About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

K is fur der Karmine Katzen ist so Kühl wie eine Kukumber Johnny!

Said Wulf Sternhammer, and he knew what he was talking about; I hope, 'cos no one else did! More pink Panthers, for such rare and unusual animals there are a lot about!

50mm PVC-alike (I'm preparing a page on polymers, after it's published I'll start referring to a lot of this 'PVC' as 'elastomer' which covers a multitude of sins) figurines which some of you may have seen on feebleBay, from whence I got these a couple of weeks ago, I'm on a bit of a Pink Panther hunt at the moment - among other things!

Each of them is greeting in some way with one hand, greetings being a 'high-four', 'got-cha'covered' finger-point, OK sign (not clear but it looks better 'in the polymer flesh'), a thumbs-up, a hat-doffed in greeting and a 'good idea' or 'agree with that' type finger-point.

Down the drive-through watching baseball on the big screen! I bought these from https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/391944784951 for £2.69p (free postage!), which is less than 45p-each and it was the first time I've purchased one of these direct from China lots, I can report there were no problems, they arrived from Hong Kong within a week, and the automated postal label had been ticked 'gift', so nothing evil doing at Heathrow either, you can pay £3 postage and have bigger problems buying something similar from 50-miles away.

Gangs of New Holland! What's rather comical is that apparently Pink Panthers can be naked to play table tennis, go to the theatre , play basket-ball, woo a lady panther (with a bunch of clover? Probably cat-nip!) or sit about doing nothing, but - get your camera out and you'd better-be probably dressed young cat!

And; when I say "Naked", a dickey-bow seems de rigueur!

T is for Two - Wheelers!

Bit of a lazy post, because I had a lazy weekend and didn't get anything ready for yesterday or today, except the stuff for the other Blogs announced in yesterday's post! Both these were shot at the May show, both self-explanatory and the second probably seen before - certainly seen before in some form.

This is obviously a touristy-thing; I suspect from Ireland, it's err . . . a Jaunting Car! For going for a jaunt in, obviously! I said they were self-explanatory! Nothing else to say really, it's a brittle or tinny polystyrene, airbrush-decorated through stencils and around 54mm or 1:32nd scale, almost in the style of a porcelain 'fairing', the sort of thing it probably replaced.

There is no clue underneath as to make or origin, date or anything else, so that's the first; a probably Irish jaunt'er! It's also the leading candidate for the most boring shot ever loaded on Small Scale World Dot Blogspot Dot Com competition! However, don't think I dislike it, I bought it - after I'd shot it!

The second has been before, but I can't remember if it was a boxed one, and whether or not the figure was PVC or ethylene, but here's another one and it'll get it in the tag-list so it comes up with the previous post/s. This bronze version is - I think - the earlier one (even though I consider the vinyl figures more common than the ethylene ones) that the Hong Kong copy was based-on.

[checked upon posting - it was red with white horses and the PVC spear-man]

The box, nice 1960's (?) artwork; playing-on the Chariot Race from Ben Hur on one panel, with a reasonably accurate depiction of the contents on the larger side.

Monday, June 18, 2018

News, Views Etc . . . New Content - Airfix Blog, Galoob, Football, Card Collector's Flyer +

New content has been added to various small-scale posts on the Airfix Blog today, including horse/base comparisons on the Bedouin/Nap. French Infantry/AWI Grenadiers posts, new content on the 1st & 2nd version WWII Eighth Army, 1st version WWII German Infantry, Civilians and the Infantry Combat Group, while the Lone Star/Airfix comparison shots have finally been added to the 1st & 2nd versions of Afrika Korps & WWII German Infantry and to the British Paratroops. Most have had some text, but it's only reminded me of how behind I am over there!

I've also added two pairs of new pictures/screen-capchas to the Galoob page - numbers 40; pilot, and 41; a new carrier-deck bib-colour/base variant.

_ᴥ­_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_

For any fans or collectors of tea, gum and cigarette cards, The Card Scene magazine (formerly Card Times) is the one for you - if you've not found it yet? Six issues a year (each with up to 36 pages) for £17 seems reasonable value for money compared to other publications of the same type.

[cheques payable to Ace Card Ents]

Ace Card Enterprises (C/O J. Devaney)
10 Yelverton Road

_ᴥ­_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_

Football News
The first casualty of the current pig's-bladder kicking contest in Putin's war-mongering gulag may be Panini's UK-distributor Connect. After some negative publicity earlier in the year over how many packs you'd have to buy to guarantee a full set following - what seems to be an act of pure profiteering - a price hike from 50p to 80p (about a Dollar or Euro), sales dropped, leading to an ironic - if you accept my charge of profiteering - profits warning last week!

Although this is not to mistake a profit warning as equating to a lack of success; with or without a price hike the two packs (single and x6) were the second and sixth best selling items in the toy sector; week-ending 19th may, according to analysts NPD Group.

Nevertheless, Mark Cashmore the CEO of Connect has resigned and WHSmith the High Street newsagents (themselves, recently declared worst shop on the said High Street by the consumer watchdog Which?), felt the need to organise an in-store 'Swap Event' (Saturday 2nd June) encouraging kids (or dads?) to come in and swap their duplicates with each other, in order - presumably - to minimise purchases, in the normal course of events I'd say "You can't make this shit up" but in the new Trumpundbrexit 'world order' it seems anything goes while we wait patiently for the end!

The cause of all this was a work published back in March by mathematics Professor Paul Harper who calculated the cost of obtaining a full album to be a eye-watering £773.60p which is probably about the same as my total toy-figure spend in two or more years.

With 32 squads to collect plus the special-page and whole-team stickers it could be more, I'm not sure he's calculated the potential inequality of the 'randomness' of packs contents (vis-a-vis batches or waves) given that a sheet (seen at the printers - in the i newspaper; Thursday, 7th June) only had 200 stickers on it (A1 sheet, 20x10), suggesting different batches will have different duplicates - if you see what I mean?

As far as other football playthings go, Match Attack and Top Trump football sets are also selling well at the moment. Apparently football-related toy-sales have doubled in recent times for the periods of each World Cup or Euro-Championship, making up 6% of toy sales in those years, for a seasonal industry relying on Christmas and summer 'super-soakers' - that's not small beer.

_ᴥ­_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_

Toys in the Media! This is a current flyer locally my friends got sent, for the central heating firm undertaking checks for Vivid, who are the new name for several local authority's preferred housing association. It looks to be a library shot, possibly available on-line somewhere, as it's unlikely a central heating company in Farnborough would have access to a HO-railway model of an alpine chalet, but you never know! Anyone recognise the model/maker/brand?

_ᴥ­_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_

Returning to Galoob; my assistant - being as helpful as always - decided that sorting the Micro Machine G.I's numerically by base-mark is just not the sensible way to go at the task, in her own words -

"Hughman - You need to sort them leastest lastest, mostest firstest, and the red & white ones can go on the floor for now, look, here; I'll do it for you, you're obviously 'busy' faffing about with that camera!"

Sunday, June 17, 2018

News, Views etc . . . Khaki Infantry Page, plus, plus . . .

Chris Smith has kindly sent photographs of a set of the Toltoys Combat Squad copies from Australia for the Khaki Infantry Page and I've added them there; after Tenco's Model which has also been updated.

Meanwhile Barney Brown eMailed with news of a new bunch of 'Khaki Infantry' subjects in his store which was rather fortuitous timing!

New game: random search-term gave-up Dipsy* with a bullet-hole in his forehead - Priceless!

* Or at least I think it's Dipsy**

** Other dead Teletubbies may be available - check stockist's for details***

*** No Dipsy's were hurt in the making of this Post ****

**** Or were they?

Toys in advertising; dodgy-Muppets flogging credit cards, wasn't it ever thus in bwanking!

Fleet Toys (who aren't actually called Fleet Toys anymore!) have changed their 'gate-guardian' again, we have a unified-German policeman, anglicised! If you had a big estate it would be fun to have a few of these hidden about the place holding hose-pipes or rakes or something! Or you could get some Lego ones and have them fighting!

I've nothing ready for Monday, I was busy with a wild-flower 'meadow' (more of a 'patch' really) on Friday so it will be a late posting tomorrow!

T is for Two - 'Army Men' Artillery Appliances

In the pile of 'Army Men' vehicles from Peter Evans, was two artillery pieces, one of which was problematical in that (or 'a') uniquely Hong Kong/China fashion, I fixed the problem, taking a few shots as I did so, so that's the core of the post, but I've stuck the other on the end for the hell of it.

Vaguely showing its heritage in a hundred copies of the old Dinky 25lb'er and similar, but simplified to the point of futuristic/air-droppable howitzer . . . of a sort! The maximum elevation is shown - great for firing off a castle-wall, but bugger-all use on a battlefield, even against crumbly, modern, stick-weapon army men!

A quick inspection revealed that two flat plates coming forward of the trunions was the core of the problem; fouling the shield, it was only 'right' or comfortable, if pointing at the grass in front of it! Indecently - from the clear 'CHINA' mark in that sqiudged sans-serif, it appears to be from some of the larger bagged sets with the same figures as those Halsall/HTI sets we've looked at.

A bit of surgical engineering and bob's-your-uncle; all that was needed was to cut off those two flat ears of plastic. But one wonders how the hell it ever got out of the factory, I know it's a cheap rack-toy and I know I've made the same point in the past, but the tool costs the same, a trail-fit at some point, ten minutes with a burr or welding-rod,  or a combination of the both could have prevented it? Weird!

Fixed, it's still not pretty, but a bit of paint and it'll do for lawn war-gaming?

This was in the same lot, and it's an odd one, because it looks like the New Ray piece, but is pretty-poor quality, now, I'm only going on memories of catalogue images, and catalogues which have been in storage for over six years, but I thought the finish/build-quality of the New Ray models was better than this which is quite naff, really!

But then maybe I'm being unkind, its main problem is the flashy mould-lines right round the middle of the gun and the floor-tray of the mounting/trailer, the real naffness is the lack of detail to the underside, but then that's hidden from view. The 'chrome-plated, mag-alloys' (which I'm sure the New Ray one desn't have) don't help, but they are a problem with a lot of cheap toy vehicles.

I will check it with the New Ray's in time, but thought I'd chuck it up here as a box-ticker! And again; a bit of paint and you've a nice piece for cold war-ear smaller armies - Argentine commandos used similar units.

D is for Dinosaur Eggs . . . With Mini Toy Inside!

Pity they died-out really, although we'd be knee-deep in toys by now . . . err . . . some of us already are! Brain (Terranova) sent these a few days ago, and I was going to include them in a capsule toy round-up, then I thought they'd better go in an eraser follow-up, but sorting those I thought "I'm sure I've done the pigs . . . and I think we've had that . . . ?" so decided they'd better get their own post while I work out what's been published and what hasn't!

Four in a bag and Terra' didn't give a price, but I bet they are cheaper that the equivalent Kinder eggs, but then without the chocolate; they should be I suppose! Imported by Regent Products and manufactured by '1707-6500' . . . that'll be a state-owned contract-manufacturer then!

Four little dinosaurs! If I was a lady dinosaur though, I'm not sure I'd be wanting to lay eggs covered in sharp little knobbles! I'm guessing they are grippy-bits to help little-fingers separate the two halves of the eggs?

Each dinosaur comes with a list of the models available, which is not divisible by four, so there will be duplication as you try to collect all of them. And the 'berserker' shows they are perfect for adding to the micro-mini's from Imperial/The Works we've looked at a few times here now, and one of the reasons Brian set them to the Blog - thanks Brian!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Thought For The Day!

Is liberal democracy based on the rule of law safe?

M is for Magnetic Personalities

At May's Toy Soldier show I picked-up an odd lot, or more accurately (probably!); 'collection' of mixed items with one thing in common, they are all fitted with a magnet, or some rubberised, magnetic-strip material.

I could Blog them as six 'Q is for Question Time's, but as they came together I thought I'd Blog them together and there's too much stuff in the queue for me to be unnecessarily creating another five posts!

These are they, at a rather awkward angle, but I was fighting a dying camera and a sharply angled evening sun casting shadows on everything! A couple of 60mm figures for scale, you can see the grey motorcyclist is around the 35/40mm mark with the two civilians at the back toward a standard 54mm.

Just mentioned; their magnets are set into slight recesses in the base and their style is 'stylised'! Or, semi-flat (demi-ronde) . . . really; just a bit basic! Hard polystyrene, slightly French-looking, slightly Hong Kong-looking and painted to match the sculpting - simply!

I believe, or suspect . . . or even 'assume' (they all amount to the same thing as you'll see going down the page) that some of them were from a magnetic street scene, traffic, driving game, or a board-game of some kind (rather like a scale-up of the old Merit small-scale one; Remote Control Driving Test), to which the owner/s added other suitable things, these two being possibly from the original . . . whatever it was?

But it's all speculation and any ID's will be appreciated.

This chap is - I think - a lot older, his arms - rather threadbare now - were once a furry pipe-cleaner, whether it was dyed to match his jacket or not is a long faded fact, if true! Also, it's hard to tell if the magnetic washer has been added or was a factory-fit, for use with another, similar toy or novelty to the one which probably produced the above figures.

The glue-line suggests addition, the matching paint suggests factory? But it is rather 'painted to match' - the motorcycle itself being unpainted polystyrene, so I favor the former, thinking his original 'novelty' was bendable arms, not magnetic toy?

He has the appearance of a premium/corporate gift item for a 'Formeta', but again, he could have been added to a small Formeta sample sheet, of the type given out at trade fairs. Again styrene, but unpainted, and while resembling the 30-odd millimetre Dinky road-worker (as copied by Blue Box and others) it is actually a subtly-different and - again - quite French looking sculpt?

Presumably, even if it IS a Formeta gift/premium, the figure and wheelbarrow would have been bought-in from somewhere? The barrow is similar to, but not the same as; Starlux, so another French link . . . sort-of!

I had a bit of a search for the Formeta, but could only find several other Formetas, all of which were in metal fabrication, several of which used similar logotype, but not quite the same (two are inset above), some of which seemed to have been linked or merged, others not, at least one had gone bust leaving dead-links and they were geographically spread over the Low-Countries, Canada, France and the US, so nothing to really help there, especially as the guy with a barrow is not exactly screaming 'formed metals' at us, but rather . . . road-works or building site!

This guy, like the first two seems to have a 'meant' magnet and while he's as poorer-a-sculpt as them he's a different scale and material, being a softer polypropylene or nylon type plastic, and while he also looks newer - though not as new as the next guy!

So I guess, a different magnetic game/novelty or plaything of some kind and gathered together with the others? And while you can't say he looks as French as some of the above, that's definitely De Gaulle's nose!

This guy looks more like he's from a board game as a counter/playing piece and has had the magnet added later, it's not even centred, but it also looks so modern; sloppy workmanship might have resulted in a lopsided gluing in the factory, so again not much informative to take from it.

The glossy styrene (or even Bakelite type phenolic - it's a very odd plastic) looks modern though, so I'm hoping someone might recognise him?

To split the previous lots from the last image below, I'm posting these as they seemed to be part of the same group. The little 'start of motorway' sign is marked Majorette and probably has nothing to do with any of the other pieces, being from their similar range to Matchbox's 1-75 smallies.

But the two larger ones, are both - obviously - French (which is nice because the group's looking French overall), and I hope at least one of them might have a direct link with at least one of the figures above? The 'Nice' may be from O-gauge railways, but the 'Give way to the left' crossroads sign is just the sort of thing you might find in a magnetic driving game!

These two seem to be German. The uniforms are West German police, pre-unification as far as I can tell. They are also magnetic, but have moving arms, presumably so they can do the various traffic-control signals, while standing in/on a - missing - dais or sentry-post type thing?

They also look to be earlier than most of the above; 1950's? Particularly the hat on the left-hand figure of the two on the right, which harks back to the inter-war years, although the grey motorcyclist may well be of a similar age? Also, they weren’t part of the 'group' and I thank Adrian Little for letting me photograph them.

So there you go, a very mixed bag, which apart from the last lot, seem to represent a French collection or collection of French (or both) magnetic civilians, with three motorcycles from different sources, a premium/desk-toy which may not be either and a couple of road signs to match, or not! Can anybody add anything?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Q is for Query - Coca-Cola Animal Flats?

I saw these in an otherwise nondescript bag of mixed animals in a charity shop the other day, and recognised them, but also didn't - if you know what I mean! Like the other set of animal flats I've posted here recently a couple of times, the originals of these are well known and well covered on the web, being the Coca-Cola/Fanta premiums. They were re-shot at some point in the same cream/off-white polystyrene, with thinner bases.

However these are in a softer yet dense polyethylene or polypropylene, and a more obvious darker grey than either of the off-whites of the Coke originals or my thinner based copies. I don't have much else on them hence the 'Q is for . . . ' title-bar, but would guess someone like Tom Smith for Christmas crackers, or something like Tupperware/Airfix cubes maybe, although the giraffe is tall, so maybe not cubes, a book with play-set, a simple zoo, something like that?

They are clean, only the four and came-in with some totally unrelated stuff - china vinyls for the most part and a Chinasuar! Indeed the newness of them and the post '97 nature of the rest of the bag could be a sign someone's been running the tool recently? I don't think so but you never know!

This shot shows the thinner base matching my styrene re-shots, the Coca-Cola ones had a heavier base with the company's logo or animals name (I can't remember) running round the edge. The water-buffalo however has a heavier base, more like the cola premiums. They are also lightly striated with a second colour's - black - streaks in the grey polymer.

T is for There Goes the Neighbourhood!

Picked this up for next-to-nothing (yeeup! Charity shop) the other day, it's got toys in it, but isn't about collecting them, so just a brief over-view.

It looked like another in the Warren Elsmore series but is actually written by brothers (or at least I assume they must be brothers, otherwise it would be a hell of a co-incidence!) Brian and Jason Lyles. It's nicely put together using the Lego-likey instruction schematics which you can generate yourself on some Lego sites.

The best bit it the use of SNOT (studs not on top) techniques to great effect in the producing of fascia detailing on models otherwise build the way we did as kids - from the ground up! The little Lego-minifig 'mini-me's' of the two brothers could get wearing though, and text is kept to a minimum, simple, and aimed at the complete novice.

Step-by-step's are included for ideas and there is a gallery of other buildings the authors have completed, along with sections showing you how to build the US-style 'city-block' corner's four buildings - along with alternate fascias for one of them. Worth a punt if you liked Hestair Kiddycraft's construction bricks!

T is for Toy Fair '18 - Esdevium Games . . . Not!

My local games company has changed its name! It's now Asmodee, and they have (or carry) several games with figures in, none were on display at the show though so I'm only showing you catalogue scans in this post, but worth the read if you're not a dedicated follower of these things.

Catan is a popular game, although - I think I'm right in saying - normally the generic or 'original' sets have wooden counters? This Game of Thrones version from Fantasy Flight Games however, has some little figural game pieces which I think are around a 15mm War-gaming compatible size?

From the same 'GoT' trope comes A Song of Fire & Ice, a joint project between CMON Ltd., and Dark Sword Miniatures, and what nice looking miniatures they are. I'm guessing here that expansion packs and extra-figures are the hook?

As well as board games, Asmodee also import a lot of the blind-bag Moshling type stuff (post's half-done, just on the back burner) and more traditional game and pastimes. They also ship-in the Heroclix figure packs from WizKids with Star Trek and DC-licensed blisters illustrated here.

While these may well be more akin to Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars range? New for this year and another one to build-on with extra sets I suspect, Fantasy Flight again, but all these are 'Asmodee' in the UK.

This looks lovely, a kind of Steampunk, Golden Compass, World War One-and-a-Half, Russian Revolution in a box! The woman with a big-cat and the armoured bear are taken straight from the Golden Compass!

Which reminds me, I finally watched the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen the other day, several extraordinary ladies - as it happens - but I found it to be very disappointing, with huge plot holes/continuity errors and an overall feel of wasted-opportunity, almost as if three unrelated, shorter, films had been stiched-together with a blunderbuss full of nails!

But back to this game, from Stonemaier (and others) the figures would paint-up well and look to be around the 28mm mark?

The Asmodee line-up for 2018 seems to fill every cell as we move from Steampunk to tick the post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, hardboiled zombie-mutant fantasy box! I don't know if the figures in Fallout (Fantasy Flight again) are metal, but they have that sculpting style, which I know some people like - for painting - but I'm not so keen on the 'Nottingham' school of chunky, over-emphasised 'fine' detailing.

Myth and legend; Eastern-style, with this one from CMON/Asmodee; that's every box ticked except prohibition-era Chicago, I think! From the illustration; figures look to be at the larger end (28mm) but it's not clear, neither is it clear how many useful figures will be found in the Rising Sun box, or need to be purchased separately?

Ah! Prohibition-era Chicago, well . . . New York! The figures look to be about the same size as the old Parker Games game Vendetta, they also remind me of the Cluedo figures I was looking for the other day, grey with coloured bases, although a couple of the games above have similar, these are closer to what I was thinking-of. I like the little 'stash' tin to keep smuggle the playing pieces in.

That's eight games/game-systems and I'd happily give house-room to all of them, sadly; games like these don't often turn-up in charity shops!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

News, Views etc . . . Later Events

So, yesterday's 'News, Views . . . ' took us to Saturday, looking forward slightly takes us into next week.

Toy Fairs
Sunday 17th June - Various

SRP Toyfairs - Worthing
Charmandean Centre, Forest Road, Worthing, West sussex, BN14 9HS
Tel. - 07739 998 012
10:00 - 14:00hrs

Steven Clements Fairs - Eastleigh
Barton Peveril Sixth Form Collage, Chestnut Avenue, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO50 5ZA
Tel. - 01380 725 322
Mob. - 07958 101 891
10:00 - 14:00hrs

Barry Potter / BP Fairs - 'Stafford Showground'
The Preston & Argyle Suites, Stafford County Showground, Weston Road, Stafford, ST18 0BD
Tel. - 01604 846 688
Mob. - 07966 527 177
10.30 - 15.00hrs
Admission £4.00 (early-bird £8), OAP's £3.50, Children £1, free parking


Tuesday 19th June - Wootton Basset

Steven Clements Fairs - Wootton Basset Evening Fair
Memorial Hall, Station Road, Wootton Basset, Wiltshire, SN4 7EN
Tel. - 01380 725 322
Mob. - 07958 101 891
18:30 - 20:30hrs
Free parking, café


Tuesday 19th June - Newbury, Berkshire

Dolls, Doll's Houses and Teddy Bear Sale
Special Auction Services (SAS)
81 Greenham Business Park, Newbury, West Berkshire, RG19 6HW
Tel: 01635 580595
Fax: 0871 714 6905


Wednesday/Thursday 20th/21st June - Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees

Two Day Toy Auction
Vectis Auctions
Fleck Way, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees, TS17 9JZ
01642 750 616

BB is for Nonsense!

The big disappointment with Oxford's die-cast range is the fact that they seem to have decided to pander to the worst of the combat-wombat fantasists usually found at Beltring or Wheels and Tracks at What's-it Hop Farm by providing a totally fictional series of Berlin Brigade urban camouflage schemes for various models in their Land Rover family.

They. Did. Not. Get. Urban. Camouflage. Ever! Bit of a rant today!

Worse, I think all three of the ones I'm looking at here weren't even service-vehicles in the brigade, so they are doubly fictional.

It's a long time ago. But I don't remember 1-Ton's in Berlin, at all. The Wombat platoon had old stripped-down series threes with a false floor to stow the Wombat's ramps, while the mortar platoon had series threes (replaced by defenders in 1986, maybe '87) with trailers for the base-plates. There was a Milan platoon, but I seem to recall they man-packed everywhere, broken down to one tube per infantry company? They ('Milan') had had Forward Control's in Tidworth though . . . I think!

The other uses for One-ton FC's was as 105mm Gun-tractors - we didn't have 105's in Berlin - and as ambulances, but in Berlin we had the old 'camper-van' overhanging-bodied' 3-series (as modelled by Corgi!), or - uniquely in the British Army - Unimogs.

So this vehicle wasn't in Berlin, and if it had been, it wouldn't have got the urban camouflage, which was confined to the larger AFV's - The Chieftains had it (for summer 1986?), the FV432 and 432B (Raden turret)'s had it first (they were wearing it for the Royal Hampshire's 'trooping of the colours' as senior battalion on parade for the Queen's Birthday Parade (QBP), so '84'ish?) and the Armoured squadron's Chieftain ARV's, Ferrets and FV438RE's had it, but our Fox's (bigger than a Ferret and armoured) were green and black.

This example also has far too much grey and not enough chocolate and white for the BB urban camouflage scheme's ratios which were closer to 40/30/30, but that’s going to be the obvious trouble with an invented paint-job!

This is comical, not only were 'lightweights' not service vehicles in Berlin Brigade, the camouflage on this has been copied from a combat-wombat's own civilianised Q-plate vehicle (Q568 GFV) which can be found on the internet; his mate had the most ridiculous aerials on a series-3 LWB and they spent their time worrying sheep between petrol-head events like those mentioned at the start!

Lightweights were considered 'special' vehicles, and while I seem to recall one FFR per company-HQ in Tidworth, it just wasn't a vehicle that the Berlin Brigade ever qualified for, there being no air-portability requirement for units written-off the strength of NATO, due to their low survivability 'forecast' in the event of the shit really hitting the fan!

Again, Land Rovers didn't get urban scheme, again; too much grey, not enough of the other two colours, but also, the series-3 safari's we had tended to window bodies with heavy, full-length (over-hanging) roof-racks (the CO had one I think), and while we did take delivery of the new 110 Defenders while I was there (ahead of both UKLF and BAOR), they were all green and black, and the hard-tops were fibre-glass pull-on's, windowed and all-green. But time's a bitch; and of the three, this is the one I'm not so sure of - as a service vehicle - and it could have arrived in the brigade after I left, but it didn't have the camouflage.

Again there's a combat-wombat one (soft-top Series-3) wearing military plates at shows (85 KB 80), but he's got both colours wrong, the chocolate being instead a camel-shit orange and the dark-grey; a pale ducks-egg colour!

He uses the scheme on the original experimental vehicle (01 GF 98?)'s scheme (from 1982?) which was placed on an old series-3 long before my time in the city, and which was only cleared for use with colour modifications, on the larger AFV's.

The thing is, the AFV's had a war-function of providing fire-support as rolling or emplaced 'bunkers' for ad-hoc battle-groups carrying out whatever task/s they had been given, within (holding actions) or through (breakout-infiltration-harassment) what was to be assumed would be a shattered or damaged city - if they had survived whatever indicated the beginning of hostilities! As such, they were painted to effectively disappear into the rubble.

Minutes 2.18 and 3.10 - 432's only, 1984 or '85

The soft-skins (and Fox) were primarily tasked with normal, day-to-day, 'peace-time' transport, patrolling the wire (foxes) and regular exercising 'down the zone' and therefore carried the standard NATO/UKLF scheme of broad black regions over an mid-olive drab-green (called 'Deep Bronze Green). The Fox'es were eventually painted 'urban' as well, but not until '88 or later.

They were not expected to survive the opening of hostilities, or be much use in the confines of rubble-strewn city streets, and would have been unlikely to have had time to be covered in a non-existing series of schemes. There was supposed to be a secondary function of the schemes - which were 'identikit' for each vehicle type - that of confusing the Russians into the exact numbers of armoured vehicles we had.

1987 - Chieftains now done - minute 13.30 - Striped-down brand-new
Defenders still NATO standard. 
Foxes (briefly visible extreme right at one point)
still NATO too - I'm in there somewhere!

However - given that A) each vehicle had a unique number-plate clearly visible, B) 'Soxmis' (the Soviet Military Mission) were allowed to roam freely over our sector; looking and counting, and C) the Russians knew exactly how many of what AFV-types had gone up and down the 'corridor' rail-lines over the previous 30-odd years - it was an excuse for playing with paint; which only the ruperts at MOD could come-up with!

And why don't the model manufacturers produce Bedford's or other larger soft-skins in the BB scheme? It's lazy, easy, pandering to vicarious combat-wombats! And if you've bought one - give it to your 'Nottingham' space-marines, for that is where it belongs . . . La-la Land!

La-la Land Rover's!

T is for Toy Fair '18 Reports - Oxford Diecast - Military Vehicles

I really must try and get the last of the Toy Fair reports off the computer and on to the Blog!

Shouldn't be too much blurb today as the photo's will speak for themselves, second visit to Oxford Diecast's stand at the [not so] recent British Toy Fair at Kensington Olympia, and the various vehicles I shot there.

An assortment of 1:76th scaled vehicles including a nice group of steam traction engines and road-rollers, and some very nice Glenfrome (?) 6x6 Range Rovers in various liveries. I also like the AEC Armoured Command Vehicle in err . . . both liveries!

Further down the line-up sees nice soft-skins from World War Two and the Cold War and an intricate looking Bofors, along with a totally fictional 1-ton Land-Rover! In the background are some lovely showman's wagons and circus vehicles, which could help bring the lovely Preiser sets up to OO-compatibility for UK layouts.

AFV;'s in the guise of Churchill IV's (?) and both short-76mm and 'Firefly' Shermans, the fictional lanny again with another in what looks like 1:48th scale, both the 'rovers are fictional in two ways, but there'll be a post on them later!

Catalogue page with a plethora of AFV's, ancient and modern, the tele-porter 'Long Reach' is an interesting and different model; it would look good serving either a modern jet or an artillery piece/SPG in a little vignette? And we've seen the Post Office version of the BSA here on the Blog in the past.

I thought the RAF centenary set was a bit lame; three modern/late type 'rovers, a JCB and and WWII truck with the ubiquitous Spitfire? They could have done better from what they already list, with a bit of paint!

More Land Rovers, I'd love this set, but it's got another fictional one to be repainted! The three one-tons's are the best thing about this set, along with the little desert theatre paint-finished, series-one. In the background can be seen boxed-sets of thematic commercials, military and civil vehicles.

As well as the odd 1:48th scale vehicle or two, Oxford have a growing range of N-gauge vehicles and I'm rather taken by the trio of little tractors!

Knowing next to nothing of N-gauge (I had the non-powered Treble-O trains from Triang Lone Star as a kid) I can't be sure, but the Churchill looks too wide to make a useful flat-bed load, which would seem to be the main-point of making one at this size? Especially as I think they had to have the side-sponson engine/air-intake louvres removed for rail-trooping anyway? And - is the turret on backwards?