Top Ten Playmobil Oddities

Note: Playmobil has redesigned its web
site, fouling up all of the links on this page.  Gah!.

Playmobil sells plastic figure play sets for every obtuse playtime fantasy. They are not based on pop culture sources such as movies and television. The poor Playmobil executives must devise original toy ideas on their own. Sometimes they fail.

Click the thumbnails for a pop-up enlarged view.

HAZMAT crew thumbnail. Click for an enlarged complete image in a pop-up window.

10) HAZMAT crew — Suck
up toxic sludge spilled from barrels with these figures dressed in full
protective gear. Farm play sets are so last century.



Children with Guinea Pigs thumbnail. Click for an enlarged complete image in a pop-up window.

9) Children with Guinea Pigs — Here are two children with guinea pigs in an outdoor pen. How delightfully random.



Sanitation Worker thumbnail. Click for an enlarged complete image in a pop-up window.

8) Sanitation Worker — Yay! Let’s play sanitation worker! This man in a orange uniform is scooping fish bones into a recycle bin as a black cat dreams of choking on those bones. (Recycling bones?) Let’s play mixed up recycling technician. Yay!

Radar Patrol thumbnail. Click for an enlarged complete image in a pop-up window.

7) Radar Patrol — There’s no better fun than catching tourists off guard while touring in their family vacation car.



Street Sweeper thumbnail. Click for an enlarged complete image in a pop-up window.

6) Street Sweeper — Scrub gutters with this stylish green vehicle which is inexplicably sporting a recycling logo. Who recycles dirt and grime?



Native American Teepee thumbnail. Click for an enlarged complete image in a pop-up window.

5) Native American Teepee — This authentic Indian teepee is fully adorned in red and white stripes and a blue field with white dots. How patriotic. We’ll just forget about that little matter of genocide a few years back.



Portable Bathroom with Crew thumbnail. Click for an enlarged complete image in a pop-up window.

4) Portable Bathroom with Crew — Wow. Two sweaty construction workers and a port-a-potty. I bet that plays well in the heartland.



Police Van thumbnail. Click for an enlarged complete image in a pop-up window.

3) Police Van — Your pretend pro-democracy protest wouldn’t be complete without a paddy wagon to cart away those anti-theocracy hippies.



Photo with Santa Claus thumbnail. Click for an enlarged complete image in a pop-up window.

2) Photo with Santa Claus
— Recreate the tears and fear of sitting on a strange bearded man’s lap
at the shopping mall. This toy set comes with a seated Santa, a
child, a Christmas tree with wrapped gifts, and a photographer
with a tripod. Alas, this toy was removed from Playmobil’s web site
this week! (The photo and link is from Collectobil.com, a Playmobil fan web
site.)



Safe Crackers thumbnail. Click for an enlarged complete image in a pop-up window.

1) Safe Crackers — I want my daughter playing with two thieves who are breaking into a safe with a blow torch. Yep. Who the hell is in Playmobil’s focus groups?

Also see: Top 15 Playmobil Toys of Yesteryear

Comments

22 Responses to “Top Ten Playmobil Oddities”

  1. Kevin says:

    These are classic. Great find.

    June 2nd, 2006 at 10:48 am

  2. Mark says:

    Personally, I don’t see what’s all that wierd about most of this stuff. Granted, the Hazmat worker and the port-a-potty crew are strange, (Though I WANT that hazmat crew)

    The Children with pets in an outdoor pen is delightfully reminiscent of life at my grandfather’s home in the suburbs, where he had rabbits and turtles in an outdoor “run”.

    The teepee makes sense when you take into account that, for decades, the Playmobil company’s best selling line has been cowboys & indians.

    And if there are going to be police, there should be crooks for them to catch…

    June 2nd, 2006 at 2:42 pm

  3. Tom says:

    I used to have the teepee set, and it was great fun. They had peace pipes, and scalpin axes. The Indians always slaughtered the rest of the playmobil people, and they’re easy to scalp as they have removable (or interchangable) hair!

    June 2nd, 2006 at 2:50 pm

  4. Dread Pirate Robert says:

    The safecracker one is great. You can set the combination yourself too, and lock your best stuff in it… like your Dad’s car keys. (2 digits doesn’t take that long to crack…)

    June 2nd, 2006 at 3:26 pm

  5. AJ says:

    Mark, a teepee draped in a pseudo-US flag will never make sense.

    Lest I be misunderstood, Playmobil rocks for its almost complete freedom from corporate tie-ins. Almost because it does sell a DHL delivery truck. The rest of its product line is fairly inventive.

    June 2nd, 2006 at 3:41 pm

  6. alphanitrate says:

    The thing that people miss is that people who does these kind of jobs, porta potty cleaner, road kill, street sweeper have kids too! It’s great for the firemans kid to walk into any store and get himself a firetruck like their Dads/Moms ride in at work. These kids will certainly be excited that they can now pretend that they are doing the jobs that their parents do, and can grow up to be just like them.

    (The one I would like to have for my kids would be bomb squad team.)

    June 2nd, 2006 at 6:16 pm

  7. Bryan says:

    It may strike one as odd, but not a few American Indians actually are US patriots, even on top of what’s been done to them.

    June 2nd, 2006 at 6:20 pm

  8. AJ says:

    Sure, Native Americans can and are patriotic, but I suspect most would not want to see their traditions draped in the American flag, a symbol of what almost wiped out those traditions (and people).

    June 2nd, 2006 at 6:24 pm

  9. RedBeard says:

    I want the playmobil crack dealer so the safe crakcers have something to spend their ill-begotten money on.

    June 2nd, 2006 at 6:39 pm

  10. clu says:

    What about the executioner?
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/williac/107066574/

    June 2nd, 2006 at 7:01 pm

  11. Skepchick says:

    Exactly, clu. The really weird thing about the executioner? Take his hood off, and you’ll discover that he’s smiling. Good to know that he’s satisfied in his work, lopping the heads off his little Playmobil friends.

    But I’m surprised that you missed the runaway monk and the curling set…

    June 2nd, 2006 at 8:32 pm

  12. AJ says:

    I limited the list to those toys currently shown on Playmobil’s web site. I’ll look at the executioner and other discontinued gems on Monday. Thanks.

    June 2nd, 2006 at 8:40 pm

  13. adam says:

    I think the best thing would be to combine them, for example, the Santa set and the Police set, perhaps with a few animals from the kids with pets set.

    June 2nd, 2006 at 11:37 pm

  14. spoonyfork says:

    “Bathroom can be moved with the crane hook.”

    That sounds an awful lot like real nasty work. Ah, to be a kid again.

    June 3rd, 2006 at 10:38 am

  15. Daniel J. Solove says:

    You might enjoy this humorous piece I wrote about the Playmobil Airline Screener Playset:

    http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2005/10/the_airline_scr.html

    June 8th, 2006 at 2:24 pm

  16. Dan says:

    You have to have an executioner so the heros can stage a dramatic last minute rescue. Didn’t any of you see Robin Hood as a kid??

    July 24th, 2006 at 3:16 pm

  17. playmofire says:

    Apart from the teepee, all things that have been picked out as “oddities” here are part of everyday life in some way – people rob banks, children have guinea pigs as pets, streets are cleaned (often by organisations which also do recycling) and so on. Playmobil sets out very much to create the world in miniature so items like this have their place.

    (Oh, and the top seller in Playmobil for many years has been the recycling/garbage truck.)

    July 25th, 2006 at 12:35 am

  18. Craig Quilliam says:

    Well I have now checked out their catalouge and was most disapointed to see that there is no Abrahms tanks or Apache helicopters there isnt even a sadistic US Army prison guard. May I suggest that the author finds Windmills of a more substantial nature to tilt at.

    August 4th, 2006 at 3:46 pm

  19. kiddiefondue says:

    Playmobil is not an American company, so applying U.S standards of what is weird and what is normal may make more sense considering this fact. Also, there are a lot of adult collectors of Playmobil, hence the diverse madness.

    January 9th, 2007 at 1:48 am

  20. jennifer says:

    no idea why people are finding playmobil so offensive. especially the sanitation crew and hazmat crew; so what, these people dont exist in our real society? why not have them included…our children are playing and through play learn about their world whether it is something that is “upscale” or real life. playmobil toys foster children’s imagination. i think their collections are great; my 3 yr old daughter loves them. but perhaps you are right; perhaps our children should rather be playing with spongebob toys and the like. now thats a real first class learning experience for our children. please.

    March 10th, 2007 at 6:32 pm

  21. AJ says:

    Jennifer, first, this article was a joke. Humor. Ha! Ha!

    Second, I didn’t mention Sponge Bob in the article. If you read elsewhere on this blog, you’ll learn that I come down squarely against the Sponge Bob / Dora the Explorer / Thomas the Train scene and other over-marketed grossly exploited kid’s icons.

    March 10th, 2007 at 6:42 pm

  22. dr barney says:

    i have one……… playmobil hooded executioner. 12 years retired. ( beat that!) make me an offer

    May 8th, 2007 at 6:25 pm