During the early 60s, two friends, one from Barcelona (Arnau) and one from Madrid (Campos) bought a plastics manufacturing company that was bordering on bankruptcy: Madel (Manufacturas Delgado=Delgado Manufacturing). Arnau is the son of the founder of Exin Bros, one of the largest toy makers company in Spain. The same company that made Scalextric slot cars, Exin castillos, Cine Exin and others.
In the begining, Madel manufactured all types of plastic products, not just toys. In 1966/67 they start developing a six-inch 'poseable doll'. The idea being that it was the perfect scale to fit in a child's pocket. Their dolls had unique joints based on human articulation . It would have probably been a great hit worldwide if it had been developed by a US company, and not by a small company from Spain.
The first contact with retailers was not successful at all. They felt like boys wouldn't play with dolls. Hasbro heard the same thing while trying to promote GI Joe. Despite the initial cool reception from retailers the product actually ended up selling quite well.
The first madelman figures were released during Xmas 68, in a small display box that was later changed to the standard box in 1971. The early madelman figures didn't have feet but rather pegs onto which the boots were fitted. Also, they had what collectors call 'crystal eyes', which were handpainted.
About 75/76, they developed the second madelman figure, which had jointed feet and painted eyes. A female figure was also added to the line. A third body type was released during the last years of Madelman in 82/84. Instead of being a new body, it was just a combination of previously released figures: torso, arms and chest from the male body and the legs of the female body.Madelman figures were eventually manufactured in Mexico, by Exinmex. The molds made by Exinmex were the same as those made in Spain, but there were remarkable differences in the quality of both the costumes and accessories. Exinmex also released some figures that were different from the Madel Spain line.
What's it worth? Take a look at this Madelman price guide: sold listings for a value indication.