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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

M is for Minestrone of Marine Marvels

A post which has slowly grown through contribution (Mr. Berke - thank you), accident and delayed deliberate action!

Brian sent this in reply/follow-up to the previous post on the subject (itself a minestrone of things gathered together on a theme) back in May 2016, which he also contributed to and it was sat in his folder for a while, not because I couldn't have posted it at the time, as a follow-up, but because I wanted to shoot the stuff in the attic to go with it.

It shows his collection of the 1990's Kellogg's re-issue (really a re-hash?) of earlier baking-soda powered bath toys, the submarine being based on the old 1960's one, the PT-Boat, all new. The boat in the same red as the divers (also looked at here) is not so common; usually it comes in the apple-green.

I already had the upper image left over from some other photo-shoot, possibly the multi-parter on vessels years ago? Anyway, they were put together and given their own folder, where they sat for a year and a half! The lower shot was finally taken the other day.

Mine are all in the green, the PT-Boat being called BarnaBee's Boat (is he a cereal character?), with; to the left of the upper shot, some of the older versions with their four periscopes/aerials.

The larger sliver/gunmetal one is from an unknown (to me) source, probably also cereal and interestingly has the same mechanism as the boat, with the exhaust gasses (produced by the baking-soda mixing with water) being channelled out of the scoop at the back to provide forward momentum.

Then this turned-up in a bag of mixed bits from Adrian the other-week, and I was so busy looking at some of the other things in the bag, at the show, I didn't notice it until I got home! It's a whale (obviously) with the same suck/blow action as the larger submarines and divers we looked at in those earlier posts.

A whale! It's a whale! I've never seen one before, so I'm quite excited by it - I'm easily excited!

So that called for a new 'family photo' comparison-shot, with the two larger (but smaller of the larger-) submarines also visited before here at Small Scale World. The grey/gold submarine also being a suck-blow type, the bottom one being a baking-soda one - I think; the bottom piece seems wedged-on and I don't want to force it.

In the meantime, and a while ago now; Brian had sent me these to chivy the post along, it's the re-issue for Hawkin's Bazaar (et al) of the old cereal diver, who accompanied the submarine, although as we saw last time they were also sold as stand-alone 'pocket-money' novelties - as were the submarines.

From the neutral language and artwork on the card it looks like they re-issued the Submarine as well?

When I call them suck-and-blow toys, we were either doing it wrong as kids (as I always wondered at the legality of a toy which resulted in regular mouthfuls of bathwater) or they have changed the design slightly, as the instructions seem to suggest they sink themselves and you blow them back to the surface? Maybe we were impatiently accelerating the Dive! Dive! Dive! But mouthfuls of soapy water were a feature of my younger days.

Seen in the links above and here for completion; the previous, and the fact that I'd finally got them out of the attic, meant I took this just for the hell of it. The Tobar is a copy of the old British moulding on the right, as pointed out before - the Hong Kong clone has been updated to a more modern helmet with single-piece window-glass.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

F is for Forthcoming

A bit of an odd post, and more of a 'News, Views...' than anything else, but it will serve the purpose of explaining any future hiatuses here at the 'Home Blog' as I try to clear some of this other stuff to the Hong Kong, Airfix or even: A-Z Blogs.

Taken at the beginning of February, this was what January looked like in Piacsa then, we have since had most of the posts in this 'section' of the queue, and indeed - because I kept putting this post back, I kept ticking off the stuff that had gone! Now most of it has . . .

. . . as this was the picture for January last Thursday! And even a couple of this weekend's posts were yet to be created - as separate folders; they were hidden somewhere in the laptop!

It then goes down to before I had a digital camera - one of the beauties of Picasa is that you can use it as an archiving/sorting tool, even though the folders are elsewhere in different places on the Laptop, just by changing the date, it's a temporary 'Picasa' date; once you move the folder to say a dongle, it reverts to creation-date automatically.

Here we see in 2006 a couple of page-projects, which will eventually go at the top of the Home Blog, then 2005 deals with the Hong Kong hollow-horse/wild west project first started in One Inch Warrior magazine, and destined for the 'But is it Giant' Blog.

Here are a couple of finished/near finished entries, each will get its own post, with separate posts on each known-set (when I get round to further images), while there will be a comparison-page on that Blog, listing each horse with a quick thumbnail description and links to the relevant posts.

2004 is the back-burner and storage area, where, posts are born, images collected, and thoughts cogitated, when they are ready they are first re-dated to the current year (which takes them to within a single finger-pad stroke of the collage folder!) and then sent to the desktop for final editing and 'blurb'!

Latest Toy Shots - dated 01-01-04 to keep it at the bottom of the section - is the black-hole, where everything tends to visit at least once, radiating out as needed (thanks for the simile Dr Hawkins, rest in peace), it's been more than a 1000 images, sometime it goes down to 400+ (it's at 565 today - Friday 16th), but the average is slowly climbing, as like all black-holes it swallows stuff!

2003 deals with the other main vein to be mined on the HK Blog; the Khaki Infantry, these are not the Airfix copies (which I've barely started to sort - the bulk are in storage and most of the packs have already been put on the 54mm pages of the Airfix Blog) but the Britains, Marx Tim Mee and Blue Box copies. 2002 are a few odds & sods.

While some folders in '03 are nearly ready (or look nearly ready from the number of images) others are hard to deal with, due to the small nature of the sample, these will be from ephemeral sources like gum-balls, Christmas crackers or Lucky bags.
The folders will be re-dated at some point to get the figures in order!

Finally there's the stuff building-up for the next session of adding to the Airfix Blog, it's not a priority really, hence they are down the bottom of the slider!

This is what the FFL Fort folder looks like, at the moment it's simply a comparison between the hard plastic and soft plastic versions, but the hard plastic one is painted, so I'm waiting 'till the storage stuff comes out and I can do the boxes and unpainted 2nd versions and stuff!


Blanked-out folders are things you don't want to see! Well tough! I decided you didn't! Then there's all the contribution stuff which is elsewhere!

The point of this post is, if - in the near future - I don't post here for a few days, it will be likely I'm preparing a tranche of posts for one of the other blogs, not because I don't have the material! It's time I'm sort of . . .

And then there's the stuff for the A-Z Blogs, which I'm well behind with, it's all on the dongles! First; Small Scale World, then; The World! Hee-hee - youknowsit!

T is for Two - Two Tanks

An all-contribution post now with two AFV's from Adrian and Brian, we'll start with the newer, as it's so whacky it almost got its own post, but I remembered the other one was sat in the big folder from last September, so it became a 'T is for Two...' trope post instead!

Now, I'm not stretching the hyperbole to state WTF? here, am I? What The-very-actual Flipp'in Ada is going on here!??

I think it's a junior-school-gymnasium-type-piece-of-padded-play-equipment-type-thing? Anyway; whatever it is, it's hanging from a building in downtown Philadelphia! Uptown? Pennsylvania? Brian will correct me!

Now, I was taken by the fact that once you get over a large padded, vinyl tank - which looks like it should be in The Beatle's Yellow Submarine - hanging from the side of a building, you realise you are in a street of timeless quaintness. The sort of mews or side street you might find in London, Birmingham (that's Birbig'um, Ingerland; not Burmin'um, Alerbammy) or even Amsterdam? . . . or, maybe, even Birmingham, Alabama?

And while - if it were a mews in London - you'd expect it to be grade-II listed, the fact that the shackles are in the woodwork of the windows rather than the masonry, suggests a similar protection order? Altogether a fascinating and amusing couple of pictures - Thanks to Mr Berke for spotting it, and sending them to the Blog. Apart from the brightly coloured tank, it looks like a film set!

Brian suggested it no longer fit the 'small scale world', but it's small enough!

I shot this on Adrian's Mercator Trading stand at the September Sandown Park show, you often see these about at shows, but usually in a plain paint scheme, this one was leery enough to be worth shooting.

I'm guessing French, although I think Johillco had a couple of few in their inter-war catalogues and lots of other people had a go; in real life it was the first major volume-production Tank, sold whole, as kits, hulls & running-gear only or simply licensed to armies all over the world for many years, and there's a whole toy collection to be had just in model Renault F17's and the many variants/derivatives!

Again I'm only guessing, but are the tracks replacements from Meccano? Usually when you see these (in green, more commonly grey, or a three-colour 'blob' camouflage) they are either trackless or tentatively holding-on to blobs of semi-melted, semi-cracked India-rubber or leather of some kind, but these look a tad too well preserved? Still it's a good way of replacing the missing originals and that form of Meccano track is probably contemporary with the model.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

T is for Toy Fair 2018 Reports - Action Man

A weird thing happened at the Toy Fair; there was a display of the Action Man retro re-boot up on the mezzanine walkway round the main hall, lovely stuff, but lots of DO NOT TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS signs liberally spread about the smallish stand, so while Peter chatted to them I took the rather poor video that kicked-off this side-season of fair reports.

But then - when we went down onto the floor of the main hall - there was another outfit, also displaying them! "Can we take photo's?" I said, "Of course" came the reply! So I don't know what the first lot thought they were protecting . . . at a trade show? Promoting stuff?

Anyway I shot off a few, they're not the best, but then 12-inch action figures aren't really what Small Scale World is all about, nevertheless, I loved my Action Man back in the day and actually sold my childhood collection to the man behind these figures, back in around 1995/6! And they are Toy Soldiers!

Also, these have been around for a few years now? I can't remember when the 50th was but Allan Hall from Modellers Loft down there in Dorset (to whom I sold mine, and who is responsible for the three volume work on them) obtained the licence from Hasbro for these many years ago now, and took them to the odd PW show or two and Harfield's  a while back, the 50's have been out for a while now and there were 40th's over a decade ago? It [the license] now seems to reside with an outfit called Art + Science International.

I never liked the 'tiger suit' of the paratrooper, but the latter British Para' was quite outstanding. The box is based loosely on latter boxes from the 1970's, the original was smaller and windowless if I recall correctly?

They are not part of the revamped Hasbro range of all-singing, all-dancing, action-movie types with all the fluorescent idiot-sticks, interactive-whistles and flashing-bells from the owner of the Action Man rights, these are a UK-specific, limited-run, retro 'thing'.

The chap on the left was originally the first tranche / first figure released and came straight from Hasbro's GI Joe, where he is close to the US Army/Marine Corps recruit/basic training uniform of the 1960's, we used the cap with our desert set-up for a Free French FFL type.

I once really upset a Bundeswehr paratrooper-officer 'Fritz' who was staying with my parents by setting-up my Cherilea/Sharna Ware desert half-track under the cherry tree with a face-veil 'camo-net' on sticks as an OP for my three Afrika Korps-dressed Action Mans, went and got Fritz to come and have a look and found him to be rather appalled by what was (looking back) probably anathema to him - a war toy, depicting Nazi-era Germans! He - having been raised in a climate without many such toys - clearly thought I was taking the piss, but I - as a kid - just wanted to impress him!

On the right is the classic British Tommy with Battle Dress and Sten gun, albeit a rather odd stocked French resistance looking type.

I don't know if they've been cleverly matched to the originals or if the/some of the original Hong Kong-based tools were tracked-down but the resemblance to the various outfits of my youth are uncanny.

The footballers were quite problematical back in the day, both the socks and the shirt/jersey sleeves showing a tendency to ladder and unravel into long stings of fluffy fluff! So I hope these are better made.

Likewise; I only hope the wet-suit has been made out of something more modern and hard-wearing that the melty-crumbly suits we had as kids, I well remember the sleeves of our action-man's orange suit slowly getting stickier and stickier as small fragments meandered-off  and stuck to the carpets like little mandarin amoeba!

Again; the skis, ski-sticks and snow-shoes all look to be accurate representations of the ones we had when we were young, and the M1 Garand (in white, there was a brown one as well) looks equally authentic?

M&B is for Maia & Borges

A Portuguese company, very much the equivalent of the now defunct Comics Spain or France's early Papo, producing ranges of original or licensed figures and animals, they've worked with Schleich and Kinder/Ferrero in the past while also providing a go-to for local companies or organisations wanting a small production-run of something like a luggage-tag or corporate logo . . .

. . . or show/event mascot, as here with the - now 20-years old - Lisbon Expo '98 chap . . . or chap'ess? The lack of shoe-laces points to the male of the species; who appears to be some sort of ocean wave-based lifeform! It's moulded in white PVC and over-painted, with an additional stenciled logo, and key-ring fitted.

Friday, March 16, 2018

T is for Toy Fair '18 Reports - Le Toy Van - Budkins

Continuing with the 2018 toy Fair reports we come to something a little off-the-wall for Small Scale World, but in other correspondence the other day in relation to off-the-wall things I went on the record (albeit privately) as saying I'll Blog anything!

And . . . these are wooden, I like wooden toys, we'll be seeing more wooden toys in the future as the backlash against plastics gathers momentum and one of my favourite Blogs is the Wooden Warriors one!

Budkins from Le Toy Van, like the old peg-dolls of yore, but better! "Ah-Ahaaarrrrr, youse maybe should'av saved us furrr Tark Loik a Poirate Daiy!"

I found these right at the end of the show, and my camera ran out of memory, so while I have a few shots there would have been more. Silly really, - I took extra batteries I didn't use, but forgot to take a spare SD-Card, next time - I'll know!

That'll be Red Beard then! Accessories ARE plastic, with real cloth clothing, heads and feed are wooden, I don't know what the armature is made of under the clothes, and the hands are plastic with a Lego/Playmobile type grip.

The other ship (the hull of Red Beard's is visible in the first shot above), presumably Black Beard's, but called the Jolly Sailor - I think! Here plastic is minimal and while cramped and of no real scale, there is plenty of scope for mini-adventures.

Red Beard's in full, almost identical to the Jolly Sailor, except that the lower gun-ports are square-cut on the Barbarossa.

There's also a range of knights, and again the figures come in threes, with plastic accessories, the forts mostly wooden and the flags are self-adhesive.

The fort will suit any kind of figure and is no different to those issued with plastic toy soldiers in the past, here the interior (actually shot for the remains of the sticker-sheet!) shows deeper walkway on the battlements than you'd expect on the old pressed-hardboard forts, but the castellations/crenellations are almost too small for the Budkin figures and would suit 54/60mm figures very well.

There's a smaller fort which would be ideal for a Roman mile-post, horses are available (although I think you just plump the figures on the flat back, they don't really 'ride' the horse), and there were a couple of lovely siege engines, but that was the point at which my camera said 'Out of memory' . . . maybe next year!

Another assortment of knights, there's a bit of a mix of Norman and Teutonic in the detailing but they are toys for the 3+'s, so a bit of license has to be allowed for!

There is a pinky-purple line too, for those who have younger girls - I don't pander to gender neutrality in childhood, give them both a stick and one lot will make guns the other-lot; brooms, that's biology.

A famous Califon-eye-ay/West Coast feminist/PC type (whose name I forget, but who had made her name writing about gender, sexism and equality) came on the radio once (Woman's Hour of course!) to admit as much - she had tried to raise her kids gender-neutral and said the boys just used whatever they were given - to play-with - to shoot each other, then the girl would nurse them better! Thus it ever was.

Lovely range from Le Toy Van if you have younger kids or relatives; excellent forts either for war-gaming, or for cutting up and using as display backdrops . . . or shelving for your collection.

F is for Flats

Probably had that title before, but I'm in a faffing frame of mind, so we'll have it again and move on! Adrian brought a bag of bits to Sandown Park the other week for me, and I also managed to find a few handfuls of plunder around the show, some of which I've already shoved on the Blog

Among both sources were some of the comic flat Romans in hard plastic, which I've put to one side to compare with the soft plastic ones at a later date when I get the soft ones out of storage, a nice metal flat of a motorcyclist, probably from a board-game then . . .

. . . there were these five in soft polyethylene plastic. I may have a few more of the cowboy's set somewhere and he is actually semi-flat or demi-rond, in fact the chicken family is, too, really, and while the see-saw or Jack & Jill may be copied from a European 'margarine' premium, they are - as a group - nothing to write home about (which is why I've packed-out the post with additional material!), and will be sorted into the master collection when that comes out of storage.

As they are soft plasic, they will be gum-ball or Christmas cracker stuff, I'd imagine, and I don't know what's happening with the squirrel, standing up on 'man legs'! The ship on the other hand, has previous 'form', as we can see . . .

. . . in this shot, with a second blue one above the 'new' red one (I have lots in store) in the centre. To the top left is the Maison du Café (house of coffee) premium from which they are ultimately copied, while the two larger pairs of red and green ones are from the 1990's incarnations of Lucky Bag, and seem to be from the MduC tool, with the pin-release mark in the same place.

To the far right [we're all going! Boom-boom!] are two other Maison's, while the one bottom left is also a demi-rond, and while 'unknown' has similarities (in the base) with some stuff I have marked-up to Eei Fein, but I won't be putting it in the tag-list.

The copies match the smaller copies of the Pecos Bill figures from a Marx sculpt we've looked at before here, and like those figures, there are several; generations of polyethylene ship copy, each a bit smaller and crappier than the last.

But the above would have been a crap post, so I grabbed these two from the big waiting-zone folder in Picasa, where they've been sitting since 2015! Without Googling them I think there's a BRDM (top?) and a Fug or Skot (Skot's may be Czechoslovak and 8-wheeled - I'm winging it here, don't tell TJF!)? The whole set has four BRDM/Fug-Skot [whatever] variants with a PT76 and various out-of-scale 54/60mm infantry.

They are Polish-made and some sources state PZG, however, they tended to fully-round sculpts and - usually - are painted, even their flat scenic pieces, so these may be another maker; likely Centrum. It may have a field gun too and I have more in storage so we'll have another look one day!.

These in turn reminded me I had another 'flat' item in the 'News, Views...' folder waiting for a follow-up . . . or something . . .

. . . which is on the left here. It's the tray I mentioned last time we looked at the Russian/Bulgarian cavalry flats and which I kept meaning to show, for those who aren't familiar with it, but kept forgetting to! Doh!

I then went back to the dongles to find the image I knew I had somewhere of the tray in use (on the right) with a mixed group of Russian cavalry chasing the fat dictator's troops out of the motherland! Conversely, these DO look a bit like PZG (from the bases) but are definitely Russian as they have the price in Cyrillic on the edge.

It [the tray] is a superb piece of product-design with larger studs to prevent the cavalry sliding into each other's ranks and smaller studs to stop them escaping the tray horizontally, holes and ridges give strength to an otherwise flimsy moulding and discs balanced - on the ridges - above a row of holes hold the figures to the tray vertically, all in a pretty rough, single-shot product.

The tray also contains the full pricing scheme moulded into the underside:

u11k x8

u11k - 11 Kopeks (price of single figure)
x8 - [= 88] (price of a whole tray of 8 figures)
uEHA kOMMnEkTIA - Complete set [price-]
IP - 1 Ruble

(In other words; the tray = 12 kopeks [8 x 11 = 88 + 12 = 100 = 1 ruble]) It's no wonder Russian spies can knock people-off in British shopping precincts, willy-nilly; they were learning complicated maths - as infants!

I don't know how many poses there are in the full set (left), as you can see I've managed to track-down 10 different sculpts, and assuming you might want two full trays to fight each-other; there may be as many as 16. However - there's no evidence any of these are French units, so your guess is as good as mine?

Other sets were available for the trays, on the right we see six (of a possible eight?) revolutionary cavalry from 1917 or thereabouts; depiction that is, not plastic manufacture; the figures date from the 1970's?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

F is for Follow-up - Frozen

Just a quick one, found another set of the Frozen figures we looked at the otherday from Phidel, it was complete with the four missing figures and confirmation that there were/are two identical trees in the set - which is a bit of a swizz!

Two missing blokes; good guy on the left, bag guy pretending to be good on the right, along with the snowman and reindeer who had also slopped-off last time. I think one of them is called Olaf, but I couldn't tell you which one, well, I could; but it would require Googleing something I don't care about!

And I've now got a spare of the sleigh to play with - glue and paint-wise! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Q is for Question Time - Answer Robot

This is probably the weirdest thing in Question Time so far, and may remain-so for some time.

A lot of companies re-use paper products to keep costs down, way-back-when sometimes as shredded packaging, while Comansi would print new labels on the back of over-run, so you'd end up with Thunderbirds stuff on the back of your sheriff toob!

In order for the Answer Robot (previous post) to spin easily in a crude, low-tolerance moulding, he has beneath his feet two punched discs of card faced shiny-side to shiny-side, with bare un-printed, un-coated card in contact with his base and a foam disc over the magnet.

The two discs are printed with what look to be other board-game logotypes, I think they might be non-English, Spanish or Italian maybe. Does anyone recognise them? They may point to the 'actual' maker; they may just point to the printer!

Bit of fun, but I thought the graphics might be instantly familiar to anyone who has the games, if they are from games?

A is for Answer Robot

There was a game, very popular in the past, more of a 'parlour game' than a board game, but it was sold as or in-with the board-games, and would end-up in the family board-game cupboard.

There were many versions from the 1950's or earlier, through to the 1970's if not '80's, it appears on all the auction sites in a dozen languages and can come with a magician/mage/mystic, or a monkey/ape, but the best is The Answer Robot!

Mentioned a few years ago here in passing (possibly in a 'News, Views...'?); it was re-issued the other year as The Magical Amazing Robot, I didn't at the time of mention have the publisher - it's House of Marbles.

Spoiler alert - for the young at heart, please miss-out this and the next paragraph!

The mechanism is simple slight-of-physics in that you set the robot (or magician/monkey) correctly and then turn him to a question "Any question, pick a question sir, I'll wager the robot gets it right", he having been rotated has become off-line with his hidden magnet.

You then move the answerer to the mirror-pond in the centre of the answers and by placing him randomly opposite a wrong answer, he will revolve until his hidden magnet lines-up with another hidden magnet set at another angle, under the pond; both being polarised bars which can only line up one way, leaving the answerer pointing to the corresponding correct answer!

Here he is, the subject of today's biography! He oozes that 1950's throwback kitsch to the Sci-fi of the Edwardian era, of Wells and Verne, looking more like a kid's comic idea of a robot schoolteacher, still a popular trope when I was young, and you will recognise him as being . . .

. . . a reduced-size copy of the old Archer robot, a copy/re-issue of which by Glencoe is seen on the left, with an original (sans 'answer stick') sandwiched between, His pointer arm has been re-set to allow for the dramatic sweep of the denouement and his feet absorbed into the large base, but otherwise there's not much in it.

The new one is lacking in the finer surface detail (as if the other two have much to write home about!) and would seem to be a copy, but a good one, there's no reduction in size; or from a very old and tired mould.

It's not the first time the Archer has been served 'homage', as both Johillco and Cherilea issued copies of him first in hollow-cast lead and then in plastic (as seen here) possibly under the later Hilco branding, all examples are around the 50mm mark, and very brittle these days in the plastic form.

With the gubbins of the secret base removed he looks like a robot mine-detector, or a Vogon intergalactic space-highway surveyor!

Another difference between the older version and this latest incarnation, it that the old one was formed round the pointer (which would have been set in a jig in the tool before each shot), while the new one has the [heated] wire inserted into the hand after the figure has been manufactured, leading to minor melting/loss of detail to the fingers of the hand.

The dismantling of the set for onward transit to the recycling-bin raised an interesting query which will appear as a separate Question Time in an hour.

And many thanks go to Adrian Little for letting me photograph mine next to his pair.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

T is for Toy Fair 2018 Reports - Paul Lamond - Subbuteo

I'm having a mojo-fail at the moment, March and October are never good months for me, the mind wanders, the extreme tides fulling me away from the flickering cod's eye of my laptop, to vastly better endeavours (I'll be working the rose thorn-tips out of my hands for a fortnight!), but there's plenty in the queue, so keep popping back . . . if you can be arsed - it'll all still be here in six months time!

One of the biggest new stories (for me, not the general public!) at the Toy Fair 'back in' January (where does the time go, it's our very-actual-bloody lives; tick-ticking away!) was the return of Subbuteo, which if I understood the sales-chap right is now in-house, or part of the intellectual-property portfolio of Paul Lamond, they having either bought the rights, or a long-term license?

Look for the sales display in your local stockist! It's green!

A nice display of what is already a growing range of teams, with seven strips already issued (last year?) including all the teams of the UK and Eire (actually - not sure about Wales while Curnow seems to have been left out!), backed up by accessories and larger 'starter' play-sets.

The main event is the International Playset which gives a pitch with hoardings, fences, two teams, goals, referee and officials, balls &etc - in a box. The only visible difference is that the goalies' beams are red now, rather than the green they used to be.

However, there are two other major changes over the older versions (which we have looked at once or twice here at Small Scale World), the first has to be a matter of opinion, in that they claim the pitch material is better . . . if it makes for faster ball play, those who liked a slow ball game won't find it better at all, and if it's slower . . . vise-versa!

The other upgrade one of those no-brainer, rocket-science, euraka!, why-didn't-someone-think-of-it- in-1950-something applications - which I can attest-to personally as being a major contribution to player-safety (he misquotes the old Goodyear TV add's) because - the players are now made of a flexible rubber, silicon or substitute-PVC compound, making them extremely flexible and almost impossible to damage if you drop them, drop something on them or tread on them - genius! I bent one (after invitation to do so - I hasten to add) pretty-much flat and he just popped-up again!

A smaller pitch-set or goals are also available to build your league slowly on a budget, there seems to be a choice of white or coloured nets, probably indicated on the box-ends, I didn't notice. Other accessories are currently limited to the fence-hoardings, a set of officials and spare balls, but I'm sure the range will be expanded if sales are promising.

The teams, notice the set; hair colour varies, ethnicity is obvious and varied. Another seven team-strips have been added for 2018, and if that rate is continued for a few years they'll be back to the 1970's heyday when you could order from several hundred different strips, and while I don't suppose it will get to that point, there's no reason why it couldn't be done with computer-aided manufacture (CAM).

Indeed, with a dedicated support website and CAM-linked ordering system you could stipulate the strip, boot, ethnicity and hair colours individually for all 11 players, just like buying a new-car (or 11 new cars) these days! Hint-hint Paul Lamond - find a VC who loved Subbuteo as a kid, they'll lend you the money!

All new for 2018 is the beginnings of a Spanish league, flicking goalies and a leaping goalie for penalty shoot-outs, whether there are any plans for an English player who can't hit the goal for toffee, remains to be seen and for the English goalie . . . Vaseline his hands?!