Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Safari Ltd No. 10145 Ice Dragon

As Billy DeWolfe used to say, "Busy, busy, busy!" As you know I re-engaged scanning the family photos starting with those from 1978. It's been two weeks and I'm less than halfway through with that year! Oh brother. :-)

Okay, that being said I do have more really cool MPC toys and sets coming down the pike but it's gonna take time to photograph and edit them. In the meantime lets take a break from MPC to check out this creature from Safari Ltd, the No 10145 Ice Dragon. It has got to be one of the coolest sculpts I've seen - at least it's become a favorite of mine. Those translucent wings are a terrific touch and he looks as mean as can be! Safari dragons are great because they can be comfortably used alongside figures ranging in size from about 45mm to 60mm or so. And another benefit is that they don't break when dropped like cold cast resin ones do! This critter measures 5 3/4" (14.60cm) L x 3 5/8" (9.20cm) W x 4 3/4" (12.06cm) H. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Super Everything Moon and Other Cool Pics by Bettina

I meant to post these last week but...Anywho. The Super Bloody Wolf Eclipse Moon (referred to by several people as 'The Everything Moon') last week was a real bear to photograph here in the Las Vegas Valley as we had overcast skies, but Bettina did manage to get some shots as the clouds would clear every so often. With the clouds came some nice opportunities for pic sky pics. It was also pretty cold here in the Valley (for Las Vegas that is) with temps at around 32°F waking up in the morning and that meant snow in the mountains. Mt Charleston was blanketed with snow as you can see in Bettina's pic. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Putting It All Together: MPC's Iconic 1960s Giant Set U.S. Armed Forces Battle Front Playset No. 3002

Back on 7 Dec 2018 when I started this series of MPC military toys from the 1960's it occurred to me after the first few posts that I was putting the cart before the horse. Instead of presenting the set box and contents and then detailing them in following posts, I did it the other way around! Oh well. Either way works and maybe that's nice way to build up the suspense ("What's this guy up to anyway?").

I'm going to go out on a limb and say MPC's Battle Front playset was probably their most popular military playset. Coming out around 1963-ish, it seems to have been common enough that soooo many people remember it and it contained enough action toys and figures to make it an instant classic. Unfortunately, MPC as a whole has taken a backseat in the collecting community. It has become - as one noted collector has stated - the Rodney Dangerfield of the collecting community ("I get no respect."). Unlike Marx or T. Cohn, it's not likely you'll see mint-in-box unopened sets being featured in 'grand unboxing' videos. BUT WE'RE WAITING! COME ON COLLECTOR'S THERE'S GOTTA BE SOME UNOPENED SETS OUT THERE SOMEWHERE! It's for that reason that trying to pin down exact set contents is a real bear. The big stuff included in the set is easy - they're listed on the box cover. But those nitnoy little pieces aren't, so please take this post with a grain of salt. I had this set as a kid and that was a one of the driving factors in me starting to collect and post MPC but don't ask me to remember set contents from a toy I had 50+ years ago! What you see here today is a 'best guess' based on years of observation of playset sales and accompanying photos. Unfortunately sooo many of these sets were picked over, added to, taken from, and otherwise bastardized that it's been really hard to figure out exactly what was going on back in the day. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina

Okay, the set box proclaims the U.S. Forces Battle Front Giant Set (notice 'Battle Front' is two separate words, not one as in Battlefront) as:


MPC utilized stylized art in many of its box covers vs. using photo boxes. While the artwork is awesome on an artsy level it sucks when trying to pin down what's actually inside the box!

Set Contents as listed on the set box:
-Exploding Bridge
-Missile Carrier
-Shooting Cannon (which of course included a sprue of shells)
-Personnel Carrier
-2 Jeeps and Canopy (1 canopy only)
-Army Truck
-Tents ('Tents' = plural: two each) (only one tent shown on box art but two tents was typical for MPC playsets)
-Barbed Wire Fences (x 4 Again, not shown on the box art but 4 fence pieces per set was also a typical piece count for MPC sets.)
-Drivers x 4 (I make out 4 sitting figures in the box art, maybe a fifth one - hard to tell with that artwork)
-Soldiers and Accessories (I make out 10 soldiers depicted on the box art in various poses.)
       NOTE: The figures included with this set were Ringhands and Ringhands only, 
not the standard one piece casting figures found in other sets

Not listed on set box:
-Instruction Sheet No. 3002

-American Flag (this was a standard feature of MPC and Marx military playsets and was most likely included in this set)
-2 blue Stretchers (a big 'maybe' here but I include them awaiting verification

My box had homemade dividers. These are missing most of the time. Actually, they tend to be missing in most playsets, regardless of manufacturer.

This picture shows what I received in my set when I bought it from a gentleman who claimed to have had it for many years. Those blue stretchers came with my set but I need to verify if they were actually a part of the set contents

The drivers included were the 'peg butt' style

These are representative poses and right now it's impossible to determine the type and quantity of any given pose in this set

(one of these days I'm gonna have to get an OD version of this guy!)

As noted in a previous post, the belt on the left is actually Andy Gard, the one on the right is MPC. Also, some of the accouterments may be Andy Gard or possibly Marx

This extract from the instruction sheet helps pin down what type of ringhand accessories came with the set

I'm about 99% certain a flag was included in this set as it was a standard feature in MPC and Marx sets

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

MPC Ringhand Modern Military Accessory group

I started to post this last week but after trying to verify which accessories were or were not actually MPC I kinda gave up. MPC has become the Rodney Dangerfield ("I get no respect") of the playset collecting hobby and there doesn't appear to have been much done in regards to researching them except by Kent Owen Sprecher of the Toy Soldier HQ. Except for the larger set pieces, it's been next to impossible to pin down the type and quantity of the smaller accessories. I've been a charter subscriber to Playset Magazine and there have been no reviews of the large playsets. They've done a few reviews and have had a few pictures posted of some of MPC's window box displays as well as some Western stuff but the large military playsets haven't seen any coverage. I don't want to say they've been ignored, but rather, it may be a case that there are no MIB sets waiting to be opened. It's those MIB sets that would give collector's a clue as to exact figure and accessory counts.

Today, at the very least, we'll show you a sampling of what may have come with those ringhand figures.  Now, just so that we are all on the same page there are a couple of caveats. What you see in the photos may be Andy Gard. Andy Gard used the same mold maker as MPC and their vehicles and accessories were very similar in appearance. So far, I know of only one item in the photos which is for sure Andy Gard. Also, some may even be Marx as part of their battlefield accessories. So take this post with a grain of salt. I do know that as a kid growing up and having a bunch of MPC that there were in fact quite a few accessories. It was a relatively inexpensive way for a toy company to 'up' the piece count in their playsets. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina

Okay, literally like three minutes ago just after wrapping up this post I took a look at the instruction sheet for MPC's Battle Front playset and right there on the front page was a picture of the accessory sprue for the ringhands!!

Weapons offered in various sets were:
Browning Automatic Rifle (B.A.R.) with bi-pod
Browning Automatic Rifle (B.A.R.) without bi-pod (perhaps Andy Gard or Marx)
M-1 Garand Rifle
1903 Springfield Rifle
M-1 Carbine
M3 Submachine Gun (aka "Grease Gun")
Colt.45 pistol with plain grip
Colt .45 pistol with nubby grip

The life vest on the left is Andy Gard, The one on the right is MPC.
The vests are actually life preservers but kids simply used them as bullet proof vests.

A variety of belts

There were two different holster belts in my stash: a short holster and long holster version, perhaps one is Andy Gard or Marx

I also had two different canteen belts

This belt has a long ammo clip pouch but I've seen another belt with a shorter clip pouch

These belts were odd in that they were a 2-part split belt design
The belt in the middle I suspect may be Andy Gard as it has the simulated eyelets

There are two distinct Colt .45 pistols: one with plain grip, one with a nubby grip. One may be Andy Gard

I also have two distinct Browning Automatic Rifle (B.A.R.) versions: one with removable bi-pod, one without. I believe the one with removable bi-pod is MPC original

Mi Garand Rifle

 1903 Springfield

M1 Carbine

 M3A1 Grease Gun

Last but not least, an American flag with two different colored bases. I should have posted this along with the other accessories but had to find where I put the thing and then take pics.