About Me

My photo
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.

Monday, January 30, 2012

M is for Minimodels

The Havant (Portsmouth suburb) factory of Minimodels was part of the Lines Group/Triang Empire, which means that at some point it probably supplied figures to any, all or none (?!) of the following; Almark, Capri, Corgi, Berwick, Frog, Pedigree, Penguin, Playcraft, Mettoy, Minic, Subbuteo, Triang, Waddington's and Wickets, with latterly; likely connections to Hornby and the Dunby-Combex-Marx group.

It seems to have been set-up in a new-build unit (I delivered too once! But sadly after it had ceased to be a toy factory...boo!) to consolidate the work being undertaken by several other factories in Tunbridge Wells, East Grinsted and (probably) the closed Merton works in London - but that is guesswork/assumption on my part based on previous sources of figures (and other product) to some of the above listed clients/members of the group.

These 54mm hard styrene polymer figures were first sold like this - factory painted - as 'Minimodels', before being supplied to Almark as unpainted kits, however the larger items don't seem to have been issued by Almark.

The Mortar is a clear attempt to compete with the - then con-current - Britains Swoppet British mortar team, and the bombs are almost identical (too long and thin for 81 mil/3 inch mortar rounds) to the Britains one. The sculpting style of Charles Stadden is self-evident in the figures, he seems to have done a lot of figural work for the Havant facility including one generation of Subbuteo figure for Waddington's.

The pack mule places this set firmly in the Pacific/Burma campaign or New Guinea, however they did use pack animals in the Italian mountains as well.

This is an exquisite model, very well executed and as good as anything Britains were doing at the time, the poor reception to these figures (and their relative scarcity today) must have been a portent to the changing tastes that would bring all these companies down as the seventies ground slowly and full of toy manufacturing bankruptcies into the eighties.

No comments: