About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 49-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model soldier collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture. 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, therefore I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed. 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”.

Monday, January 19, 2015

F is for Fould or Foulds Figurines

I am around, just been indulging in real-life (how selfish!) and this week I've been busy over on the Airfix blog, adding stuff!

This is all I know about these figurines;

Edgar Rice Boroughs E'zine...scroll down about half-way.

But...I'm not even sure that's right, I mean; clearly the figurines go with/are for the toy theatre, but I can find nothing else about 'Fould' without an 's' and the order-form in the link isn't enlargeable to check spelling. As I have squirrelled away all sorts of stuff over the years I know that a company called Foulds & Freure (with an 's') were importers of Japanese and European toys (to America) between the wars, I suspect these (the link's subjects) are them? There's nothing on either name in Garratt.

The figures illustrated above, will be originals. probably from Germany (?), and are about 8 inches high, hollow, slip-cast bisque (or;Parian Porcelain) mouldings in the style of Fairings, which they may well have been issued as over here...there..Europe. Doh!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

J is for...JE SUIS CHARLIE

The complacent, the disinterested, the politically ignorant/politically uneducated/politically 'old-school' dogmatic, the climate change deniers, yeah; even the liberal elite are going to have to get off their comfortable, fat, well paid, well fed, grey, middle-class arses in 2015...we are blundering into the end of days, led by money-driven monkeys, thinking science will save us from ourselves, believing our kids and their kids will be 'all right', hopeing technology will find/provide the answers befor it's too late...really? I mean; REALLY?

Monday, January 5, 2015

T is for Twelfth-Night

Which is tomorrow - unless you want a year's bad luck! Stag-on Green Bearskins, your work is not yet done!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

F is for Follow-up Fellows from Spot On

As with the Vitacup the other day, figures come in in dribs and drabs, occasionally allowing for a new article so further to the Original Post these are mostly new poses or new colours of Spot-On figures for die-cast toy vehicles...

The two green ones and the school teacher are straight duplicates, and the guitarist and two top right have appeared before in alternative colours, the rest are additions. These were looked at in some detail in a recent issue (155 spring/summer number) issue of Plastic Warrior, and I'll come back to them in detail when I've tracked down the last few!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

T is for Two...Toy Tractors!

The other side of midnight and a link with the past as I cheat Old Father Time by tying the old year to the new! I nearly called this "T is for Two...Taffy Tractors", but some would have seen vague colonial racism, and the link to Taffy Toys is tenuous to say the lest!

One of the first things I got from volume two of the new Farming in Miniature books I will be reviewing in full in the New Year is the fact that the tractor and accessories I blogged way back, are not as simple as they seemed at the time!

There are in fact; two versions of the tractor, and the implements I showed, don't all belong to the Paramount tractor I was blogging. I suspect the Thomas Toys is the original, purely on the tolerance of the front wheel spigots which are the correct length to hold the wheels tight, the Paramount spigots are longer, so the wheels travel a bit.

Most of the other differences are annotated in the comparison photograph above. I shan't correct the old post yet, as firstly I feel you should go out and purchase the two volumes if you wish to know the differences for yourself, and secondly I need to track-down a few bits before I can do both family's justice!

- Farming in Miniature Volume 1: Airfix to Denzil Skinner: A Review of British-made Toy Farm Vehicles Up to 1980

- Farming in Miniature Volume 2: Dinky to Wend-Al: A Review of British-Made Toy Farm Vehicles Up to 1980


A couple of head-ons to show some of the differences above in greater detail, in my original post on the Paramount tractors you will notice a lack of the two front brackets on the bumper (fender) undersides, as the two bagged ones are the same, it would appear there is an intermediate third design.

The Paramount version was also issued as a premium with Oxydol washing powder, these were sellotaped to the powder boxes (there was ONLY Sellotape in the 1950's!) and then stacked in the stores, so get crushed AND ripped, it's a tough life being a premium!

Tractor fans might enjoy this collection pictured in Tasmania...few too-many row-crops for my liking! And thanks again to Adrian Little (one of the co-authors of the above books) for the opportunity to photograph these together.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

T is for Two...Tiny Tractors

Do you remember my erzgebirge rant a few years ago...E is for Erzgebirge? Well, I picked-up a couple of the tractors the other day...taking my fleet to 7! There are a couple of differences though, so made in another village, up the road!

The basic tractor is the same but they both have fly-wheels for driving static equipment like Thrashing engines, saw-beds or straw-elevators and they both have a little driver. The big difference between the new machines and the old ones, is that these were made for export and as well as having the 'foreign' moniker in English on the base, the Mobeltransport has been translated to 'Removals'...lovely!

Sadly this isn't mine; although I'm keeping my eyes out for one! Shot at Sandown Park back in the spring, this is a French (CIJ) soft-plastic clip-together kit of a Renault Tracteur Agricole! Isn't it a peach? Nothing to add; it's all in the picture! If it wasn't for the card you'd think it a cereal - or other - premium, but I suspect just a pocket-money toy?

More on the Brand at Wikipedia

B is for Blackrock

Time for a little small-scale of the current rack-toy variety I think! These can be found with various Jobber's/Importer's stickers on them, and have appeared time and again over the last decade or more in several sizes and various materials or finishes.

This is an unmarked 'generic' which came in a mixed-lot from a mate last Plastic Warrior show, I think in the larger sizes they were originally Applause sculpts (or Supreme/SP?). These are 21/22mm'ish soft vinyl, and I bought a similar set from a newsagents in Guildford a few years ago with unpainted figures in silver and black, in a polyethylene.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

G is for Gratefull for what you've Got

So, you've unwrapped your pile of high-tolerance production, injection-moulded plastic shite and/or given a like pile to offspring, nephews or other younger members of you circle...spare a thought for those less well-off...

What an African child - converted to the Western Church - might find under his tree this Christmas, no actual tree of course, and he probably made it himself, or had it made by an elder sibling...if they didn't sell most of them to fat European tourists in ill-fitting khaki-shorts to get some hard cash in a usable currency!

Made from a Doom insecticide can with twined Coke-bottle tops for wheels, the ingenuity involved (and probably a bit of blood!) in these is lovely, no glue, no welding, no screws, nuts/bolts or nails, everything holds everything else in place with folds and bends.

There was a popular musical video in the run-up to Christmas showing on the soma-channels which showed one of these with rudimentary steering (lots of 'give' in the wheels) and a wire attached to the roof so it could be pushed along like a Fisher-Price puppy!

This could, however, be the future of toys here...the jobs aren't coming back, indeed Chinese companies are already moving production to Africa to avoid upward wage-pressure at home! Political ignorance is allowing the Right to dictate increasingly draconian policy, and the idea that Western civilization hasn't had its day is risible. 20 years from now things like this may be under the trees on our sink-estates, if they (the estates not the toys!) haven't all been sold to Arab investment companies and Chinese sovereign-wealth funds?

C is for Captain Video

Bit of eye-candy for the sci-fi 'pulp' fans with this box ticker...Lido's Captain Video space vehicles. Really a space-train, with each chassis having a hook at one end and a towing-eye at the other, they are to be attached in a chain and dragged round the carpet/sand-pit while the operator makes ray-gun noises!

The operator being encouraged by the plug-in ray-guns...

...and weird 'sails'...radar?

The downside with these tiny vehicles was that they are a hard polystyrene and subject to easy damage, while the plug-ins start life with quite a tight fit leading to snapped locating spigots, and latter - once they've worked a bit loose - loss. Likewise the wheels can work loose and disappear into the ether of lost toy parts!

Thanks to Mercator Trading for the photo-op.

C is for Cards

This year's Christmas cards had a number of 'Toy Soldier' types on them...enjoy, with the best of the seasons wishes...


Monday, December 29, 2014

M is for More Merry Micro Minis from MPC-Multiple

A Christmas present for all, including me! I'm never 100% sure of the difference between coincidence and synergy, I guess the later is more beneficial? Anyway...I'm calling the events behind this post 'the synergy of coincidence' and it has been coincidence leading to synergy...so probably just synergy!

On the 22nd of December I got an eMail from Marc Frattasio in the US on the subject of the MPC mini 'planes I posted a month or so ago, which detailed an idea he had actioned re. his nephews, and some wider research he'd done. I suggested it was worthy of the comment section and would he mind if I posted the crux of the mail on the blog? Marc was happy for me to do that and offered images which I accepted gratefully...

Thinking it would all sort itself out in the new year I got on with celebrating the season with family, only to find when I logged-on late on Boxing Day that Paul Harrison from across the boarder in Ottawa, Canada had also written to me on the same subject, however this time the mini-AFV's were the main thrust. A quick exchange, with details of the earlier correspondence led to the offer of more images.

Those images arrived the next day! I then wrote back to Marc, with the developments and he sent his images earlier today (yesterday now), leaving me feeling slightly guilty that I may have 'chivvied' him along a bit (double 'v' - how weird), sorry Marc! A quick session in Picasa, and this is the edited results of both lots of correspondence, with all images contributed - bar one.

Paul's instruction sheets, you may remember (links at bottom of article), that these are printed on the box with my example, with Paul's later version, the instruction sheet was included in the box.

Paul's Box, which he remembers as slightly later than mine, something I'm happy to go along with as mine came from the James Chase collection which was heavily represented by inter-war and early post war examples, petering-out in the 1960's-early 70's.

In Paul's own words...

"My first two sets of 40 was purchased in Watertown, New York in about 1965. The boxes were as per your box on the blog. In about 1966 my parents bought two more sets (my brother and I had lost the first two in various sand piles as kids). The boxes are actually a change to the first sets of boxes. The second sets also came with a set of printed instructions for assembly. All sets were on a sprue? like all the model kits in the 60s-80s had.

Many years later I eventually had collected 12 sets of various colors. I still have two sets of the blue in each of the two types of boxes. They were all made in the early 60s by MPC, in Brooklyn NY as I recall.

Regarding colours, I have a few examples of two shades of blue, some grey and also Green.

I can track these down if you would like any pictures, I know that they are in the basement somewhere with some of the MPC Airplanes. (As a kid at one point I'd collected about 2000 of the planes, as they were very common and made well into the early 70s, unlike the vehicles)".


Also of interest is that while various sources will tell you they were called one thing, then the other, the fact is this box has both the 'Products' and 'Toymakers' slogans/logos, side-by-side. And there's an additional 'Teenies' added to the artwork, still states 40 vehicles though, same as my box...

Go on...count them...41 aren't there? I got so annoyed trying to make sense of these last night! My box says 40, but lists 42, Kent Sprecher had 41 but listed the red-eye separately...oh, but so did my box...and the Honest John was listed separate...

Not to be defeated; I copied Kent's list into a table and started listing from all my pictures and the above (also from Paul) in a second column. As I worked I thought "OK, re-twin the trailer and the rocket gives you 40, where's Kent gone wrong? Hold on...they have only listed one Pz.IV [as a Pz.IV, not a flakwagen], that put us up to 41 again...wait a mo, the Thornycroft and trailer have been split as well...re-twin them and we're back to the magic 40!"...

...Kent still had forty-one...Doh! Eventually while trying to work out the designations on my box-art for the various German equipments it became clear that while it's illustrated in the assembly instructions, the Sd.Kfz.234's not in the printed listing! So Kent was right, my - by this point - frazzled brain and cross-eyes were correct and MPC were wrong...there ARE 41 separate vehicles, not 40, with the 'redeye' trailer, tank-transport trailer and Honest John tactical ballistic missile/battlefield rocket paired-up with their prime-movers; the Jeep, Thornycroft 'Mighty Antar' and M289 6x6x truck respectively.

The list in full with the MPC designation in plain and my embellishments/explanations in brackets:

USA
M34 Eager Beaver (6x6 truck)
DUKW
M29C Weasel
LVT4 Landing Craft (tracked AVF)
Amphibious Jeep
M3 Personnel Halftrack (track-units incorrect 'Blue Box' style)
M3A1 Weapon & Personnel Halftrack (track-units correct)
Jeep (Willy's)
8" Howitzer on Wheeled Carriage (same carriage as 155mm 'Long Toms')
M-40 w/155 mm Self Propelled Cannon
M47 Patton Tank
Honest John Rocket
Honest John Rocket truck (6x6 prime-mover/erector/launcher)
Fuel truck (6x6 truck)
Ambulance (Dodge)
M50 Ontos
Redeye (Jeep trailer with three motar-bomb shaped rockets attached by 'spruelettes')
Staff Car (Dodge command car)
M4-A Prime Mover (tracked artillery tractor for 8" howitzer)
M59 Tank Personnel (tracked APC, precursor to M113)

British
3 Ton Ford Service Ambulance
Thornycroft (Tractor/cab unit - FV 12002 'Mighty Antar', wide-bonnet Mk2)
Tank Transporter (FV 3001/5 Trailer)
MkIII Centurian [sic] Tank (Centurion, not Cromwell)
Saracen (Alvis 6x6 APC)
Saladin (Alvis 6x6 armoured car)
Ferret (turret-less scout car)
Scout Car (WWII armoured car with turret; Daimler?)
3 Ton LKW (WWII CMP-cab styled lorry)
Land Rover (civil/staff 'safari' configuration)
T110 Triumph (motorcycle and left-hand side-car)

French
EBR 75A Panhard (8-wheeled armoured car)
AMX-13 Light Tank

Russian
Stalin Tank (JS III)
T54 Tank
T34 Tank (T34/85 long barrel)
Personnel Carrier (BTR 50)

Germany
Heavy Weapon Carrier (SWS with radar dish and searchlight)
AUF-SFL Self Propelled Gun (WWII experimental 88mm SPG)
Tiger Tank
HS 30 Armoured Personnel Carrier
Panzer IV 57mm Self Propelled Gun (40mm Mobelwagen, single barrel)
(Flakpanzer IV 20mm Wirbelwind) [not listed on early box] Quad-AA, showing only 2 barrels
(Sd. Kfz 234 Puma) [not listed on early box] WWII, 8x8, armoured car


Of course, this would not have been a problem if I'd had Bob Maschi's guide! Mine is in storage, it's a very good little guide to all four ranges (It'll be a long time before the cars appear here, I have a handful and they are mostly copies!). I'm still looking for him if anyone knows where he is, I owe him money!

Paul asked if there was anything in particular I wanted photographed and I asked him to photograph the marks on the green versions to compare with the IPA JS III I have, he did better and shot all colour-ways from two angles, they seem to have started green, switched to the metallic blue of the MPC American Civil War figures and some of the GI's and then the silvery-grey, which (by coincidence?) is similar to some of the post-MPC aircraft mouldings we looked at the other day.

They are all clearly marked, the same, with the MPC-in-a-circle logo, so the IPA's are a later version (not I suspect piracy...as Marc has found the old moulds for the aircraft - see links below), giving us a definite return to the subject when I get my example out of storage.

Right-click on the image and select "open in new tab" (which works for most images on this blog) to get the larger version up, a left click (if you get a plus-sign cursor) will enbiggen it further.

Getting on to the eMail from Marc...the upper image here is a shot of two vintage sets, the earlier boxed-set of 70 'planes and a later pierced peg-board/tree-rack bagged set of 47 pieces...the lower shot is the best bit...I'll let Marc tell the story...

"Recently, I picked up an unopened bag of 47 MPC airplanes that was made in 1969 on the popular Internet auction web site "eBay".  I spent several subsequent months checking eBay every day and buying just about every lot of loose MPC airplanes that I found on eBay.  I reproduced the original header card, found some clear plastic bags of the right size, made up five perfect replicas, and plan to give them to all my younger nephews for Christmas (in stockings) this year.  I printed up a note explaining that these were my favourite toys when I was there age, explaining how I obtained and put the replica sets together, etc.  Don't know if it will sink in but I think I did a pretty extraordinary thing".

I think you did a wonderful thing Marc, the best way to seed a future generation of collectors! How did they like them? This could be applied to any of the commoner toys or figures out there. Bagged Jean wild west anyone?



Paul also sent a couple of shots of the mini aeroplanes, he has only kept a few, his favourite, most of which are missing from my sample, I could have used that Spitfire when I was looking at/comparing the 'others' the other day!

Marc also reminisced about what sounds like the copies we looked at the other day...


The last time I saw a bag of the airplanes was during the summer of 1973 or 1974.  They were bags of 100 that were sold at the long defunct Almy's store in Hanover, Massachusetts (USA).  I remember them well.  They were on hooks on a wall next to similar bags of the small MPC automobiles.  I remember distinctly that I did not buy any because they were so poorly molded, with lots of visible flash and wings and tail surfaces that were missing or mis-molded lumps.  I'd like to think that the original molds are still around but fear that they were used so much over the years that they basically fell apart towards the end of production in the early 1970s.

...although in finding what seem to be the original mouldings, he was given the run-around?


I've done some research and there appear to be a few Chinese companies that may still be making and marketing MPC knock-offs.  See [links at bottom of page] for details.  The latter manufacturer's products actually look like they came from the MPC molds.  I contacted the manufacturer to try to find out if they had the MPC molds and also what variety of miniature aircraft they had but got the run-around.  Basically they indicated that they could make anything I wanted, which is not what I wanted to hear.  Part of the problem with these Chinese companies, so I've been told, is that they will often use images of other companies' products on their web sites.  I'm on the board of directors of a small military aviation museum and if I could find the actual MPC aircraft molds, or a good knock-off even, I'd buy them for sale at the museum.

While Marc also sent me a shot of a few ships he had - lower shot. He's missing the little plug-ins, and I remembered taking some photographs of mine which I never used here, but I can only find the one (upper picture), there should be a red/green one and some close-ups, I don't know where they've gone, but it's another excuse to return to these MPC minis another day!

They were a large collection (64 mouldings?) of an eclectic range, with civil-war monitor types sitting next to WWII battleships, turn-of-the-century liners and tiny little harbour-craft or coastal steamers and were originally sold from comic-book adverts like the Giant/Lucky stuff in large batches (102 items in the ad on Kent's site, link below). The little plug-ins are attached by small sprulettes and are easily lost once they come loose.

So...many, many thanks to Marc and Paul, both for their kind words about and visits to the blog, and for their contributions which have added to the sum total of information available to anyone coming here in the future and clicking on MPC in the tag list!

The reproduction idea is brilliant and I hope others with younger family members will have a go next year, all you need is a scanner and an image manipulation program to clean-up the old packaging (Picasa - free - would be enough if you don't have a Photoshop-type program, play with its 'Retouch' feature to remove blemishes).

Relevant links;

Links to modern production supplied by Marc;
Cheepie Christmas-cracker type versions
Apparent holders of the original moulds
Larger rack-toy mouldings - these 3" 'planes used to be in silver/grey and had little stickers, they are the ones I think of as Trigan Empire!

Links to MPC minis already on the blog;
Military Miniatures / Teenie Tanks
MPC Miniature 'Planes and Copies
Similar Types and Poorer Copy 'Planes
Italian Harbert Packaging

MPC minis on Kent Spreacher's
Toy Soldier HQ

Marc J. Frattasio is the author of:
- The New Haven Railroad in the McGinnis Era
- Dining on the Shore Line Route
- Bob Tweedy: Engineer
- The Minutemen of VP-92: The Story of New England's Naval Air Reserve Patrol Squadron
- VP Association Sea Story Library Volume One: Tales from the Naval Air Reserve at NAS South Weymouth, Massachusetts
- VP Association Sea Story Library Volume Two: Tales from the Naval Air Reserve at NAS South Weymouth, Massachusetts
- NAS Squantum: The First Naval Air Reserve Base
 

- NAS South Weymouth: The Home of New England's Weekend Warriors  (coming soon)

Some of Marc's written output on;
Amazon

Final thought...if you pair-up the US 8" Howitzer with the M4-A tracked-tractor...you get 40, from 44?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

H is for...

Happy Christmas!

May I wish all the followers, visitors and critics ('tis the season of goodwill!) a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year, thank all the commentators and contributors over the last 12 months and trust you all find the toys you're hoping-for under the tree...

UN is for United Nations

At this time of year it's a good thing to dwell on the better things in human nature, given the daily reminder of all that is bad in people it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the history of humanity is actually one of steady improvement, things are always better for the living generation than those that went before. It's true that from time to time there are steps back, and sometimes they can be catastrophic, but generally the trend is up!

A good example of which is the United Nations, born out of the conflagration of WWII, and open to all sorts of charges of political expediency, bias and corruption, it none-the-less has done a lot of good, if only by providing a talking-shop that has prevented things escalating...sometimes! When it fails, it has - on occasion taken upon itself the task of fighting the fight, or if not the fighting; clearing up the mess of someone else's fight.

The soldiers - drawn from member states - wear their own uniforms so are universally recognised by their Blue headgear; 'Blue-caps', 'Blue-berets' and the famous 'Blue-helmets'. Occasionally they get modelled in the small scale world...

Hilco to the rear right, Honk Kong to the left and one of the Cherilea dancing loons in the foreground with a Lido HK piracy bottom-left and the Cherilea swoppets to the right. The Hong Kong figures are all just paint versions of normal figures, and the swoppets are just blue-helmet equipped standard figures, the Hilco and Cherilea gunner though are UN-specific sculpts.

Close-ups; I can't remember how many poses there are in the Hilco set, but I think it's four, five or six? I actually had to ask Paul at PW to remind me who they were by...I had convinced myself I was sure they were by Speedwell, Kentoys or one of the other 'Khaki Infantry' page companies, and couldn't find them in the 'specials' published by PW so was tearing my hair out trying to remember!

I think I have Bill or Paul at Moonbase to thank for the Cherilea kneeling machine gunner, pretty sure it was in a lot from one of them? The HK repaint figures are relatively recent (10 or 15 years ago?), and were probably issued off the back of the UN missions in the former Yugoslavian states.

A couple of late Deetail from Britains, a Solido signaller and a handful of Jecsan figures finish-off this brief overview - all just paint conversions of standard national or US infantry sculpts.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

M is for Rado Industries (Ri-Toys)...No! it's for Marx and Marksmen!

An overview of recent developments with old Marx 30mm mouldings, well...I say 'recent', it's all a few years ago now, and I say 'Marx', some of them may be mere copies...I say '30mm' when Marx themselves couldn't decide on a common height for their 'Miniature Masterpieces' and when I change to 'a few years ago now' one of the developments is current!

Also, we've looked at a fair few of these before, but there's many ways to skin a rabbit and always room for another look so we will come back to them again yet!

Basically; Marx made a bunch of stuff (or paid some guys in Hong Kong and Taiwan - it was always 'guys' in those days - to make the stuff), some of them were then copied at the time, the rest appeared via Rado in the late 1980's, being supplied (in the first instance) to Marksmen here in the UK, from whence, via ad's in Plastic Warrior and Military Modelling magazines they wended their way to collectors.

From time to time, the figures, sometimes enhanced with horses, or as reduced-size copies would appear as stand alone rack-toys, and the other day some more turned-up with new poses...pretty clear; huh?

The basic Marksmen range, less the dinosaurs (micro scale) and with some of the other issues, the labels are self-explanatory, but I'll waffle a bit anyhow! Sets were basically paired for five 'friendly/enemy' situations; which very much depends on your point of view...especially with the oldest set, are the British Grenadiers the good guys or are you rooting for the colonial insurgents? If only Mad King George had ordered a Shock & Awe 'Surge'!

So, in chronological order, we have:
Washington's Army versus British Grenadiers
US cavalry stealing something from the Mexicans (shako hat versions)
The genocidal move 'West'- Cowboys and Indians
La Légion étrangère exporting bratwurst to Arabia (or should it be le?)
and...Tommy Atkins loosing Singapore to; and then re-taking Burma from; the Japs

Federal/Confederate fratricide - Ri-Toys also re-did the American Civil War, but using the round-hat Mexican mouldings as either Confederates, or Union, depending on the plastic colours of the day! They or someone else then ripped-off the FFL, smaller and set them to combating US Marines taken from Airfix, and the Arabs have just (a few months ago) turned-up with three new poses.

Upper shot is a comparison between the Marx originals and the Rado supplied versions, the Japs are slightly smaller, but the Brits are if anything a tad bigger? All explained by shrinkage/bulk of the different materials used, and I think it's safe to assume these were the original moulds, fallen into Ri-Toys hands, something I dealt with in PW's little brother One Inch Warrior, but will return to here one day. We will also return to the WWII troops as there are a number of variations of the Japanese, and we've already had a peek Here.

Lower shot shows the two colours of the Marksmen figures as issued (white and oxide red-brown), with - above them - the latest incarnation of these figures, the three new poses on the right-hand end of the line-up, being mounted figures made 'foot', an old Montaplex trick!

These figures were kindly supplied by Doug of the Doug's Soldiers Blog, who found them on the Wibbly Wobbly Way and sent me a bunch, for which he took neither payment nor swaps (although the offer's still open Doug!), he covered them in detail Here

I have also previously covered both the Marksmen and the rack-toy generics Here, to illustrate a discussion on a forum.

Another quick comparison between the Rado-Marksmen figures and a re-issue of an Arab looking character figure (called Kulu) from the Marx African Hunters set.

The ACW set from Ri-Toys, for some reason although they had ACW moulds, they chose to supply Union troops taken from the old Marx Confederate moulds, while making Confederates from Mexicans! As they then made both from both in their own blister sets for dollar-trees by swapping colours, you wonder why they didn't just do the Confederate moulds in two colours, or use the (lost?) Union poses? They also added the horses needed, even though they hadn't supplied them to Marksmen, despite some of the sets being supplied with mounted figures...the whole thing is/was a bit mad.

What's madder is the tale behind my examples of this carded set...

The above set was from Gareth the other day and is complete, the set I've had for years isn't...Paul Morehead from plastic Warrior rang me back in the days before I had the interweb thing (1997'ish), and said there was this chap in Scandinavia who wanted to contact me, was that OK? "Yes" says I, "No problem".

I get a nice enough letter from one of the then new collectors (the Internet, evilBay, and H's Hät & Eric Williamson's sites practically inventing small-scale collecting as it is today!), with a mad scan involving lots of miss-attributed figures he'd seen on-line, and an offer of a swap, the item on offer being another example of the above carded set, also scanned, and although the scan was fuzzy it looked like the 'new' one.

I duly sent-off my side of the 'bargain'; I can't remember what it was now, but I seem to recall it was either a loose Airfix Tarzan set (they were £50+ on feeBay at the time!) or maybe a set of Civilians or Station Accessories? Might even have been Highlanders, a lot of those new collectors fifteen or twenty years ago seemed to think they were rare! Whatever...the parcel went off and I awaited the return part of the deal.

It arrived with most of the horses missing and a note to the effect he'd kept the 'artillery' and some of the horses, hoped I wouldn't mind?...Some people! It's now clear he kept one-each of the mounted figures for each side with a horse...the set was no more use than an example of packaging! And there never was artillery (what had originally tickled my fancy), he was talking about the miss-attributed Marx gun team on his daft collage!

That's not the end of the tale though...he spent the next year or two sending Paul and I free (unsought) bootleg CD's of original Nazi marching songs with flyers that seemed to connect to the Scandinavian far-right! Lucky for him the correspondence (and the Nazi marching songs!) are in storage or I'd name him as a bloody menace!

The US cavalry sculpts were chosen to fight the Mexicans, but the 'other' Mexican mouldings were used - 'round hat', again the Cowboys would have been just as good? Meanwhile the British Grenadiers were made available in Blue for George (Washington) to use, or hire from France, but his set wasn't made available in red to help the British recruit line infantry with tricorn hats?

The US cavalry - as issued by Marksmen - was one of the sets that included mounted figures without horses, clearly, when you can find the Ri-Toys horses they are bloody useful! Here the size difference is noticeable in the standing poses, but not the kneeling ones, again; suggesting shrinkage rather than pantographed copies.

Marksmen has a set of non Rado-supplied ACW, which; with a tie-in to A Call to Arms (ACTA) packaging, leads to six colours to track down; red, butter-nut, navy blue, sky blue, mid-grey and pale grey.

Ignore the labelling of the 'sprue'/frame, one of the figures (the officer) isn't the Herald one, and while the kneeling firer is know as a 'Replicants' pose, I think I'm correct in saying the others were commissioned by Michael Ellis (Marksmen) from Peter Cole (Replicants) anyway, so they are all 'sort of' Replicants.

The thing is; it was - at the time - a rare thing, figures previously available in 54mm, being made available in the smaller size, and the fact that it took figures from at least three sources and placed them together in one set made the enterprise all the more useful for ACW army-building.

We looked at these in some detail Here, so I'll let the picture talk for itself, the upper image is the new info, a size comparison with various Marx originals. The Dale whatsherface (Evans?) is a named-on-the-base 'character' figure.

The Ackerman sets and the generic header-card Marksmen used for the little packs, it actually lists the larger Marx reissues they carried, the smaller figures were only listed in magazine ad's and the flyers he used to send out. The above link to the Arab article will lead you to shots of earlier Ri-Toys packaging. Marksmen had another header card for the Reamsa reissues but I've never seen it used with the 'HO' packs.

Marksmen Listing;

Return of the Hero (nominally ‘HO’ but actually most were 28-30mm)
Basic Range (+/- 30 figures per bag)
1 - Redcoats
2 - Washington’s Army
3 - Mexicans, (Shako)
4 - Cowboys
5 - Indians
6 - 7th Cavalry
7 - British WWII
8 - Japanese WWII
9 - Foreign Legion
10 - Arabs
11 - Dinosaurs
Bulk Sets (+/- 150 figures per bag)
1501 - Alamo (figures taken from sets 3 and 4 above)
1502 - Revolutionary War (figures taken from sets 1, 2 and 5 above)
1503 - Custer’s Last Stand (figures taken from sets 5 and 6 above)
1504 - Burma Trail (figures taken from sets 7 and 8 above)
1505 - Desert Patrol (figures taken from sets 9 and 10 above)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

C is for Candy Container

A seasonal post today...60 or 70 years ago you might well have found this - or something like it - in your merry festive stocking! Although; it may be older? I don't know and a quick Google wasn't much help, but I know that by the 1960's it was all card tubes of Rowntree's Pastilles and Jelly Tots or shaped netted cards of Santa, snowman or deer's head 'selection packs'.

A mixture of hand-painted celluloid, styrene, tin-plate and rubber sleeves (which may be non-original additions to protect the sprung, concertina arms?), this would have been filled with sweets and is quite a work of artistry, if otherwise rather ugly by today's sensibilities!

Post-war or between the wars?