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.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

3 is for Has Anyone Seen the Other Two?

Soldier Combat Set 3 received with thanks from Peter Evans a few weeks ago, this set is imported by BGC Limited of Manchester.

Not so much a box-ticker as an aid to recognition! There are so many of these in so many packagings it's nice to put any name to them for the purpose of sorting them out (if you're not among those who avoid this stuff altogether), and BGC will have to do for now!

Pose-count seems to be around the 8-mark, with Matchbox 8th Army and Afrika Korps providing most of the 'inspiration', the other guy is hard to place and such a poor sculpt he could pass for many or any past figures in the same pose - I think he's meant to be one of the New-Ray poses!

Obviously they are sub-piracies of the figures we looked at the other day, and common sculpts for 'Armymen' at the moment, there's a slight colour variation in the orange-brown ones, partially lost in the photography.

Super Military Series - Thank you Peter.

Added as I was editing . . . Brian Berke's painted-up China-troops, I thought maybe the Ocean figures but Brian thinks they may be someone else like the Shing Hing we looked at the other day, as they came in a larger set, to quote Brian "My clones were blue plastic from a bag with four colour figures, blue British, grey Germans, cream Japanese and green GI's." which sounds more SH, or Jaru? Whoever made them they paint-up as well as the original Matchbox sculpts, nes't pas? . . . as Hercule would say!

Brain also mentioned that he thought the Timpo 'Action pack' Bren-gunner was the best and I totally agree with him on that, the whole set was good, the Monty was excellent although I never liked the bayoneting chap and the mine-clearer was a bit wooden, but wouldn't you be if your next false move could blow you into the world-after-next!

B is for the Big Little Baby Jesus!

They don't often come much bigger than this, and Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a nativity, so without further ado . . . Jecsan's 10cm Belenes; Christmas Story / Crèche / Crêche / Crib / Crupio / Kresch / Krip / Krippen / Manger / Nativité / Nativity / Noel / Nöel / Presepi / Santons / Santoùos / Santous / Stable et al. . .

. . . as a group - I had to photograph them on the floor as they take-up so much space!

They came as a single lot, and so I suppose (like assumption or presumption but a bit wishy-washier) they were sold together, even though the Shepherds seem to have been taken from the 75mm set, as they would be - or can be seen to be - younger men or boys, it may be a deliberate move on Jecsan's part?

But as people buying a Nativity for Christmas don't follow the same criteria as toy soldier buyers, it may well be that both ranges where side-by-side in the store, and a 'pick-n-mix' ensued!

Three Wise Men, Magi, Kings, or Princes, three ships of the desert and three pre-Christian Jeeves's! A single camel moulding, reflected also in the smaller ranges, but the tassels seem to have been a feature of the 10cm set (the figures are actually only about 95mm)

Close-ups, again; I don't know if they are meant to be colour-matched (as in: sold as three-part sets) or if the original purchaser just matched them in the store, but it helps us to imagine they come from three far-off lands, as does; that the menservants have different coloured bases!

Bible fact - apparently - nowhere in the bible does it state that there were three, or only three, there are three gifts mentioned, but only by type, Jesus could have taken delivery of several parcels of each, from a dozen star-gazers!

The other figures, Joseph is looking suitably cuckolded, I fear! The chap on the far right should have a draft-animal with a shaft that plugs into the plough he's brought to the stable! The donkey is of a size that he may also be from the 75mm series, again I don't know. I have a few in storage, but not these, the smaller ones.

You are not supposed to place the big-little baby Jesus with the crib until midnight on Christmas-eve, but as this one is about 18-months old, I fear that metaphorical-horse has well and truly bolted!

Date palm and angel, the angel has a bit of fuse-wire which looks - if not 'original' - of the same age as the figures and it hooks over the back fronds allowing the Arch-angel to deliver the hallelujah from mid-air.

To help prevent unwarranted "Tiiiimm-berrr!"s, the base of the palm is weighted with a plug of bitumen, the bane of old model railway collections from the same era (1950/60's) as it was used to glue stuff down on the layouts.

As measured; for some reason I shot the chap bending over, the pair with the little girl are a better 75mm. The two outside items are HK copies in polystyrene of other nativity figures (Marx or Jean?), we saw my in-storage set of them years ago and they're just here for comparison.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

F is for Follow-up - Shing Hing's 'Army Toys'

Speaking to someone over the pond who has no charity shops like ours, and where the equivalent 'Thrift Shops' apparently don't carry the old tat I've been picking up, made me think . . . firstly that we're lucky to have such shops here, despite the existence of both feebleBay and the Car Boot Sale movement - and it is a movement now, with management companies organising the regular sites and magazines telling you where to go and when - and secondly that the luck extends to the current round of purchases.

I've been checking charity shops for years and this year has been a particularly good one for finds; no rhyme or reason for it, it just has! I used to get the odd bag here and there, through the 1990's/2010's but I was only looking for small scale, yet would only see - to pass on - the odd larger-scale bag of farm or dinosaurs, while occasionally noticing the Fontanini stuff which is a perennial staple of these shops; only the other day I let a couple - of poor-paint clowns - go.

Then I had a bit of luck when I started moving to large scale back in 2009/10, from shops in Newbury, but this year's haul has been quite sizable and varied, with something every week or two.

Back in Rack Toy Month I was discussing in one post the Jaru sculpts and their similarity to those of Ocean, Soma and Shing Hing's sets. In the case  of Shing Hing I was using shelfies I'd taken in Smyths' bloody-great, empty-hanger in Farnborough, and what do you know; they turned-up the other day, loose, in a charity shop!

I'll probably save the comparisons 'till the next RTM or the next time we look at all the figures together, but as a box-ticker on Shing Hing, let's add them to the tag-list! Four nations, German, US, British and . . .

. . . Japanese troops, all in the same soft PVC as those aforementioned makers and pretty-much run of the mill China-troops, but all worth a comment or two.

In the case of the Japanese it's worth noting that while four of the poses are ex-Airfix, the other eight (for a 12-count pose total) are taken from the Ecsi/Ertl poses previously copied back in the 1990's by Rado Industries and others as we saw here, previously in polyethylene, quite tinny in the case of the Ri-Toys, but a softer Airfix-figure style polymer in the case of the copies-of-copies.

The' enemy' for the Iwo Jima battle I seem to recall suggesting back in RTM, although six of the poses are the common 'Fritz helmet' post-Cold War China-troops common to many current Chinese manufacturers and their shippers.

The other six are good old Matchbox's US Infantry set, copied with little attention to detail, ironic as the half-dozen modern figures are among the better versions of these common poses.

The ambiguity of the US soldiers is not a problem carried-over to the British set, again 12 poses, but all taken from Matchbox; their 8th Army this time. Only missing the Monty character, the heavy-weapons and crews and the surrendering German DAK 'Schultz', I've also kept two pipers so I can paint-up one at some point!

These will need comparing with the Ocean Desert Sales figures to which they look very similar, but Ocean don't have the second figure from the left on the top row - as far as I know.

The Germans pull from three original Western manufacturers 1970's-set's; two Matchbox (Afrika Korps - 7 poses, and German Infantry - 2 poses) and one Airfix original; German Infantry which provides the three poses bottom left.

There is a small amount of colour variation among the figures, most noticeable with the paler and darker greens of the Japanese, who also had a miss-mould, shooting downward, as he's curled-forward a bit.

Every figure is marked with an 'S. H. MADE IN CHINA', following the newer trend we've watched unfolding here for Chinese and HK-Chinese companies to build brand, and brand-recognition in a way few used to.

S is for Seasonal Show Shots

Third year running I think, and clearly going to be an annual event, I'm only sorry if I missed the first few! I tried collageing them but I'm not sure if the collages really work, so I'm posting both them and the original shots.

Not much blurb, as the picture do speak for themselves and it's all someone else's efforts; as in previous years - Fleet Historical Society and their Christmas exhibition in the Public Library at the Hartington Centre. Upper-floor; and worth a visit if you're passing.

The first two shelves are showing the items on the recent set of Classic Toy postage stamps, Fuzzy-Felt was fun, and Action Man was boss, but I want a wind-up, clockwork, Spacehopper! That's too cool for the school playground . . . although I suspect it's less contemporary, but neither is the Action Man, that's a modern re-boot one.

The rest of the sets are rather crammed onto one shelf with Spirograph, Cindy, teddy bears, Stickle Bricks (I don't remember stickle-brick horses . . . or people? Are these from another modern re-hash?), Britains (showing zoo not the Trojans on the stamp) and Hornby, although I think that's the Airfix kit of Stevenson's Rocket?

Meccano gets a corner of the third shelf and then there is a farm feature with all sorts going-on, mostly Britains with the separate play base, but there's Dinky and Corgi among others.

I know it's for kids but I spotted the two 'things' - it's Christmas, you have to enter into the spirit of this stuff!

The final shelf is a village scene with all sorts of old favourites busily being busy! As well as the listed/numbered items I can see Merit trees.

The table-cabinet this year has a collection of craft kits and plans for making your own accessories for dolls and soft toys - check out the Wonder Woman; front, far right.

Seeing the multi-coloured wool reminds me of my favourite jumper when I was a kid (5 or 6), a friend of my mother's offered to knit me a jumper (birthday?) and said I could choose the wool, so we went down into Brecon, and there's all these colours, and I'm umming and erring over the predictable dark reds and greens when I spot this multi-coloured wool, it was very similar to the ball in the above shot, but the base colour was black not red (so red was one of the rainbow-section colours) and I said "Can I have it made with that?" . . . "Of-course you can" came the reply, and sure enough a few days later I took delivery of a woolly -jumper which looked like an explosion in a fireworks factory! Black as night but with all these flashes of bright colour; I don't think I stopped wearing it until I couldn't get it over my growing head (still growing huh . . . Vichy?), or it fell apart, I can't remember which came first now!

A lovely collection of nostalgic bits and bobs again this year and here's hoping they go at it again next year!

Monday, December 11, 2017

K is for Kinder Katch-up . . . Follow-up, News, Views, Bits & Bobs and Contributions

Or better late than never!

So, it's back to Kinder, with all sorts of stuff to cover, some of it covered the other day elsewhere, but as I pointed out earlier in the year; the more they try to be me, the more you all are the winners, and the picture is more complicated than their 'news, views'!

To the news from El Cheeto 'the orange Brillo-pad's' America that Kinder will be allowed, but only, apparently; Kinder Joy, although that's only as far as capsule toys are concerned, the edible-only's are also available as this American price list shows.

A price list which has Americans paying up-to - or more than - four-times what we pay for them? Given the amount the average American has been [not] paying for Levi jeans and petrol this past fifty years, they will forgive me for having little sympathy; they should've saved enough by now to pay through the nose for these plastic novelties!

The third image is of one of the still 'illegal', or 'still not allowed' original Kinder Eggs, which was bought in the same US store, literally (I am led to believe) from under the counter! Well, if you are dealing with say; a Canadian firm, and he has a plentiful supply of the eggs - legal in the more enlightened market north of the boarder - you may be tempted to have a few cartons tacked-on to the 'for retail display' portion of the order, for to err . . . not display!

The supplier of these images of FDA contraband must remain anonymous to save him from the gulag's of the rust-belt coal-seams El Cheeto is so determined to mine-out before the climate kills us all.

However - it shows the nonsense of a 'policy' being made on the hoof, with more of a nod to what's being said on the Wikipedia page than any real commercial pressures. We have this year and last looked at two products with no real, practical, or "Health & Safety" difference to a Kinder Egg, feely available in the 'States, with connections to Turkey and Mexico, so whatever the continuing problem with Kinder's flagship-product are . . .they are not the Health and safety reasons given by Federal spokesmen! Sorry; it's 'spokespersons' these days isn't it!

Meanwhile a certain Mr Berke of New York, contributor to this parish, legitimately bought some Barbie figurine Kinder Joys for his Beryl the Peril to worry, how cool is that Beryl?! To the right, another Barbie, this one sent to the Blog by Peter Evans the other day.

The toy has four parts and a sticker sheet which you are supposed to use to decorate the model's shirt, bag and base; frankly - they are best left on the sheet! The larger sticker is for wherever!

Here she is in all her glory, they are nice little toys, and now that Kinder Joy and Kinder eggs seem to be having a convergence of offered toys, they will not be rare, as there will be hundreds of thousands of them, if not millions!

The insert shows the set of eight to find in the current range, and they were first reported in Plastic Warrior magazine (issue 168) where Les White showed previous waves that are out there to be collected, and which have slightly different (Barbie 'B') bases, this one too is the 65mm of the figures Les showed.

Having mentioned Kinder Joy and the apparent convergence of toy contents between the two ranges, these were Joy-only as far as I know, and this little lot were part of a larger charity Shop purchase the other day . . . well a couple of months ago now!

They seem to be pulling from all angles of popular culture, with nods to custom 'art' figures, traditional monsters, anime/manga art, smiley-faces (now emoticons!) and real-life animals (in the monkey-face), even native-American/Polynesian tribal iconography; my favourite is the rather laconic-looking (or spaced-out!) triclops!

Francesco Ferretti sent this fantastic shot to the Blog, being an impressive collection of Res Plastic's robots made for Kinder back in the 1990's; the 'golden age' of steckfiguren as the Germans call them - and the best way to find them on European evilBay sites.

On the left we have a Kinder-like Minion, which I think IS Kinder (they had some minion-branded/tie-in stuff a while back), but there were/are other Minion things out there (the big plastic eggs), but I don't know for certain where he comes from.

To his right are a pair of . . . err . . . fairy-butterfly-teddies! Peter E also sent these, with the news that they were imported via Turkey or a Turkish wholesaler. Now; Turkey is behind a lot of capsule-toy chocolate eggs (and bears!) including some of those previously seen here at Small Scale World . . . being retailed in the New World.

And as we become an ever more global community (against the best efforts of the trumpundbrexitt 'iers), this sort of thing will become more common as smaller importers search around for the cheapest deal, or businesses run by immigrants go to/through their relatives 'back home' or contacts in the country of origin.

I don't have  a problem with this, anything which by-passes the big-boys and may increase my choice is all right by me, I disagree with the Orange Wonder on this point, and his walls will only prevent US citizens - living abroad - from facilitating reverse traffic. Ooh! A tad-more policticticticing there; but relevant, and pertinent - if your world-horizons extend beyond the Deleware.

A couple of inserts from Peter, we will look at the parrot below, and it seems Peter sent the Blog 2/3rds of the whole set of fairy-butterfly-teddies!

Lidl's in-house Mister Choc branding - who we've seen here before - have had a makeover in the packaging department with an animal-related junglie-scene, a theme sadly not carried-through to the contents!

Some of the above mentioned contents, a novelty windmill and a deux-chevaux with cam-operated jumping bonnet (hood) and a set of stickers which I haven't applied. Note that Mister Choc's inserts are sub-branded to Lotto, while rival Poundland's are called Toto? Toto-Lotto was the old German lottery, plastered on newsagents hoardings.

Even as I was starting to edit the folder for this post, I bought two generic Kinder Eggs (no Boy/Girl, Disney, Star Wars or/&etc graphics, just a tray of 'basic' eggs), and got lucky with these little slightly-cartoony animals, both with a minor kit-element; the whole 'egg-magic'!

The Bobcat is the more realistic of the two toys, the Bears having googlie-eyes!

There's a Black Panther! Both sets are Katoons (geddit? K for Kinder!), but the upper set is clearly aiming at a level of realism the lower set isn't? And I wonder how may sets there are in the total line? I suspect also different sources for the two sets as one had a separate consumer info. chitty, the other had the toy instructions and consumer panels printed on the one sheet.

With the Superheroes (we looked at the other day), various Barbie waves and these, there is clearly a move from Kinder toward stuff we haven't seen in numbers since the change in gift-management back in the late 1990's, and I think more chocolate will be on my menu in 2018!

Among the lot Peter Evans sent to the Blog was this loose, novelty ring, which has a flying fairy, she goes round and round and round and round and round and round  . . . . and round and round and round until she begs for death!

And while she's very small, she's neither my smallest figures overall - Preiser Airliner figures in 1:500th scale, nor my smallest Kinder (1990's-issued lighthouse keeper and safari guide).

Also coming in an odd lot was this handless Sylvester with both eye stickers, so he will donate vision to a more complete one in storage! Peter also sent a scale-down of the old pull-action UFO launcher and the parrot, who is supposed to be a finger brush, but - fortunately - for those of us with larger fingers than your average infant; he fits on pens and pencils!

It also reminds me that the last time I saw this kind of paper paint-pallet, it was as a child, at Christmas, when our Rupert The Bear annuals often had these pages which looked like rather dull cartoons in various dark pastel shades, but when you wet them with a watery brush, the encapsulated paint in the dots of the cartoon-colouring blossomed into bright colours and you then had to fill-in to the black lines without going over!

While these are the contents of a 3-pack of Toto's from Poundland (upper shot) and the Mister Choc from Lidl (below) with very different capsules, although I think we've seen them here at Small Scale World before?

The nodding head (and tail!) triceratops is fun (and figural!); the others are only plastic tat!

Finally Francesco also sent this shot of one of the shelves from his RP collection's display, these are all classic 1980's or early 1990's Kinder toys and hopefully we will see more in the future when Francesco gets some more images to me, but I'm proving a problem in the receiving of them with my luddite eMail-based ways of doing things in the cloud-age! My Bad!

Thanks to Brian Berke, Francesco Ferretti, Peter Evans and the will-remain-unknown; purchaser of smuggled, Canadian-contraband, eggs; for their contributions to this post and/or donations to the Blog.

"Semi-legalization in the United States

In May 2017, Ferrero announced that the Kinder Joy (a variation of the Kinder Surprise) will be available in the USA starting January 2018. They will be partially released, exclusively at Walmart stores for 30 days after the official release nationwide, starting Black Friday."

So - even the Kinder Joys were technically 'contraband' when photographed! And the Mexican/Turkish Emoji and Star Wars eggs Brian has sent in the past are both still technically illegal?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

J is for Just a Quick-one!

For 99p in a charity shop the other day . . .

. . . came this wooden fort; flat-packed like a piece of Ikea's best, but I think I saw them in The Works about 8/10 years ago? It's got two figures! Is there a category of Toy Soldiers for them - Multi-directional Flats; Semi-flat Slots, Pseudo-flats, Slotty-slot Slottingtons?!!

I'll not be getting it out of the pack for a while, hence the quick-post nature of this post! It'll go in the 'paper and card flats box' (currently in storage) at some point, but due to greed on the part of the storage facility; that may be sooner than even I thought, which will benefit the blog!
I think from the measurements on the Quay-branded packaging it will have the same 'footprint' as all the other small-scale forts at between 6 & 8-inches per side?
Running late this week, so tomorrow's post will be late posting and I don't know what it will be yet!