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.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pruning a Wall-Climbing Rose

A couple of before and afters, I'm afraid the pictures are awful, but the CCD (or whatever it's called) on my camera is failing, however, if I put them up here I can email to ask Fuji what the hell's going on with my less than three-year-old pile of expensive scrap plastic? And before they answer they can come and look at this!

The ticking clock of my employment here is this rose which was my first job, the day after we moved-in and which we've just cut for the third time, the photograph really is bad, but you can see how bushy the rose gets by the end of the autumn. This was taken about three weeks ago?

This was taken on Friday (the camera actually TRIED this time!), a good 85% goes, you take out a couple of the old woody shoots at the base, follow them through to the ends, and once you've pulled it all back down through itself and the wiring you can see what you need to do to shape it.

This year we actually took a lot off, as there were several strong new shoots growing strait-up from the base in a close bunch which are now fanned-out in the center (about five of the nine you can see). It looks harsh but you know what they say..."Let your enemy prune your roses".

Friday, November 19, 2010

News, views etc...Airfix Blog has content!

I've finnaly loaded some posts on the Airfix Blog here;

Airfix Collecting

As my camera is definitely on the way out and real life might take me off-line for a while shortly, I thought I'd better get it started!

If anybody has an Airfix-heavy blog or website they'd like me to link to on that page let me know.

Monday, November 15, 2010

B is for Back-catalogue...Airfix again...Yawn!

It's been a while since I pushed some 'stuff' to the Airfix addicts, and while I was digging out the SPG photo's the other night, I put these to one side, they are meant to be going on the Airfix Blog, but if my Camera's on the way out, that'll be on the back burner for a while!

The Elephant again, born out of the Tiger program as an expedient way of dealing with a (surprisingly large) number of chassis for the runner-up in the procurement program. Here with the ready-made Tiger I's from Airfix (top left) and Atlantic. The green one is missing the exhaust covers, no real problem as the troops used to remove them (if a passing wall or tree didn't rip them off first!) but the drivers hatch is a pain!

The seven poses of SAS in 1:32 scale/54mm size, if you click on the image and then go to the other side of the room from the computer, you'll see what they would have looked like if they had ever been made in HO or OO guage! Clear? Seeempulles [funnymouthnoise]

Saturday, November 13, 2010

S is for Self-propelled

It don't rain but it pours! My camera is playing up, I have to rewrite last nights post and suddenly there's a visitor spike of a hundred people an hour!! So a quick small-scale'ish article for the visitors from PSR using old archived photo's from a year or so ago...

The SPG at the back has been seen here before, the Jean-Hoefler 'dime-store' toy, this time pulling the other mounting for the gun moulding. The Airfix Ferdinand/Elephant is an oldie but a goodie! (and hopelessly overvalued on feeBay, they're not that rare, it's the box that's rare). While the little air-portable ASU-57 is a bit larger at around 1:48, a die-cast model from the former Soviet Union, where they were often made in the same factories that made the real one's in factory 'down-time'.

Far to the fictional side of the tracks are these three; The dark one is by/from a dozen names (Kilty's Bonnie-Bilt, Built-rite, Sears, Argo at Loser's, J.C. Penny etc...) and while originating in the US, seems to have been moulded over here at some point as part of a mould-share with someone. The pale one - again - has been seen here before, and as I explained at the time seems to be Tudor*Rose.

Both the above have a mechanism in them which enables the commander to pop-up and down like a demented road-runner while his barrel thrusts in-and-out like a demented....er...well, in and out anyway!

The metallic space-tank is from Dibro, who also seem to have produced a tin-plate toy tank under the 'Gibro' label, I don't know if they are separate companies or if they used the first letter as an in-house product code? I thought these came in metallic blue as well the other day, but it cleaned-up the same colour!

Friday, November 12, 2010

W is for Wüsolin...not Düsolin!

Badly needed help with this one and it was rapidly forthcoming after I published a fine post on Düsolin - that well known (once, now long forgotten;) manufacturer of floor-polish made from crushed beetle-juice and camel-dung!

In the last photograph it's so clearly a 'W' now, I don't know how I could have struggled with 'D' for two weeks, although in my defence I had tried Oüsolin and Wüsolin! Anyway thanks to the efforts of Paul from Paul's Bods (link to left) we now know it's Wüsolin and that they are apparently very rare, appearing quite infrequently on German eBay and were designed with the intention of enhancing the small range of 40mm composition figures issued by Lineol alongside the 70mm biggies.

This was given to me by Adrien (Mercator Trading) at Birmingham, and seems to be an unusual piece of Nazi memorabilia, if such a thing isn't an oxymoron...Nazi nightmarebelia?

This one is clearly [Ha Ha! the beauty of the edit feature!...read the comment section!] marked 'Wüsolin' (and the sharper-eyed among you will also have realized that my camera's CCD is failing, so we'll see what Fuji have to say for themselves), it could be named after the brand of what would have been - then - a 'new' plastic?

This [Still] needs input from German, Austrian or possibly (?) Swiss-German readers/followers, as apparently the firm is still in existence, indeed, they may be modern figures? But that doesn't really tie in with the asking-price of a couple of non-character figures on evilBay recently.

Questions then; Does anybody remember this or the other figures in the range? How big was the range? When did they florish? Has anyone got some in their collection or tucked-away at the back of the hall drawer, or in the attic/cellar/shed/garage?

Clearly depicting the single-gonad equipped, short-tempered, arm-wagging, foot-stomping, war-mongering, young-men in uniform loving, Parliament-burning, poor-footballing, crap painting, take-us-all-to-hell of many a rhyme or ditty...Herr. Adolf Hissler (as Nostradamus tells us he should have been called) is painted in the style of a composition figure, and has the rough texture of one too, so may BE composition? The paint is also slightly tacky/sticky, but I'm not going to start scraping/poking what might be a very rare figure?

More for British/Antipodean followers - It is interesting to note he seems to have ended-up with one of Baldric's theatrical 'licorice' mustaches? I guess Baldric left it in the dug-out the morning of the Big Push and the opposing unit's painter & decorator found it while measuring-up for new wallpaper, once General Melchet had moved his drinks cabinet 18 Inches back in the direction of Paris? BhaaH!

Joking aside (and I'm half-German, so it's not like when I have a go at the French!) it looks scarily like Hitler...and while the figurine may be composition...


...the glued-on base is clearly an early injection-moulded piece of plastic, and here you can see (through the rainbow tinted lines of a 60's TV, indicating the failure of expensive modern photographic technology) the machine-tool marks, as the recess in the mould was ground-out in a circular motion.

If the figure is plastic as well, that might explain the tackiness of the paint as industry had to relearn paint technology in order to deal with the new plastics as they came along. It's not the polystyrene of the WHW figures, but seems too 'good' to be a phenolic/cellulose-acetate from that time (mid-1930's to 1944'ish?), which one would expect to see warping/shrinking/cracking by now.
[the above was written when assuming an age they may not - now - have, so does not apply if they are modern'ish of course! And the two on eBay are much smoother looking, I'll try and get permission to use the image...]

Disclaimer; The subject matter and all images pertaining to it including the part-Svastica/Swastika symbol are presented here as a historical artifact/curiosity of possible importance or interest to the small community of Toy and Model Soldier Collectors and/or any Militaria bods who may find it, and in NO WAY represents my views, political affiliations or approach to fascism, and should not be taken as any attempt to glorify or form of glorification of; The events of the mid-20th Century, the National Socialist movement in Germany, The Holocaust and/or the Second World War.

Indeed, having mounted guard on Hess, I can tell you they were nasty pieces of work.

PS; I'll re-post these photographs at some point when I have a better camera, but a new camera is not on the horizon - budget-wise - for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

L is for Lindberg - Little and Large...

A bit of a contrast with this one, from very small to very big and both kits from the same maker!

The Little; I've misplaced the tyres on this one and probably lost the windscreen! Approximately HO/1:87th scale American Roadster of some sort (I've put it away and I'm not digging it out again for a name, it's not a core area of my collection!) with an Airfix figure for size comparison.

It's the Mercedes SSK...87thscale.info/lindberg

The Large; George Kearton was exhibiting this at the Central Toy Soldier Show in Birmingham the other Sunday, and has now put it on evilBay here: Lindberg 1/16 scale American Civil War kit ,worth it's start price, in my opinion, I've seen it in lists occasionally but never 'in the flesh'. It's all there and purist collectors will only need a bit of oven cleaner on the horses and figures to return it to near-mint, I think it needs to be built!

George - having recently moved to the west country - is settling down to plan a update of his seminal 'Collectors Guide to Plastic Toy Soldiers 1947-1987', originally published by Ross Anderson. So watch this space for news of that.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

P is for Prieser's Plastic People

We have the generosity of Gary Worsfold to thank for tonight's post, as it was his donation to the 'cause' that lead me to dig out the others and put this post together. Quite out-of-the-blue Gary emailed me with the offer of some figures, no strings, and when I explained that I'd had parcels from New Zealand go missing in the past and would he mind sending them 'signed-for' - for which I was happy to pay, he sent them anyway - at his expense, so Gary, thank you very much, I share them here with all passers-by...

These are some of the little jewels that arrived (I'm saving the 40mm for another day!), a set I've always coveted, and never had the chance to obtain, click on the image and they are quite superb, and this is a 'factory' paint finish mind.

The Landsknechts - those ravagers of Europe in the wars of the 16th Century - have been in the Preiser catalogue for a while now, but like all the more sought after or esoteric/non-model railway sets are hard to track down, so having them appear on a 737 Cargo from the other side of the world was a real treat.

These two are from the Limited-Edition range of full bands. The upper set is of marching Fire Brigade bandsmen, while the lower musicians are the Border Police (Bundesgrenzschutze) band, standing...wearing tank overalls/coveralls? Perhaps a German reader could tell if this was normal, or are they 'at practice'?

This is an occasional-issue range, and consists of selecting the correct number of instruments from the six-figure standard sets and - like the Landsknechts, giving them a superior paint finish. Designed for railway layouts and the Circus dioramas which are such a favorite feature of both German model railway collectors and American 'Railroaders'.

Large Swabische and Bavarian 'Ohm-Pah' bands have also had this treatment in different dress/paint schemes from the six-figure sets and a Bundeswehr band was made from the old US army band issued in the early days of Preiser.

The upper shot shows those US figures from the late 1960's/early 70's with Set 261 leading set 262 out of their little compartmentalized box, they were - I believe - based on the American Color-guards of the Cold War who usually had the chrome-plated helmets, although more commonly with the 'Green Army Uniform' rather than the khaki shown here. I think I may have already posted the Merten 40mm versions of these in posts passim.

They are probably marching out to deal with the public nudity nuisance below them! The Artists and Models set, this is one spruelet, or a third (?) of the whole set, coming either as three separate sets in the 'six-figure' boxes, or a whole sprue in some of the bulk, unpainted sets or - in this case - as supplied to Faller, for their Architect Designed Lake-side Chalet. In which case they were given the basic paint finish and the accessories remained unpainted.

Another sought-after range of figures are the American Civil War sets, and here we see the larger group sets on the left, Union and Confederate, with - to the right - a smaller set of Confederates marching in a 'six-figure' box and the equivalent box for three mounted Union (or Federal) cavalry. Again the attention to detail on these tiny figures is extraordinary and the flag-folding is exquisite.

Like the ACW, the Native American Indians are based of the old Elastolin/Hausser 70/40mm poses, and - like the Revell figures in the larger 1:72 - would have been produced with permission. Preiser ended up buying the rump of Elastolin and produce a fair bit in their main catalogue, pantographed up and down to various sizes, painted and in kit-form. I suspect the Mountie is an Elastolin pose as well.

So; there you have it, Toy Soldier Collecting at it's best, German made Figures of Native and Colonial Americans, Canadians, nude girls and the Holy Roman Empire, waffled about by a Brit with some sent from New Zealand, life is good!

Sets looked at above
Preiser
131 Indianer - Indians
250 Nordstatten-Infanterie I - Union Soldiers Marching
251 Südstaaten-Infanterie I - Confederate Soldiers Marching
252 Nordstatten-Infanterie II - Union Army Group
253 Südstaaten-Infanterie II - Confederate Army Group
254 Nordstatten-Cavalrie - Union Cavalry
260 Royal Canadian Mounted Police
261 US-Militärkapelle, marschierend - US Military Band, marching
262 US-Militärkapelle, marschierend - US Military Band, marching
00270 Musikkorps Budesgrenzschutz - State Border Police Corps of Music
00271 Feuerwehrkapelle im Marsch - Fire-Service Band on the march
Courtesy - Mr. Worsfold;
24600 Heralds and Knights on horseback
24601 Mercenaries
Faller
B-255 Artists Studio [Figures only]

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Little Fluffy Clouds

Taken a few weeks ago, this is a classic late summer, early autumn sky-scape which - sadly - the photograph fails to convey in the way I was viewing when I thought it was worth getting the camera out for!

Monday, October 25, 2010

News, views etc...Central Toy Soldier Show

Dave McKenna's 20th Central Toy & Model Soldier Show in Birmingham is more than on the horizon, it's less than a week away!

Usual mix of Metal and plastic, trade and private sellers, nice venue with cafe, and within 5 minutes walk of the city center. One of my favorite shows, and for plastics, one of the 'big three' with PW's Richmond and PB Toy's Herne.

Sunday 31st October 2010
The Clarendon Suite, 2 Stirling Road Edgbaston, (just off the Hagley Road)

Free Parking

For other details and late availability of tables (none left) contact; Mr McKenna on telephone number: 0121 628 1397

Email: patanddave76@yahoo.co.uk

I'll be in my increasingly holey 'Tuskers' T-shirt if you want to come over and have a chat, say Hi or winge about my approach to the military history of France!

Table prices were £30 ( but they're all booked), standing room only for traders and LOTS of bargains for buyers...so try and get up there!!

Entry Times;
Doors open 10.30 - 4pm

Prices;
£4 adults
£3 concessions (Children and OAP's)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

O is for "Oi Frenchie, Gi'ass a go in your boat?"

A talk about scale on the 'Prometheus In Aspic' blog (see left) turned to the subject of factionalism in the course of which Tony (MSFoy) pointed out that today is a special day...

As regular readers of the blog will know I have displayed an unhealthy interest in finding reasons to have a go at the French in the past, and, given that I'm a bit pissed off with our supine approach to the mess the rich have got us in, and that the coalition Government would now like the poor to buy us out of it, while the French - in a similar position - have taken to rioting...the proper way to do it; I can't resist the opportunity to fling something over the 'English' Manche!! And enjoy a bit of 'factionalism' myself!!

Ladies and Gentlemen...it is...Trafalgar Day! A National celebration of when we gave Frenchie a good spanking! Sadly, he learned little and having talked the Spanish into attending his first spanking (they probably thought it was just a nice day for a sail), he then talked the Danes into helping him have another stab, so we had to give him another good spanking. Did he learn? Did he hell, 1940 comes around and he's thrown in the towel, but wants to hold on to his ships until Adolf can have a gander, so, despite asking for them nicely, we had to give Frenchie another bloody good spanking...hummm, lets be honest, we blew him out of the water.

Which seems like a reasonable reason to look at sailors, everyone loves a sailor, except the French who probably wish they were land-locked sometimes!! Especially when the R.N. hove into view...

Lone*Star; Not a full set, nor the best paint, but for a set that suffers brittleness it's a good sample. The driver? pilot? Coxswain? Steering-wheel-man is - I think - the only one who was issued in brown, probably with the fold-up cardboard landing craft (for liberating Frenchies!) packaging, which otherwise came with combat infantry.

The Brittleness has struck the Officer of the Watch, and while I've got the spigot glued back on I don't trust it to take the weight of the arm, or indeed the strain of putting it back on!

A white semaphore signaler, my mate John has a box full of these, and has quite a few white ones, including the officer. The black one is an uncommon Hong Kong copy, while the blue one is a re-issue, I've seen the re-issues in a soft PVC as well.

Charbens had a go at Naval figures too, and here we see 5 of six poses, I haven't a clue what the other pose is, another rating I guess, I could always go and look at the Plastic Warrior check-list in the 'C' file couldn't I? Oh, all right then, hold on...

...Oh, well, there's four missing!! Three divers (which may be in another box, but I'm not going to photograph them now) and a chap with a cutlass who's actually in Trafalgar garb! Bottom right looks a bit like Churchill but is probably meant to be 'ABC' - AB Cunningham our successful Mediterranean commander in WWII, or WWI's Jellico?

Clearly Nelson is on the right in the upper photograph, while the left-hander looks like Jellico in his captains uniform (as he appeared on cigarette cards) which would leave the first guy as Cunningham. Bottom left is a home-paint using the well known 1970's stab-and-prey method!

A few other figures, on the left a Timpo hollow-cast Rating coming from or going on leave, A nice Spanish Pottery figure, an unknown figure with a hole in his base that's similar to the hole in some smaller figures by DeLuxe Reading and some HK racing personnel?

The figure on the far right is a notoriously brittle Marx 19th Century American sailor, and he's lost the eye-piece of his telescope and his pointing finger. I mean to try this two-part epoxy plastic-metal for mending engine-blocks, to have a go at making the missing parts as it may be this colour when dry?...this colour'ish?

News, views etc...Plastic Warrior 139 (August 2010)

While I was away, the latest issue of Plastic Warrior hit the doormats, it'll never hit the streets as it's a subscription service - so subscribe, link to right etc...etc...!

Contents as varied as always, and with the colour, one of the best issues ever...

* Pekka Allan Manninen gives an over-view of Finnish Flats
* ACW convertions by Arthur Belshaw
* Matt Thair completes his round-up of Cherilea's astronauts (part 2).
* A continuation of the Herald/Zang debate with regard to Dan Morgan's thoughts on early Britains
* Giampiero Larizza continues his look at Cane' of Italy with the later production and copies
* Speedwell's Jungle set sees the light of day courtesy of Mike Harding (who's often finding me nice things!)
* JSF (France) by Alain Thomas
* Coverage of new products from
- HaT Industries
- Supreme/Sunjade/BMC
- Armies in Plastic
- Ivanhoe
* Combat Corks
* Toy Story
* Spastics Society
* Plus all the usual news & letters, a swimming Lone*Star rifleman, Linde Indian Chief and a cover that's worth a years subscription!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

W is for While I was away....

Well, while I've been off-line, the trickle of bits into the 'master collection' has continued, if not apace, at least with a pleasantly surprising occasionalness! Here are a few bits that have come in over the last 4 or so weeks.

The day the Internet was lost I actually managed to get to the Post Office in the morning and send little parcels off to various souls, among whom were the boys over at Moonbase Central (see bloglist - left), and Paul call-me-Woodsy liked his parcel so much he sent me these Polish Flats by return.

I suspect the bottom two may be Russian, but as I have similar figures copied from Russian flats but made in Sophia, and carried in a Bulgarian box, there's every reason to believe they are Polish. The silver ones above will definitely be Polish, probably Centrum, the stands are similar to a lot of production from Poland. Thanks Woodsy!

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, his blogging partner Bill call-me-Wotan seems to have emptied every drawer in the house! Those racing cars and the little plane are definitely 'Kitchen Drawer' stuff!! There are all sorts of nice bits here to be sorted into the right pile of boxes in the next few days, not least the Cherilea UN machine-gunner, who, apart from belonging to arguably the worst sculpted set of toy soldiers ever made, anywhere, ever!...is also rarely found in one piece.

Likewise the Cherilea 8th army guy is usually missing the end of his Bren-gun, while other items of note are the Hong Kong copy of a Timpo 8th army man marked HK, but probably from the same stable as ABC, the Corgi Rhino and the hard plastic seated US sailor/Coast Guard-man who I've encountered before but not managed to obtain, and who must come from a motorized toy, probably a boat, he has a locating slot on his bum! Thanks Wotan!

From the Dennis Murry collection I mentioned this afternoon, comes this exquisite combat bugler! Already one of my favorite pieces in the whole collection, I have a couple of these European cavalry (posted as part of the Plastic Warrior show report back in May) and some smaller 50mm Spanish plastics in khaki, and they do have a certain undeniable charm about them.

As can be seen there is a similarity to the Britains teenage show-jumper, but it's not a direct take, and with the rider moulded on, the similarity is equine only! Can anybody give him a makers name? The collection contained a lot of French figures and a few Dom Plastik paratroopers, but I would have said this guy looks Spanish in style and therefore - origin?

Finally, feeling rich for half a hour about three weeks ago (I'd just got paid for a painting job and was still a few hundred yards short of the bank!) I grabbed a couple of these as samples, very tasty samples. They are by Zaini (ZZ mark), and are clearly rivals to Kinder, about 7 years ago they did a set of Chocolate bears. And I saw some pink 'Disneyesque' eggs in some store the other day which were probably Zaini as well.

If the opposition have the product recognition of Kinder it makes sense to attack on a dozen fronts at the same time in order to get as many 'curiosity' sales as possible. These use toys imported from China, and the Flintstones graphic gave-up a jet-fighter!! Hay ho!

News, views etc...Back and catching-up!

Pirates follow-up moved down one and expanded.

Sorry for yet another absence, but real life is not to be trifled with!...back now and lots of lovely things to come, A major collection of Early English and French plastic from the late Dennis Murray, who used to model and wrote for Military Modeling and Scale Models International, has resulted in my 54mm collection being catapulted into the 'not-half bad' category and lots of articles on classic early 50's/60's plastic will be forthcoming, both company over-views and thematic articles.

Very few vehicles in the collection, some tatty die-casts which will be on evilBay before the weekend, and three going into the collection which I will cover in a day or twenty!

Also a nice set of the larger 2-vehicle 3-colour range AFV's from Matchbox, which I might have a go at over the winter, along with an AMX from Heller which will not be made! I've only one to find from that little set/range now!

We've had more Darleks come in, ancient and modern, so we'll definitely have a Darlek round-up...very dangerous business, rounding up Darleks, you need some very heavy potato-sacks, crepe-soles and darkness!!!

Also - I think I've covered all the comments made during my absence, so check your's if you were looking for a reply.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

P is for Pirrates Proparrr!

Avast me 'arties! I be fouwnd 'der pirrates true!


Made By Tito, and sold all over Europe as Ice Cream, Cereal and other food premiums, probably a Portuguese or Spanish (?) TV cartoon, I'll post more when I find all the notes, just wanted to get them up before midnight. Memory serves that the UK issue only had 6 of the poses, or that there were 10 on the continent? It'll all come out in the wash!

Aah-Haarrr Jim'mlad!

It Would appear that everywhere except Britain (France, Portugal, Spain and various South American countries) they were issued with boxes of Ajax washing powder, I only mention Kellogg's through word of mouth, so they were probably Ajax here to?

Although the 6 versus ten would appear to be actually 8 (or 10?) of 20. As Kellogg's took less than a full set(half in fact) of the Soldiers of the World, this would back-up those who think these are Kellogg's not Ajax.

I've moved the pirate link here from the old News/Views post;

Parai'so Artificia

Here are some from South America, again a complete set;

Natux's Blog

I had found another full set from the Iberian Peninsular but seem to have lost it again! How far away is Talk Like A Pirate Day...still, I'll cover some more next year!! Christmas next...

12/11/10 - Thomas Doyle has found the original ad, there were only 6 figures in the Kellogg's set, Barrigon and Patapalo were not part of the issue, as they turned up in the UK, I suspect another issue...Peak Freans, Cadbury's???

T is for Talk Like A Pirate - Ooo'Ahrrr

Today, as the title suggests is International 'Talk Like A Pirate' day - Bargain!! This used to be well supported on the HaT forum, but raised nothing of import today...so as I couldn't find any obvious pirates at short notice, I've posted some 'Unknown naval kit-figures' that happened to be at hand as I'm re-sorting all the kit-figures at the moment (among other things!!) [Photograph updated to reflect Russ's comment, still need to identify the last two sub-HO figures]

Top are quite large, somewhere between 1:76 & 1:72 and from the dress could be a Spanish ship, possibly one of the Heller triptych; Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria?

Below them at approximately HO/1:86/87 scale are figures possibly from one of the Bounty models, the 'officer' looks very Cap'n Bligh to me! Or a Victory?

The third row look more like pilgrims? but could be from one of the pirate ship models which were in a smaller scale - 1:100?

Finally, this chap came with the row above, but a child with a peg-leg? seems a bit cruel to me! So he may be from a separate 1:120'ish sized model?

Any Naval model fans following this? Please comment...Yar Scumm-suckin' landlubberrrs!!!

News, views etc...Frogmen, Help, Blogs

I've added a picture to the frogman post of a few weeks ago, and also some identification information to some of the early 'unknown' posts from a year and a half ago.

A reader asked me a while ago if I could supply him with a list of the old 1:76 scale conversion articles in Airfix Magazine and Military Modeling, as mine are all buried in a box somewhere, I said I'd go through the annuals this weekend. I then thought/remembered that someone had produced a list, in fact - I thought it was in Terry Wise's book, but it isn't, which means I'll have to go through all the war-games books as well?! Just wondered if anyone could remember which book had the list, or, if there are any lists of such articles on the Wibbly Wobbly Way I can forward to him as a link? Any help greatly received, comment or eMail.

I am thinking of moving the Manufactures A-Z over here and closing down that otherwise superfluous blog, I don't know why I started it really, as it's images which are limited not text! Also I started with a lot of the cross references which I then failed to produce the cross-referenced list for, so even if you go there it's a bit disappointing!!! So as-and-when I will try to actually 'do' the listed companies over here and then close that one. The Airfix Figures one is still being 'built' but I'm thinking of changing the format and starting again!!! So it will be some time yet? Doh!

Dropped-by Figoblogotheque this afternoon and found a fantastic blog; Winter of '79, which has brought back all sorts of memories and mixes good scenic work/product reviews with a tongue-in-cheek look at '80's politics and the goings-on in Ambridge at the time!! Have linked to it, check out the links to the left.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

V is for Vinyl, Polyvinyl Chloride

Looking at the World Of Warcraft figurines the other day caused me to take these at the same time, and I then didn't get round to posting them, so here they are, as a comparison re. modern PVC/Vinyl, factory-painted production.

Following on from Hero-clicks (see below) came Horror-clicks, and these were shifted at the end of their run via Poundstretcher here in the UK. All this stuff ends up in clearance, sometimes posh (TK Maxx) sometimes not (your local pound shop/dollar store), but those who pay for them at retail, are subsidizing those of us who take advantage of the clearance,

Getting on my socialist horse here for a second; If the manufacturers priced them slightly cheaper, they'd sell more first time around and have less clearance!! Capitalism - it's an illness and a madness.

HELP!

Occasionally a film will produce themed sets, Indiana Jones is a good example with 20 and 30mm sets from Galoob and Disney respectively [to be covered another day]. Another was the third remake of King Kong, Playmates took-up the franchise and produced a couple of play-sets with various figures and monsters and these are some of them!

Heroclix, born out of Mage Knight and from Wizkids the same Wizards of the Coast stable as the Star Wars Miniatures game [See comments! Mea Culpa]. Originally Marvel Characters for use in a role-playing board game, these have now morphed into a multi-comic/graphic novel character game with a card element.

Like the [otherwise totally unrelated!] Star Wars Miniatures game, this collection contains so many figures in so many issues that it's impossible to follow if your head is already full of 1950/60's plastic toy soldiers, so I tend to buy them by the half-handful at car-boot sales, also they were issued in 2000, the year I consider the cut-off for serious collecting/documenting.

Yet More Fungi!

This has been a very good autumn for Fungi and mushrooms, we had some very nice edible ones form the graveyard the other day which I put in a lamb-stew, and survived to tell the tale! I can't stop photographing them, as the are both very photogenic and - unlike the moths and butterflies - stand around patiently waiting for you to frame the shot!

The one bottom-right has a teeny-little one just coming-up in front of it!

The two on the left are surly poisonous, the one top-right is probably edible.

N is for Non-Matching Matches!

Gotta' Light Guvnor?


This is real magpie'ism, but as they all fit in one old household matchbox, it's not one that is taking up much space!!

I'm afraid the colours haven't re-produced well, especially the whites which all look the same!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

H is for Hollow-cast

Intermittent Internet has led to my abandoning my attempt to beat my monthly total record (which was my first full month! Enthusiasm for the new huh!), but I'm back in the saddle until the next chunk of real life intervenes! And here's a nice bit of vintage metal to re-start...

These were photographed on Andy Morant's table at the end of the Norman Joplin Toy Soldier show last Saturday, Andy stall's out in the Portobelo Road market, where these and a myriad other delights are ready to lighten your pocket!

The show gets busier every year, and was brisk for most of the morning, it's a definite date on the collectors calender.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Shrooms - Friday gone

I think top left is an edible Puff-ball. Love the way a little slice of the one top right just went on strike and refused to climb as high as the rest of the umbella!

Bottom left is obviously very tasty to some insect, while the ones on the right look just like False-stone/Pebble cacti!

A is for Accoutrements

The final (to date?) installment of the 'Giant' fort story begins in the early-to-mid 1990's when Archie McFee, a US toy and novelty retailer and early 'web' eRetailer started offering the original Giant mouldings - in new colours, under their 'Accoutrements' label. They were made more widely available by dint of Paul Stadinger who secured a goodly number and distributed them to the Toy Soldier collecting community via his Stads List.

The two sets as issued, there was a third item - a large bag of Knight figures only, appeared first in approximately 1990. The Mongol fort was then issued in around 1993 with the Knight's fort following sometime '95/96.

However they were only copies of a late 1970's to mid-80's issue originally marked MADE IN HONG KONG (rear card/R.hand card above), the Hong Kong was then obliterated - presumably in preparation for the return to China in '97) and finally overprinted with the Accoutrements disc on the reverse and the MADE IN CHINA block on the obverse.

The Archie McFee/Accoutrements cards were a more modern all-colour printing, the older HK issues being a three-colour process, but the original artwork was used, rather than a copy as was the case with the Giant set we looked at the other day. Figures in the HK and early figure bag had the 'Giant' scratched-out on the figure's bases, later sets had 'China' over-engraved.


The latest outing for the mould was with BuM in 1999, when they issued the Mongol fort with both the Mongol infantry, and with their own ex-Montaplex copies of the Airfix Sheriff of Nottingham figures.

The real question is - If the moulds to both forts and the Knight & Mongol figures are still usable, where are the rest of the Giant moulds, and might they also one day reappear? Also the fact that they can keep popping up and filling western companies order-books suggests that the poor quality of HK mouldings in general, is down to the poor quality of the masters, not - as some have claimed over the years (myself included) - cheap moulds, and in fact the moulds can under the right circumstances last just as long, and produce as much product as any of Airfix's moulds?

Of note - Accoutrements are currently carrying the set of 5 metal knights by Westair of the UK, sometimes credited to Kinder Germany! What goes around comes around!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

W is for World of Warcraft

One of the more recent trends in toy collecting has been the emergence of the 'Art' or 'Designer' toys, which were born in the 1990's; Wikipedia.

Of all the branches of our hobby, this is the one I have the most trouble getting my head round, they are produced in the same factories, from the same materials as figures similar to the ones in this post, given the same finishes and yet start at £20/30+ per small figure and can retail for thousands. They are also often quite grotesque with lots of blood, guts, dripping flesh, genitals, empty eye sockets etc, etc...

How can a 10-inch bunny-robot with an open belly full of bloody skulls or fetuses be worth ten times the retail price of a Wizards of the Coast 16-inch At-At Walker? So with the latest version/edition of WoW (as they are known) reaching the clearance wholesalers at £1.99 from their original retail price of £9:99, I though it would be an idea to look at them while musing on their over-hyped bigger brothers.

Two of the techniques common to Art Toys are metallic decoration and the use of transparent vinyls. The Elfin figure top left had a two-tone sword in metallic maroon and lilac, would you pay $300 dollars for a zombie bear in the same colours when this chap is currently around 75p?

Below him is a winged daemon of some kind, he has clear yellow vinyl wings with an over-paint of graduated red-orange, so what's so special about a similar half-dead corrupted duck-skeleton that it could be 'worth' a hundred time as much or more? Also of note, the Wikipedia article states that the production of designer toys is moving to Japan - in part - because they use transparent vinyls, yet these are made in China, I would suggest the move toward producing in Japan has more to do with Japanese proclivities toward torture, tentacle-porn, machine-porn and schoolgirl sex!

The Mage in the group of elves - bottom right - has many of the elements of a 'limited edition' designer toy, spikes, skulls, frown!...yet is pocket-money, not annual bonus money!

In the large picture a figure has been produced totally in clear vinyl, then painted until only the Jewell in the end of the staff is showing transparent (I can't tell whether the whole figure is yellow, or the Jewell is over-tinted), while the little pink-haired dwarf girl-warrior is exactly the sort of thing the designer toy people will sell you, in a larger size, for half a weeks wages!

As someone said the other day re. the current price of gold vis-a-vis historical gold trends, and bearing in mind the Tulip craze of the C17th, if something looks like a bubble, and feels like a bubble it probably is a Bubble...how long before the buyers of Designer Art Toys realize they have filled their lovely, sleek, black-framed, illuminated, glass cabinets with modern, industrial-processed, culturally meaningless, deformed, soul-destroying crud?

The above figures are from the latest incarnation of WoW, being the 'Miniatures game', there's also the 'Collectable card game' the 'Board game' (with smaller unpainted figures) and other branches of the franchise, nothing like squeezing the maximum out of your fans, but at least this is the affordable way of shifting a ton of vinyl to those with disposable wealth!

Friday, September 3, 2010

T is for Thank You

I was going to do a post on World of Warcraft tonight, new production, not common here, and follow it with the next part of the Forts we've been looking at, but two things happened to push them back one....

Some covered - plenty more still to come!

First I realized it was the 300th post since 'A is for Aurora' back in December 2008, so I felt I aught to mark it in some way, and the best way is to thank all those who have followed and/or commented since I started, it's nice to know people are even remotely interested in my wittering!!

Marx, Marksmen, Blue Box, Rado/Ri-Toys and the 'Opie purchase'
(like the Louisiana purchase but FAR more important!)

Secondly, Dave Keen over at PSR posted a link to this blog at about 11 o'clock last night, and the 180 hits a day I've been getting for the last month or so shot up to 2000 in less than 24 hours! So welcome and thank you to all the new visitors, two of whom have eMailed with kind words.

Vehicles, newer figures and 'Odds'

As I'm thanking people I'd like to thank the boys at Moonbase Central for many beneficial exchanges and putting-up with my 'silly dictionary' entries, Clive over at Vintage Wargaming who sent me a couple of really interesting early catalogues soon after I started blogging, The Philosophic Toad who's proved invaluable with help on Cereal Premiums, Ron Marshall for inviting me onto a couple of his shared blogs and the Input of Arlin Tawzer, Arto Haarala and Ron Chaisson who often point me in the right direction or add a piece of the 'bigger picture' which is what this is all about.

Larger quantities by larger makes!

As this is starting to sound like an Oscar speech!...I'll thank Paul Morhead, Peter Evans and Brian Carrick from Plastic Warrior. James Opie who sold me his entire Hong Kong small scale collection for what we both knew was half the intrinsic value and a tenth of the US eBay value! German collectors Peter Bergner and Andreas Dittman, along with Dimitri from Russia and Thanassis from Greece.

While from the UK collectors fraternity the following have been good friends, good sources of figures and/or information OR; all three! John Begg (all three and more!), John Clarke, Timpo Dave (who's now Lego Dave!), Adrien Little, Matt Thair, Barry Blood, Tony Herrington, Jan Jarzembowski, Andy Harfield, Dave Keen, Gareth Morgan and anyone I've forgotten!

One of five!

As we have new viewers at the moment, I'd stress that while I like eMails as much as the next man (when they're not telling me to pharmaceutically enhance my manhood with a Christian bank loan from Bakina Fasso before Hotmail close my account for winning to many national and international lotteries), I'd far rather you comment here, even if you think you've nothing to add, like police work it's the little snippets that produce the whole.

You'll see I use a lot of question marks, a lot of 'might, could, probably, seem to, I'm guessing, I think, it's believed...', there are thousands of companies who have produced figures and accessories for themselves or others, copied or been copied, bough-in or been bought-out by, or just disappeared and anything you can add helps. Even if you just leave a pleasantry, it's nice to know you've been through!

Company-specifics, book manuscripts, thematic lists etc...

Also like 'Liz' over on the Other Collectables blog, or 'Anon.' here who provided a nice shot of Scandinavian Space-ship dime-stores, if you have something you think I'd like to post, or you don't fancy blogging but would like to show something, get in touch and it can be added to an existing post, become part of a new post or have a post all to itself, fully acknowledged or totally anonymous, as you like it!

If there is something you don't like let me know that too, unless it's my occasional snipes at the French, that stays!

The plastic flats

If there is something you'd like to see, give me a shout, if I've got it I'll make an effort to post it as soon as I can. But ask me here or at my eMail, not on someone else's forum/blog please.

I guess now is also the time to apologise for not delivering some of the things I have said I would. Ive still got three draft pages meant for the T34 roundup I was planning in April '09! The mini-trucks I said I'd do in a few days - some months ago - are preying on my mind (and I'd like to do the HO ones by N.I.F.C. or whoever they are at the same time), the scenic and elves stuff I started to serialise sort of petered out - they are still on the work top! While I'd like to get more Renovation/Collecting/Archiving posts done, but they just aren't as interesting as more figures or tanks!

What a few hundred-thousand Hong Kong pirates look like!

So there you go, thanks to all for visiting, commenting, following, linking or just getting to the end of this self-indulgent post! I'll keep putting it up here...lets do another 300!