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Spanish Production - The Borras Era.
Spanish Editions 1982 onwards.
Spanish Editions - 1982 onwards.
I'm not sure how these sets came about, but they was made by a Spanish company (Juguetes Borras) under licence from Subbuteo Games Ltd. The "made under licence" nature of these games is different than most of the other international editions produced. To emphasise the point, even the pitch features the Borras logo.
The advertising brochure with this game suggests that there were three versions produced in these Spanish boxes. The Club Edition, a "Junior" Edition, which was essentially a Display Edition, and a Special World Cup Edition. The illustration of the Junior set shows the smart plastic interior, featuring Spain and Brazil as the teams. The addition of the FIFA World Cup Edition to this leaflet dates this set nicely to the time of the Spanish World Cup of 1982. Obviously a useful cash-in on the football fever that would've spread through the country at that time.
The third set on the advertising brochure shown above was the FIFA World Cup edition. This had the more familiar lid, and looked as if it was going to be the standard UK release. However, a copy of the actual set has now come to light, and it is much more interesting. The box moved the FIFA markings up to where the English version says "Table Soccer", and renames the set Espaňa-Mundial '82. The interior, like the German sets of the period is flimsy vacuum formed plastic (of a type UK customers weren't cursing at until the mid 1990s!). The big difference though, is in the World Cup itself....
As shown on the box, the Spanish FIFA World Cup statue is a proper, high quality, metal product on a suitable plinth. I assume these replicas were already being made for the World Cup, and being obviously superior to the standard Subbuteo version, were preferred by Borras.
Spanish Subbuteo expert Jorge Vila has this to say about the trophy....
"In 1980, the Playme toy company (the factory was in a town very close to Valencia) manufactured a collection of pencil sharpeners with various shapes, animals, objects... and included a version of the world cup. There were two variations, one with a gold sign and one with a red sign. The pencil sharpener was just below the base. In 1981 the company went bankrupt, and months later the same figure appeared in the 1981 edition of Subbuteo by Borrás. I have the Cup of Borrás and it is exactly the same figure, but without the pencil sharpener. Either they bought the stock of pencil sharpeners shaped like a world cup, or used the same moulds to make it. Curiously, in the photograph on the box of the World Cup Edition, the cup with the red sign appears, but the one with the gold sign always came in the box (in all pictures I have seen on internet)."
Jorge does not know if the red one exists as a Subbuteo item, but he does at least own the pencil sharpener....
Juguetes Borras also sold Subbuteo teams and accessories in their own distinctive boxes. The bubble packed accessories seem to be the standard UK versions, but everything else - stands, pitch, goals, goalkeepers etc. were reboxed. The teams were also produced in this style, and two variations of team box suggest that the range continued for at least a couple of years, although nothing much later than this date has been seen in collecting circles.
Spanish Company Juguetes Borras made officially licenced products around the time of the 1982 World Cup hosted in Spain. As well as a couple of box sets, they also produced a both an accessory and team range in their own attractive boxes. Unlike most Subbuteo markets, Spain produced their own number range for their teams. For instance, the team shown above is Athletic Bilbao, who arrived in the UK team lists around this time at number 440. Here they are reference 2.
Spanish catalogues dated 1980 and 1983 have now enabled me to fill in this section. It seems that a range of 54 teams was established by 1980, featuring a full Spanish league range featuring an amazing thirty two different references. Within this range was 37 different teams, which must have been at least two full divisions of the Spanish league. The list was then completed with 22 of the top selling national and club sides that featured in most of the international ranges, such as West Germany, Liverpool, Juventus etc. By 1983 the list had increased to 62 sides, with this expansion allowing the range to cover all the sides at the 1982 World Cup.
The teams that have come to light have revealed two different box types. If you compare the box shown here with the Bilbao one, it should be apparent that this version has a window, and a different interior layout. In addition, whilst the Bilbao box has a lift off lid, this one is a card wrap with a slide out tray.
Excitingly for lightweight collectors, many of the teams shown in the Spanish catalogues are unique to this range. Most do not appear in the standard UK range. There is a nice example above - ref 11 Rayo Vallecano. This team (which looks like a white skinned Peru) never appears in the UK or Italian catalogues, and you had to wait until the 2003 Parodi range before it featured again.
The teams that did transfer into the UK range were added in the team list between 424 and 440. The most interesting thing here are the gaps between these teams. Here the Spanish sides were on numbers 424, 425, 431, 433, 439 and 440. It must be assumed that some of the other Spanish sides were pencilled in for worldwide issue, but then not released.
Frustrating, there doesn't seem to be a way to match the Spanish sides to the UK gaps, alphabetically or otherwise. Of course, there are thirty-two Spanish references here, and only seventeen spaces between 424 and 440. However, the Spanish sides repeat the French pattern of duplicating kits on different references (1&3, 31&38, 15&36 etc), something the standard range does not do. In addition, many of the teams are duplicates of standard sides. So ref 13 is UK21, and 16 is UK144.
There are further troubles with the catalogue illustrations. All the teams usually produced with black players are shown in the standard flesh colour. This makes Cameroon look like a different side. However, the real teams such as El Salvador, shown above, and Honduras were produced with the correct players. However, Peru were added to the description of Rayo Vallecano in 1983, but this was not a black side in Spain. Then we come to sock trim. There are four blue and white striped sides with white shorts, all with different sock trim. It's hard to believe that Subbuteo in the UK would have bothered with this at the time. Many other teams have different socks compared with UK references. However, the accuracy of this must be questioned, as even the international teams vary (see 40, 52, 43 etc). In addition to this, the hoops and stripes on shirts and socks have been outlined in black and then coloured in. This makes ref 26 look like Plymouth (UK54) but it should just have a green bar on the shirt.
All this means that I've felt the need to add notes to the team list as shown below. I've pointed out the existing references closest to the Spanish teams, shown as UKxxx to reduce confusion. It is interesting that Barcelona looks more like UK464 from 1983, than the earlier ref 19. This suggests further feedback to the UK range, and I wonder whether the non-illustrated Alaves (UK478) and Zaragoza (UK479) were also meant to come from this range.
December 2007: A big thank you to Jesús Ridao, James Hardcastle, and regular helper Eddie Lang for sending the catalogues to me.
Honduras - Unique to Spain, and has been seen on ebay. A blue Honduras was sold on UK405
Irlanda (Northern Ireland) - (UK320)
Spain - Cola Cao Edition.
Spring 2013: Spotted on ebay earlier this year, this was another strange Spanish set, that appears to be of a similar vintage. This Cola Cao set (sponsored?) had similar contents to a standard club edition. The teams were hand-painted lightweights of Spain and Brazil (pale skinned), and the look matches the hand-painted teams seen in the Spanish team range mentioned above. It should be noted that the Cola Cao name was also printed onto the edges of the pitch. A Cola Cao sticker was also provided.
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