Friday, June 24, 2016

1970 Topps Mini Model Cars

In 1970 (and, evidently in 1971), someone at Topps came up with the idea to package mini plastic model cars and sell them for a dime per pack. The wrapper is made of paper that reminds me of lunch bag paper when I was a kid. It features the 70's Topps logo on a red background and "Mini Model Cars" in all-caps in red lettering on a yellow background. There is a drawn race car on a blue background. From what I have seen, the '70 version is a darker blue and the '71 version is a lighter blue. I believe I have the 1970 version. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong. Other text includes "Genuine Scale Racing Car," "Contents: 1 Model Car," and the 10-cent price - Each of these in in all-caps.

The back of the wrapper shows you how to put the car together. Comparing the instructions with the model pieces (below), I believe the instructions skipped over a few details.

Inside the pack, we find a collector's card. Mine features a colorful puzzle piece on which appears to be a glass of red liquid, two fountain dispensers, and the fin/taillights of a car.

The back of the card reads: "No. 9 in a series of 12 'Soda Fountain Car' cards" There is copyright T.C.G. and "Made in Hong Kong" as well.

The model itself is TINY. It is as tall as a standard baseball card, but much narrower. The parts are attached to a frame akin to Revell sets. It would not surprise me if Revell didn't have something to do with these. You cannot tell in the photo, but mine has a raised "28" on the hood in old school "caty-corner" style. That is to say, the number sits on a diagonal across the hood. It is completely white.

And, like most model cars, putting this one together requires removing the pieces from the frame, lining them up, then snapping them together. No glue required. The engine (the 2nd piece from the left at bottom of photo above) was the hardest part. Since the instructions were lacking, it took me a few tries to figure out just where it went (because I thought it was a dashboard at first) and then just what the orientation was. Even with that figured out, getting humpty dumpty together took a bit of "encouragement." The wheels are weird. The hubs that hold the wheels on do not press all the way against the car (at least not that I was willing to push it). So, the tires are VERY loose. That explains why they are so tilted in the pics.

All-in-all, though, this was fun. I think a set of stickers or something would have made these much more enjoyable.


Billy Kingsley said...

As a model builder and a card collector, I can't believe I've never seen or even heard of these before! Wow! Probably not Revell. Indy style cars were more Strombecker/Aurora at the time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this! I'd heard about these, but hadn't seen any photos of them before. If I were a kid at the time, I'm pretty sure I would've bought a bunch of these.

The Angels In Order said...

As a model builder and a card collector, I can't believe I've never seen or even heard of these before!
(I just cut and paste Billys first line, since I am the same)
Super-cool item!

Fuji said...

I didn't have the attention span to build models as a child... and I probably still don't. However... that doesn't mean I can't appreciate something like this. Very, very cool.