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Micro Machines

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Micro Machines

 

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Introduced by Galoob (acquired by Hasbro) in 1988, licensed behind the idea of American toy inventor from Wisconsin, Clem Heeden, and promoted by the voice of fast-talker John Moschitta, Jr in an advertising campaign of TV commercials that ended with the slogan If it doesn't say Micro machines, it's not the real thing.

Micro Machines were about a tenth the size of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, and unlike their die-cast competitors, they were molded primarily from plastic. For 3 to 4 years Micro Machines was the largest selling toy car line in the US with total Micro Machine sales exceeding the total $ sales of the combined sales of Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Majorette the next top selling lines.

Cars were the backbone of the Micro Machines line, but there were also airplanes, motorcycles, trains, military vehicles and other people movers. Most were authentic scale-model replicas, but Galoob also went gonzo with prototype cars and other futuristic vehicles. Most came in multi-machine packs, often taking themes like “The 1930’s,” “Air Racers,” or “Corvettes.” Kids snatched up the pocket-sized vehicles, making Micro Machines an instant hit.

As the toys grew in popularity, they took on other themes from history and fiction—the Apollo 13 moon landing, or Star Wars among others. The chance to own an entire lineup of Tusken Raiders, a scale-model Death Star or a full Ice Planet Hoth playset was too much for young Star Wars fans to resist. Scale-model human (and non-human) figures began to appear as well, ready for action in the Micro Machines universe.

When acquired by Hasbro in 1999, the basic line was largely discontinued, and new packaging of the toys didn't catch on as well as expected, though some imitators continue to be sold in toy stores. In 2006, the brand name was visible only in the detail panel of the Star Wars and Transformers Titanium series die cast vehicles and figures of very good quality.

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