The Top 10 Micro Machine Collections Ever Released
Who remembers emptying their pockets to find decaying sweets, old tissues, buttons, and the odd tiny car? These Micro Machines had their genesis in the fair state of Wisconsin. Created by toy inventors Clemens V. Hedeen & Patti Jo Hedeen, they approached Galoob, who licensed their idea for a line of tiny toy vehicles.
With some brilliant-looking packaging, they hit the shelves to rapturous applause from children all over Europe and the US. The appeal of Micro Machines has to lie in their micro size. Available in a set, you were essentially getting five pocket-sized toys for the price of one.
To make it even better, they did not spare the detail. From supercar collections to military bundles, the Micro Machines range had something for everyone. Read on as we select the top ten Micro Machine collections.
Micro Machines European Collection 1987
For a line that was filled with brash, brightly coloured toy cars, the European collection was surprisingly elegant. Released as part of the 1987 first wave, it featured a literal who’s who of European high-end cars.
Amongst the classics on offer was a Mercedes Benz SL, hailing from Germany. That was followed by the Rolls Royce Corniche, an obscure choice of car from such a famous brand. Another British inclusion was the Jaguar XJS, although not in the classic green it was synonymous with.
Finally, came two Italian classics. The first was the Porsche 928, which looked remarkably cute in miniature form. The second was the Lamborghini Countach, which had to be an inclusion in any self-respecting eighties toys car collection.
Micro Machines City Service Collection 1987
The first city service collection arrived in 1987, and it was quickly one of the most popular sets in the line. Why wouldn’t it be? Every playset and dramatized car crash would benefit from having emergency services on hand.
A police car, ambulance and fire truck were necessities in any car collection. The wrecker was also useful for prizing apart mangled wreckages and looked extremely mean. However, the dump truck was a great leap of imagination. Unless you wanted to play early morning waste disposal expert, this was best left for the bottom of the toybox.
Military Collection 1988
Another fantastic set from the first wave, and one that was bound to be a success, was the military collection. Suddenly, you could own your own private army in the palm of your hand. Combined with the aircraft collection, you had enough firepower to take over a small country (or plot in the garden).
Supplies came in with the cargo trucks, and generals drove in the command car and 4×4. After this, the collection included a new ambulance for the field medics. Then in true Micro Machines fashion, the slightly inexplicable addition was a bulldozer.
With this military hardware, nothing could stop you. That was, until the rumble of thunder could be heard from across the playground. Or was that tanks?
Boat Collection 1988
The boat collection brought Micro Machines to bath time. While there were a number of great boat collections, this debut was by far the quirkiest.
The coast guard cutter and the speed boat make for an awesome eighties chase scene. The P.T. boat and tug boat were a little more utilitarian. However, its stand out piece was the boat with a trailer, making it easy to hitch on the back of other miniatures. It was a triumph of toy design, that showed these tiny miniatures were not going to skimp on details.
The real question is, how many of these are still stuck at bottom of garden ponds or plugholes?
Rocking Wheels 1992
What could be better than your favorite vehicles in miniature form? How about having your favorites rock bands (or your fathers) with their logos on?
Standard merchandise staples like AC-DC and Kiss of course had their own packs. However, more obscure artists such as Cinderella and U Rap ” also had models.
They included tour buses, large vans to move the tour and of course, the limos of the rock stars themselves.
Micro Machines Lunar Landing 1996
Lunar Landing was one of the odder, yet most interesting Micro Machines sets. While its playability was extremely limited, it looked amazing, and still stands as one of the most detailed sets in the whole range.
The Lunar Landing pack comes with four miniatures. The first of these is the Apollo Moon capsule, which looks and sounds great on paper, but is essentially just a cone. After this, you have two astronauts with zero articulation, planting the American flag on the moon’s surface.
Finally, the big boys arrive in the form of the moon rover and the lunar module. While it may not be the most child friendly toy, it is a great collector piece for any Micro Machines hobbyist.
Year 2000 Collection 1994
1994 was an odd year for Micro Machines, and the line started to throw in some crazy concepts. These included the X-Ray collections, which were transparent cars, along with a host of uninspiring sets based on everyday vehicles.
The year 2000 collection is notable, as the stated year was only 6 years off. Yet Micro Machines produced a set that was worthy of any sixties sci-fi movie.
Anyone who bought the collection and made it to the Millennium will have been disappointed. To not be driving around in a Hyper Cruiser, Beta Blaster or the Spectar 2000 must have been heartbreaking.
Star Wars Line 1994 Onwards
The Star Wars line came at an odd time. The franchise had been lying dormant for a few years, and Galoob was able to acquire the license cheaply. Their first products were a number of tri packs featuring vehicles from the classic franchise.
Some of the vehicles featured had their first appearance in a toy line. This made them hugely successful with Star Wars collectors, who had been waiting for new products for some years.
When news of the new movies arrived, the license started to attract attention. It is cited as one of the main reasons Hasbro would later buy Galoob and start to shelve the Micro Machine brand.
Predator Line 1996
While many of the franchised lines (James Bond, Star Wars) lent themselves well to Micro Machines, some of them were just odd. Predator was one of the franchises that were a very strange choice, mainly due to the movie’s total lack of vehicles.
Instead, packs opted for a mix of figures and vehicles that were not to scale. The detail was lacking, and the articulation of the figures was minimal. The only memorable figure was the transparent Predator, who was placed in the pack looking like he was dancing. Despite a playset, an action fleet, and three sets being released, it was canceled within a year.
Land Speed Record 1999
1999 was the end of the line for the golden days of Micro Machines. After this, it would be only used for sporadic, franchise sets. For the final year, a huge wave of toys was released. Micro Machines was not going out quietly.
Of all the amazing sets released this year, the Land Speed Record was one of the most inventive. It did come with figures, which had tended to be a fill-in product in the world of Micro Machines. However, the Streamliner, Drop-Tanker, and Cab Over Camper were amazing additions. This was a set that blended both collectability and playability.