About Me

My photo
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. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Friday, January 17, 2020

News, Views Etc . . . Forthcoming Events; Saturday 18th - Friday 24th January 2020

Almost back to normal, I've not quite answered all the eMails, but I'm hoping to as soon as I publish this, this afternoon, but some may wait 'till tomorrow if the weather's going to be bad?

I will also return to my rants here, but it's hard to know what to rant about at the moment, do I rant about what's happening in Australia, vis-à-vis its implications for the rest of us? Do I rant about Trump and his idiocy, or the Middle East and Iran (more Trump idiocy if we're honest?), or do I rant closer to home and the Tory 'Landslide' with 43.6% of the vote and 2-million less than voted for Brwreakshit?

We have a new phenomena in the UK (seventh richest country on Earth); 'in-work poverty', yet they - the 'working poor' of the North East, the West Country, the fishing (ex-fishing) villages of East York's, Norfolk and Kent - voted for the people whose policies over 41 years have got us to this point, the people (Mogg, Weatherspoon, IDS and the rest) who pushed Brwreakshit to avoid the coming tax-regulations of Brussels . . . you can't make it up!

Or do I rant about Harry Hewitt and his wife, making their own way in the world? Well, I wouldn't rant about that, I'd rant about how the intrinsically, institutionally, hardly-disguised racists of the tabloid filth have treated them - since about five-seconds after 'the wedding of the century'!

So for now let's just look forwards to more old toys to buy . . . it's actaully still quite quiet, but there's enough about this weekend at least.

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Toy Fairs

Saturday 18th January 2020

Brentwood - J&J Fairs (John & Julie Webb)
International hall, Brentwood Centre, Doddinghurst Road, Brentwood, Essex, CM15 9NN
Tel. - 01522 880 383 (J & J Webb)
10:00 - Approx. 14:30hrs
Admission £3, seniors £2.50p, 1st child £2

Ludlow - Tony Oaks Toy Fairs - Ludlow Toy & Train Collector's Fair
Ludlow Racecourse, Bromfield, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 2BT
Internet presence unknown
Tel. - 01270 652 773
Mob. - 07825 631 323
10:30 - 14:00hrs
Admission £2.00
Free parking

Nottingham - Townsend Toy & Train Fairs (Malcolm Townsend) - Nottingham Toy Fair
Bluecoat Academy, Nottingham, NG8 5GY
Mob. - 07951 072 790
10:00 - 14:00hrs
Admission unknown, accompanied under-16's free
Light refreshments
Free Parking

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Sunday 19th January 2020

Coventry - Barry Potter / BP Fairs
The Connexion, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry, CV8 3FL
Tel. - 01604 846 688
Mob. - 07966 527 177
Fax. - 01604 771 070
10:30-15:00hrs
Admission £3, seniors £2.50p, children £1, early bird (from 08:00hrs) £6
Free parking

Newton Abbot - Ray Heard Train & Toy Fairs
Newton Abbot Racecourse, Devon, TQ12 3AF
Internet presence unknown
Tel. - 01823 480 097
10:00 -15:30hrs
Admission £2.00
Free parking, refreshments

Orpington - SRP Toyfairs
Crofton Halls, Orpington, Kent, BR6 8PR
Tel. - 07739 998 012 (Paula or Gerry)
10:00 - 14:00hrs
Admission charge unknown

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Auctions

Wednesday 22nd January 2020

Warwick - Warwick & Warwick
Charlton House, Scar Bank, Millers Road, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 5DB
(Auctions held in Court House)
Tel. - 01926 499 031
Facsimile - 01926 491 906
Catalogue on-line, printed version available on request
Trains, die cast, model soldiers and other toys

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Thursday 23rd January 2020

Sheffield - Shefield Auction Gallery
Windsor Road, Heeley, Sheffield, S8 8UB
Tel. - 0114 281 6161
Viewing - Wednesday 22nd 10:00 - 16:45, from 08:30 on sale day
14:00 - Finish
General toy and collectable sale

Stockton-on-Tees - Vectis Auctions
Fleck Way, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees, TS17 9JZ
Web. - www.vectis.co.uk
eMail - admin@vectis.co.uk
Tel. - 01642 750 616
Sales commence at 10:30hrs
General toy sale

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Friday 24th January 2020

Elstree - Excalibur Auctions (day 1 of a 2-day auction, day 2: Saturday 26th January)
The Village Hotel, Elstree, Hertfordshire, WD6 3SB (venue)
Chiltern Business Centre, Woodside Road, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 6AA (office)
Tel. - 02036 330 913
Free Tea or Coffee

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Other Events

Saturday 18th January 2020

Leicester - National Space Centre - Space Lates
National Space Centre, Exploration Drive, Leicester, Leicestershire
Interactive stuff

Swansea - National Waterfront Museum - Amazing Astronomy Afternoon
National Waterfront Museum, Oystermouth Road, Maritime Quarter, Swansea, Wales (it's not a sea-going mammal Mr. President)
Interactive stuff

West Stow - Anglo-Saxon Village - 420-2020
West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village, West Stow, Suffolk

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Tuesday 21st-Thursday 23rd January 2020

London (West-Central) - British Toy & Hobby Association - The Toy Fair 2020
Olympia Exhibition Hall, Kensington Olympia, Kensington, London, W14 8UX
Tel. - 08458 685 820
Tue/Wed. - 09:00-18:00hrs
Thursday - 09:00-17:30hrs
Admission by pre-booking/invitation only, no children without authorisation or equity/ performers-card
Annual trade-fair; I'm hoping to be there on the Wednesday.

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Overseas Events

Saturday January 18th 2020

Brooksville (USA) - Regal Railways
Hernando Fairgrounds, 6436 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34601, Florida, USA (venue)
501 East Bay Drive, Apt. 1503, Largo, FL 33770, Florida, USA (promoter)
Tel. - ++17 272 441 341
09:00-14:00hrs
Admission, $5.00 children under 12 free, 'early-bird' $7.00 (reserve between 08:00-09:00hrs)
Vendors and exhibition model train layout, antiques and crafts
Lunch Available

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If you are an event promoter/show curator/auctioneer and you want your toy, model, collectable, military, historical or popular-/youth-culture type sale/exhibition/event listed here -  FOR FREE  - or linked to; please eMail me -

maverickatlarge[at]hotmail[dot]com

- stating the date/s of the event, address of event, contact details, opening/viewing times, admission pricing and any other relevant facts/details or features - parking, travel notes, disability access, availability of refreshments, event subject matter &etc. And a link; if the event or your organisation has a web-page.

And please mention any flyer-art or poster-/leaflet-scans but send by separate eMail, in case they go to the 'junk' folder, from where they can be recovered and marked safe, but only if I know they're there!

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Toys in the Media

The British Government has got a figural trope going on their current pensions campaign, which will be familiar to UK readers, but for those of you further-afield;

Couple of Ger'Nomes! There is some gnome stuff in the queue, but I need to speak to the owner on a detail or two.

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Other News

Stadswatch

The bands must march! The bells must be rung! Call out the clowns, the jugglers . . . err and an elephant! The ticker-tape must flow in Allentown's Main Street; after 18-odd years of internet presence and more of computing, TJF has learned to crop images!

But he had to use some extra-special re-sizing software, which has apparently rendered them un-embiggen'able! So while his Blog shitestuffdotcom is measurably less useful, it now looks prettier! More Blue Box palm-trees should sort it all out, or some other cockamamie piece of bullshit cooked-up between him and Hildabreath or was it Lickshite? I wasn't paying attention!

Still - it was nice of them to visually confirm what I'd said 48-hours earlier! The hobby wins again!

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H is for How They Come In

Very little this week in the second-hand department, in fact nothing really, but I found something, lying, abandoned in the car-park at the railway station!

A flocked kitten who's commuter footfall-related mange led me to conduct a complete skinning, which - surprisingly - it looks all the better for! He's PVC so not a Sylvania', probably a modern In-My-Pocket type or a giveaway on the cover of a kids comic/periodical?

In order to have something else here I threw this in with a dino'lot (heading for a separate post) when the shopkeeper offered a discount; a lump of die-cast mazak, made in China (where else!), Great British, Little Englander, semi-privatised, half the collections for ten-times the postage, pillar-box! No branding.

Compare with the Dinky pillar-box appearing here next Monday at 11am local time!

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Q is for Question Time - Russian Metal

I say 'Russian', but my knowledge of Cyrillic is all but non-existent and attempts to put a brand-mark to theses have so far proved fruitless, they could be Bulgarian or something - one of the letters is apparently a Belorussian-Ukrainian used 'i'. [All since sorted see below]

ФІОЛ; 17th C Ukrainians; 17th Century Cossacks; 1812; 28mm War Gaming Figure; 28mm War Gaming Figures; Borodino; Cossacks; Efioel; FIOL; French Toy Soldiers; J&D; Kiev Based FIOL; Napoleonic Toy Soldiers; Russian Cossacks; Russian Infantry; Russian Toy Soldiers; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Ukrainian Cossack Troops; War Games Figures; War Gaming; Wargame Sets; Wargaming; Whitemetal Diorama; Whitemetal Figurine; Whitemetal Figurines; Whitemetal Vignette;
Packaging is quite complicated with an flat card fixed - by staples - to a curved L or C-shaped front piece made of clear propylene or polycarbonate sheet of some kind. The figures are tied-in to another L-shaped card with fine copper-wire of the sort you pull from 'phone-cable, and this card slips tightly into the cover-assembly making an over-all b-shape. Rack-tree wire-hanger holes are provided in the main 'wrap' and on the end of the insert, but if you hung them vertically from that hole some would likely lose the outer-cover?

ФІОЛ; 17th C Ukrainians; 17th Century Cossacks; 1812; 28mm War Gaming Figure; 28mm War Gaming Figures; Borodino; Cossacks; Efioel; FIOL; French Toy Soldiers; J&D; Kiev Based FIOL; Napoleonic Toy Soldiers; Russian Cossacks; Russian Infantry; Russian Toy Soldiers; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Ukrainian Cossack Troops; War Games Figures; War Gaming; Wargame Sets; Wargaming; Whitemetal Diorama; Whitemetal Figurine; Whitemetal Figurines; Whitemetal Vignette;
Each card carries a white metal element consisting of one mounted figure, and either five foot figures and an artillery piece, or seven (or - in one case - eight) foot figures, to which is added a plaster (chalk-ware) or resin scenic piece which on my five samples is always a low dry-stone wall with a slight curve and some ivy-like vegetation climbing or embedded-in one or both ends.

I suspect one of the figures is a character figure and you can see from the Airfix guardsman that they are about 35mm. The figures are unmarked and are fitted to the bases after the figures have been formed, but possibly 'as' the base is being formed/poured.

The figures are flat-colour painted, the plaster/resin scenics are washed with a gloss weathering varnish, giving them the appearance of wet-walls and making it harder to decide on the material without taking a sharp instrument to them, something I've resisted so far.

ФІОЛ; 17th C Ukrainians; 17th Century Cossacks; 1812; 28mm War Gaming Figure; 28mm War Gaming Figures; Borodino; Cossacks; Efioel; FIOL; French Toy Soldiers; J&D; Kiev Based FIOL; Napoleonic Toy Soldiers; Russian Cossacks; Russian Infantry; Russian Toy Soldiers; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Ukrainian Cossack Troops; War Games Figures; War Gaming; Wargame Sets; Wargaming; Whitemetal Diorama; Whitemetal Figurine; Whitemetal Figurines; Whitemetal Vignette;
Same unit, different contents, with two walls and the figures we have enough for a last stand . . . just need some enemy! The Cyrillic text seems to be the original of the English text to the left and might have a clue to the maker in the last line - ФІОП = Efiope = FIOP? ФІОЛ = Efioel = FIOL?

Which is where the previous paragraph and the intro' would have left it, but for Nazar getting back to me earlier this week and confirming that it is FIOL out of Kiev in the Ukraine, although that leaves the last clue (bottom of post) for further study, were they bought-in as unpainted castings, or did they just commission a sculptor who signs in the Latin alphabet?

ФІОЛ; 17th C Ukrainians; 17th Century Cossacks; 1812; 28mm War Gaming Figure; 28mm War Gaming Figures; Borodino; Cossacks; Efioel; FIOL; French Toy Soldiers; J&D; Kiev Based FIOL; Napoleonic Toy Soldiers; Russian Cossacks; Russian Infantry; Russian Toy Soldiers; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Ukrainian Cossack Troops; War Games Figures; War Gaming; Wargame Sets; Wargaming; Whitemetal Diorama; Whitemetal Figurine; Whitemetal Figurines; Whitemetal Vignette;
There is something of the Del Prado part-work sets (or was it DeAgostini, I have them somewhere and we'll look at them some time) about these, but less of an army-builder element, suggesting a decorative aim rather than gaming?

ФІОЛ; 17th C Ukrainians; 17th Century Cossacks; 1812; 28mm War Gaming Figure; 28mm War Gaming Figures; Borodino; Cossacks; Efioel; FIOL; French Toy Soldiers; J&D; Kiev Based FIOL; Napoleonic Toy Soldiers; Russian Cossacks; Russian Infantry; Russian Toy Soldiers; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Ukrainian Cossack Troops; War Games Figures; War Gaming; Wargame Sets; Wargaming; Whitemetal Diorama; Whitemetal Figurine; Whitemetal Figurines; Whitemetal Vignette;
Other eras are also touched-upon it seems, these from the wars with the Ottoman Empire (next one; any day now!) I assume, but the cannon is just a re-paint of the previous piece.

ФІОЛ; 17th C Ukrainians; 17th Century Cossacks; 1812; 28mm War Gaming Figure; 28mm War Gaming Figures; Borodino; Cossacks; Efioel; FIOL; French Toy Soldiers; J&D; Kiev Based FIOL; Napoleonic Toy Soldiers; Russian Cossacks; Russian Infantry; Russian Toy Soldiers; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Ukrainian Cossack Troops; War Games Figures; War Gaming; Wargame Sets; Wargaming; Whitemetal Diorama; Whitemetal Figurine; Whitemetal Figurines; Whitemetal Vignette;
That's the piece they need to give 'Johnny Turk' a headache, my tourist keepsake of the Tzar Gun! In both cases, 17th and 19th Century's there are no gunners supplied which is a bit odd, especially for any war games, or gaming system, so they may be directly aimed at the tourist market like the old plastic Tzar Gun?

I think I bought them in the 2000's from a dealer at one of Andy Harfield's shows down in Kent, and they looked slightly aged then, so possibly 1980's, certainly 1990's, and/but they may have been a Herne purchase?

ФІОЛ; 17th C Ukrainians; 17th Century Cossacks; 1812; 28mm War Gaming Figure; 28mm War Gaming Figures; Borodino; Cossacks; Efioel; FIOL; French Toy Soldiers; J&D; Kiev Based FIOL; Napoleonic Toy Soldiers; Russian Cossacks; Russian Infantry; Russian Toy Soldiers; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Ukrainian Cossack Troops; War Games Figures; War Gaming; Wargame Sets; Wargaming; Whitemetal Diorama; Whitemetal Figurine; Whitemetal Figurines; Whitemetal Vignette;
Ah, Johnny Frenchie . . . or should that be Pierre? Some fine Wellintonian enemy for the earlier Russians, and his (Wellington's) nemesis is there too, look, the little corporal of Emperor'ness!

ФІОЛ; 17th C Ukrainians; 17th Century Cossacks; 1812; 28mm War Gaming Figure; 28mm War Gaming Figures; Borodino; Cossacks; Efioel; FIOL; French Toy Soldiers; J&D; Kiev Based FIOL; Napoleonic Toy Soldiers; Russian Cossacks; Russian Infantry; Russian Toy Soldiers; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Ukrainian Cossack Troops; War Games Figures; War Gaming; Wargame Sets; Wargaming; Whitemetal Diorama; Whitemetal Figurine; Whitemetal Figurines; Whitemetal Vignette;
The round-based figures have the same two-part appearance with two foot-pegs (?) semi-melted into the base, while the horses have a thin, integrally-moulded base. We will look at the oblong bases in a minute - saving the best only real clue 'till the end!

ФІОЛ; 17th C Ukrainians; 17th Century Cossacks; 1812; 28mm War Gaming Figure; 28mm War Gaming Figures; Borodino; Cossacks; Efioel; FIOL; French Toy Soldiers; J&D; Kiev Based FIOL; Napoleonic Toy Soldiers; Russian Cossacks; Russian Infantry; Russian Toy Soldiers; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Ukrainian Cossack Troops; War Games Figures; War Gaming; Wargame Sets; Wargaming; Whitemetal Diorama; Whitemetal Figurine; Whitemetal Figurines; Whitemetal Vignette;
I don't know why one has eight foot-figures against the usual seven, and the cavalryman is the same but the mount differs. Both have the Corsican in command, another clue to tourists over gamers as an intended end-user group.

ФІОЛ; 17th C Ukrainians; 17th Century Cossacks; 1812; 28mm War Gaming Figure; 28mm War Gaming Figures; Borodino; Cossacks; Efioel; FIOL; French Toy Soldiers; J&D; Kiev Based FIOL; Napoleonic Toy Soldiers; Russian Cossacks; Russian Infantry; Russian Toy Soldiers; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Ukrainian Cossack Troops; War Games Figures; War Gaming; Wargame Sets; Wargaming; Whitemetal Diorama; Whitemetal Figurine; Whitemetal Figurines; Whitemetal Vignette;
These are all bearskin'ed imperial or old guard while the other set had some line infantry or young guard in shakos. And . . . luckily, one's come loose!

ФІОЛ; 17th C Ukrainians; 17th Century Cossacks; 1812; 28mm War Gaming Figure; 28mm War Gaming Figures; Borodino; Cossacks; Efioel; FIOL; French Toy Soldiers; J&D; Kiev Based FIOL; Napoleonic Toy Soldiers; Russian Cossacks; Russian Infantry; Russian Toy Soldiers; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Ukrainian Cossack Troops; War Games Figures; War Gaming; Wargame Sets; Wargaming; Whitemetal Diorama; Whitemetal Figurine; Whitemetal Figurines; Whitemetal Vignette;
And this is he, nothing to write home about on the painting front (but you can get a Blog post out of it!) but it's solid enough for a commercial paint-job at this scale and probably stands up well-enough against the - slightly smaller? - part-work figures previously mentioned? Note also that the base is a more standard integral part of the moulding and has a small cypher mark in the corner on the underside.

ФІОЛ; 17th C Ukrainians; 17th Century Cossacks; 1812; 28mm War Gaming Figure; 28mm War Gaming Figures; Borodino; Cossacks; Efioel; FIOL; French Toy Soldiers; J&D; Kiev Based FIOL; Napoleonic Toy Soldiers; Russian Cossacks; Russian Infantry; Russian Toy Soldiers; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Ukrainian Cossack Troops; War Games Figures; War Gaming; Wargame Sets; Wargaming; Whitemetal Diorama; Whitemetal Figurine; Whitemetal Figurines; Whitemetal Vignette;
Seems to be a Roman alphabet J&D rather than anything Cyrillic, but I turned it the other way up just in case? Does anyone recognise these figures, sets or the mark, or know from whence they came?

And thanks agin to Nazar for his help in getting these straight. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

News, View Etc . . . Vectis General Toys Sale 23rd January 2020

Latest press release (the missing one pertains to a sale later-on in the month!) from the office at Vectis has come in for next Thursday's auction . . .

"The General Toy sale to be held on the 23rd of January features a good selection of boxed and unboxed car, van, and truck groups from Corgi, Matchbox, EFE, Lledo, Hot Wheels, Spot-On, Bburago, Maisto, Solido and many more. Plus, Dinky Gift sets, Corgi Heavy Haulage and Haulage of Renown models; Franklin Mint aircraft, and Britains unboxed farm figures. Further items include TV and Film related vehicles, Robots, space and novelty toys, Scalextric, Midgetoy, and Western Models. The sale will also include catalogues, magazines, books, cabinets, Children's bicycles, games, jigsaws, plates, pictures, Lego and much more."

News, Views Etc . . . More Paratroopers

The next lot of parachute toys have gone up on the new page, being the ones . . .

99p Stores; 99p Stores Parachutists; Civilian Sky-Divers; Civilian Sports Sky-Divers; D&D Distributers; D&D Distributers Parachutists; Faux-Silk Parachutes; Fizz Creations; Fizz Creations Parachutists; Fizz Parachutists; Fun Express; Fun Express Parachutists; Funtastic Parachutists; Halsall's; Halsall's Parachutists; HTI; HTI Parachutists; Key Craft Parachutists; Keycraft - Marshall's; Marshall's Parachutists; Play Write; Play Write Parachutists; Poundland Parachutists; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Success Parachutists; Top Toys; Top Toys Parachutists; W.H.Cornelius Parachutists; WH Cornelius;
. . . I think of as civi' sky-divers, or more-so than some of the other commoner designs!

C is for Christmas Exhibition - 6 of . . . err . . . 5! - Tour Eiffel

While editing part three I noticed a reference to another model, and - upon returning to the library here in Fleet after Christmas - found that indeed there was a final model perched on top of the main cabinet, out of the way of the hands of smaller visitors!

2019 Fleet Library; Apples To Pears; Blackpool Tower; Christmas Exhibition; Construction Set; Construction Toy; Eiffel Tower; Engineering; Fleet & Crookham Historical Society; Funktürm Berlin; Gloucestershire-Based Company; Hex-Drive; Meccano And Similar; Meccano-Like; Metal Construction Toys; Metal Toy; Small Scale World; Small Tin; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Tour Eiffel;
It's Blackpool Tower I think, or maybe the Funktürm in Berlin . . . Ally-pally? One of those giant pylons anyway! From a Gloucestershire-based company - Apples to Pears - it's more Meccano-like stuff but with the aid of the modern IKEA furniture-construction tool; a hex-drive!

2019 Fleet Library; Apples To Pears; Blackpool Tower; Christmas Exhibition; Construction Set; Construction Toy; Eiffel Tower; Engineering; Fleet & Crookham Historical Society; Funktürm Berlin; Gloucestershire-Based Company; Hex-Drive; Meccano And Similar; Meccano-Like; Metal Construction Toys; Metal Toy; Small Scale World; Small Tin; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Tour Eiffel;
Joking apart, the Eiffel tower is extraordinary, as it's A) huge, compared to all its look-a-likes and B) was built on a whim with no end-use other than being looked at or enjoyed . . . and it's still there!

This one comes carefully packed in a small tin!

C is for Christmas Exhibition - 5 of 5 - Low Display Table

The exhibition extended to a side table, where some of the earlier systems get a second outing with ephemera for a more nostalgia-related display than the ready-to-play stuff in the upright cabinet . . .

Ballast/Mineral Wagon; Bayko; Big Train; Binns Road; Christmas Exhibition; Exhibition Of Construction Toys; Fleet Library; G-gauge; Green/Red Meccano; Low Display Table; Massey Ferguson; Masterbuilder; Meccano; Minibrix; Ministry of Education; Morris Minor; Passenger Coach; Primus Engineering; RAF roundel; Science Museum; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Trix catalogue; Vulcanised Rubber;
. . . which looks like this! The two items which aren't further looked at in the next four images are firstly; the late green/red Meccano set (bottom centre), I know it's late as it has a yellow plastic tray insert to hold the components, but the earlier colour scheme with grey wheels. My brother and I had yellow vac-forms but blue/yellow plates and silver-anodised beams, so ours must have come just after this set.

Note also the aircraft engine, propeller and wing-struts (along with non-standard wheels?), all job-specific parts, but the piece I like most is the bolt-on RAF roundel!

The other item of note here is a catalogue of exhibits for an exhibition of construction toys at the Science Museum, issued by the Ministry of Education no less! I can't make out the date but it looks to be either 1945 or '55, and would be a wonder to view now . . . are the items still in their archive?

Ballast/Mineral Wagon; Bayko; Big Train; Binns Road; Christmas Exhibition; Exhibition Of Construction Toys; Fleet Library; G-gauge; Green/Red Meccano; Low Display Table; Massey Ferguson; Masterbuilder; Meccano; Minibrix; Ministry of Education; Morris Minor; Passenger Coach; Primus Engineering; RAF roundel; Science Museum; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Trix catalogue; Vulcanised Rubber;
Trix catalogue and parts, as I mused a couple of posts ago; I think this is a licensed product re-branded to Trix (or from Trix?) and that a US company is also known for these triple-pierced beams? The cog and disc are very similar to Meccano parts, but the spanner has the added value of being included* into a model . . . so long as you have a second to tighten the nuts!

*I tried 'assembleable' but it seems to be a new-word too far!

Ballast/Mineral Wagon; Bayko; Big Train; Binns Road; Christmas Exhibition; Exhibition Of Construction Toys; Fleet Library; G-gauge; Green/Red Meccano; Low Display Table; Massey Ferguson; Masterbuilder; Meccano; Minibrix; Ministry of Education; Morris Minor; Passenger Coach; Primus Engineering; RAF roundel; Science Museum; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Trix catalogue; Vulcanised Rubber;
Minibrix; we didn't have this system as kids but many of our friends did, I found it a bit boring, as (like Bayko, missing from this year's exhibition at Fleet Library, but seen in past displays) it can only make endless variations of a few basic building types - no cranes, no spaceships, a crude crocodile maybe, if you tried hard enough and had both a good imagination and good visio-spatial planning skills, but not realistically set up to model anything other than another 'box' with or without pitched roof!

In its defence it was made out of a very stable vulcanised rubber, like vehicle tyre-rubber (unlike that Italian stuff which has melted vast tracts of Toy Soldier history to sticky, furry lumps of nothing!), and while you sometimes find it with a perished surface (a sort of flaking hardened 'varnish' as a top layer), most is as useable now as it as when it was made 50 or 60 years ago.

Note the door; along with the windows, small points top and bottom of the element locate into dimples along the surface-edges of bars or bricks. And - like truck-tyres - it was bloody heavy!

Ballast/Mineral Wagon; Bayko; Big Train; Binns Road; Christmas Exhibition; Exhibition Of Construction Toys; Fleet Library; G-gauge; Green/Red Meccano; Low Display Table; Massey Ferguson; Masterbuilder; Meccano; Minibrix; Ministry of Education; Morris Minor; Passenger Coach; Primus Engineering; RAF roundel; Science Museum; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Trix catalogue; Vulcanised Rubber;
We saw the ballast/mineral wagon in an earlier post, here's most of a passenger coach! The image seems to be of an auction lot and shows a whole set which also builds a windmill, a rail crane and section of track looking to be about G-gauge or 'Big' in plastic parlance!

Ballast/Mineral Wagon; Bayko; Big Train; Binns Road; Christmas Exhibition; Exhibition Of Construction Toys; Fleet Library; G-gauge; Green/Red Meccano; Low Display Table; Massey Ferguson; Masterbuilder; Meccano; Minibrix; Ministry of Education; Morris Minor; Passenger Coach; Primus Engineering; RAF roundel; Science Museum; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Trix catalogue; Vulcanised Rubber;
Masterbuilder handbook and parts; again very similar to Meccano, but actually the 'rims' are better modelled than those of Binns Road's system, in separate scales they wouldn't look out of place on a Morris Minor or a Massey Ferguson!

The whole collection is still on exhibition now and to be seen in Fleet Library (North Hampshire - Berkshire - Surry triangle), and should - if previous years are to be a guide - continue 'till the end of January 2020.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

News, Views Etc . . . New Page! Parachute Toys & Novelties

As the pressure - and material - for the firefighter page is building-up, I'm 'encouraged' by circumstance to clear the parachute-deck, so the first post in the quick-build of that page, over the next few weeks/months, has gone live here, or above.

13109; 13109 PBF Parachute Soldier; 385-92-8473; Combat; Combat Force; Combat Parachute Man; Fight With The Best; Fun Tastic; FunTastic; Funtastik; Hawkin Tobar; Hawkin's Bazaar; Hawkin's Bazar; Hawkin-Tobar; Hawkins Bazaar; HL284; Hunson; Marshall Group Limited; Marshall Group Ltd.; Marshall's Imports; Marshall's Wholesalers; OKK Trading; Para Patrol; Para Trooper; Para troopers; Parachute Toy Page; Parachute Toys; Paratrooper Toys; Paratroopers; Paratroops; Poundland; Poundland (Funtastic); Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Soldier Force; Super Parachutes; Tobar Toys; Toyrific Toys;
The idea is to build the basic page in eight or nine chunks in the near future, each chunk going at the top of the page, pushing the already-published stuff one block down the page each time, so today's post is the newest stuff, design wise, and the oldest will end-up near the top, but actually novelties will probably go first . . . I'll see how it pans-out!

C is for Christmas Exhibition - 4 of 5 - Frank Hornby's Meccano

I'm not sure who invented the first pierced-steel construction system, nor which side of the pond, or Channel, it first occurred on and how much the first influenced the subsequent lines of their rivals, but just as stone-age kids played with stones and bronze-age kids played with bronze figurines (well; they might have, if they were rich enough!), so it was only a matter of time before someone in the industrial age invented something which looked like Meccano, and I suspect several sets appeared independently, at around the same time, with similar properties, but here in the UK we tend to think (and be told) Frank Hornby was first?

Certainly, it was [arguably] the most successful, and despite a few hiccups . . . survives today, as a French-owned brand with a tenuous link back to French Hornby or French Dinky, and would survive for longer - if it went final tits-up tomorrow - through the many clones coming out of mile-long factories in Szechwan and Guangdong!

Army Sets; Childhood Meccano; Christmas Exhibition; Cross-Cut Phillip's; De Havilland Moth; Engineering; Frank Hornby; Frank Hornby's Meccano; French Dinky; French Hornby; French-Owned; Hawk Moth; Hex-Drives; Meccano; Metalcraft; Motorway-Construction; Pierced-Steel Construction System; Puss Moth; Racing Car; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Spirit Of St. Louis; Steam Engine; Tiger Moth; Tractor;
Ancient and modern . . . little and large!

Army Sets; Childhood Meccano; Christmas Exhibition; Cross-Cut Phillip's; De Havilland Moth; Engineering; Frank Hornby; Frank Hornby's Meccano; French Dinky; French Hornby; French-Owned; Hawk Moth; Hex-Drives; Meccano; Metalcraft; Motorway-Construction; Pierced-Steel Construction System; Puss Moth; Racing Car; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Spirit Of St. Louis; Steam Engine; Tiger Moth; Tractor;
Although several of the components are vintage, especially the boiler, it has been put together with the modern bolts, which contrary to my previous comment in the preceding post aren't cross-cut Phillip's, but small (3 or 4 mil') hex-drives.

Army Sets; Childhood Meccano; Christmas Exhibition; Cross-Cut Phillip's; De Havilland Moth; Engineering; Frank Hornby; Frank Hornby's Meccano; French Dinky; French Hornby; French-Owned; Hawk Moth; Hex-Drives; Meccano; Metalcraft; Motorway-Construction; Pierced-Steel Construction System; Puss Moth; Racing Car; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Spirit Of St. Louis; Steam Engine; Tiger Moth; Tractor;
The racing car is built to a vintage plan but seems to be mostly recent components, or at least components I recognise from my childhood Meccano - 1960/80's, while the 'plane would seem to be referencing Tin-Tin's, and thus is probably from a larger French set?

Army Sets; Childhood Meccano; Christmas Exhibition; Cross-Cut Phillip's; De Havilland Moth; Engineering; Frank Hornby; Frank Hornby's Meccano; French Dinky; French Hornby; French-Owned; Hawk Moth; Hex-Drives; Meccano; Metalcraft; Motorway-Construction; Pierced-Steel Construction System; Puss Moth; Racing Car; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Spirit Of St. Louis; Steam Engine; Tiger Moth; Tractor;
Some more shots of both.

Army Sets; Childhood Meccano; Christmas Exhibition; Cross-Cut Phillip's; De Havilland Moth; Engineering; Frank Hornby; Frank Hornby's Meccano; French Dinky; French Hornby; French-Owned; Hawk Moth; Hex-Drives; Meccano; Metalcraft; Motorway-Construction; Pierced-Steel Construction System; Puss Moth; Racing Car; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Spirit Of St. Louis; Steam Engine; Tiger Moth; Tractor;
Some more small pieces and a wounderful vintage aeroplane which has a many model-specific parts or 'shapes' as the Metalcraft Spirit of St. Louis in the previous post, something I have to confess I wasn't aware of.

Army Sets; Childhood Meccano; Christmas Exhibition; Cross-Cut Phillip's; De Havilland Moth; Engineering; Frank Hornby; Frank Hornby's Meccano; French Dinky; French Hornby; French-Owned; Hawk Moth; Hex-Drives; Meccano; Metalcraft; Motorway-Construction; Pierced-Steel Construction System; Puss Moth; Racing Car; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Spirit Of St. Louis; Steam Engine; Tiger Moth; Tractor;
We had tons of yellow/blue, our cousins inherited a multi-drawer cabinet of red/green heavy-gauge vintage, and while I knew there were the odd specialist part (the motorway-construction and army sets in the 1970's had a pre-formed lorry-cab I think?), this is quite a specific model, of a De Havilland Moth? Hawk, Puss . . . Tiger?

C is for Christmas Exhibition - 3 of 5 - Metal Construction Systems

The lower shelves of this year's display are on the metal building systems and again the upper of the two has non-Meccano, the lower all Meccano, this post addresses that first, upper, Meccano-free tier.

AC Gilbert; Breakdown Truck; Bulldozer; Chinese Import; Christmas Exhibition; Early Meccano; Eitech; Erector Sets; FIA Toys; German; Gift Box Co.; Harley-D; Junior Engineer's Workshop; Land Rover; Leicestershire; Licensed US Product; Loughborough; Marks & Spencer; Masterbuilder; Meccano; Meccano-Free; Meccano-Similar; Metal Construction Systems; Metal Mechanic; Metalcraft Corp.; Mini Cooper; Non-Meccano; Nuts And Bolts Engineering; Padgett Brothers (A-Z); Primus Engineering; Racing Car; Rail Wagon; Remco In The US; Series One; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Snowmobile; Spirit Of St. Louis; St Louis; Steel Tech; Tobar; Trix; Vintage Crane; Who Credit It To Germany;
Two from the same manufacturer at 1 and 5, one being Tobar's contract manufactured Junior Engineer's Workshop Racing Car and five a Bulldozer credited to FIA Toys marque; Nuts and Bolts Engineering. You can see the plastic parts are identical despite the plethora of brand marks!

The scales (9) seem to be a direct copy of- and contemporaneous with- early Meccano, from Masterbuilder of Loughborough, Leicestershire. While at ten we have an army Land Rover (Series One I think, or is it a Mini Cooper! See previous post!) from the Gift Box Co., who sound like another importer.

AC Gilbert; Breakdown Truck; Bulldozer; Chinese Import; Christmas Exhibition; Early Meccano; Eitech; Erector Sets; FIA Toys; German; Gift Box Co.; Harley-D; Junior Engineer's Workshop; Land Rover; Leicestershire; Licensed US Product; Loughborough; Marks & Spencer; Masterbuilder; Meccano; Meccano-Free; Meccano-Similar; Metal Construction Systems; Metal Mechanic; Metalcraft Corp.; Mini Cooper; Non-Meccano; Nuts And Bolts Engineering; Padgett Brothers (A-Z); Primus Engineering; Racing Car; Rail Wagon; Remco In The US; Series One; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Snowmobile; Spirit Of St. Louis; St Louis; Steel Tech; Tobar; Trix; Vintage Crane; Who Credit It To Germany;
In front of the Lanny we have a vintage crane on a rail wagon from AC Gilbert's Meccano-similar Erector sets (6), note the nice truss-girders used on the arm. In the foreground is a snowmobile form German brand Eitech.

AC Gilbert; Breakdown Truck; Bulldozer; Chinese Import; Christmas Exhibition; Early Meccano; Eitech; Erector Sets; FIA Toys; German; Gift Box Co.; Harley-D; Junior Engineer's Workshop; Land Rover; Leicestershire; Licensed US Product; Loughborough; Marks & Spencer; Masterbuilder; Meccano; Meccano-Free; Meccano-Similar; Metal Construction Systems; Metal Mechanic; Metalcraft Corp.; Mini Cooper; Non-Meccano; Nuts And Bolts Engineering; Padgett Brothers (A-Z); Primus Engineering; Racing Car; Rail Wagon; Remco In The US; Series One; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Snowmobile; Spirit Of St. Louis; St Louis; Steel Tech; Tobar; Trix; Vintage Crane; Who Credit It To Germany;
Hidden by flash reflection the 3 on the roof of the blue truck announces a Breakdown Truck from the department store chain Marks & Spencer, who credit it to Germany, as it has the same Phillip's driver holes as the Eitech, that might be a clue, but to be honest; I think even Meccano (still going as a French-owned brand) have gone over to crossed, from slotted?

The footbridge (7) is another vintage rival to Meccano; Trix, although I think it's a licensed US product, I just can't remember who, the third line of holes in the beams is the giveaway.

At the back is a nice looking Harley-D (11) type from Remco in the US, but not vintage; it's another modern Chinese import (and thanks to Chris Smith Remco will be reappearing soon have now appeared here recently!), brand-marked Steel Tech.

AC Gilbert; Breakdown Truck; Bulldozer; Chinese Import; Christmas Exhibition; Early Meccano; Eitech; Erector Sets; FIA Toys; German; Gift Box Co.; Harley-D; Junior Engineer's Workshop; Land Rover; Leicestershire; Licensed US Product; Loughborough; Marks & Spencer; Masterbuilder; Meccano; Meccano-Free; Meccano-Similar; Metal Construction Systems; Metal Mechanic; Metalcraft Corp.; Mini Cooper; Non-Meccano; Nuts And Bolts Engineering; Padgett Brothers (A-Z); Primus Engineering; Racing Car; Rail Wagon; Remco In The US; Series One; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Snowmobile; Spirit Of St. Louis; St Louis; Steel Tech; Tobar; Trix; Vintage Crane; Who Credit It To Germany;
The two new ones here (from the previous picture) are another import from China; the little plane (4) is branded Metal Mechanic and credited to Padgett Brothers (A-Z), another rack-toy importer we've seen here before, while behind it we see a very old rail wagon from Primus Engineering (presumably the same people who made the camping stoves for the old Empire's expeditions and military?) with pre-shaped, real wood parts.

AC Gilbert; Breakdown Truck; Bulldozer; Chinese Import; Christmas Exhibition; Early Meccano; Eitech; Erector Sets; FIA Toys; German; Gift Box Co.; Harley-D; Junior Engineer's Workshop; Land Rover; Leicestershire; Licensed US Product; Loughborough; Marks & Spencer; Masterbuilder; Meccano; Meccano-Free; Meccano-Similar; Metal Construction Systems; Metal Mechanic; Metalcraft Corp.; Mini Cooper; Non-Meccano; Nuts And Bolts Engineering; Padgett Brothers (A-Z); Primus Engineering; Racing Car; Rail Wagon; Remco In The US; Series One; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Snowmobile; Spirit Of St. Louis; St Louis; Steel Tech; Tobar; Trix; Vintage Crane; Who Credit It To Germany;
This doesn't have the flexibility of the other systems (although the engine, wheels and struts are re-usable) and is probably aimed at adult collectors? Credited to Metalcraft Corp., of St Louis, and unmistakably the Spirit of St. Louis which that wotisname fellow crossed the pond in.

AC Gilbert; Breakdown Truck; Bulldozer; Chinese Import; Christmas Exhibition; Early Meccano; Eitech; Erector Sets; FIA Toys; German; Gift Box Co.; Harley-D; Junior Engineer's Workshop; Land Rover; Leicestershire; Licensed US Product; Loughborough; Marks & Spencer; Masterbuilder; Meccano; Meccano-Free; Meccano-Similar; Metal Construction Systems; Metal Mechanic; Metalcraft Corp.; Mini Cooper; Non-Meccano; Nuts And Bolts Engineering; Padgett Brothers (A-Z); Primus Engineering; Racing Car; Rail Wagon; Remco In The US; Series One; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Snowmobile; Spirit Of St. Louis; St Louis; Steel Tech; Tobar; Trix; Vintage Crane; Who Credit It To Germany;
Yep! Definitely a Series One!