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General => Report & Review => Topic started by: GrahamB on May 19, 2020, 18:11:42

Title: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: GrahamB on May 19, 2020, 18:11:42
Love it or hate it, it is worth knowing what PlayBIG looks like, so you can decide what to do with it. If you have any PlayBIG parts (especially accessories) in your collection, why not post pictures of them here? I have started the ball rolling.

But first… what IS PlayBIG? (Skip this if you want, it’s a bit of history).

Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: GrahamB on May 19, 2020, 18:12:29
A little information about PlayBIG:

PlayBIG logo from 1998
(https://i.postimg.cc/6prffHzv/s-l1600.jpg)

Between 1975 and 1998 (when large parts of the factory were destroyed by fire) the German toy firm BIG, based in Fürth (right next door to Nürnberg where Playmobil was -and still is- made) manufactured Play BIG. The range consisted of figures a bit like klickies, accessories, vehicles, etc. No doubt it was popular with some children at the time and it still seems to have a small following of adult collectors. As a Playmobil collector, I find the Play BIG figures frankly ugly and unappealing. But many of the accessories are nice, as are some of the vehicles.

PlayBIG was in competition with Playmobil. The similarities between the two toys led to the accusation that PlayBIG was copying geobra’s designs, but a federal court in Germany found that PlayBIG figures differed so much from Playmobil figures (as any child could have told them!) that there were insufficient grounds for regarding them as imitations (although regional and appeal courts had found in geobra’s favour before this). The oft-quoted judgement included the statement

“that PlayBIG figures have the look of a self-confident, athletic and aggressive young man, whereas Playmobil men have the appearance of a child- sweet and unsteady on his feet”

THEY clearly hadn’t played with the figures for long! The PlayBIG themes included modern soldiers, complete with weapons, something which geobra would never allow. In fact, many PlayBIG parts and themes pre-dated Playmobil ideas, so who copied whom?

Very often, PlayBIG parts and figures can be found in secondhand lots on eBay, often mixed in with Playmobil, sometimes even described as Playmobil. And not just on German eBay either, since Play BIG was marketed in the UK under the brand Busy Bodies by Mettoy Playcraft Ltd. (whose HQ was in Swansea, coincidentally only a stone’s throw from Marx Toys who marketed Playpeople under License from geobra from 1975-1980). Later, the moulds were sold to a South American or Mexican company, so examples may be found there too. And there were other brands which copied PlayBIG (e.g. Play Well in Hong Kong).
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: GrahamB on May 19, 2020, 18:13:22
Having bought quite a lot of second-hand Playmobil over the last few years, I have acquired a lot of ‘non-PM’ items, most of which I kept. Some of these items later turned out to be PM (see here (https://www.playmofriends.com/forum/index.php?topic=13249.msg245315#msg245315) for example) whilst others are obviously Lego, or from other manufacturers. ‘Made in China’ on a plastic part is a good clue that something isn’t PM (even though we know some PM is made in China). But many parts have remained unidentified.

I had my suspicions that some of my non-PM parts were PlayBIG parts (see  here (https://www.playmofriends.com/forum/index.php?topic=17181.0)), but it was not until recently that I did a thorough search online of pictures of PlayBIG sets and identified many of my parts as being from such sets. Although PlayBIG figures are distinctive (and IMO horrid!), some of their accessories are quite like PM.

There is very little on the net showing PlayBIG parts in close-up and what I have identified as PlayBIG has mainly been from PlayBIG box pictures and eBay listing photos.

Two useful websites which show box pictures of PlayBIG are:
www.claudia-schott.de
www.collecting-toys.com

As it turned out, I have quite a lot of PlayBIG parts:

(https://i.postimg.cc/1zFhKpKt/IMG_3293.jpg)

I thought it might be helpful to other PM collectors to post pictures of PlayBIG parts alongside the PM parts they resemble, to help with identifying them more easily. If you are a purist, you can then exclude PlayBIG parts from your collection. If, like me, you like some of the parts, you can at least understand their origin.
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: GrahamB on May 19, 2020, 18:14:42
First, the figures.

PlayBIG figures are superficially like Playmobil figures, but taller..

(https://i.postimg.cc/j2F7t0nZ/IMG-3206.jpg)
(that Playmobil figure never existed in a geobra set, by the way: feet in a different colour from the legs were never found with fixed-wrist arms)

…with separate legs…

(https://i.postimg.cc/C1MB8Ljc/IMG-3208.jpg)

…and different internal construction, with no ‘skeleton’, separate feet and a long neck which holds the figure together…

(https://i.postimg.cc/g0HLr66w/IMG-3210.jpg) (http://25https://i.postimg.cc/gJMwHFsm/IMG-3211.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/x8WJLy2m/IMG-3211.jpg)

Detached feet are quite common

(https://i.postimg.cc/X7BZdPC6/IMG-3217.jpg)


Some figures had reversible heads (not seen on PM figures until this one (https://playmodb.org/cgi-bin/showpart.pl?partnum=k5157j)  in 2012.

(https://i.postimg.cc/GmwjY0PR/IMG-3215.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/R0vQscbb/IMG-3216.jpg)

One PlayBIG catalogue http://www.claudia-schott.de/PlayBig/PlayBigKatalog/Play-Big_Katalogseiten/play-big_katalogseiten_10.html shows 36 different facial expressions. Here are seven of them:

(https://i.postimg.cc/Rh3J3pj9/IMG-3311.jpg)

PlayBIG figures have a hole in the top of their head to which hairpieces can fit.

(https://i.postimg.cc/L5DM1233/IMG_3299.jpg)


Hair pieces

(https://i.postimg.cc/yY6Kz37Q/IMG_3296.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/L43S73Fg/IMG_3297.jpg)

In 1977, BIG brought out the PlayBIG2000 range. These figures had curved arms and a different torso (with holes to which clothes could be attached). My example has two right arms unfortunately.

(https://i.postimg.cc/D0H8RrRN/IMG-3213.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/zX4gQNrf/IMG-3214.jpg)  (https://i.postimg.cc/4ymY8L2t/IMG-3215.jpg)

edit: 2 more pictures added
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: GrahamB on May 19, 2020, 18:15:44
‘clothes’

(https://i.postimg.cc/vZR4zvrg/IMG-3219.jpg)  (https://i.postimg.cc/t4HgP4bF/IMG-3220.jpg)
 
Clothes in place

(https://i.postimg.cc/P5mPF8y6/IMG-3221.jpg)  (https://i.postimg.cc/5tb6cNkf/IMG-3222.jpg)

Hats

Most PlayBIG hats have a ‘pin’ or prong underneath which fits into a hole in the top of the hairpiece.

(https://i.postimg.cc/SsKRs1h5/IMG-3228.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/0Nnr9RLD/IMG-3226.jpg)

Left; PlayBIG hats. Morion grey, Morion chrome, bandana green, cap, cap with peak white, cap with peak black, safety helmet yellow.

Right; ‘equivalent’ Playmobil hats: Helmet, morion (Spanish) https://playmodb.org/cgi-bin/showpart.pl?partnum=30-28-1080 from 2007, Chrome Morion helmet from e.g. set 3291 of 1977, Headscarf, green  (this style in blue first appeared  in 1976 in set 3315x), cap, cap with peak white, cap with peak bue, safety helmet yellow

Other clothes

Cloak (unlike anything from PM) Shirt and tie (also available in blue) (white shirt front, black tie, red cloak from PM)
Indian neckwear (nothing similar in PM: two white lapel/collars and a red Indian neckpiece from PM))
Neck ruff (quite similar to the PM version)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Qx7tHW2X/IMG-3233.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/fLFzbw5t/IMG-3234.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/XYcYg6Nm/IMG-3235.jpg)  (https://i.postimg.cc/bvyNCVsJ/IMG-3236.jpg)

Arm greaves

PlayBIG2000 on left, PM on right

(https://i.postimg.cc/CxLxJ6ZK/IMG-3264.jpg)  (https://i.postimg.cc/W3J3gFd6/IMG-3265.jpg)


Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: GrahamB on May 19, 2020, 18:21:23
More accessories

Tools

Chrome hammers, 2 types, chrome wrench. PM hammer and wrench

(https://i.postimg.cc/yWC7FvM7/IMG-3251a.jpg)  (https://i.postimg.cc/HnypcfPS/IMG-3251b.jpg)

 
More tools

awl, screwdriver, hacksaw, file, hammer, bowsaw, hammer, pincers, paint roller, circuit tester?, plastering trowel, float, oval bucket, spirit level, drill, circular saw.

PM equivalents to some of the above: screwdriver, ice-axe, bowsaw, hammer, tongs, paint roller, plastering trowel, float, bucket, spirit level, drill.

(https://i.postimg.cc/mDGxptdS/IMG_3313.jpg)


Knights

Table, bench, 2 crossbows (one with rubber band), arrow, 2 circular shields, great helm, sceptre, broadsword, morningstar

PM equivalents: Table, bench, crossbow, 2 arrows, 2 circular shields, great helm, sceptre, sabre, morningstar

(https://i.postimg.cc/0yQ97M3M/IMG_3283.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/R0J9Drvv/IMG_3285.jpg)

Parts of the PlayBIG table

(https://i.postimg.cc/YCZBgXYZ/IMG_3291.jpg)

Crossbow with rubber band ready to fire

(https://i.postimg.cc/63dKBd7S/IMG_3289.jpg)
 
The chrome Great Helm with its chicken on top is one of the more striking of PlayBIG pieces.

(https://i.postimg.cc/cCpLFsny/IMG-3227.jpg)  (https://i.postimg.cc/BZkbSCwY/IMG-3230.jpg)
 
Broadsword . The ornate handle on this sword is similar to the handle on the PlayBIG chrome goblets (which sadly, I don’t have). Sceptres (PlayBIG on left, PM on right)

(https://i.postimg.cc/NG9TkF3n/IMG-3249.jpg)  (https://i.postimg.cc/9QnCbX5x/IMG_3286.jpg)


Diving gear

Radio with handles (aerial missing), underwater camera, scuba gear (2 types of gas bottle), harpoon gun with rubber band and harpoon, leg loop for knife, knife, face masks, flipper

PM equivalents Battery with two handles, underwater camera, scuba gear (two types), diver’s knife, face mask, flipper.
(https://i.postimg.cc/BZKL1yD9/IMG-3256.jpg)

Close-ups of some PlayBIG diving parts

(https://i.postimg.cc/MG9Zh0QY/IMG-3242.jpg)  (https://i.postimg.cc/MK1Qg4Kb/IMG-3243.jpg)
(https://i.postimg.cc/4NNYSWJc/IMG-3257a.jpg)

PlayBIG chrome daggers come in 2 types (on left), PM knives in various colours on the right
(https://i.postimg.cc/50j91H5W/IMG-3248.jpg)


Sports

Pommel horse, throwing hammer, Adidas suitcase. PM white suitcase on the right.

(https://i.postimg.cc/cLsr2Lz0/IMG-3259.jpg)


Firearms

Rifle (several other styles were produced), revolver, soldier’s collar pouches

PM: Rifle, revolver

(https://i.postimg.cc/bvrdYF85/IMG-3262.jpg)


Road workers

Road sign and base, toolbox, Road barrier (red and blue) with x-shaped supports (white and orange), road drill, plate compactor, bottle crate, shovel, pick-axe, rake

PM equivalents: Road sign, stand, road barrier and stands, toolbox, bottle crate, shovel, pick-axe, rake
(https://i.postimg.cc/15StVzsw/IMG-3268.jpg)

Details of shovels, rakes and pickaxes (PlayBIG on left, PM on right). Crates and bottles
(https://i.postimg.cc/W4yzd611/IMG-3253.jpg)  (https://i.postimg.cc/J01fmSCD/IMG_3315.jpg)

PlayBIG bottle on left, PM on right (early versions were green, white in UK Playpeople; later versions were translucent green or red)
(https://i.postimg.cc/wv5CCgZY/IMG_3318.jpg)


Hospital

Stretcher, pouch on belt (belt broken), megaphone, arm-band, walkie-talkie, first aid kits, crutch

PM equivalents: Stretcher, megaphone, arm-band, walkie-talkie, firt aid kit, crutch
(https://i.postimg.cc/cL94zMYB/IMG-3270.jpg)

Detail of PlayBIG stretcher with legs.
(https://i.postimg.cc/Wb74GP1K/IMG-3271.jpg)


Indians

Head-dress, collar (2 types- other designs were made), papoose, feathered shield, quiver, bucket, hatchet, holsters, tomahawks

PM equivalents: Head-dress, feathered shield, quiver, bucket with separate handle, hatchet, belt loop, tomahawk
(https://i.postimg.cc/C5gF8vTS/IMG-3272.jpg)

The Indian shield has the PlayBIG logo on the front and a centre handle on the back
(https://i.postimg.cc/rsNqNSMW/IMG-3273.jpg)  (https://i.postimg.cc/wxXxzdLv/IMG-3275.jpg)
Papoose                             The tomahawks are very similar to PM version

(https://i.postimg.cc/9MTmz6kL/IMG-3277.jpg)  (https://i.postimg.cc/T2zb7GG3/IMG-3250.jpg)


Fire-fighting

Pumps and hose-reel, water pipe, standpipe with hose, spreader tool, hose connectors, nozzle, fire-axes, belt pouches, megaphone, eye protection, belt with loops, fire helmet, road drill, toolbox, extinguisher.

PM equivalents: Hose reel, fire hydrant, hose, hose connectors, nozzle, spray-head, belt, axes, megaphone, face-masks (2 types), fire helmet, toolbox, extinguishers (2 types)

(https://i.postimg.cc/5Nf4NkSm/IMG-3279.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/W3RjR94g/IMG_3282.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/kXwnVFjP/IMG_3281.jpg)

May be PlayBIG

This part appears on some eBay listings of PlayBIG but I have not been able to find it on any box pictures. There is a PlayBIG pirate telescope (I don’t have one) but this is not the same. I have two chrome and a (later?) grey one.

(https://i.postimg.cc/jSXJS7fD/IMG-3261.jpg)


Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: playmofire on May 19, 2020, 21:53:29
An excellent piece, Graham, and I guess there is more to come.  I have never seen the fire accessories before, although I know they did make a great looking Unimog based fire engine.  They also mad.e a police and ambulance vehicle on the same chassis.

Looking forward to more.
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: StJohn on May 20, 2020, 00:17:12
Thank you so much for this, GrahamB! I love Play-BIG! :love:

Some minor reservations about the title, though. I don't have a problem at all with the figures, and enjoy the extra flexibility of them having separate legs. But the figures tend to fail in sturdiness, and the plastic quality isn't too great these days, many decades after the toys left the factory. Still, Play-BIG is great fun. I don't own too much of it, but hope to find the time soon to present the fabulous castle in these pages. Another superb Play-BIG item is the Viking ship, which unfortunately I don't possess. Perhaps somebody else can contribute it?

Now I want to draw your attention to the Play-BIG horse, which is a piece of art. There is just one sculpt, issued in different colours. The four legs move individually, and the head moves on the neck.
(https://i.imgur.com/ozfHA5Z.jpg)

The middle part can be taken out and replaced by a saddle. With this, the horse doesn't look unnaturally thin without a rider.
(https://i.imgur.com/96MZNfp.jpg)

The proportions are in my opinion better than those of the old-style Playmobil horse. Don't get me wrong, that's just as much a work of art, but of a different, sweeter character. Play-BIG has given us the "self-confident, athletic and aggressive" horse as well. :)
(https://i.imgur.com/uazAqXx.jpg)

Thanks again for starting this topic!

Best wishes
StJohn
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: Erik on May 20, 2020, 12:44:57

The chrome Great Helm with its chicken on top is one of the more striking of PlayBIG pieces.

(https://i.postimg.cc/cCpLFsny/IMG-3227.jpg)  (https://i.postimg.cc/BZkbSCwY/IMG-3230.jpg)
 

Nice post!
I must say, I have quite a few Play-Big sets "complete and boxed", and the chrome great helm doesn't have a "chicken on top", it's a falcon, but yours is sadly missing one of its wings.   ;)
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: GrahamB on May 20, 2020, 17:05:57
 :-[ Sorry if I was a bit too critical of PlayBIG figures, StJohn. Thanks for posting the pictures of the horse- it's really rather fine, I must agree. And the removable piece to allow a saddle and rider to be fitted was a great idea!

Erik, you are quite correct, it's not a chicken (I was being humorous!). That rider in StJohn's picture has a bronze chicken falcon with both wings intact.

Sorry, playmofire, that's all the PlayBIG I have and (my wallet tells me) I am NOT collecting any more. Though I would like one of those horses. And they did several great vehicles...

Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: tahra on May 20, 2020, 20:02:21
There are some parts there that I believe I have, but had no idea they are playbig (and if that odd silver thing with the map crosses my path..)

The bundled indian baby is even weirder than the playmo one! :o

I find the figures VERY ugly (sorry, StJohn).. All that arrive here go straight to mount3 (whereabouts uncertain)...  Sometimes I wonder if some... unenlightened creatures can look at a klicky and find him.. ugly?  They are CLEARLY mistaken, and in need of glasses, but....

Anyways, the castle IS gorgeous (in pics), and so is the viking ship  - mine is incomplete and with missing and broken bits (pics somewhere in the PROCESS)..   Worth noting they had one AGES before playmobil made one, like the Airgam roman ship..

I loved the chicken helmet comment, btw. Could also be.. a duck. ;D
(also, great compare pics with the klicky in matching color!)
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: GrahamB on May 20, 2020, 20:29:46

I loved the chicken helmet comment, btw. Could also be.. a duck. ;D


Thank you, tahra! Calling it a chicken was an idea I am sure came from you! You may remember I'm a bird fan (please, don't call me a twitcher!) and I usually like to be precise about what they are called (no, they aren't all ducks!)
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: tahra on May 20, 2020, 21:28:24
Thank you, tahra! Calling it a chicken was an idea I am sure came from you! You may remember I'm a bird fan (please, don't call me a twitcher!) and I usually like to be precise about what they are called (no, they aren't all ducks!)

I remember - you always id all my ducks!  :-[  :P
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: Macruran on May 21, 2020, 01:13:17
I'm with GB, those things are horrid. Like everything awful in 70s design compressed into one tiny humanoid toy.
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: Hadoque on May 21, 2020, 01:41:14
I´m using the Play Big rifles for some of my Playmo custom-musketeers  :)
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: StJohn on May 21, 2020, 06:39:28
I'm with GB, those things are horrid. Like everything awful in 70s design compressed into one tiny humanoid toy.

I don't like where this is going. :( Instead of a clean and judicious survey of Play-BIG parts, we're entering a mudslinging contest. That's what a poorly-judged title brings out in people.
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: tahra on May 21, 2020, 07:40:37
I don't like where this is going. :( Instead of a clean and judicious survey of Play-BIG parts, we're entering a mudslinging contest. That's what a poorly-judged title brings out in people.

I am sorry. I wonder if it's a question of us being "used" to the klickys? I have no idea. I find it hard to believe that someone can find them ugly... but probably the same happens to people who love playbig or others?

Like the lego figures... the minifigures (ugly faces these days, but then again, happened to klickys too!) are ok - I mean, I don't find them beautiful, but not ugly either. They are "lego people". Blocky, tiny and yellow.  However, I was looking at a lego cat (amazing how so many sets are ALMOST the same as playmobil?! :o ) and saw some larger ones, that if they were not in the LEGO catalog, I would swear they were lame bootlegs..

Many people find the Airgam ugly - I love them. I find them beautiful - well... not the women  :-[ . I do wonder if it's because I NEVER saw an Airgam woman untill.. I don't know... 98 or later.  While Airgam.. well.. there were 2 klickys and a horse (who will be FORTY soon)... another klicky the following year (children's day gift - and yes, I remember their names, couples, children, siblings.. eish) and then a couple of Airgam next xmas. I wonder if my parents thought they were playmobil then. Uhm. Probably. Some years ago I was given several Airgam (when they were reissued) by my parents. Problem is, they thought it was playmobil..  ???  RED boxes.  No harm done, love them as well... but..

Sorry, I digress. As usual.  :-[
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: StJohn on May 21, 2020, 08:26:02
Thanks for the digression, Tahra. It is not as if I'm married to Play-BIG, but I do see some real qualities of the brand: the horse example shows this quite well.

Remember that you should only compare Play-BIG to 70s/80s PM, which then still was quite limited in accessories and functions. Play-BIG was in many ways more ambitious. The way they solved the leg mobility problem is great, something that PM never aimed for. I mean, even those tiny Lego figures have legs that move separately, permitting the basic striding pose. We're used to PM not being able to, but wouldn't it have been great if Klickys could march? I guess it didn't happen because such mobility would impair the overall robustness of the design (a fair enough decision if you compare a Klicky to a Play-BIG figure), but at the same it very much limits their versatility: Klickys forever stand around! :lol:
Title: Re: Play BIG: nice accessories, shame about the figures
Post by: tahra on May 21, 2020, 18:38:32
Thanks for the digression, Tahra. It is not as if I'm married to Play-BIG, but I do see some real qualities of the brand: the horse example shows this quite well.

Remember that you should only compare Play-BIG to 70s/80s PM, which then still was quite limited in accessories and functions. Play-BIG was in many ways more ambitious. The way they solved the leg mobility problem is great, something that PM never aimed for. I mean, even those tiny Lego figures have legs that move separately, permitting the basic striding pose. We're used to PM not being able to, but wouldn't it have been great if Klickys could march? I guess it didn't happen because such mobility would impair the overall robustness of the design (a fair enough decision if you compare a Klicky to a Play-BIG figure), but at the same it very much limits their versatility: Klickys forever stand around! :lol:

Well, frankly, if they moved their legs, they'd be a mess... I have no experience at all with playbig (or even lego - we have 3 ancient ones from lego, all the others that came in lots I have passed on - or will), but Airgam, as they get old are a mess to stand.. Also, I don't know if playbig have that issue (but I assume not, as I don't recall broken feet), but Airgam, even if new in blister, have broken feet. Must be a design flaw. Actually, used ones may not, since the play gets some wear on that peg, and maybe it's enough not to break the foot around it...

I suppose this is biased - I assume it, like most people here, I guess - after all, this IS a playmobil forum, so I assume everyone here is a playmofan - we are probably just used to them not moving their legs, and that is fine. Actually, I hope that day never comes. I still can't have the bent arms and legs... A blessing for my wallet (or I'd NEED at least some of the football players, and the pretty yellow new one - Borussia, I think?)  :P