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A Clone Worth Mentioning

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

TimMee (left) • Larami (right)
We're all too familiar with the various TimMee tank clones that Chinese companies have been spewing out since the 70s. Other than the tank and the Vietnam Era soldiers, they've left everything else alone. Or so we thought.
Enter the Larami Corporation. A toy company founded in 1947 and based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was acquired by Hasbro Inc. in 1995 and officially retired in 2002.
In the 1970s, Larami sold a bagged military playset with header card called the 'U.N. Border Patrol Combat Set.' It included a Patton tank, Willys Jeep and 12 Vietnam Era soldiers. It was manufactured in Hong Kong then shipped back to the U.S. for distribution. The tank is your typical Chinese clone with disproportionate aesthetics and (in this case) stilts for axles. I kid you not. However, it did have the trademark horizontal crease found on the TimMee Patton tank. A feature found on no other clone. The Willys Jeep, on the other hand, bares a striking resemblance to the TimMee version and even sports the embossed star and circle on the hood. The dimensions are a very close match . The only real difference between the two Jeeps is the severely shrunken steering wheel on the Larami version (see pic below). This was obviously done to avoid any lawsuits.

TimMee (left) • Larami (right)

Header card

So there you have it. Yet another example of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. Or toy designers being incredibly lazy. Hopefully it was worth mentioning either way.

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