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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.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

F is for Follow-up to French Fellows

Thanks go to Mathias Berthox for several of the images tonight and the identification info, both herein and in the comments section of the previous post. Also thanks due to Steve Vickers who kindly allowed me to photograph a set he had at the Plastic Warrior show in May, which turned-out to be just what we needed to complete the story.

This is to confirm or deny several points raised by This Post concerning the various versions of these French made knights. Mathias will correct me if anything is incorrect!

So, in the upper picture sent by Mathias we have Rene Fisher (RF) figures, these are a hard plastic, probably (like Starlux and others) originally in a phenolic plastic or cellulose acetate, then - later - a polystyrene. Well painted, most figures having at least 5 or 6 colours, with the silver being one, also with quite chunky bases, which are always painted green.

The lower shot - also from Mathias - shows the Jem versions, these are soft ethylene plastic, but still have a decent paint-job with cream bases. Jem also supplied their figures to Norev (then a maker of plastic vehicles in 1:43rd scale) who placed them in diorama boxes called 'History and Traditions', where we learn that Robin Hood had to deal with cactus as well as the Sheriff's men, and that he lived in a Tipi/Tepee!

Later Norev (who were making metal 30/35mm civilians a few years ago) issued figures which have a simplified paint scheme of 3 or 4 colours only; white gloves and details, gold joints to the armour and weapons, flesh (if needed) and one other 'highlight' colour. The upper photograph from Mathias again, the lower example from my own collection.

These seem to have been made in Hong Kong/China, and were either from the same moulds or  reasonable quality copies, plastic forts were also made for the figures to garrison and fight over! The plastic is a denser material probably a Polypropylene.

Two companies then pirated them, Hugonnet and Vilco. It is these lesser quality figures we looked at last time, and with a shot of all mine, now including a couple of the extra poses Sam (of Sams Minis World) sent me, along with a comparison of the copy standard-bearer next to the Norev original. The two lower pictures showing the twin mould release-pin marks that enabled me to separate them out of a load of 'silver knights'!

To the left is the set Steve Vickers let me shoot at Richmond, of note is the fact that this sprue seems to be mostly Lone Star piracies (like the 'King Richard' that seems to have started this little odyssey when I covered Robin Hood two years ago!), but also includes the RF/Jem archers seen above, so we seem to be looking at about 20 (cirtainly 17+) poses from Hugonnet/Vilco, from both the RF and Lone Star stables.

The guy on the right, seemingly a decent attempt at William the First of England, Duke of Normandy, seems too good to be from the above ranges, so I suspect a modern/current brand, but I don;t know who, so any help with this chap would be appreciated. He is in unpainted silver polyethylene and is the last chap from the 'silver knights' load, still to be identified, apart from....

...the chunky chap at the bottom of this picture, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

When I separated these guys out in the last post, it was suggested they were part of the above late sets we now know were Hugonnet/Vilco, and someone correctly pointed-out that they were Dom poses. Well, like an idiot (and working in poor light) I hadn't seen that they are in fact marked on the upper-surface of the bases 'MADE IN WEST GERMANY' and are actually Dom Plastik, and probably nothing to do with the French sets/makes at all!

These have apparently had three main phases, silver originals like the above, some (earlier?) basic paint versions and later recasts in a greyish plastic.

However, also in the 'silver knights' lot was this other chap, early-looking painted ethylene, but bigger that the Dom, although clearly the model for one of the Dom poses. He has the look of some East German plastics to me, he is a quite soft, silver plastic, a bit like Charbens knights, heading toward 60mm, very chunky base and has no discernible mark. Any ideas?

4 comments:

Sam Wise said...

Wow !! that's a crazy work that you make !
I like the Robin Hood box with the tipi ! ("histoire et traditions": fortunately they don't write WHICH History ! (maybe it could be "Story" as we use the same word in french for both "History" and "Story" !)

I've found some other knights, but nothing interesting, I think, only cheap playsets figures.

For the box "Thierry la Fronde", it's quite funny too, because it was a Tv Serie in the 70th (I love it when I was a child) and the box says" The Knights that Thierry la Fronde was fighting" !!!
The Hero was a man who fight with a sling against the bad guys (something like your Robin Hood ...)

And I MUST take time to send you the pictures! (do you have some interest for cyclists ? I've some old plastic ones)

Maverick Collecting said...

Thanks Sam, I'll eMail you separately re. your mail.

Hugh

Anonymous said...

Congratulation for this identification work and many thanks for nostalgic return to past. I've not seen some of the knights for the 70' !

J. (still in war against asiatic hornets in France)

Maverick Collecting said...

Ah! The congratulations are Mathias' not mine! But glad you liked it all pulled together!

Hugh