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, October 28, 2010

P is for Prieser's Plastic People

We have the generosity of Gary Worsfold to thank for tonight's post, as it was his donation to the 'cause' that lead me to dig out the others and put this post together. Quite out-of-the-blue Gary emailed me with the offer of some figures, no strings, and when I explained that I'd had parcels from New Zealand go missing in the past and would he mind sending them 'signed-for' - for which I was happy to pay, he sent them anyway - at his expense, so Gary, thank you very much, I share them here with all passers-by...

These are some of the little jewels that arrived (I'm saving the 40mm for another day!), a set I've always coveted, and never had the chance to obtain, click on the image and they are quite superb, and this is a 'factory' paint finish mind.

The Landsknechts - those ravagers of Europe in the wars of the 16th Century - have been in the Preiser catalogue for a while now, but like all the more sought after or esoteric/non-model railway sets are hard to track down, so having them appear on a 737 Cargo from the other side of the world was a real treat.

These two are from the Limited-Edition range of full bands. The upper set is of marching Fire Brigade bandsmen, while the lower musicians are the Border Police (Bundesgrenzschutze) band, standing...wearing tank overalls/coveralls? Perhaps a German reader could tell if this was normal, or are they 'at practice'?

This is an occasional-issue range, and consists of selecting the correct number of instruments from the six-figure standard sets and - like the Landsknechts, giving them a superior paint finish. Designed for railway layouts and the Circus dioramas which are such a favorite feature of both German model railway collectors and American 'Railroaders'.

Large Swabische and Bavarian 'Ohm-Pah' bands have also had this treatment in different dress/paint schemes from the six-figure sets and a Bundeswehr band was made from the old US army band issued in the early days of Preiser.

The upper shot shows those US figures from the late 1960's/early 70's with Set 261 leading set 262 out of their little compartmentalized box, they were - I believe - based on the American Color-guards of the Cold War who usually had the chrome-plated helmets, although more commonly with the 'Green Army Uniform' rather than the khaki shown here. I think I may have already posted the Merten 40mm versions of these in posts passim.

They are probably marching out to deal with the public nudity nuisance below them! The Artists and Models set, this is one spruelet, or a third (?) of the whole set, coming either as three separate sets in the 'six-figure' boxes, or a whole sprue in some of the bulk, unpainted sets or - in this case - as supplied to Faller, for their Architect Designed Lake-side Chalet. In which case they were given the basic paint finish and the accessories remained unpainted.

Another sought-after range of figures are the American Civil War sets, and here we see the larger group sets on the left, Union and Confederate, with - to the right - a smaller set of Confederates marching in a 'six-figure' box and the equivalent box for three mounted Union (or Federal) cavalry. Again the attention to detail on these tiny figures is extraordinary and the flag-folding is exquisite.

Like the ACW, the Native American Indians are based of the old Elastolin/Hausser 70/40mm poses, and - like the Revell figures in the larger 1:72 - would have been produced with permission. Preiser ended up buying the rump of Elastolin and produce a fair bit in their main catalogue, pantographed up and down to various sizes, painted and in kit-form. I suspect the Mountie is an Elastolin pose as well.

So; there you have it, Toy Soldier Collecting at it's best, German made Figures of Native and Colonial Americans, Canadians, nude girls and the Holy Roman Empire, waffled about by a Brit with some sent from New Zealand, life is good!

Sets looked at above
Preiser
131 Indianer - Indians
250 Nordstatten-Infanterie I - Union Soldiers Marching
251 Südstaaten-Infanterie I - Confederate Soldiers Marching
252 Nordstatten-Infanterie II - Union Army Group
253 Südstaaten-Infanterie II - Confederate Army Group
254 Nordstatten-Cavalrie - Union Cavalry
260 Royal Canadian Mounted Police
261 US-Militärkapelle, marschierend - US Military Band, marching
262 US-Militärkapelle, marschierend - US Military Band, marching
00270 Musikkorps Budesgrenzschutz - State Border Police Corps of Music
00271 Feuerwehrkapelle im Marsch - Fire-Service Band on the march
Courtesy - Mr. Worsfold;
24600 Heralds and Knights on horseback
24601 Mercenaries
Faller
B-255 Artists Studio [Figures only]

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Little Fluffy Clouds

Taken a few weeks ago, this is a classic late summer, early autumn sky-scape which - sadly - the photograph fails to convey in the way I was viewing when I thought it was worth getting the camera out for!

Monday, October 25, 2010

News, views etc...Central Toy Soldier Show

Dave McKenna's 20th Central Toy & Model Soldier Show in Birmingham is more than on the horizon, it's less than a week away!

Usual mix of Metal and plastic, trade and private sellers, nice venue with cafe, and within 5 minutes walk of the city center. One of my favorite shows, and for plastics, one of the 'big three' with PW's Richmond and PB Toy's Herne.

Sunday 31st October 2010
The Clarendon Suite, 2 Stirling Road Edgbaston, (just off the Hagley Road)

Free Parking

For other details and late availability of tables (none left) contact; Mr McKenna on telephone number: 0121 628 1397

Email: patanddave76@yahoo.co.uk

I'll be in my increasingly holey 'Tuskers' T-shirt if you want to come over and have a chat, say Hi or winge about my approach to the military history of France!

Table prices were £30 ( but they're all booked), standing room only for traders and LOTS of bargains for buyers...so try and get up there!!

Entry Times;
Doors open 10.30 - 4pm

Prices;
£4 adults
£3 concessions (Children and OAP's)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

O is for "Oi Frenchie, Gi'ass a go in your boat?"

A talk about scale on the 'Prometheus In Aspic' blog (see left) turned to the subject of factionalism in the course of which Tony (MSFoy) pointed out that today is a special day...

As regular readers of the blog will know I have displayed an unhealthy interest in finding reasons to have a go at the French in the past, and, given that I'm a bit pissed off with our supine approach to the mess the rich have got us in, and that the coalition Government would now like the poor to buy us out of it, while the French - in a similar position - have taken to rioting...the proper way to do it; I can't resist the opportunity to fling something over the 'English' Manche!! And enjoy a bit of 'factionalism' myself!!

Ladies and Gentlemen...it is...Trafalgar Day! A National celebration of when we gave Frenchie a good spanking! Sadly, he learned little and having talked the Spanish into attending his first spanking (they probably thought it was just a nice day for a sail), he then talked the Danes into helping him have another stab, so we had to give him another good spanking. Did he learn? Did he hell, 1940 comes around and he's thrown in the towel, but wants to hold on to his ships until Adolf can have a gander, so, despite asking for them nicely, we had to give Frenchie another bloody good spanking...hummm, lets be honest, we blew him out of the water.

Which seems like a reasonable reason to look at sailors, everyone loves a sailor, except the French who probably wish they were land-locked sometimes!! Especially when the R.N. hove into view...

Lone*Star; Not a full set, nor the best paint, but for a set that suffers brittleness it's a good sample. The driver? pilot? Coxswain? Steering-wheel-man is - I think - the only one who was issued in brown, probably with the fold-up cardboard landing craft (for liberating Frenchies!) packaging, which otherwise came with combat infantry.

The Brittleness has struck the Officer of the Watch, and while I've got the spigot glued back on I don't trust it to take the weight of the arm, or indeed the strain of putting it back on!

A white semaphore signaler, my mate John has a box full of these, and has quite a few white ones, including the officer. The black one is an uncommon Hong Kong copy, while the blue one is a re-issue, I've seen the re-issues in a soft PVC as well.

Charbens had a go at Naval figures too, and here we see 5 of six poses, I haven't a clue what the other pose is, another rating I guess, I could always go and look at the Plastic Warrior check-list in the 'C' file couldn't I? Oh, all right then, hold on...

...Oh, well, there's four missing!! Three divers (which may be in another box, but I'm not going to photograph them now) and a chap with a cutlass who's actually in Trafalgar garb! Bottom right looks a bit like Churchill but is probably meant to be 'ABC' - AB Cunningham our successful Mediterranean commander in WWII, or WWI's Jellico?

Clearly Nelson is on the right in the upper photograph, while the left-hander looks like Jellico in his captains uniform (as he appeared on cigarette cards) which would leave the first guy as Cunningham. Bottom left is a home-paint using the well known 1970's stab-and-prey method!

A few other figures, on the left a Timpo hollow-cast Rating coming from or going on leave, A nice Spanish Pottery figure, an unknown figure with a hole in his base that's similar to the hole in some smaller figures by DeLuxe Reading and some HK racing personnel?

The figure on the far right is a notoriously brittle Marx 19th Century American sailor, and he's lost the eye-piece of his telescope and his pointing finger. I mean to try this two-part epoxy plastic-metal for mending engine-blocks, to have a go at making the missing parts as it may be this colour when dry?...this colour'ish?

News, views etc...Plastic Warrior 139 (August 2010)

While I was away, the latest issue of Plastic Warrior hit the doormats, it'll never hit the streets as it's a subscription service - so subscribe, link to right etc...etc...!

Contents as varied as always, and with the colour, one of the best issues ever...

* Pekka Allan Manninen gives an over-view of Finnish Flats
* ACW convertions by Arthur Belshaw
* Matt Thair completes his round-up of Cherilea's astronauts (part 2).
* A continuation of the Herald/Zang debate with regard to Dan Morgan's thoughts on early Britains
* Giampiero Larizza continues his look at Cane' of Italy with the later production and copies
* Speedwell's Jungle set sees the light of day courtesy of Mike Harding (who's often finding me nice things!)
* JSF (France) by Alain Thomas
* Coverage of new products from
- HaT Industries
- Supreme/Sunjade/BMC
- Armies in Plastic
- Ivanhoe
* Combat Corks
* Toy Story
* Spastics Society
* Plus all the usual news & letters, a swimming Lone*Star rifleman, Linde Indian Chief and a cover that's worth a years subscription!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

W is for While I was away....

Well, while I've been off-line, the trickle of bits into the 'master collection' has continued, if not apace, at least with a pleasantly surprising occasionalness! Here are a few bits that have come in over the last 4 or so weeks.

The day the Internet was lost I actually managed to get to the Post Office in the morning and send little parcels off to various souls, among whom were the boys over at Moonbase Central (see bloglist - left), and Paul call-me-Woodsy liked his parcel so much he sent me these Polish Flats by return.

I suspect the bottom two may be Russian, but as I have similar figures copied from Russian flats but made in Sophia, and carried in a Bulgarian box, there's every reason to believe they are Polish. The silver ones above will definitely be Polish, the stands are similar to a lot of production from Poland. Thanks Woodsy!

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, his blogging partner Bill call-me-Wotan seems to have emptied every drawer in the house! Those racing cars and the little plane are definitely 'Kitchen Drawer' stuff!! There are all sorts of nice bits here to be sorted into the right pile of boxes in the next few days, not least the Cherilea UN machine-gunner, who, apart from belonging to arguably the worst sculpted set of toy soldiers ever made, anywhere, ever!...is also rarely found in one piece.

Likewise the Cherilea 8th army guy is usually missing the end of his Bren-gun, while other items of note are the Hong Kong copy of a Timpo 8th army man marked HK, but probably from the same stable as ABC, the Corgi Rhino and the hard plastic seated US sailor/Coast Guard-man who I've encountered before but not managed to obtain, and who must come from a motorized toy, probably a boat, he has a locating slot on his bum! Thanks Wotan!

From the Dennis Murry collection I mentioned this afternoon, comes this exquisite combat bugler! Already one of my favorite pieces in the whole collection, I have a couple of these European cavalry (posted as part of the Plastic Warrior show report back in May) and some smaller 50mm Spanish plastics in khaki, and they do have a certain undeniable charm about them.

As can be seen there is a similarity to the Britains teenage show-jumper, but it's not a direct take, and with the rider moulded on, the similarity is equine only! Can anybody give him a makers name? The collection contained a lot of French figures and a few Dom Plastik paratroopers, but I would have said this guy looks Spanish in style and therefore - origin?

Finally, feeling rich for half a hour about three weeks ago (I'd just got paid for a painting job and was still a few hundred yards short of the bank!) I grabbed a couple of these as samples, very tasty samples. They are by Zaini (ZZ mark), and are clearly rivals to Kinder, about 7 years ago they did a set of Chocolate bears. And I saw some pink 'Disneyesque' eggs in some store the other day which were probably Zaini as well.

If the opposition have the product recognition of Kinder it makes sense to attack on a dozen fronts at the same time in order to get as many 'curiosity' sales as possible. These use toys imported from China, and the Flintstones graphic gave-up a jet-fighter!! Hay ho!

News, views etc...Back and catching-up!

Pirates follow-up moved down one and expanded.

Sorry for yet another absence, but real life is not to be trifled with!...back now and lots of lovely things to come, A major collection of Early English and French plastic from the late Dennis Murray, who used to model and wrote for Military Modeling and Scale Models International, has resulted in my 54mm collection being catapulted into the 'not-half bad' category and lots of articles on classic early 50's/60's plastic will be forthcoming, both company over-views and thematic articles.

Very few vehicles in the collection, some tatty die-casts which will be on evilBay before the weekend, and three going into the collection which I will cover in a day or twenty!

Also a nice set of the larger 2-vehicle 3-colour range AFV's from Matchbox, which I might have a go at over the winter, along with an AMX from Heller which will not be made! I've only one to find from that little set/range now!

We've had more Darleks come in, ancient and modern, so we'll definitely have a Darlek round-up...very dangerous business, rounding up Darleks, you need some very heavy potato-sacks, crepe-soles and darkness!!!

Also - I think I've covered all the comments made during my absence, so check your's if you were looking for a reply.