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.

Friday, February 23, 2018

T is for Toy Fair '18 Reports - HGL - Aliens & Monsters

Or A is for a tale of two genres!

Continuing to look at the shots I got-off at the Toy-fair last month; we'll look at the monsters first, or 'dragons' to be more exact!

This is an odd one; it clearly states 12, not once but twice, yet I can count at least 18, possibly a few more, and it looks to be three-each of six (which would be 18) or seven (21) sculpts, whether they have combined the contents of two boxes for display purposes or not I can't say, but can guess at . . . that'll be a yes then!

Also while they are called dinosaurs (and this image was removed from that batch of shots), they are clearly dragons, and of European/heraldic pattern or tradition, rather than a more Chinese/Asian design or Mayan/Amerindian style.

Also - look at that unit-price! I bet they'll be at least two-quid; retail! But - very useful for fantasy gaming.

I shot a couple of these in TKMaxx, can't remember if it was this autumn-gone, or last autumn (2016), but they were four or five-pounds I seem to recall, and fifteen-odd for the large set - matched in style to the Megasaurs box of similar size.

Moving from fantasy to full-on sci-fi; we have a box of big-head, squeezy-aliens, shown here for completion, because I took the shot and to get them out of Picasa, not because I've any desire to track them down and add them to the physical collection!

There was also a full range of eggs with or without slime or gypsum/plaster and a digging tool, along with the novelty 'grow' aliens - just add water!

I have a few grow-your-own novelties, I think we may have had one or two on the blog over the years, but fully-grown they are A) a bit big and B) a bit damp! I wonder if you could coat them in something to keep them small - problem being that most 'coatings' are likely to be or act like liquid, so likely to soak-in, causing growth!

Perhaps you could use a lacquer-spray (hair-setter or artists pastel-fixative) to seal the foam, then a spirit based varnish (Humbrol spray-matt?) then a top coat of something more substantial, that plumbers-sealant would give them a nice polymer 'shell'. You could then use them forever with 40-60mm figures!

Peter Evan's; who I was at the show with, suspected the larger models were part of the production process; masters or mould blanks, and certainly the smaller neutral-beige one would seem to be, but the two purple ones don't bear any relationship to any of the sculpts of the products on show, and were quite 'play-worn' so I wonder if they might be display models or painted-blanks left over from earlier lines or ranges, perhaps from some time ago - Grossman have been around for decades now?

A is for Agglo

That's Agglo the Chinese exporter, not Aglow the French importer! Just a quick fillip to yesterday's dinosaur posts which absolutely clears dinosaurs from the lap-top . . . I think!

Shelfie'd in one of Mr Berke's favourite NY discount stores and sent to the blog at Christmas, so still current'ish? We'll look at the Dino's first even though the second set is the more interesting.

This seems to be a mix of two sets, smaller monochrome 'minis' in yellow, green and brown; the green being very washy-looking, and larger models with a bit of airbrushed paint, the whole bulked-out with the usual rocks and trees and stuff.

They look to be really old sculpts, whether they are old stock or not remains a mystery, but from some of the stuff which does turn-up from time to time it's clear there are the odd warehouse or two full of old stuff out there somewhere!

This is more interesting, as it's the same figures and vehicles we saw Imperial (and others) carrying earlier last year and again in Rack Toy Month, the Tiger turret is still on the Sheridan hull and the T-whatever turret is still on the Tiger's hull! Unified-Germans versus Yanks? Seems to be a tad against the spirit of NATO membership!

The 'planes may have been bought-in from another source, as the F-something 'scaryplane' (F17?) thing turns up quite often in other play-sets (including Redbox's Motormax sets) and is in a harder polymer like ABS or propylene, but the Tomcat/Eagle (? I don't really 'do' aircraft) is usually found in the same crumbly plastic as those figures look to be the version of (see previous posts), so the stealth-fighter may just be in a harder plastic due to moulding issues, especially with that tail!

A lot of Fun!

The 'other' agg'lowe! Imports of generic Airfix 54mm clones, reduced to 25mm.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

HGL is for H Grossman Limited, Ozbozz and Megasaurs!

A while before I attended the Toy fair, I had spend a whole pound on one of the carnivores with a 'tick' on it which had come into one of the Charity Shops after Christmas and which I had already shot ain TKMaxx, and we'll have a quick shufftie at it and another HGL-branded dino, to close the day of dinosaurs on Small Scale World.

I don't know if it's actually supposed to be a T-Rex, Giganotosaurus, Megalosaurus or an Alaosaurus or whatever (most of which are bigger than a Tyrannosaur I believe?), I just assume it's Tyrannosaurus, here being brought low by the biting, snapping of a little lizard-leech-raptor'saur of some kind! {Quickly checks the model - it's got T-Rex 2 stamped on one foot!}

The little leech-like lizard thing, on some models there's quite a bit of blood, mine's got quite a clean wound, but 'Rex looks pretty peeved, with or without his mouth open!

This is not one of the jaw-movement activated voice models, more of a Britains crocodile mechanism, albeit without the bloody-great handle that the vintage animal had under its muzzle!

I also picked-up this HGL-branded whatever-'tops (Septaseratops?), which I think is from an older line, as I can't find it in any of the show-shots, it's sub-branded to Ozbozz but over-branded to H Grossman, not HGL. The 'Dinosaurs' logo on the tag is very like the font on the box for the squeeky-toy's in the previous post, but with an additional 's'.

Also it's quite like the otherwise-unknown Dimetrodon from this morning's second post; both in the treatment of the eyes and the overall colour-scheme?

T is for Toy Fair 2018 Reports - HGL - Dinosaurs

Continuing with the Toy Fair reports and we're looking specifically at HGL's Dino-stuff, which is all (or mostly) being re-branded to 'Megasaurs' with their own website.

Here we see large stand-alone models and counter-display cartons with various toys at different pricings, some with moving parts, others with electronic actions, there are wind-up walkers and hand/glove puppets as well. To the far right, there appear to be dinosaur pencil-tops.

Already seen on the Blog, these sets (along with larger assortments) have been in both The Works and TKMaxx for several years now, on-and-off. Note in the foreground both 9 and 12-figure assortments of more dragon-like creatures. The unit-price to trade is also interesting compared to the retail prices!

The larger 7-piece sets, we did see a huge set before Christmas (2016?) with a volcano tub of mini-saurs a bit like the Geoworld iceberg in the previous post.

I took a close-up of the squatter, not even the legendary 'Tyrant King's' are safe from revolting proles! We'll be seeing more of it before the day's out.

Dino Backpacks with a tree, rocks, different animal assortments and the odd egg! To either side you can see those fluid-filled continuous worms themed to dinosaurs, dinosaur skeletons and both dinosaur Grow Eggs and plaster/gypsum eggs with embedded models.

Dinosaur slime (with dinosaur), slide-projector and tubs, along with header-carded bags of dinosaurs in two sizes - I think Brian Berke sent us shelfies from the coast of similar (non-HGL branded?) bags back in the summer?

I rather like the giraffe-like colouring of the stegosaurus in the larger bags, and the tiger-striped T-Rex for that matter! Light-up, glitter-putty, Goo Egg anyone? I think I'll pass; thanks!

Finally we have roaring models, more moving heads, friendly/cuddly dinosaurs and a larger version of the tubs. The box to the far left seems to have squeezy dinosaurs of the same type as dog-toys!

D is Dinosaur Round-up

Not something you'd contemplate from the back of a horse, or even an open-jeep! Being; all the Dinosaur-related stuff hanging around on the desk-top or in Picasa. Have we had that attempt at humour before?

Brian B sent these back in the autumn, if not further ago, and they were sitting patiently waiting their turn (which is now), and while I know some of you will be groaning inwardly with a sighed "Not more novelty crap on SCW!", the fact is, if you have a skeleton army outside of the restrictive-practice legislation of someone like Games Workshop, these are fantastic, who wouldn't want a dirt-cheap, dead-bear 'Champion' or a skeletal War Elephant!

And bollocks to scale - you're proposing to field an army of skeletons who have not only come back to life, but can operate under combat conditions without muscles or sinews holding their bones together! And Geoworld give you a 'free' iceberg for your Revell Titanic model-kit or Timpo Esquimaux - double bargain!

I bought the upper group the other day for a quid, and photographed them with the aim of trying to separate them into the two (or even three) origin-samples I thought might be in the bag - along with the three 'minis' we saw in the Paul Lamond-post a couple of days ago.

But then - looking for something else in the archive - I found the lower shot, taken from the US importer D&D Distibution's catalogue, and it would appear that while I'm missing one or two (all right - three!), they are all from the same source!

Quite old-school in execution, they are a softish PVC, although there is variation enough in density between them for me to have set-about trying to sort them into separate lots! I seem to be missing the large upright sauropod-looking green one, the spinosaur next to him and the flying dinosaur to the left (in white), although I think I may have the 'bog-standard' palm-tree somewhere!

Picked this up because it's a Dimetrodon! Don't know anything else about it (it might have been carried by HGL - that's something else about it actually!), but look at my Dimetrodon! It's a Dimetrodon and it's mine!

Picture Credit - Meme via Doghousediaries 2012

If you squeeze his head together his teeth line-up nicely and slot together! It's purely coincidental - I think - but it's cool!

This is also from Brian B and is only posed (I hope, the thought of dinosaurs free to wander up the tracks is worrying!), but it's a rather neat use of different sized/scaled sauropods to make a family group, here paying a little too much attention to the bus-station under the arches!

Thanks to Brian for both contributions and more dino's to-come today.

A is for A Tail of Six Dinosaurs

Tail - tale - dinosaurs . . . never-mind! Brain sent a bunch of dinosaur shelfies the other day without knowing I had just bought another from the range in Poundland Plus, nor why I had bought it, and it's led to my digging out a few other images for a post which - if nothing else - is instructive of how the toy industry works at the bottom end!

These are they (Mr. Berke's shelfies, that is!); three dollars . . .  is what; one-eighty? Something like that! And for that money you can't complain, nicely blister-packed with backing-cards and a decent level of decoration, my complaint - voiced before now - is the rather obvious joins where separate mouldings are fused-together to give the impression of, or allow for poses which would otherwise have proven difficult or impossible with only undercuts.

By the 'other' LP; Lollipop Toys (or Brooklyn Lollipops Import Corp. as they call themselves!), there are six in the whole line, and you may have recognised one or two of them, as they have popped-up on the Blog in the past.

This is the range in its entirety, the upper shot being from Henbrandt's old catalogue, the lower shot from the back of the Poundland one I bought and Blogged a year or two ago. You can see that both companies were (are?) getting the same colour schemes, which also those carried by Brian's shelfie herd.

But, I'd already bought my 2nd 'Dippy', this time from Poundworld Plus, and now in a different scheme (right) to the [common] previous scheme, as we saw with the Funtastic one on the left; Funtastic being what the industry calls a 'phantom-brand' of Poundland, I tend to call them made-up brands or imagibrands!

The new one is by Toy Bank another phantom-brand . . . of the same group! This time the sub-branding on the box is 'Little Fossil Toys', which has to be added to Green Gecko and Pirate Monkey in the ever spiraling-upward list of cross-referenced 'brandlettes'!

Packaging - clockwise from top left - for Lollipop, Henbrandt and Poundworld Plus, note however, that the counter display carton from Henbrant's catalogue is wearing the logo for Zhong Jie Toys, a company already supplying Poundland (or was it 99p Stores? . . . Aaaaarrrrrhhhhh!) with wild animal models!

Remember my paint-tray-guilt-stupid-Brit-thing purchase the other month? Well, it's from the same range, in the same (older?) scheme; Out of the Blue, probably a contractor rather than a phantom, and while I can't remember the counter display, I bet it was the same as the Henbrandt catalogue shot . . .

. . . and I'll bet there are other contracted and phantom brands out there carrying these six rather good, usually very cheap, foamed-PVC (or similar) dinosaur models, indeed, I think I mentioned TKMaxx having sets of three about two years ago, with different graphical packaging! In fact I thought I'd taken a shelfie, but I can't find it so I may not have!

More dino's - later today.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Q is for Question Time? Pig Parcel!

As we're looking at girly, civilian type, larger-scale stuff today, perhaps someone can help ID this weirdness - which came in for the princely sum of 10p the other day? It's a swine of a query!

It appears to be a (possibly . . . probably (?) still alive) piglet wrapped in brown-paper and tied-up with string!

It's a soft polymer, so not likely to be a Playmobile accessory; unmarked, and if taken as an adult pig; would be 54mm-compatible, if as a piglet; around 80/90mm-compatible, so possibly an action figure accessory?

I tried throwing it to see if it was a variant of Pass the Pigs, but it just keeps falling on a side, so I don't think Pass the Porcine Parcel's a line of further inquiry!

Anyone got any ideas, it's such an odd thing I feel it must be a known character or represent a memorable incident from some comic or movie scene?

It will fit the Horrible Histories pigapult!

T is for Toy Fair '18 Reports - Interplay

As we were looking at pinky-purple stuff earlier, we might as well get these out of the way; although there was a bunch more of the same gear on Schleich's stand which is still to come!

Called My fairy Garden and coming from an outfit called Interplay (IP; which is lucky 'cos that's the title of the post!), you get real grass seed, compost and a flower pot or tray, along with fairy stuff for scenic diorama modelling. Sets are in different size-price brackets.

They're useful - for 54mm fantasy; if nothing else, and well modelled, with lots of little itty-bitty things of the sort you'd find in a Playmobile or Lego house set, but slightly more realistic and scaled smaller.

I didn't get to handle them, but I would imagine a PVC or PVC-like polymer for the horses unicorns (everything's unicorns at the moment!), larger mouldings and fairies, polypropylene for the buildings and smaller accessories.

There's a website and the pictures will further speak for themselves . . .

Ph is for Phollow-up to Phidel's Phormer Phollow-up

So; clearly someone failed to follow my detailed directions to Bracknell and hot-footed it over to Basingrad, so the other superhero set had gone, but I grabbed this one as it had looked useful in the shots Brian sent us, and even more so in the hand or 'in persons'!

We've seen the box/book already, here it is again! With the various super hero figures and the Frozen stuff already 'in the bag', I can see myself getting most of these in the next year or two just to 'complete'!

Again; £5.99 in TXMaxx, £9.99 in WHSmith's! That's the same WHSmith who just posted a profit-warning because their Famous Five and Ladybird parodies didn't sell well enough over Christmas!

The more useful figures - I'm assuming (again? What am I like!) the middle girl is Belle (by a process of elimination), despite the figure not being illustrated (in the modelled outfit) anywhere in the book. My lack of firm knowledge in the matter being worn as a badge of pride; in going some way as to prove I've not actually seen any of these pastel-hued, mawkishly sentimental, saccharine productions!

Marida is 61mm in total, Cinderella 67, as they are [all] youngish women, this gives a scale-size requiring males of at least 70mm, but that's not such a problem with all the Bully-Heimo-Papo-Schleich et al and Early Learning/Wilco/Blue Box knock-off stuff out there?

Looking for more round the charity shops the other day I saw something else with the Marida character, she has other names in other language-markets (at least three), and two equally flame-haired daughters and would therefore seem to be a referential-nod to Boadicea / Boudicca. Somehow I can't see Disney having all-three publically raped by Roman soldiers, but - like I say - I haven't seen the movies!

The slightly less useful figures - however the mermaid will go quite well with various others including Soma's and the Archie McFee/Accoutrements hag. Likewise the Mulan character would enhance a Samurai setting and Jasmine can be used with Arabian types. Even Snow White would be useful with a paint-job, as a medieval or Renaissance 'wench'?

Assuming (from the brown hair) that the middle figure in the second-from-top shot is Belle, that leaves two other princesses illustrated in the accompanying book; Tiana and Pocahontas (both black haired) but not represented among the models, even though they could have been instead of the two horses, or one of the horses and the idiot fish!

Speaking of idiot fish, this is the idiot fish! He's very small. Along with two markedly  different horses, one (Snow White's) being quite a reasonable sculpt (stupid expression and piggy-eyes though), and a useful mount for a 54-60mm knight, the other heavier and more cartoon-like, although a bit of surgery on the 'Disney' muzzle would improve him, and make for a half-decent heavy-horse.

The idiot fish seems to be called Flounder, rather than being a flounder, but maybe he's Flounder the floundering flounder! If these three had been dropped, you could have had Belle in her illustrated costume and the two absent 'princesses'; Tiana and Pocahontas while still hanging-on to a twelve-count!

And I'm sure it's pure co-incidence that it's two of the four 'ethnics' that have been dropped!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

T is for Toy Fair '18 Reports - Tactic Games

Continuing le theme du'jour! This was a new company to me, and they only had three or four games on display, two of which contained the figural elements Small Scale World craves, both of which will annoy anyone who groaned when they saw the snails earlier, but for posterity and completion - I'll persevere!

Alias; not a game familiar to me, but it has little men who are half-way between Rowntree's jelly-babies and Tony Hart's Morph! And that fact alone gets them onto the Blog!

Sadly the poses on the box are not repeated in the counters, who look even more like jelly-babies and less like Morph! Likewise the smaller 'children' on the box don't seem to have made it to the games contents, clearly a graphic trope to get across the family-friendly nature of the game?

They are very much a case of find-one-of-each-colour-file-and-forget as far as collecting goes, but they are figural, you get a 'free' sand-timer and they are probably fun! I'll be looking out for them in the charity shops in a year or two's time.

The same figures are included in the Junior Draw Out game seen in one of the background shots below. Also note how one of the red figures doesn't have the small disc-base of the others; earlier version left in the sales-team's display sample, or common variant?

They also had Cool Catch out on a table, this has . . . er . . . wooden flats I'd clearly forgotten about when I mention cows (or a cow) in the previous post (the problem of queuing these posts up on the laptop in random order!)

The reason I haven't collaged these is because I didn't crop them tight as they have some of the other games from Tactic in the background which I thought I'd leave visible!

A nice touch - especially for wooden flats - is the addition of a faux-fur fringe on the hoods of the Esquimaux's suits. And it looks from the box art as if the game was initially going to be for four players, but there are six figures; brown and yellow being included.

And a polar bear! I think (I hope - given the target age-range!) he only steals fish, and isn't in the business of eating Inuit! I only got  a bum shot I'm afraid, but he was more realistic (for a wooded flat!) than the cartoony inhabitants of the Arctic circle!

Again, it's not something I'm going to buy as a grown man who is supposed to collect Toy Soldiers, but if/when I see one going cheap I'll be getting it for completion, and to make sure samples are in the archive!

And if I attend the fair next year I'll try to remember to pay more attention to Tactic's stand and see what else they've come up with; of a figural nature.

R is for Ravensburger - Board Games III

Our third visit to board games today, brings Ravensburger into the tag list for the first time - I think? We're looking at two games, but I suspect some of you will raise an eyebrow at the second, but hey, figurals are figurals!

Picked this up the other day for three-quid I think, the fact that this is the fifth (?) game from charity shops in the last four or five weeks is a sign that the post-Christmas clear-out is now in full flow!

The board has 16 fixed sections of dungeon and then there are a number of others that get slid through the gaps, building the dungeon and constantly changing the pathways, while the icons on 12 of the moveable sections and all the fixed-elements affect the players as the battle-through.

The all-important bit as far as Small Scale World is concerned - the figures! Basically four practisers of magic, be they; wizards, warlocks, witches, necromancers or mages! From the left; there's a Gandalf-a-like, an eleven Queen, a Dwarven mage and a hagged witch!

Comparison shot with one of the Bilbo's Graham Apperley donated to the Blog a couple of years ago (far left), and a few other figures that were kicking around, close-to-hand; two chinatroops and two game-playing pieces - Wizard's clone trooper from Star Wars and TSR's larger Buck Roger's Battle for the 25th Century counter.

Each month, at the start of the month (or when I first need to scan something!) I reset the title-bar on the scanner to that month and zero, thus; Feb18Toys-001, and as the month progresses all sorts of stuff is scanned-in, mostly for the archive, but as you know, some stuff is cropped and included in posts.

Now the other day; scanning the instruction sheet in (for the archive) of this game, my scanner - struggling to provide a preview of a small black&white illustration on a high-resolution colour setting -invented some colour! And not just any colour, but the sort of gradated, neon-rainbow colours designed by the gods to appeal to an Aspergic mind!

So I took a screen-capcha, blew it up, took another and here it is! Pretty huh?! This existed, while not really existing, only for a moment, ephemerally, in some non-existent, side-room of cyber space . . . it makes you think . . . well; it makes me think!

What it looks like when it's not indulging in a spot of psychedelic self-weirding!

It also helps explain one of the main game mechanisms, not that I ever really dwell on them, it's about the figures!

Speaking of figures, this is also Ravensburger, it's actually been in Picasa for a while, waiting for a suitable post, as I don't try to subject the Blog's readers to ephemeral juvenilia for the hell of it, or to deliberately annoy them, but it's all got a place in the whole; it's all 'grist to the mill'!

See - It's all figural! They're snails! Flats! From Ravensburger! There's another wood flat in the queue . . . a cow . . . fresh-in . . . coming-soon!