5/25/16

Godzilla Puzzle "Harbor Havoc" (HG Toys #458-03, 1978)

Here is the second HG Godzilla puzzle from 1978.  Again, the title isn't on the box, but it's called "Harbor Havoc."  Here we see a very angry Godzilla being attacked by battleships.  There is so much action in this painting; there's a lot to take in.  
What's sort of obscured by the banner on the box is Godzilla lifting the front end of a ship out of the water, while SIMULTANEOUSLY flinging one into the air with his tail.  And check out the poor displaced people:
All done, of course, as various missiles fill the air.  
Once again, for completeness, here is the Canadian version (which I don't own), put out by "Frolic":

5/24/16

Godzilla Puzzle "City Rampage" (HG Toys #458-02, 1978)


As promised, here is a bit closer look at the three 150-piece HG Godzilla puzzles from 1978.  The first one is the "red" one, also known as "City Rampage" (although you won't find the name on the box, if I remember correctly, and mine is out of reach at the moment).  The name may have come from HG Toy catalogs, but who knows.  The most we can be sure of is that they gave it the number of #458-02.
 The art is lovely, and again, my opinion is that they were going for a "realistic" depiction, as if they were fleshing out the (then-current) H-B cartoon.  It has everything you'd want from a scene of Godzilla in the city:  buildings being destroyed, citizens fleeing in panic, the pavement cracking open...although, if this were an American poster for a Godzilla film, the running woman would be in a red dress, which is more common than you might think.  We need to look at that one of these days.
And then there's this poor guy, who is behind one of Godzilla's humongous toes:
Did he narrowly missed a very flat fate? Either way, it's a nice touch, and a good start to a unique series of American Godzilla puzzles.

In the "equal time" category, here is the Canadian version of the puzzle (which I don't own), put out by a company called "Frolic":

5/23/16

Godzilla Puzzle Boxed Set (HG Toys, Mail-Order, 1979)

In 1978, HG Toys made 3 lovely Godzilla jigsaw puzzles that were each 150 pieces.  We haven't covered these very well--they are listed on my sub-page, VINTAGE AMERICAN GODZILLA, but we need to look at each one separately.
As it turns out, there was an order form in many of HG's boxed puzzles (they also held many other licenses for TV shows, like The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Vegas, and more), there was a mail-order form that allowed you to order a boxed set of all three puzzles, in "a lovely gift box!"
Now, you have to remember that, in 1979, this was considered a "lovely" gift box, and mine is even brown and marbled, instead of blue like the photo (and completely un-labeled).  Inside are three bagged puzzles, each with a little tag showing you which was which, and a set of posters of the box art from each.
 The posters are rolled, and contained in the carboard sleeve behind the puzzles.  They measure 11x14" and are unfortunately too big to scan.  The good news is, they feature the box art paintings without any titles or lettering imposed, just like the finished puzzle would be.  And, they are suitable for framing:
The beauty of these puzzles is that they depict a realistic, "dinosaur" iteration of the Hanna-Barbera Godzilla, which of course is what the puzzles are indirectly promoting.  That's my opinion, anyhow.
These amazing sets have been leaking out to Ebay one at a time, as the seller obviously has a supply of them (as well as some of the other TV-show puzzles), so if you are looking for one, now's your chance.

HG Toys, of course, also were makers of the legendary GODZILLA vs THE TRICEPHALON MONSTER playset, for which they also issued a puzzle!

5/19/16

A Star Wars Meme


5/17/16

Fisher-Price #943 "Lift & Load Railroad" (1978) Complete in box!

Here's a great find I made a couple of weeks ago, from 1978, it's the "Lift & Load" Little People playset! Amazingly, not only was it in the box, but complete as well!
Not enough great things can be said about the "Little People" series.  If this was a Tumblr blog, this post would say "Only 70's Kids Remember" at the top.
FP made great stuff for years, and they are still doing it to this good day.  (The Imaginext Super Friends DC comics line has been huge for several years now.)  I still have my great Sesame Street vintage LP playset, as well as the wonderful Circus Train, and I need to do a post on them one of these days.

The playset includes a wind-up train that can go in two directions, complete with a second car that has a movable ramp to dump cargo.  It's driven by the same engineer that comes with the classic Circus Train.
And he ALWAYS sees you.
The playset even includes barrels, crates, and pallettes, and you can haul your cargo to the central building, which has a winch-scale, and a conveyor platform at top, which is operated by turning the crank!
If you've read this blog before, then you probably know I am going to say that they don't make toys like this anymore, so:  they don't make toys like this anymore.  They just don't.
The latest NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC is delivered.
Also included is a working forklift, and two construction/railroad worker guys to make sure the cargo gets through.
Of course, in reality, it's just going around the track...but FP also sold other playsets that connected with this one, so it didn't have to.
"One load of something called RADIOACTIVE WASTE coming through!"
The Sphinx is jammed-full of toys (and a very cool & understanding wife), but even I have a short list of items that were lost over the years, and one of them is the Little People Castle, complete with trapdoor, moving staircase, and pink dragon.  That one will be re-acquired; I swear on the blood of my ancestors! Stay tuned.

5/12/16

Godzilla Large Puffy Stickers (#949) Store Display, 1979

It's been slow around The Sphinx, but things are still happening.  I just acquired this large (and full) store display for the large version of the 1979 puffy stickers!
To see a good-quality scan of the sticker set (Item #949), check out this previous post, or, it's easier to just click on the side page, Vintage American Godzilla, where other sizes of the puffy stickers store displays can be seen!

4/22/16

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK "Story Cards" (Dixie, 1981)

Now we are to the vintage SW promotional sets that I haven't even finished yet, but plan to.
Star Wars-themed Dixie Cups were always a thing, from the very beginning of the saga.  They continued through RETURN OF THE JEDI, and many styles were produced, in many, many boxes, which featured cool artwork and cardboard items that could be cut from the back of the boxes.
Card 2 Front
In 1981, to further promote THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, a series of "Story Cards" were included inside "specially marked boxes."  The cards, if you can call them that, were really just heavier-stock paper, and small at that, and came in strips of four.  The idea was, you could assemble the entire set, and send off for an ESB poster that had spaces to attach your cards.  The completed poster told the story of the film.
From what I've read, the strips were pretty random, and I'm sure it was hard to complete the set.  The mail-away poster also included one of two OTHER 4-card subsets (I think one was Rebel and one was Imperial?), making completion even more difficult.
Card 6 Front
What I have so far are two strips, one cut, the other uncut, for your enjoyment!
Card 8 Front

 

Card 14 Front
 

Uncut Strip: Cards 22, 12, 5, and 15.
I'm on the hunt for a complete set, and you can be sure I will update with scans whenever that finally happens.

4/19/16

Godzilla Minimates SERIES 3 At Last!

For a series that was originally supposed to stop at 1, we are extremely lucky to see Series 3 arrive! Thank you, Art Asylum.  Now let's take a closer look at the figures that make up what is really a 5-pack!
Burning Godzilla is not my favorite incarnation of the Big G, but as the first two Godzilla Minimates they gave us were pretty similar, this one is iconic enough to be different.  Plus, I understand that you have to include a Godzilla with each series, or they probably wouldn't sell as well.
Also, his flaming breath is removable, like the one from Series 2.  If you have a Lego-sized book, he can do an impression of the Statue of Liberty.
Next up is Rodan, and I am sort of split on this figure.  He's good, but clearly hearkens to later incarnations of Rodan.  Not that that's a bad thing, he just turns out sort of bulky.  
Also the wings are a bit wonky, but how do you make a Minimate with wings, and still have him be posable? As I recall, the Vulture's wings are single pieces, but Rodan's are bigger, so I'm sure it was a matter of playability.
You end up with unnatural poses, such as the one above, but then again, Rodan's hands are, honestly, not very useful to him, in actuality. (I started to put "in reality" there, which is a field day for you psychology students out there, I'm sure...let's move on!)
Before I forget, they do give you one of the standard Minimate "flight stands," so that Rodan can fly, which was a nice touch!
Megalon is next, and I think that this Minimate is a work of art.  It may be because he's an under-represented character, or it may be because his movie is much maligned, but I'll defend him to the end.  After all, he's my favorite giant bug kaiju that spits flaming poo-balls.
Plus, they nail the decoration on his back.  Just an all-around perfect Minimate.
Ah, but there is still more.  We had previously gotten an adult Mothra, and Art Asylum now regales us with not one, but TWO of the Mothra larvae!  What's more, instead of phoning it in, and making them completely identical, one torso bends upward, while the other is ground level.  It's small touches like that one that make me happy.
I have to say though, I was confused from the initial photographs about the footprint-looking spaces on their sides.  I wondered if it was a lever to make the heads extend or move, but I was wrong.  One of the apparent tennants of the Minimates line is to make them interchangable, so that kids can combine parts in a way they want to.  I mentioned "playability" earlier, and I know that there will be some grumbling about these spaces (and each larva has two, one on each side), and that's when their true purpose hit me.
Just wrong, on so many levels.
All in all, a very welcome and solid Series 3.  No further series have been announced, but we can always hold out hope.  If we could just have a Series 4 with Angilas, King Ghidorah (which would be tough, admittedly), and Baragon...or a DESTROY ALL MONSTERS box set...I can dream.

4/13/16

Lego 30603 - Classic TV Mr. Freeze Polybag!

Since we covered the amazing 1966 Batcave set, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention this late addition.  A polybag from Lego--one of those deals where you get it if you order $75 or more--it can be found for reasonable prices through dealers. (For now.)
Played on the show by three actors, this one to me looks like the Otto Preminger Mr. Freeze, mostly because of the eyebrows.  But they nailed it either way.  If I remember my trivia correctly, the show popularized the character name, as there had only been a "Mr. Zero" in the Golden Age comics.  I'm just freewheeling here, without looking it up, mind you.
The wind-up key on the backpack is a nice Lego touch!  Since they were able to issue Mr. Freeze by himself, it makes me wonder about any other potential future releases.  A Batgirl with her motorcycle would be a nice addition!

4/1/16

Star Wars "Darth Vader Card Game" Fun Meal (Burger Chef/Coca-Cola, 1978)

While not really Star Wars TRADING cards, this item does include vintage Star Wars cards, of a sort.  You may know that fast food chain Burger Chef had a Star Wars promotion that included a whole slew of their "Fun Meal" boxes, with punch-out models of spaceships and droids.  (As well as a set of four famous posters that were offered.) Also included in that promotion was this particular "Fun Meal" box, which featured the Darth Vader card game.

Before we look at that, check out the cool art for the main section of the box.  As you can see, each section would have been punched out, because the assembled box held the food and drink.  But what a shame it would be to interrupt this artwork!
When assembled, the box had a 2-sided back panel that stood up vertically, and this was where the FUN was located.  In this case, we get a punch-out game of tiny cards, about half the size of a standard trading card.  What's more, many of the images are promotional; official reference images instead of just screenshots.
When the 23 cards are punched out, kids could play a matching game, apparently similar to "Old Maid," except that Darth Vader is the Old Maid (there's a sentence).
It's really a clever concept, and the boxes are a smart design.  I never had a Burger Chef in my area, so I couldn't really tell you how long these boxes were used.  McDonald's, on the other hand, maintained their Happy Meal box design for years.  Here's a better look at the instructions:
Luckily, a lot of these boxes were preserved, and are still out there.  I know if I had gotten one of these as a kid, I would have punched the cards out and used them, so I'm glad to have everything in one place.  Storing it carefully is going to be an issue, because it's bigger than a magazine-sized comic bag, and a tiny bit wider than a "treasury"-sized comic bag.  I guess I'm going to have to use an LP-sized bag to protect it.
As you can see, we are quickly running out of vintage SW card sets, but I have one more honorable mention to save for next time.