About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A is for Airfix Addicts Aided by Atomic Rocket Gun

It's been a while since I fed the Airfix habit, then this turned-up! How cool is this, too cool for Space-school, that's how!

The instructions seem to refer to double-point targets - missing from the board, so the blurb may have been copied verbatim from another game in [what would then begin to look like] the range; the 'W' suffix to the pattern number suggesting a similar situation - more than one in a 'range'?

A bit of reflection I'm afraid, but that's the downside of photographing stuff at a show! Very colourful and unusual in that it has an open front, most sets of this age/type (I'm reminded of our own childhood Marx Robin Hood set) were fully enclosed, with a spring-loaded firing stick and marbles which couldn't get lost.

This has a spring-plate firing mechanism (like the S-Boot we looked at ages ago), so the finger needs to enter the 'playing area'! There seems to be an incentive to cheat built into this set, shocking!

The bag of bits seems to have been mucked-about with, containing both composition and glass marbles in several sizes, I suspect the three white glass 'chinas' are the originals, with the composition balls added by the owner.

However; you can also see the clip-in stands which have to be removed to get the board back in its box, so something that might reasonable have been expected to have been lost (or broken) years ago.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

N is for Ninja Turtles - Ukraine Style!

This is the lead-in to several posts on the products of this Ukrainian company, eponymously titled 'Ukraine'! The full title is (or was) Ukrainian Collectible Paper Soldiers but I will tag them Ukraine.

Firstly a disclaimer; normally I don't cover new production from that part of the world, it invariably gets announced by the PSTSM as 'unknown Russian', then gets named, then turns out (99% of the time) to actually have a Ukrainian address, before being - sometimes - legitimised with an owner's interview in Plastic Warrior magazine.

Why don't I cover it? By the time it's been ID'd properly and/or legitimised it has also been covered-the-heck-out-of on Treefrog in Plastic Warrior magazine and on Stads,. Also; the bulk of the product will be sold to collectors, so is never going to have or hold either the rarity of vintage plastic, or the ephemeral quality of the rack-toy/99p stuff.

Whilst; before it's been legitimised, there remains a chance it may well be an exercise in raising hard cash for who knows what organisation in a place where people's grannies are regularly shelled in villages they've survived-in since the Panzers rolled. Not something I want on my conscience.

However, A) these have come from the owner, who assures me the very turbulence I refer to above has curtailed their production and B) they are not plastic, so Treefrog and PW are unlikely to cover them!

The first of several posts finds us looking at the least 'conventional' of the various items in the range, a range which I like the look of - and those who found the Blog early enough will know I do like paper-flats!

These are apparently affectionately known as 'Ninja Turtles', and are expediency-produced ('ersatz' if you like!) AFV's on a UAZ van/lorry chassis. Used by first line boarder troops in the early phases of the 2014/15 conflict as a stop-gap with both fire-power and personal-protection from fragments. The models are scaled to between 54 and 60mm

As I understand it the vehicles were produced by pro-government/pro-Independent Ukraine (pro-democracy - if you like!) factories or workshops with the technical know-how and/or tools/materials and were paid for by ordinary citizens, following the flight of the puppet President and the Putin-inspired insurgencies in Crimea and the Donbas. [Perhaps my blog will now be hacked by Little/Big Bear and the resulting 'secrets' sent to Trumptonville!]

Well . . . you're not going to escape politics on this one, and the sets wear their hearts on their sleeve! It’s a blue and yellow one.

It's ironic, that with all the hi-tech weaponry swilling around in a world knee-deep in such stuff, these would be recognised by the anti-Fascists of 1920's Ireland (oh yes we were - read-up on the Black'n'Tans!), 1930's Spain, 1940's Warsaw or 1950's Cuba (oh yes you were, mafia-sponsored regime - to a man - Fulgencio Batista!) all of whom produced AFV's from steel-plate, as did the Home Guard and - of course; famously - Clint Eastwood! Or for that matter, Ned Kelly, but his didn't have wheels!

Thanks to Mark Sergeyev at Ukrainian for the pictures.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

T is for Two - Fire Engines

Photographed at the same time as the ambulances the other day, well - inter-service rivalry must be met with scrupulous fairness! So thanks to Adrian again.

This one has some age, and like the one below was really photographed with the hope I will be able to ID some of the unknown figures in storage at some point. While their plastic figures were sold under the Hilco label, here they are marketed with the full Johillco moniker.

Toys of this age tend to be sold 'as is', but I would be tempted to try and straighten that ladder with a couple of metal plates and a flower-press, slowly tightening the butterfly nuts over a day or two, then re-wire the winding gear to the crank-handle so the ladder could be raised again?

Adrian didn't rate this one, I guess because it's a copy of . . . French Dinky? But I rather liked it, although the box doesn't do it justice . . .

. . . and again I know I have these figures in storage, might even have some upstairs! They plug-in from the feet rather than the more usual rump-spigot! The mechanism utilises the common Mettoy/Lone Star seat-plugging-into-cradle arrangement we've seen here before. This is obviously die-cast to the Johillco's lead, and therefore is more robust and holds better surface detail.

Friday, September 23, 2016

G is for Gap!

Hummm....I don't seem to have anything ready to to publish, not do I have a 'news/views' waiting! Having been first convalescing from a fall off a ladder (I knew I would and I did!) and then a few days absolutely, literally, like dying a man-flue death, I was keeping up with the posting, but now I'm back up the ladder (still snuffling!), it's all been and went a bit Pete Tong!

Never mind, I'll sort something out for tomorrow . . .maybe!

In the meantime...I have;

Found two more kits for the AA Model entry
Added another fire-engine and cube-eraser to the Jig Toys page
Updated the table for the Airfix Flats and added some blurb
Posted 3 more figures to the Early Airfix set

Fire-engines! I have some fire-engines in the queue, and some card soldiers, one of them for Saturday, then  -  the other on Sunday!
This hiatus also gives me a chance to post a meme I stole from the Facebook, which is of relevance to Pygmy-pecker Peter and his ilk!
It's easy to be a right-wing, reactionary, parochial, jingoistic, little-flag waving, drawbridge pulling-up, bigot, you just sit in-front of the TV in your underpants yelling abuse at the talking-heads and anyone you consider to look a bit 'foreign' or a bit 'girly', being a pinko-leftie, liberal, democrat on the other hand; actually requires effort as you have to fight you own prejudice as well as the prejudices of those around you and those inherent in all living things...liberalism is an active celebration of the full concept of 'civilisation', isolationist nationalism [in a global world - with ONE dominant species] is the lazy thicko’s answer to problems that frighten him because his brain's too small, and he will only magnifiy those problems or keep them burning for another generation!
Same for the Trumptons! Marine La Penn's lot on the other hand; just think they might get to sleep with her if they vote for her, simple men, simple thought-processes! While the Hungarians and Rumanians seem to have forgotten, mighty quickly, what they went through under the Germans and Soviets . . . or learnt too much?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

'76 is for Spirit Of!

Yeahp! It's those damn pesky insurgents again!

You will by now have noticed that one Brian Burke of New York has been mentioned quite a bit since he first contacted me back in April/May, and with very good reason, he has contributed hundreds of useful, interesting, relevant or rare images to the Blog (or for the Blog; there's plenty to come), and well as sending three donations, the last of which contained this set for which I owe him much gratitude.

Obviously in our eMail conversations things are mentioned as being likely to be in the next parcel, but with this it was a complete surprise, more so as I had raised it as a query in conversation about the smaller cake decorations (which I'm still after if anyone has a spare set) along the lines of 'if you see...' and he had replied with several good images and a 'Do you mean these?'. He then went into town (the above named megatropolis!) and checked what he described as the 'motherlode' without luck!

I thanked him, and got ready to write-up a post round the images, only for the whole set to turn-up a few weeks later! Really I can't thank Brian enough, and because he sends things to be shared, the best way to thank him is share it with you - the other readers.

Appearing in Plastic Warrior magazine not that long ago (issue 153 try here for back orders) courtesy of Chris Goddard it should be familiar to some, and won't need much blurb, just nice pictures of a lovely set.

Given the state of some 'New World' flags, and I'm thinking of Mexico, Brazil and Argentina here (with all that busy stuff going-on in the middles!) among others, the Americans chose a very clever design, which not only allows for the endless addition of stars, while the 13 stripes remain - boldly proclaiming their heritage, in three contrasting colours (yes - I know white isn't a 'colour'!).

The combined use of which (graphical elements and colours) can instantly render anything recognisably 'American' in a way the same colours can't do for say Britain or France, without the whole flag, or a proportional design of such, being included. Thus, even from 100-paces, the thin red lines on a white ground with a few stars on blue and a splurge of red, especially in 1976, would have screamed "We won the Revolution - buy us now"!

Proudly striding down the road, isn't the packaging nice - for Hong Kong? These figures have a lot in common with Lucky Toys and their civilian race-goers, mechanics and officials, so I wouldn't be surprised if there was a connection, but there's no actual evidence for such.

A close-up of the three figures, the drums are particularly good I think - being a more realistic size than most? As well as the Timpo knock-off wagons mentioned in the aforementioned PW article, Award International also imported sets of Kung-Fu swoppets in similar boxes to this one; but with plainer outer-graphics, the equally nice interior card being of a martial-arts gymnasium.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

T is for Two - Mulberry's Poitiers Figures

We've looked at these before and it only earned me a bit of sideways opprobrium in the comments, so I'm not saying much this time, they have their - rather spartan - A-Z entry here to which these two will be added.

Sir James Audley 1356
Battle of Poitiers

Bohun, Earl of Nothampton 1356
Battle of Poitiers

I would only add that painting is again poor (see cancer comment on A-Z entry) but these were offered as kits so may be home-paints, and while the figures are well animated, they are the same leg/body sculpt with different heads/arms.

Bubble-jet printed label, yuck! Another ten years and that will be totally illegible! Don't shoot the messenger; that's a fact.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

R is for Rome

The box-ticker I mentioned the other day - and it really is only a box-ticking exercise; I'm not keen to post too much Cherilea as it seems to be the only Plastic Warrior 'Special' not to get a colour update, so having sat on last May's exclusive, I don't think it requires much rocket science to guess what surprise might be waiting visitors to the show next year!

And while I don't know for sure (I haven't discussed it with Paul), whenever it's released it will be worth the wait as Cherilea had a prolific and eclectic range of production and a history complicated by the Hilco and Phoenix connections, more recent re-issues, bought-in HK stuff and etcetera!
So, the Romans who came in with the recent 'Junk Lot' that turned-out to be anything but junk . . .

Most of these Cherilea 60mm sets have eight poses I think, so I seem to be short two figure types, although I have one or two in storage, I don't remember them differing from these. The number of axe-armed legionaries is odd, perhaps they are 'building camp' rather than bashing heads!

Cherilea sets tend to have both plastic colour variations (if that's the right word . . . just 'different coloured plastic' batches!) and variations in painting, although there seems to be a gold/silver rule across the set?

Some sets have a smooth-based 'third variant', I only have the commoner two, and I suspect the hollowed-out one with the reinforcing stripes is a latter version designed to save a bit of plastic, over a couple of hundred mould-runs, you'd save enough plastic to do a couple of dozen more to make-up your clients 'grosses'?

Monday, September 19, 2016

B is for Bonus Buccaneers!

I need to crop these and spellcheck the post so i will edit it tomorrow, but shiver-me-timbers as I just checked my Hotmail before leaving the Libary and found these! So a late bonus (I'll shed-yule them for 16.00, it's now 15,33 and I know the 4th post has only just published!) courtasy of Brian Berke; they look to be the Ja-Ru figures painted-up, with scaleing 'Beserker' from crescent!

TLAPD is for Travel Like a Pirate Day

So, loosening the ties on the curtains that will draw across ITLAPD just after a nanosecond to midnight, and answering Jan's (Ye Old Site of Curiosities) call a while ago for better images of the Kinder vessels, here are those briny-battling behemoths of the carpenter's art.

These are those best suited to the era of the classical 'boys own book of . . . ' type pirates. I stress that Kinder (or its many suppliers - the upper four are from RP / RES Plastic SpA) have produced loads of wooden war-ships, cargo cutters and other tall ships over the years and these are only a few; we will return to them one day.

I'm no expert on these things, but the French-flagged one has a gun-deck, while the other from the same series (with a block-plinth) would seem to be more of a cutter?

Above are four vessels from a different series (each set of Kinder vessels typically has between 3 and 6 models), and the series consists of different front-halves and back-halves of the vessels with different sticker-sheets and different coloured plastics, to provide several vessel variants, which you have to look hard at to differentiate. The instruction sheet is the same for all the models!

Components and made-up model together from this 1993-issued ship; construction is relatively easy (see also final picture), with clip-together parts and there is nearly always a sticker-sheet of the paper type. The Ancient Egyptian/Phoenician vessel (below) is around 90mm, with the rest between 50 and 60-mil, from spar-tip to rudder-edge.

[Does that make them useful for your kind of gaming Jan?]

Slightly more medieval-looking vessels above and the ancient one already mentioned below. In the sample in storage I think I have the rest of this set and it included a Roman/Green type. There have also been larger-scales fishing vessels, leisure-craft and the like, with smaller-scaled vessels like the ferries we looked at the other day. Note how one vessel has paper sails.

It was only when I was wording the blurb for the second picture that I realised there was a shot missing from the folder? Turned-out it had been deleted by mistake and as I'd finished the collages for the other images, I took the opportunity to scan the little instruction sheet!

From Corplast via Ferrero comes a slightly more complicated one with a frame-check image like a Japanese or Esci AFV kit, so you can check all the small bits are there! This also has paper sails and is one of the larger scaled, smaller vessels.

TLADP is for Talk Like a Drunken Pirate

This was one of the first things Brian sent to the Blog, and I've had to sit on it since early May, but he was the first image in the folder with all today's images, so sort of 'senior sailor'!

If the small barrel is full of 'Vino', I hate to think what's in the large one, I hope it's beer, not whiskey! Brilliant, a roughly 54mm pirate with his own barrel of wine, and he's looking pretty determined to defend it against all-comers.

Below him is a size-comparison shot with the smaller figures we looked-at earlier this morning.

Brain later sent this (cropped-out of a larger image, for another post), it's the ship that came as part of the play-set with the above drunken pirate and his very important porterage!

Here he is compared to a couple of Yolanda 60mm pirates, which got me thinking - Gog of the Toys From the Past blog sent me a bunch of images of Yolanda stuff ages ago; I mean like right back. at the start of the blog.

I never used them as I thought he would use them on his blog, but he's more of a die-cast and card game . . . action figure [bit of everything!] blogger so - with his permission - I will put them together into a post or two soon, but anyway, I went looking for the images and . . .

. . . found a third pose! Thanks Gog! That's it for figures on this International Talk Like a Pirate Day, but there's still a post to come . . . Ah'Haarrr, That'ull be a secret, thaaaat'well - Wait'n'see yerrr scoundrullss; orse I'll keellhawwlll the lot'o'yerrrs...hic!

H is for Talk Like a Hunson Pirate!

Imported into the US by JPW International and branded to Hunson, Brian Berke sent these in to add to the publishing itinerary of ITLAPD, and I can't say much about them as I only know what you can see. Brian shot them on the rack, in a store in New York, about a month ago . . . enjoy: yurrr dirrrt-dwellin' scallawaggs!

They are approximately 90mm, and I would assume some kind of PVC-vinyl? The cactus that accompanies this guy has been included in Hing Fat and other brands' sets in the past, but it's been a common-enough design - in several sizes/finish-qualities - kicking around Rack Toys since the mid-1990's, so it's presence doesn't prove much, just hints! The boat looks useful, but check out the captains sword . . . not so much 'no prisoners' as: no survivors!

Thanks Brian.

ITLAPD is for Arvast Me'Aarrties and Splice da' Main Brace!

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Woo-hoo! And I remembered it this year - woo-hoo! And I had stuff to post - woo-hoo! And I've posted it - Arrrhaarrrr Jim-lad, no flies on this old cove! This be act'chew'ley the firrrst of fourrrr posts today, just furrrr fun, so if you don't be enjoyin'em I'll hav'yurrr guts furrr fiddle-strrrings, yerrr sorry bunch'o lilly-livered, warrrm milk-suppin', land-lubberrrrs!

Stad's tells us these were issued in Dollar General over the pond; I haven't the faintest who issued them here, but a pound to a pinch of shit it was Funtastic, PMS or The Works! Apart from the European-looking captain (who appears to have been sculpted separately), the rest look more fitted to pirating the South China seas (or the Indian Ocean) than the Med' or Atlantic.

These are smaller, and although they look similar with the red-black thing going on there, are actually PVC rubber and are both quite soft, and mostly distorted, might they be capsule toys? Sqiudgged into a little plastic vessel that holds no other treasure! One of them is so keen to have a hook for a hand, he's holding a hook in his hand . . . and look-out! He's got a ray-gun! Thanks to Peter Evans for some of these. Possibly at least one pose still missing?

The largest of the new recruits in this post; a Ja-Ru import, they're nicer figures from a Western perspective than the first set, but similar quality. They came with a set of skeletons to fight which we looked at a while ago, but I held these chaps over for the 19th of September!

These were all from Peter Evan a few years ago, and have missed at least two ITLAPD's despite languishing in Picasa for both of them! They look like the kind of figure you still occasionally find in a counter display box (but on a bottom shelf or in a wire 'pocket money' rack) for 25p-each or something like that; I don't know if that's how Peter encountered them? They're made from a very dense ethylene or a polypropylene?

Negotiation; Pirate style - The Ja-Ru guys divvy-up the spoils of their last voyage with all the decorum you'd expect of such fine and well-bred gentlemen of . . Lurrrnin'; Ah-Harrr!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

T is for Two Toy Ambulances

Shot these two up at Sandown just over a week ago, I guess one's about 1:48th scale, the other about 1:55?

Mettoy Playcraft . . . sorry; Mettoy Playthings (!) produced this, which although not part of the large hospital play set, would nonetheless look good delivering casualties to the main entrance. A tin-plate floor holds the fly-wheel motor, which is set forward in the cab in the manner of Wells' and Brimtoy's little lorries.

If it was part of the big hospital range, it would have the same stretcher, but it doesn't, having instead a chunky thing which seems to be designed with robustness in play, rather than realism, as its starting-point.

The box cleverly allows for the selling of a police van as well, by the simple expedient of folding the ambulance flaps in first to lay the police ones over the top. As kids we were often threatened with the 'Black Maria' (pronounced Mer-Rye-Er) if proving a tad over-exuberant or disobedient, and I always wondered what it meant, a throwback to a different age - I think!

Marked HP, this is a pretty standard piece of generic push-&-go Hong Kong tat (and TAT may be the operative word!), being a VW camper-van, given ambulance stickers on white polymer, the yellow 'council' beacon-light suggests the likely nature of other versions in the range!

Cheers to Mercator Trading for letting me photograph them. Fancy new banner Adrain?!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

P is for Polish People like Plasticom?

We looked at a couple of these a while ago I think, but I thought I'd bring them all together, although there is a problem getting the images from Konrad Lesiak in Poland to Hotmail via the Wibbly Wobbly Way, so I have had to blow them up on-screen and then screencapcha them to work on, but they get across what they need to.

I have one of these which we have looked at before (as an unknown - reproduced below), but here are a couple of far more useful ones than my cornucopia blower (or whatever he's called!); both copies of Elastolin poses.

They have different bases from the Plasticom Soldabar figures originating in Belgium, with their squared-off corners and a flat-edge.

Konrad has painted a couple-up in a 'toy soldier' style and they look all the better for it, his blower (cornier?) has the same hunched appearance as mine, which I put down to mould shrinkage last time, I'm glad to see it's how it should be - one less figure on the 'wants' list!

A similar base is seen on the pink GI, possibly a piracy of a Spanish figure (these lollypop figures are all copies of something!), but the Airfix Japanese clone has the squarer-cornered base of the Romans, with the collar of the Plasticoms, but on a longer base? It looks like progression of design or evolution, as much as different makes?

These look much more like the usual Plasticom figures, two new poses, one ex-Britains the other Starlux I think? But the bases are a little smaller than my main sample (and below), rounder than the ovals on mine.

Then we find two lightly different ones; with a radius-edge to the poodle's base, the other having a sealed-cone rather than the usual collar. He's also a copy of an Eastern European flat, as you might expect to find in Poland!

These are the Belgian figures issued by Plasticom, as Soldabar lollies, and we have looked at the two Frenchies recently, but I thought I'd get all the additions together in one shot. You can see from the sticky remains in the lower shots that the figure appears to have been presented as the handle, with a boiled-sweet type sugar-candy lump of some kind hanging below, probably anchored in the hole/collar. And note that they have longer bases than the polish figures.

There's an addition to the additions! And my 'Cornelius' chap - unpainted, again. Answering my own question from the Buried Treasure post the other day; I guess all these figural confectionary 'handles' were phased-out for the choking risk?

And thanks to Konrad Lesiak for the polish figures.