Other “Surprise Egg” Toys
(Last Updated: 23 September 2009)
This brand-new section of the NZ Kinder Surprise Collectors’ Site details some other toys that I have in the “surprise egg” genre. Kinder Surprise might be the best-known “surprise egg” brand, but it has plenty of competitors, especially in Europe. Below are some of the “surprise egg” toys that have found their way into my collection over the years.
ARCOR TOYS (ARGENTINA)
Who Makes Them: An Argentine candy and chocolate maker called Arcor (www.arcor.com.ar).
Where To Find in NZ: Not widely distributed here as far as I know. I just stumbled across a few in a local dairy one time, but since then, I have never seen them again.
Identification: The eggs look much like Kinder Surprise ones, but have the word TOYS on them. The toys themselves are unmarked with anything other than the word “CHINA”, so would be difficult to identify as Arcor toys unless you got them straight from the egg or their papers were included with them. The papers generally have some Spanish writing. Click here for a scan of some Arcor papers.
Likes/Dislikes: The papers are rather nice, although they don’t tend to have assembly instructions. The toys themselves are all right, but not up to the standard of Kinder Surprise or other European “surprise egg” toys. One major irritation is that the papers don’t always seem to match up with the toys. That’s really quite sloppy. The extreme paucity of information available about these toys is also frustrating. Even the official site reveals next to nothing.
Toys in My Collection: I currently have five Arcor toys. There are two planes with gold bodies and propellers (one has a yellow propeller while the other has a blue one). They appear to belong to a set called “Helices Doradas” (Golden Propellers). Then there are two balancing birds—one with a snake and the other with a sort of monument. These came with papers showing farm animals and the words “Rompecabezas de la Granja” (Farm Puzzles”), but quite clearly do not belong with this set. Last but not least, I have a yellow shovel-nose tractor from a set called “Zona de Construcción” (Construction Zone), which appears to be one of four toys in that particular set.
Who Makes Them: A German confectionary company called bofrost* (the asterisk seems to be part of the company name). Actually, who made them might be more precise here, as I can find no record of bofrost* toys released after 1998, and the bofrost* site makes no reference to its surprise egg toys.
Where to Find in NZ: bofrost* toys are not available in NZ, and as far as I know, they never were available under the actual bofrost* name.
Identification: All bofrost* toys seem to be solid ones. But your best bet is to acquire a catalogue like the SU Verlag one for Kinder Surprise toys (which features some other surprise egg toys at the back).
Likes/Dislikes: The quality is generally very good. Information about the toys is rather scarce, but is in rather better supply than the info about Arcor Toys.
Toys in My Collection: I have just one bofrost* toy that I know of, which is “Jumbo Judoka”, an elephant judoka from the 1997 “Tierische Sporties” set. I got this out of an Easter egg, which I think I bought from a Deka store in 1998.
Who Makes Them: As with bofrost*, Schwind toys are no longer made, but were produced in the mid to late-1990s by a German outfit called, well, Schwind.
Where to Find in NZ: Schwind eggs are no longer available in New Zealand, and even when they were, they were not widely distributed. I only found them in a sort of superette in downtown Wellington, and only ever bothered buying one. Once that batch ran out, I never saw Schwind eggs anywhere again.
Identification: Very difficult, as neither Schwind toys nor papers are very clearly marked. You can at least find some of more limited editions in catalogues like the big SU Verlag one. But if I had just found my toy rather than extracting it directly from a Schwind egg, I would have had no idea of its origin, and no way of finding it out.
Likes/Dislikes: The limited edition toys seem OK (from what I have seen of them), but the toy I have is pretty cheap and nasty-looking and the paper with it is nothing to write home about either.
Toys in My Collection: Just the one, a very cheap-looking blue and orange plastic steam roller. The paper is quite thick, but has very little information on it, other than assembly instructions. It is entirely in black and white.
WHITMAN’S LOONEY TUNES (USA)
Who Makes Them: The venerable American confectionary company Whitman’s made these in the early 2000s.
Where to Find in NZ: They used to be available at The Warehouse and most supermarkets, but were withdrawn some time in 2001.
Identification: If you find a plastic Looney Tunes toy that has required assembly, there’s a very good chance it will be a Whitman’s Looney Tunes figurine.
Likes/Dislikes: The characters were well made, but there were far too few of them, which meant a lot of duplicates that were almost impossible to trade, because every other WLT collector had the same toys in abundance! In the end, I suspect the very poor supply of new toys drove sales down, which subsequently let to Whitman’s Looney Tunes being withdrawn from the NZ market.
Toys In My Collection: I have all three main series (comprising five figurines apiece), plus four figurines from the first sports series (which could be found in giant-sized chocolate eggs shaped a bit like the Tasmanian Devil—this was the shame shape as the regular-sized eggs). The sports figures in my collection are: Tweety Pie (blowing a whistle), Bugs Bunny (playing cricket), Tasmanian Devil (playing American football) and Marvin the Martian (playing American football). To complete this set, I need Wile E. Coyote playing tennis. I also need the entire second sport set.
WONDER TEDDYS (GERMANY)
Who Makes Them: Wonder Teddys, which appear to have started in about 2000, are made by German firm Rübezahl Koch. They are one of the more serious competitors to Kinder Surprises. As with Kinder Surprises, there is a wide variety of toys, including limited-edition figurines and jigsaw puzzles.
Where to Find in NZ: Get to The Warehouse! This chain seems to be the main supplier for Wonder Teddys in New Zealand. To date, I have not come across Wonder Teddys outside The Warehouse.
Identification: At least some toys can be identified by an RK logo. They are similar in quality to Kinder Surprise toys, but don’t have a number. (NB: The papers have a number, but the toys do not.) Some Kinder Surprise toys don’t have a number either, but usually at least have the Ferrero mark somewhere. A toy with an RK mark is definitely a Wonder Teddy toy. A toy without any marking at all may be a WT toy, especially if its quality is on a par with Kinder toys. In The Warehouse, the chocolate eggs look a bit like Yowies, but on closer inspection, you can see they’re actually shaped like teddy bears.
Likes/Dislikes: The chocolate is really nice, and the toys are generally very decent as well. The sticker sheets often have two sets of stickers for a single toy, which seems rather wasteful, but I guess it can sometimes be good to have a spare sticker in case something goes wrong with the application of the first one, or the original sticker wears off later. The papers are very much like Kinder Surprise papers of old (before they underwent the MPG makeover). As with so many other non-Kinder Surprise toys however, information about them is not that easy to find. The official site is your best bet, although it’s all in German, with no English section as far as I can tell. The best unofficial site that I’ve found (although again, it’s all in German) is here.
Toys in My Collection: Just six at present, which are as follows:
C96 02 04: Strawberry playing a guitar from a set called “Funny Fruities” (it is one of six toys in the set)
C97 03 01: Funny pizza oven with feet from a set called “Küchen-Hilfen” (Kitchen Helpers; this is one of four toys in the set).
C97 03 04: Funny blender, also from the “Küchen-Hilfen” set.
310451-1: Trisceratops (Triceratops), from a set called “Dinosaur Collection”. The set contains five dinosaur figurines and appears to be a little bit special, as the toy has a clear RK marking and the paper is a little bit bigger and nicer. The different numbering pattern would also suggest that this is a special set. However, the official Wonder Teddy site contains absolutely no information about it. About the only information I can glean from other sources is that it appears to be a 2006 release.
310451-5: Velicaraptor (Velociraptor), also from the “Dinosaur Collection” set.
310452-2: Braciosaurus in an egg, from a set also called “Dinosaur Collection”, but which has five dinosaurs in eggs rather than in their adult form.
In addition to the above toys, I have three other papers that were sent to me a couple of years ago by Kay Bundo. These are: Circus-Tiere (Circus Animals; paper is for the toy numbered C96 08 02), Formula-1 Show (paper is for the toy numbered C97 02 04) and Space Animals (paper is for the toy numbered C96 05 03; I actually have a spare to trade if anyone is interested).
YOWIES (AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND)
Who Makes Them: Cadbury used to make Yowies between 1997 and 2005.
Where To Find in NZ: In their heyday, Yowies used to be available in all good supermarkets, dairies, service stations and just about anywhere that Kinder Surprises were sold. Nowadays, you can no longer buy the chocolate eggs, but there are plenty of Yowie toys available on the second-hand market.
Identification: Most Yowies are plastic animal toys, so can be identified on that basis. Virtually all of them have some kind of Cadbury Schweppes marking, but you might have to take some of them apart before you find it. Solid figurines (like Yowie men and Grumkins) likewise have this marking.
Likes/Dislikes: I loved the educational aspect of Yowies, but found some of them fiddly to assemble, and it also used to irritate me immensely that New Zealand was usually about six months behind Australia when it came to getting new series!
Toys in My Collection: Far too many to list here. I once had another Web site devoted to Yowies (and also Japanese Choco Egg animals), but that has now closed. Some day, I may perhaps reopen it again, but that probably depends on Cadbury starting Yowies back up again.