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, July 24, 2017

T is for Test Shot

I found these looking for other stuff for the ongoing figure posts and don't think I've ever shown them here? Taken nine years ago, they seem to be a test-shot for the Pioneer Covered Wagon, announced by Britains in 1972.

Photographed a few months before the blog started and while I was still getting my head round digital photography they aren't the best shots here, but they aren't the worst either!

As far as I know this configuration was never issued as a retail item, even with painted crew.

The canvas tilt or cover is in an unusual deep turquoise or what interior designers call aqua! (that's 'water' in English!), while the wagon is a wood-brown, not so wacky, along with the wheels in a different shade.

The undercarriage is another more-'sky' blue, and the accessories are also browns, with a set of unpainted crew, missing reins and whip. The purple vinyl was - however - used within the Wild West range toward the end; some Deetail Mexicans and Apaches spring to mind?

The team though is fully painted, but - again - missing the reins. The Gun team had by then (1972) been given this team, and if not (happy to be corrected!) the existing Stage-coach had been using it for some years.

The feeling is the team was taken from the production line of one of the other sets and added to this otherwise test-shot mock-up. Other clues are the thick layer of dust on an otherwise un-played-with model and the lack of arrows on an otherwise undamaged model.

In the first two catalogues issued with the wagon ('72 and '73) the wagon is shown as brown with a cream/neutral/manila canvas tilt, but only as an 'artist's impression', from the 74 catalogue onwards the familiar dark-blue wagon with pure-white cover, cream tools/barrel and a black undercarriage is always photographed.

In both cases the wheels are red, the undercarriage going red in '77 to match. Both (wheels and frame) dun in '78 and dark brown in '79. How these changes played-out in the shops in anyone's guess, or even if they all made it to a retail release, but brown wagon and turquoise tilt doesn't seem to have ever featured.

I suspect therefore that this was a test-shot, maybe playing with colours, but more likely just a 'check-fit', and probably came from one of the big Britains 'archive' sales in the early part of the new century. I may even have been told that at the time, but if I was - have forgotten so in the intervening years!

Whatever - it's different!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

C is for Cut n' Shut!

Having looked at the other 'halves' the other day, we'd better look at the remnants and what was done to them, but first; the Britains original.

With one of the kneeling chaps from the other day to remind, here's the Herald standing firing Indian, two originals to the left both with six colours, and to the right; a simplified paint scheme from later-on - four colours). Above is a vinyl Hong Kong produced one next to the kneeling pose.

But the two missing halves from the other day weren't married by Benbros, or Trojan, or any of the other 'suspects', it was Cherilea who did the dirty on Britains!

The left-hand figure in both shots is Cherilea's cut-and-shut job on Britains firing figures while the right-hand one IS the Trojan bandwagon figure, copied from Cherilea . . . or was it? Lone Star made the same figure and Plastic Warrior believe the same sculptor (surgeon!) may have been working with/for a number of these companies?

Hong Kong was cleared to replace the standing pose, but the replacement with his dandily dyed suede pyjamas is a lot easier on the eye than that awful squatting cowboy we saw the other day.

There was a darker maroon-red one (with blue feathering) I remember from my childhood which I'm still looking out for, and it will turn-up, these aren't uncommon, and I need two anyway - to steal a base for my mustard yellow chap!

Above him is a comparison between early (UK) and late (HK) vinyl figure, the PVC chap is a little smaller, this could be down to a new mould being smaller, or the shrinkage of the softer material?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

T is for Tin Men

But not THE Tin Man (Aurora did one!), nor actually tin at all, they're plastic and armour was thin wrought iron I think, not tin or even steel? Yeah - I'm waffling again for an opening paragraph aren’t I, shocking! Never mind - it's only a box ticker for the insectophobes!

Timpo, more from that folder I found on the dongle, paint colour variations of the early versions of Timpo's 'solid' knights.

Plastic colour variations of the later Action-packs.

That's it - they're common as muck in a mess-tin!

R is for the Real Small Scale World!

I'm well behind with these, I've taken lots interesting stuff in June and July, but these are actually from May! I'll post soldiers (or cowboys!) later.

Sheild Bug - I love shield bugs, they're the best, like little alien knights in camouflaged armour! This is a Forest Shield I think?

Chafer - one of the lesser chaffers, common Garden Chaffer or something. And Insect porn! Oh baby, is that your wing-case or are you pleased to see me!

Caterpillar - There are so many caterpillars in green with a pale stripe down them I daren't try to ID it as a rank amateur, but it'll be one of the Whites . . . probably!

Weevil - or not? My absolute all time favourite insect might not be the weevil it appears to be at all, but rather a faux-weevil called the Aspen Beetle or Byctisus Populi, although given the size of most of these (common on our hazelnut) I think they may actually a weevil, the weevil the Aspen pretender is pretending to be - if you have an aspen rather than a hazel?

Bees - A selection of bees!

Mixed - an Ichueumon Fly (kind of parasitic wasp) or other wasp, possibly a Field Digger top left, a Hover-Fly below it; possibly one of the Sun Flies and two shots of a Cockchaffer or 'May Bug', they never come out - the flying shots - camera doesn't know what it's looking at, or where!

Lilly Beetles - invasive species, damaging, they both died, but they're pretty.

Friday, July 21, 2017

R is for Rootin' Tootin' Six-gun Shootin'

Like the figure we looked at the day before yesterday, this started life in Herald's stable, got taken-in by Britains, simplified and sent to Hong Kong for its sins. It also got copied by nearly every Tom, Dick, and early British plastic producer, along with several in the colonies!

This image has been on the blog before, so we'll get it out of the way before we look at the original, most of these are now in storage, but more have joined the staff here until they can all be reunited! And the trio of 'early British' were photographed again before incarceration, while the Britains are here.

The top row - Britains, Britains - Hong Kong, Paramount, Hong Kong
Middle - Hong Kong, Speedwell, Speedwell, Trojan
Bottom - all Hong Kong

So, the original Britains chap was a bad-guy (all in black - probably smoked, almost certainly liked Country & Western music and definitely cheated on his women!), greyed-out in PVC after the move to Hong Kong production, he was finally brightened-up with a bit of a denim two-piece! He also got the separate base. I don't think I have all the versions, but the blue one has extended the sample slightly!

 
I don't know if my 'bad guy' is a shrinkage variation, or that the moulding was simplified in HK, but he looks cooler spitting death with his face hidden, even if you couldn't hit a barn-door at twenty paces with the brim of your Stetson over your eyes! But really - he's slotting some dude sneaking out of a side-alley, two cool for gun-play school!

The guys have swapped places from the first image, so we have Trojan dropping the hat to effect 'originality' on the left, while Speedwell - middle and right - didn't bother and just went with a straight copy, However with hat, shirt and sometimes 'kerchief' painted different colours, they make for more interesting figures than the Britains herald original.

Two recent additions, all the Speedwell figures are two-part moulds with a split-line across the base, and I'm always hoping to find a hatted figure with a smooth base, as neither UNA nor VP seem to have been associated with this pose yet, and a three-part version might be from one of them, but no luck so far!

Another Paramount has also come in; theirs is quite a different pose, although influenced by the Britians figure; he's an older, sheriff type, with a ten-and-a-bit-gallon hat, swanky boots with a cavalry turn-down type thing going on there, more balanced stance, he's begging you to think he fired six - feeling lucky? Punk!

Painting on this one's fuller than my storage copy with the hat, boots and fringe painted black, and further red-highlights on the fringe.

This chap has also been seen here before, but for completion - here he is again! The base marked MADE IN HONG KONG and 634. Following-on from Wednesday's post - I don't know if Benbros had a version of this figure? I certainly don't have one/haven't found one, although both Lone Star and Benbros have a whip-handed chap with similar posing.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

News, Views Etc . . .Regular Round-up

Usual, general collation of bits and pieces from the inbox, the national press and further afield, with a few links of things you may find interesting, or consider worth visiting.

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New Model Navy
In the 'i' on Monday the 22nd of May, there was an interesting editorial article/'infomercial' about how in 1667 our then Master Shipwright, one Peter Pett, in the panic of a Dutch attack up the River Medway decided that as he couldn't save the real vessels (all tied-up and crewless under the orders of Charles II while he negotiated the end of the second Anglo-Dutch war), he ought to save the exquisite models, which showed how to construct the 'new' Navy's vessels.

One of the saved models

Those who have visited the Maritime Museum in Greenwich (pronounced 'grenn-itch' - for my foreign visitors!) in the past will know just how exquisite they are. Anyway; long-story, short - the saved models and the tale behind them is being told in an exhibition 'Breaking the Chain' at the Royal Chatham ('chat-um') Dockyards until the 3rd September if you're looking for something to do with the kids over the holidays.

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General News
On the 25th June a stationary chain called Smiggle has announced plans to increase its workforce as sales increase, but not to open new stores - yet. I mention it therefore only because I don't know the chain (big cities?), but it may well prove to be a source of new or different erasers, pencil-tops and novelties, and we like that sort of stuff here!

Our glorious err . . . not quite leader (yet?) 'gettin' down wi' da' kids' during the recent election campaign, I was struck by the toy which seems remarkably un-different (is that a word?) from stuff companies like Tudor Rose were chucking-out 40 years ago! ♪♫"We'll-keep the yell-ow truckroll'ing"♫♪! That's it . . . you can read the rest later, off you go to work now - humming the anthem of revolution, my work here is done for the day!

The Hornby story rumbles-on with further press releases on the 23rd and 27th of June and the 5th of July, all concerning the management's urging of shareholders to reject the mandatory takeover-bid by Phoenix Asset Management - itself a major shareholder and the group who's management coup failed a few weeks ago.

The Stanly Gibbons story also continues to make the money-pages, with an approach by private equity firm Disruptive Capital, following the failures of Gibbons' own efforts in the last couple years, and of the plans of recent months.

Further news also on the Go story with the computer AlphaGo beating the current reigning world champion (Ke Jie) for a second time, the human claimed the computer was playing "Like the God of Go"! Once they are truly smarter than us, they will identify us as THE major threat to the planet's future.

Rod Stewart, yes the crooning popster; collects Scottish toy soldiers (and model trains!), so if you're a dealer with a particularly fine sample of Scots, or 'Highlanders', might be worth a try getting in touch with his PR people, you may be sitting on a Christmas bonus - if you know what I mean!

Poundstrecher (an occasional source of useful clearance toys) is in sales talks as it struggles with the slowly gathering Brexit recession - as we haven't recovered from the last [Banking] recession, that'll be fun!

Mattel have announced a whole bunch of Ken Dolls, including one with a 'man-bun' and another with corn-rows, I'm not exaggerating when I say we are in the end of days; Barbie's going to an gang-bang! Although the six CGI'd models in the 'i' newspaper on the 21st of May all looked mildly demented and incapable of satisfying Barbie without bursting into tears and needing therapy.

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Toys in the media

This has been used to advertise the Guardian's jobs edition in recent weeks, a CGI of a table football team which manages to cover every base as far as political correctness is concerned, well; it's the Guardian, you'd expect nothing less!

Tim'Maaaay!

Paul Morehead - editor of Plastic Warrior magazine -sent us this from PW Towers the other day, it's a whole battle! You can't beat 'Army Men' in articles, proper reading!

The downside of polymers in the environment was highlighted in this article in the 'i' a week ago - more here: Seafieldview Blog

Lego seems to be a main offender, but you can see here that Airfix and Hong Kong are not far behind, with Matchbox and Kinder both contributing - you may love this stuff, I may love this stuff, but this stuff will have to end. We must either find the strength ('good sense'!) to make these toys out of short-life, bio-degradable, vegetable-based, pseudo-polymers, or go back to wood and metals.

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Pepper Pig
Two Pepper Pig stories were left off the last 'News, Views' (buried under other stuff!), one being good news (if you're a Pepper Pig fan or a corporate bastard) in that Entertainment One (owners of PP rights) announced it was to produce 117 new episodes and had signed new licensing deals.

The other was also good news (if you're a hater of Pepper Pig or an anarchist) as share-values dropped 22% in Entertainment One after the Canadian-owned, British registered firm took a £47-million spending-hit on global restructuring and the investment announced in the other story - easy come, easy go, it's only money!

Lego's Bid for World Domination
Lego have announced that Merlin Entertainment will be opening another Legoland Discovery Centre, this time in Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena building next year, construction has started.

In a separate story, Lego are to work with Mencap the disability charity to find employment for learning-disabled people.

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Publishing

In mid-June Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl overtook Harry potter to regain number-one spot in the top 10 books for children list, suggesting the decline of pottermania is acelerating apace.

Under the headline 'Tolkien's Lord of the Wins' daily free-sheet The Metro reported the other day that his family have settled a law suit with Warner Brothers.

Obituaries
Still on publishing - obituaries this time sadly include Michael Bond, the creator (finder surely?) of Paddington Bear, while Grotbags actress Carol Lee Scott, Geoffrey Bayldon: Catweazle and Andy Cunningham of Bodger the Badger fame have all sadly passed.

The news yesterday that George A. Romero has gone too means that it's not just our childhood which is being buried but - increasingly - our teenage-years too.

Health and Safety
Not something I normally consider or think about, but a little girl died in April after swallowing one of those tiny little coin-like batteries, not some tragic suffocation as you might think, but because the stomach-acids break into the batteries, the acid's of which are far more powerful, and can do fatal damage, worth a thought if you have younger children. The lithium-cell was from an electronic car key-fob, but similar batteries are in a lot of toys these days, Lego mini-fig LED torches spring to mind.

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A Few Links

This is one of the more amusing things I've seen recently related to toy soldiers

Looks like fun if you can get there

This is a salutary lesson for arrogant people like you-know-who, more comments in three days than any five Toy Soldier blogs get - together - in a week!

Best pictures ever of one of my favourite toys

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Finally - Best Bath Bomb ever!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

K is for Ker'neeling Firing

Mentioning the piracy which was rife in the early toy industry yesterday, I thought it would be timely to have a look at what the Brits were up to, and mostly they were up to taking the piss out of Britians!

So, this is the chap we're looking at today, the Britains 'Herald' kneeling firing cowboy figure. Here are six, at the top the Multi-colour originals in brown, chalky ethylene plastic, the yellow-shirted chap having six paint-colours, the red shirted chap seven.

Below them is a pair of the later 'simplified' paint scheme figures, with four colours each on a more stable grey plastic and at the bottom a final pair of Hong Kong manufactured rigid PVC vinyl cowboys.

They too are four-colour, but changing the colour of the plastic makes them 'go further', while re-sculpting or a new tool has led to them shooting upwards more markedly, not quite the skywards of Airfix's paratrooper, but at the sneaky guy who was always in the upper-floor of the saloon!

UNA actually improved the figure slightly with a decent foresight on the rifle, they are also easy to spot with their television-screen shaped depression in the base underside of a three part mould. Speedwell are marked round the edge of a two part mould with the split-line running straight across the base. They are also slightly smaller figures.

The last figure in this line-up is unmarked and unattributed, but the suspicion is that he's a Hong Kong copy, both from the glossy paint and the glossy plastic. He has also had his head tilted over slightly and along with a general loss of detail over the previous figures is slightly thinner, a pointer to pantographing.

On the left is a definite HK version, courtesy of Darius who sent him from Italy, he is joined by another two Speedwell figures. The grey one looks different but only because some vandal has clipped his rifle tip, only for his pistol grip to be lost later to brittleness!

Markings on the HK copy include a very feint HONGKONG on one side of the base and either 03001 or 100ED on the other - I favour the former but it's not clear.

Benbros made some effort to pretend they hadn't bought a handful of Britains Herald originals before starting their own set, and Trojan - seeing an opportunity for 'originality' (bloody-hell Hugh - you've used single-quotes correctly!) among pirates - stole the Benbros cut-n-shut rather than the Britains rifleman!

For which you have to admire their chutzpah and logic; you can't be sued for pirating a pirate (by the pirate) nor are you as likely to be sued by the originator for a while, who will be after the first pirate, first - if at all?

Lone Star (above) also spotted the guy in the saloon bedroom, but clearly with help from Britains, although I think a previous owner may have spotted the shirts? While the chap from Cherilea (lower four) is a new moulding, only similar by dint of doing the same thing; not because he's a copy.

Helping the different look; he's wearing gloves and his holster is further round, and we see three base versions here with the small oblong depression in the base underside to the left, two with the shallow penny-depression and one (darker plastic) smooth.

For completion I include - here - the two kneeling figure poses from Hilco, these are pirated from earlier French hard plastic (or even metal?) figures and can't be mistaken for anything else with their wide-brimmed sombreros and dinky-little, chorus-line, cowgirl-booties!

The ultimate ignominy; Britains Hong Kong contractor is allowed to retire the kneeling guy and replace him with this piece of bent-rifled shite, a squatting, one-shot-and-he's-on-his-arse pose, apparently painted by trolls with broken-fingers! Four colours, separate base.

But it's not the end of our journey; as the cut-n-shut merchant at Benbros was so pleased with his six-gun conversion of the cowboy, he decided to use the cast-off to create an Indian kneeling rifleman; taking the head and legs of Britains archer to marry to the rifleman's torso.

Really - it's probably the topless torso from the standing Indian firing pose, but it's a nice idea! Trojan copied this pose from Benbros too, but I don't have one to show you, sorry!

Which gives us an excuse to visit these again (we've looked at them before here), just for the comparison. Two six-colour early figures to the left (the first is damaged, or maybe it's the the rare firing-last-arrow variant!), two four-colour intermediate, simplified-production in the middle, then from Hong Kong - a PVC integral based figure (five colour) and a late separate base on the far-right; four-colour paint-job.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Erwinwatch - he's back!

Or - O is for only....

One Response to Let It Go Hugh You Are Not Going to Win This One

...after four days!

erwin says:

July 14, 2017 at 3:30 PM

Sooner or later he will been as along as a shadow ghost .. Poetry? Idiocy.
His site is use as more politic constant attack than elseSurrealism? Muppetry.
He copywriting few quotes ,edit ,re-edit from others blogs to make looks accord to his post ,then twist and misinterpret always assuming as typical. Just a '?' here! Fucktard
A typical master spam twister of comments,very common seen around back desk hiding in shadows that when confronted in person runs away to avoid … err...let me know when I've run away won't you! Too funny - Cock.

Master spam twisters are very common round the backs of desks! H'h'h'h'h'h I can't breathe for fucking laughing . . . See! See them run from the shadows to avoid - now they've been confronted [in person]! HAAAAAAAhaaaaahahahahah! They're gonna kill'me these two, they make the Marx Brothers look like straight-men.

He is now coping (phew!) and pasting from other post any blogger who post something to then make an entire insane attack base in his opinion .That is plagiarism …. No it isn't, what you practice is plagiarism, I always attribute, link, acknowledge or name-check - Piss-ant.

He does not have idea who are our friends (Oooooo! Now I'm brickin'it!) and contact and assume our info is taken or plagiarised when we had receive personal permission to use it …
So i may have to get those links,author post their responses and info here (don't talk about it, do it - you should have done it when you quoted them, numb-nuts) plus the title of every book he does not have (how do you know! Split-pig) to see if he can buy then first and find out where is from.May be that will help him to educate (HAAAAAAA-haa-haa-haa!) himself more if he can afford get those other books that he had missed i have mention with title and author here before,even posting likins (is that what kittens do to ears? Fuckwit) for others to buy or get then as available if not sold out yet …Ha ha ha ha! Oh-god . . . does he believe this shit? Brain-dead fool.

He think he is rightful judge mighty master of opinion and self expert of assumption.
I had ignore every single comments of him and inform others admin blogger/forum of his activities against it .? ENGLISH - PLEASE! And you don't appear to be ignoring anything - Liar.

Every one who made a comment here or in other blogs has been mention by name or ID blog name and coping their post on his blog as to be use for a nasty derogatory offensive response towards all those he think are wrong… Heeheeheeheeheehee, People - Every one, make sure you only view me in a mirror-polished shield or you might turn to stone! Numpty.

It is very sad that unfortunately this great small friendly hobby has to deal with this unhealthy stain ('stains' plural, there's two; you and Stadinger) and those few admitting such person post in other places should think twice of it before as will also stain their site/magazine (Yeah, don't let me say nice, neutral things on your blogs, wait for an Erwin-to-Stadinger back-link or three!) .By now most are aware of this person and take action or else (are you're threatening 'the hobby' if they don't do your bidding?).Hope rest realize in time as well.
I’m glad x that results so far … (so am I - thanks to you my traffic's doubled in less than a year! And unlike your mentor I don't pay click-farms!)
best…

He's not just stupid and dishonest; he's on his own planet; Sell-five, planet of cockwombles.

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The above is the raving of a madman, and this most recent attack by Stadinger and Sell, is not only illiterate, inarticulate, miss-spelt, grammatically-unfocused, confused, factually inaccurate, petty, vacuous, inane-scribbling of little merit which fails to answer any of the questions I've raised about their shenanigans; it's actually starting to suggest mental instability from the pair of them.

They are so desperate to 'get it off their chests' they pay little or no heed to the presentation of the message, it's the hysterical ranting of little kids who haven't done their letters yet. But - they want to be taken seriously; they want to be taken more seriously than me? They want you to think of them as 'professional' - it's too funny.

Me? I'm an impatient, disorganised, ranting Blogger! And I'm very intolerant of idiot-thieves and liars - too many of them in government to put-up with them here too!

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And then I had a comment notification in Hotmail yesterday (Monday), which upon following the link to the post was not visible, neither was there a 'removed by author' message.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "MTC is for Rack Toys!":

Thanks , I have recently been searching for information approximately this subject (?) for a
while and yours is the best I have discovered so far.
However, what
(what indeed?) concerning the conclusion? [There is no conclusion to the post, it's illustrative only!] Are you certain about the source? The packaging (in every image) had MTC on it - so; yes; I'm certain!

And - let's face it - this war has been going on long enough for you all to be able to recognise the only person in the hobby who's English is quite this bad (excepting his mentor's own efforts!).

Now - in nine years I have only banned four people from commenting; I think, the painted figure bloke - years ago, the suicidal Zionist - a couple of three years ago or so, the right-Johnson with his machine-guns and Mr. Erwin-too-fuckwitted Sell - a rate of censure of just over one-idiot per three years, or 0.4r of a person per year!

So the only conclusion (or assumption!) I can draw (as I don't pay for some fancy spam-software like the idiot Stadinger, finding Blogger's own firewall effective enough) is that the idiot Sell tried an anonymous post from his own [the banned] IP Address?

Dealing with those two Muppets is like dealing with a pair of post-lobotomised Forest Gumps.

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