The Toltoys Star Wars Range
The gamut of Toltoys-branded Star Wars merchandise historically available in New Zealand included action figures, vehicles and playsets, board games, electronic games, plush characters, Star Wars Play-Doh, jigsaw puzzles, the Give-a-Show projector, an electronic toothbrush, colour-by-numbers sets, poster art sets, and more. The photographs on this page (see the full gallery below) will testify to the diversity of the product range.
Toltoys’ role in bringing such toys and collectibles into NZ was a mix of marketing, manufacturing, assembly, and packaging (we previously took a look at the Toltoys company history here). The origin and branding of their licensed wares falls across an array of categories. We see, for instance, NZ manufactured product bearing the Toltoys logo (e.g., the Toltoys version of the cardboard Death Star); NZ manufactured product bearing other logos, with small-print reference to Toltoys (e.g., MPC kitsets, Creative Craft jigsaw puzzles); Australian branded/manufactured Toltoys product, sold in New Zealand (e.g., some vintage Kenner products, including die-cast vehicles); and internationally manufactured product with NZ packaging (e.g., some Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back action figures, including the very rare The Empire Strikes Back 48-back figures); all mixed in with Kenner (or other) branded/manufactured Star Wars collectibles.
Previously on SWNZ, we have covered some of the Star Wars products that include overt use of the Toltoys logo. A few more, including those that go beyond the range of action figures, playsets, and vehicles are included in the image gallery below. Some, like the MPC Star Wars kitsets and Creative Craft jigsaw puzzles, require a bit more of a closer look the see the New Zealand connection…
MPC Star Wars Kitsets
The early MPC Star Wars kitset range included scale model versions of Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing fighter, Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter, R2-D2, and C-3PO. Although it is assumed that the plastic components of the kitsets themselves were imported rather than being manufactured in New Zealand, the product boxes, kitset instructions, and warranty insert all reference the NZ Toltoys company. The relationships between Toltoys and other related toy companies and their licensing arrangements is sometimes a little confusing to untangle. The MPC kitset boxes state that the Toltoys produced these products “…under license to MPC, a division of General Mills Fun Group Inc.”, while the instruction sheet found inside that same box reads “…under license to Fundimensions Inc, a division of the General Mills Fun Group”. Also found inside the model kitset boxes was a small Manufacturer’s Warranty insert – this piece of paperwork is interesting because it goes so far as to include the Auckland PO Box postal address for the Consumer Service Division of Toltoys (NZ) Ltd.
Creative Crafts Star Wars Jigsaw Puzzles
The majority of the Toltoys NZ branded products were associated with the Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back movies. One exception to this were the Return of the Jedi Jigsaw puzzles sold under the Creative Crafts brand between 1983 and 1984. Three different boxed 60-piece puzzles, and a set of four flat, 15-piece puzzles are described in the 1983 Toltoys catalogue. At first glance, they don’t appear to have an obvious reference to Toltoys – the small-print on each of these items, however, reads “Made in New Zealand for General Mills Creative Products Ltd (Australia) and Toltoys (N.Z.) Ltd”.
One way or the other, either overtly, or more subtly, the well-known Australasian brand of Toltoys has been key in bringing a lot of early Star Wars product in to our part of the world. And, the uniqueness of the Toltoys logo, particularly action figures and vehicles, adds an extra element of interest and value to these collectibles.
Toltoys Star Wars Range in NZ Gallery
The following are samples from the range of New Zealand product manufactured or imported by Toltoys NZ Ltd.