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.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

H is for Whirlybirds!

Well; I intended to try and do a small follow-up to the Kamley post, specifically on the twin-rotor jobs as I knew I had the second shot below, but as these things do sometimes, the post grew rather and while it's not all of them (I found another two putting some of these away!), it's a reasonable overview of placky-tacky rack-toy Helichopp'ters!

It's funny, because the Kamley post grew 'organically' in the same way, as bits were added, fell into place or got re-shot and yet - because I had the old shots from the 2012 helicopter photo-shoot we've been getting the odd post out of for some time - I never went to check the tub, which, if I had, would have revealed that I had all three versions of the Kamley all along!

It must have come from Brian Carrick, Garreth Morgan or Peter Evans, so thanks to the three of them for all the rack-toy stuff they've fed me in recent years. Therefore, in the suspected order, from front to back of the upper shot, the three main variations of Kamley-Kositoy-KS twin rotor which begins life looking more like a stripped-down Chinook and ends life looking more like a Sea Knight.

And the wheel-failure thing continues in the helicopter department with the absentee from the other day also only having one set!

Below them are the original reason for the thought behind this post, the modern clones, although time marches-on and the sandy one is probably no (or not much) newer than late Kamley's, a machine it's definitely based-on. I can't now remember where it came from but I've had it since the late 1990's and it came with a 'Gulf War' (the legitimate one) themed rack-toy 'Army Man' header-carded bag o'shite.

The other three are far more Chinookey-likey, with the red and blue ones originating in play-sets (bagged, carded, toob'ed or bucket) with the fire-fighters and police we looked at back at the beginning of this year's RTM.

I think they accompany the Top Toy/pound-shop types we've looked at before, but can't be arsed to check and if you look carefully the military one is slightly different (possibly the donor for the red/blue clones) so there will be other sources such as MTC, Jaru, Hing Fat, Toy-wotsit or Hunson for one design or t'other (see Erwin; anyone can produce a wordy-list of current "so called joggers"!).

Again I could check but can't be arsed - I remember posting the army one though; as I commented at the time about the non-matching rotor blades (I left one off this time!), so Poundland (Funtastic) or 99p Stores (Top Toys?).

This is a variation of the shot we saw the other day and just gets it out of Picasa!

I think we had this as a mini-post either last RTM or one of the Christmas novelty posts? The wheel-failure problem continues unabated in my cheapie-helicopter park! Still - at least they are both there in the bag; it's the rotors that have gone AWOL and it seems to be a reasonable copy of the Kamley 'II', but with nipples where the missing rotors should be anchored!

The little die-cast (from my mum, who - at 80 - panders to my strange obsession with kiddies toys!) is the sort of thing you often find in the kinds of sets we looked at last Sunday and is a copy of a late Matchbox or Corgi toy from the 1980/90's, while the wheel-failure yellow one is confirmed/supported by an opposite colour-way, in a carded set clearly harking to the (then current) campaign in Vietnam or - at a stretch - Malaya/Borneo/Brunei (then recent).

Closest to a Model 61 Bell HSL, it remains a made-up model from the fevered imagination of a Hong Kong Chinese designer!

"Which one shall I take-out today?"

It was at this point the post was going to end, but having included the green background shot I thought I may as well clear them all from Picasa, so this was taken in 2012 and was (still is) the contents of the Odds & Sods tub. Easier to number them and wiz-round the arrangement from the top left clockwise:

Number-1 is a relatively modern take on the old 1960's precursor to Chinooks (Belvedere or Shawnee?); 2 were German bubble-gum capsules, I think they are missing a floor which clipped onto the wheels, it may have been card (?), I've certainly never seen one and sources differ on whether they are Manurba or Siku in origin, the clear-orange styrene one being probably earlier than the ethylene yellow one and; like the bubble-gum tank, probably made by several suppliers?

3 is Kinder, missing it's skids and I have a green one complete in storage with other Kinder's so a return to them is inevitable. I suspect 4 is from some carded set of divers, or spies or some TV related stuff (sentient simians?), from/via someone like Larami or Imperial? It's rotors have snapped like chalk with age.

5 is a common-enough HK take on the Soviet-era Kamov utility/spotter (I think! Tals all wrong - married to bits of a Wasp?), 6 was also a capsule toy, but I don't think it was Kinder, one of the lesser makers like Ziani maybe? 7 is the other aircraft (British - Wessex) from that carded set above and several like it, it also survived for years as an individually-bagged 'party favour' alongside the Kamov and a third similar design.

Which leaves 8, ID'd over on the Moonbase Central as a Captain Scarlet design from Gerry Anderson (I stated to write Adams there!) if I recall correctly. It belongs in the same 'Army Man' sets as number 1.

Seen here before, but by this point I was grabbing anything Hong Kong and helicopter-related I found to chuck in the post! A boxed generic from Tai Sang mirroring their brand Blue Box's own sets and containing a diminutive Wessex type along with late soft-plastic Blue Box GI's.

The lower shot was taken ages ago, since when the US airframe has gone to Blue Cross (with various other donations), the animal charity, I regularly take stuff in with a "Try it at 20p per item for a week and send the unsold to recycling after!", but I always keep at least one of each for the master collection, which is in the upper shot.

The 'British Cobra'* is the better of these dirt-cheap 1970/80's HK rack-tat-mobiles, with realistic skids and little flash, either side are lesser sub-copies while the two in front have a daft, plug-in tail-rotor. There is - however - a worse one; the Rado/Ri-Toys version didn't have skids so  much as a couple of scaffold-poles welded to its legs - they all go to charity, I may have set them low, but even I have standards! No; I lie; I have space-limitations!

*we wished - surrounded by 3rd Guards Shock-army and half the Volkarmee with a couple of liaison/orientation-tour Gazelles to our name! And it was no better down at Clay Allee, the Americans only had a few tired, old UH1's to call-on, one of which I rappelled out of, Yes! A day well-spent! But then BB - UK, French, Grenzschutz/Polizei or Yank - was . . . errm, considered . . . 'expendable'!

Tank Hunter-killers with a micro-machine of unknown origin; the smaller die-cast, like the fire service Sea Knight above is another common member of those sets we looked at on Sunday, it looks like the South African entry (Roorikat or something?) in the attack helicopter trials of the 1990's/2000's usually losing-out to the Apache.

The larger one is quite nice and I have a feeling I know where it came from, but it's lost (the note that is) in storage if I do, I think it's a copy of a larger model from someone like New Ray and is well finished in a solid polypropylene at a size which makes it useful for 25mm war gaming.

The little one is a mystery, again looking like one of the losing entries in the 'new medium-lift/troop-carrying helicopter' trials around the turn of the century as Pumas and Jolly Green Giants were being scrapped (yet the Chinook flies on - solid fella!), it is in a soft PVC and could be from a board game, or a little set like those Silvercorn suitcases, some micro-toy like Takara's robot Votoms, or dare I suggest modern/current'ish gum-balls?

The closest thing I have to it in general feel and appearance is the painted Dalek donated to the blog by The Toad, years ago, which came from a Dr Who advent calendar, might someone have produced an 'Army Man' calendar, GI Joe, something like that?

This was going to be picture 3 or 4 as a sort of 'forthcoming attractions' finisher, but we seem to have looked at most of them now! Missing totally are the UH1A/B Huey Slicks which may be because they are in storage, or we've already had them and I've hidden the tub somewhere! Try the Helicopter tag?

The two right-hand tubs have new stuff for future posts - giving weight to my Ri-Toys lie; the top right tub is stuffed with smaller choppers, several of which are Rado (some from Moonbase!) while the attack-helicopter tub below it has several additions since the previous shot was taken.

The little scouts, Jet Rangers and OH's haven't been covered at all and I have them in plastic and die-cast, while a bag of painted machines awaiting stripping are the single-bagged ones mentioned earlier (above). The green one lying on top is one of several larger Jet Ranger types that have come-in in the last few years with current toob/tub toys and they can wait a while.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

V is for Villagers; Various Little Plastic Toy Villagers!

Destined for the small scale Hong Kong blog but purchased for RTM last year it's a return to those keen and gay traders the Keen & Gay Traders! To be honest it was this set I was after over the Austin Champ I posted nearly a year ago, as I have been picking these up in ones and twos for years (I suspect cheap Christmas crackers; possibly the mini 'tree' versions), and was very pleased to find them in a generic pack.

The fact that it was a sample was also interesting as it may mean that it never got a release, or never got a 'Western' release? However here is one set at least and it says what it is - villagers.

To be specific: South East Asian villagers which could prove useful in choking roads with refugees if war-gaming the WWII Japanese campaigns, Korea or Indochina-Vietnam.

You get - from the left in the lower image - a guy sowing crops (carrying a rolled document in the header-card illustration); an artist or painter/decorator artisan type; a chap walking with a gravel-rake over his shoulder, off to make a nice Zen-garden (although it looks like a hoe in the illustration); a man walking with his hat (or a winnowing-basket) under his arm; a fisherman and an agricultural worker with bundles of rice on a [too short] pole.

You also get two pieces of wall . . . I can almost hear Peter Cook in the background "Four would be useful Mr Wall, but two? I have to say Mr Wall - two is two too few!" Looking at the header-card artwork; it can be assumed (or hoped!) that in some packs you got a arched-door/gateway piece, and that multiple purchases - if possible - could at least result in a pig-pen or local militia 'fortlette'! Age has curved them so they can at least be arranged as a partial backdrop for photo-sessions.

Posed with a Japanese celluloid tourist trinket, which is carrying us away from rack toys a tad, but sometimes you have to follow where the subject leads you. The size of both is perfect for 1:76 / 1:72nd scales and would seriously slow your armour down if they were travelling in the opposite direction.

Peter Evans as good as gave these to me back in May with the Big Bag of 'Army Men' and I am very grateful as I have been collecting these in ones and twos for as long as I have been picking-up the Asian civilians and although I have a dozen or so, they are all in storage, which will give me a chance to return to them in the future, but the three here are a good flavour of the type.

I don't know anything more about these than I can interpret with my own eyes, but they seem to have the look of craft items, made by hand in small quantities rather like Bavarian/Tyrolean or Erzgebirge wooden toys.

Some items are preformed-solids; the passenger, the loads, the wheels; but the animals are vac-formed in two halves and glued-together while the rest of the wagon is made from rod, tube, strip and sheet materials.

Different techniques are employed by different makers (again like Erzgebirge), some having the wheels and axles fixed, some making tube axles for the rod to turn in while others glue the axle but leave the wheels unglued so they fall off - if you're not careful!

Likewise the construction of the wagons, wagon-roof designs and even the attachment of the draft animal differs (one of these is removable, the other two fixed) and in storage I have paired teams and four-wheeled examples along with a man-drawn rickshaw in the same scale 'Ivorene' style.

So I suspect a kit of parts, sent out to lots of little crafters, collected in when finished and marketed from a central point?

As well as the wagons there are other common tropes in the same size and there are larger scaled versions of some, particularly the rickshaws which can be found in 54mm-compatible sizes. Pastoral scenes involving ornamental bridges, mini-dioramas or vignettes built in a real or celluloid scallop shell, and more formal plinth-mounted vignettes can all be found in this style, but it's the wagons I look-out for!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

B is for Britains Swoppet Khaki Combat Infantry Hong Kong Piracies Bagged Plastic Toy Soldiers Part Something or Other . . .

. . . just trying to keep-up with current trends for title blocks elsewhere; I'd hate for Google to forget me!

So, following the ID'ing of one of the Swoppet poses as being in with the Khaki (or 'Combat') Infantry poses when sorting-out Kamley-Kositoys the other day, I thought I'd better return to the box and see how many of the other Britains Swoppet clones I could tie in with Britains Herald sets of Khaki Infantry copies.

It helped that in going through the HK carded boxes looking for stuff to photograph for RTM I'd found these two and was able to sort their mates out of the Britains Swoppet tub - where the clones and the originals have been rubbing shoulders for a few years.

The notable one here is the crouching mortar-man who has been converted to an officer with a crude automatic pistol. Although the standing mortar-man seems to be waving a bottle around . . . "Com'mon  yoooo wang'kers . . . I'll take you all on . . . bloody ruskie-sovs! Hic!"*

I took the opportunity to shoot some comparison shots, we have looked at the Swoppets in more detail previously, so this is really about the clones which as you can see are much reduced in size and quality and; having been copied without their webbing, look bloody odd! But then - the originals were all wearing barrack-dress ties, so . . . yer pays yer money!

With the Kamley and 'Soldier Set' figures gone from the tub, I was left with four figures to sort out, another of the crouching officer conversion, a marching and two - differently marked - being cut-'n'-shut's of the kneeling firer from the Herald Khaki Infantry set with the Swoppet standing mortar-man's torso.

Two have similar marks and the same shaped cavities under the base as the 'Soldier Set' figures, so I wouldn't mind betting (especially after seeing the generations of Kamley sculpting) they are earlier runs from the same source as the generics in the above bags.

Apologies for this and the next two images, they were taken in a heavy thunder storm with light-levels all over the place but I was keen to get-on and they're left looking like I hired Paul Stadinger to take them!

As the Kamley set had included one of the cut-'n'-shut' poses with an otherwise clean sample of Herald Khaki Infantry, I went first to that tub and found that yes, indeed, one of the unknown bags would happily accept one of the orphans, the shot notwithstanding - they are all unmarked with large release-pin discs visible.

The same exercise found a home for the other two-way, nice matching ovoid-cartouche recess with a neat, small "HONG KONG" this time, saw the chap home to his family, although it's only a family while you're still serving!

Which left the other two to join the three grenade-throwers in the mongrels bag! I still have about 14 'sets' to attribute, but have at least brought four lots together in the last few weeks.

* Humourless PSTSM readers and thicko Vichy-French should accept that that is supposed to be a humorous report on the fictional dialogue of a drunken cold-war warrior I invented, but in no way is intended to reflect my own opinion of my comrade-brother worker's from the East, nor is it to be taken remotely seriously by stupid people, of which - the world is currently, sadly, over-supplied.

Monday, August 21, 2017

T is for THAT Horse . . . again!

Well . . . it's getting silly, the old Bergan-Beton horse rides again, this time yanking a chariot which is equally stolen; but from Thomas not Bergan!

I have been resisting opening this for a while now, but the damage being done to the bag by the sticky-out axle, along with the fact that someone back in the 1960's thought it would be a good idea to fill a warehouse with these - leaving them less than rare - meant that there was no good reason for not getting it out and having a play!

The central pole or drawbar is taken from Crescent's Wild West wagons, the chariot from Thomas Toys along with the driver (who's not doing much driving as he's had a shield added!) and the aforementioned Bergan Toys provide the horses (although to be fair I think these are taken from the Tudor Rose versions going on the saddle decoration).

Assembled, I love the colours of this toy, all metallic with a fine aluminium-silver for the horses, a gold spar, deep bronze for chariot and wheels and a metallic maroon plastic toy soldier!

Various close-ups; the toy figure has a locating stud to fix him in the chariot floor unlike the Thomas one which relied on flat-feet and/or hooking his arm over the side of the chariot.

Speaking of the Thomas one, I shot this on Adrian's stall at Sandown Park nearly three years ago (December '14), but never got round to this post! I would have bought it but I think I have both in storage (another reason why I was wont to unpack the above example!) and although not really what RTM is all about, they were - as Thomas - a 'dime-store' toy which is the same basic principle and - as a 'weekly-shop' or pocket-money item - was replaced by Hong Kong rack toys.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

C is for Chinacars!

There's no real point to this post other than things are hardly ever what they appear to be or claim to be when dealing with modern contract-manufactured rack toys, as while some of these are technically 'shelf-sale' items they are all priced at the pocket-money budget!

So we'll just ramble through them in no particular order, looking at the odd detail on the way...

I bought these a couple of years ago (in The Works), can't remember if I Blogged them at the time, but I suspect not as they became the kernel for this post, the folder for which I've been adding -to ever since. Both branded to High & Drive, you may recognise them as being otherwise the same as the previously Blogged Funtastic for Poundland vehicles.

Is it me or are there shades of the 'Stalone's Dredd' Land Rover in that Police SWAT vehicle? The other is VAB'ish, SAM-equipped and seems the commonest of these, being added to most of the 'ranges' below.

The aforementioned Funtastic in two packagings, same vehicle range though! When I say the same vehicle 'range', the 6x6 is probably an exception proving the rule, as it is in the same packaging as the little die-casts but A) we will see further down the page they have their 'own' 6x6 truck and B) this model is a larger scale, mostly plastic and of more complicated, multi-part construction.

Originally appearing on a blister card as part of a small line of three larger scale vehicles; we looked at the M48 Patton tank and the hovercraft at the time, but again see further down for how these are all part of the same 'whole'.

Here they are claimed by Little Angel on the left with some more shots of the Poundland's on the right, Little Angel use the star option for vehicle graphics, Funtastic take a winged logo and throw a few out-of-scale accessories into the box for added play-value.

Little Angel clearly makes sports equipment or peripherals too!

Another publicity shot from Little Angel, a Jeep from The Works with different wheels (also a pound), the old Zylmex half-track now owned by Tai Sang's subsidiary; Red Box, and an Israeli Merkava tank I photographed in the shop as it is too small to get excited about, especially at two quid to everyone else's pound!

It's not that I don't have smaller tanks/vehicles (I have every size and material) but just that it will turn-up at a pound sometime, or in a mixed lot from a car boot sale or charity-shop's 20p rummage bin! And I was purchasing two other vehicles for this post as I took the photographs, but was too tight to go over the fiver!

Kids Car and Avitalk (probably both made-up-brands) are both on Alibaba claiming the same vehicles as their 'own'! The Kids Car image is particularly useful, as it extends the extent of the line or range and ties three (or four?) wheel-designs into the same set. It also claims 1:87 as the given scale, patently nonsense as the jeeps are bigger than the lorries!

The tank is an M1-looking thing; the Hummers are a different rivet-detailed design form the common one while the VAB'ish vehicle with a full turret would seem to be a copy of a 1990's Majorette model.

Both Red Box but the upper one still has Zylmex on the base-plate, although the original Hong Kong has been replaced with a heavily pronounced 'China', recent examples are now Zylmex-free!

Tucked away at the back is a random incomer, from some half-forgotten charity-shop purchase, it is another VAB-ish design but four-wheeled and is equipped with a water-cannon! In storage I have several of these with different markings and/or different plug-ins, we may have looked at them here - before I got a grip on tagging - or was it the Hummers?

A rather fuzzy shot from an old .pdf catalogue from the recently deceased Marshall's; importers into and suppliers to the West Country and wider holiday/sea-side novelty trade (prior to their demise), with several of the vehicles seen above, although unlike the Kids Car set, these mostly have the same wheels as the Poundland/Funtastic versions.

Also, although unclear, it's obvious that more civilian vehicles have been militarised with khaki/green and camouflage.

To the right is a publicity shot from XY / Xin Yu, who might actually be the source for some of these given that they are claiming to be an 'alloy toys factory', but I suspect not for several reasons, the first that they are calling themselves an 'alloy toys factory' rather than the more obvious die-caster's. Second they aren't showing much of the range/s-line/s and third they have included the mostly plastic hovercraft from that 8-9-year-old Poundland set.

Spare photo's from the folder!                          

Another probably made-up name for wholesale purposes on Alibaba; Wellye advertising four of the commoner casts in the upper shot, with a colour-change for the tank and a few 'lesser' casts in the lower shot, note two different Jeeps - not just the plastic accessories but the whole design - one a chunky-Willy's, the other more a sort of Wrangler.

The other two I bought when photographing the Merkava, imported by Kandytoys the truck having the same wheels as other vehicles seen here, the MLRS been seen as a blur in the Marshall's shot. The truck is - I think - a reasonable copy of a Chinese copy of the late/post-Cold War Russian Ural truck?

However; I'm trying not to get bogged-down in vehicle types here (hence VAB'ish!) as they are all cheap, simplified or fictional pocket-money toys, and as far as war-gamers might be concerned, are what you say they are or paint them to be!

Comparison between a High & Drive from Poundland, a Works 'Metal Car' and the Pioneer Pro-Engine (previous shot - Pioneer toys manufactory Ltd) boxes, it's pretty clear to me they all come from the same place, they even take the same Pantone red for their graphic-design's starting-point!

Now we have Sunny Kids (sounding a bit like Kids Car) claiming them as their own and adding a bus which looks like it's been stolen from a Brio set! They go with a Micro Machines style folding play set and more realistic street-furniture than the Funatastic 'big boxes'.

To the right - more spare images!

Halsall's HTI have the Merkava and the two-axle VAB'ish in better paint (still with a water-cannon!), on a nice if civilian-looking tank transporter in their Teamsterz range (we looked at the firemen and policemen at the start of RTM). I did go back to buy this but they were sold-out!

Which is a good point to place a quick link to Uncle Brian's post the other day, a brace of lovely all-plastic transporters, which although modern Chinese designs, could be painted to look like Faun's rushing your Roco-minitanks Leopard's up to the Fulda gap from Putlos!

Following the link Brian provided - in the comments - leads to mention of Maisto in the product details but a quick Google for "Maisto Tank Transporter" fails to deliver the goods, so I think it's more of a click-bait thing?

To the right - another spare image!

The Army version from 8/10 years ago with the more recent (3 or 4 years back) boxed police one. The blister-carded vehicle has generic artwork front and rear with a consumer information sticker for Funtastic on the back - however if I recall correctly, the Patton and Hovercraft didn't, I bought them a year or two earlier and from a  different Poundland, so obviously the sticker came in with tighter legislation following the big lead-in-paint scandal of . . . err . . . 2010/2011 . . . later?

Although both trucks were a pound of your Earth-money the earlier blister-packed trio all had pull-back motors fitted while the later window-box truck is a free-wheeler, this is reflected in different wheel-hubs and tyres.

I guess, if there is to be a point to the post it is that while a dozen (or more - I haven’t looked that hard) or so brands can be associated with these vehicles, which seem to be from three main sub-sets, the fact is: that they all come from the same place (or three places?). There are fourteen lines/brands/issues above (ignoring the Zee Toys/Zyl half-track).

Whether you are a chain-store, an importer (jobber), an Alibaba-platform wholesaler, a shipper/marketer from Hong Kong or Shanghai or a middle-man running around the big toy-fairs in a shiny suit with a shiny brochure, you can 'pick & mix' your line/range/set/'offer', mix or match your packaging to previous efforts or rival's orders and the often faceless, usually nameless contract-manufacturers will do what they can to help you.

You can choose markings, colours, wheels, whether or not to have window-boxes or blister cards, white or clear trays. you can buy in a few accessories for the 'value added' factor, they can be cheap and nasty (Funtastic boxes) or more realistic (Sunny Kids), you can take the decoration from an off-the-shelf menu or stipulate something better (HTI's matt camouflage) and when the profit margin's been hit you will dump the remainder as clearance and move on to something else!

Or, you may wait a few months and come at them again from a different angle, Funtastic have tried three packagings/assortments in less than ten years now, The Works; two boxings, in five years.

Ghosts in the machine...

[tags have been heavily curtailed by the imposed limits on this post - so if this is 'your thing' bookmark it before it disappears down the page!]

Saturday, August 19, 2017

D is for Dispatches

Just as I suggested the other day it wouldn't be Rack Toy Month without some paratroopers, so I think it's fair to claim it's not a full RTM without some motorcycles!

Brain Berke coming to the rescue again; although he actually sent this some time ago as confirmation of the third colour when I blogged his previous contribution back near the start of the year.

He then sent this the other week and I'd love to have a go, who remembers the Corgi Pink Panther car which had the same mechanism? Indeed - some diminutive Kinder toys also have a pull-through powered kinetic-motor, while the Evel Knievel toys were more popular than either of the aforementioned!

Also branded to FunTastic, it now looks as though both the US FunTastic and the UK Funtastic are the same company, but it doesn't explain the logo differences, the Poundland exclusivity or where that will go now Poundland have been bought, but as we will see with the die-casts in a day or two, it's all as clear as mud and of little or no significance!

Rack Toy Month has room for smaller novelties and these Christmas Cracker/Gum Ball types are another recent purchase from the Swagman's Daughter and while the charms to the right (hard polystyrene) will be of limited interest to most, the figures on the left (soft polyethylene) should be of interest to any war-gamers exploring WWII.

Especially anyone using the plethora of Italian figure-set issues in the last ten or twelve years and the parallel AFV releases to build Italian armies; as they are almost perfect for North African dispatch riders - sculpted as if wearing shorts and with a leather side-flapped helmet and at a pretty good 1:76; you'd be daft not to get a set while they are still available.

A comparison with some of my existing sample, the blue ethylene one is the same as the Swagman's one, but the two styrene ones are variations of the recent acquisition - the brown one having a larger charm loop, the green one slightly better (??!!) sculpting and [apparent] factory paint on a loop-less helmet.

Friday, August 18, 2017

G is for German Rack Toys

We looked at bigger than HO/OO railway figures from Leyla right back at the start of the Blog; just shy of nine-years ago, now we're going to look at smaller than HO/OO from the same maker! I can only presume they are aimed at TT-gauge layouts, which were always more popular on the continent than here in the UK, and particularly so on the other side of the wire.

Sharing poses with the larger set we looked at back when, the newspaper-seller is also harking back to Leyla's 45mm pre-war O-gauge composition range
Heavily copied (I have three or four types of these as piracies in storage) by Hong Kong and - possibly - somewhere like Spain; there are good quality copies with neater bases, here we see some HK copies along with a set of three full flats (the Leyla are semi-flat) heading toward N-gauge, which look like margarine premiums but are I expect from a set of railway accessories or even a kit, given the plain white styrene?
The railway staffer/postal worker with trolley also looks like the sort of thing you find in some margarine, laundry-powder or coffee-premium sets, but again seems not to be; having a factory-looking paint-job, but him and the three white ones are still in the unknown 'pile'.
With the older (to the collection and judging by the packaging) set in storage I had to do this by eye/memory, so it's an approximation only, but it's about right! An Airfix platform figure would come between the two, but that only gives me a reason to return to them for better comparisons one day, we will return to them!