20th Century Toy Collector

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Archive for January, 2012

The Women of Masters of the Universe: Teela

Before God created the Transformers, he created the Universe. Masters of the Universe, that is. At least, that’s how my memory as a child of the 1980′s goes. For me, the Masters of the Universe was the snowplow that really paved the way for many more US toy lines with cartoon tie ins to come. I was introduced to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe by watching the Filmation cartoon on Sky Channel in 1985 and I was mesmerized by the beautiful packaging of all the Masters of the Universe toys in my local toy store. These were seriously cool toys!


Teela, Sorceress & Evil-Lyn (Mattel) – from my personal collection

I’ve acquired quite a few European Masters of the Universe toys over the past few months and I plan to feature them here in the next few weeks. Today we start with Teela!


According to the mythos of the Filmation cartoon of Masters of the Universe, Teela was the daughter of the Sorceress. Teela was raised by Man-at-Arms as if she was his own daughter. In the episode “Teela’s Quest” she shortly discovers the truth about her mother, only to have the memory erased by the Sorceress for her own protection.


Teela – from the cartoon by Filmation

“European Teela”

In the US, Teela was part of the first wave of Masters of the Universe toys that were introduced in 1982. I am not sure at what time the toy line got introduced in Europe, but it was probably introduced first in France and the UK in 1983 and in the rest of western Europe in 1984 I’d guess. I found this MOSC (mint on sealed card) European Teela not too long ago on one of my many travels through the internets. The bubble has yellowed and it seems there’s some discolouration on the arms, but otherwise it’s in pretty good condition and has never been opened!



Masters of the Universe – Teela (Mattel) 1983

“Single logo card”

What struck me as odd is that Teela comes with a “normal”, single logo on the card as is seen on the US cards. Most of the European releases came with two logos on the card, one in English and one in French as you can see from the photo at the beginning of this post. There are three languages on the front of Teela’s card below the Masters of the Universe logo, which are English, German and Italian. This is also unusual, because the language missing here is French! I am not sure what the significance of this is, but I do know it’s hard to find good information on all the packaging variations that existed in Europe, especially in the early years! The back of the card does have the usual quad-lingual texts including French.


Masters of the Universe – Teela (Mattel) 1983

“The Women of He-Man”

I don’t know exactly how it happened, but the funny thing is that all the MOSC (mint on sealed card) Masters of the Universe action figures I have are female! As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, besides Teela I also have Evil-Lyn and the Sorceress. These will feature in a future post soon so stay tuned!



posted by 20th Century Toy Collector in He-Man and have Comments (2)

G.I. Joe – Zandstorm & Flits

Woohoo! Every now and then I score something for my collection, which makes me do a dance of joy and makes me fly figure eights through the room like a butterfly high on crack. Hmm….. not exactly the analogy I was going for, but you get the point. Besides collecting early European vintage G1 (Generation 1) Transformers in MB packaging, another one of my obsessions is collecting vintage G.I. Joe toys in Dutch packaging.


Vintage G.I. Joe in Dutch packaging (1987) – from my personal collection

“Hasbro branding, MB distribution”

G.I. Joe was properly introduced in Europe in 1987. At that time, MB was still doing all of Hasbro’s distribution in mainland Europe. Although the G.I. Joe toys did come with Hasbro branding on the packaging, it was still MB that was responsible for the distribution process. The cool thing about MB in Europe is that they went to great lengths to localize the packaging of the toys they sold. Even relatively small countries like the Netherlands and Belgium got their own specific packaging and promotional material. This was pretty cool. Born and bred in the Netherlands myself I couldn’t help but be amazed by and attracted to the all-Dutch packaging of the G.I. Joe line that was available here. The first three waves of releases (1987-1989) came in all Dutch packaging, after which MB switched to dual language cards for the Benelux somewhere during 1989 (Dutch and French).


G.I. Joe – Flits – copyright notice (1987)

“Double Your Pleasure”

The reason I’m so stoked is that I finally managed to track down not one but two MOSC (mint on sealed card) vintage G.I. Joe’s from the first wave in Dutch packaging. Having looked for these very intensively for the past two years or so, I became convinced it was almost impossible to find any still MOSC, but once again my obsessive and compulsive nature paid off! I really love all the European wave 1 G.I. Joe’s, because I remember having spent countless hours and days staring at the 1987 G.I. Joe catalog when I was a kid.


Zandstorm and Flits (1987) – MB International B.V.

It cost me a pretty penny to purchase them, but it’s such a rush to finally own two of these in their original packaging as I remember seeing them in my local toy store in back in the 1980′s. So totally worth the money. Nostalgia, FTW! The two Joe’s I’m talking about here are pictured above and go by the names of Zandstorm (Dusty) and Flits (Quick-Kick). Let’s have a closer look!


Zandstorm was released in Holland in 1987 and is basically the same as the 1985 US release of Dusty. Looking at the filecard at the back of the packaging we can see that Zandstorm’s real name is the same as that of the US release of Dusty (Ronald W. Tadur), but contrary to the US release, Zandstorm was not born in Las Vegas, Nevada, but in Alice Springs, Australia. This is in line with Hasbro/MB’s European treatment of G.I. Joe, where it was presented as an international fighting force. Zandstorm means sandstorm in Dutch, which is funny, because in 1991 Hasbro re-released Dusty together with a grey coyote called…. Sandstorm! Coincidence?


Zandstorm (1987) – MB International B.V.


The next figure is the Dutch version of Quick Kick, called Flits. Again, this is the same as the 1985 US release, but there’s a slight change to the filecard. In the US Quick Kick’s real name is listed as MacArthur S. Ito and he was born in Los Angeles, California. Flits has different details. His real name is Lee Ho Ho (no kidding!) and his place of birth is listed as Canton, China.


Flits (1987) – MB International B.V.

“Yo Joe!”

These two are my first wave 1 Dutch G.I. Joe’s which are MOSC. This find has given me some new hope for finding more wave 1 Joe’s in Dutch packaging. It’s still going to be a major challenge finding more, but all the more rewarding when I do! Yes… I do worry about my own sanity at times. ;-) So much cool 80′s vintage toys stuff that I’ve been adding to my collection recently, so stay tuned for future updates!


posted by 20th Century Toy Collector in G.I. Joe and have Comments (7)

Transformers – Blaster (MB)

A couple of weeks ago I added the 46th MB Transformer to my collection. A total of 53 Transformers were released by MB in Europe in 1985, so that means I am now only missing 7 Transformers in order to complete my collection! This 46th addition is none other than Blaster! Blaster is one of the harder to find Transformers in MB packaging. Imagine my surprise when a good collector friend of mine located a MISB (mint-in-sealed-box) specimen in sunny Corsica of all places! Thanks, Christophe!


Transformers – Blaster (MB) 1985


Contrary to the US releases, the European MB releases are extremely hard to find still factory sealed inside their packaging. To illustrate the point, the AFA population report lists just four registered and rated MB Transformers in boxes (2 Dirges, 1 Ramjet and 1 Grimlock) and 2 carded items (Laserbeak and Scrapper). Of course there are several known non-AFA’ed MB Transformers out there that are still MISB (not counting the MOSC items), but the ones I know about can be counted on two hands.


Transformers – Blaster (MB) 1985

Needless to say I am extremely happy with this factory sealed MB Blaster! I plan on submitting it to the AFA for a rating in the near future. Not because I want to sell it for a premium, but because I want this unique piece registered, cased and preserved. Submitting items to be rated by the AFA from Europe is an extremely costly exercise, due to the shipping costs and potential customs fees involved. I still have to figure out how to get an item to the US and back without getting stuffed with customs fees twice!

“MB Collection”

I also redid all the photography of my MB Transformers collection this week in my brand new photo studio. A couple of those photos can be seen below. I’m still experimenting with what looks best, but I’m sure you’ll agree the photos look a lot nicer now with that cool 1980′s style blue gradient background. All the new photos of my MB Transformers collection can be found here. Enjoy!

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Several MB Transformers from my personal collection


posted by 20th Century Toy Collector in MB Transformers,Transformers and have Comments (2)

Happy New Year!

2012 already! Please allow me to wish you and yours a very happy new year. I hope 2012 will turn out to be a great year for everyone. Around New Year’s it’s customary to look back on the previous year and take stock. What went well, what didn’t. I hope 2011 wasn’t too bad a year for most of you. For me personally, 2011 was a very good year on nearly every level, but collection wise 2011 has been an extraordinary year! I was able to expand my collection of Transformers by a significant amount and I also scored shitloads of cool stuff from other cool toy lines like vintage G.I. Joes in Dutch packaging, Masters of the Universe stuff in European packaging and lots more I can barely keep track of. It’s so much fun to buy stuff that you desperately wanted as a kid, but couldn’t afford! :-)


Photo of part of my collection room

“MB Transformers”

2011 was also the year that I started work on a series of articles on MB Transformers that I had been planning to do for quite some time. I immensely enjoyed researching these articles, wrtiting down my thoughts, designing the visuals and putting everything together. I’ve had some great feedback on these articles and I’ve even seen fan translation of parts of these articles in Chinese and Spanish, which was way cool and was the real icing on the cake for me. 2011 was also the year I met some of the coolest new collectors who I now consider friends and I keep in touch with on a near daily basis. A big up to Christophe, JB and Maz! You guys made a fun hobby even more fun!


Photo of part of my collection room

“Looking forward”

So what does 2012 have in store? Well, for one, I plan to finish my 10-part article series on European MB Transformers this year and perhaps create some more cool European Transformers related content. I’m also planning on investing in some professional photography accessories to create shitloads of new and cool looking photos of the many cool vintage toys in my collection. I also plan to step up the pace of photography work, because the number of items currently visible on my website is just a fraction of what I have in my collection. I want to change that in 2012. It’s probably going to be a lot of work photographing and cataloging everything I have, but as I’m the geeky type who loves doing stuff like that I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun! I’ve also got some other cool vintage toy stuff planned for 2012, which is in too early stages to share just yet, because I’d hate to get people excited and run the risk of disappointing them by not delivering. Just stick around and see. :-)


Some of the carded items in my collection

The photos above are parts of my private collection room. Yeah, those are real store shelves! The quality of the photos is kinda shitty, because these are actually stills from a video that I took with my iPhone back in September and the lighting conditions were really low. My collection room is very private to me, so I feel a bit trepidacious to show it in full, but I felt compelled to show at least parts of it.

Have a great 2012 and hope to see you back here often! :-)

posted by 20th Century Toy Collector in Site stuff and have Comments (5)