We were introduced to Ed Crooks aka Ed Masta through a mutual friend who thought this blog would be a cool place to showcase some of the various projects and collections he is involved in. His incredible collection of the 1980's Garbage Pail Kids toys were of particular interest. So we gave him a shout and asked us to talk about his collection and about the background to G.P.K.
USA Series 1 Cheap Toys Base Set/Colours
Cheap Toys are monochromatic mini figures made in Hong Kong and based on Garbage Pail Kids characters. They were produced by the Topps Chewing Gum Inc at the beginning of 1986. Production for Cheap Toys began just after Series 3 Garbage Pail Kids finished during the height of Garbage Pail Kids popularity. The Cheap Toy sculpts are based on characters from the first 3 series. Leaky Lindsay, Double Heather, Brett Sweat, Muggin' Megan, Alice Island, Adam Bomb, Crater Chris, Graffiti Petey, Thin Lynn, and Brainy Janey all made the first cut. Each sculpt is roughly the same height, with Thin Lynn being the tallest, at around an inch and a half tall. The majority of the sculpts follow the original character art, and and are pretty spot on with regards to detail and rendering.
I would say Series 1 were the more popular sculpts as they were widely distributedand the character choice was all but perfect. The artist that created them did an awesome job too, these figures are very aesthetically accurate monochromatic mini figures.
Series One Cheap Toys were originally cast in 8 base colours: Light Red, Dark Red, Lime Green, Light Green, Dull Peach, Bubble Gum Peach, Dark Blue and Sky Blue. These base colours were used throughout all the US print runs. The only exception is Lime Green, which was considered a semi rare.
USA Series 1 Rares
In the later print runs of series one, possibly the start of the second run, rare colours were introduced, these colours were: Neon Yellow, Neon Red, Neon Green, Orange Salmon, Electric Blue. These were cast in a semi rubbery plastic and are known as Rubbery Rares and they were randomly inserted in to boxes. (Super Rare Mindnight Blue and Magenta colours are a whole different kettle of fish, information can be a bit hit and miss on these ones. I don’t know much about current numbers now in circulation).
UK Series 1 Base Set 1980’s
UK series 1 Cheap Toys were distributed (we believe) around the same time as the USA figures: so around 1986/87. The wrapper is pretty much the same as the USA figures and the box only has slight differences, one being a big 20p circle printed on to it. These boxes are very rare, only a few have been found to my knowledge. Full packs do not appear very often, making these packs rare in a sense, but they don't seem to go for any more money than a common USA full pack when they sell?? The colours are pretty much the same as USA base colours with the exception of more variants, one being a darker green figure. Another one was Pea Green, this is also a figure that is not commonly found in USA boxes but is found in UK and Canadian boxes oddly enough.
On a Side note I must add there is a lot of variants in the green colour of cheap toys.
I own over 100 Base figures from USA and UK boxes and have probably 5 different greens in the Alice Island and other sculpts, that’s not including rare greens like Aquas etc, just what we call base colours.
UK Garbage Gang Cheap Toys
Here In the UK we also got a different run of Cheap Toys that were released under the banner ‘Garbage Gang’, distributed by Topps Ireland, Cork, in late 1986. They came in 4 new colours which are all rare: Cinnamon (Red) with little brown speckles mixed in, Blue which is a very Dark blue, UK Peach which is a totally different shade to any others and UK Aqua (Green) which again is totally unique and a fan favourite. All the UK figures were cast in hard plastic and float in water. They also had a different box and wrapper, they had the Garbage Gang arched logo instead of the Garbage Pail Kids logo. The back of the wrapper is also very different, it has 4 languages: the first- English, second- German, third- Dutch and forth- French. The ingredients are also different to how they are written on the US wrapper but that could just be down to how we spell stuff here or even using more widely available ingredients.
Canadian Series 1
Cheap Toys also had 2 release’s in Canada, the first being series 1 with a rare Canadian Aqua colour being introduced that is completely unique, semi rubbery and does not float like the UK Aqua figures. These were only distributed in Canada. The other 3 colours that came in this release were slight variants of the US base colours and are as follows: Dull Peach, Light Red and a very light blue. The packaging is different again, the packs are transparent and you can just see which fig and colour it is which takes a bit of the fun out of it if you ask me (was no need to finger bang these packs… or search if you will, haha). The box was also different, in fact there was box variants, both with french text on the side, one with a sticker displaying this info and one that was printed on. These also say distributed for Novo BonBon inc, Montreal CA which has recently caused a lot of discussion. These boxes only contained the figures mentioned above, not Novo BonBon figures/ colours.
Canadian Series 2 Novo Bonbon
The second Canadian Release is the incredible and once mysterious series 2.
This release was also unique to Canada and was made in Hong Kong by the candy Novelty Company. Topps produced this set under another company’s name, Novo bonbon. Series 2 Cheap Toys are widely known as Novo Bonbon figures (or Novo’s). Novo bonbon is french for novelty candy. They did not sell any other figures up until the series 2 CT release. At one time all these figures were very rare, some a lot more than others obviously. In the last year a lot more of these figures have been found which has made prices and value plummet. These were 10 new CT character sculpts: Ali Gator, Berserk Kirk, Catty Kathy, Les Vegas, Picky Mickey, Distorted Dot, Mouth Phil, Fishy Phyllis, Still Jill and Galloping Glen in 4 new colours: Novo Blue, Green, Red and fan favourite, Sunshine Yellow. The colours are very deep and vibrant. There is also a marbled Green variant. They are believed to have only had one print run hence why there is only 4/5 colours, they were also cast again in hard plastic which means they float in water and have a silky feel to them. The packaging again is very different and unique to all the other CT releases and came in a blue box with french text and totally new art with the Novo Bonbon box logo present. Obviously they had new packs and checklists too, with the Novo Bonbon box logo displayed along with Garbage Pail Kids Cheap Toys All New 2nd Series.
Series One Super Rares Continued - Canadian Series 1 Novo Bonbon
There is more… Series 2 Cheap Toy boxes also had a surprise: Novo Bonbon, we believe, randomly inserted series one figures in Novo colours (ie Novo Yellow Adam Bomb, Novo Green Brainy Janie, Novo Blue & Red Alice Island etc), these figures are also known as super rares in the hobby and most are 1 of 1’s or 1 of 2’s with exception of Messy Tessy who has been found 3 times in Sunshine yellow.
These guys are cast in the exact same hard plastic and colours as series 2 Novo Cheap Toys and float in water.
He's a busy man is Ed! You can keep up to date with all he is up to in the various links below;
Follow him on his personal Instagram here
He also runs the Demon Collectables Instagram, selling all manner of retro toys from Japanese to Western.
For a more extensive look at Ed's incredible Garbage Pail Kids collection check his Flickr
And if your into Hardcore Punk check out DroidxRage.com which is his site dedicated to the genre.