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Five Fun Matchbox Toys From Back in the Day

Growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s, Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars were a big part of my play time.  Both lines produced a lot of really fun cars and play sets, and here are just five of my favorites from the Matchbox side of things through the years.  Don’t worry, I’ll cover the Hot Wheels side of things at another time.

Matchbox Super Spin Car Wash

Super Spin Car Wash

After a long day of play in the dirt and mud of the hills around our house, a good car wash was just what the cars and trucks needed.  This car wash was kind of automatic…as in you had to get the car in the wash and then turn a crank and it would go all the way through.  It featured real water jets, a foam roller “scrub” brush, and a spin dry feature.  The perfect play set for getting all of your cars clean before packing them away for another day.

Matchbox Days of Thunder Cars From Hardees

Days of Thunder

In 1990, Jerry Bruckheimer’s Days of Thunder movie starring Tom Cruise hit theaters to a great reaction, and merchandise based on the movie started to flow.  One of the better pieces of merchandise to come along were the replica cars from Hardees based on the stock cars from the movie.  The five main cars featured in the movie were in the set, which allowed us younger viewers of the film to recreate all the action at home.

Matchbox Cars Based on the Code Red Television Show

Code Red

In 1981, CBS debuted the little remembered Code Red TV Show.  It featured Lorne Green as the Father of a firefighting family in Los Angeles, and the Chief of the one of the many stations in the city.  The show only lasted one season, but Matchbox produced a series of cars featuring the iconic vehicles from the show.  There were two fire trucks, the Chief’s car, motorcycle, fire boat, helicopter, ambulance, and police car.  As a kid whose Dad was a fireman, this set was one of my absolute favorite toys to play with in the 80’s.

Matchbox Connectables

Matchbox Connectables

One of the cooler concepts that came along in the 80’s toy landscape were these Connectables cars from Matchbox.  Each car was in at least two pieces, and connected in the middle.  This allowed you to interchange parts of different vehicles to create all new cars and trucks to play with.  There were also packs of other car parts available so you could even extend the new cars into total monstrosities if you wanted to!  You could make a big rig limo, or a drag car with tank treads!  With these cars, you could take your imagination and play to a whole other level.

Matchbox Trains

Matchbox Trains

Matchbox released a series of train cars in the early 80’s to go along with all of their already awesome car collection. There were various engines in different colors, along with box cars, passenger cars, flat cars, and cabooses.  The really fun aspect of this series was you could hook any of the cars to any of the other cars, meaning you could make many different configurations with varying train cars.  They weren’t exactly in scale with the rest of the line, as they were each about the size of one of their normal cars.  I used to love these things!  My brother and I would hook all of ours together and make an imaginary track all through the house.  We could get hours and hours of fun out of these trains.

So what about you?  Did you have any of these awesome Matchbox toys?  Did we leave out your favorite Matchbox toy?  Tell us in the comments!

Smurf Village

I ran across these Smurf villages on clearance at Toys R Us not too long ago. Each had been marked $5 off and I suspect the prices will go lower than that soon.

When I see toys like this in stores today I wonder if there is a market for them? My kids got their fill of small plastic toys from McDonald’s and Burger King. When I was their age I was into collecting action figures; they are more into electronic games already. I can’t imagine my kids being adults and having a shelf full of Smurfs in their computer room…

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…like their dad. ;)

Fisher Price Alpha Interceptor

Fisher Price Alpha Interceptor

I’ve been collection Fisher Price Adventure People for a few years now and this is the first boxed vehicle from that line that I have run across in the wild. I was initially excited when I saw the $14.99 price tag, but the contents were incomplete and the box was in pretty poor shape. This picture doesn’t relay the amount of duct tape that was used to hold it together, and although the ship and instructions were inside the box, the man was missing and the instructions (and possible the box) had sustained some water damage.

Since I already own a loose version of this ship I had to leave this one behind on the shelf, but finding something like this in the wild always gives me hope that I’ll find something else the next time!

(Ages 5-9, hah!)

Visiting the Toy and Action Figure Museum (Part Two)

Yesterday in Part One of visiting the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, I covered the Army Room, the Play Room, the Star Wars Room, the Batman Room, and the Super Hero Collection. In Part Two of the article, I’ll be covering the rest of what we saw.

In the middle of the museum are two rotating displays.

LEGOs and Roy Rogers

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The left hand side held a huge LEGO collection — mostly newer, but still fun to look at, and massive in size. On the right hand side sits a large collection of vintage Roy Rogers toys. Both of these displays are on loan and change from time to time.

Kyle Windrix Collection

Kyle Windrix is a “master sculptor” from Purcell, Oklahoma, who previously worked for McFarlane before moving to NECA. All of the figures seen below are prototypes for toys which were hand sculpted and painted by Windrix. They are a sight to behold in person, I assure you.

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Misc Displays

There are miscellaneous displays all over the museum — some in glass display cases, others perched on top of displays, even others hanging above from strings. I literally have 30 pictures of random things I took; here are five of them just to give you a taste.

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A collection of Hawkman figures.

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Random toys.

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Kiss collectibles.

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Random toys.

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Spider-Man is not impressed.

Believe it or not, I still haven’t shared my favorite part of the museum.

Behold, the Adult Collector’s Bedroom Diorama

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Wow. Just, wow.

The Adult Collector’s Bedroom Diorama is located just to your left when you enter the museum. Assuming you work your way through the museum in a clockwise fashion, you’ll see the bedroom twice — once from a few feet away when entering, and then up close and personal toward the end of your visit. Like many families I assume, my kids instantly ran to the display upon entering and had to be pried away from it so we could see the rest of the museum.

I don’t know how many of the museum’s 13,000 action figures are in this single display, but it’s a lot.

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I mean like, a lot.

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Like, a lotta lotta lot.

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And the funny thing is, the longer you look at it, the more funny things you begin to discover.

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Like Crash Test Dummies on the Millennium Falcon…

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…and two pair of boxers…

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…and “the concert”…

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…and Beetlejuice…

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…and the Ghostbusters.

I have literally dozens more great pictures to share, but instead I’ll encourage you to visit the Toy and Action Figure Museum and discover some of them on your own.

When you go, take a friend!

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And make sure you don’t leave any of your kids home alone!

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Okay, okay, I’ll stop.

Link: The Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.

Visiting the Toy and Action Figure Museum (Part One)

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Close your eyes and think of the word “Oklahoma.” What did you think of? Cowboys and Indians? Horses? Tumbleweed? Whatever image you conjured up, it probably wasn’t the Toy and Action Figure Museum. Located about an hour south of Oklahoma City in Paul’s Valley, the museum has over 13,000 toys and action figures on display. There are so many things to see there that it would be literally impossible for me to show everything there, but here are a few pictures from each of the museum’s themed rooms.

The Army Room

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The first room you’ll encounter is what I call the Army Room. These dioramas consist of Hasbro and Dragon 12″ military figures. These pictures only show a small section of the battlefield.

The Play Room

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The next area you’ll encounter is the kid’s play room. In this room there are toys, action figures, LEGOs, dolls, costumes, masks, and all kinds of things for kids to play with. My kids are getting a little old for this area so we didn’t spend too much time there, but there are certainly a lot of things to see and play with here.

The Star Wars Room

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These pictures don’t really do the Star Wars room service. On the right behind the glass there are a couple dozen carded figures — some new and some quite old. There are also lots of mail in figures from the old days and other things. Above this area on the wall there are tons of carded Star Wars figures from the 90s. Along the back wall are a dozen old framed newspaper advertisements from the late 70s/early 80s for toys and the movies themselves.

The Batman Room

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I took roughly a dozen pictures of this room and I’m still not sure I captured everything. Decorated like the Batcave, this room alone contains hundreds and hundreds of Batman action figures and collectibles, covering everything from the original television show to the latest movies. If you’re a Batman fan, this room alone is worth the cost of admission.

Super Heroes!

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If you don’t like your worlds mixing together, you’re in luck! Side by side there are two displays, one for DC action figures and another for Marvel ones. Just around the corner is a third display filled with female heroes. If things should go terrible in the universe, these are the displays you want to be standing near.

Want to see prototype action figures? Want to see tons of random displays? Want to see the most amazing bedroom you have ever seen in your life? Check back tomorrow for Part Two of my visit to the Toy and Action Figure Museum!