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, September 2, 2012

B is for British Bearskins

The most iconic Toy Soldier type, by the most iconic Toy Soldier manufacturer; Britains. Famous for their hollow-cast ceremonials, they were bound to produce them when they started experimenting with plastic and indeed, some of the first figures they commissioned from Zang were the predecessors of these figures.

The moulds were re-cut upon the change from 'straight' Zang to the Herald brand, and would continue in production for decades with a slow decline in paint style and quality and a change to a softer vinyl/PVC material. Three shooting poses were added after production had moved to Hong Kong, and the officer was dropped from the range, there is a standard bearer missing from the above line-up and I have Michael Melnyk to thank for several of the above figures.

A mounted officer (similar to the Highland pose - no removable arm) also went the distance, and while I've tried to arrange all the above shots in chronological order with the oldest to the left, I'm not sure on the various saddle's originality, nor the age of the last horse which may be older than the PVC rider.

The out-painters had two ways of painting the SLR, with some silvering the bayonet only and others painting the barrel silver, right back to the gas-parts. These two versions are as common as each other and therefore make a collectable paint-variant.

The lower shot shows four of the main base types, again; oldest to the left, they are; Herald original, early Hong Kong figure with moulded-on base, later (1970's) glued into the box tray and finally the plug-on late style base, a hierarchy they share with the Combat Infantry and Wild West figures from 'Herald Hong Kong'.

When Britains introduced the Deetail range they added a set of six guards (the 'Royal Salute - Present Arms' pose is missing from the above image), which would run alongside the Herald pretty-much 'till the end. I don't know the significance of the base colours - except that the green is the commoner (perhaps the black are from some touristy thing commissioned by someone else from Britains?) and the black-based ones seem to have the matching (and correct) black trousers every time.


Paul´s Bods said...

I had loads of em..used them as grenadiers alongside my napoleonic Airfix figs :-D

Maverick Collecting said...

Well...someone who was good with filler/green stuff could turn the three Deetail 'fighting' poses into reasonable Crimea figures quite easily; pack, pouches and a couple of cross-belts...gaiters??

David Scrivener said...

Re the mounted officers: The white horse & black sheepskin saddle should, of course, be for the Life Guard or Horse Guard trumpeter.

Maverick Collecting said...

Thanks David - I was pretty sure the blue ones were correct but thought...."late production...maybe?", the question now is do I have a spare blue one? Yes - Probably...on one of the household cavalry!!

Do you happen to know if the grey hooves are correct for a late HK horse?


David Scrivener said...

I only have one HK brown horse, which has 2 white 'socks' painted white, hooves unpainted, and one white horse with grey painted hooves. I have no idea exactly when they were made.

Maverick Collecting said...

OK Dave, thanks anyway...it'll all come out in the wash...I should probaly read Peter Cole's book more closely or study Opie's opus!!


Anonymous said...

Right hand guards officer has definitely been re-mounted on a Household Cavalry Trumpeter's horse (black sheepskin saddle cloth - the other officers have the correct navy blue saddle cloth)

Loved these soldiers

"TINTIN 1689"

Maverick Collecting said...

Thanks TinTin, because the two browns are slightly different, I'm going to try and find a black one for him to make the sample better and the white horse can have an inter-unit cross-posting to the Household Cavalry where I think I have a spare 'mounted with sword' and a spare 'foot with trumpet' so an arm transplant will be in order...but there's a breast-plate issue there as well isn't there!