Friday, August 26, 2016

Dino Toys with Candy Eggs (Topps, 1988)

In the late 1980s, Topps released monochromatic mini figures in blind bags with along with packs of cheap, chalky candy. Nope, I'm not talking about Garbage Pail Kids Cheap Toys. I'm talking about the very obscure and seldom discussed Dino Toys with Candy Eggs!

Each pack came with a figure, checklist & candy eggs
These prehistoric plastic goodies came out in 1988, to be exact -- the same year Topps released the classic Dinosaurs Attack! trading card set. I guess they were on a dino kick that year.

Even though the Dino Toys are not nearly as popular as Topps' GPK toys that used the same "blind bag with candy" concept, they are really awesome in that old school, cheap toy sort of way. In fact, they're some of my favorite dinosaur mono minis.

Packs were sold individually and came 24 to a box, which you'd most likely find on the counter in candy, toy and hobby shops. The box features colorful artwork of a T-Rex chompin' on some candy eggs while a pterosaur tries to get in on the action. Each individual pack inside had the same artwork as the box and contained one random dino figure, a checklist showing all of the different dinosaurs available, and a pack of the eggs. From the looks of the candy, I'd imagine it tastes something like how Topps' Garbage Can-dy did, but I must admit I'm not brave enough to sample gobs of colored sugar that are coming up on 30 years old.

Now for the most important part -- the toys! There are 12 different dinosaur sculpts that could be collected. The figures range from about 1 to 2 inches tall and are made of a hard plastic reminiscent of retro plastic dinosaurs from the 1960s.

Each dinosaur came in three different colors: brown, gray and mint green. The green is by far my favorite, and the brown looks good too -- it's a nice chocolate brown that makes the details pop. The gray is a bit dull, but it does look nice when put together with the other two colors.

Here's a photo of the entire set with the checklist:

And here are some closer individual shots:

Brontosaurus, Anklyosaurus, Dimetrodon
Tyrannosaurus, Trachodon, Pterandodon
Plesiosaurus, Iguanodon, Stegosaurus
Allosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Triceratops

It's hard to pick favorites, but the Plesiosaurus is probably my top choice. I also love the sculpts that have a lot of really cool bumpy texture like the Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Anklyosaurus, and Dimetrodon. Topps did a great job of capturing the fun vibe of retro dinosaur toys from the likes of Marx, Tim Mee and MPC while adding a bit more fierceness to the sculpts.

I don't think these Topps Dinos have ever got their due among mini figure and dinosaur collectors (possibly because most don't know about them). I got only one of them when I was a kid (the green Trachodon) and don't even remember getting it, but looking at them brings such a feeling of nostalgia for the days when this kind of thing was common and could be had for under a buck.

What about you? Do you remember Topps Dino Toys with Candy Eggs from back in the day? What do you think of them?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mono Minis of the Day: 8/6/16 to 8/21/16

Here are the latest batches of Mono Minis of the Day--as posted daily on the Little Weirdos Instagram, Twitter and Flickr. The lineup in the photo is as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

1. Bigfoot from Monster in My Pocket ('Juguete Halloween' Peru version)
2. Ruff the Ref from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
3. Oni-On kaiju Ultraman capsule bootleg
4. Dino from Matutano Dinosaurs
5. Popy mini Kinnikuman keshi
6. Fossil Freak from OMFG
7. Koschei the Deathless from Oritet Russian fairy tale creatures set
8. Skeleton pirate from Pirates playset
9. Spy Prod from Mini Boglins
10. Monstrus from Cosmix
11. ET bootleg figure
12. Madballs knockoff pencil topper 
13. Gundam bootleg pencil topper
14. Maharaja from Neclos Fortress
15. Stegosaurus from Lakeshore dinosaur counters set
16. #88 from MUSCLE

Sunday, August 14, 2016

It came from the arcade: Zoids bootleg keshi

If you grew up in the '90s and spent any time in your local arcade, you might remember these. They're tiny bootlegs of Japanese Zoids keshi that you could commonly find available behind prize counters in exchange for a few game tickets back in the day.

For anyone not up on their Zoids history, it's a franchise that began in the early 1980s featuring giant robots with various animal and dinosaur designs. Over the years it has spawned anime series, manga, video games and toys.

I remember trading a classmate something for a little green sabertooth Zoid on the playground in grade school and thinking it was totally awesome, despite the fact that it was missing a leg and that I had no idea what Zoids were, or that this little rubbery thing was supposed to be one. I also remember getting a couple more of these bootlegs back then, either at the arcade or from capsule machines (they might have been sold that way too). It would take a couple decades for me to finally find out the origins of these rubbery robo-animals and add a bunch more to my collection.

From a technical standpoint, these are not great toys. They are really cheaply-made, with lots of flashing and molding imperfections. But I'll be damned if they're not charming and lots of fun. I mean, look at that little gorilla Zoid. And that snail. And those dino-bots. So cool. Plus, if you're like me you get instant feelings of nostalgia just looking at them.

I'm guessing these bootlegs came in 12 sculpts, as shown above, although the original Japanese keshi probably had more. I'm not positive about either, though. Has anyone come across any others?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The bone brigade: plastic skeleton warriors galore

In the past I've posted about the excellent Polotoy skeleton warrior fantasy figures, but there's so many other toy solider-style skeletons out there that I figured it was time for another entry featuring some additional sets.

Why have there been so many different varieties of these bony baddies produced? Who knows, but I'm not complaining! A little little plastic reanimated skeleton holding a sword, shield, or axe never gets old.

The three sets featured below are all relatively recent releases.

Oriental Trading Co. Skeleton Warriors

First up we've got a set that has been sold (and at the time of writing this, is still being sold), in big bags by Oriental Trading Co. I love the sculpts on these guys, including how random a couple are -- like the one with wings and the one with what I think is a shell horn.

As shown on the Fantasy Toy Soldiers blog, these same sculpts were previously sold in different colors in different packaging as Skeleton Soldiers and Skull Knights.

These Oriental Trading versions are made of a pretty pliable plastic that feels nice but unfortunately leads to many of the figures getting bent while pressed together in their packaging. This can be fixed by putting them in boiling water for a few seconds immediately followed by a bath in ice cold water.

Pirates Playset red skeletons

I got these blood red beauties in a trade with Mason of the DI Treasures blog a while back, who found them at Family Dollar as part of a pirate playset tub (you can see his post on them here). Thanks again to Fantasy Toy Soliders, I learned that they seem to be bootlegs of earlier "Tomb Warrior" figures by Toy Major.

These are made of light, hard plastic. There's some fun sculpts here, including a skeleton with a hook hand and another with its mouth agape that looks to be either really happy or really angry.

Amscan Skeleton Warriors

Finally, here are some skeletons that I believe were just released for the first time last year (I could be wrong, but I had never seen them before that). I found them at Party City, where they were available around Halloween as party favors. They came in a bag of 16 with a header card that said "Skeleton Figurines" and included Amscan as the company name.

There's only four different sculpts, but they make up for it in nice detail and overall coolness. I especially like the skeleton that's holding a cleaver in one hand and another skeleton's head in the other!


And there we have it -- just a few more of the skeleton warrior sets floating around out there in the world of weird and obscure toys. Which ones are your favorites? Have you seen any other cool skeleton warrior sets to report?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Mono Minis of the Day: 7/21/16 to 8/5/16

Here are the latest batches of Mono Minis of the Day--as posted daily on the Little Weirdos Instagram, Twitter and Flickr. The lineup in the photo is as follows, from left to right, top to bottom:

1. Neptul from Blackstar mini figures  
2. Inspector Bones from SLUG Zombies   
3. Red King from Ultraman 'Great Monster the 30' set  
4. #63 from MUSCLE
5. Michael Mutant from Garbage Pail Kids Minikins
6. Skeleton from skeleton warriors party favor set
7. Ninja from Toysmith Ninjas set
8. Baikins/Germ Gang capsule bootleg
9. Messenger Flare from Mini Boglins
10. Optimus Prime Transformers plastic figure
11.  Blizarerd from Neclos Fortress
12. Scream Roller Ghost from The Real Ghostbusters
13. Goblin from HeroQuest
14. Triceratops from Lakeshore dinosaur counters set
15. Wart Hog from Weird Ball Wrestlers
16. Gundam capsule/party favor bootleg 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Giant Co. micro space aliens

Some of the coolest space/sci-fi toys came out during the 1960s, and these little guys are a perfect example. They are tiny (under one inch tall) space aliens made by an old company called Giant, which produced different varieties of toy soliders, vehicles and other small plastic toys.

According to this very informative article on the Plastic Solider Review website, the Giant company started out as the Rosenberg Toy Company in the 1940s, and then changed to Giant in 1960. By the end of the 1970s, it became known as Arco. I'm not sure the exact year Giant produced these aliens, but I'd guess sometime in the mid-'60s.

The aliens came in six different sculpts and three different colors -- green, brown and pink/purple. They are made of hard plastic. I love their simple yet very fun designs; they have a lot of detail and personality for being so tiny. They came with little circular UFOs they could be placed inside.

Giant also produced a line of micro astronauts and spacecrafts called Space Knights, so kids could set up space landings for discovery of these little weirdos on different planets. You can see all of these different pieces on Plastic Soldier Review linked above.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Skeleton paratrooper party favors

Here are some awesome parachuting skeletons that I probably got sometime in the early '00s. They're a unique twist on the Imperial Poopatroopers that have been sold in one form or another for decades.

I can't remember exactly where I got them or how they were sold, other than I bought them new in a physical store. My best guess would be that they were released as party favors around Halloween -- possibly at Target. I don't think I've ever seen them show up anywhere else online.

The figures are about 1.5 inches tall and made of flexible soft plastic. There are six different sculpts that come in three different colors -- orange, green and purple -- each with a bit of painted detail.

The sculpts are really well done for being cheap toys, and you can tell whoever designed them had fun with it. For example, the helmeted skeleton has a tiny cigar sticking out of his mouth, and the skeleton holding the axe has a creepy-lookin' bone tail.

To add to the fun, the thin plastic parachutes attached to the figures aren't just plain white -- they have graphics printed on them depicting each of the 6 skeleton dudes as well as a big skull head in the middle. Rad.

These are definitely some of the coolest party favors I've seen. I just wish I had bought more of them!

Has anyone else come across these skeleton paratroopers before, or know anything more about them?