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, January 23, 2017

H is for Help! They need somebody; Help! Not just anybody...

Having received so much help last week (thank you all) with my lead/white-metal odd and sods (I think about a third of them were positively ID'd which is not bad going!), there are a couple of blog-followers who need a bit of help ID'ing things, hopefully someone out there knows who made the following two sets/series' of toy figures . . .

 . . . first up is David H who is looking for a moniker to slap on the figure to the right:

"I am hunting for one skeleton that someone else found, but has no information on it. It is the same size and shape as playmobil, but more alike to imaginext in detail. I thought it might be a European brand... would you be able to identify the toy set it might be associated with? the picture has it next to a playmobil skeleton for comparison"

My suggestion would have been Playmobil! But with the Playmobil to the left, can anyone ID the figure on the right? Did Playmobil have a redesign? Could it be Mega Bloks, their Arctic Yeti was similar? Any help gratefully received by David, who has a Skeleton page on the Facebook at the Toy Skeleton Closet which is extraordinary, his key-rings alone are a collection to envy!

Yes - I know Playmobil is spelt wrong in the Tag List, I just spelt it wrong another three times . . . it's another thing on the list!

Then we have Robert Der Arakelian who is looking for a name/brand to stick to these chaps, who may look like the above-mentioned Playmobil, (four!) a mistake I made when the image popped-up in my in-box, but they are not . . .

"I have been looking on-line for these figures in the picture attached with no avail for 2-3 years. I cannot remember what they were called and what country they were from, only how they looked. This is a picture of my own collection which had mysteriously disappeared with all of my Lego :(

Do you have any idea what they are called? I really want to try and find some again.

They are slightly shorter than Lego characters and they obviously look like a Playmobil knock-off.

My advice was that they are probably Italian pocket-money toys from the little boxes (some of which ended up in Kinder eggs, but not these?), or Hong Kong copies of the same. I know the ones with ball-sockets were both Kinder and Italian-boxed with copies from HK as 'Boggi' or something - I think one's been seen here (a gardener) on the Blog?

Funnily enough I recognise the medic, I think I have one with a foot missing in storage, and I definitely have the traffic light somewhere, but they came in with a mixed lot - possibly even Lego (a mate and I spent a while in the 1990's buying vintage Lego at car-boot sales!)? maybe they go with an early Lego knock-off?

Any help you can give either collector might help them sleep at night . . . hey - these things matter! And with Google-search results tailored to each individual user these days, everyone will get slightly different results, it's worth an hour's time-wasting, isn't it?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

F is for Flamable!

Apparently these blow-moulded celluloid figurines can be highly flammable, I suspect that's a 'crossed-lines' thing with old cine-film which was also celluloid, but coated with all manner of chemicals? I can say that despite smoking for 40-odd years I've never had one suddenly combust under my care! Also I think a fair few of these may actually be polystyrene?

The dangers of self-immolation aside, these are a particular niche of the toy figure oeuvre, being almost exclusively a Japanese thing, and relatively short-lived - 1940-50's. Certainly these are all Japanese, and while we looked at my small sample a few years ago, more have come-in and we're looking at them today.

On the left of the upper row are two Royal Guardsmen similar to those we looked at last time, with a small . . . err . . . what? 'Gentleman hobo'? Cartoon character from the '50's? Don't know, but probably a Christmas cracker gift or something of that ilk?

Below them are two cowboys with the same mark although not to scale, and these are the plaster/chalk filled type. I don't know how they did it on the mounted figure; sometimes there is an obvious fill-hole somewhere on the toy, but with this model there is no obvious point for the plaster to have been introduced. With the standing figure it's obvious, he's got an open base with the plaster sanded flat!

Marks on the above figures include a plain 'JAPAN' on the miniature, three 'M's round the edge of a circle with an 'N' in the centre (mounted Guardsman), and smaller 'M' within a 'C' (the two cowboys) and an 'S' in an egg-shaped ovoid itself within an elongated oval on the other Guardsman (different to the previous lot) - I don't know any of the makers . . . yet!

Three Elephants, again the one on the left is a chalk/plaster filled model, the filling prevents the dents and damage these extremely lightweight and brittle novelties otherwise suffer from only too easily.

We've seen the middle one before I think while the one on the right is stylized to the point of being more wrinkly than a really wrinkly thing that's gone to university and had itself elected head of being really wrinkly!

A selection of very small ones, these were probably all cracker or fairground prizes, a forth elephant (I like elephants!), a larger scale sheep, with a similar goat, a polar bear and a rather Sqiudgged turtle . . . or is it a tortoise? The bear is just over 2cm.

This is rather annoying as there is a larger sample of this set in storage (about 12 animals), but somehow I ended-up with the spares here, still they give an idea and it means we can return to them another day, also we saw the bear before - I think! I like bears!

Animal marks, most are unmarked, but the sheep has Japan as do the larger set while the realistically-sculpted elephant has what looks like Tom/Toms, Jon/Jons or Toni? . . . Tono maybe?

Colour variation on the animal set. I like blow-moulded celluloid animals!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

P is for Pre- and Post-Christmas Plunder Pics

Although 'plunder' is probably too strong a word for the few odds and sods that turned-up - for the most part - in Charity shops over the festive build-up and deflation!

These were covered fully by Colin Penn in Plastic Warrior magazine (Issue 165) just before Christmas, but I thought I'd get one while I was buying similar stuff for little people in the run-up to the big day, and was lucky enough to get the most bearable of the figurines . . .

. . . the reindeer! He comes with a little blue 'ice' disc to sit in which I forgot to photograph.

He's shot with a Schleich cat I picked-up in the Toysaurus because it was in the cheapest price bracket, a foot-bouncy-ball I rescued from our cats as they are too old to play with it now, another which came from the floor of a store somewhere - in order not to steal it I 'accidently' kicked it into the mall hall and then nearly lost it as it took it's newness and freedom as a chance to go a bit spastic!

They'll both go in the Novelty box I started last autumn with the non-figural stuff from the December '15 posts, along with the inclusion balls from Xmas and the soy sauce fish bottle, which is another 'found object'.

The charity shops gave up a mixed batch on the evening of the 23rd, there are 8 in Fleet and I managed to get to 7 of them before closing as I walked back through town. A large Minion pirate, the green one from Monsters Inc (who looks like a loopy fruit pencil top!) and a resin 'wise man' (and there were probably more than three)* who looks like he may be a copy of an earlier Italian (or Spanish?) model.

* As I understand it none of the four gospels mention a total, one names the three who give gifts, another as good as suggests a whole bunch of them, I don't read the Bible; I did once, too much rape, concubines and incest, not enough sex or magic! And that God - he's always killing people, large numbers of people!

Also from a Charity Shop bin, three late Britains animals in good paint condition (10p each), but from the leery-paint era! These all go in a big bag and every now and again I sort out the best as 'main sample' and throw the rest in the rummage box for PW's show.

Save's the best for last; In an eMail following my posting of the multi-set shelfies I found before Christmas Brian Berke was saying he's seen a drop-off of the figures in the US (you may remember he brought them to the Blog's attention first) but had seen 'a few' 60mm ones.

I didn't think too deeply on the comment from what was a longer, chatty eMail, but a week or so later was checking out the sale at Basingrad's TK Max, ostensibly for the tree decoration bears (no joy) and while they had flogged 90% of their pre-Xmas display-stock and retreated to their 'other 10 months' shelf area, I found these!

60mm versions of the 'old school' DC Comics superheroes, and bendy toys! They were in a pile of yellow-tagged 'get it before it's gone' stuff, and if Brian hadn't mentioned them, I think I may have skimmed-over them without 'seeing' them if you know what I mean!

Three quid? That's a-pound-a-figure, a good omen for the coming year? Let's hope so 'cos with Brexit, Trump and Putin leading the march of progress for the next few years there 'aint gonna be much progress, but there may be a lot of marching - if you know what I mean!

Friday, January 20, 2017

U is for Unknown ACW Army Men

This is the last of these posts for a while, we'll have a break for other stuff and look at the nappies who turned-up the other day, in a month or two.

They look 'old school' and (given some of the comments I've now seen on the earlier posts) vaguely Minifigs, but the bases are thinner and there's no marking on either surface? A little bigger than Airfix, but they'd fit in if mixed together and painted the same, so not the 25mm giants of some makers?

Again from earlier posts I guess the trio at bottom-left (with an AWI interloper!) are minifigs? While the backwoodsman (2A) could be, but he has a nice chamfered base edge with 45º corner-cuts, can anyone ID him?

Top right (2B) has rounded corners to his base and again is Airfix compatible while the gunner looks to be a factory painted figure, possibly from the AHI / Minikins debatable sets we looked at yesterday, but without a 'Japan' - smaller base?

A huge, crawling chunk of probably quite recent 28/30mm who's been shot in the face and lost his [separate] arm and some 6mm lumpettes; I've no real love for any of them but I'd like to put maker's names to them nonetheless!

Are these Little Lead Soldier? If so the James Bond stuff (which may have an answer by the time this publishes) from the civilian posting is all the more of a mystery? Very small; an almost HO-gauge compatible 18mm or so (allowing for basing I guess), simple sculpts in simple poses (designed to be bent - which was a LLS trope, no?) and with an AWI (4B) type in Tricorn who seems to be just as small and blobby?

Again these have something of the Minifigs about them, but maybe a tad taller and with nice ogee edges to the bases? Also they have DS Figures on them, but I can't find a DS Figures?* Are they more commonly known by a full name and only abbreviated on the figure bases Dark or Darkest Star or Sword??

Assuming (yeah! I'm living on the edge Erwin!) U is for Union and C is for Confederate, would A be for American [Civil War], it seems to be all staff types who can be used by both sides? Or: 'Artillery'

And further assuming (well - if I'm gonna be hung by a cock-wacker-  might as well make it for the whole mutton) GG is for a General Grant character figure, who does that make Z, who looks to be artillery or is he a Zouave? And aside from the make - does anyone know the full code of the other sword-waver?

*My DS's include:

DSC Showcases

D Sebel (Mobo)

Daniel Smith Art Materials
Dan the Sign Man
Darkest Star Games
Dark Slave Miniatures
Dark Sphere Games
Dark Star
Dark Sword Miniatures Inc.
Darr's Scale Models
Data Source Inc.
Davies-Spark (Wend-Al)
Dave's Slides
Debes & Sohn
Decal Star
Deep Strike
Denis de'Saint
Dennis Storzek
De Sanctis
Design Studio
Deutsche Spitball
Diamond Select Toys
Dick Simmonds & Co.
Dinosaur Studio, the
Diorama Shop
Diorama Solutions
Disney Stores
Distinctive Scale Models
Diversified Specialists Inc
Dollparts Supply Co.
Dongguan Silverlit
Donald L Squire
Dorset Soldiers
Dregeno Seiffen
Dreschel & Stroebel
Dummitt, Scott
DUR et Solide (Durso)
Dynasty Scale Models

The likely candidates are strangely all in a group highlighted in purple above

Thursday, January 19, 2017

U is for Unknown Metal Cowboys, Colonials and Combatants from the Colonies!

When I said on the Unknown WWI / II post the other day "...a similar number of 'unknowns' as any other era; the democracy of war-gamers - and there was me thinking there were more Wellingtonian fans than any other..." I was mistaking the AWI and ACW tub (contents next) for the Wellingtonians, I have now found the Wellingtonians, they were in a larger box altogether and will provide a week's-worth of 'Unknown' posts by themselves!

However I will do some other stuff in-between, but to clear the other era's (whose combined samples - as I had at first cynically suspected - probably only match that over-dressed bunch of peacocks) this in the assorted C19th stuff.

Combative chaps from the colonies starts on the left with a damaged (and possibly factory-painted?) Mad Madi's man from the Middle East, he could make a recruit for one of the British East African regiments but you would have to give him boots!

Next to him is another HH; as I'm loading these posts in a batch, someone may have ID's them in a previous post by the time these go up [Hinton Hunt!], but I'll collate all the 'answers' at the end! A Zulu this time, clearly designed to be holding a separate [missing] stabbing-spear, knobkerrie or fly-wisk/pointy-stick thing?

The rest are arab types; all unmarked, going 20mm+ 15mm and 6mm, the 6mils being a pair on camels and a pair on rather large horses!

A large - but blobby - arab cavalryman in around 28mm, followed by chap in a pill-box hat (Indian Mutiny? Or earlier?) around 25mm, then a 20mm who may be Grenadier Miniatures? It's also hard to tell who/what he is, he may be WWII French resistance or Russian revolution, he seem to have a beret and a blanket roll - Spanish Civil War?

The last two are an unknown, oversized 15mm Zulu and a standard 23/25mm Chinese chap, probably Boxer Rebellion but could be earlier 'Ancient'?

P is for Pith! The first Scottish figure is very nice and from the neat MADE IN ENGLAND calligraphied on the base seems to be factory painted and has been soldered to a tin-base, then a chunky wagon-rider or gun crewman. An 'on the small-side' 20mm officer is in the middle with a much larger prone figure to his right.

This forth figure has a lot in common with the known figures in my collection from Stadden and Suren, so I'm guessing he belongs with them, but being baseless lacks any markings, not that Stadden's bases are always legible, but they are generally easy/easier to ID! The final figure is barely 20mm at all but would look good with Airfix 1st type FFL!

More Pith! Anyone recognise this complete gun-crew and Gatling-gun set-up? It's not the one I vandalised many years ago for my ACW 'army', that had a taller magazine and winding handle missing from this one, I think my childhood one was a - much-marked with the HM monogram - Hinchliffe one; while this has no markings on any of its components

My unknown Cowboys in whitemetal, all three of them - 40mm giant (unmarked), 25mm with the same double-triangle and round base as those Vikings the other day (U is for Unknown Ancient Metal Figures [4]) and a 20mm prospector, probably from a tourist trinket; also unmarked; he's been glued to a steel base with a two-part epoxy such as Araldite.