Author Topic: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?  (Read 1486 times)

Offline Klicky_Ghost

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The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« on: May 13, 2021, 22:53:42 »
Hello Playmofriends! :wave:

I was recently thinking about what sorts of licensed sets I might like to see from Playmobil, and for some reason my mind settled upon the idea of The Wizard of Oz —specifically the 1939 film (though sets based upon the original L. Frank Baum series would not be unwelcome). Not only do I feel that Wizard of Oz themed sets and figures would be a commercial success for Playmobil, but I think it would provide some awesome and imaginative pieces that would delight both collectors of Playmobil and the mainstream market.

First of all, the 1939 The Wizard of Oz film is considered an absolute classic in America (though I can't speak to its popularity in Europe). The characters from the movie are instantly recognizable by much of the American public (therefore iconic), and there is a captive market of people who collect memorabilia and merchandise related to the film. Second of all, the film and its related merchandise appeal to many older people due to the nostalgia factor, while also relating to children because of its whimsical and wholesome nature.

There are so many iconic characters in the film that could easily be translated into the Playmobil world while also exploring new custom pieces or accessories; the figures could be released individually, in groups, or included in sets. I'm getting a bit excited imagining some of the possibilities:

  • Dorothy, with her blue gingham dress and ruby slippers, would be super easy to create from existing pieces while still creating an instantly recognizable character.
  • The Scarecrow. Has Playmobil ever created stalks of corn?
  • The Tin Man. With his oil can, of course. Perhaps his round torso could be achieved with two pieces that click together similar to the hoop skirts.
  • The Cowardly Lion, with a hat piece making up his lion's mane. Have there been any figures with tails? The devil figure had his attached to a cape. Perhaps a similar effect could be achieved here with a "cape" of fur?
  • Glenda, the Good Witch of the North. Would be an awesome figure, with her giant poufy ballgown with poufy sleeves, tall crown and big magic wand. I would love to see this one.
  • The Wicked Witch of the West. Playmobil has made a few witch characters already, but I don't believe any have taken on the iconic green skin with the black conical brimmed hat, have they?
  • The Munchkins. I want to see Playmobil versions of the Lollipop Guild and the Lullaby League!
  • The Wizard and his old-fashioned hot air balloon.

There are also the "regular" characters at the beginning of the film that could nonetheless make cool characters (and might be able to work into the Victorian/1900 sets). For instance, I would love to see Almira Gulch and her old-fashioned bicycle make an appearance. It would be nice to have Auntie Em and Uncle Henry as well. And they could re-use the gypsy wagon from the cancelled Everdreamerz 4 for Professor Marvel.

There are so many cool sets that I imagine Playmobil could make based on the film as well.

  • Think of the Emerald City recreated in Playmobil!
  • Munchkin City (in the county and the land of Oz) could be such a fantastic and whimsical set!
  • The Witch's Castle, along with her winged monkey minions.
  • The Gale Farm. Would be a cute, simple farmhouse that could work into the Western or 1900 sets.

I would love to hear what you guys think, and any other ideas you have for Wizard of Oz-related Playmobil pieces!
We get up at twelve and start to work at one, take an hour for lunch, and then at two we're done.

Offline Tiermann

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2021, 23:33:28 »
Would love to see this of course. The farm is easy, thry could use the existing Western farmhouse.

Offline Macruran

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2021, 04:24:00 »
I oppose this on my principle that I don't like fictional licenses in PM, but apart from that I agree that it would make for a rich and interesting theme, with many potentially good looking klickies. However I wonder what the status of the license is - is it in the public domain?
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Offline Ismene

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2021, 05:18:27 »
The Baum books were published between 1900 and 1920, so they should be public domain. A license wouldn't be needed as long as the theme side-stepped anything specifically from later adaptations (e.g. the ruby slippers). Sometimes companies will hold trademarks for specific phrases/images associated with a public domain work (ex. the Beatrix Potter publisher is sitting on some Peter Rabbit trademarks), so that would have to be researched.

It's an interesting idea, although thus far Playmobil hasn't created a large theme for the American market, and the Wizard of Oz is very American.

Offline GrahamB

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2021, 08:46:27 »
I like this idea! I would guess the 1939 film is probably better known than Heidi, Spirit, HTTYD, Ghostbusters, BTTF and Scooby Doo.
The sequel 'Return to Oz' has many further PM possibilities; Tik-Tok, the Wheelers, Mombi (interchangeable heads!), Jack Pumpkinhead (already done as a Scooby Doo 'ghost'), even The Gump.
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Offline Klicky_Ghost

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2021, 16:00:48 »
I oppose this on my principle that I don't like fictional licenses in PM, but apart from that I agree that it would make for a rich and interesting theme, with many potentially good looking klickies. However I wonder what the status of the license is - is it in the public domain?

To be honest, I was disappointed when I first found out that Playmobil was producing licensed sets. To me, the strength of Playmobil had always been creating original content or using "open source" inspiration to create blank canvases with which children could imagine their own worlds. But I guess I see it as: if Playmobil is going to continue to create licensed sets (and I imagine they will), then I would rather imagine sets that I would like to see and think others would enjoy as well. The only licensed sets I've really enjoyed so far are the Heidi sets, mainly because there are so many pieces that work wonderfully into my Victorian/1900 world.

It's an interesting idea, although thus far Playmobil hasn't created a large theme for the American market, and the Wizard of Oz is very American.

This may be my Yankee ignorance showing, but I would have assumed that Scooby Doo, Ghostbusters, and Back to the Future had all been created with special consideration for the American market if not told otherwise. All of them play off of mainstream American media nostalgia, and Scooby Doo especially seems like such a quintessential piece of Americana. I can't really speak to Spirit or HTTYD, as those are far newer properties and outside of my demographic knowledge. As GrahamB alluded to, I would have thought that The Wizard of Oz would be just as recognizable as those previously-mentioned licensed sets even in Europe, if not more so. Perhaps the reasoning in general could be that Playmobil already sees the American market as saturated with such products, and so does not place as much emphasis on that market?

I like this idea! I would guess the 1939 film is probably better known than Heidi, Spirit, HTTYD, Ghostbusters, BTTF and Scooby Doo.
The sequel 'Return to Oz' has many further PM possibilities; Tik-Tok, the Wheelers, Mombi (interchangeable heads!), Jack Pumpkinhead (already done as a Scooby Doo 'ghost'), even The Gump.

Why oh why did you have to remind me of "Return to Oz"? Mombi's closet full of spare heads pretty much scarred me as a child. But what a fun concept for a Playmobil set!  :lol:
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Offline Macruran

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2021, 16:27:10 »
To be honest, I was disappointed when I first found out that Playmobil was producing licensed sets. To me, the strength of Playmobil had always been creating original content or using "open source" inspiration to create blank canvases with which children could imagine their own worlds. But I guess I see it as: if Playmobil is going to continue to create licensed sets (and I imagine they will), then I would rather imagine sets that I would like to see and think others would enjoy as well. The only licensed sets I've really enjoyed so far are the Heidi sets, mainly because there are so many pieces that work wonderfully into my Victorian/1900 world.

I agree with both of these points. If we must have licenses, let's at least  try to get some really good ones. And the Heidi sets looked really nice, I was sad that they were never released in the US!  :'(
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Offline Klicky_Ghost

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2021, 22:08:25 »
I agree with both of these points. If we must have licenses, let's at least  try to get some really good ones. And the Heidi sets looked really nice, I was sad that they were never released in the US!  :'(

The Heidi sets are great on their own, and contain a variety of pieces and figures that can easily work into many other Playmobil set themes, including the Western, Medieval, 1900, and "nature" sets. One could probably work them into the farm and modern city themes as well. I would definitely recommend. I got mine new and reasonably priced off of eBay (not sure if others have better sources for their sets), with reasonable shipping costs. One took a month to get here from France, but that was fine by me. Interestingly, the "happy birthday" paper from the Clara/Rottenmeier set came blank -- but I was actually thrilled because it has much better use to me as a blank sheet of paper sitting on a desk.  :lol:
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Offline Ismene

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2021, 04:51:09 »

This may be my Yankee ignorance showing, but I would have assumed that Scooby Doo, Ghostbusters, and Back to the Future had all been created with special consideration for the American market if not told otherwise. All of them play off of mainstream American media nostalgia, and Scooby Doo especially seems like such a quintessential piece of Americana. I can't really speak to Spirit or HTTYD, as those are far newer properties and outside of my demographic knowledge. As GrahamB alluded to, I would have thought that The Wizard of Oz would be just as recognizable as those previously-mentioned licensed sets even in Europe, if not more so. Perhaps the reasoning in general could be that Playmobil already sees the American market as saturated with such products, and so does not place as much emphasis on that market?


Europe consumes a lot of American media; and Scooby-Doo, Ghostbusters, and Back to the Future themes were released in Europe also (as opposed to some of the Halloween sets). So PM must have anticipated a European market for those themes.

I'm sure The Wizard of Oz is known in Europe. But it's very much a tale of the American experience, and I don't know if PM wants to go that route. However, PM doesn't seem to know where it's going these days anyway.  8}

I also wish they had released the Heidi theme in the US. There were some good parts in there for historical themes, and the US knows Heidi, even if the cartoon is less known here. They tend to be slow to realize that people want "cultural" sets depicting cultures outside their own.

Offline Oliver

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Re: The Wizard of Oz - Perfect for Playmobil?
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2021, 08:11:46 »
I'd assume that most people in Europe would at least know the rough story of the first book. I'd guess that later books are almost unknown - I read the first two as a child, but I think that is extremely unusual. But it's a bit like Heidi or Oliver Twist - I suspect very few people have read the original novel, but at least when I was a kid there were lots of 'childrens' versions of it about.

Unfortunately, both the Ruby Slippers and the Green skin of the Wicked Witch of the West were created for the film and are probably the most recognisable features in people's minds.