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The Venezuelan Counterparts

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In 1960, a company called Manaplas S.A. was founded and began producing plastic consumer goods in Caracas, Venezuela. In addition, they produced a wide variety of toys. Among them was their Military Combat line. It included the Combat Assault Battalion (Combate Batallón de Asalto) and the Combat Tank Battalion (Combate Batallónde Tanques). Both sets were packaged in a clear plastic bag with a header card. The Assault set consisted of a large jeep, small cannon and 54mm Vietnam Era soldiers. The tank set came with, you guessed it, a tank. What's so interesting about these vehicles (besides the fact that they're almost identical in appearance to the TimMee Patton tank, Willys MB Jeep and the field cannon) is that they're constructed in much the same manner as well. In other words, the quality, thickness of the plastic and detail are equivalent to their TimMee counterparts. These are not the cheaply designed and manufactured Chinese clones we see all over Ebay and in the stores.

Manaplas S.A. is still in operation today, although they stopped producing toys decades ago. 

Let's take a closer look...

Patton tank
At a quick glance, the Manaplas tank is a dead ringer for the classic Patton tank. Move in closer and you'll eventually take notice of the thicker barrel. Break out a ruler and you'll discover that it's about a half inch shorter. The shovel and ax have been moved to the other side and there's a well defined antenna "stub" on the turret. Missing is the trademark raised horizontal line running between the wheels and rollers.

Axle/wheel combo
The chassis sports a unique black axle/wheel combo with wide tires connected with a thick bar. The Manaplas S.A. logo is embossed underneath where the turret connects to the body.

Willys MB Jeep
The Manaplas Jeep is virtually indistinguishable from the TimMee version on its own. It isn't until you place them side by side that you notice a few slight variations such as the larger center cap on the steering wheel and that it is about a half inch shorter than the TimMee version. The Manaplas S.A. logo is embossed underneath. 

Field cannon
The Manaplas cannon has the most differences of the three. It sports much wider tires, the barrel is half as long and slightly thinner, the round breech is missing and the frame has been extended closer to the wheels, which covers the axles. Finally, the armored shield has a slightly lower profile and is trapezoid in shape. 

Header Cards

#3613 Front

#3613 Back

#3612 Front

#3612 Back

But it doesn't end there...

Legend has it that the TimMee Cargo truck mold was sent to a company in South America sometime in the late '80s. Manaplas S.A. is also located in South America. Both companies produced almost identical military vehicles as detailed in this article.

And then there's this...

Manaplas S.A. Autumn Deuce
You be the judge.


Defzombie said...

Very cool post on South American Counterparts of Tim Mee Soldiers. Very awesome blog overall, I just found it today and I have read most of the recent posts already.

TimMee Army said...

Glad you enjoyed the article and the blog, Def.

FJ Torres said...

Maybe a kid called Hugo played with these in his backyard, decided to joinn the paras and got some ideas... Just kidding.