Author Topic: A Life on the Open Road: Campers, Caravans, Motorhomes and other ‘live-aboards’  (Read 1230 times)

Offline GrahamB

  • Moderator
  • Playmo Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • Gender: Male
    • Playmofanatic
When I were a lad, my parents bought a VW camper van (known as a caravette in those days). In this vehicle (and its later successors) we had many happy holidays in Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and elsewhere. As a result I have a soft spot (or a sinkhole, that too would work) for such vehicles, so I have assembled a collection of Playmobil campers and other ‘mobile homes’.

Typically, each PM camping vehicle has passenger seats, beds, storage, a sink, maybe a toilet and a shower. Each set generally comes with a family of 4 klickies (Mum, Dad, Boy, Girl), folding chairs and a table, plates and cups, cutlery, cooking equipment, toys and a camera. But there is a great deal of variation.

Here is the first group, camper vans: vehicles with their own engines, not towed. There have been nine Playmobil camper vans in four basic styles.


« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 10:58:55 by GrahamB »
At that moment the ship suddenly stopped rocking and swaying, the engine pitch settled down to a gentle hum. 'Hey Ford.' said Zaphod, 'that sounds good. Have you worked out the controls on this boat?' 'No,' said Ford, 'I just stopped fiddling with them.' (With thanks to Douglas Adams)

Offline GrahamB

  • Moderator
  • Playmo Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • Gender: Male
    • Playmofanatic
The first style is represented by three examples: a white camper in set 3258 from 1979, a blue camper in version 2 of set 3258 from 1987 and an orange and yellow version in 1990 with set 3148.

3258 version 1


3258 version 2


3148



The three sections of the vehicle come apart for easier access to the interior.  The rear end has two opening sections. The front is a cab with two seats; in the ‘living area’ there is a table with seats on both sides and bars for klickies to hold onto, a 2-ring stove, a sink and a storage unit which will hold a suitcase. There is space in the roof for three grey beds and the roof-rack has an access ladder (but apparently no access ladder in version 2 of 3258; none is shown on the box at any rate). 

3258 version 1


3258 version 2


3148


The accessories differ between the three models.
In 3158 version 1, there are just two klickies. For cooking there is a barbecue set with tools, blue cooking pots utensils and plates, red cups and jug (but no cutlery). There are two green garden chairs, a green lounger, a circular table and a sunshade/parasol. The single suitcase could be a first aid kit. And a red shopping bag, an old-style fire extinguisher (looks like a megaphone!) and a traffic warning sign in case of breakdown.

3158 version 1


Version 2 of 3258 had three klickies, no parasol, yellow folding chairs, a yellow lounger, three suitcases and the first ever PM cutlery, in blue (also this year, grey cutlery appeared, in set 3771), making life a lot more fiddly when setting the toys up.

3158 version 2



Set 3148 has 5 klickies, including 3 children, but still just three grey beds in the roof (did the parents never sleep, or did they stay in a hotel each night?). There are 6 suitcases, a folding table, canvas-seated stools instead of chairs, a white lounger, a barbecue set (but no cooking pots) and a set of fiddly cutlery (light brown this time). This camper came with a newspaper and a set of sand toys to while away the short evenings after the family had driven an extra 50 miles to find a campsite at the end of the day (personal bias).

3148

At that moment the ship suddenly stopped rocking and swaying, the engine pitch settled down to a gentle hum. 'Hey Ford.' said Zaphod, 'that sounds good. Have you worked out the controls on this boat?' 'No,' said Ford, 'I just stopped fiddling with them.' (With thanks to Douglas Adams)

Offline GrahamB

  • Moderator
  • Playmo Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • Gender: Male
    • Playmofanatic
In 1997, Geobra came up with a new design of camper van in set 3945. This has a yellow body, magenta chassis and dark blue and cream interior. There is a top box with room for the table and folding chairs, instead of the roof-rack of earlier models. A pull-out shelf at the back is for carrying a couple of bicycles. There is a pull-out awning on one side, a new feature in this model.



Inside the van are such modern conveniences as a toilet (no seat, no paper, no door), a cooker and a sink.
 

No barbecue (boar is off) in this set, just a frying pan and a saucepan. There is however Extensive Leisure Equipment (binoculars, video camera, football, two bicycles), plus a set of silver grey cutlery (I once met a boy on a campsite who called cutlery ‘catoowi’- I think he was from the London area?). There are four klickies but only three beds, which may bring a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘sleeping in shifts’.



The 3945 van design was used again in 2005 in set 4074, but in different colours (cream and dark red exterior, grey interior). 4074 was really an equestrian (horse riding) set with three figures. It included a horse box which can be towed behind the van, horses, fences, jumping poles, a horse shelter, other horse ‘tack’, plus a lovely oak tree- as shown in the picture below.





As far as camping goes, the accessories in set 4074 were not impressive, with just a coffee pot, 4 cups, a table, 2 chairs and three beds. The bicycle shelf is redundant (no bikes supplied).

At that moment the ship suddenly stopped rocking and swaying, the engine pitch settled down to a gentle hum. 'Hey Ford.' said Zaphod, 'that sounds good. Have you worked out the controls on this boat?' 'No,' said Ford, 'I just stopped fiddling with them.' (With thanks to Douglas Adams)

Offline GrahamB

  • Moderator
  • Playmo Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • Gender: Male
    • Playmofanatic
The next design of camper van also came out in 2005.  This was set 3647 with its yellow and orange van, larger than its predecessors with wing mirrors, roof bars, aerial, pull-out awning and rear ladder to access the top box. A rear compartment has space for a bicycle and a gas bottle (the smell of an LPG gas cooker is one of my most abiding memories of camping, along with the smell of Tupperware containers, wet canvas, grass and my brother’s feet).





Inside, there is a shower and toilet (with a lid but still no door), sink, table and superior storage for all the plates, pans, cutlery and food containers. There is a bed for everyone, in the roof.






Two more campers on the same plan as 3647 came in 2011 (set 5928) and 2015 (set 6671)

Set 5928 has a white, cream and mustard van. There are 2 klickies, a dog, a bicycle and 2 folding chairs. There are, however 4 cups, 4 plates, 4 beds and 4 sets of cutlery- either they are expecting visitors or they don’t like washing up.





Set 6671, this time in white and dark green and with a better set of accessories than its 2011 predecessor.



There is a family of four and more modern accessories including a surf board and a micro scooter.






At that moment the ship suddenly stopped rocking and swaying, the engine pitch settled down to a gentle hum. 'Hey Ford.' said Zaphod, 'that sounds good. Have you worked out the controls on this boat?' 'No,' said Ford, 'I just stopped fiddling with them.' (With thanks to Douglas Adams)

Offline GrahamB

  • Moderator
  • Playmo Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • Gender: Male
    • Playmofanatic
The fourth camper design came in 2010: set 4859, a blue and white camper occupied by a family of four.



This is my favourite PM camper. It has several unique features and is certainly luxurious!  Inside, at the rear there is a ‘bathroom’ with loo (including seat and paper), wash basin, mirror and a shower, all behind a sliding DOOR (hooray!). Next there is a kitchen area with gas hob,  sink and excellent storage drawers. In the seating area the table can be put into a lower position (its fiddly to do) so the parents’ double bed can be set up (it is stored inside the roof when not needed, a very neat arrangement).





The front two seats (driver’s and passenger’s) swivel round to face backwards- a great idea which of course mirrors the situation in many real-life campers.



Above the driving area are the two children’s beds and a flat screen TV is attached so the adults can watch TV while lying in bed. Holidays are great for getting away and doing something different!



The side wall of the camper can be removed for easy access.




Outside, the van has a rear ladder, roof box, a fold-out bicycle rack and two bicycles. There is a folding satellite dish on the roof. But a pull-out awning was not included in this model.




At that moment the ship suddenly stopped rocking and swaying, the engine pitch settled down to a gentle hum. 'Hey Ford.' said Zaphod, 'that sounds good. Have you worked out the controls on this boat?' 'No,' said Ford, 'I just stopped fiddling with them.' (With thanks to Douglas Adams)

Offline GrahamB

  • Moderator
  • Playmo Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • Gender: Male
    • Playmofanatic
The second group of ‘live-aboards’ are what we call caravans in the UK; these are towed by a vehicle. There have been six Playmobil caravans in five different designs.



The first two are from 1977 and are similar to one another. They were found in sets 3152x and 3249x. Both have white bodies containing orange seating, green tables and green shelving.


 


Underneath is a pair of grey wheels on a metal axle and a grey towing bar.



Both caravans have an attached tent awning; a white framework with a vinyl cover. (My Dad made one for the caravette, very useful as a place for doing the washing up and catching craneflies, or midges).
The awning framework has 8 pieces. I thought adding two extra horizontal struts might make it stronger, but unfortunately these prevent the vinyl from fitting without over-stretching it.





The difference between the two sets is that in 3249x, the caravan roof is white and the awning is orange,



whilst in 3152x, the caravan roof is yellow-orange and the awning is green.




There are also differences in the accessories in each set. 3152x has two female klickies to 3249x’s one (fixed wrists of course), both have 2 green chairs, a white circular table and a red bucket.

3152x has blue and green suitcases, a black doctor bag, a yellow basket, a warning sign, a fire extinguisher and a blue and white car (with black roofrack) to tow the caravan.






3249x on the other hand has a green lounger, a parasol on a stand, a red barbecue with a set of tools, 5 red cups, red and blue jugs, a red ladle, 3 blue pans, 5 blue plates and a knife, spoon and spatula in blue. No car is included in set 3249x. The accessories in 3249x are very similar to those in the first camper, 3258 version 1.



One peculiarity of these early caravans is the clear plastic windows in the front and rear ends. On all the examples I have seen, the windows don’t fit, they are too small horizontally and too large vertically. I think the plastic used must have shrunk over the last 40 years, or else this is a rare example in Geobra plastic components of poor manufacturing.


At that moment the ship suddenly stopped rocking and swaying, the engine pitch settled down to a gentle hum. 'Hey Ford.' said Zaphod, 'that sounds good. Have you worked out the controls on this boat?' 'No,' said Ford, 'I just stopped fiddling with them.' (With thanks to Douglas Adams)

Offline GrahamB

  • Moderator
  • Playmo Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • Gender: Male
    • Playmofanatic
In 1983 a new, super-caravan was released in set 3588. The caravan is white with a blue base, 2 pairs of wheels on metal axles, a grey towing bar and four fold-out legs which stabilise the van when it is static. Before my parents bought their VW caravette, we had a few holidays (Tenby, Scarborough, Oban, Auchenmalg) on caravan sites, staying in a ‘static’ caravan very reminiscent of this Playmobil one.





A section of the side and roof folds open to give access to the interior,



At the front are two beds which double as seating. At the back is a U-shaped seating area around a green table.



The table can be replaced with a low-level piece which converts the area into a double bed.



The bedding/seating has a red velvet covering. There is a sink area and bathroom area, plus an access door on the left hand side of the caravan.

Accessories are minimal- just cups and a jug, a round table and four green chairs.


At that moment the ship suddenly stopped rocking and swaying, the engine pitch settled down to a gentle hum. 'Hey Ford.' said Zaphod, 'that sounds good. Have you worked out the controls on this boat?' 'No,' said Ford, 'I just stopped fiddling with them.' (With thanks to Douglas Adams)

Offline GrahamB

  • Moderator
  • Playmo Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • Gender: Male
    • Playmofanatic
The next caravan to be produced, in 1991, was 3728, the circus strongman’s home. This is a substantial dwelling, with four sturdy wheels and a towing bar. I have included it here (I could have included the clowns’ caravan 3477 as well) because it has some accessories which show it can actually be lived in. Not many accessories though; a jug and two cups, a set of grey cutlery, two chairs, a table with parasol, a radio and a TV. Inside it has a cooker, sink, table and chairs and two beds. At night, the shutters at the four windows can be closed, but only if the window-boxes are removed first. The strongman and his strong boy live here. It’s a lovely set!



At that moment the ship suddenly stopped rocking and swaying, the engine pitch settled down to a gentle hum. 'Hey Ford.' said Zaphod, 'that sounds good. Have you worked out the controls on this boat?' 'No,' said Ford, 'I just stopped fiddling with them.' (With thanks to Douglas Adams)

Offline GrahamB

  • Moderator
  • Playmo Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • Gender: Male
    • Playmofanatic
In 2002 came set 3236, a small touring caravan, small enough to be towed behind a car at VERY slow speeds on roads where it is impossible for anyone else to overtake. But big enough for two people to live in cramped conditions for a few days and really get on each others’ nerves. It has two wheels, two fold-down legs and a jockey wheel to support it when being lived in.



The set comes with two adults in shorts, flip-flops and short-sleeved shirts (they are obviously not going camping in Scotland for two reasons- rain and midges!). The accessories include 4 sets of cutlery and 4 cups but only two plates. There is a coffee pot, two pans, two wine bottles and a coolbox



Inside the caravan, there is a sink, cooker and a coffee machine (yes, really!), with a holder for 4 cups.

The seating at the front of the caravan converts neatly into a double bed:


At that moment the ship suddenly stopped rocking and swaying, the engine pitch settled down to a gentle hum. 'Hey Ford.' said Zaphod, 'that sounds good. Have you worked out the controls on this boat?' 'No,' said Ford, 'I just stopped fiddling with them.' (With thanks to Douglas Adams)

Offline GrahamB

  • Moderator
  • Playmo Master
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • Gender: Male
    • Playmofanatic
The sixth caravan is in set 5434 from 2013. It is a much more modern (and larger) touring caravan (even harder to overtake on narrow roads). There is a pull-out awning. The roof is removable and has a satellite dish and glazed roof lights. The front compartment houses a gas bottle.





Inside, there is a compact shower and toilet room with hand basin, sliding door and toilet roll (which will get wet every time someone has a shower!). The kitchen is small but has good storage. There are two seats and a table which convert into a double bed at the front of the vehicle and bunk beds for the children at the back.


In the set is a piece of landscape with plants, rocks and an electricity hook-up point. The cable (yellow and black string) plugs into the side of the caravan.
The occupants are a woman and child, ready for the beach or swimming pool and a dog on a lead. The accessories include a barbecue, a toy boat and a map. 



There are three drawers on the outside of the caravan, two for extra storage and one to remove the toilet cassette for emptying.


At that moment the ship suddenly stopped rocking and swaying, the engine pitch settled down to a gentle hum. 'Hey Ford.' said Zaphod, 'that sounds good. Have you worked out the controls on this boat?' 'No,' said Ford, 'I just stopped fiddling with them.' (With thanks to Douglas Adams)