• The origins of our story date way back to 1923 when the Schoenhut Company in Philadelphia, USA, invented a game which replicated real Golf in miniature. The game featured two carved wooden mini golfers, Tommy & Sissie, attached to the end of standard size golf clubs. A pull lever in the handle made Tommy & Sissie rotate in order to take shots with a selection of mini golf clubs, just like real Golf. The game was an instant success.

  • In the 1960’s the game was updated and manufactured in plastic. Golfing legend Arnold Palmer put his name to the game. Tommy & Sissie were replaced by “Arnie” and the game quickly achieved worldwide success.

  • “Our” Arnie, along with a few other game set remnants, was bought at a Car Boot sale around the Year 2000. After years of use and abuse he re-appeared in 2012 during a House move - minus his feet ! A “lightbulb moment” occurred ….. Arnie inspired the idea of re-engineering the mechanism to create a kicking figure which could play other ball sports.

  • The idea was reviewed with a UK Product Developer, who then liaised with a specialist Model Maker to create a “working test-rig”. Meanwhile research online revealed the Golf game was still in production and was being marketed under another name in the USA at State & County Fairs, so we decided to test the UK appetite for such “traditional” style real action games by re-branding/launching the Golf game.

  • The brand name was agreed, a logo was designed and The MiniMaster Sports Company was born. Work began on the look and launch of MiniMaster GOLF.

  • A consignment of Golf games was ordered and branded in the newly designed packaging. MiniMaster GOLF was on it’s way.

  • MiniMaster GOLF was enthusiastically received during an award winning debut at 2014 London Toy Fair. The positive feedback gave us the endorsement we were seeking before progressing further with the development of the kicking figure.

  • The working test rig was created by modifying and combining a mini Golfer (Arnie), with the torso of Barbie’s boyfriend (Ken), then adding a custom built, fully articulated mechanical kicking leg. “Kennie” was born ! Although not the most handsome looking he could kick like a mule and proved that the design concept was viable if it could be successfully engineered for manufacture.

  • Kennie was sent to China for a CAD (Computer Aided Design) “skeleton” of a working mechanism to be engendered as a database for manufacturing.

  • A selection of real player images in various action poses were sent to the developer, from which a ‘virtual’ CAD figure was created to cover the mechanical skeleton. 

  • Having first met at London Toy Fair we agreed an in-store promotion of MiniMaster GOLF during December 2014 with a leading national Department Store. Customers were invited to play a miniature challenge hole, landscaped with trees, bunkers and a water feature. Hundreds of people in all ages played and bought the game, resulting in MiniMaster GOLF becoming the best selling product over the Christmas period, outperforming leading product lines from both Disney & LEGO !

  • A willing victim was selected as a model for the head of the Football figure. 360 degree photos were used to enable a replica head to be sculpted at 1:8 scale.

  • All the body components were 3D printed from the CAD files then hand assembled to create the first working prototype. Although headless it was time to put it to the test.

  • Following successful testing of the Prototype Football figure we began the lengthy process to put the appropriate worldwide measures in place to protect the MiniMaster brand, products & designs from being copied.

  • Following successful testing of the Prototype Footballer we began to formulate gameplay ideas for other sports, one of which was American (Gridiron) football. We decided to attend the 2016 New York Toy Fair and commissioned the additional sculpt of an American Football Field Goal Kicker to showcase with the Footballer.

  • The first Gameboard was conceived in order to add point scoring gameplay to the American Football game.

  • Prototypes of the Goal & Shotscreen were produced in readiness for our attendance at the 2016 Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair at Nuremberg, Germany.

  • The first box design was created for MiniMaster FOOTBALL and a “mock-up” box made.

  • Terms were agreed with Hornby Hobbies for the supply of Humbrol paints for the customization of the paintable MiniMaster FOOTBALL figure.

  • MiniMaster FOOTBALL made it’s debut at the 2016 Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair, Nuremberg, Germany and gained interest from visitors from around the World.

  • A prototype American Football Field Goal Kicking Game set was made in readiness for our attendance at the 2016 New York Toy Fair.

  • Having designed and made a mock-up box for the American (Grigiron) Football Game, and changed the MiniMaster FOOTBALL box to MiniMaster SOCCER to suit the American market, we took the two prototype game sets to the 2016 New York Toy Fair. Both games were enthusiastically received, most notably by the biggest retailer in the USA, which endorsed our faith in the global potential of the MiniMaster brand & products. We were ready to schedule production.

  • A major set-back. Our development Partner in China ran into operational difficulties and was unable to guarantee the completion of our projects. We therefore had to decide whether to wait indefinitely or find another development Partner. We opted for the latter and put the many contacts obtained at the various Toy Fairs to good use, however it still took several months to find a suitable replacement. The new development Partner was tasked with making a number of changes and a new Prototype figure was produced. The most obvious external change was that the new Figure’s appearance when on the display stand was improved by moving the connection point from the back to the standing foot.

  • The updated prototype player and the other football game set components were received a few days before our appearance at the 2017 Hong Kong Toy Fair. During the course of a great many demonstrations we identified the need for some further mechanical refinements in order to optimize the kicking performance. These were reviewed and agreed with our Hong Kong based development Partner after the Fair.

  • Following completion of the agreed mechanical refinements final product tests were completed by our development partner to ensure kicking performance benchmarks were achieved. The objectives set were +1.5m height over a distance of +4m. The distance & height measurements are marked on the wall in the video clip. Both were exceeded.

  • The original ‘angular’ Goal frame was changed to a ‘box’ Goal frame with just 3 connection points and a pre-fitted net in order to make it easier for players to assemble.

  • The MiniMaster FOOTBALL box design was updated following changes to the new prototype player and the addition/update of other gameplay components.

  • Pre-production samples were received for inspection and testing. Everything was in good order so production was scheduled.

  • The first shipment of MiniMaster FOOTBALL Games was received in late December 2017, a full three years after the first test-rig, “Kennie”, was created and tested. All set for Minimaster Football to kick-off at the London Toy Fair 2018

© The MiniMaster Sports Company Ltd 2018 vooddo chilli