Playmobil at Silly Billy’s and the History of Playmobil
Playmobil was invented by German inventor Hans Beck (1929–2009), who is often called “The Father of Playmobil”. Beck received training as a cabinet-maker and was an avid creator of model aeroplanes, a product he pitched to the company geobra Brandstätter. The owner of the company, Horst Brandstätter, asked him to develop toy figures for children instead. Beck spent three years from 1971 to 1974 developing what was to become Playmobil.
Beck conducted research that allowed him to develop a toy that would not be too complex and would nevertheless be flexible. He felt that too much complexity would be obstructive to children’s imaginations, and too much rigidity in design and implementation would cause some inevitable frustration for the child. The toy Hans created, at 7.5 cm tall, would fit in a child’s hand and the figurine’s facial design was based on some children’s drawings – a large head, a big smile, and no nose. “I would put the little figures in their hands without saying anything about what they were,” Beck remarked. “The children accepted them right away … They invented little scenarios for them. They never grew tired of playing with them.” The 1973 oil crisis enabled Playmobil to be considered a viable product. The rising oil prices imposed which impacted the production of other toys at geobra Brandstätter, for whom Beck worked as Head of Development, demanded that the company focus on products that required less solid plastic material than the hula hoops and other large plastic toys and playthings that the company had been producing.
In 1974, the company put the first sets of Knights, Native Americans, and construction workers on show in its display rooms. Initial visitors did not really take to the toy. Nevertheless, the plastic toys were displayed proactively at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, which was taking place that same year. A Dutch firm agreed to buy a whole year’s production. By the end of the year, geobra Brandstätter had achieved sales of 3 million Deutschmarks with Playmobil – one-sixth of the company’s total sales. Playmobil then began to be sold worldwide in 1975, and has remained a very popular toy ever since.
Playmobil has been a successful toy line for more than 40 years and they have been a major competitor to LEGO toys.
Examples of directly competing toys in both their product line are not hard to find. In the Playmobil toy world, the Playmobil toys are usually realistic, and present accurate representations of arms, armour, costumes, and tools from recognisable time periods. Especially notable for their fine attention to detail are the modern construction and city life toys (cars, cranes, fire-engines, trains, boats, etc.) and the characters that go with them. For Playmobil’s fortieth birthday in 2014 some special products were created and we were lucky enough to have stocked them in our old toy shop
Here at Silly Billy’s Toy Shop we have one of the finest ranges of Playmobil of any toy shop in the North of England. One customer recently stated that they haven’t seen such a wide range of Playmobil anywhere outside of London ! Here at Silly Billy’s we love it when people review us online so please take the time to do so if you have visited and had a good time! We also have in stock, although in ever diminishing quantities, Playmobil Advent Calendars. Both Playmobil “Christmas on The Farm” 6624 (recommended for ages 4+) and Playmobil 9009, also called “Christmas on The Farm” (suitable for ages 1 to 4). As one of the UK’s leading retailers of Playmobil, Playmobil have very kindly let us have only one of two life-size Playmobil Santa’s that are on display in independent Toy Shops in the UK, if you could send us a picture of the other Playmobil Santa we would be quite interested to know where Santa’s Brother is located. You can do that simply by heading over to Silly Billy’s Facebook Page and sending us a message.
When brothers Ollie and Harry Ferguson launched their toy Playmobil pirate boat into the North Sea, onlookers might have anticipated it to sink without trace in the choppy grey waters.
Eight-year-old Ollie Ferguson and sibling Harry, five with their toy pirate ship prior to setting it on its way Credit: PA
Instead the plastic Playmobil vessel named Adventure has actually taken a trip hundreds of miles from Scotland to Scandinavia, taking in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. To the great delight of the 2 young boys, those who have actually discovered the boat have sent them a message letting them know the Pirate Ship’s newest location before setting it off on its trip again.The remarkable voyage has brought in interest in the Norwegian press and Adventure is now being taken aboard the Christian Radich, a Norwegian fully-rigged ship, which will transfer it down to Cape Verde to be then introduced throughout the vast Atlantic. The siblings’ daddy, stated:
“Everybody that has picked it up has been truly kind and sent us photos and looked after the ship. People are actually really getting into the spirit of the ship’s adventures.”
The boys have enjoyed it and every time we get a message telling us where it has landed we get on the computer and view where the Pirate Ship went, so they are tracking its development on the map and it provides them an understanding of how huge the world is and further Geographical knowledge. With the aid of their daddy, eight-year-old Ollie and Harry, 5, added a counterweight to assist it remain upright then filled it with polystyrene to assist the plastic Playmobil ship in staying afloat.
The Brothers working on the Ship’s Buoyancy
After the Pirate Ship passed trials in a swimming pool, they took it to the coast and released it into the waves. They then stowed on board a message asking anybody who finds the boat to send them a picture and launch Adventure back into the sea.
They launched the ship from Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, at the end of May and it sailed about 390 miles to Denmark, where it was found by a household who sent it on its way.Its next stop was Sweden, where it ended up in a tree, but a lady who was sailing in her own boat discovered it and re-made its sails. The toy ship then travelled on to Norway, where it was discovered by nature authorities on a vessel, who sent out the young boys some “gorgeous pictures” of it. Mr Ferguson, 44, stated: “I was concerned that the currents along the coast would take it down the north-east coast of Scotland, so I was over the moon when it made a beeline for Scandinavia. ” A simple toy Playmobil pirate ship which was sent out to sea by eight-year-old Ollie Ferguson and sibling Harry.
The kids introduced the pirate ship as part of their bucket-list of 500 adventures which they are working their way through, with their exploits charted on this Facebook page.They have performed over 207 up to this point, with one highlight being sending Lego figures into space:-
Parents MacNeill and Vicki Ferguson developed the concept to offer the boys with enjoyment and interesting alternatives to screen time.The couple, from Turriff, Aberdeenshire, have likewise established The Wonderful Experience Club which offers outdoor knowing experiences for grownups and children.
We do not have any of those particular Pirate Ships at Silly Billy’s, though you could try to create a similar experience with a Playmobil Dragons 9244, Drago’s Ship, and if filled with Polystyrene balls or a similarly buoyant product (expanding foam, perhaps) could well sail just as well as the Playmobil Pirate Ship in this article
This is the biggest competition we have run EVER at Silly Billy’s Toy Shop.
Christmas Competition 2017 RULES
We are trying to make the rules as simple as possible, so all you need to do is Like, Share and Tag one friend preceded by the text #SillyBillys on this Facebook Post. So if you are not on Facebook we are afraid you cannot enter.
Names will be drawn at random via an app called Woobox through the Facebook entrants that have followed the correct procedure at approximately mid-day on Sunday 10th December 2017
You can enter from anywhere in the UK and we will post the items to you free of charge if necessary.
This is what you can win, 1 of each of the following:
Playmobil Dragons 9247 Astrid & Stormfly
LEGO Ninjago 70611 Water Strider
LEGO DUPLO 10572 Creative Play All-in-One-Box-of-Fun
Altogether with a Total Value at RRP £89.97
We have run Christmas Competitions in the past though none as big as this and we really hope you can take part and enjoy joining in, it really is so simple. In fact Robert A Williams (excluded from this competition as a direct employee of Silly Billy’s) have demonstrated how to take part by commenting on the Facebook Christmas 2017 Competition Post.
Please take part and please tell your friends and help spread the word.