Friday, August 19, 2011
Figure Friday: Micro Machines
No action figure this Friday. Instead we'll take a look at the tiny vehicles known as Micro Machines.
I'll admit right away that I don't know a whole lot about Micro Machines, other than the fact that I really liked them as a kid. And as you'll see, my collecting is just as tiny as the cars and boats.
But be sure to read on for more anyway, there may be both some interesting facts, cute anecdotes and several pictures of tiny vehicles.
History of Micro Machines
This will be short. I don't know anything about them. After checking a wikipedia article, I see that toy makers Galoob produced Micro Machines in the 80s and early 90s. Galoob was a toy company best known for making action figures of the A-Team, as well as Biker Mice from Mars. And they were bought up by Hasbro. That's how it is these days, companies merging, bigger companies buying all the smaller ones. I can imagine how the near future will be: All cars will be made by a German/Japanese corporation. I guess we can call it ToyotaWagen. All movies will be made by WarnerDisney. All toys will be made by the same company. A merge between Mattel-Hasbro maybe? I doubt it, as the two big American toy manufacturers have a rather intense history, but the other ones... just wait and see. In a world where we could actually see media legally featuring Donald Duck and Jack Sparrow in battle with Galactus and Hannah Montana, anything is possible.
Is tiny! I believe I had more of them back in the day, but I can't say for sure. They are small, and easily lost, but I rarely lost toys, and only in a single insane moment did I make the mistake of selling my childhood toys. My Micro Machines were not casualties of teenage rebellion. So here they are.
The standard cars. No play feature, just tiny models of cars. They kind of look like models of actual cars, but as I have limited knowledge in this area, I'll not come with allegations of any kind.
These had the amazing play feature of color changing. This was all the rage in the early 90s, and I will freely admit that I loved the color changing toys myself. Dip them in hot/cold water for different color ways. What's not to love? At one point there just wasn't a single toy without the color changing feature. Even G.I. Joe figures ended up with color changing plastic. A cool fact here is that the planes are actually metal, with color changing paint. Impressive.
Here's a few different styles of Micro Machines. Far left, the red car with wind-up function. I'm honestly still impressed by wind up function in such a tiny car, even more so that it's actually working now, 20 years later.
The green car behind just had big wheels, which I guess goes for the monster truck on the left as well.
The vintage Americans in the front had shiny paint details, which I guess some kids preferred. Those of you who ever collected stickers or sport cards are probably familiar with this.
And finally, my favorite, the yellow car with the light-up function. Press the wheels down/in, and front and back lights would light up. I haven't dared to open them, to see if it's LED, a tiny light bulb, or some sort of magic.
I believe it's the latter, simply for the fact that it's still working. Don't believe me?
This toy impressed me as a kid. It blows my mind today.
So Micro Machines... Tiny vehicles, not at all in the same scale. As you can see in the pictures, the boats, planes and construction vehicles all have different scales.
Most of the cars are similar scaled, and they're just little bit bigger than model train scale N, which is 1:148. The planes are closer to 1/200, the boats even smaller.
Here's a comparison to an N-scale car (The white ambulance).
Here's a comparison to a 1/18 car.
And here's a comparison to a hazelnut, a coffee bean, green pepper and black pepper.
I think Micro Machines had some qualities that you didn't find in other toys. First of all they were just like a tiny version of Hot Wheels, with their wheels actually rolling. And as a kid, extreme sizes, either way, was a good thing. The amount of various styles and play features is also impressive.
Are the Micro Machines someone's favorite toys? Absolutely! But for some reason, as a toy collector, I have never come across someone who's really passionate about these small vehicles. In a different world, I could easily see myself having hundreds of these, because when I now have them in front of me, they do bring back both good memories and the joy of playing with quality toys.
Have a good weekend, people!