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.

Friday, May 20, 2011

B is for Blockmen (or Cubix as some are calling them!)

Just when I thought I’d got all the Daleks I could on the Toy Soldier page, I found another one! I’ll put it over there so you’ll have to go and have a gander separately.It all came about because I found a free offer of an Amy Pond figure.

They were being given away free in the paper the other day, and I thought they were Lego, but it turned out that they were actually Character Options, who already have various licenses for Dr Who stuff.

In fact the papers have been having a bit of a gift-war in the last few weeks, with Lego, these and other toys on offer most days! I was pleased to see they were putting proper feet on them…typical that they were in fact somebody else’s figures then, as the history of Lego figures has always been “Where our rivals lead, we will follow”!

Predating (the UK Toy Industry Award winning) Lego Space (1978) by some years was Tente Space from Spain, which was advertised on TV when I was still quite young, and I can remember it coming to Fleet Toys and Mum not letting us have it, because she’d heard on Woman’s Hour or You & Yours than it wasn’t compatible with ‘another leading brand’!

Early figures had non-moving arms (top left), while later figures (top right) were not only better articulated, but also had connection points (female connection on the back-pack, male on the ‘butt-tocks-sirrr!’), both versions of the figures had male-connectors on their feet. The soldiers that ran alongside them had no connectors (bottom right).

The back-pack usually had a 'Space' logo; to start this was a metallic blue, then a plain blue, before being reduced for the second design and finally dropped (bottom left).

The original Lego Space (top center) and other figures including the Nestlé ‘Nesquick’ Bunny, one of the first uses of Lego ‘minifig’s’ as an advertising premium by another company, some enemy of Spiderman with a shaped helmet and a Gamorrean Guard with an all-over body-shaper.

The two Martians make use of the design tested on/coming from the skeletons and – then – new Stap battle-droids from the Star Wars franchise. While finally the Pirates are by COBI, with the beard which clips on to a hole on the face of the ‘Captain’, mirroring - in construction - the figures produced by Res Plastics and others for Kinder in Italy in the mid-1970’s.

Once Lego had got the ‘collectable’ idea, and realised the implications of Adult Lego fans, they got well into the production ‘sets’. The first were the sprung-loaded Basketball players, and now a set of 12 new and ‘unique’ (nothing unique about something produced in its millions – if not tens of millions!) figures appear next to a million tills every 6-months or so.

The South-sea islanders from the ‘Pirates’ range, these have been added to over the years with Newspaper-freebies and the new collectable figure sets, and are among my favorites from Lego. Actually from ‘Enchanted Island’, they seem clearly related to ‘Achu’ from the Adventures range!

Lego were sliding into oblivion about 15 years ago, and it was touch-and-go whether the newly purchased (at the time) Star Wars franchise would save them, but it did!Here are 3 types of Stap battle-droid, the Dri-Decker droids and some Gungans!

Main picture shows the vinyl Snow-monster from Megabloks, which led-off the Lego 'Artic Explorers' by several years! The Lego version stands behind.

To the left are two more Megabloks, with more realistic feet, swiveling arms in all plains and better heads (two of which are to the right). Like Lego they started with a simple ‘smiler’, and added individual features latter, as all these makes are really following Playmobil/Little People, it’s all a bit achademic!

Bottom left, and the level of ‘realism’ is getting silly, with a chunk of hideousness from Megabloks from the Medieval/Ork? Range, this range also beat Lego to a Viking Longship, and having seen the price of the follow-up from Lego, I don’t know how they get away with it, or why some of these other brands aren’t more popular?!

Bottom right shows the tool-set that came with a Megablok's Spaceman.


LynnWords said...

i like your blog, can I follow through google?

Maverick Collecting said...

I think so? You have to click on 'feeds' or RSS or somthing!! I don't post as much as I'd like at the moment, but hope it will pick-up again in the Autumn {Fall!}... thanks for passing and stopping to comment! H