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.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

News, Views etc....Jigtoys

Had a nice eMail from Nick Symes (who's the chap behind the increasingly comprehensive and excellent British cereal premium site 'Cereal Offers' we've linked to once or twice), he's starting to get the Kellogg's pages loaded, and provided three links to his Jog Toys posts which I've added to the jig-toy page (above).

It answers several questions but leave me needing to edit the page (again!), which I'll try do do promptly...in the meantime...the horses aren't missing their ears...the gap 'is' their ears! The tractor, likewise never had a sticky-up exhaust, so the Merit one isn't broken. The difference between all the wagons is partly-explained by different mouldings over time and there were three sets, not the two in 'Cluck' with very different toys in the third which helps explain things. Anyway; links are above.

I is for Interstellar...Italians?

Believed to be Italian, these chaps are waiting a better ID, like a company name, or even whether they are actually from Italy! Anybody recognise them?

Hard polystyrene plastic with glued-on bases, they are a collection of spacemen and robot-looking types with a piratical air, TV related maybe and might well be premiums?

E is for Eaton...and Munby!

I Photographed this on Adrian's stall at Sandown park about a year ago and it's been sitting in Picasa ever since. Eaton & Munby were another New Forest maker like Forest Toys, exploiting the local material of choice...

Gun turret with mechanism firing large dowels about the place until you "...put someone's eye out with that thing"! Elevation/loading is provided/facilitated by the fitting of a domestic door hinge!

Box was really too tatty to photograph and lacked a label, but this is almost certainly the target, utilising a loose tounge-and-groove to hold it together until you get the range, after which you dismantle it piece by piece...presumably a war-time 'austerity toy' (are we at war with bankers? We're not doing a very good job of killing them!), but possibly an earlier inter-war period toy?

Although all navies had grey ships, I think I detect a slightly Germanic feel to the lines of this? It's all a bit straight-lines and stern Teutonic appearance!

B is for Blue Box Alien and other Bollocks!

I hate Disney....have I ever said I hate Disney? Well, I hate Disney! Mawkish sentimetallity, everything will be alright in the end, happy ever after, a mouse that's clearly been kicked in the nuts, school-yard joke level, simplistic characters, ruined stories that were relatively unchanged for generations before Walt got his hands on them...I hate Disney! I also hate Disney because they make sorting unknown (and known) licensed products a nightmare, they don't make their own toys, but do buy-in contract manufacture, and issue licenses.

In the early days they used to issue licenses so controlled they licensed the pose as well as the character so you end-up with 30mm ice-cream premiums in Portugal having the same pose as 70mm toys in the 'States or coming out of Swansea...nightmare! But these are more modern, carried by the Disney Stores back in the 1990-2000's and were manufactured by and marked to Blue Box.

Can't remember the name of this play set, I picked it up at a car-boot sale about 15 years ago, near-new. It may be in storage, but I think it went to recycling with just the figures retained. Lovely, big, red, Cyclopean, PVC lump of alien that will go with most scales and five dumb animals, already dated by the handsets they're carrying ('selfies' before the word had been coined?), did I say I hate Disney...

T is for Tiger

Another character, but this time from commerce, the Esso tiger 'in your tank', was almost indistinguishable from the Kellogg's 'Tony' of the same era (early-1960's to the late-1970's) and with both having various toys/premiums issued and then pirated by HK for gum-ball machines, it's fortunate this one is carrying an Esso board so we know who he is!

Key-chain, hand-painted, hard-plastic, probably Hong Kong, given away with petrol; that's it!

W is for Wimbledon Waste Operatives

Bit of a box-ticker, but also a personal favourite, for reasons of pure nostalgia...my brother and I had these in a Christmas stocking the best part of a lifetime ago!

Sort of Pencil-tops -which is how they are sold on EvilBay - but too heavy, and sort of Cake decorations, but a bit big, they were on our 'ornament' shelf in the bedroom for what seemed like years, but was only that short period between infant-hood and late childhood! I think (although clearly marked Hong Kong) these may have been another Combex item in counter-display boxes? But I'm not sure enough to put that in the tag list!

I've picked up two lots of these in the last few years, and these are the better quality five. There are seven characters in a 'complete' set and I'm hoping that with the ones in storage I may have them all now...but they do turn-up regularly! They suffer from paint loss through handling/rubbing, particularly on the end of the nose, and occasionaly missing nose-tips..ouch!

I actually met Liza Beresford (The Wombles author) a few times, we used to rent a field off her, which we filled with chickens (maybe onions the first year?), and she would occasionally chat over the wall and take the proffered eggs!

Ear-worm..."Underground, overground, wombleing freeeee...The Wombles of...Wimbledon...Common are we!..."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

G is for Great Patriotic Wartoys!

Really just the dregs of some recent purchases, with scan of an old photograph I took back in the 1990's to illustrate a couple more poses. Like the Chapayevtsi cavalry we looked at back in October last year, these could be from the same Russian factory or several different manufacturer's across the Soviet bloc?

On the left is a group of artillery, all from one sourse, with a feild gun/howitzer at the bottom, an anti-tank gun in the middle and a large (regimental level?) mortar at the top, various crew are busy helping 1 Gloster's keep their heads down, with in the inset (lower right) scan from years ago; showing the flag, the waving guy is supposed o have but which is so often missing.

The scan also shows some more infantry-looking types and a mounted officer/recce-type with binoculars, above them is an armed cavalryman in two colours, and two slightly different sizes, which might be due to different batches, different factories or different cavities in the same mould.

Similar to the above (and usually coming with them) are the T34's and Katyusha's. These are very diffrent if you study them with the darker Stalin's organ being a much cruder version with a smaller gap between cab and firing platform and a simpler front-bumper (fender).

Likewise all three tanks are slightly different with the nearest having a straight-backed turret which is more KV-looking, the middle one having a sloped-rear but the same barrel, and the far one having a steeper slope and new mantlet with less elevation. As with the cavalry, bases vary with all three, although it's not so obvious

This chap is definitely from another set/source, he's smaller (25mm to the others 35/40mil) and more infantile, he's also less common than the above set/s which is/are quite easy to find, his base is also very different with it's flat-sided oblong and sharp corners! Look's like someone gave an PPSh to that execrable robot from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century...Weeble? Wikitunt? Dweedle? You know! I could Google it - but then I'd have to kill myself!

These naval guys seem to accompany the army troops above (perhaps in bigger sets?) and come in various fetching shades of turquoise (or 'aqua' as bathroom salesmen would put it!) against the jade-greens of the others.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

D is for Deetail Details!

Sorting stuf out in Picasa and din't know which of the previous posts to add this image to, so though it might as well go here!

Just a comparison between the earlier silver and later Black Storm mounted Deetail Knights from Britains. The later one having the marginally more realistic appearance...apart from the chrome shield!

Also found this unused graphic I CAD'ed-up during the original series of articles, on the Britains dongle when putting the images away...just for fun...or something!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

F is for Follow-up - Novelties and Christmas Cracker Contents

Hummmm....should have made that 'C is for...'! Just a quick follow-up before too much more of the year has gone by, with this published: there will be 71 articles left in 'Draft', most loaded in the last three weeks, but a couple going back years...they should start getting published from next Wednesday!

Also three pages are nearing finishing; the Galoob one I've posted, but the text is still to come, the Composition one is being edited again, still depresses me though, and I'll have to find all the missing links, and a third is nearly finished. I have also made some progres with the HK Cowboys, Indians and horses page, but it's still ages away at the moment.

Also I notice - while using the library computers - that some of the Blog's features are a bit kak, there's not a lot I can do about that, it's down to limitations and settings of individual machines, but the new blue of the hyperlinks is showing too-dark on some machines...

This just-past Christmas' crop of tat. Nail-clippers are not - of cource - tat, but very useful and 'posher' cracker always seem to have a set! More skittles, more spinning tops! The metal puzzle proves my previous comment about mechanisms totally wrong, having a very clever solution involving negative space (and the bending of dark matter I susspect)...just when you think it's never going to go, it undoes itself!

And...am I the only one who used to play 'Thunderbird Two' with the tag at the top of the penut-net way-back-when?

I thought this empty After-eight box looked a bit like the Pyro car ferry, and though you should see it too!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

News, Views Etc...Metro the other week

Just a quick re-post from one of the free-sheets for those in other parts of the world where trains aren't necessarily drowning in dead newspaper by the time they reach their terminals in the morning!

Monday, February 1, 2016

H is for High Flying Catapult!

I received a very interesting set of photographs as a submission from someone who wants to remain anonymous! He further posed the question as to who might have copied who? Or: whether Trojan might have bought-in their 'Red Devil' paratrooper from Hong Kong, given that this looks to be the same beast, but it is clearly 'Empire Made' that old euphemism for Hong Kong.

Pretty standard box with end-flaps, but a bit upmarket for HK, compared to the normal bagged or carded stuff, and with people (like the importer's WH Cornelius or Cecil Coleman) re-packing loose product after importation in the mid-late 1950's or early 1960's; it's likely this box will have been made in Britain, a theory to which weight is added by the clear instructions…not that the citizens of HK couldn't turn their hand to decent English with a little more efficiency than most Japanese model-kit producers of the time!

A stick of 6 or 7 have jumped out of that engineless 'plane!

The person who sent these can't remember what the back looked like, but from the front photographs it's clear that this is the Trojan pose…but better. It is a heavier but neater sculpt, the webbing straps for instance are squared-off and the three waist-belts are closer together. The obvious differences are a quick-release button on the chest 'box' - missing on Trojan's - and the winding mechanism. So…first answer to the contributor; Trojan were pirates!

We know that - of course - because their khaki infantry and Wild West range were all knock-offs, it makes you all the more grateful for the Japanese and Australians/14th Army! But the Trojan Red Devil could have been an HK copy, imported, from another company; by 1960 there were more than 500 registered toy factories (and many un-registered!) in the colony, so there was plenty of scope for piracy between pirates…although this appears to be a better quality 'original' design.

I'd like to think the Trojan one was UK-manufactured though, if only because the company (as the Shipton group) was also dabbling in polyethylene solids, cards, metal components for their 'planes &etc… and one feels that in those pioneering times, purchasing a little one or two-ounce blow-moulding machine alongside their similar injection caster, and playing with them both is the sort of thing a small but diverse company like Shipton might have done?

The instructions; there would appear to be a button or bracket or split-stud 'finger-pinch' of some kind down on err…'the small of the back'…or a bit lower.. his bum! Alright…it's on his arse! This is then used to attach the elastic band, rather than on the winding arm as in the photographs of the figure. The instructions also explain the strange elf's hat copied to the Trojan version, on this one it's a mechanism for holding the elastic while you fire the figure from the rod included.

When I first saw the photographs I thought the winding arm was removable (from holes in a polyethylene blow mold - increasing the parallels with the Trojan version) and it may be, but as it's for 'soaking-up' the shroud lines, one might assume some form of retaining lips or rings hidden in what would need to be a more substantial piece and is therefore a two-part polystyrene model, glued together (carefully - to leave the mechanism free) after the strings have been attached to the winding arm and the whole revolving-assembly set in place?

The drawings would also suggest that there is a large disc-like area on the back giving him his distinctive shape and shoulders, the Trojan version copies the body-shape but gives him a back-pack. While it looks nice and shiny and polyethylene-like, the paint has not flaked, another pointer to styrene? Has anyone else seen one of these, or handled one?

While studying the photographs, writing this up and pondering the thoughts of the person who sent it in, it also struck me that if Trojan had produced a copy of this toy as their Red Devil, they probably produced a similar figure for the 'Air Commando Tommy Gunner' seen in the same catalogue/list in Plastic Warrior's Trojan 'Special' publication?

And it further struck me that the [missing] figure may be one of the bigger blow-molds holding a rifle across his chest we looked at here?  But - perhaps enhanced with a bit of that Victorian drawing-room wall, pea-green paint Trojan used on many of their figures?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

News, Views etc...Local Toy Exhibition

Currently on display in the Public Library (there are benefits to having no Internet!) in Fleet, Hampshire, a small display of toys, put on by the Local Historical Society...enjoy...

Saturday, January 23, 2016

News, views etc...update

Very swift visit to the blog, couple of comments, an additional image of the Merit ray-gun Jig-Toy on that page, and some images to the HK Romans page, text to follow. Also up-loaded some more article images 40-odd waiting now! And there's much being added to the Airfix blog, but no text! Too many irons! Still no spell-check...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

F is for Follow-up - Charms

So....I'm opperating out of the libray for a week or two, so no spellchecker (or caps checker!), and while I'm loading lots of articles I'm waiting until I can edit them properly befor I publish, so 30-odd to come, but likely to be the second half of February!

When I popped-in to see Paul (of Plastic Warrior) before Christmas he thrust a bag of bits at me, and a few of them came just a day or two late for the charms post i did in the fluffy, plastic, tat run-up th Christmas! So here is an up-date/addtion to that post.

From the same source as each other but different subjects/scales, these figures seem to be based quite recent and turn-up on evilBay quite a bit, there were some yellow dancers on these last week!. The bandsmen seem to be based on old composition figures?

The same sculpts as last time but different colours, it would seem they were issued probably as a set of six, with six unrelated items in a set of 12 crackers?

I'm building quite a fleet of these now! A couple of them were in Pauls bag, and I dug mine out for the mass 'Dunkirque' effect! And to make myself realise that the one with a blue clothes-tag looking thing has - in fact - got a clothes-tag looking thing, not some weird simplified boatman!
Cheers Paul!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

News, Views etc...Plastic Warrior 161

So, a week later than I intended...getting better!

Plastic Warrior's last issue is a bit of a Christmas cracker! Issue 161;

Covers are Cherilea front and Replicants back, with help from Ruth Martin, Dan Morgan and Eric Keggans

* The issue kicks-off with a fascinating article from Peter Evans on wannabe sets which definitely aren't Timpo, Britains or Charbens.
* Andreas Dittmann and Paul Stadinger examine a figure which turns out to be a Tiawanese plastic version of a metal figure based on a US composition figure of....subscribe!
* Expeditionary Force's Greeks come under the skilled knife of Tom Stark.
* Igor explains the history behind (his) Engineer Basevich, giving a potted history of Russian 'boys toys' in the Soviet era at the same time.
* What the !&*$? is choc-full of stuff in this issue, one quickly ID'ed by the Ed; Giampiero Larizza's Dulcop GI, Barney Brown has an interesting variant of...subscribe! Joe Bellis gets me jealous with some lovely 54mm 'khaki infantry' grenade-thrower variations, a Bren-gunner from Hilco and a Highlander.
* 'From the Archives' brings us up to speed on the sub-scale mounted figures of Lone Star.
* Alwyn Brice's back to Elastolin in 40mm.
* 'Monty' gets restored by Eric Keggans who then paints-up the rest of the set - Cherilea 8th Army.
* While Les White converts Star Wars Command figures.
* And 'Herald Notes and Queries' reaches the end of its run (?) with a round up of various items of interest/late entries, as Daniel Morgan shows us some treasures in part 9...Odds and Ends and eBay Finds.

* 'What's New' inspects recent product releases from:
  • - Armies in Plastic (AIP) - Camel Corps
  • - Publius (who've now adopted the 'u's I've used all along, oh come-on; it was hideously pretentious! "Puvooblivoos") - Crusaders and Saracens
  • - Engineer Basevich - Yogolavian Partisans of WWII
  • - Paragon Scenics - Charging ACW with bayonets (available in Union blue and Confederate grey)
  • - LOD Enterprises - Trojans and Greeks
*  Readers letters this month include
  • - James Opie's news of a move to C&T Auctions
  • - Memories of carded versions of what sound like Kellogg's divers from Richard Blezard
  • - eBay's Confederate-flag idiocy from Peter Rushton (the idiocy being eBay's not Peter's I hasten to add!)
  • - James Peter Young poses a bit of a What the !&*$? re. some ACW figures spotted in a movie
  • - Peter Evans muses some points on Hilco-Starlux figures/poses
  • - and there's room for a mini-article from Dan Morgan on Britains conversions
* Plus all the usual small-ads.
* 'News and Views and other stuff' asks about some Ukrainian/Russian looking new production in the issues third What the !&*$? (actually 'first' but you know what I mean), the Obabma portrait by Joe Black 'painted' in toy soldiers we looked at here a few years ago sells for...Subscribe! Eurofigurines latest issue gets a hat tipped, and the news from James Opie is fleshed-out.

It's been out for five weeks now, which means a new one (162) in about seven weeks time!

Plastic warrior is now on-line here;
eMail; pw.editor@ntlworld.com

And they are on Paypal.

Spellcheck didn't like Bren-gunner but is happy to accept any of the above!

Friday, January 8, 2016

M is for Margarine Menagerie

As the common cream coloured 'ivorene' margarine premiums these have been identified as being issued by Cleverstolz, Lowenbrink, Markt-Apotheque, Raulino, Sanella and Voss (among others), but the four sets represented by the small sample below remain more mysterious...to me!

The smaller ones are just the original premiums in new colours, with a second variant being in soft ethylene palstic (the right-hand column of blue ones in the main image), while larger versions exist in both hard polystyrene (lighter grey rhino) and soft polyethylene (dark grey horse), in which guise they have been linked with Jean and Manurba in the past, neither seem the right answer to me.

Thanks to Paul Morehead and Brian Carrick for most of these, I have the cream ones and a better sample of the larger ones in storage (with whites and browns), so hopefully we will return to them, by which time I may have a better idea on these - probably later - issues.

I is for It had to Happen!

3D-printed Action-figure and Mini's heads...your heads...

and, PR here...

My Modern Met (careful, I got pop-ups from the Etsy link!)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

News View Etc..Stuff!

I've been a bit lazy for the last few days, I've got a bunch of stuff ready to go, but I know my Internet credit is running low, and I can't sort it out 'till next week so I'm rather husbanding it!

I did add a couple of images and text to the Mountain Troops post on the Airfix blog earlier tonight and will try to get some more texted-up over the next few days...it's a bit poor really, I think I've got more without text that with at the moment! I haven't done the links on that entry either but may return to it later tonight.

This is what's come in over the holiday period, arguably the three quietest weeks of the year for this sort of stuff! It's just never-ending...some of it from Paul, some from Mariya, some bought new, some from charity shops, some blogged already, some to be blogged soon, some to disappear for years before it gets its five minutes of fame here...and some bits have already been put away; the Funtastic Romans and some more capsule stuff!

It's a month today since the paratrooper post and you will see - front centre - a Tobar parachuting Penguin! 1-pound-somthing in Hawkins Bazaar, not worth a follow-up post yet, he'll go in the box until I get the others out of storage. The half-size Britains tiger copy will probably end-up on the STS Animal Forum where tigers have just been voted show-and-tell of the month, while the two additional Deadstone Valley figures are waiting for the possibility of more additions next week.

So...more serious posting in a week or so, in the meantime I'll try and get the PW 161 review up in a day or two and I have a single collage 'flats' article ready which I will risk on Friday if I'm still on-line!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

L is for Lederfett

Which Bablefish assures me is leather-grease...I'm guessing some kind of neutral feed/water-proofer for leather like dubbin? Found (re-found!) whilst preparing an article on the cereal premium kits...

...this red four-engined 'plane - a windowed airliner -  probably dates from the 1950's and was given away as a premium with Solitär lederfett. The company is still going, but the name has been Anglicised to Solitaire (for a wider market?). The white wheels point to early Manurba, but it could just as easily be a Siku moulding or any one of a half-dozen others and I don't know which, yet.

The red Solitär model is all hard polystyrene with a casually applied sticker, the yellow one is all soft polyethylene and probably appeared as a more generic 'freebie' in 'lucky' bags of sweets and novelties in the 1970's.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A is for Army Men!

You can't beat a bag of cheap 'n nasty HK pirates of better figures, to beat-up in the sand-pit and the bigger the better! These are currently in 99p Stores for err...ninety-nine pee!

Four inch (120mm) figures, four of 'em. Made of the new hybrid ethylene which is best described as 'sandy', they are pretty crude, far cruder than the Blue Box Romans we looked at earlier today. But; 99p! That's 24.75pence each.

One of them is based on the old Tim Mee chap who in his original guise was encouraging his mates to attack, but here seems to have given-up fighting in favour of standing, looking rather stunned! Another is paying a vague homage to the Airfix German running, while the the other two are lifted from a couple of commonly-copied Matchbox figures, even to the strange pouches on the grenadier.

But pose is as close as it gets, they are wooden in articulation, the heads/helmets are poor, cartoonish sculpting and the boots look like Playmobile plaster-casts - if you know what they look like!

There are a set of Emergency personnel as well (in blue or red plastic), but I left them on the rack...I may weaken (for the blog) but do I need eight large-scale civilians?

V is for Vinyl Villains

I had a bunch of stuff to publish between Christmas and the New Year, but decided to have a few days off, I hope everyone has had a good holiday, the weather would suggest the [absolutely happening] climate-change models will need tweaking in the new year, my thoughts with those wet souls in the North, along with the victims of fires in Australia and California, unseasonal - in severity - tornadoes in the South-west States (and snow in Mexico!??) along with anyone trying to find the melted North Pole...Happy weird New Year!

Perhaps - with the Paris agreement now dry - 2016 will be the year people finally understand the Hippies were right all those years ago, and big business has got away with another 50 years of unregulated damage-making...still, we buy their shit, and elect their overseers, so we can only blame ourselves! Trump for President of the end of the world!

Spotted in Poundland in the lead-up to Christmas. Dressed in the in-house Funtastic branding, these seem to be re-badged BBi (Blue Box International) Elite Force copies of the Schleich for Revell 'Epix' figures of a few years ago, same poses but cruder castings and much cruder paint!

These appeared about three weeks before Christmas, and I never managed to get the standard bearer before they sold out, whether they will be restocked in the new year remains to be seen, but worth looking-out for over the coming months.

The crudity of the copies is soothed somewhat by the fact that they are a pound each, while both Revell originals and BBi branded copies (which can still be found about the web) are between £5.99 and £7.99 or thereabouts, while a skilled painter can soon enhance these.

One shouldn't condone blatant piracy, but if companies as big as Schliech or Revell don't prosecute a company as established as Blue Box, then it's left to us to exploit the situation! 8 poses at the moment; three knights, four legionaries and a gladiator, I think this may be the same story for the similar large pirate/buccaneer figures issued in the same stores a year or two ago?

Friday, December 25, 2015

H is for Heudebert'y Christmas!

It's bad isn't it...hopefully it's as bad as a cracker joke! Well...stuffed (or well-stuffed) to the gunnel on roast duck and tangerine sauce, started on the liqueurs, saved this - from the flats Brian practically gave me in May - for today!

There are a couple of pieces missing from the set, an angel, another camel and a donkey I think, and they didn't photograph well, but it's a seasonal post, so there it is! Makes you wonder why no one does this sort of stuff now, electronic toys, the Internet and smart-fones might have replace elder kids toys, but I'm sure younger kids would collect something like this if it was in their favourite cereal, sweet or biscuit brand in the run-up to Christmas?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

H is for Highlander Toy And Miniature Military Hobbies, Inc.

I don't know if matey ever got his answer, but the missing SPG turned-up! Still sealed from the day it left Boca Raton, why not celebrate the season with a chunk of self-propelled artillery! It's stated as being an M110 8" Self-propelled Howitzer, I wonder if they did the 'Long' version (M107 175 mm) as well?

In the packing, carded with a hole for a rack-hook, the shrink wrapping is slowly pulling the card in on itself as the plastic tries to return to a molten blob - exercising the 'shape memory of thermoplastics - so I've whipped it off the card and I think I'll try and get a plaster-cast of it in the new year...add a bit of concrete hardener, clean it up with a mini-drill and paint in detail...it might work?

Not a bad little model, 7 pieces, with the running-gear just pinned and glued to the sides of the AFV. The lack of a crew compartment is a major over-simplification, although that's offset by the fact that the tracks are a cut above the usual 'ready-made' efforts, even some contemporary models. As you can see: the gun elevates and the cradle rotates through 360º (more than the 'real life' service vehicle!) but the recoil spade is a fixed element of the body-moulding.

L is for Loose Ends

This was loaded two days ago and I meant to publish it yesterday, but Vodafone (the princes of digital-darkness) had other ideas and an Internet Interregnum imposed itself on me for 24 hours...I swear Vodafone couldn't organise themselves out of an old paper bag with a sharpened, flaming, sledgehammer! But they'd still charge you!

The thing about this stuff we've been looking at for the last three weeks or so is that it's universal and never-ending. I popped round Mr. Morehead's yesterday (bit of in-hobby name dropping never hurt!) to pick-up the Hilco special which is available agian after selling-out at the show back in May, and he gave me a bag of bits with some flat charms (same source, three sets) I could add here, or use as a follow-up and that was just after I'd picked up a rubber alien catapult (you can't make it up when novelty shite's involved!) a few minutes earlier for a pound at a charity shop. It just never stops.

But there will be plenty of time to return to Aliens, flats, charms and etcetera! We haven't looked at the mass of Little Rubber guys who come in Gum Ball machines, larger animals, Ninja's, sea creatures, we've looked at some of what's out there, and rather than follow-ups, we'll look at the few bits I've got ready here and call it a day on these for now.

Musical instruments that don't play, one blow-moulded the other styrene, a mini whoopee-cushion, lucky horse-shoes (useful if GI Joe/Action Man is thinking of retraining as a blacksmith!), another chess piece, again - appearing without any of the other pieces - needed to make a game - having ever turning up!

Mirror, yo-yos, another rattle, soft plastic version of the metal wire-puzzles and soft plastic scissors! A magnet...another 'theme' we've not covered in these 50-odd posts, but we've looked at them elsewhere on the blog in the past.

The Quantas suitcase is interesting as presumably it was a re-packed rack-toy of dolls stuff re-branded to Quantas, given to kids to amuse them on long flights? Without the sticker it's just a cheap novelty suitcase, with the sticker it's a branded premium/giveaway!

More plastic tat, more rattles, another lenticular; this time just a very small picture - it's neither a badge nor a charm. A Britains flower-pot: plagurised, a polyethylene bat/gargoyle ring, more charms...The woodpecker toy, which normally comes as a finished toy with a stand and wooden pole was a gum-ball givaway..without instuctions or a  pole, but is made to fit a pencil!

A tourist item, really outside the scope of these articles, but it was in the big lot and is a source of a plastic figure that - without it's die-cast mazak base - is just another piece of plastic kak. It must be quite common as it's the second one into the collection now, which is useful as I always hoped to get a second, so I could remove the figure and use it in some Ray Harryhausen type setting with some Greek Hoplites or a skeleton warrior? Statue of Liberty.

[Later the same day - Andrew Boyce suggested it might be from the Triang-Minic waterline ship range, and it is, so it doesn't really belong in these posts at all! But it's the second one I've seen displayed or sold as an ornament, so that's clearly it's fate...to be unrecognised as a toy, and written-off as a keepsake! I does however mean it's quite common and track-downable!]

Award cups...again we haven't looked at the various 'collectable' sets you could get, [American] football helmets, miniature baseball pennants and the like, I'm sure these come with lots of messages (here; 'golfer' and 'father'), and similar objets existed, but that'll do for tat, shite, caca for a while!

Well...for a day or two! I picked-up some nice figures in the 99p store the other day coming to a blog not a million miles from here in the next few days! Also got some contributions to come, some news, some follow-ups, a PW review, still got those bloody French articles in 'edit' and still got thousands of shots in Picasa, which I seem to add to quicker than I clear! And my 8-gig 'unknown' dongle has red-lined as I file these novelty images, so I need a 16-gig before I can clear the desk-top!

I had plans for a premium article with contributions for tomorrow, but Vodafone's upset the plan (like I ever have a 'plan'!), so we'll see, if I have a day or two off: may I extend my wishes for you to have a happy Christmas and thanks for watching! Now I'm a TV announcer!

You want more? Here's more!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

M is for Micro Menagerie

As we saw with the supermarket set the other day, the mini tree crackers sometimes contain mini-novelties, and animals are one of the tropes that go way back to the little Scottie-dogs, poodles and black cats.

Top - Rockers, you get an animal, and a rocker, two-for-one and it came 'free' in a cheap cracker...bargain! Although you may remember when we looked at the dogs the other day, there was a rocker, that was an animal AND a charm, rendering these a bit of a swizz! Britians piracies for the most part?

Middle - With the exception of the yellow running horse and blue zebra-looking thing, these all seem to be Marx sculpts, from the various Miniature Masterpiece play sets with one of the 101 Dalmatians we looked at about a month ago.

Bottom - a few baksheesh ones, the sea-lion is a particularly good sculpt. The duck (with capsule) is also good - for Hong Kong.

Upper - A couple of Nosco or Nosco-knock-offs in a larger size bracket with a reasonable camel in a fetching pink polymer, the camels ethylene (as per all the previous), while the other two are styrene

Median - Mice

Lower - Cats, big cats. in different scales. The Sabre-tooth is a hollow moulding in the style of Hong Kong horses of the distinctive type that came with small-scale Cowboys & Indians, I have a Dimetrodon and a 'monster' in the same style somewhere. The orange one is another - albeit larger - Britains copy.

Monday, December 21, 2015

P is for Practical Prize!

Yhep...practical! Who the hell wants something useful in their Christmas cracker? You want a frivolous piece of plastic tat to take the mickey out of, don't you? Some people!

Fish pen-knives were very common when I was a kid, and I think they still appear in mid-budget-range crackers, while the little yellow one is more of a novelty or blunt letter-opener! The tyre-compass is an unbranded scale-down of the branded ash-trays actual tyre manufacturers used to give out as promotional items, although this one's lost it's magnetism!

Nail clippers and nail files, still available in a box of crackers near you in the next week! The mini stacking-tower infant toy is here by default; it should be in one of the other posts, but got left out!