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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

C is for Cowboys (and Native Americans!)

Well, I had a day to spare so I dug into the box I've been blogging the Giant Stuff from and had a half a sort-out of the Cowboys and Indians, at the same time because I needed the 40mm canoeist, I got the box of carded sets out of the loft and the result is a stultifyingly tedious look at the minutiae of Giant Wild West - if you are a casual visitor to this blog; or a decent overview of what is or isn't Giant to those who get so excited about this HK-production importer from New York.

These are the 6 Giant foot poses in the wild west range, apart from the canoeist (below) they are the only known poses used by Giant, all other foot figures (and there are many) were imported by other firms.

Even with these 12 there are question marks over when they are Giant (dealers premium - kerching!) and when they aren't (dealers description "Believed to be Giant"), more of that below, in the next part you'll find a explanation of the base marking changes with these guys, in the meantime, the simple rule is the better the quality the more likely they are Giant, however as with all rules there are exceptions.

The 6 mounted poses, there are as you can see three Cowboys and three Indians, in my articles for One Inch Warrior magazine I think I identified 40 or 50 mounted poses of hollow-horsed Cowboy or Indian, and only 6 are Giant. Again these poses are used by non-Giant brands and carriers, usually of a poorer quality.

In the Cowboy image, all three are on the horse I have christened 'Smoothie', in the Indian shot, the centre rider in on another Smoothie, while the archer to the right is on a 'Mexican Small' and the chap in the full war-bonnet (not necessarily a chief) is on a 'Mexican Large'. Along with the medieval charger these are the horses typically associated with Giant, but again there are exceptions, and again the other 20/30-odd hollow horses out there are not Giant...unless they are!!

From the left; Mexican large; Mexican Small and; Smoothie. Occasionally a smaller version of Smoothie appears in a Giant lot, usually towing wagons or artillery, he's called 'Pony'. The Smoothie seems to be based - loosely - on the Marx running horses, lacking the wave in the mane of the more common horse based on Crescent's running pose, but with the stirrups removed and a fatter tail, while the Mexicans seem to have something in common with both the Ajax 60mm horse and the Rel horse.

Colours of Giant horses are usually pretty reserved, being black, either a solid or slightly translucent white or many shades of brown, however as we saw the other day, there are exceptions and sometimes wild colours appear like red, green, pink, mauve, purple...in fact; any colour the figures come in.

Ideal would later carry a larger version of hollow Mexican in their Fort Cheyenne play-set.

The only other figure I've linked to Giant is this copy of the Thomas  'girl' paddling a canoe. It's hard to give him a scale as the original series was all scales for making box-dioramas from cereal packets, so in the bag with the others he looks like a boy, on his own in a carded canoe set (see 2nd post below) he is a 40mm adult.

It's not a terribly clear picture but it's the best I could do and I took dozens of shots with and without flash or natural-light and at all angles, but the plastic blister is old and tatty and very scratched so this is it. Also; of the four figures in the set he's the only one not damaged, it's rare for this HK stuff to get brittle, but it does happen!

An idea of the colours you'll find these figures in, it might look as if you can find them in any old colour under the sun, but when you look at a sample of Giant against another brand or unbranded set there are differences.

Typically Giant are matt rather than gloss, have a pastel hint/tint to them and are 'solid' colour - it's hard to explain but it's there! Indeed one way to tell late/post-Giant issues of these figures (as opposed to all the others) is that they get shinier the later they are dated - not because they're cleaner, but because the plastic is different

Top left shows the 'spruelette' as it leaves the machine, they survive like this as they were issued in a non-Giant branded Canoe set, with the long connecting pieces between the first and last pairs of figures wedged into slots on spigots in the base of the canoe. I should have stripped the home-paint from this one but I have others and was hoping to use them...but they are in the missing 'proper' boxes!

Below that is an interesting sample of Type II figures (see post below) in a limited colour range that all came together. To the right are a hot-pin conversion above and a sharp-knife conversion below.

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