Collecting Toys Magazine: February 1996 Issue

1996 Nostalgia. Who can resist it? We are ready again to revisit the days of our youth and remember the carefree days when the worst problem we faced was which toy to play with! In this post you will find another issue of Collecting Toys Magazine.

I was reunited with more of my old toys as I turned the pages of this issue of Collecting Toys:

Toys Cover 96

Slot Cars Rule!

Let’s have a look at some of the contents of this issue from 1996:

Toys New Stuff

What’s New?

From an Extreme G.I. Joe action figure to the superhero The Tick, 1996 was ready to kick some serious butt! And there were diecast model cars, too!

Toys Bond

Bond. James Bond.

“No, Mister Bond. I expect you to DIE!” Sorry, I just had to add one of my favorite Bond villain quotes from the Sean Connery days (bonus points if you know the Bond film this is from). Although I have to say that Pierce Brosnan is probably my second-favorite Bond! And he was trending in 1996.

Toys Action Figures

Action Figures

Don’t call them ‘dolls’ or Batman will beat you up! I had a few characters from this line, but I remember Spiderman the most. I also had The Lone Ranger and Tonto and Evel Knievel, complete with stunt bike! Man, I miss those toys.

And if you feel boys can play with dolls, not just action figures, check out this newer product called the Wonder Crew that I reviewed from the Chicago Toy Fair.

Toys Soldiers

Toy Soldiers

I had dozens of the traditional green toy soldiers but had never seen these Blue and the Gray versions. Must have been an American thing.

Toys Show

Antique Toy Show

Toy shows and Antique fairs are amazing places to visit! I zeroed in on this one because of the monster in the bottom right corner. We have Super 8 footage of this guy rolling around our living room back when my sister and I were quite young. This battery-operated toy was the Great Garloo by Marx and measured in at a whopping 23″ tall! The 1960’s were all about the science fiction monsters.

Toys Zoo

Zoo. In. Spaaaaaaaaaace!

Where else would you put a zoo that had metal animals? Think this sparking dog is weird? Just try to imagine the whale and the elephant!

So there we have a look back into the toys of our past. I hope you enjoyed some nostalgic moments!

Collecting Toys Magazine: February 1995 Issue

1995 Nostalgia. Who can resist it? We all love to revisit the days of our youth and remember the carefree days when the worst problem we faced was which toy to play with! Collecting Toys Magazine is a great source to find those old toys we loved so much but parted with as we grew older.

I was reunited with some of my old toys as I turned the pages of this issue of Collecting Toys:

Collecting Toys Cover 95

Japanese Robots

What I like about finding these vintage magazines is the wealth of relevant information they still contain. From manufacturing information to variants to seeing the collections of others, the only information not relevant is the values. But even outdated values can be interesting!

Let’s have a look at some of the contents of this issue from 1995:

Collecting Toys New Stuff

What’s New?

This spread is fun because it shows what was new in 1995, over 20 years ago. New then, vintage now!

Collecting Toys 3 Wheeler

Three-Wheeled & Ready to Roll

My family is originally from England so vehicles like this have a soft spot in my heart. European cities traditionally have narrow streets so 3-wheeled vehicles like this model are very common. This model is of a truck produced in Japan, where they have the same problem. I wish I had one here in Canada! A real one and a model.

Collecting Toys Robot


Can we just agree that Japanese metal robot toys are about the coolest toys in creation?!? Although plentiful, these toys still command a high price from collectors!

Collecting Toys Rollercoaster

1930’s Chein Roller Coaster

This is a good example of how manufacturers worked in the past. They would have one style of toy and simply stamp different characters or scenes onto it to make a new toy. So this roller coaster (above) is identical to the one I have, except mine has a Disney theme. Check the version I have by clinking the link here.

Collecting Toys Soccer

Soccer or Football?

Either way, this game by Subbuteo scored big with kids of all ages. You played with your fingers and could choose from multiple teams, just like the standard table hockey games.

Collecting Toys Hot Wheels


No toy collecting magazine would be complete without a spread about Hotwheels, perhaps the most famous slot racing company around. If you were a boy in the 1980’s you had dozens of these little metal cars!

Collecting Toys Pee Puppy

Please Control Yourself!

It’s bad enough to have a real puppy wetting all over the house, I can’t imagine a parent buying a child a fake puppy to water the remaining dry areas of the family home! Each to his or her own, I guess. And I really didn’t need to see where the pee comes out!

So there we have a look back into the toys of our past. I hope you enjoyed some nostalgic moments!

Handmade Pop Bottle Doll with Dress

Back in 1977 I was twelve years old and very shy. I hated being in groups and had problems fitting in. So you can imagine how I felt when my teacher announced that every student was required to pick from a selection of craft-based group activities as an extra class. The list was diverse, and although I can’t quite remember them all, most had to do with handmade efforts. One was guitar lessons, but you had to have your own guitar. I didn’t.

I had a friend who was of like mind and interest, so we decided to choose the most unlikely activity: Handmade Dolls! It was close to Mother’s Day and we thought it would make a nice gift. So we two boys and a room full of girls (!!!) started sewing and stitching, and I eventually came out with this:

Handmade Doll Front

 I thought she was cute!

She used to have a little bonnet but it has since been lost. She is now 40 years old and looking a bit faded.

Handmade Doll Back

Not to brag, but I do remember the teacher saying that I was one of the best students and I remember helping many of the girls with their stitching. Where that came from I can’t imagine!

This doll was made using a large pop bottle as a base. I think I used a Pepsi or Coke bottle. The bottle was filled with sand to weigh it down and keep it from tipping over. A cloth sock was pulled over the bottle as well as the Styrofoam ball which was used for the head.

Handmade Doll Sleeve

The cloth was cotton:

Handmade Doll Cotton

Here is a closer look at my fine-stitched hemline:

Handmade Doll Hem

Still holding after all this time!

My mother taped a note on the bottom to remind her of when the doll was made:

Handmade Doll Bottom

My mother is now suffering the early effects of  Alzheimer’s disease and has forgotten all about the doll made by her son so long ago. It used to be displayed in her kitchen but I recently found it on the floor in a corner as I was helping my parents pack for their recent move. My mother looked at it without recognition and asked if I’d like to have it.

Handmade Doll Profile

She’s still smiling!

I reclaimed it as a memento to remember the better times and it now belongs to my wife.

I’m glad I was able to go against character way back when and produce this wonderful keepsake!

Chicago Toy & Game Fair Exhibitors: Wonder Crew

Chicago Toy & Game Fair: Navy Pier – November 19th, 2016

Dolls for boys. This is a statement that might cause some (men) to wonder. After all, aren’t dolls for girls? Well, consider this: has your son ever borrowed his sister’s dolls to play out some action scenario or other? Probably. But every ‘doll’ made for boys is called an ‘action figure’ and comes in smaller sizes, usually under 12″ tall. But why can’t boys have bigger ‘action figures’ to play with? Now they can with the Wonder Crew, Adventure Through Friendship! line of toys:


This is a brand new line of dolls that will soon be available in Target stores throughout the U.S. with plans for a Toys-R-Us launch later on, perhaps in Canada as well.

chicago-toy-fair-2016-031          chicago-toy-fair-2016-032


This line comes in four different ethnicities: Caucasian; African-American; Oriental; and East Indian (or perhaps Latino, I can’t quite remember). They only had the two versions shown above at the Toy Fair.

Crewmates combine the adventure of an action figure with the emotional connection of the favorite stuffed animal.


Striking a heroic pose!

Studies show that strong relationships and the ability to connect emotionally are key to happiness, health and even career success. Yet toys that encourage friendship and empathy are largely marketed to girls – sending the message to many boys that this kind of play is not for them.


Suit up!

Included with each Crewmate is a child-sized matching piece of adventure gear. When children suit up alongside their Crewmate, this not only adds to the crew-like vibe, but also deepens the imaginative play experience.

chicago-toy-fair-2016-036          ctf-1


Nice packaging and detailing

We only saw examples of the superhero crew members, but eventually boys (and girls too) will be able to choose other adventure buddies, such as a rock star, a builder, a dinosaur guy, and a dreamer.


Crewmates are for the kind, cool and creative child – that’s what it takes to live the company’s motto: “Go anywhere. Be anything”. If you’d like to go somewhere and do something, why not click on over to their official website for more information and a few videos, as well as a further link to their blog.

I wasn’t given a Wonder Crew buddy for this review. My wife says I’m too old to play with dolls.

Toy & Game Fair Exhibitors

Baby Paper

Berg Pedal Karts

Star Wars 501st Legion

Developmental Media Lab

Radio Flyer – Tesla Model S

Wonder Crew

Code & Go Robot Mouse

Disney Store Rapunzel Deluxe Feature 16" Doll

My wife and I have been eying this next collectible at The Disney Store for a while now and just finally gave in to the temptation and paid the price to make her our own.


Disney promotional image

This is a nice line of 16″ singing Princess dolls that caught our attention with the beautiful packaging:

rapunzel-from-disney-store-001     rapunzel-from-disney-store-002     rapunzel-from-disney-store-003

Front, side, and back

When on the shelve and obviously still in the box, the packaging has a demonstration mode whereby Rapunzel sings two lines of one of her signature songs ‘I See the Light’. To activate this mode you simply open the front flap of the box. Due to a wire connection, the magic begins:

rapunzel-from-disney-store-018     rapunzel-from-disney-store-019


Lantern and hair light up

Once out of the box, you simply place the lantern over Rapunzel’s hand for a fuller version of the song. The level of detail is quite good, making this doll a truly lovely display piece:

rapunzel-from-disney-store-005     rapunzel-from-disney-store-006

Most dolls I see fail to get the face right, but this release nails Rapunzel’s expressive eyes:


Below I have included the official information from Disney about this doll.

The Spiel:

Shine a light on any Tangled collection when revealing this stunning Rapunzel Deluxe Doll to surprise all with her beautiful sculpturing, detailed costume and special play features. Rapunzel’s hair and lantern light up as she sings

The Cosmetic Details:

  • Place lantern on Rapunzel’s hand to see her hair and lantern light-up while she sings
  • Detailed costume
  • Glitter accents
  • Braided, rooted hair with golden strands
  • Includes lantern accessory
  • Comes in collector’s display box with satin carry strap
  • Part of the Disney Princess Deluxe Feature Doll Collection

The Technical Details:

  • Ages 3+
  • Requires 5 x LR44/AG13 button cell batteries, included
  • Plastic / polyester
  • Doll: 16” H
  • Imported

We are undecided as to whether we will let Rapunzel out of her tower (box, actually) so for now she will have to await our decision inside her new cardboard and plastic prison. She does not come with a display stand which is a major omission for such an expensive show doll.

This was released in 2015 and sells currently for around $60.00 CAN. Ariel (The Little Mermaid) and Elsa (Frozen) are also available.

Disney Animators' Collection Lilo Doll

I’ve been looking at this merchandise line for some time but haven’t found a character that I truly liked. The Kristoff doll from Frozen came close but I just hate that movie so much I couldn’t bring myself to buy him!

But before we go much further, what exactly is the Disney Animator’s Collection? From the back of the packaging: “Celebrating the heritage of Disney animation with the Disney animators’ collection, created under the guidance of Disney’s most renowned animators and designers, these young renditions of your favorite characters are brought to life with creativity and imagination.

But at a local Disney Store I finally found the one character that I think looks the best with this treatment:


This doll was designed by Byron Howard who worked on Pocahontas, Mulan, Brother Bear, and of course, Lilo & Stitch.

animators-collection-lilo-004               animators-collection-lilo-006

The packaging for this merchandise line is quite good. The character studies around the box are nice and the information on the back fully explains the intent of the product.


These dolls all have the same body with legs that will bend at the hips for a sitting position, arms that pivot at the shoulders, and a head that turns. The only thing different between the dolls is the head sculpt, hair, and costuming.

animators-collection-lilo-008  animators-collection-lilo-009  animators-collection-lilo-010

Lilo’s flip-flops come off as does her satchel. Her homemade dolly Scrump can be carried in the satchel or put on her wrist using a strap attached to the back. Of all the dolls in this series, I think the expression on Lilo’s face best represents the character.

The Disney Animators’ Collection line sells for $24.95 US or $26.95 CAN. This line has been available for some time and I don’t think it’s doing too well. There is always a good selection available at The Disney Store whenever I go which tells me they aren’t flying off the shelves!

FUN FACT: I noticed another doll for sale at The Disney Store which was from the up-coming animated feature Moana. The doll may have been a child version of the main female character herself, Moana. The interesting thing was that the body of the doll was identical to the ones used for the Disney Animators’ Collection line and the packaging was identical in shape but with different graphics.

So why didn’t Disney just release this doll as part of the Animators’ line?

Disney Babies in Dreamland Collection by Ashton-Drake

Karen and I have finally decided to adopt a little boy! We held off for many years because we didn’t want the disruption of our lifestyle and/or dirty diapers. But we think we have finally found a way to have the best of both worlds:

Disney Babies Goofy 4

Shhh, we finally got him to sleep!

This line of Disney-related dolls was released between 1998 and 2001. I don’t know the exact number of babies in the batch but I do know that dolls with Mickey and Minnie were released in 1998, dolls with Goofy (shown in this post), Donald, Daisy, and Pluto were released in 1999.

Disney Babies Goofy 5          Disney Babies Goofy 6

This series of dolls was released by the Ashton-Drake Galleries. Here is what the official website has to say about their products today: Dolls, dolls and more dolls! The Ashton-Drake Galleries Online offers a wide selection of unique and exclusive collectible dolls – each one created with exquisite care, expert craftsmanship and quality that is unparalleled. Showcasing the work of Master Doll Artists like Linda Webb, Waltraud Hanl, Cheryl Hill and Linda Murray, these beautiful babies are second to none!

Featuring a dazzling selection of collectible baby dolls, child dolls, fantasy dolls portrait dolls and even monkey dolls, you’re sure to find a doll that captures your heart. When you shop our unique gallery of collectible dolls, prepare to experience beautiful originality, exquisite details and expertly tailored costuming. You’ll find adorable NFL dolls that celebrate your favorite football team in style and Disney dolls that bring you the enchantment of their beloved tales through superb hand craftsmanship. There are so many dolls to choose from and they are sure to warm your heart, which ones will have a forever home with you?

Disney Babies Goofy 7          Disney Babies Goofy 8

The artist that designed the dolls for the Disney Babies in Dreamland collection was Yolanda Bello. Yolanda Bello was born in Caracas, Venezuela and moved to the US at the age of 14. Although lacking in formal training, Bello began sculpting dolls in the late 1970s and won the DOTY prize for doll design in both 1985 and 1986. After producing a small number of her own dolls, Bello was recruited by US doll manufacturers Ashton-Drake and Knowles. She founded and is the president of Chicago-based Bello Creations, a specialist doll producer.

The Disney Babies in Dreamland dolls came with a receiving blanket and a small version of a Disney character wearing a bib with his or her name on it:

Disney Babies Goofy 1

Disney Babies Goofy 2     Disney Babies Goofy 3

Baby Goofy

 Notice baby Goofy has only one of his teeth. Too cute! Value on these dolls is between $10 and $20 at auction, but you will see them for sale on sites like eBay for anywhere between $75 and $100 or more.

FUNNY STORY: My wife and I love children but have decided not to have any of our own. But just to make sure my wife maintains that resolve I have threatened that if we have any children, I would name a boy Hebrew (Heb for short) or a girl Aramaic. These are two of the three main languages that the Bible was originally written in.

What has really succeeded in keeping my wife with the baby-free program is the thought of having a son named Heb! 26 years of marriage and not a diaper in sight!

Disney Plush Dolls

I found these three Princesses at a charity discount store:

Doll China Jasmine +     I think Jasmine must have convinced them to mingle with the common folk…

Doll China Snow White +     Doll China Belle +

Snow White and Belle

For a young girl who is prone to run into scary-looking forests and another who is tired of the Provincial life, a trip to a discount store must have been an irresistable temptation!

I liked the simplified design of these dolls and was disappointed that I couldn’t find any other Princesses. Love the ballerina feet! Oh well, maybe if I wander aimlessly through a forest, I might find them. Hey, it worked for Prince Charming!

McDonalds Disney Dolls

Who remembers when Disney and McDonalds was getting along? That merchandising arrangement brought us some awesome Happy Meal toys! The ones I’m going to share with you today are fairly common and can be found in yard sales and stores selling used toys and collectibles.

McD Toys Set Mickey  B boy +     McD Toys Set Minnie B girl +

African-American versions

McD Toys Set Mickey  W boy +     McD Toys Set Minnie W girl +

Caucasian versions

At first I thought it was nice and appropriate that Disney/McDonalds offered both skin colors until I noticed something: The faces are the same on both male dolls and both female dolls. All they did was take the Caucasian dolls and paint them brown, paint the eyes darker, and swap out the wig to create the African-American dolls.

So kudos for trying to add ethnic diversity to the toy line-up, but a fail for the execution!

And while I’m being critical, where’s the Asian and Hispanic versions? First Nations? East Indian? Or the most exotic of all: Canadian? I guess we’ll just have to call this a good start and hope for more diversity later!

Do you think Disney is doing enough to represent the peoples of the world?

Crazy and Creepy Disney

Not the two adjectives one would usually attach to the noun: Disney. But if you’ve learned anything from following this blog, it’s that I’ll attach anything to anything! So today, I give you just some of the crazy and/or creepy things you might encounter around Walt Disney World:

Crazy Eyes     With an expression like that, you’ve got to be crazy!

Streetmosphere at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is among the best throughout the entire World, and this performer definitely knows how to sell her character.

Merchandise     Magic 167 +     ???

Are they kidding us with this pair of Mickey and Minnie doll children? These have got to be the creepiest dolls ever produced, just behind Chucky!

It’s crazy, but Bruce realizes that Karen is food     Karen Is Food

No one should leave Epcot without first being ‘swallowed’ by Bruce, the Shark from Finding Nemo. Just visit the Living Seas and join Bruce for lunch.

Zany Us     Still at Epcot? Go to Innovations and make yourself creepy!

What’s wrong with Goofy?     Too Happy     He’s just too happy!

No one does crazy quite like Goofy! Everyone’s favorite anamorphic dog can go from brain-dead to zany in one second flat and then say something surprisingly lucid seconds before a Heyuk. Now that’s crazy!

The Mad Hatter. Creepy. Me as the Mad Hatter. Creepier.     Mad Lee

While we’re in Wonderland, let’s conclude this post with one of the craziest characters Disney ever put on-screen: