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.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

T is for Tatra, not the trucks from Czechoslovakia and not Rubinstein!

So a mystery solved, not by diligent research in the British Library, or months poring over old toy trade magazines, nor buy the serendipitous matching of a Littlewood's catalogue image with an old order form from Woolworth's or something like that, but by a simple comment I almost missed, written months after the original post had been published, and received with thanks from Gareth Callan;

As soon as I had read Gareth's comment I Googled the firm - just to see if there was anything - and found that they are not only still going but have a website, a blog (with images of the original mouldings) and a fascinating history page which seems to involve them taking over most of the firms within a hundred miles of them in every direction over a number of years (decades!) and then moving the whole thing North!

Upper shot shows the footballers, these have bases like the Timpo ones but are a little smaller, they also seem to be the hardest to find of the main football types (Airfix, gold named-base, Timpo and pop-on based cake decorations) and when found are usually in the same cream as Airfix or the pinky-cream colour above.

Below are the Soldiers of the World in blue with two poses missing.

I contacted the company and received a kind reply from one of the staff, he has declined to enter detailed correspondence on the subject, a position I can understand as the company now is an extrusions company, very different from the injection moulding they were engaged in when they made these and so have little interest in what was probably a 'pin-money' earner for them more then 40 years ago. Consequently I won't name the individual but thank him for the images.

Also there may be very few people left in the factory who remember the fine details of what was happening "down south" all those years ago, but if Gareth could remember and comment, maybe someone else will...do you know anyone who worked at Tatra in the 1970's?, get them to drop a comment here and share their memories with the rest of us!

Some old shots left over from the previous post, showing the marking that clinches the British angle to these figures, they weren't supplied by Rubinstein, but to them!

The most interesting thing I learnt from the company spokesperson was that the moulds were finally sold only a few years ago (when the original owners retired?) to a plastics firm in South Africa, they couldn't remember the name of the firm, but anyone in SA, or with friends or family there might try to look out for them in the smaller shops or kiosks?

Tatra PR shot above and a few of mine - below - for the Magic Roundabout set, this was one of three sets of premiums issued for the iconic children's TV series of drug-infused madness; "Hey...anybody got a carrot maaaaannn..."

The other two were the bigger set (16 poses?) of very small ones issued all over Europe with gum, ice-cream or soap-powder and the larger based set probably made by Crescent - and like these; destined for Kellogg's Ricicles.

Finally the Robin Hood set complete, these appeared in large numbers a few years ago all in the same clean pale blue polyethylene, whether they were old stock or a quick run before the moulds were sold is not clear.

Obviously the original post has a few red-herrings now, as they weren't made in, for or by a pulping-mill on the North or South banks of the Thames or the Medway for starters!! But I'll leave it as it is with a link forward to this one - it is still one of the most popular posts with 40-odd visits today alone. And they may have been for a pulping-mill as the other connections hold vis-a-vis box supply, games etc...?

A couple of links;

Company History
Tatra Blog
More Tatra on this Blog

Known Listing;

Magic Roundabout Characters (c.1968) - Kellogg's Ricicles
- Brian the Neurotic Snail 
- Dougal Dog - The Sugar-rushed Worrier
- Dylan the Rabbit...the very, very spaced-out rabbit, man!
- Ermentrude the Cow, nice but dim.
- Florence
- Mr Rusty
- Old Mr McHenry
- Zebedee...that was all wrong...a talking bed-spring with a Mexican-mustachioed tumour for a head?

The Aristocats (c.1970) - Nabisco - Different set to the European gum-premiums, being larger, less poses and similar in execution to the Robin Hood figures.

Robin Hood (c.1970) - Nabisco
The Flintstones (c.1970)
- Nabisco - See above link, were reissued in a soft vinyl.

Football Players (World Cup 1974) - ?

Warriors Through the Ages (c. 1975) - Various - See the original post for a fuller (but probably still not complete!) listing of the various 'to market' titles and dates for these.

1 comment:

Maverick Collecting said...

Only cowards go whining-off to other people!