|Sam's Toybox Homepage|
I've started selling some of my toys & collectibles.
The Strange Change Toy by Mattel is one of the coolest toys ever created. An oven and a press that allow one to transform "time capsule" plastic cubes into strange creatures, then to crush them back into cube form. The press that crushes the creatures actually embosses the Mattel logo into the cube. Cool. I did not have one of these as a kid but played with one many times at a friend's house.
There were two versions of the toy produced by Mattel in the late sixties: The Time Machine, and the Strange Change Machine. Both are Stock No. 4581, Copyright 1967. The only real difference is the decals on the machine and wording on the box, though the very first time machine version had a different type of plastic cover over the crusher. Displayed for your enjoyment are both types of Mattel Strange Change toys, both of the known accessory packs of cubes, plus a later version of the Strange Change produced by Toymax.
Above is the older, original Time Machine version of the Strange Change toy. Included were the time machine oven itself, 16 creature cubes (actually, 14 cubes and two in creature form), a green vac-u-formed base, a paper landscape map / instruction sheet, and a blue pair of tongs. Mine is missing four of the creatures, has numerous cracks in the vac-u-formed base, and a box with much damage.
This is the newer Strange Change Machine version of the Strange Change toy. My version of the toy only has two creatures and they suffer from 2nd degree burns, something that happened to many a creature when an overzealous kid would leave them in the machine much too long. The vac-u-formed base for this version is a bit thicker than for previous versions but still prone to cracking (which mine is).
|Astropods Accessory Pack. One of the two accessory packs of creatures released by Mattel. Includes the creatures (top to bottom): Raspagator, Crabosaurus, Flyadon, and Slunkapod. Stock No. 4586, Copyright 1967. Later versions of this accessory came with one of the creatures in finished form, three creatures in cubes. This one came with all four creatures in cube format.||Creaturelings Accessory Pack. The other accessory pack of creatures released by Mattel. Includes the creatures (top to bottom): Snaggle Fanged Oculus, Antosaurus, Hooded Skullkaronamus, and Beetleontodon. Stock No. 4587, Copyright 1967. Later versions of this accessory came with one of the creatures in finished form, three creatures in cubes. This one came with all four creatures in cube format.|
|This is the newer Strange Change made by Toymax, Item No. 8188, Copyright 1995. Toymax has done an excellent job of obtaining the rights to some very cool toys and re-issuing them. This version uses a small light bulb to provide heat, has the unit mostly enclosed in plastic to prevent burns, and features glow-in-the-dark creatures. The biggest drawback to this kit is that due to having less heat available, the creatures had to be smaller (and flatter), and that Toymax cut corners and only created four types of creatures of which you got many copies. The box says that the toy comes with 12 cubes, but mine has 21 loose creatures plus a sealed bag that appears to contain 15 more. I am not sure where the blue creatures came from, they were with the toy when I bought it.|
|This photo shows the creatures I have. Twelve of the original Mattel sixteen creatures plus the four glow-in-the-dark Toymax creatures, plus the blue Minotaur from toy unknown.|
|Name:||Strange Change Machine|
|Vintage:||The late 1960s|
|Obtained:||All came from eBay in two lots.|
Virtual Vicki's Strange Change Page - explains how it works
Feeling Retro's Strange Change Page - people's memories of the toy
Boing Boing Article - great article of why its the best toy ever
|Look for it:||
Search for Strange Change on eBay
Search for Strange Change on Amazon
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Last Modified: December 25, 2008
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