Fast Cars, Key Chains and Cop Show Guns

Courtesy of the 1976 Pilen catalogue from Spain 

Pilen S.A. was a Spanish company that produced die cast model cars, key chains and toy guns. TVTA is pleased to present the full scans from this terrific little catalogue printed in Spanish, French, English and German. Featuring international model cars, a Tiger tank, toy guns from top cop shows like Kojak, Columbo and The Untouchables, and somewhat randomly… a set of child’s kitchen scales. It’s all here. And how about those front and back covers… with what looks like a De Tomasa Mangusta launching itself through a set of tyres against a deep red background. Always good to see some art on the covers of a catalogue.  

The cars

While many of Pilen’s models are considered recasts of Dinky, Corgi, Solido and Polistil, see here and here, Pilen nevertheless stamped their own identity on them by producing superb vehicles made of quality materials, with attractive paint apps and working features.   

Tiger Tanks

Guns N’ Wrenches

Pilen produced some cool toy guns, managing to snag licenses for big name 60s and 70s TV shows like Kojak, Columbo, Matt Helm, U.S. Marshal, Cannon, Get Smart, and The Untouchables. Pilen key chains featured various mini tools like wrenches, saws, hammers, and even a pistol. I had one of the key chain tools as a kid and I’m almost certain it had working features. According to Wikipedia the key chains were already in production by Pilen long before the company began selling cars. Included with each car purchase was a mini catalogue with a slip which could be cut out and collected then used to send off for a free key chain. 

On balance …

I don’t know why the child’s kitchen scales are included on the last page… maybe it was an end of line sale, or just a space-filler, or the company testing the market for the launch of a line of die cast super kitchen accessories? Here at TVTA we never mind a little speculation, and are always happy to end a post with a kitchen unit or accessory 🙂


ETS De Neuter toy trade catalogue 1995

ETS DE NEUTER is a French toy distributor that has been in operation for more than 60 years. The following scans are from its 1995 Christmas trade catalogue and feature many of the big name toy and game brands. The front cover has a wintry, foresty, Christmas wonderland feel to it, while the back cover shows a range of cool merchandise for popular 90s film The Lion King. In between these covers are more than 80 pages of well-presented toy photos and dioramas, making this catalogue a joy to look through.

As well as toys and games, ETS De Neuter distributed household, sports, leisure and electrical goods, which the catalogue also features – but we’ll save those goodies for another time. For now, sit back and enjoy these cool 90s toys. Click if you need to go bigger. Thanks for looking.

Cover. Ets De Neuter. Catalogue Noël. 1995. France.

Batman and Robocop toys.

Biker Mice From Mars.

Playmobil sets and Wild West sets.

Joustra construction. Road Rigs.


Lego Technic.

Meccano construction.

Barbie dolls, play sets and accessories.

Barbie dolls, play sets and accessories.

Barbie merchandise.

Action Man.

Polly Pocket.

Power Rangers.






Qui Est-Ce? / Guess Who?


Tir’Pic / Ker Plunk.

Touche Coule / Battleships.


Docteur Maboul / Operation.

Trivial Pursuit.

Astérix plush.

Sailor Moon.



Nikko Radio Control.

Nikko Radio Control.

Nikko Radio Control.



Le Roi Lion / The Lion King. Back cover of Ets De Neuter catalogue. 1995. France.

Thanks for looking 🙂

Latest ads: Big Jim, Mickey Mouse, Corgi, Dungeons & Dragons and Mini-Jeux

I always enjoy coming across the toy artwork ads by Ogilvy and Mather, the company responsible for Mattel’s Barbie, Big Jim and Hot Wheels adverts in France during the 70s and 80s. Here are two Big Jim adverts featuring the eponymous character himself along with fellow action figures Géronimo, Bloody Fox, Captain Flint and Captain Hook.

France. Castors Juniors. 1979.

France. Castors Juniors. 1979.

France. Castors Juniors. 1979.

France. Castors Juniors. 1979.

Mickey Mouse Summer Holiday Reading

France. Castors Juniors. 1979.

Suggested reading for the summer holidays – this bumper edition of Mickey Mouse featured fourteen complete stories and forty pages of games and jokes. Advert from Castors Juniors, 1979, France.

Superman Die Cast Vehicles by Corgi

US. Weird War Tales. 1979.

British company Corgi has never been shy when it comes to producing toys based on Marvel Comics and DC Comics characters. Their Superman pocket-size die cast vehicles range were a big hit when I was a kid, and I remember having the truck, the police car and the helicopter. Advert from Weird War Tales, 1979, US.

Glow In The Dark Posters from Pineapple Kids Club

US. The New Mutants. 1985.

In 1985 Canadian-based company Pineapple Kids Club were offering some cool sci-fi themed glow in the dark posters, as well as the chance to get free glow in the dark shoe laces. Advert from The New Mutants, 1985, US.

Dungeons & Dragons

US. House of Mystery. 1981.

A “Dungeons & Dragons” black and white “Adventure” ad featuring the three heroes Valerius the Fighter, Grimslade the magic user, and Indel the elf. Advert from House of Mystery, 1981, US.

Mini-Jeux Pocket Games

France. Castors Juniors. 1979.

Mini-Jeux pocket games were licensed by the Meccano company in France. In the UK they were known as Pocketeers. Advert from Castors Juniors, 1979, France.


New ads: X-Men, SGT Rock, Kenner, Bburago, Ponte Car, Bill and Ted, PS2 and Victor

It’s a mixed bunch of ads today from the 1970s to the 1990s spanning the US, UK, Brazil and Italy.

US. Dark Hawk. 1991.

US. Dark Hawk. 1991.

US. Legion of Superheroes. 1983.

US. Legion of Superheroes. 1983.

TTP Turbo Tower of Power. 1974. US.

Italy. Topolino. 1979.

Italy. Topolino. 1979.

Brazil. Peninha. 1987.

Brazil. Peninha. 1987.

US. Dark Hawk. 1991.

US. Dark Hawk. 1991.

US. Crimson Dawn. 1997.

US. Crimson Dawn. 1997.

UK. Victor. 1975.

UK. Victor. 1975.


Montre Gag Game Watch

This is a 1977 French ad for the Montre ‘Gag’ game watch. It didn’t tell you the time but it was available in six exciting game formats: Lucky Ball, Mini-Flipper, Main Noire, Cow-Boy, Jack pot and Mini-flirt! It’s a similar format to the 1970s handheld games Pocketeers.

France. 1977.