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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.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

S is for Ships (and other vessels); Part 4 - Odds and Sods.

So - to a few other bits and bobs of a naval persuasion...

The metal; As the submarine (84mm in length) is clearly marked Crescent, we can assume that that is indeed who made it! They did make quite a few in this range, but they usually cost a bit so mine probably came in a mixed lot of some kind as I don't - as a rule - search this stuff out, I'm supposed to be a Toy Soldier collector, not a micro-scale vessel collector!

I always suspected the hollow ship was Crescent due to the colour being one they used on a lot of their figures, but it's unmarked and at 83mm; totally out of scale with the submarine (while being the same 'size'!), it's also a different style, so might be a penny toy or Edwardian board-game piece? The middle one (55mm) seems to be a WWI era destroyer (correct me!) or escort of some kind, is stamped 11 on the base and could be early...Authenticast, Wiking or that British company I can never remember the name of; Trafalgar? While the smallest (32mm) is almost certainly a board-game piece with a chrome/anodised finish on lead - the other two are die-cast mazak, but for now all three remain 'unknown'.

Back to plastic, the image top left is of some real odds in various sizes; the painted trawler/barge (or tanker?) being the largest at 5cm and manufactured in two parts with a hull I water-lined to match my micro-tanks about 35 years ago, might be from one of the HK ranges looked at above. The motor cruiser of similar size was from a Christmas cracker, the two little ships (silver and red) used to come in the very small crackers for putting on Christmas trees, and when we were kids we had a handful (very small handful!) of these including a submarine, all in silver/gunmetal so the red one may be a bit later.

The smallest one - an MTB with spots of red paint (2cm) is probably from a board game again, the brown one might be from a kit (I haven't subjected you to the bag of ship-kit's boats...very tedious and all so small!), the scruffy blue thing is - I think - a 'Battleships' piece and the three-funneled liner is probably a Hong Kong dolls-house toy, it's hard styrene plastic, factory painted.

The large bi-coloured liner (14cm) in the next two images is an early British bath/beach toy possibly by Kleeware, Betterware or Independent Moulders or someone like that. The red-hulled vessel (75mm) in the same pictures is a German premium from the 1950/60's and I'm pretty sure it's one of the items made by Siku and supplied to all sorts of food companies, long before they got a name producing die-cast vehicles.

The final shot shows the accessories from a Matchbox Harbour play-set, they are approximately 6.5cm.

These (14cm) are interesting, I always thought they were something like Bismark or Tirpitz, but checking just now think they are Iowa/New Jersey'ish. They seem to be copies of the HK incarnation of the Tri-ang Minic vessel (with the wheels) but I don't remember either the British or HK ranges having non-British vessels?

My Submarine sub-collection (groan!); I always wanted a motorised sub. as a kid, but never had one, and would like to get a few more now, there were many versions, even Airfix made one, this one (33cm long) is a more recent HK one with a built-in battery-housing, most took the slip-on motor unit which was always an orangey-red and white - whoever made it!

The next largest (18cm) is a rubber-band powered Honk Kong novelty, the fins (of which there were four to go in the holes you can see in the photograph) are polyethylene and have become so brittle (rare for HK plastic), they languish in a bag waiting an advance in adhesive technology!! The sub itself is polystyrene and relatively stable.

Top-right is a Hong Kong bath toy (95mm), tubes attached to the conning-tower masts would allow you to raise or lower the sub by sucking until you got a mouthful of soapy water or blowing until your ears hurt! It was used as a premium by Kellogg's among others but could usually be found as a rack toy along with a similar diver figure.

Next to that going left - is a baking-soda submarine (120mm), also a premium, but more recent, while the three small ones down the bottom in yellow (67mm, three blobs on the tower, 1990's/current), and red or grey (55mm, four masts, 1950/60's) are also baking-soda subs. I've seen it suggested somewhere that you should use 'Baking-powder not baking-soda', as my understanding is that 'baking-powder' is just baking 'soda' with preservatives, I suspect that sticking to soda will prove to be the cheaper fuel-source, and burn cleaner!

Going right from them is a blow/balloon powered sub. (85mm) again; probably both a premium and a rack-toy, while the final example (with a missile on the deck - 95mm) might belong to one of the sets looked at above, or a similar carded HK range?

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