Sunday, October 31, 2021

[YouTube] Tomy Art Sets

Back in 2017 I tried to jam all of my Tomy items into one video but it turns out I have a few more, including three art sets from the late '70s/early '80s. Being Halloween, the primary focus in the video is on the Mighty Men & Monster Maker set. This one was my toy when I was a kid along with the much smaller van set, whereas Fashion Plates was my sister's and I'm not sure I ever used it until I did for this video post. All three sets work the same way: mix and match plastic plates, put a piece of paper on top of them, and then rub a special crayon over the plates to create an image. Images can be colored with the pencils that were included in the larger sets or kids can use any other art supplies. The backs of some plates contain patterns that can add more detail to a creation during the coloring phase, such as scales on a monster's skin or a floral design on an article of clothing.

The Mighty Men & Monster Maker (1979) features a total of 18 plates with head, upper body, and lower body parts to select from. As the name suggests you can make monsters but also "mighty men" which are basically superhero types. Of course, since parts can be mixed users can place a human head on a lizard body or a monster head on a Superman-like body. Parts cannot easily be mixed between sets, however, as they are all different sizes. Fashion Plates (1978) offers 15 plates, and it has both individual head and upper body plates as well as combined head and upper body pieces to match with a lower body plate. 

Little Van Goes is a miniature set and I'm unsure of the year as I could not locate a copyright on the box or toy. The box still has a price on it so we can see it originally retailed for $4.95 at Service Merchandise and was discounted to $3.27 at the time of purchase. This set is about creating passenger vans by combining front, middle, and rear plates that are stored in a removeable tray. I'm wondering if Tomy chose the name to state that children who play with this are getting their start to become an artist like Van Gogh, or maybe not. 

Looking around eBay I found a few other related items. Tomy made a Fashion Plates add-on kit simply titled More Fashion Plates, a 1987 edition of Fashion Plates, another fashion related toy for making paper dolls called Kimberly Kut-Outs, and a greeting card set called Great Greetings. There is also Hot Styles Fashion Plates (1992) from Hasbro and five years ago Kahootz released Fashion Plates and Action Plates which are nearly identical to Tomy's. I'd guess that Hasbro worked with Tomy to bring new versions to the U.S. but I've no idea if Kahootz officially licensed anything. It might have copied the idea and made its own original plates or purchased the rights as it did bring back Spirograph and Lite-Brite in the last decade as well.

For the phots and scans you'll see I am missing the pencil box (and most pencils) for Fashion Plates and only have documentation for the Mighty Men & Monster Maker set. The box for Fashion Plates is a mess too as it spent a lot of time in a basement which shows. I was pressed for time and did a rush job on coloring so the images I made are sloppy but I at least wanted to provide some examples outside of the video.

Mighty Men & Monster Maker

Fashion Plates

Little Van Goes

Created in the Video

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