- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Galoob Military Micro Machines
There are hordes of people out there who collect different interesting things. Usually every collection has it's own background story: how did a person start to collect the items, where did the idea come from, what were the first items in the collection and so on. I also collect things. Different things. And my collections also have their own stories. Today I would like to tell you a story about my collection of small, almost N-scale military vehicles and figurines. The Micro Machines. I will introduce you to that special micro world, make you familiar with it's history and provide you some photos, so you could see my collection from a closer angle.
So, ladies and gentlemen, get ready to enter "Honey I shrunk the machines" world!
What are these Micro Machines?
A brief overview.
Micro Machines: The Original Scale Miniatures - that's the full name of these little thingies. Because it's a quite long name, I will just use a shorter form "Micro Machines". Be careful not to confuse these with the production of other toy companies. Micro Machines that I am talking about were produced by Galoob (Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc.), a toy company that was the third largest toymaker in USA before being sold to Hasbro in 1999.
Micro Machines were a series of small model toys, featuring both model vehicles and small charcacters. Vehicles had an estimated scale of 1:152. There were also some larger playsets like military bases or space stations and structures, which all were compatible with vehicles and figurines.
There was a huge variety of different collections with themes ranging from ordinary civil or military vehicles to special cars and spaceships seen in movies like "Men In Black" or "Star Wars". These toys are also remarkable for a high level of details. I am concentrating on collecting military sets and I must admit that many vehicles featured in these sets look exactly like real combat machines.
Micro Machines were brought into production in mid 80s and were produced until the end of the 90s, when the company ceased to exist.
The idea behind Micro Machines was licensed from Clem Heeden, who was a toy inventor from Wisconsin.
I received my first set of Micro Machines in 1996, when I was six. I think it was my birthday and that set was a present. I was very happy with my new toys and from the first sight noticed, that these vehicles are not ordinary ones. Since then I was waiting for another set to be bought for me. Unfortunately Micro Machines were quite expensive for us, so I managed to get only one or two sets per year. The fact that these toys were quite rare for me made them even more special. I remember, that from all my friends I was the only one to have such models.
But all my good time with these incredible toys ended suddenly.
One day, when preparing myself for kindergarten, I decided to take these toys with me. It was all good, until we had to go day dreaming. I left my toys in my locker, planning to take them from here later. In the evening, when mother came to take me away from the kindergarten, I opened my locker and was shocked: my Micro Machines were stolen!
Today, I still don't know, who was responsible for that, but I know that it was also my fault to leave them unprotected in a locker.
Anyway, years passed by and soon I forgot about that loss. I think that some year or two ago I was wandering around the eBay, looking for interesting things. To my biggest surprise, I stumbled upon the Micro Machines!
The sets on sale weren't exactly the ones that I used to possess. Still, it sparked a fire inside me and I decided that I must get some of them.
I didn't have a credit card nor could I make a direct transfer to my PayPal account. I started to attempt to earn money online and soon I had enough to buy my first set. That's how it started.
Today my collection is significantly larger than it used to be a year ago and I am not planning to quit.
Infantry - Take a closer look.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Combat Machines - Pay attention to details.Click thumbnail to view full-size
The biography of a great company.
The story of Galoob.
When the production of Micro Machines started, there were only several sets released in the first year. During the following years, many changes and developments were made, new types of vehicles were included and the number of sets grew to 50 collections per year. However, things weren't going well all the time. There are claims that in the beginning of the 90s Galoob was very close to it's end. The company was on the edge of the bankruptcy and something had to be done to avoid collapsing. Many exciting new collections were created, there were completely new types of vehicles, some featured sounds and an option to see inside the vehicle. These innovations allowed Galoob to get out of that money trap and start to blossom once again.
Upcoming years brought more and more new, different collections.
The fairytale ended in 1999, when Galoob was bought by Hasbro. A new owner decided to discontinue the previous production. Vehicles were simplified and received a bright paintwork in order to be more attractive for small kids. It all resulted in loss of realistic design: why the hell should a tank be painted pink? In order to move unseen in a Disneyland?
It marked the end of these good old Micro Machines.
Micro Machines today.
As I mentioned, Micro Machines are no longer produced. There were some attempts to revive the previous series, but these didn't achieve any major success.
However, there are still lots and lots of sets available on eBay and Amazon. It seems, that Micro Machines have become the collector's items. A price for a set can vary greatly: on Amazon it may cost like 40$, but if you're lucky enough, you may find the same collection on eBay for 10$. It all depends on what collection you are looking for. There are sets which can rarely be found anywhere online, so the price asked for them can sometimes be quite shocking.
You may also find a plenty of different machines or characters sold loosely, that means they are not mint in a package. These usually cost much less, than complete sets. The negative side of loose items is that paint, which they are covered with, gets worn off quite fast. It's also quite hard to piece out the complete collections when buying items loosely. That's why I prefer to purchase complete sets.
You and Micro Machines
How well do you know 'em?
Micro Machines for sale on Amazon!
There is a huge variety of sets available on the web, check out some of them here.