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”.

Friday, May 29, 2015

T is for Through the Ages

Box ticker today...

The game-playing pieces for 'History of the World' by Avalon Hill, very useful figures for war-gaming, if only one pose per era! Acient Egyptian, Babylonian (?), Roman, Viking/dark-age type, Mongol, Conquistador and European colonial soldier of the late 19th/early 20th centuries. 25mm give or take!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

T is for Thar'be Dragons!

Train failures today forced me into a toy-shop in Reading (The Entertainer) and a quick perusal left me with  a tub of shite; I mean - of course - quality vinyl shite!

Previously Blogged by Shaun at Fantasy Toy Soldiers as a movie tie-in; How to Train Your Dragon, these have been reissued to tie-in with the TV animated series.

Note that it says "1 SET". Otherwise very little on the packaging; Spin Master licensed from DreamWorks, as per the 2010 sets on Shaun's Blog. A change of title and a silver lid instead of a gold one.

Because of the three large stickers on the tub and the two card baffles within, it was not terribly easy to see the contents except insofar as there were vinyl monsters of some sort! Not being even vaguely familiar with the films (there's two now - Oscar nominated - with a third on the way!) I was none the wiser and nearly put them back on the shelf with a mental note or a quick mobile-phone photo' for the archive...



...and it was only the obvious green figure that clinched the purchase.

Once I'd got it home and open this evening, I found a descent enough pile of figures (the advertised 25), and a lid which I can see being useful in some sort of Games Workshop thing, floor, altar, shrine?

The entire contents of the tub; Shaun has a figure in his 'Movie' set I don't, but I have two copies (in two colours) of a figure not in his set? As everything else seems to tie-up, with five dragon poses in three's or four's of two colours, I'm wondering if this is due to the difference between movie and TV versions/characters?

Now that I'm familiar with the contents of one set, I'll have another look at others in different branches and see if there's an obvious variation in colours/pose numbers, or the human figure contents...but I suspect there won't be and I would have to track-down a 2010 set to get the other figure and some dark green or bright mid-blue dragons &etc...?


Top, on the left, both sides of all figures with more than one example. On the right, some of the figures are clearly marked on the bases, others aren't, even the same pose, and while the numbers are similar with the same suffix; there's no apparent sequence.

Below; Minor rant...all these companies are 'partners' with Dreamworks on this franchise...not one of them is offering figures or figural premiums with their 'tie-ins', indeed, apart from the Michaels' craft stuff, none of them is even offering playable merchandise of any kind, it's all quizzes, free cinema tickets (mail away or presentable codes) and the like...now 20/30 years ago, only one or two companies would have 'bandwagoned' something like this and they would have had physical 'toys' involved...flats, figures, badges... something! I think that's sad, it's a triumph of marketing (admittedly very successful) over service to the consumer you want to buy into this stuff.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

P is for Perfect Pile of Purloined Plastic Plunder!

So, you may have been aware that a bit of a do was held in Richmond at the weekend! It takes a whole year to come round and is over all to quickly!

I am really hopeless at doing show-reports, although I often photograph the sorting stages with a Blog-article in mind! Thus I have several still on the desktop going back about three years, and some older stuff in Picasa, I'll try and make June 'acquisition month' and clear some of this old stuff, not to show-off, but because it may be interesting to some, and will clear some space on the laptop!

With that aim in mind, lets get this show out of the way in a timely manner....

Plunder! the swag-bags in situ, late Saturday night...full of promise...I eventually escaped with three bags...well, there was a forth, which I had taken with me, but a coffee-related flask-failure incident rendered it out of action for the duration!

The first was my purchases as I went round the hall throughout the day. Pile - top left, mid-sorting - top right, after sorting into my standard 4x51/2 bags - bottom left. It's hard to choose a 'winner' when I've picked everything in the photograph, but this group of female subjects is a fair example of the eclecticism of my buying.

I think most if not all of them came from Brian Carrick's rummage tubs, and they are; from the left -

A heavy vinyl Flamenco dancer, probably removed from a Spanish tourist thingy? A Jim figure of a girl, she's been repainted in metallic blue, so I may strip her back to bare plastic one day? A hard plastic copy of an Elastolin farm lady, scaled down and possibly in cellulose acetate by Reisler of Denmark and a soft synthetic/silicon-rubber girl marked Hong Kong.

One of Henry's wives from Cavendish...I have all bar one of these in storage, but can't remember which one, so keep buying them when I see them in the hope that when I marry the two piles I'll have good examples of all six of them, as I also can't remember which ones I've got here (when I'm at a show), this may well be same-pose number three? I still don't actually have Henry either!

The last two are scale-downs of Fontanini statuettes, one in hard, painted styrene and the other a soft-ethylene copy of an old European food premiums, with the original separate plinth now moulded on.

The badges were abandoned at the end, but having always attended these shows as 'trade' I've never got a badge, so I rescued them!

The second swag-bag contains the 'lucky-dip'. I'm very lucky to have been in the hobby long enough to have got to know a few people well, and for them to have got to know me and my quirky, [originally] small-scale oriented, ephemeral, eclectic, completist, Blog-post driven ways, equally well!

As a result some of them put stuff aside for me and from time to time - the Plastic Warrior show being an ideal time - divest themselves of it by offering it to me...I've never said "no thanks"! Five people brought stuff to Richmond and it was in Bag No.2...

Trevor Rudkin has been saving me stuff for over twenty years now and there's always something of interest in his bag, this year it's a toss-up between the Thorntons set and the pile of Ninjas which I think are Soma; although only marked 'China', they also carry a number on the foot which is very Soma, and the sculpting ties-in.

But the winner was in a separate tub which Trevor had carried reverently all the way from the Midlands, with the lorries nestled in bubble-wrap...these little 1:100'ish civilian Bedford MK types. Obviously based on old Matchbox or Corgi models and as you can see the bodies can be swapped, I have somewhere a whole boxed-tray of near-identical vehicles (with the same silver wheels) from some generic HK outfit but with Ford Thames cab-units, so we'll look at them all in more detail another day!

Fellow blogger Garreth Morgan also brought a bag of bits for me...bit of Marx, some damaged Starlux (which being hard plastic go in a tub with similar sized damaged Triang, Blue Box, Reisler and Marx for ultimate conversion), a nice Blue Box civilian Bedford RL needing a load and two Wells/Brimtoy RL's lacking front axles which are otherwise OK so will provide doner-service at some point, 3 ABC or ABC-like Indians (only one marked) and a nice 'from hollow-cast mould' Guardsman are all highlights.

The winner from this lot though is a quantity of old card French cavalry, dismounted...they have some age and the scraps that have been used to base them show it, lovely copper-plate ledger pages of some sort, and these aren't your run-of-the-mill 'paper sheets', they are heavy card stock with colour-litho overprinting in about 28/30mil.

Brian Carrick also had a bag of chuck-outs "full of lovely stuff" for me and there was lots to chose as a favourite of the day...I've gone with the bears because it was International Bear Week last week...apparently...well it was on Facebook which is enough for me!

I'm guessing the irony of bears in bearskins was lost on the Chinese sculptor! Three marching and three at attention, these had a little 'China' sticker in gold on them and are probably still findable in the kiosks on the London tourist trails..but..soldier bears...brilliant!

Other highlights include the three space-ships from Tombola, the two late HK bath-toy ships (Missouri (green) and United States (silver)), various premiums, a nice rubber Ultraman, a wooden flat of a chicken (you all know how I like my wooden toys!), a terracotta French revolutionary type, early Airfix camel, German 'dimestore' cowboy firing a cannon, Kinder monster and a vinyl figure from the Captain Harlock set; one of his side-kicks - Ramis Valente, he'll join Sylvidra who's been in storage for three years! Both made by Fabianplastica.

The third swag-bag was the 'my chair' stuff...during the day, I keep being tempted by stuff on the stall I'm supposed to be helping with...and it gets put on 'the chair'...'nuff said! Highlights are everything in the picture pretty-much, but I'm choosing the two elephants and the two Aloes?

The elephants are; on the left - a Hong Kong nodding-head elephant with a thread tail and on the right; the Carthaginian command piece (made by GMB according to Peter Evan's new book - see yesterday's post or Plastic Warrior's Facebook page!) from the Rosas Y Maleret board game 'Battle of Maturo' which has been on my 'wants list' for years! The Aloe plants might be Spanish also?

Now I said five people brought me bits and bobs and we've only seen three? At one point in the proceedings Peter Evans was throwing toys at me! He narrowly missed the person I was talking to and his fellow PW founder Brian, but hey, what the hell, when you go to a toy show intending to obtain toys and someone throws toys at you, I think you'll agree: it's been a good day!

He didn't even want money for them! Five nice China Troops vaguely based on Tee Mee poses with a bit of Revell in the influence department, an LP robot, a Ziani Spider-man freebie and a Gum-Ball ManzingerZ/robot type thing (I know the maker of but can't find the reference).

The fifth person was Barney Brown, but his 'brung bits' (Marx minis and Reisler 30mm's) got included in the first 'purchase' bag and images above, thanks Barney, Brain, Gareth, Peter and Trevor!

Top right are my floor-sweepings, only an unknown pilot and a Roco windscreen in the toy arena, but lots of fake jewels, the car-park was full of them but they were all dull and weathered, walked on or driven over, but in the hall there were lots of pristine ones...I think they'd been used as 'posh' (read: wasteful) confetti at a wedding reception, anyway, they are useful for scratch-building and modelling, and the small clear ones make excellent replacement headlights on late Dinkys and Spot-Ons!...not that I'm known for restoring either...but you never know, and they were free!

The final act of the day was Brian's extraordinary generosity...I had been tempted by his flats earlier in the day and not given in to temptation (the list of things I walked-away from would take a week to type!), at the end of the show, when most people had gone he said "Do you want them for £x", "If I've go it" I replied pulling £y out of my pocket with some shrapnel, "you can have them for £y" he said, "I'll just get them from the car" and shot off, coming back moments later with the tubs in the last image above.

It was a complete bargain, and with most of them whole or part sets marked mostly to one brand; Heudebert (bread-biscuit things), I've left the lids on until I can marry-them-up to the ones in storage and have a 'Flats' month to catch-up, but some may feature here in the nearer future so keep coming back!

That's a shows worth, it's all-sorts of all sorts in every scale and material, but it helps build the bigger picture and helps build Blog posts! There's one thing missing, but I'm paying for it next weekend so it doesn't count!

And if you're wondering....I shot the favourites against a backdrop of pages from Garratt's encyclopaedia I had at hand! Was that it? Blimey, that was quick...got to wait a year now!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

S is for Show Report, PW 30th of 30!

Stats on the blog are right down today...can only mean one thing...


everyone is at home sorting out their plunder, painting their purchases, converting their new figures or researching the weirder stuff they carried home from Richmond yesterday!

Before the main rush of punters, and people are still setting-up. Brian Carrick of the editorial staff/organisation team and the Collecting Toy Soldiers blog in the centre, prepareing his table, with Peter Burgner behind in the black and yellow T-shirt.

As you can see, the venue is much brighter and airyer than the old one, yet more 'cosy' at the same time.

A collection of Tarzan figures from (I think...) Argentina, Hong Kong and Spain rub shoulders with Polish knights and early British jets on Adrian Little's upper-deck. There was some debate through the day as to the origin of the car-boat; turn-it upside down and there's a yellow boat Bath-toy!

Single figures from all manner of makers, all rare, unusual or in good condition. Note the Palitoy 'flying-wing' over on the far left, there was also a Sunderland, both on my 'wants' list, but beyond my Budget yesterday.

At the back are four Malleable-Mouldings life guards in very good nic. This is also a shot of Mercator Trading's table, he currently has an Airfix Furguson header-card on FeeBay!

Steve Weston in front of his display tables, he had a sales 'wall' behind the photographer (yours truly), and was displaying the new Guderian's Duck SPG in 1:32 scale from Sell, which looks nice, and had Peter Cole on his flank with a table for Replicants, which Steve stocks in the normal course of events.

Peter was selling a figure which rumour-control had previously hinted would be available to punters on the door (a rumour I repeated the other night!), it actually had to be sought and bought from Replicants stand, but was the '30th Anniversary' figure, and a lovely one at that; Alan a'Dale leaning against a tree-stump strumming his lute!

Peter Burgner of PB Toys, came all the way from Germany, by road, in the middle of the night, to play Tetris with cardboard in the back of his car!

Peter had new production from all over (I only bought a small Orion AFV crew in resin!) and his rummage crates proved so popular they were in business from 07.45 in the car park! The weather being ideal for a bit of al fresco dealing.

Plastic Warrior used the event to launch two new titles, a colour 'Special' on Hilco which I missed when they sold out, but are available from the usual sources and this thematic overview of toy and model Romans, from the collection of Peter Evans which I did manage to pick-up at the end, and it is an absolute treat to read, tons of figures, some I've never heard of, let alone seen - totally recommend it!

Friday, May 22, 2015

News, Views Etc...It's Still Tomorrow!

By this time tomorrow it'll be the last of the shrapnel being frittered-away on the contents of the 50p bargain tubs! Plastic Warrior's 30th Toy Soldier show will be moving to the bar of the Winning Post and the dealers will be doing the last of their mutually-beneficial swaps in the car park!

 A better map of the venue

I've heard that there will be a little something on the door for those who attend, I don't know what but I remember a nice colonial rifleman figure from Replicants a decade ago? If you turn up you'll be able to tell all!

Full details; two posts below, or it's all on Brian Carrick's Blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

S is for Some Soldiers

Not hiding, just busy on a whole-page article which will take another week or so to get right, in the meantime a box-ticker to get May's post total up a bit...eye candy too if you like medieval swoppets!

Crescent swoppet knights...medievals in full armour, from Crescent; a British toy maker, in the 'Swoppet' style. That is all!

Friday, May 15, 2015

News, Views...Etc...30th Plastic Warrior Toy Soldier and Assorted Other Goodies Show!

A week tomorrow! You need to start planning entry (and exit?) strategies now, budget? Bags? No bigger than that! Lunch? Parking? There's a fair bit at the venue. More budget! And some spare cash.

It's only the bloody 30TH! Thirty years...thirty shows! How many have you been to? I missed the first 8 or 9? Soem people have been to all of them...not least the organisers, Paul, Peter and fellow blogger Brian.

I knocked this up a couple of years ago and forgot to post it last year...it'll get you to within smelling distance of all that lovely polymer! You can't miss it, it's the big inter-war style architecture pub on the bend just before (northbound) or after (southbound) the NEC Harlequins ground (are they still sponsored by NEC?)

There is FREE parking, and a Premier Inn on the same site for anyone who wants to stay the night

Details of the venue can be found here;

Winning Post

This is not so accurate, I'll try to sort it out with a better one, basically the venue is accessible from the A3-316 main road into/out-of London heading West-south-west, through the Front car park there is also vehicle and pedestrian access from Percy Road.

For people coming by public transport; Whitton Station is 3 minutes walk and gets 8 trains an hour from Waterloo. See you there, unless you poke my eyes out first!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

MPC is for Mini Ships - Part One; 'Ships of all Nations' Comic Offer

So I promised a round-up of the MPC mini ships a while ago, and this is it - The low-down on the set of model vessels called "Ships of all Nations" by Multiple Toy Makers / Multiple Plastics Corp. (MPC) [and if that reads a bit 'poncy' - it's because it's for search engines!]

With help from Marc Frattasio (who kindly dealt with my emails asking for information on his examples, and identified those I didn't have, but which he did), between us we can present what is pretty-much the only detailed information on these among the billions of pages (approximately 4.71 billion to date) on the Wibbly Wobbly Way, or at least I can't find much else! I have linked to what little there is.

There seem to have been 68 models in the range and they vary from the obvious to the frankly esoteric vis-a-vis the ships depicted and it took a while to work out the whole range as there are different totals presenting themselves when the student of old toys first looks into them.

Each model had its name, nationality, length and gross tonnage in relief on the base underside. Some models had no tonnage given, while quite a few are missing their SS, MV, USS &etc. prefix, I have used the given titles wherever possible as that's how they will be listed by on-line sellers. Nationality, again; is the given one, ships such as Liberte having had three owners. There were dates given to each vessel listed on the comic ad. but they (the dates) weren't included on the vessels...with the exception of the two British Tugs - and maybe some of the 'details unknown' ones below?

The main source of them seems to have been as a single purchase of a full-set+, to wit; 102 vessels, including at least one of each, how the duplicates panned-out I couldn't tell you and the adverts in old Marvel and DC comics give no clue as they only list 64 of the boats. I assume they must have been available as a retail shop-purchase at some point but can't find any details on that at the moment.

Another problem with getting this article together has been the plastic they are manufactured from - with the exception of the green ones; it registers very high in the infra-red spectrum and has proved hard to photograph so that the detail is clear, this was also a problem with the 'planes we looked at last time we visited MPC minis, but with them it wasn't such a bind as they have their distinctive outlines to help....but these ships have very fine detail which needs to be captured in order to help ID them.

Therefore I've been preparing this on and off for a few weeks now, retaking photographs and trying different techniques to get focus, playing with saturation in Picasa and so on...as a result there is now a second page (below this post on the homepage or click 'previous article' at the end of this post) with various comparisons of other compatible / near compatible or similar ranges.

The final list is incomplete in some details, and understanding that some people will have better collections but no desire to advertise the fact; any help - even anonymous - will be greatly appreciated to both complete the listings and base-marking data. A better scan of a comic ad (or the dates to the left of each vessel) are particularly sought-after.

There were 102 included in the comic offer [this is the best version of the ad. I can find on the Internet] 64 vessels are listed in the adverts - split into four groups; 16 Current US Combat Fleet, 16 Historic Passenger and Cargo Fleet, 15 Modern Passenger and Cargo Fleet, 17 Historic Warships (neither UK 'Tug' is listed and there seem to be two interpretations of  Burton Island; 'BI' and 'USS Burton Island'?)

68 vessels are listed on old MPC paperwork - split into three groups, 16 large, 32 medium and 20 small ("68 assorted miniature ships") wait for the page to load fully and then keep an eye on the first slide-show for the original worksheet to appear...I have tried to get a copy of the sheet off the chap via Facebook, but no joy there! There will be 68 vessels listed by the end of this article

So to Marc's picture which was included with an old image of some of mine when I did the round-up last time, now named, these are all missing their/any accessories but the number of locating holes are included in the listings. We will follow the photographs left to right, top to bottom, where possible and because of a few duplications as we work down the page, I will place the full list at the end in alphabetical order.

USS Eddy Country, USA, L.328, GRT 1,625 (x1 - offset T-mast)
TSS Rotterdam, Holland, L.748, GRT 38,845 (x2 masts?)
SS Liberte, France, L.936, GRT 49,750 (x2 - single-post mast, small T-mast)
Tramp Type, Great Britain, L.331, GRT 3,100 (x2 - Y-shaped twin-boom masts)
RMS Lusitania, Great Britain, L.762, GRT 31,550 (x6 - 4 funnels/stacks, 2 masts)
August Victoria, Germany, L.459, GRT 7,661 (x2 - masts?)
USS Eddy Country [duplicate in shot]
Merrimac, CSA [Navy], L.240, GRT 3,500 (no accessories? possible tab on stern for rudder)
SS Hawaiian Pilot, USA, L.492, GRT 12,500 (x4 - parts unknown)
Yerba Buena Ferryboat, USA, L.256, GRT not given (no accessories)
HMS Devastation, Great Britain, L.285, GRT 9,320 (x1 - mast)
USS Dewey, USA, L.512, GRT 4,770 (x4 - 2 communications masts, crane, torpedo tubes?)
TS Bremen, Germany, L.700, GRT 32,336 (x6 - 1 single-post mast, 5 unknown - king-posts, or cranes?)
Great Britain, Great Britain, L.680, GRT 18,915 (x6 - 3 different offset T-masts, 1 Y-mast, 1 single-post mast)
SS Normandie, France, L.981, GRT 79,280 (x2 - unknown, masts?)
Scharnhorst, Germany, L.755, GRT 26,000 (x6 - angled mast, 2 loading derricks, 3 triple-gun turrets)

These are all small ones, they seem to have no accessories, but there's a possibility of the LCM having one (or more) but I doubt it and I look at both possibilities in the next post.

Tug 1936, Great Britain, L.120, GRT 250 (no accessories - Identical sculpt to 1940 version)
Termoil, Great Britain, L.205, GRT 1,800 (no accessories)
LCM, USA, L.56, GRT 22 (no accessories? possible spigot for mounting something at stern)
Yerba Buena Ferryboat, USA, L.256, GRT not given (no accessories)
Monitor, USA [Navy], L.179, GRT1,200 (no accessories)
Tug 1940, Great Britain, L.120, GRT 250 (no accessories - Identical sculpt to 1936 version)
U-2, Germany, L.175, GRT 250 (no accessories)
USS Yatanocas, USA, L.81, GRT 310 (no accessories)

Submarines or semi-submarine type things! One of the things that will already be becoming as clear to you, as it now is to me, is that there is no constant scale to this set, with a higher and lower range in all three groups (large [liners, battleships], medium [merchantmen, other warships, packet steamers] and small [all sorts]), so it's hard to group them anyway other than 'by eye'!

USS Patrick Henry, USA, L.455, GRT 5,600 (no accessories)
Monitor, USA [Navy], L.179, GRT1,200 (no accessories)
U-2, Germany, L.175, GRT 250 (no accessories)

Some spare photographs I didn't get to label, and they are all listed elsewhere, so just eye-candy - this one! Two of the very small ones have accessories though, as - indeed - some of the larger ones have none. Note the two shades of blue used. All my small ones are the darker shade, with the mediums in the paler colour.

While it's common to struggle to photograph reds (flowers as well as plastics!), with these both the yellows and the blues also give a 'white-out' effect due to a high infra-red range 'reading', hence ending-up with two usable shots of the large yellows, I'm not going to copy and paste them twice so see the next image for the listing.

It's worth noting that anyone who's tried to photograph the MPC Wild West 54mm Cowboys and Indians will have had the same problems getting decent shots of the same colours, so it is an MPC plastic thing!

Another thing to note is that my sample - which came from one source - seems to have red and yellow 'large vessels', dark blue 'smalls' and pale blue 'mediums' with few greens? I've seen similar demarcation with different colours in each group, so - and I'm guessing here; that they cut the runner/s (the link above to factory paperwork seems to suggest they were all on one runner/sprue) in the same place, and then mixed the colours in each 'lot' before mailing?

Five 'bigs' and the rest 'mediums'? Until I've tracked them all down, it won't be clear, but it would seem the bigs were the carrier/s, battleship classes and large ocean liners, everything else was medium, and the 'smalls' are more obvious?

SS Liberte, France, L.936, GRT 49,750 (x2 - single-post mast, small T-mast)
USS Dewey, USA, L.512, GRT 4,770 (x4 - 2 communications masts, crane, torpedo tubes?)
USS Eddy Country, USA, L.328, GRT 1,625 (x1 - offset T-mast)
SS Varicella, Great Britain, L.643, GRT 21,800 (x2 - small single-post mast, broken-T mast)
USS Canberra, USA, L.673, GRT 13,600 - (x5 - 3 small masts, 2 triple-gun turrets)
Great Western, Great Britain, L.212 - GRT 1,340 (x4 - 3 Y-post masts, 1 double-T mast)
Great Britain, Great Britain, L.680, GRT 18,915 (x6 - 3 different offset T-masts, 1 Y-mast, 1 single-post mast)
USS William T Powell, USA, L.306, GRT 1,200 (x3 - 2 twin-gun turrets, communications mast)
Scharnhorst, Germany, L.755, GRT 26,000 (x6 - angled mast, 2 loading derricks, 3 triple-gun turrets)
Vanderbilt, USA, L.323, GRT 3,360, (x2 - single-post mast, triple T-mast)
HMS Vanguard, Great Britain, L.814, GRT 51,400 (x8 - 2 cranes, 2 A-masts, 4 twin-gun turrets)

Many of the ship models are anything but accurate, and this is one of the better examples of that inaccuracy, the toy bares little resemblance to any of the configurations of the holder of the name in the 1950/60's, but is clearly not the later replacement, yet the rise at the back of the hull, the missing third 'turret' (AA battery), the two distinctive crows-nest masts all make it also hard to place as the earlier vessel...the model is paying less than lip-service to the original.

USS Canberra, USA, L.673, GRT 13,600 - (x5 - 3 small masts, 2 triple-gun turrets)

Dropped a capital 'V' on the large reds, but can't be arsed to do it again, so; sorry Mr. De Vinci! Again it's obvious from the photograph that the accessories were primarily for play value, with some ships having larger moulded-on details (turrets / superstructures) than other models have smaller plug-in ones, and it seems totally arbitrary, there's no problem with undercuts etc...Fuso being the exception, as there would be undercuts if the superstructure wasn't a plug-in.

The 'United States' has a miss-moulded accessory (common with these, especially if they were all on one mould-tool, leaving the accessories far from the main sprue-gate) which I'm assuming is the other aerodynamic stack-top?

USS Maine, USA, L.425 - GRT 6,682 (x2 - masts with 2 crows nests; 3 arm and 2 arm)
SS United States, USA, L.990, GRT 53,350 (x3 - single-post mast. stack-top, 1 unknown)
Fuso Class Battleship, Japan, L.660, GRT 42,000 (x5 - 4 twin-gun turrets, main superstructure)
TV Leonard Da Vinci, Italy, L.763, GRT 30,500 (x3 - assorted masts, king-posts, MPC Spelling, correct 'Leonardo' in comic ads.)

Medium Blues, the Tramp steamer ('Tramp Type') is a very different style, due to it's being in a larger scale I suspect, but the lines are captured well, as kids we would be taken to see these when there were still a few to be seen from the bridges in London and when empty they looked just like this, when full they could be very low in the water, and they are big, some served as mail packets or took passengers.

USS Brooks, USA, L.314, GRT 1,190 (x1 - offset T-mast)
USS Atlanta, USA, L.541, GRT 6,000 (x6 - 5 twin-gun turrets, offset T-mast, link's to CL-51 but might be CL-104?)
Tramp Type, Great Britain, L.331, GRT 3,100 (x2 - Y-shaped twin-boom masts)
USS Dewey, USA, L.512, GRT 4,770 (x4 - 2 communications masts, crane, torpedo tubes?)

This illustrates the scale differentials very well for the whole range, these are all roughly the same length - as models - but if you check the stats, Dewey and Atlanta should be much longer.

Further studies of the steamer, I weakened and took the accessories off the side and plugged them in! The result of the collection having been stored (in a smoking home?) in Florida for several decades is to be seen on the Q-tips. A lot of stuff in the [James Chase] collection (the ships came with) had signs of extreme humidity or the results thereof! Compare with the previous picture where the smuts are clearly visible on the sides.

Interestingly, although the bulk of the collection was toy soldiers with a strong Marx presence, he was a Florida harbour-master (can't remember which port!) and must have had a soft spot for these as he also had all the Wiking, Trafalgar and Comet mini-ship catalogues, if he had the models too - they went through Christie's which was a bit too rich for me!

Colour variation of the red is subtle, but is does exist, here the TV Leonard Da Vinci is in a darker and paler shade. Note also the miss-moulded masts on the yellow Dewey and paler Da Vinci.

Fuso Class Battleship, Japan, L.660, GRT 42,000 (x5 - 4 twin-gun turrets, main superstructure)
USS Dewey, USA, L.512, GRT 4,770 (x4 - 2 communications masts, crane, torpedo tubes?)
TV Leonard Da Vinci, Italy, L.763, GRT 30,500 (x3 - assorted masts, king-posts, MPC spelling, correct 'Leonardo' in comic ads)
USS Maine, USA, L.425 - GRT 6,682 (x2 - masts with 2 crows nests; 3 arm and 2 arm)

[caption incorrect...shows SS United States not TV Leo...]

The USS Maine is another one which bears only a passing resemblance to the actual vessel which had its two main turrets offset to either side so they could both fire forwards.

USS Maine, USA, L.425 - GRT 6,682 (x2 - masts with 2 crows nests; 3 arm and 2 arm)
NS Savannh [sic] (NS Savannah) - USA - L.595 - GRT 22,000 (x3 - 2 double-x-post masts, 1 unknown - correct 'Savannah' in comic ads)
SS United States, USA, L.990, GRT 53,350 (x3 - single-post mast. stack-top, 1 unknown)
Motor Trawler, Germany, L.140, GRT 200 (x2 - angled loading booms)
Light Ship, Great Britain, L.110, GRT not given (x1 - single-post mast)

This is my 'the rest', a pile of bits and no clue as to which goes with what ship. A similar sized lot to mine was on evilBay recently, and with most of the accessories like these, it went for over $250, plus postage! These were 102 for less than a cent-and-a-half each for the best part of a decade (approximately 1963-1970), and there must be many! I hope the buyer finds this post to match-up some of his bits, but it was silly-money for a lose/unattached accessory lot!

City of Paris, Great Britain, L.346, GRT 2,556 (x3 - parts unknown)
TS Bremen, Germany, L.700, GRT 32,336 (x6 - 1 single-post mast, 5 unknown - king-posts, or cranes?)
USS Eddy Country, USA, L.328, GRT 1,625 (x1 - offset T-mast)
City of Paris [duplicate in shot]
USS Rankin, USA, L.459, GRT 7,040 (x6? - parts unknown, 10 holes but some paired?)
USS El Dorado, USS, L.459, GRT 10,700 (x? - 2 tall single-pole masts, 1 short single-pole mast, 1 piece of electronic equipment; total x4...no other accessory mounting spigot/sprulette apparent on my sample, but 5 holes?)
USCG Picket Boat [link is .pdf], USA, L.40, GRT not given (x1 - parts unknown)
Tramp Type, Great Britain, L.331, GRT 3,100 (x2 - Y-shaped twin-boom masts)
Elco, USA, L.105, GRT 58 (x6 - 1 cannon, 5 unknown)
MS Bergensfjiord, Norway, L.578, GRT18,739 (x3 - parts unknown, nee; De Grasse - Rasa Sayang - Golden Moon)
USS Gyatt, USA, L.390, GRT 2,425 (x3 - parts unknown)
USCG Patrol Boat, USA, L.95, GRT 51 (x2 - parts unknown)
Burton Island, USA, L.269, GRT 3,500 (x4 - parts unknown) [might be listed as both USS Burton Island and B.I. in comic ads?]

So, that's all I can show for now, it would be nice if people like Marc and Paul Harrison (who you will remember was the other contributor last time) who have these could let us know what the missing data on the bases of the other vessels are, or even supply shots of them complete, or with the accessories still attached. I will repeat my call for the current whereabouts/contact details of/for Bob Maschi, and of course if I had his guide in my hands this article would have fewer gaps, has anybody got a copy to hand? Does it help fill the gaps? We also need the one or two question-marked ship's names solidified.

FeeBay images, of note is the maroon colour variant in the centre of the collage

The list in full, alphabetically by name as given on the base of each vessel, or as I can read it from the catalogue imaged above;

Atlantic, Great Britain? (no other details known, see also; USS Atlanta, below)
August Victoria, Germany, L.459, GRT 7,661 (x2 - masts?)
Burton Island, USA, L.269, GRT 3,500 (x4 - parts unknown) [might be listed as both USS Burton Island and B.I. in comic ads? Actually a USCGC...]
BI [B1?] (no other details known, see note; Burton Island above)
City of Paris, Great Britain, L.346, GRT 2,556 (x3 - parts unknown)
Celtic (no other details known)
Clermost [?] (no other details known)
Corzair [Corsair?] (no other details known)
Elco, USA, L.105, GRT 58 (x6 - 1 cannon, 5 unknown)
Fuso Class Battleship, Japan, L.660, GRT 42,000 (x5 - 4 twin-gun turrets, main superstructure)
Great Britain, Great Britain, L.680, GRT 18,915 (x6 - 3 different offset T-masts, 1 Y-mast, 1 single-post mast)
Great Eastern, Great Britian (no other details known)
Great Western, Great Britain, L.212 - GRT 1,340 (x4 - 3 Y-post masts, 1 double-T mast)
Gripsholm, Sweden (no other details known)
HMS Devastation, Great Britain, L.285, GRT 9,320 (x1 - mast)
HMS Queen Elizabeth, Great Britain (no other details known)
HMS Vanguard, Great Britain, L.814, GRT 51,400 (x8 - 2 cranes, 2 A-masts, 4 twin-gun turrets)
Karol Haze [Harol Kaze?] (no other details known)
LCM, USA, L.56, GRT 22 (no accessories? possible spigot for mounting something at stern)
Light Ship, Great Britain, L.110, GRT not given (x1 - single-post mast)
Merrimac, CSA [Navy], L.240, GRT 3,500 (no accessories? possible tab on stern for rudder)
Monitor, USA [Navy], L.179, GRT1,200 (no accessories)
Motor Trawler, Germany, L.140, GRT 200 (x2 - angled loading booms)
MS Bergensfjiord, Norway, L.578, GRT18,739 (x3 - parts unknown, nee; De Grasse, Rasa Sayang and Golden Moon)
NS Savannh [sic] (NS Savannah) - USA - L.595 - GRT 22,000 (x3 - 2 double-x-post masts, 1 unknown - correct 'Savannah' in comic ads)
RMS Lusitania, Great Britain, L.762, GRT 31,550 (x6 - 4 funnels/stacks, 2 masts)
RMS Titanic, Great Britain (no other details known)
Robert E. Lee, USA (no other details known)
Saxonia (no other details known)
Scharnhorst, Germany, L.755, GRT 26,000 (x6 - angled mast, 2 loading derricks, 3 triple-gun turrets)
SS Hawaiian Pilot, USA, L.492, GRT 12,500 (x4 - parts unknown, ex-Burleigh)
SS Liberte, France, L.936, GRT 49,750 (x2 - single-post mast, small T-mast, ex-Europa)
SS Normandie, France, L.981, GRT 79,280 (x2 - unknown, masts?)
SS United States, USA, L.990, GRT 53,350 (x3 - single-post mast. stack-top, 1 unknown)
SS Varicella, Great Britain, L.643, GRT 21,800 (x2 - small single-post mast, broken-T mast)
Termoil, Great Britain, L.205, GRT 1,800 (no accessories)
Tramp Type, Great Britain, L.331, GRT 3,100 (x2 - Y-shaped twin-boom masts)
TS Bremen, Germany, L.700, GRT 32,336 (x6 - 1 single-post mast, 5 unknown - king-posts, or cranes?)
TSS Olympia (no other details known), nee; Regal Empress
TSS Rotterdam, Holland, L.748, GRT 38,845 (x2 masts?)
Tug 1936, Great Britain, L.120, GRT 250 (no accessories - Identical sculpt to 1940 version)
Tug 1940, Great Britain, L.120, GRT 250 (no accessories - Identical sculpt to 1936 version)
TV Leonard Da Vinci, Italy, L.763, GRT 30,500 (x3 - assorted masts, king-posts, MPC spelling, correct 'Leonardo' in comic ads)
U-2, Germany, L.175, GRT 250 (no accessories, still haven't found what they're looking for!)
USCG Patrol Boat, USA, L.95, GRT 51 (x2 - parts unknown)
USCG Picket Boat [link is .pdf], USA, L.40, GRT not given (x1 - parts unknown)
USS Atlanta, USA, L.541, GRT 6,000 (x6 - 5 twin-gun turrets, offset T-mast, link's to CL-51 but might be CL-104? See also; Atlantic, above)
USS Barry [Barmay?], USA [no other details known]
USS Brooks, USA, L.314, GRT 1,190 (x1 - offset T-mast)
USS Canberra, USA, L.673, GRT 13,600 - (x5 - 3 small masts, 2 triple-gun turrets)
USS Dewey, USA, L.512, GRT 4,770 (x4 - 2 communications masts, crane, torpedo tubes?)
USS Eddy Country, USA, L.328, GRT 1,625 (x1 - offset T-mast, a strange choice...USS Achilles had a far more eventful history?)
USS El Dorado, USS, L.459, GRT 10,700 (x? - 2 tall single-pole masts, 1 short single-pole mast, 1 piece of electronic equipment; total x4...no other accessory mounting spigot/sprulette apparent on my sample, but 5 holes?)
USS Enterprise, USA (no other details known, link's to CV-6 but may just be CVN-65)
USS Gyatt, USA, L.390, GRT 2,425 (x3 - parts unknown)
USS Hornet, USA (no other details known, link's to CV-12 but might be CV-8)
USS Long Beach, USA (no other details known)
USS Maine, USA, L.425 - GRT 6,682 (x2 - masts with 2 crows nests; 3 arm and 2 arm)
USS Mason [?], USA (no other details known)
USS Missouri, USA (no other details known)
USS Navarro, USA (no other details known)
USS Patrick Henry, USA, L.455, GRT 5,600 (no accessories)
USS Rankin, USA, L.459, GRT 7,040 (x6? - parts unknown, 10 holes but some paired?)
USS Sarge [?], USA (no other details known)
USS Yatanocas, USA, L.81, GRT 310 (no accessories)
USS William T Powell, USA, L.306, GRT 1,200 (x3 - 2 twin-gun turrets, communications mast)
Vanderbilt, USA, L.323, GRT 3,360, (x2 - single-post mast, triple T-mast)
Yerba Buena Ferryboat, USA, L.256, GRT not given (no accessories, doesn't look much like any of the boats that worked the route or wore the name!)

Kent Sprecher's Toy Soldier HQ site has pictures of two not featured above HMS Vanguard and Gripsholm

If you've read this far and followed all the links, you now know as much about these as I do...or anyone else - I suspect!

24'ish hours later...and another five or six hours work!...I have added text, sorted out typos and several more glaring errors (I have yet to re-do one of the images!) and provided links to most of the ships. Wherever possible that is the Wikipedia page from which you can follow hosts of other links, but for a few of the generic types; other pages have been used, and one or two specific vessels had to have more esoteric findings...one of the liners ended-up with a page of postcards as it was all I could find. One of the USCG vessel's links is to a .pdf file, just be aware if you're on a tight data-leash with you Internet provision, also give it time to load.

The bad news is...we have lost a vessel from the master list! Devastation was - of cousre - also HMS Devastation! I have added BI to make weight and changed the notes. All the real question-mark vessels have no link, and a couple of the links may to to the wrong vessel, as depicted in the set of models.

MPC is for Mini Ships - Part Two; Comparisons

So to comparisons between the MPC mini ships and other comparable vessels ancient and modern (of manufacture), to give an idea of what goes with what size-wise, as 'scale' is so clearly a moot point with these models.

Starting with the larger submarine, it's actually quite close to both the similar and almost as accurate (in outline) ballistic missile subs from Galoob's Micro Machine lines, the other three are really just toys.

I left the similar sized Crescent sub off the first image, so have squeezed it into both collages as a continuation shot, I also forgot the Lido one so I've placed that with both as an inset. It's quite interesting as it's an early Nuclear-sub design which keeps some of the lines of the old U-Boat styles, but for scale purposes, would have the size of the more modern ships.

These are all board-game playing pieces with the possible exception of the two grey ones nearest the Patrick Henry (dropped [or; lowered?] an aitch on the caption!), which may be war-game pieces, and the two aforementioned (Lido and Crescent) which were both 'carpet' toys.

Landing craft; The MPC WWII one flanked by the two modern ones from the Airfix HMS Fearless kit, and all lead by an unknown kit boat (LCA shape...'ish) which I think might be from one of the odd box-scale kits from Pyro or early Revell?

On the MPC vessel the spigot sticking out of the back may be for an unknown accessory, or just a bit of frame? Likewise the indentation forward of the wheelhouse may be a mounting hole for an unknown accessory, but I think it's just shrinkage.

Battleships - The larger size and by association smaller scale range of the MPC minis;  the INGAP and the penny-toys are quite similar, but the Hong Kong and Crescent boats are modelling smaller vessels, so are over-sized in comparison with the MPC ship.

When I say penny-toys, it's only because I don't have a name for them and they have 'cheap' decoration. They may be by a later a 'name', there were several smaller die-casters in the UK making toys in the 1950's-60's such as Benbros and Kemlow, these may be by either? They are also all slightly different and marked B1 through to B3.

Intermediate or medium size, here using the Tramp Type steamer and an LST from MPC as comparison vehicles for food premiums from Manurba and Sanella and the Matchbox accessories from a large harbour play-set they did. Painted-up these would all look fine next to each other size-wise.

The smallies; the MB Games Axis & Allies ship in the centre is a much smaller scale, being a tramp steamer, and both the Montaplex vessels are military ships of larger scale size.

Back to the medium sized rage, for more naval vessels, the Lido set are all roughly the same size, but obviously one of them is a much scaled-down battleship, as is the MB Games Axis & Allies one.


The ocean liners are all from the bigger end of the MPC stable and match the Rosenhain and Lipmann (R&L) for Kellogg's cereal premium pretty well. The kit is scaled by collectors at 1:3640 and is missing two very fine mast mouldings, I suspect it's a tad smaller than the MPC mini ships, being the larger vessel in real life?


Quaker also had a go at Ocean liners and their little set are scaled smaller that both the MPC ones and the Kellogg's import. A Direct comparison with two versions of Liberte (Europa for most of her eventful life) showing a lack of accuracy as well!

We looked at these Quaker liners here and there's more here.

Shades of blue above with three each from MPC, Quaker and Hong Kong above, the HK vessels being - I believe - copies of the old Triang Minic waterline series.

I forgot (or meant...) to label this shot, but the red one is Tina Onassis the only cargo-ship in the Quaker set and I've done a comparison with similar vessels, the HK one being a militarised version of the original Triang mail or packet steamer? The USS Eddy Country looking like a cargo vessel and the SS Varicella being a tanker.

The Hong Kong set were looked at before in the post linked to above with the Quaker and other smaller ones, but I've since got some more, so a new line-up of mouldings and colour variations is above with a look at the various tugs.

There are three tugs from Hong Kong, the one I've numbered '1', is a full hull model which I suspect goes with these from Lucky Toys, sort of confirmed by the unpainted pale one, going with the unpainted versions of the larger vessels in the linked post. The number 3 (two designs) goes with the similar blue-grey and sea-green copies of Triang Minic vessels, while the charcoal grey one I've numbered as '2' seems to be from a third source or even a kit, it has better detailing and a smaller superstructure.

The MPC version as a higher prow, and probably isn't a copy of the Triang one, this was a standard design of tug-boat and years ago the harbours of the world were full of them, indeed we've already seen MPC produced two, dated a few years apart, but they're all but identical.