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.

Monday, February 17, 2014

B is for British Boys by Blue Box, Pt. I - Kidney Based

While the French Resistance were a nice diversion in the world of 1960's small scale, and the Germans complimented the very similar Miniature Masterpieces by Marx, both the US figures and the British gave rise to or - more accurately - were part of much wider families of Hong Kong pirated figures...

...but before I go running off to look at all the others; we'd better look at the 100% Blue box figures first, easier said than done as there are more to come! The US troops will get their 'in depth' coverage another day - we looked at the immediate Blue Box and some of the post-BB the other day.

So these are the first, we know they are the first as they come in sets with 'friends' [green] and 'enemy' [grey] in those very 1950's recycled cardboard boxes with a simple two or three colour litho'd artwork. They come with the motor-cycle (ex-Dinky O-gauge) in both colours, and the other early vehicles also in green or grey. Greys can vary in shade as with the Resistance figures.

Of the six, five are Crescent poses the sixth being the Britains khaki-infantry Officer, he is the one we'll be following through over the next few posts. They match the US figures in material [hard polystyrene plastic] and in the base type; being kidney-shaped and of vaguely constant thickness, unlike the German Infantry and Resistance Fighters - who have the more Marx-like pile of earth. As with the US post the other day, we have looked at them before; Triang Hornby.

The numbering I'm going to be using for these next few posts is entirely arbitrary and is as much for me to make sense of the hundreds of photo's I've been taking for the dozens of collages I'm going to be putting up here than to force anyone else to use. It will also help to cross-reference these posts/pictures with a round-up list at the end, however as we shall see, numbering such ephemeral stuff is problematical as new types keep turning up, but we'll see how it goes!

Some peripheral figures which have more in common with the Brits than the Yanks but which were included with either set of figures or the others we've looked at in the posts below (following this one).

The 'gunner'/equipment operator was also looked at in some depth another day, here; Plagiarism with help from the guys at Moonbase (Project Sword), the puke-green figure top right is the early driver for the Jeep and Austin Champ, he would later come in a dark-green more matching the vehicles.

The two equipment operators to the right on the top row are odd because I have found several of these, with the legs cut-off at about the same place, and used to think they were the crew from the DUKW**, but all my DUKW crews have full legs, therefore; I'm assuming there is a vehicle I've yet to locate from the military range, a possibility backed-up by the figures on the second row, who are hard styrene (everything else is soft ethylene in this picture) and moulded from the waist up, only. Again I have found several loose examples, there are none in any of my vehicle collection and yet they seem to have been 'meant'.

If the hard plastic mystery figures were phased out, it may have been relatively easy to remove the plug and legs of the equipment operator to do the same job? There's also a shell which comes from the copy of the Crescent WWI artillery piece that Blue Box made.

The bottom row - in both pictures - are clearly from the US sets we looked at below, and are hard to find (as Brits) ; the above three seem to be all I have (there may be more in storage?), the green one being almost certainly early Rado Industries / Ri-Toys, the yellow ones being later sub-piracy's. I'm not including them in the numbering as they will come in the US figure's round-up another day.



You can call a DUKW a 'Dee-you-kay-double-you' or a 'Duck', with a silent 'w' and invisible 'k', it is not a Duke, nor is it spelt D.U.C.K. and it most certainly isn't a Duck-wah as my brother and I spent half our childhood attempting to re-christen it!

Stolen from myth-busting (!) Wikipedia;

The designation of DUKW is not a military acronym; rather, the name comes from the model naming terminology used by GMC
  • "D" indicated a vehicle designed in 1942,
  • "U" meant "utility",
  • "K" indicated driven front wheels,
  • "W" indicated two powered rear axles.
Decades later, the DUKW designation was explained erroneously by writers such as Donald Clarke who wrote in 1978 that it was an acronym for Duplex Universal Karrier, Wheeled. However, the name is not an acronym.

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