Back to the Future
Going Back to the Future
Why Back to the Future, you might ask? After all, it hasn’t exactly inspired the huge amount of collectables that some other films have, particularly compared to the likes of James Bond or Batman. Well, the reason is that 2015 provides a couple of unique milestones in the history of the trilogy. Firstly, earlier this year (July to be exact) the original movie celebrated its 30th anniversary but, secondly, and more uniquely, October 21st 2015 is the ‘futuristic’ year Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) travel to in Back to the Future II. That’s right, if you can remember the film Marty McFly travels to 2015 in a DeLorean that’s capable of flight before riding on a hover board and almost getting chomped by a 3D hologram of Jaws. Now look out of a nearby window… does that look like the 2015 we’re living in today? Not really. Back to the Future II was made in 1989 and, although we have had huge technical advancements, it’s amusing to think the writers thought that by now we would all have flying cars! We’re lucky if the Collectors Gazette Toyota Yaris manages to start in the morning, never mind take off.
Despite this Back to the Future has become something of a cult classic and although many toys weren’t made to coincide with the original films, that’s starting to change now with numerous collectables based upon the franchise. So, let’s take a look at some of those Back to the Future collectables that could become collectables of the future… confused? Hopefully everything will become clear.
HOT WHEELS ELITE
There’s only one place to start when it comes to Back to the Future collectables and that’s with the fantastic series of 1/18 and 1/43 scale models from Hot Wheels. Although the Elite range originally set out to produce highly detailed replicas of sports cars, over the years its focus has quickly shifted to iconic TV and film vehicles… one of which is most certainly the DeLorean Time Machine that appears in all three films.
Hot Wheels kicked off its Back to the Future offerings in 2013 with a 1/43 scale DeLorean Time Machine. For such a relatively small model, the detail is superb, complete with the complicated time machine apparatus at the rear and the brushed aluminium finish of the car itself. The following year, it launched the DeLorean as seen in Back to the Future II, including the new and improved ‘Mr. Fusion’ device that powered the vehicle.
However, the best was yet to come and earlier this year Hot Wheels released the fantastic 1/18 scale Time Machine with the hover board seen in the sequel. The detail on this fantastic replica is outstanding and includes opening gull-wing doors, so you can see the brightly coloured dashboard and time travelling paraphernalia. If this doesn’t become a classic collectable in years to come, then we’re not sure what will!
However, Hot Wheels isn’t the only big name diecast manufacturer to have turned its attention to the popular films and in 2001 Corgi released a host of TV and film cars, including the Time Machine. To be honest, the 1/36 scale replica is rudimentary when compared to the Hot Wheels take on the same vehicle… although Corgi did include the metallic rod used to harness a lightning bolt in the first film, along with a small figure of Doc Brown looking suitably horrified.
Corgi went back to Back to the Future in 2010 with a model to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the original film, although this time there was no Doc Brown figure included with the car.
Although Corgi’s effort can’t compete with Hot Wheels… at least it got the shape right, unlike the frankly terrible LJN Toys DeLorean released alongside Back to the Future II. LJN was actually a videogames manufacturer, alongside a toy producer, but unfortunately it’s got rather a poor reputation for both! This Time Machine looks more like a silver rally car than a sleek DeLorean and has almost balloon-like tyres. It doesn’t often crop up at auction but we saw one back in 2013 at the MCM Comic Con with a price tag of £40. A slightly ugly curio, then.
Also released alongside Back to the Future II were a couple of attractive sets, courtesy of American firm Racing Champions. Clearly inspired by the Micro Machines range, which was everywhere in the late 1980s, Racing Champions created the Micro Action series. These were small vehicles measuring around 3cm that were based on cars seen in the film. Among the line-up was, of course, the Time Machine, along with a futuristic police car. However, one of the more interesting releases was a Texaco-branded Hoverport. This service station was meant to appear in the sequel to show how different things were in the future, as people filled up their flying cars at free floating petrol garages. However, the scene was scrapped ensuring this was the only reference to the interesting idea. These Micro Action sets do crop up on eBay and the like and are fairly reasonably priced.
We’ll finish on one of the most charming and perhaps one of the most popular Back to the Future collectables released so far and, unsurprisingly, it comes from the Danish brick making behemoth LEGO. Along with its normal sets inspired by day-to-day life or blockbuster films, LEGO also has something called the LEGO Ideas website (formerly LEGO Cuusoo). Here people can submit their own ideas for new sets and if they receive 10,000 votes from the online community, LEGO then considers making them into an official product for release. This was the case with a Time Machine created by LEGO enthusiast m.togami on the website. First uploaded in 2011, the project received the required 10,000 votes in April 2012 and was released in February 2013 by LEGO. Complete with Minifigures of Marty and Doc Brown, the blocky Time Machine may not be as detailed as its Hot Wheels counterpart but it’s certainly charming. It’s becoming very collectable too and the price is beginning to soar. Originally priced at £34.99 it now sells on eBay for around the £70 mark… how’s that for a timely profit? CG