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, March 11, 2009

V is for Volkseigener Betrieb (VEB) Part 4; Military Plastics

The Mini Car G5 Army Crane-wagon, one of the favourites from my collection, VEB Plasticart produced a really nice range of trucks - primarily for the model rail market - and military versions of many were turned-out. Given the neither Roco nor Roscopf made much Warsaw Pact stuff, it is worth tracking these down if you wish to war game the Cold War in 1:76 (not far-off HO).

Tracked stuff in Plasticart/Espewe packaging, the best - in my opinion - is the Soviet designated; ZSU 57-2, here called a Fla-SFL 57. Far more successful than Sgt. York (and pre-dating it by a decade or two!) and much cheaper than the Gepard family. The BTR 50P, as already mentioned is the first to carry a MAB die-cast body, while retaining Plasticart packaging.

A comparison shot (click on it for a better look, until I post it I won't know how good it is, as I've had to work on it in Picasa, and it's pixelation may have been degraded?). From left to right, rear of each pair first;

Roco Minitanks - plastic T34/76
Roco Minitanks - plastic T34/85 (same chassis)
Roco Minitanks - plastic T44
Roco Minitanks - plastic T54/55 (same chassis)
Unknown Russian - die-cast T34/44/54 (???)
Plasticart/Espewe - plastic T54/55
Roscopf - plastic PT76
MAB Mobile - die-cast & plastic PT 76

This image throws up some interesting stuff, not least of which is the Russian effort, these were sold right through the 1960's/'70's and '80's, yet have all the sophistication of the funny little semi-fictional slush-casts of 1930's/40's American companies like Barclay, Manoil, Grey Iron and Ideal. A lot of these simple Russian toys (which I will cover in greater detail another day) were produced 'ad-hock' during factory down-time, in facility's that were - in the normal scheme of events - supposed to be producing tractors or washing-machines!!

Roco claimed to produce in 1:87 scale and Roscopf claimed 1:90 as their preferred scale and this is born out in the photo, however, the plasticart T54/55 is a tad on the small side while the MAB Mobile PT76 is equally off the other end of the scale, being to big!. It's worth noting that the Roscopf range of 'warpac' stuff while not great, was considerably better than the Roco Range, as they were different scales, there is no 'not treading on each others toes' reason for this , and it made using them as recognition models in the forces problematical, as soldiers got the impression all Soviet stuff was smaller than the equivalent NATO vehicles!!!

Also - given the rarity of models of T44's in any scale, I will continue to believe the Russian one is supposed to be a '44, note the flat sides to the turret and post-war extended fuel tank positioning!!!! IT'S A FORTY-FOUR!!!

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