Retro-mania and the race for original 80s toys

retro-maniaIt’s no secret that there’s a booming market out there for retro items, particularly toys. A lot of companies are remaking products or brands as a result, and more seem to appear every month.

All of the big decades of toys feature as a source for these revivals, but the 1980s seem to get special attention. I have a theory as to why – and it isn’t just because kids of the 80s now have incomes. I think 1980s toys were particularly primed to become collectibles in the future.

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Tomy Radica A Lancia Stratos (1978)

Tomy Radica A Lancia Stratos

Tomy Radica A Lancia StratosA 1/12 scale R/C model from Tomy that you’ve probably never heard of before, the “Radica A Lancia Stratos” was a 70s kid’s chance to drive the legendary Stratos rally car.

It had advanced features for the time such as a working differential, working indicator lights, Digital Proportional transmitter and more.

Let’s take a look at this lost gem from Tomy.

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What are your Christmas R/C memories?

Tandy Christmas Sale And Gift Catalogue 1987

Tandy Christmas Sale And Gift Catalogue 1987In the spirit of the festive season, perhaps it’s time I dedicated a page to everyone else’s R/C car memories (not just mine)…

What memories do you have of receiving R/C cars (or other cool retro toys), at Christmas?

What cars did you receive (or miss out on) back in the 1970s, 80s or 90s?

And what are some of your best (and worst) memories of R/C cars around Christmas time?

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Christmas shopping at Tandy in the 1980s

Tandy Australia Christmas Commercial (1987)

Tandy Australia Christmas Commercial (1987)Christmas shopping in Australia back in the 1980s meant summertime, heatwaves, flies, Westfield shopping centres, the hope that Santa had received my letter, and last but not least… a visit to Tandy Electronics to see their R/C cars.

Those were my experiences anyway. And even though Tandy Electronics is now long gone, summertime always reminds me of the fun of seeing all those brand new R/C vehicles, stacked on the Tandy showroom floor…

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Why “sealed” vintage Tamiya kits may not be what they seem

Vintage Tamiya kit sealed in shrink-wrap

Vintage Tamiya kit sealed in shrink-wrapMost vintage Tamiya R/C kits are in boxes where you can take the lid off, see what’s inside, and enjoy looking at all the cool parts and pieces, not to mention all that great vintage blister packaging.

But some vintage kits are sealed in shrink-wrap. So if you like collecting old R/C kits, are the ones in shrink-wrap the most ‘mint’ ones? And should you pay extra for them?

Well, no. I don’t think you should. And it’s because vintage R/C kits are not the same as other sealed-in-box vintage toys.

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The R/C cars of the film “Malcolm” (1986)

Malcolm - Tamiya Sand Scorcher

Malcolm - Tamiya Sand ScorcherIn 1986, a low-budget Australian comedy called Malcolm featured a Tamiya Sand Scorcher R/C VW buggy in what you might even say was a “Supporting Actor” role.

Little-known outside Australia, the film was a local success. And on a tiny budget, it’s portrayal of a social recluse whose love of toys and gadgets leads him to become mixed-up with a couple of aspiring bank robbers had a quintessential Aussie blend of humour, characters and pathos.

All up, you should spot two R/C cars in the film, plus lots of other cool 1980s gadgets.

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Gama/Matsushiro Toyota Land Cruiser (1984)

Gama / Matsushiro Toyota Land Cruiser

Gama / Matsushiro Toyota Land CruiserTiny but quite sophisticated, the Matsushiro Toyota Land Cruiser even featured a little driver who would “steer” the car as you drove around.

Sold by Gama in Europe, this was a realistic and featured-packed little R/C toy that would have made for a really fun first R/C car.

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Why buy the Tamiya Monster Beetle remake?

tamiya-monster-beetle-original-vs-remake-001Another year, another batch of Tamiya R/C model remakes, as the company continues it’s policy of remixing it’s past hits and tapping into nostalgia. Tamiya have now put out remakes of nearly every popular off-road R/C model they created in the 1980s (when they were at their creative peak). This month, a remake of the Monster Beetle was announced.

The news excites many, with the argument often being that “unless Tamiya remakes a kit, I will never be able to find or afford that car”. But is that true? Because it’s actually not impossible to find original examples for similiar prices to many remakes. Look, I’ll show you…

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Technotoy/Nikko Alaska Polar-Expedition Mercedes Unimog (1984)

Technotoy/Nikko Alaska Polar-Expedition Mercedes Unimog

Technotoy/Nikko Alaska Polar-Expedition Mercedes UnimogThis model was based on Nikko’s 1983 Mercedes Unimog 4WD, but this edition was released later and only sold in Europe under Technotoy/Nikko branding. And instead of being a Paris-Dakar Rally racing vehicle, it’s a 1984 snow expedition transport – complete with gorgeous livery, a cargo trailer, and (would you believe) optional snow chains?

Proof once again that no other era can touch the 1980s, for toys.

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Lost Hobby Shops: Toy & Novelty

Toy & Novelty - toy store in Queensland, Australia, 1985

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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