1979 Zylmex M*A*S*H Playsets

I rediscovered a box of military toys from my childhood a few years ago. At the time, I was really excited to have found three super-clean, old Matchbox models. Recently, I was reminded by an online post of the series of M*A*S*H vehicles that I had in that box. The long-running TV show was – and still is – a favorite of mine. So I found the box again and this time I photographed everything in it.

I couldn’t remember how the pieces were packaged. Fortunately I found a Zylmex fan site of which the following text and photo of the 1979 toy catalog page are courtesy:

First a celebrated movie, then and still a wildly popular TV show, and now, a best-selling toy model series.  All vehicles of die-cast metal with plastic parts. Super play value features include folding blades on Supply Helicopter, removable plastic canopy on Ambulance Truck, folding windshield and detachable trailer on jeep. Detailed, durable, injection molded plastic Playsets are based on actual settings found in the M*A*S*H TV Series. Combination of Vehicles and Playsets create a toy model series in constant demand.  Blister pack assortment, plus a Floor Display of distinctive design.

As you can see by the following photos, I have most of the series except for the Ambulance Truck and the Supply Helicopter.

T439 Ambulance Van with opening door

Rescue Copter and Helicopter Landing Pad Set.

T432 Jeep Car and Trailer

T431 Armored Half Track

Latrine Set

Field Hospital Set

I also had to photograph the box that all of these items have been stored in for years. The plastic model is long gone, but the box has survived in surprisingly good shape.

New Year’s Inventory

Someone asked me recently how many cars I had in my collection. The best guess I could come up with was “in the hundreds” but I wasn’t really sure. So I decided to spend part of New Year’s Day counting everything up. I keep updated lists, so it was mostly just a matter of counting and totaling the numbers. Or so I thought, until I realized how many items were not on my supposedly updated lists. After a few more days of inventorying, I came up with a total of 951 items.

I generally think of my collection as having three categories: Vintage, Novas and Impalas. But occasionally I can’t resist something that doesn’t really fit into any of these. I counted multi-car packs as single items and I did not include several buckets of cars that I have acquired over the years that I have deemed not worthy of my collection. These are the cars that my son and I use whenever we break out the Hot Wheels tracks.


397 Vintage
In my collection, “vintage” is very loosely defined. These 395 items include my childhood collection and a bunch of almost entirely loose cars with a focus on blackwall-era Hot Wheels. The oldest items would be a few late-1950s Lesney-era Matchbox cars, and I cheat the “blackwall era” with a few cars into the early 1990s.

I have 45 cars that I’ve managed to hold onto from my childhood. They include 18 Matchbox, 9 Hot Wheels, 7 Tomica Pocket Cars, 6 Husky, 4 Playart and a single Majorette.

The remaining 350 Vintage cars break down as follows:

Hot Wheels – 219
Matchbox – 53
Corgi – 14
Zylmex – 11
Yatming – 9
Racing Champions – 8
Majorette – 7
Road Champs – 4
Ertl – 4
Tomica – 4
Siku – 2
Summer – 2
Barclay – 1
Husky – 1
Kidco – 1
Playart – 1
Pit Row – 1
Tin Toys – 1
Unknown – 9


262 Impalas
When I first started picking up Impalas, I would take them out of the package and display them on a bookcase I had in my bachelor pad. Series like Jada’s Homie Rollerz and the Revell Lowrider Magazine cars encouraged me to start keeping them in the packages. Since Hot Wheels rolled out the ’59 Chevy Impala in 1997, there has been a steady stream of new Impala castings and variations, which puts the brand at the top of this list with 85 items.

Hot Wheels – 85
Johnny Lightning – 59
Revell – 22
Jada – 21
M2 Machines – 15
Greenlight – 14
Maisto – 11
Ertl – 6
Racing Champions – 6
Malibu International – 5
Motor Max – 4
Muscle Machines – 3
Auto World – 3
Disney – 3
Classic Metal Works – 1
Craft House – 1
Geospace – 1
Route 66 – 1
Unknown – 1


188 Novas
The 2004 release of the Hot Wheels 1968 Nova was an exciting moment for me as a collector. Hot Wheels now has a variety of Nova castings going back to the first-generation body style, so the brand is at the top of my Nova list with 85 items.

Hot Wheels – 85
Johnny Lightning – 38
M2 Machines – 27
Maisto – 10
Muscle Machines – 9
Jada – 7
Ertl – 5
Racing Champions – 3
Playing Mantis – 2
GMP – 1
Universal Hobbies – 1


104 Miscellaneous
The 90 items here include 10 Hot Wheels 30th Anniversary models from 1998, lots of Batmobiles, NASA-themed items including 3 Hot Wheels Action Packs, some 2005-2006 Hot Wheels Classics and a bunch of other odds and ends.

Hot Wheels – 78
Johnny Lightning – 5
Jada – 4
Matchbox – 4
Lledo – 2
Quartzo – 2
Revell – 2
Bauer – 1
Hormel Promo – 1
Maisto – 1
Upper Deck Collectibles – 1
Unknown – 2

My Collection by Brand
My collection is made up of at least 41 different brands. Being well-represented in all of my categories, the Hot Wheels brand dominates with 476 items. Johnny Lightning comes in second with 102, mostly due to the many Nova and Impala releases during the RC2 era. It’s interesting to note that Matchbox has never made a Nova and the only Impalas made in recent years are the eight-generation version which I have no interest in, yet the brand takes third place with 75 items in my vintage collection.

Hot Wheels – 476
Johnny Lightning – 102
Matchbox – 75
M2 Machines – 42
Jada – 31
Revell – 24
Maisto – 22
Quartzo – 2
Racing Champions – 18
Greenlight – 14
Corgi – 13
Tomica – 11
Zylmex – 11
Yatming – 9
Husky – 7
Majorette – 7
Ertl – 6
Malibu International – 5
Motor Max – 5
Playart – 5
Road Champs – 4
Disney – 3
Auto World – 3
Lledo – 2
Playing Mantis – 2
Siku – 2
Summer – 2
Barclay – 1
Bauer – 1
Classic Metal Works – 1
Craft House – 1
Geospace – 1
GMP – 1
Hormel Promo – 1
Kidco – 1
Pit Row – 1
Route 66 – 1
Tin Toys – 1
Upper Deck Collectibles – 1
Universal Hobbies – 1
Unknown – 12

1977 Formula 5000 and 1983 Turbo Streak

Here are a couple for you open-wheel racing fans. I picked up both of these from the same seller on eBay. The Hot Wheels Formula 5000 was released in 1976 wearing red-line tires but otherwise looking much the same as this blackwall version from a year later.

img_0225 img_02261977 | 9119 | Formula 5000 | white with red & blue trim | HK | blackwalls

The Hot Wheels Turbo streak was first released in 1983. There are other variations from that year without the words “elf” and “Michelin” on the orange, red and black tampo, as well as two others from 1983 with either gray or white real riders. This popular Indy Car has seen quite a few other variations up until 1998.

img_0223img_02241983 | 3914 | Turbo Streak | yellow w/orange, red, black, Michelin 7 elf trim | HK | blackwalls

An Unexpected Referral

I put a fair amount of time and effort into trying to drive traffic to my blog. WordPress provides daily stats and I look at them regularly to try to determine what’s working and what’s not. Sometimes what I find there is not what I would expect.

Yesterday, I noticed a couple of referrals that came from a website I did not recognize. I clicked on the link and found myself on a website called PaintRef.com. “Looking for automotive paint? What’s the name of a color? Remembering the first car you ever owned? These questions and more can be explored on PaintRef.com,” declares their homepage. So I gave it a try. It’s not the most attractive site around, but it’s easy to use and it houses an impressive collection of information, with a variety of ways to search. With a few clicks, I had the paint codes in a variety of brands for the Green Gold Metallic paint from my long gone 1973 Chevy Nova.

Probably the coolest feature is one that allows you to do an image search for vehicles with that particular paint. I especially enjoyed the photos I viewed of a Green Gold 1973 Chevy Nova SS (much nicer than mine ever was, by the way.) Which leads me to why I was getting referrals from this site. On a page for “Impact Yellow 1980 Dodge Truck,” the image search was pulling in photos of the Matchbox 1976 Dodge Cattle Truck from one of my earlier posts. Here’s the screen capture …

Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 10.09.30 PM

Now, this is probably not exactly what the guys at PaintRef.com had in mind, but I appreciate the traffic however I can get it. So click on over to PaintRef.com and check out their impressive database – and tell them I sent you.

Majorette Pickup Camper/Maintenance Truck

This is the only Majorette that I had in my childhood collection. It’s kind of a mystery what make it actually is (European?), but it’s fitting for me because my dad took us on many camping trips in a yellow pickup with a white camper shell. At some point I cut open the back door to the camper.

The fun thing about this toy, is that you can remove the camper shell and it turns into a maintenance truck!

IMG_7014.JPGIMG_7015.JPGIMG_7016.JPGIMG_7017.JPGMaintenance Pickup Truck with Camper Shell | yellow with white camper shell | made in France

Due to a comment below, I did a little research to figure out what make of truck this casting is based on. I’m still not sure, but seems that it is the pickup version of the Simca 1100. From Wikipedia:

Three LCV (light commercial vehicle) versions with van, pick-up truck and High Top Van bodystyles were also available. In France and most European markets these were sold as the “Simca 1100 Fourgonnette”. In the UK the high-roof van was called the Simca VF2 (short for “Voiture Fourgonnette”), and was sold from December 1972. The regular low-roof van was called the VF1, while an even higher roofed version introduced for 1978 became the VF3. The pick-up model arrived in December 1975. Commercial versions lasted until the spring of 1985, three years after the 1100 passenger car models had been removed from the market. In the United Kingdom, commercial models assumed the Dodge nameplate after 1976 and were called Talbots after 1979. The commercial models were sold as ‘Simca Fixaren’ (“the fixer”) in Sweden, where they were fitted with a 66 PS (49 kW) version of the 1.3 litre engine.

I borrowed a photo from the internet. Does it look the same to you?



Playart Cars

My childhood collection includes this selection of Playart cars. I believe I used to get these at Woolworth, where they were sold under the Peelers brand. They also retailed for about half the cost of a Hot Wheels model, so that would have appealed to my thrifty parents.

For me, there is only one Batmobile, and it’s the 1966 version that was built by George Barris based on the Lincoln Futura concept car. This one used to have little red figures inside, but they’re long gone from mine.

IMG_6908.JPG IMG_6909.JPG7100 | Batman Batmobile | black

The Playart fire truck is kind of a sad rip-off of the Hot Wheels Heavyweight series of trucks. I think the back of mine is held on by a generous application of Elmer’s glue, which you can even see in the photos.

IMG_7012.JPGIMG_7013.JPG7130 | Fire Truck | red with white ladder, chrome hoses

I need a couple of “hubcaps” for my Toyota 2000 GT.

IMG_7008.JPG IMG_7009.JPG7117 | Toyota 2000 GT | metallic green

IMG_7010.JPG IMG_7011.JPG1965 Ford Mustang convertible | orange with black convertible top

Tomica Pocket Cars

When I was a kid, Tomica die-cast models were sold in the U.S. as Pocket Cars, on a blister card made to look like the pocket of the denim jacket. Back then, I liked the Tomica cars for their realistic details and their opening doors. But these days I have to say they seem to lack a little bit of the soul of the Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars of the same time period. Still, I have some really nice examples from my childhood collection.

IMG_6912.JPG IMG_6913.JPGTomica | 1975 | | Toyota Crown | black and white with cherry | 1/65

IMG_6914.JPG IMG_6915.JPGTomica | 1976 | F2 | Cadillac | metallic pink | 1/77

IMG_6920.JPGIMG_6922.JPGTomica | 1976 | F6 | Rolls Royce Phantom VI | metallic champagne | 1/78

IMG_6925.JPG IMG_6926.JPGTomica | 1978 | F38 | Ford Mustang II Ghia | white with black top | 1/63

IMG_6916.JPG IMG_6917.JPGTomica | 1974 | 75  TV Bus | white and turquoise with TV Truck label | 1/122

IMG_6918.JPG IMG_6919.JPGTomica | 1976 | 16 | Nissan Diesel | red | 1/102

IMG_6923.JPG IMG_6924.JPGTomica | 1975 | Hino Semi Trailer | green cab, orange trailer (24 Panel Van)