, but Quick Draw has been opened so I’ve made some photos of the inside of the packaging and the toy itself.

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“Look out! It’s the Beast Walker!!”

I also have the large, motorized Monster Minds vehicle called Beast Walker, which can be observed in the intro of the cartoon. It’s one of the most goofy looking toys that I own, but somehow I still find it’s pretty cool. I guess that’s what nostalgia does to you. I mean, get a load of this:

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The Awesome Beast Walker!

 

Now is that funky looking or what? Can you just imagine that thing walking around your living room floor as a kid? Here are two screen grabs of the Beast Walker from the cartoon. As you can see he’s even more goofy looking here than he is in his toy form, because it actually looks like he’s got some nerdy glasses on! Ah well, just adds to the charm in my opinion.

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“Accessory Packs”

Two accessory packs were released that featured spare parts you could use with your Wheeled Warriors collection. One was the Lightning League Victory Pack and the other was the Monster Minds Attack Pack. I currently only have the former in my collection.

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The Lightning League Victory Pack

 

Granted, these toys aren’t that popular and they’re more or less forgotten, but they still have a cult following just as the cartoon does. To me, toy lines like these are all the more interesting due to their relative unfamiliarity. Althought it’s a pity there was only one wave of toys that saw release, the upside to that is that it’s much easier to complete your collection, because of the limited number of items that made up the line. That does not necessarily mean they’re very cheap. The two motorized vehicles and the Battle Base especially can command healthy amounts on the collectors market, but nowhere near the sums being laid down for e.g. a MISB Fortress Maximus or an Eternia play set!

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So, that’s our introduction to Mattel’s Wheeled Warriors line! I plan to write more in-depth articles on the various individual items in the future, so keep an eye out for those!

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posted by 20th Century Toy Collector in Wheeled Warriors and have Comments (8)

Masters of the Universe: Cliff Climber

In 1987 one of the most popular action figure toy lines ever, the Masters of the Universe, was dying. Mattel’s flagship product of the 1980′s somehow took a wrong turn and managed to drop from record revenues of 400 million dollars in one year to something that barely registered on the radar. What the hell happened? Well, I don’t know… But by looking at Mattel’s 1987 dealer catalog it certainly didn’t look like it was due to a lack of trying. One of the last items to get released in 1987 as part of wave 6 of the Masters of the Universe toy line was the Cliff Climber.

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Cliff Climber was part of a new gimmick that Mattel introduced, which featured “motorized power paks” that were driven by AA batteries. As soon as you had inserted a battery into the “power pak” you could use it to power various aspects of the accessory. In case of the Cliff Climber you could use it to power the pulley mechanism, which allowed the action figure wearing the Cliff Climber to hoist itself up any mountain in sight!!

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Another way to use the power pak was to stick it inside the “Chest Crawler”. By doing this and putting the action figure flat on its chest, it would crawl along the surface! Still yet another way to use the power pak was to use it to drive the Roto Drill. A special arm attached drill that would rotate through the awesome power of the power pak.

“Motorized Power Pak”

Yeah, I know it sounds kinda cheesy when you read it like that, but this shit is actually pretty cool if you look at it through a haze of 1980′s nostalgia. Mattel released a total of three accessories that made use of their new motorized Power Paks gimmick. Besides the Cliff Climber there were also the spectacular underwater Scubattack and the awesome Tower Tools specially made for “Castle battles”, whatever those may be. Here’s a snapshot from a 1987 commercial that featured all three motorized Power Paks.

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“Collection”

Yesterday, I got a MISB (mint-in-sealed-box) European version of Cliff Climber in the mail that I bought from a Dutch collector. I bought some other Masters of the Universe stuff from him that I will feature here soon. Part of what appealed to me was the incredibly amazing packaging artwork. As with most boxed Masters of the Universe artwork it is just such a sight to behold. I mean, just look at it:

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The above artwork was created by the enormously talented William George. For me personally, there are two Masters of the Universe mythologies. One is the awesome Filmation cartoon that most children of the 1980′s will know and love. The other is the even more exciting, mythical fantasy world that lives in my imagination, evoked by the wonderful Masters of the Universe packaging artwork. Of all the cool 1980′s toy line packaging (and there were many), the Masters of the Universe packaging is the unequivocal number one in my book. Even though I’m well into my thirties now, I’m still amazed at how much of an emotional response some of this artwork manages to trigger in me. Here’s a close up of Man-at-Arms again wearing the Cliff Climber.

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And below here’s a snapshot of He-Man wearing the Cliff Climber in “Chrest Crawler” mode while he is crawling down a mountain path against a fantasy, indigo sky. I just never tire of looking at Masters of the Universe box art!

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Stay tuned for more Masters of the Universe posts in the near future along with some Wheeled Warriors and G.I. Joe posts. It’s a veritable 80′s toy bonanza!!

posted by 20th Century Toy Collector in He-Man and have No Comments

Big Box G.I. Joe Vehicles

Not too long ago I added a total of three vintage, boxed G.I. Joe vehicles to my collection of the first wave that was released in Europe in 1987. As regular visitors to this site will know I try to collect all of the first couple of waves of  G.I. Joe figures and vehicles that were released in the Netherlands. Hasbro went all out with the introduction of their G.I. Joe line in Europe in 1987 by creating specific packaging and promotional material for each individual European country. So for example, the Netherlands got all Dutch packaging and France got all French packaging. Even Belgium, which is not your biggest European market, and which is a country where the predominant two languages are Dutch (in Flanders) and French (in Wallonia) got their own specific packaging, featuring Dutch and French!! How about that for commitment to their European market? The Dutch G.I. Joe figures and vehicles are some of the most hard to find. In fact, even though Belgium is a lot smaller than the Netherlands, G.I. Joe was quite big there and as a consequence it’s easier to find the signature dual-language French/Dutch G.I. Joe’s than it is to find the all-Dutch Joe’s.

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“Cobra Hydrofoil (Moray)”

The first of the three big box vehicles that I scored is the Cobra Hydrofoil (Moray), which is pictured above. It’s a big ass hydrofoil boat with room for seven action figures. I remember wanting the Cobra Hydrofoil badly in 1987, but there was just no way I could afford it, because it was one of the most expensive vehicles of Hasbro’s introductory European G.I. Joe line up in 1987. Recently I spotted the Cobra Hydrofoil on a Dutch classified ads site as part of a giant lot full of loose G.I. Joe action figures and vehicles and to my astonishment the photo in question also showed the Dutch packaging of the Cobra Hydrofoil. I quickly struck a deal with the seller for just the Hydrofoil and its Dutch box and got them really, really cheap. When the package arrived in the mail I was pleasantly surprised to find that the seller had included a shitload of extras in various states of completion. Good times! Only problem was that the Cobra Hydrofoil and all the other goodies that came along with it were not exactly…. well, clean.

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So after letting the Hydrofoil and all its parts soak for a while in the sink, everything came out nice and clean! I removed some of the really worn stickers. I might decide to order a set of repro stickers in the future. Here’s the all cleaned up Hydrofoil together with some Cobra action figures !

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Much better! The original action figure that was included with the Hydrofoil is missing as are some parts here and there, but I really can’t complain, because I paid a very modest amount for this item.

“Transportable Tacticle Battle Platform”

I also scored the Dutch packaged version of the Transportable Tactical Battle Platform which was known here as the “Transporteerbaar Tactisch Gevechtsplatform”. Yes, “Gevechtsplatform”. You read that right. A total of six consonants strung together there in one word. Crazy Dutchies. I’m not even going to begin explaining how that is pronounced.

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“Skystriker”

The Skystriker jet is one of the coolest vehicles of the initial G.I. Joe line up in Europe if you ask me. Although I wasn’t able to secure the all-Dutch packaged version yet, I did score the Belgian version, which features French and Dutch on the packaging. One of my best friends had the Skystriker in 1987. It was such a cool toy until we made it blow up a couple of years later by stuffing it full of fireworks, while throwing it out of a second floor window in a pathetic attempt to create a mid-air explosion. It fell straight into his dad’s small fish pond where it exploded under water (and probably took quite a few fishes with it….). In-depth features and photos of the insides of the Battle Platform and the Skystriker in a future article!

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posted by 20th Century Toy Collector in G.I. Joe and have Comments (6)

“Where is ze list?”

I’m a real list nazi. One of the many aspects of collecting that I love is to make lists and check off things. It gives me a wicked buzz whenever I acquire something I was looking for and thus am able to place a big fat checkmark on one of my many lists, getting closer and closer to completing something. I know, I’m crazy that way, but I’m willing to bet that a lot of collectors know exactly what I’m talking about! I recently acquired some nice new additions to my MB (Milton Bradley) Transformers collection, so I was able to put down another couple of those big fat checkmarks on my list.

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What you see above is the fruit of my obsessive labour. It’s a list of all known Transformers released by MB in 1985 in Europe, ordered by assortment. As you can see, my collection is now 79% complete, which still amazes me, because I only started collecting this line just two years ago. I have a special page dedicated to my MB Transformers collection, which also contains photos of all the items in my collection. I have now updated this page with my latest additions and if you’re ever in the mood you can check it out here!

 

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