Lost Hobby Shops: Toy & Novelty

Toy & Novelty - toy store in Queensland, Australia, 1985A small toy shop chain from Queensland, Australia that is all but forgotten – “Toy & Novelty” had three locations in the mid 1980s.

Here’s a little TV commercial that will make you want to take the nearest DeLorean back to 1985.

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Australian Tamiya TV commercials from 1985 and 1987

Tamiya Commercial - Australia (1985)Most vintage Tamiya fans will be familiar with the early promotional clips they made for each car, that were often aired on TV sets in hobby stores and were narrated by an American.

But even I was surprised to re-discover these two old Australian TV commercials from the 1980s.

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Taiyo Lamborghini Countach LP500S (1987)

Taiyo Lamborghini Countach LP500SWith a blazing top speed of 31km/h, Taiyo’s twin-motor Lamborghini Countach LP500S of 1987 wasn’t the first R/C model of this iconic supercar. But it was certainly one of the best looking.

Blessed with proportions that seemed to do justice to the wild and angular full-sized vehicle, and with performance to match, this was a ready-to-run R/C car from the late 1980s that was capable of surprising the kid next door with his Tamiya.
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Collecting vintage R/C models

Collecting Vintage R/C modelsAs this website was created to share my ramblings about the toys I’ve collected over the years, I thought I’d take a moment to talk a bit more generally about what I like to collect, and why.

So please forgive the fairly prosaic title of this post, as I go back to basics and look at the philosophy behind a lot of my own toy collecting (and perhaps you’ll have a think about why you collect as well).

I’ll also use this opportunity to sneak-in some views about collecting in general, my opinion on things like reissues and reproduction items, and a new UK TV show about people with huge collections.  Read More…

The Star Wars toy packaging scandal

Star Wars Toy Packaging ScandalIn the past year or so, Star Wars toy collectors have discovered that not all the so-called “MOC” (Mint On Card) action figures they were trading for thousands of dollars, were legitimate brand new original collectibles.

If you’re a Star Wars collector, this will be old news. But for those who hadn’t heard about it, it’s a sobering reminder of the pitfalls of placing high values on mint/sealed vintage toys. And it even made it onto UK TV.

So as a follow-up to an earlier article I wrote about the pros and cons of vintage toy packaging, check out this video about the Star Wars toy packaging scandal…

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Ayrton Senna’s “Miniature Engineering”

AyrtonSenna_BrandsHatch_1986_001_editOne of the most popular articles on R/C Toy Memories to date has been “Racing Drivers & R/C Cars“, probably in large part thanks to the images of Ayrton Senna and his Tamiya Hotshot.

But there’s more where those came from.

Here are some never-before-published photographs of Ayrton, enjoying his R/C models way back in 1986.

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“The Grasshopper”, by Tamiya (1984)

Tamiya GrasshopperWith it’s rugged design and ease of construction, The Grasshopper was a hugely influential R/C buggy that paved the way for countless other R/C cars.

Today it remains a must-have classic for collectors – a gorgeous scale off-roader that still looks amazing, and is one of those pieces of Tamiya history that really defined the brand.

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