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.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

T is for Terracotta

I saw these on Mercator Trading's stall at Sandown Park the other month and just fell for them instantly, a bit outside my purchasing power but Adrian let me photograph them for the blog. I just love the more esoteric toy or model soldiers, and these are pretty off the wall or 'out there' compared to the usual plastics or lead figures.

A nice group of plaster, or soft white terracotta French Marines or a Naval landing/boarding party with wire rifle barrels, no idea as to the make, or how many poses there were originally? Made in an open-bottomed mould like slip-wear, it was a miracle they got out of the factory in one piece, let alone survived half a century or more of transport, storage and play.

In the same batch he had these other odds-and-sods, also French, but of more durable fired terracotta or clay. The inset top left has an undecipherable (by me!) makers mark which someone may be able to make more sense of, it might be better the other way up (but that didn't help me!).

To the right is what appears to be the number 74, probably a workers mark for QA purposes? Likewise the two red dots on the lower-left shot. Note also how the base material varies from a true terracotta pink through a clay-beige to an almost blue-grey colour


Giano said...

Interesting find! the first figures remind me of the clay figures my grand-grand father made for the Nativity. He made plaster moulds and then used them to make clay figurines. He painted them all but didn't cook the clay so only few survive today, and most have lost their colouring. Unluckily no plaster mould survived.
That makes me think the marsouines may be from a very very short run, or even home made.

Maverick Collecting said...

Fascinating Giano, thanks for that...more research required, me thinks!

We have a tradition of plaster Christmas Tree decorations which were the 'poor man's bisque', but they must have had longer lasting or more robust (probably vulcanised rubber?) moulds, as there are many common versions/poses.