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.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

P is for Probably...the Best Toy in the World, Ever

[To be voiced by Orson Wells's gravelly tones!]. Or; Probably the Worst Lager in the World! ((c) 1989 Hugh Walter - I hope to sell it to an advertising agency one day and make my fortune!).
This has been on my brother's shelf for a few years, and was a sort of late Christmas present to me, although I've said I'll clean it and put it with the Detail stuff we looked at a while ago. Made by Britains, it predates the Detail range and the figures aren't compatible, neither did they go that well with the Herald figures, but are - at least - made of the same dark olive vinyl.

I genuinely think this has to be up there with the other contenders of best toy ever, if such an award could ever ignore the broad sweep of something like 'Lego' or 'kits' and look at each toy issued on it's merits.

It was a tad dusty when it arrived two days after Christmas, and needed to be stripped down and cleaned. Due to all the stickers that come with it and the fact that it seemed to be surface dust only, it was better to do a dry clean with a paint brush. Illustrated - bottom right - are three brushes typical of the type I'd use for a job like this, from the left; a chef's pastry brush (soft bristles that can get up a nice lather if 'wet cleaning'), a 1/2 inch decorators brush which is a bit stiffer and was the one used this time, and a stiff craft brush of the type kids in playgroup/kindergarten use for poster paint and glue, which is the best for getting years of grime out of detailed mouldings with doing the damage something like a nail brush or scrubbing brush can do.

The model carries a UK civilian license plate, with the 'F-Reg' dating it to an issue date (in the real world) between 1 August 1967 and 31 July 1968, and (without being an expert on Lanny's) seems to represent a late Series II/IIA?

So why is it the best toy ever - in my humble opinion!?...Independent suspension on all four wheels, front wheels steer from the spare, turning the steering wheel at the same time, two fully articulated crew-figures (with separate helmets), two-position co-driver/sentry's machine-gun, opening doors, opening bonnet (with a good stab at a Solihul engine-block), dash sticker and cab-details, pivoting twin pom-pom type weapon with removable, revolving mounting, locking towing-hook cover, radio set...

There are downsides; it's British Racing Green, not the army green of the wagons I knew (although Her Madge' always used to get a Review-vehicle in this colour when inspecting large units or parades), the main armament is totally fictitious and the bonnet tools tended to be broken by people thinking they should be removable (because everything else was!), but it was a toy, and as a toy it had shed-loads of play-value and preempted the modern irregulars 'Technicals' by a decade or two..Rock-on!

All cleaned-up and put back together, I gave the crew slightly more jaunty angles to their helmets at the same time! They're singing "There Was a Gloster Soldier" as they swing wildly between termite-hills and wart-hog holes looking for Mau-mau!!

Various aspects of this moulding (or the wheels!) produced a quite wide range of long and short-wheelbase farm and military versions right up to the early 2000's, with and without soft or hard-tops, drivers, crew or loads.

Go-on then...tell me what's better than this? Must be a single set or box not a generic like 'Action Man', what's your all-time best toy - not favourite; 'best', all-round and viewed with judge-like neutrality!

1970's catalogue illustration.

12 comments:

Paul said...

You are indeed a lucky boy Hugh. I think I pined for this back in the day.

Maverick Collecting said...

Aah that I was still a boy!! My knees tell me otherwise...so what do you think is the best toy ever? Another contender could be the Corgi La France articulated fire truck with all the crew and ladders and stuff, or the Mecano military set...

Cheers
Hugh

Paul said...

Oh I think the Action man Polar explorer set was the bees knees back in the day.

I still harbour thoughts about picking up one. I of course have the RM Arctic and Mountain Warfare Cadre with his white clothing, webbing and SLR. It takes pride of place in the lounge...Much to the wifes amusement.

Regards Paul

Maverick Collecting said...

That's a good call! It had the three silver storage crates and the little thermos (or was it a light?) with a wire handle...and huskeys!

Southern Boy said...

Like it...Probably the worst larger in the world hee hee! I dunno...crush it and liquidize it with some egg-nog??

Best Toy...Jonney Seven One Man Army, deffo!

Maverick Collecting said...

Deffo? That's Southern Cross not Southern Bell then!!

When I was working for a dealer a few years ago we had a J7 OMA (ooh matron - those Germans!) and it was quite a piece! Escaped me as a child, but the number of people who came up to the table, saw it and went of into some bout of nostaligic waxing lyrical!

Thanks for passing
Hugh

giles longford said...

my sister had the playcraft showjumping set, not the britains one and from her perspective that would be a contender, which asks - Boy, Girl or Unisex?

My subbuteo set would be mine.

giles

giles longford said...

my sister had the playcraft showjumping set, not the britains one and from her perspective that would be a contender, which asks - Boy, Girl or Unisex?

My subbuteo set would be mine.

giles

Maverick Collecting said...

Thanks Giles

I have most of the Playcraft set somewhere, along with the Britains ones, but they are in storage at the moment, will appear here one day!

Being not a soccer man I prefer the Subuteo cricket set! Which I have covered, try the tag list (click-on index).

Cheers
Hugh

Gog said...

I don't take your challenge, but I agree this one is a really really great toy. I miss a picture of the lower part of the car.

Maverick Collecting said...

Hi Gog
I'll send you one...I take it you're the Juan A...who sent me the 70's Spanish stuff yesterday? eMail follows...
H

Maverick Collecting said...

Hoist by my own petard! I'd previously claimed this was the best toy ever!!;

Battle Game

...so if I can't make my mind up?