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, June 9, 2013

P is for People to Populate the Pitch-side, Photograph and Pander to Prima Donna Players

The real reason a 'toy soldier' collector starts collecting Subbuteo, is that a lot of the figures designed to add realism - as 'backgrownd' - around the pitch-side have use as civilians in war-games, or; because they are a hard styrene plastic - useful conversion fodder. So this post is a brief overview of the non-playing figures from Mr Adolf's little empire...

The first thing you need at a football match is a bunch of people to watch it! Strangely, given that they first appeared during the days of hooliganism so apply commented-on by the cartoonist Giles, throughout my childhood; these five poses included a woman, a rare visitor to the shores of 1970's football terraces!

Originally sold in little sets of ten factory painted (out-painted!) figures as five pairs, the second of each pair having a vaguely reversed or contrasting colour scheme. later they were issued as 50 unpainted castings (middle bottom). Top left shows the results of allowing Subbuteo fans to play with modelling paint!! Bottom left shows the slightly translucent plastic of late issues on the right of the two girls.

Photographers and film crews are a common sight at all sporting events and featured strongly in the Subbuteo world,with a set of Cameramen a mobile film crew with satellite links and a TV camera and a static TV camera on a scaffold tower with a reporter and monitor on the lower level.

The two TV sets would be combined into one set which I've illustrated bottom right. It should also be noted that the scaffold tower is similar if not a virtually identical scale-down to the larger model made by Mini-Models (bought by Rovex-Triang) for the Scalextric slot-racing system in 1:32.

It was the purchase of Scalextric that brought the Mini-Models Havent Plant to Tri-ang and so to all the links with Stadden-designed figures in a similar unpainted or matt paint, hard plastic, disc-based style going to Tri-ang, Hornby, Subbuteo, Omnia, Dinky, Waddington's, Almark and others. Stadden also designed the figures for Scalextric.

The St. John Ambulance organisation have traditionally provided first aid cover at football matches and they also star in the pitch-side accessory range. The first set seem to have been designed by Nibblett and bear an uncanny resemblance to the stretcher-teams in the Airfix first version German Infantry and Combat Group sets, the stretcher itself being almost identical. I will eventually post comparison pictures on both those listing on the Airfix Blog.

They were replaced with a chunkier set from the hand of Stadden, who - a few years later - produced a third version (green bases above) with standing holding folded stretcher and kneeling seeing to a casualty I haven't tracked down yet. The first and second versions came with two helmeted Policemen one pointing (also missing), when the last version came out a separate set of Police officers with a mounted officer and a motorcycle cop were introduced. this time the standing and pointing poses had flat peaked 'service' caps instead of the helmets.

The previously separate sets of ball-boys, photographers and Police were brought together in the Waddington's years and are shown with their packaging in the upper shot.

The middle picture shows various Stadden officials (referee and two linesmen) with a broken skinny replacement figure from the 'Zombie' years (keep up, you're supposed to have visited Peter Upton's site after the last post and have a grasp of all this!).

The lower image is of the bench staff who should be in the shelter below. This was the last version of this essential pitch-side populator, with the manager holding his head in his hands, it's clearly not going well for one team! They are sitting on a mid-period card team-box liner, watching their team-mate 'warm up'.

The rest of the bench staff sets; the first version (top left) was quite literally a bench and for years I thought these figures (for those 'years' placed in the unknown seated and drivers box) might be Hasegawa due to the similarity between the US troops in that manufacturer's American half-track kits and the blousing of the track-suit legs on these guys! Also I wonder if these first ones are not Stadden's designs? They also came with a figure of 'Ken Baily' the unofficial mascot of 'National Squad' games when I was a kid, differing from the one illustrated below, he was holding the rattle in the other hand.

Below them is the second version, with the later design of Ken Baily, and two Stadden designed substitutes. while to the right - above a colour variation shot - is the third version with a new rain-proof shelter and a combination of previously available poses, it also came with the substitutes in blue.

So - all we're missing now is players...

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