Friday, June 26, 2009

In Case You Missed It (30 Years Ago): Vintage Bank Director

Playmobil is older than I am, so I get a kick out of seeing a toy line that has basically outlived nearly every other toy figure ever produced without significant retooling. It's a real treat to go back and see what has come before... and that the developers always had a strong sense of humor.

This Bank Director was found on eBay Germany-- of course-- and has to be a report card gift if you weren't a quick study. The line included native Americans, cowboys, Knights... and a banker. This sealed, 1976 toy speaks volumes. It's rare a kid can't be bothered to play with a toy, and while the old-timey desk and bag are kinda neat, I can almost hear the crying children that received this one 33 years ago.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Custom Watch: Playmobil Elvis!

Oh, those crafty Germans. A new find called "King of Rock 'n Roll" is another unofficial figure produced mostly with off-the-shelf parts. While we're not sure which Elvis this is supposed to be, the idea is solid.

Obviously, we won't be seeing Elvis in a Playmobil figure until long after he's entered the public domain, if ever, and we'll all be dead by then. So with that in mind, enjoy this item, presently for sale on German eBay by cubbuc2003.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New German Limited Edition Set: Family Van with Boat

While SUVs are going out of style in the USA as of late, in Germany, there's a new LE Playmobil set that's surprisingly cheap and probably gets good mileage too. 4144 Familyvan mit Bootsanhänger (easy for you to say) includes a set of parents, two kids, a motorboat, a van, a dog, a toy sailboat, and a whole mess of stuff.

At press time there is no known release date in the USA-- or rather, we don't know what it is. It's 19.99 Euro, which is pretty preposterous given how much stuff comes in the box. We'll let you know when or if it shows up in the States, but for now you're going to need to call in some favors to get this one, which is also showing up elsewhere in Europe.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Playmobil Picture Post: Western 3786 Sheriff's Office

Sold from 1994-2003, give or take a week. This set was taken in my back yard because the power went out and I didn't really have a better idea of what to do as I had some writing to do that couldn't be done.
[ See the gallery on Flickr ]

This set is pretty swell, and is the most recent all-new Sheriff's Office. The break-away wall is one of my favorite action features in any Western-themed set, plus the broom, buckets, spittoons, guns, more guns, and gun rack make for a good time. It cost me $47 at the Hobby Bench a few years ago, when I used to live across the street from a mall in Arizona. Let me tell you, that's good times. If you have the means to pick up the set, it's worth getting the original release due to the nifty accessories and the crook figure which has a black eye.

It was reissued recently as 7378 Sheriff's Office for about $30, but it's missing all the accessories which add to its charm. But if you already have guns, desks, and figures, it's certainly a cheaper way to get the same building.

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Too Good To Be True: Custom Western Sets from Germany

If you've ever spent hours looking up things in a language you don't understand as well as you probably should, having had classes for four years, you may understand why it's frustrating when you see something this awesome which you later realize is a fan-produced customized set.

How depressing.

German eBay sellers are making total conversions of older sets into some pretty amazing sets. Pictured is a Whiskey Distillery, which is made using some custom signs which have been circulating and a number of off-the-shelf kegs, barrels, and other parts and pieces.

Also up for grabs are some Undertaker kits, but those seem to have vanished. The means to make your own signs are still there though.

So enjoy, Klicky fans, these things which you simply will never see produced!

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Playmobil Sellers: Toy Crazy in Malibu

Name: Toy Crazy
Focus: Typical indie toy store-- Breyer horses, plastic dinosaurs, and an extremely limited quantity of normal mass-market toys from Hasbro and Mattel.
Selection: Extremely current Playmobil, few or no retired sets.
Prices: On par with or slightly above Playmobil direct service
Location: 23410 Civic Center Way
Malibu, CA 90265

If you're looking for a nice place close to the beach, they don't come much better than Malibu's Toy Crazy, a boutique with a lot of space, a lot of glass cases, and not much in the Playmobil department. I called them after checking their web site to see if they had a big selection or just a few things, and was told it was a pretty massive selection. It wasn't. Sure, they had a Zoo, a lot of the Nautical Expedition and Dinosaurs sets, and a basked mixed of about 3 specials, but this and a few random sets didn't really impress me in the way some other stores might.

It's well worth a stop if you're in the area, and it's not too far from Puzzle Zoo, which I also visited during this particular toy run.

For the record, I picked up a 4478 One-Man Submarine here for $16, roughly the going rate.

[ Toy Crazy web site ]

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

German Exclusive: 6103 Maggi Cook!

One of the real downers about collecting Playmobil is that it's really tough to find solid information on the weird stuff. Exclusives, in particular, because bizarre little figures which are given away or sold cheaply at various German retailers simply do not make their way onto US eBay. This is unfortunate.

We discovered that something called "Maggi" has an exclusive branded figure featuring an apron and some sort of food packaging. If my German serves me, and it usually doesn't, the figure is a mail-in premium wherein you can choose the toy or some sort of kitchen scissors.

The bad news? The mail-in offer expired in March 2009. So we're basically out of luck here. But if anyone knows where one can find a supply of these, do let us know.

Image "borrowed" from eBay Germany, which you should totally go bid on stuff if you have the regional capability to do so.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New for 2009 (in Germany, 2010 elsewhere)

A while back, Playmobil Germany updated with a huge Flash file presentation of its 2009 German line. It's sorted by month, so you can get a good look at what we'll be getting in the USA next year. All of the sets, save for the individually packaged Specials figures, trail Deutschland by a year. So what's in store?

July - Specials
Nothing you haven't already seen in the 2009 US catalog. Diver, dudes with swords, etc.

August - Fire Rescue, Elementary School
While the notion of buying your kids a school seems like handing an ex-con a toy prison, this is a fairly well done collection. The big school set [4324] has a science class, a computer lab, tiny chalkboards, all that stuff. What really caught my eye was a shop class [4326, pictured] featuring all sorts of power tools, and a music class [4329] which has a pair of bongos. Bongo Fury. Awwwww bongo fury... boogie. (Ask your parents. They won't get the reference either.) [Images from]

September - Drachenland (Dragonland) & Advent Calendars
These are similar to the sets Target carried last year, but the Dragon creatures and figures are seemingly new designs. Big castles, dragons with LED (light-emitting diode) mouths, barbarians... the works. It's a new fantastical magical line, which, while nifty, seems more like a traditional boy's toy action line.

The new advent calendars feature a stable (horses, donkeys, etc.) and Dragonland (knights, horses, tiny dragon). In short, a good mix.

October - Puppet Theater
This is their new take-along set. Set #4239 seems to be a greatly expanded concept based on the 4664 Specials set. It must lose something in the cultural translation, but it seems to be a nifty theater with an alligator and people in stupid hats, which seems to be the basis for all good toys.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Before we were interrupted...

For some reason we've been having an extreme problem updating for many months. Files simply would not go up. And now? Well, it's working. As such, if you're finding us, please take our sincerest apologies for the gap in coverage and expect more news stuffs very shortly.

Since the last time we updated, Toys "R" Us has put the bulk of its Dinosaurs line on clearance, Target has essentially phased out Playmobil almost entirely, Wal-Mart seems to be making up its mind, and Kmart has picked it up and seems to be giving it decent support.

We'll have more fun shortly.

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