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.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A is for Accoutrements

The final (to date?) installment of the 'Giant' fort story begins in the early-to-mid 1990's when Archie McFee, a US toy and novelty retailer and early 'web' eRetailer started offering the original Giant mouldings - in new colours, under their 'Accoutrements' label. They were made more widely available by dint of Paul Stadinger who secured a goodly number and distributed them to the Toy Soldier collecting community via his Stads List.

The two sets as issued, there was a third item - a large bag of Knight figures only, appeared first in approximately 1990. The Mongol fort was then issued in around 1993 with the Knight's fort following sometime '95/96.

However they were only copies of a late 1970's to mid-80's issue originally marked MADE IN HONG KONG (rear card/R.hand card above), the Hong Kong was then obliterated - presumably in preparation for the return to China in '97) and finally overprinted with the Accoutrements disc on the reverse and the MADE IN CHINA block on the obverse.

The Archie McFee/Accoutrements cards were a more modern all-colour printing, the older HK issues being a three-colour process, but the original artwork was used, rather than a copy as was the case with the Giant set we looked at the other day. Figures in the HK and early figure bag had the 'Giant' scratched-out on the figure's bases, later sets had 'China' over-engraved.

The latest outing for the mould was with BuM in 1999, when they issued the Mongol fort with both the Mongol infantry, and with their own ex-Montaplex copies of the Airfix Sheriff of Nottingham figures.

The real question is - If the moulds to both forts and the Knight & Mongol figures are still usable, where are the rest of the Giant moulds, and might they also one day reappear? Also the fact that they can keep popping up and filling western companies order-books suggests that the poor quality of HK mouldings in general, is down to the poor quality of the masters, not - as some have claimed over the years (myself included) - cheap moulds, and in fact the moulds can under the right circumstances last just as long, and produce as much product as any of Airfix's moulds?

Of note - Accoutrements are currently carrying the set of 5 metal knights by Westair of the UK, sometimes credited to Kinder Germany! What goes around comes around!!

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