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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, June 8, 2011

W is for Wardie from B. J. Ward

So, from the above posts we end up having to have a quick look at B.J.Ward, Don Bowles and their Wardie/Mastermodels range of model railway accessories, or at least the figures from them.

These are the uniformed personnel; well strictly speaking the guy in red is a civilian wearing a boiler suit!

The bottom images are all metal Mastermodel originals, and they differ from the other metal figures in this group of posts by being made of die-cast mazac rather than soft lead or poured white-metal alloys. Rather hidden by the second sailor on a kit-bag is the seated WREN, while one of the sailors is inching toward the soldiers to wind them up and start a fight!

The benches in that photograph are metal, while the bench in the pictures above are plastic and marked ‘Peco’, so not all the moulds went to Merit…but that is definitely for another day! The AA motorcycle goes with an RAC phone-box and can be found with metal or plastic wheels. All the figures in the upper photographs are plastic, and while the poorly painted ones will be Slater’s or - at a stretch - Wills, the soldier may have come with a Peco set of benches?

The three sets of ‘working men’, the matchstick plank-carriers come with the figures bottom left, and are supposed to be unloading a lorry, but the guy directing makes a good ‘crane instructor’ or grounds-man. Apart from the colour variants, the late production seems to have got nothing more than a quick ‘wash’. The figures bottom right, are from two sets, the grey figures come in track-gang (maintenance-of-way to US readers) sets or with a night-watchman’s hut and brazier, while the black and brown ones come in sets of cable layers, black ones with silver knee-pads are miners.

Incomplete shots of the rest of the range, Rail staff top left, mostly public figures top right and the passengers below. The woman with a pleated skirt does not seem to be from the Wardie Mastermodels range, and may be from a die-cast vehicle set of similar age, or a railway accessory from across the pond (making her a railroad accessory!). The newspaper seller would reappear in the Merit board game ‘Remote Control Driving Test’ along with the Policeman, lollypop-lady, 2 Belishia-beacons and a ‘phone-box from Mastermodels moulds – Merit would later redesign the ‘phone-box as a very delicate structure that took a caller figure, Model Scene issued it as a kit, still on the sprue.

Notice also how there is more than one version of several figures, the woman in the pale-blue two-piece has a lower hand and fewer buttons in different places, there is one version of the left-hand (right as you look) walking stick man; holding a newspaper, the other; holding an envelope or book, there’s the cream boy without gaps between his arms and body, the red boy with one gap and two different golfers, while two of the rail-staff seem to be from a specific TT-gauge set as does the blue and white lady/nurse [pleated-skirt girl may be from this set?].

The distinctive base with its side-chamfers makes it easy to identify a lot of the Mastermodel figures, but as can be seen; later sets, discontinued figures (man carrying sack with jerkin - top left) and the odd-sized figures have more common generic bases like the later Airfix HO range, as do most of the ‘public’ figures.

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