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 24, 2012

G est pour la Guerre Civile

Having covered both Cherilea and Timpo albeit not fully, it seems to make sense to look at some of the other swoppet types before moving on to pastures new. These are all small samples, and a lot are 'unknown', but they give a flavour of what else is out there.

Another British firm; Charbens, did a set of swoppets which are clearly Timpo rip-offs, as kids we always thought these were better Hong Kong production due to the ridiculous pistol holster/belt. The flag's a belter though, bit of paint and it would knock the Timpo guidon into a cocked hat! No Union yet - I'm afraid, but they were the same mouldings with blue shirts.

These are a common kind of Hong Kong pirate, again taken from Timpo and possibly some connections with Linda or Blue Box, but it's such a firm 'don't know' I'll not be putting either name in the tag list. I do have somewhere images of HK ACWswoppets - that could be these - under another name entirely, if I find them I'll update this post in pink!

Very similar - even to the plug-in boots, this chap is by Transogram. Several of these HK sources adopted the double belt-loop and over system in vinyl for the braces that replaced the actual leather or canvas belts used in the civil war, this was due entirely to Timpo's influence and lead!

This guy is actually quite a good moulding from the waist up. A small HONG KONG on the top of the base helps separate him from all the similar figures. The third hole in the base is for the running legs that came with some of the Cowboys and Indians in this range.

Of the four HK sets looked at so far these are the best, they also have the plug-in boots but are otherwise very good copies of the Timpo originals, even down to the guidon, leading some unscrupulous dealers to try passing it off as Timpo - it actually has much cruder stitching and an almost unreadable 'th' after the 7.

These may be by Ellem for Cherilea, but I don't know so for now the same note applies as to the first lot (re. Linda/Blue Box) and once I've identified the Ellem bases, it may all become a little clearer?!

This 45/50mm lot are more Britians based, with PVC vinyl-rubber torsos on ethylene legs. Origins seem to be half Herald (bugler) and half Britains Swoppets. At some point the torsos were used on larger legs making 60mm giants - far-left in the lower left image.

I love what they've done to the Britains lying firing pose, reminds one of the Airfix prone or mounted poses that Montaplex put on bases!

"Lookout! Observation balloon!"

"I'll poke you with my big stick!"

"Go on then...I'll get my sabre out while you ignore yours shall I?"

"Blame the Photographer for posing us like this"

"Hmm, all right, I blame the photographer...you're still a long time dead"

Elastolin Yankee waves a red-flag to a Giodi Reb-bull...ha ha - I shouldn't be allowed! I think he's one of a set made for Kinder in the 1970's. These are both good quality figures - as you'd expect from European manufacturers, although the Giodi figure has some disturbing similarities with some of the HK production?


The Angry Lurker said...

Nice bit of history and plastic...

Maverick Collecting said...

Thanks Lurker, comments always appreciated!


James O'Connell said...

When I was kid in the 60s I complained to mu mum that I did not have enough Indians to fight my cowboys. She then got me a heap of the HK swoppet Indians and also some cowboys.
I got some of the ACW HK cheap swoppets much later.
I ha ve some of the cavalry khaki torsoes with Timpo pants bottom and heads and wondered at the source. It makes them look like Spanish American War.
One thing I have noticed about the HK imitations versus Timpo is that the plastic easily endures while Timpo plastics frquently crumble.

Maverick Collecting said...

Hi James

This was a problem with much early 'western' plastic figure production, they used additives - notably chalk/talk - to help paint adhere to the figures, not only did the figures still flake, but over time they also got very brittle.

There are other factors - ultra-violet in sunlight for instance - meaning that some batches remain stable while others don't, but generally HK production which was additive-free (to keep costs down) has faired much better.

Thanks for passing and the memories!