Playmobil is 40!

I have realised that Playmobil is younger than me by 4 years! I actually thought the German toy manufacturer was older than me as I can remember being at primary school when I started playing with their toys and it felt as an established brand already. I have always been more a Playmobil fan than a Lego fan. Only recently Lego has introduced a girly friendly range, Lego Friends, but Lego has traditionally been very male orientated. Playmobil instead have always had lots of ‘make believe’ characters which you can use to build your own fantasy story. My 7 year old son is clearly Lego crazy and definitely prefers building his toys with the small bricks from scratch.

Horst Brandstätter, and his chief model-maker, Hans Beck, started creating toys in 1974, launching PLAYMOBIL’s first Knights, Indians and Construction ranges. The brand has grown to become one of the biggest toy companies in the world, with 2.7billion PLAYMOBIL figures populating children’s bedrooms worldwide. What I find so impressive at Toy Fair each year, is the originality of the  new figures produced.

I have to admit (ssh!) I bought a few Playmobil figures recently just  to collect them because I found them really well made and cute: two fencers from the London 2012 Olympics range and a Flamenco dancer. I also found a Flamenco dancer made by Lego but I did not like it as much. Judge it by yourself!

Playmobil Lego flamenco

This year’s 40th anniversary celebrations have just got even bigger as Playmobil announce their first ever collaboration with The Waldorf Hilton, London, this summer for 40 days and 40 nights – from Sat 12th July, 2014 until Wednesay 20th August, 2014. The prestigious London hotel’s 100-year history of welcoming families from far and wide made it the ideal partner to help PLAYMOBIL celebrate its special year.

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The perfect holiday or staycation for the family, PLAYMOBIL will be residing at The Waldorf Hilton, London, and welcoming guests to stay in the exclusive PLAYMOBIL Suite, a play haven for the whole family to enjoy just in time for the summer holidays.

PLAYMOBIL Suite Waldorf Hilton - London

40 fans’ favourite characters from 1974 through to the present day will be popping up over the coming months across the UK to inspire kids’ imaginations, big and small, for this milestone year.  Keep an eye on PLAYMOBIL UK Facebook to find out when and where!

PLAYMOBIL Suite - London

QUIRKY INFO ABOUT PLAYMOBIL

  • In 2006, David Beckham broke millions of hearts by stepping down as England captain. PLAYMOBIL provided the perfect replacement, as the first PLAYMOBIL footballers with a kicking leg were released in this year!
  • PLAYMOBIL’s version of everyone’s favourite super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes arrived in 1994. Britain’s beloved Benedict Cumberbatch would never have made the role on his own had he not narrowly escaped death in a bomb explosion in this year!
  • A character looking suspiciously like a familiar American oddball-pop star arrived in 2012. The same pop star also made it onto The Simpsons in this year!
  • PLAYMOBIL first appointed a Royal Guard in 1978, and has sold 20,000 in the UK since. That’s 5,000 times the amount of guards the Queen has outside Buckingham Palace!
  • The PLAYMOBIL Princess Wedding Advent Calendar was released in 2011 – the year after Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton!
  • PLAYMOBIL people have even found the time to cross the iconic Abbey Road crossing, in 2013 – 50 years after The Beatles’ released their very first album!


PLAYMOBIL 40 year history highlights

1974:
PLAYMOBIL makes its first official appearance at the company trade fair at geobra Brandstätter in Zirndorf. Three product series are introduced: Knights, Indians and Construction.
At the International Toy Fair, Hermann Simon, a wholesaler from the Netherlands, rescues PLAYMOBIL from an early demise with an offer worth one million D-Marks.

1976:
PLAYMOBIL brings its first female figures onto the market.

Furthermore the little figures manage to jump the 100 million D-Mark profit hurdle.

1977:
The first knight’s castle is introduced. The Vehicle series provides a very contemporary contrast.

The English toy industry name PLAYMOBIL “Toy of the Year”.

1978
:

PLAYMOBIL launches the first pirate ship.

1980:
320 million PLAYMOBIL figures populate the whole world.


1982:
The adult PLAYMOBIL figures are given movable, flesh-coloured hands.


1984:
500 million figures populate the whole world at PLAYMOBIL’s 10th birthday. There is a new addition to the family following the first child figures in 1981: The PLAYMOBIL baby is a bouncing 3.4cm long at birth.

2004:
In celebration of PLAYMOBIL’s 30th birthday, a retro product is launched for the first time: The Western Classic Set, in the original 1970s style.
Finally – long wished for by children – dinosaurs are introduced as well.

2011:
The Fi?ures mystery bags are introduced with fully interchangeable body parts and accessories.

2012:
The first PLAYMOBIL pregnant character arrives in the Fi?ures range.


2013:
The tallest PLAYMOBIL character is introduced – the Fi?ures Clown

2014:
PLAYMOBIL celebrates its 40th anniversary

 

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