Subbuteo Tribute Website.
We've reached 1976-77 in our epic tour of the Wonderful World of Subbuteo, and the arrival of the crowning glory of the whole thing - the Subbuteo stadium. This is also the time that the remaining A-Z accessories were given "C" numbers - between C144 and C152. Not wanting to describe them again, they just merit a heading, and a comment on their
survival. Clear? Good, and so without further ado:-
Box types:- There were two big changes in Subbuteo packaging design during this era. Firstly, the word Subbuteo moved from upper case to lower case. The grandstand seems to be the first accessory to see this change, and it also occurs on the box sets. Secondly, the 1970s kicking footballer, and related logos (sometimes a goalkeeper, sometimes just the ball) are replaced by the hobby-crest logo. This had been seen earlier in the 1970s (i.e. on the Subbuteo sound record sleeve), but it now took prominence. However, the kicking footballer existed as far as C154, and also had a final appearance on C165 in 1979. That might be an exception though.... However, "lower case lettering" is a less catchy title than "hobby-crest", so that is what I'm calling this era of boxes.
C140: Stadium Grandstand.
Specially designed for the big match atmosphere, this superb model is moulded in green and tan; supplied with five spectator figures.
Having scoreboards, TV towers, ball boys, and other pitch side sets, I imagine the urge to produce the stands as well must have been overwhelming for Subbuteo in the 1970's. It must have been a mammoth task, but I think they got it absolutely right as this is a beautifully designed grandstand. It arrived in 1976 at a cost of £2.95, making it the most expensive item then available. The spectators (C141) arrived at the same time, but the terrace, and corner terrace arrived slightly later in 1977. The stadium lived on into the "61" number years, but was finally replaced in 1988 by the more modern looking red, white and blue stadium (61216). The set was originally sold with just five painted spectators, but later re-boxed ones also included 25 unpainted spectators.
Box types:- The original colour illustrated box is the most common. I've never seen a monochrome-logo box in the flesh, although the one shown above comes from a picture of a display stand in the 1982 trade catalogue. It certainly was not an improvement. The final box was in the green logo style, and featured an action picture of Italy vs. Poland, as shown under C142.
C141: Spectator Set.
Ten seated spectator figures to swell the attendance of the new stadium grandstand.
Of course, this was
only the early packs that I owned. Later packs are painted
differently, and often more sensibly (blue jeans and white shirts for
Pack types:- Originally sold in a bag, with header card, the supporters were also sold in all bubble packs, with all three backing cards.
C142: Stadium Terracing.
A cheaper way to enclose your ground, this was basically just the two tan coloured tiers of seats from the grandstand, with small plastic uprights to hold up the back. It was a credit to the stadium design that this worked so effectively. With the original version of this set, no more spectators were provided so you had to fork out for a few more C141s. When it was re-boxed in 1984 twenty-five unpainted crowd figures were added. This set survived alongside the green/tan grandstand, but when the new stand was produced in 1988, it was changed to a grey version and gained a new number - 61217.
Box types:- Like the grandstand, I think there are three types, with variations. The original hobby-crest version is the most common, but had an early variant shown below.
The set then moved onto the monochrome logo (1981-83), before appearing in the green-logo box. A late version of this box is shown above, advising that the set now included twenty-five unpainted crowd figures. The 1988 catalogue saw the arrival of both the red-logo boxes, and the new colour stands, so I don't think this reference appeared in that style of box.
Alternate Early Version.
This is a strange thing. This early version of the terrace set has the terrace supported by two ball raising chutes (Set JJ). I would have put this down as a bit of enterprise by the previous owner, if the back of the box didn't illustrate how to apply them. I guess we now know why the ball raising chute does not make it into the "C" range in 1977. The remaining stock was put to a different use!
C143: Stadium Terracing Corner Unit.
...to enable you to complete your stadium.
Box types:- Again, I think there are three basic versions, with the original hobby-crest version (shown top), by far the most common.
The monochrome-logo style of box is shown above at the top of the page, with C140. The final green logo version once again had the Italy vs. Poland picture.
C144: Three Panelled Balls.
Previously Set F.
Pack types:- Originally sold in a bag with header card (the kicking footballer logo version has been seen as C144). Then appeared in all three types of bubble pack. Orange and white balls have been seen under this number. I'm not sure the brown was produced in the three panel balls, and I don't think it was sold as C144.
The white ball was sold as 61144 in 1984-85.
C145: Three Small Balls.
Previously Set FF.
Pack types:- Like C144, this ball has been seen in a bag, and on all three bubble packs. Both white and orange balls have been seen, in a three panel version.
Arrived on this number in 1977, but had ceased to be in the range by 1978.
C147: Logbook Refill.
Previously Set LX.
This item managed to out last the cover by a couple of years, and it still features in the 1980 catalogue... but it had gone by 1981. The final version is shown here.
Previously Set N.
Box types:- Originally in the Set N box, with new number as shown above. It did receive a monochrome-logo box in 1981-83, but a lack of a 61xxx number means no green-logo box.
C149: Smaller Goals.
Previously Set NN.
Again the box is reprinted, but there seemed little point to it, because this time the accessory had left the range by the time of the 1978 price list.
Box types:- just the one shown.
C150: Fixture Cards.
Previously Set U.
C151: Referee's Whistle.
Previously Set V.
Another pointless renumber, as this item arrived here in 1977, but had gone by 1979. However, Subbuteo did release a new Referee's kit (C166) in that year, and the whistle in in that set seems to be the same product.
C152: Automatic Timer.
Previously Set W.
C153: Diving Goalkeepers with caps.
There was no catalogue description to go with these, but then they did not really need one. They were exactly as the name suggests. They are actually a favourite design of mine as they possess a wide, stable stance. They were popular, because they had a slightly wider coverage than some of the alternatives, so must have been a nice steady, simple money-earner for Subbuteo. They arrived in 1978 and remained in the range until 1995. Like the standard goalkeeper, they received a peg base around 1985.
Interestingly, they were actually dropped to the "requests only" part of the price list in 1982-84, returning to the shop range in 1985 as a pegged figure. The 1985 price list actually has them highlighted as a "new" item, although obviously they were not. I think they were the only set that returned to the main range from the "request" list.
Box types:- The 1978 box was a mix of old and new. The new "lower case" Subbuteo, but with the old kicking footballer logo. It was essentially a "hobby-crest" box though. It had a nice close-up of a goalkeeper in his cap. As it then became "request only", I'm not sure if it received a monochrome logo box (picture needed!). On their return in 1985, the goalkeepers joined the other small accessories on bubble packs. Like the balls and cups, they were then re-boxed in the 1990s "pitch-corner" range.
C154: Tournament Goals.
With round posts and crossbar, and bases for extra stability.
The early goals were assembled by Subbuteo, but later when the self-assembly goals arrived, these two arrived flat-packed. The net colour of these goals is usually white. They were white for the first catalogue appearance in 1978, but are shown with a different colour net in the 1979 catalogue. I think it is probably the dark blue "World Cup" net that they are shown with.
Once again, this was a nice simple set, that lived on until the last big accessory range of 1995. They also appeared in some of the bigger sets of the early 1990s.
Box Types:- Five. This popular goal arrived in the late 1970s style of box. Like C153, this still had the kicking footballer logo, but the lower-case lettering, and illustration fit into the hobby-crest era. As the goal survived until 1996, it then featured in all the other box types - monochrome-logo, green-logo, red-logo, and pitch-corner.
C155: Subbuteo World
The Subbuteo catalogues changed in 1978 from a fold out poster of team colours with accessory details on the back, to a full blown colour illustrated catalogue. This new catalogue was made available to buy in the shops. My 1981 version cost me (or probably my mum!) the princely sum of 20p. The catalogue was given the C155 number in 1978, and this number carried on through the four versions of this catalogue until 1981. After that, Subbuteo changed back to producing posters of the range for several years. I've now added a couple of pages of catalogues to the website, so you can check out what was produced for each year.
T.V. Film Unit.
C157: Subbuteo World Cup.
This short-lived set is a bit of a mystery. It first arrived in the catalogues in 1979. The Jules Rimet trophy had remained the Subbuteo World Cup to this point, although a new trophy had been designed for the 1974 competition, after Brazil won the original outright in 1970. Although the new World Cup did feature a globe being held aloft, it looked nothing like this version, with a couple of players doing the lifting. It is possible that it was an attempt to produce a trophy similar to the new FIFA World Cup without paying for a licence. Previously, I wondered whether it was a replica of the cup the Subbuteo World Champion received, but no, that was still the awkward looking John Waddington trophy.
Charles Stadden had produced Subbuteo's version of the Jules Rimet, but I have been told that he did not like the design of the new trophy, and refused to copy it. Perhaps this was the result. Whatever the reasons, this trophy was replaced by an official copy of the new FIFA World Cup (C182) in 1981
The set only lasts for two years 1979 and 1980.
The one box type is the Hobby Crest version shown. This cup is the only one not to get a box insert.
I have illustrated the actual cup and box, but left the old catalogue illustration as that appears to be a prototype.
If anyone can clear this up then please mail me.
C158: Stadium Scoreboard.
Fully working with name cards of all leading English and Scottish League Clubs...
The box shown here is an early design, and note that the illustration was not completely accurate, with the board looking too long, and the legs shown as being on the right on the ends. Actually, the design of the legs ended up being a bit complicated. Because one of the legs had to slot in over the back of the dial cover, that leg would end up slightly behind the other. So each leg was designed differently to make allowance for this, and were then labelled A and B so you put them in the correct side of the board. The big legs also allowed you to place the board flush to the back of the terrace set while still reading the scores. Very clever.
The second picture above shows the pale blue version of the board, as produced for the Euro 96 box set. This was the only time the scoreboard wasn't produced in black.
The scoresheets for this board were produced on black card with little white dots making up the names, representing a digital display. These were initially in lower case, and came on a single fold-out card. This "lower-case" set was copied from the C115 cards, with only the English and Scottish leagues, World Cup sides, and home nations. These scoresheets were updated for the 1982 World Cup, but replaced sometime in the mid-1980s with an international version.
This second version was produced in capital letters, and consisted of 20 cards each containing 26 team names, covering most of the leagues that Subbuteo provided teams for (but not always the same teams....). So Vasco De Gama could now play Athlone Town on your bedroom floor. The twenty cards remained until the set was finally ceased at the end of the 1990s. However, they were updated on a frequent basis. The most common reason for this was the introduction of relegation from the English football league, starting with Scarborough replacing Lincoln City in 1987. These were just a straight swap on the list, so the alphabetical order became a bit erratic. Other big changes included dropping the NASL teams, and swapping World Cup qualifiers.
Box types:- Five. The scoreboard runs through all the later box types. The hobby-crest version is shown at the top of this section, then we have monochrome logo, green logo (not illustrated), red logo, and pitch-corner. Note that the red logo version shown here has a "The Football Game" sub-heading. The pitch-corner box can have Waddingtons or Hasbro address details.
C159: Police Squad.
Introduced at the same time as C156, this was another attempt to update the "stand around the pitch" range for the 1980's. These flat capped modern policemen replaced the bobbies in C113. I think they were designed to give a more European feel. Without the distinctive British helmets, these figures could be sold anywhere... I'm not sure why the motorcyclist would be standing around the pitch (unless someone has ordered a pizza). The set is on this number until 1986/87 when it became part of 61214, and it finally finished up in 61239 in 1996. It also appeared in the Match Day series (187/4). Buy all these sets, and you have enough horses to produce the impressive slow march across the football field to separate any marauding plastic fans. But if you want a truck with a water cannon, you'll have to buy a Corgi one....
C160: Soccer Plotter.
The self-adhesive figures were simply the illustrations from the zombie catalogues of 1977-80. The 92 stickers were provided alphabetically by division, which dates the leagues to the 1978-79 season. The kits date to the 1978 catalogue (for instance, Hull City are ref 35). Some kits reappear several times (reference 51 was five different sides in the 1978 catalogue), but Subbuteo did a lot of quirky kits in this period, and it is nice to see the individual kits for teams like Rochdale, Orient, York and Cardiff. The same sticker sheet was used for the later Trophy Trail, but with the team names removed.
February 2015:- The counter display box for the Soccer Plotter is now illustrated.
C161: Floodlight Mains Adaptor Unit.
Okay, how can I say anything exciting about this? It did what it said, allowing you to run the floodlights from the mains rather than gobble up batteries. In fact, it included wires to connect up four floodlights, so it was quite a good idea. It doesn't feature on any of the product range posters later than 1982, but then it's not exactly gripping poster material. It seems to drop to the reserve list on the 1983 price list (available to order, but not readily stocked at shops), and disappeared a year later.
Box types:- This accessory did receive a hobby-crest box when first produced (as illustrated). I've not seen any other boxes.
The floodlight bases were updated to allow them to be wired together.
This was the most expensive item in the accessory range - £6.50 on introduction in 1979, with two floodlights costing £5.99.
C162: EPNS Cup Large.
C163: EPNS Cup Medium.
C164 EPNS Cup Small.
Peter Adolph first introduced the EPNS Cups (Electro-Plated Nickel Silver) circa 1960. There were originally four cups, but this dropped to three in the mid 1970s. These cups were designed as prizes for local leagues etc, so they were kept separate from the normal range until 1979, when the three remaining cups became C162-C164. They were illustrated in the 1979 catalogue, which was possibly the first time they'd been illustrated since the 1960/61 catalogue. This 1979 listing is their only appearance on the new numbers, and a price list dated 1st July 1979 already has "sold out" printed next to all three. It's pure speculation, but it's amusing to imagine that sales had trundled along at a low level for years, until this catalogue appearance whereupon enough extra sales were generated to exhaust the stock in a few months. Certainly as a newbie Subbuteo player in 1979, I thought the high "C" numbers indicated that these were new items.
C165: Home International Team Pack.
I noticed that this item was still using the "kicking footballer" logo, although surrounded by items with the hobby-crest logo.
However, it also does not have the C165 reference on the pack anywhere....
The 1979 price list has "* new for 1979" against all the new items. This was C156-C161 and C166, but not C162-64 (as the cups were not new), and not C165 either.
This suggests that it was not originally in this range. Which may explain why the other wraps are not here. Oddly though, the Silver Jubilee, and the European Championship wraps both have the hobby-crest logo. C174, the World Cup Winners pack does not have a Cxxx number on the wrap either.
C166: Referee's Kit.
C167: Three Tournament Balls.
Pack types:- The 1980-86 range means that this accessory was produced in a bubble pack with all three backing cards (as illustrated).
C168: Fifty unpainted Crowd Figures.
Introduced in 1980, this was a response to demand for a cheaper way to fill the stadium. Obviously it would be costly for the company to paint big packs of figures, so these were supplied in pink plastic. That at least, made them very easy to paint up, especially anyone with a few military modelling paints sitting around. Just paint them Africa Corps yellow... One website visitor did mention dunking these figures into a paint pot to give them a better colour on the terraces, but most people just seem to have used them "naked". The set out lasted the hand painted set (C141), and survived until 1995.
Pack types:- The set lasted through all three bubble pack cards, and then was sold in the standard small sized "pitch-corner" box in the 1990s.
C169: Advertising Boards.
Add realism to your Subbuteo scene with these perimeter advertising boards.
Another simple, but effective addition in Subbuteo's big expansion phase of 1979-82. Each board was just a piece of thin white card, scored down the middle, onto which two adverts from the fence surround (C108) could be placed. You then folded along the middle line, stood them by the pitch, and hey presto - advertising boards. They were produced until 1983, and although one was shown on the 1984 poster which is when the numbers changed, they weren't given a new number, and this was just an old illustration being reused.
Box Types:- The hobby crest version is the original version, and is illustrated. The monochrome-logo boxes were introduced in 1981, but I have not seen this accessory in that box type. Does it exist?
Price in 1980 was just £0.60. At the same price as a pack of balls, it explains why I bought a set!
My set had adverts for Tiger, and Shoot!
Well, we've reached the end of another page. Next up, the continuation of the large 1978-82 accessory expansion - all the way to C193.