Join 3,495 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Time to get the funeral set out
February 3, 2009 6:52 PM   Subscribe

Hans Beck, the inventor of Playmobil has died. The guy who made a toy that so many people had so much fun with is gone.
posted by sien (26 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I always loved Playmobil. As a kid, I had the entire Big Top Circus. My friend across the street had the entire, huge, Doll House. My wife also grew up with the Playmobil Doll House. As an adult, I was thrilled to pick up some Roman Centurions from Playmobil a few weeks ago.

Now this.

Very sad.
posted by paisley henosis at 6:54 PM on February 3, 2009


Ooooh - we got the full Esso station set once. That was fun. Playmobil was always the European yin to Lego's yang: it only ever made one thing, but it was always well built and smartly done like Lego. My son has a Playmobil submarine with a working engine (lost now) that actually floats and sinks via a hand-pump.

Good times.
posted by GuyZero at 7:06 PM on February 3, 2009


Man, I loved Playmobil as a kid (always called "Playmo"). I remember once, about twelve years ago, reading through a Playmobil catalog with a friend and marveling at all the cool stuff our younger siblings could get that we didn't.

I've always been under the impression that Playmobil never had much of a presence in the US, is that the case?
posted by Kattullus at 7:19 PM on February 3, 2009


We gave our son the totally cool rescue helicopter for Christmas. Now I am *really* stoked to snap up the new "Nautical Expedition" toy line.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:21 PM on February 3, 2009


His body will be broken up into dozens of small parts and placed behind couches.
posted by PlusDistance at 7:31 PM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


His funeral set will be available next month. It will come with two gravediggers and three crates containing 18 bottles of beer.
posted by codswallop at 7:34 PM on February 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Kattullus - I had tons of Playmobil growing up in New York and New Jersey. Don't know about the rest of the U.S., but it certainly was popular on the East Coast.
posted by tzikeh at 7:49 PM on February 3, 2009


Playmobil isn't huge in the U.S. like Lego is, but you can still find Playmobil figures and playsets at Target, Wal-mart and Toys R Us, often in the same aisle as the Lego bricks.

I love their Romans.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:51 PM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Legos were always more fun after you took them out of the box, Playmobil always looked more fun before you took it out of the box.

.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:03 PM on February 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


what a nice gift he left this world.
posted by es_de_bah at 8:38 PM on February 3, 2009


Oh, no. Dang.

Thank you, Mr. Beck. You gave me a lot of fond window-shopping.

.
posted by batmonkey at 9:21 PM on February 3, 2009


As a little kid, Playmobil was always too expensive, even more so than Lego, which was always expensive, back then. I think I'll always associate it with toys the rich kids at my school would get at Christmas. Oh well, RIP.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:03 PM on February 3, 2009


Unexpected sadness.
posted by Huck500 at 10:24 PM on February 3, 2009


.
posted by Artw at 10:56 PM on February 3, 2009


Playmobil is notable for having fun without worrying about sanitizing it too much. I had an executioner figure complete with hood and axe. Of course, I bought it in high school, but still...
posted by explosion at 3:35 AM on February 4, 2009



Playmobil is notable for having fun without worrying about sanitizing it too much. I had an executioner figure complete with hood and axe. Of course, I bought it in high school, but still...


or the Playmobil arms smuggler

or the uhh...tribesman

or the indian child with pony contributing to the widespread misconception in europe that Dances With Wolves was a documentary...
posted by geos at 4:50 AM on February 4, 2009


Collectobil, a playmobil fan site.

It hasn't been updated in ages, but provides a great historical overview of the breadth and depth of the Playmobil world.
posted by anastasiav at 5:24 AM on February 4, 2009


Playmobil is notable for having fun without worrying about sanitizing it too much.

Now, of course, we know that sanitizing kids' toys is a bad idea

I have spent more time playing with Playmobil in the past month than I did as a kid: my 2 sons got the Roman camp and Colosseum for Xmas--Legio XIII lives on (and occasionally feeds each other to the lions)!
posted by njbradburn at 6:33 AM on February 4, 2009


Kattullus - I had tons of Playmobil growing up in New York and New Jersey. Don't know about the rest of the U.S., but it certainly was popular on the East Coast.

tzikeh is right. I'm another kid from NJ that had Playmobil stuff. I always loved the design and they were just so fun.

I still have the Zoo set from way back when. It had animals that didn't have their features—zebras without stripes; tigers without spots—and you had to draw them in with markers. One of my absolute favorite toys as a kid—back then, I was all about the monkeys.

Thanks Hans!

.
posted by defenestration at 7:13 AM on February 4, 2009


Playmobil was (and is) available in the US. But as far as toys go, I've considered them on the upper end of price and quality. I've never seen Playmobil sold in grocery stores, while G.I. Joe and Barbie are. Maybe it's because of marketing, maybe because of the general price. On the same note, I've seen educational shops carry Playmobil (and legos) but not G.I. Joes or Barbies.

.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:28 AM on February 4, 2009


The Playmobil soccer set I got my son last year (that took about five minutes to put together) is in near daily use. The treehouse from the year before (that took hours to assemble) languishes in a closet. Ah, well. Great toys, still.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:55 AM on February 4, 2009


My nine year old son has the Playmobil Pirate Ship and the Viking Longboat. I damn near wouldn't let him have the Pirate Ship, wanted it for myself. It breaks my heart to see all the little Pirates with their gear all mismatched or discarded, lying all over his bedroom floor. The cat also ate the rigging, he chewed it up for dental floss I guess.

He also has a number of smaller playsets, such as a little treasure island, and various characters, like the hazmat guy and a firefighter. Pirates with gasmasks are good at using poison gas to rob the hapless empire merchant vessels!
posted by Xoebe at 10:26 AM on February 4, 2009


When I was a wee mono I lived in northern Spain for a couple of years. My mom used to pick me up after school and we would pass a toy store that had tons of playmobil toys. I cannot express the hapinness and awe I experienced by window-shopping for a couple of minutes every single day. I found the designs and the use of colors incredibly appealing.

The object of my desire was the yellow rescue helicopter; always deemed too expensive for purchasing by my mother. Of course, it was later replaced by the pirate ship. I finally got them both for x-mas in 1981. I was a very happy kid. Ah the memories . . .

Hans Beck, may you rest in peace.
posted by elmono at 10:59 AM on February 4, 2009


I've got the Roman set all stowed away, ready for that rainy day when I can film Stargate: Augustus.

Of course, I've just noticed a cool Egyptian set!
posted by troybob at 11:04 AM on February 4, 2009


I had most of the American Indian stuff but the bison as a child, and worked out a careful order where they and their tipi could be flat-packed into a shortbread cookie tin. We would migrate around the dining room like real Plains Indians. But then there was the grandmother with her Navajo-style rug loom. And the canoe. Cultural artifacts from the far Living Room and Southwestern Den.
posted by Tufa at 11:41 AM on February 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid, we went overseas to Germany to visit all my relatives there. I didn't speak German, and my cousins who were near to the same age as me and my brother didn't speak English.
Well, they did speak one important phrase: "I have Playmobil"! This phrase was delivered with glee, with gusto, with a desire to share and play and have fun.
They did, indeed, have Playmobil. Lots of Playmobil. Greater language comprehension was unnecessary.
posted by sandraregina at 12:28 PM on February 4, 2009


« Older "I don’t know for certain what big publishers are ...  |  Look at This Cat!... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments