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.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

D is for Drevopodnik

Wound-up in Czechoslovakia around 1998 - some ten years after 'The Wall' came down (actually it was the falling of a curtain!) as another bankrupt former state manufacturing concern and based in Brno (when the Bren-gun gets half its name from!), all I can find in relation to this company is that it was a general household goods manufacturer who also offered glass-grinding, glazing and drilling as well as apprenticeships in cabinet making!

At some point someone thought to manufacture at least two sets of figures in a rough composition (very similar to the old Rawlplug 'plastic wood'), the set shown here and another I've seen with more colourful Napoleonic or ceremonial type uniforms.

These came to us at a general antiques fair, where someone thought they'd be a 'bit of us', and my mate - who's stall it was - said "..go-on then", and bought them while I was out having a cigarette! By the time I got back to the table he was having serious second thoughts, having looked more closely at them and seen that there was a fair amount of damage.

I thought - wow, they're a bit different, I'll have them, I'm sure I can fix most of them! So silver crossed palms on them for the secound time in minutes and they were mine. I won't tell what my friend paid, or what I paid, but suffice to say it wasn't much either way, but probably more than I can afford given my current circumstances...I still owe him twenty-five quid, but that's for something else!!

A quick look at the three sets shows a cirtain amount of damage, particularly the figure top-right on each card. There were also four loose figures from the same set.

As they came out of the heat-shrinked packaging, it became obvious that the damage was a little worse than appeared, with bits falling off more than 75% of the figures, paint damage and other horrors. Also it was clear that Q/A and/or Q/C was not a priority in the Drevopodnik works and they seemed to have been finished - at least partially - by hand.

So each figure was placed in a separate bag, with all it's bits and the bags were stacked (open) in a shoe-box and placed in front of the ducting vent in my flat's wet-room, where hot-air (this was back in the spring) was blown over them for 48hrs, to remove any damp that might have been responcible for some of the finer crumbling.

Then they were taken one at a time to the surgical bench and stuck back together with super-glue (which was of course it's original use - in Vietnam). The really bad ones were left in the bags until the end, and some figures had to be composed from several, to get a 'full set'. Others were fine though and as they were given the once over they were lined-up on a bizarre parade!

When the whole process was complete, the pile bottom-right in the above collage was left over, and after humming and harring for an hour or so - I threw it away. It took two days to fix them all, and I am now looking for some paint to match them, especially the Paratrooper, as the best example lost all his helmet paint as he was peeled off the backing film. I also need to track-down a tube of the aforementioned Rawlplug plastic-wood (that hasn't gone hard), to fill a few gaps...do they still make it?

Top left; The NBC alert guards - three out of four 'aint bad as Mr. Loaf might say! These were particularly hard to mend as they had all suffered their brakes up the legs or around the hips (or both) rather than the more common - and easier to fix - ankle-damage of the others.

Below them is a shot of their bases, with what I presume to be the makers mark's, possibly the wood-working apprentices...using-up wood-filler to produce a Christmas 'cash-crop'??

Top right; are a conversion/head-swap using the staff-officer's head, that came from the bits that were left-over after I'd got one decent set together. The figures on either end of the line-up (medic and traffic cop), had to be built-up from several donors and still need a bit of filler and stuff.

So - if any Czech or Slovakian readers are following this blog, can you add anything? Did you work in the Drevopodnik M. Brna factory in Brno (Bruno), or know someone who did? Does anyone know the extent of the full range?

I think there may have been a card of Indians (native American) as well, but that might be a false memory, and the trouble with false memory in the age of the Internet is that it tends to reappear as someone else's fact!

Note; The figures reached some untouchable temperatures as I bled super-glue into them. I don't now the physics or the chemistry but it was a hell of a reaction...I was using pound-shop stuff, as you get three tubes for a quid and they tend not to produce the white deposit of the more the expensive glues.


M-7 said...

Hi, how tall are these figures?

Maverick Collecting said...

With the base about 70/75mm, M-7; pretty standard for composition... I'll be returning to them soon as I'm going to try a bit of renovation, over-and-above the glueing!


Patrick Payne said...

Would you be willing to sell one of the railwaymen?

Hugh Walter said...

Not really Patrick - but I could be tempted by a swap? Something for the collection, for something from the collection!


Patrick Payne said...

I do not have much of a collection, but what would you be interested in?

Hugh Walter said...

I need a motor unit for a Tri-ang-Hornby LRT tube-train set, early version! Only joking...not about the Motor, I am looking for one of those but I know it's worth more than all the above! You've seen the Blog Patrick...something nice for the blog, or look out for something as you go round the shows? A carded piece-of-crap would keep me happy, another composition figure? A railway something, if that's your era of opps...it's not going anywhere, so - 'as and when'. I'm just not much of a one for flogging stuff off, swaps benefit both parties!


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