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, May 6, 2014

E is for Ethylene

Back to Marx...I had the box open to do the Mystery Space Ship the other day! The Miniature Masterpieces are relatively well known, we've looked at them before here and will come back to them in the future. As hard plastic they are relatively easy to track-down with mint examples of the larger play-sets often appearing on evilBay, and a few loose figures often in the 'mixed lots' of small scale at shows.

However, there was a lesser species, the polyethylene or soft plastic versions, which I assume to have been either a late thing, or another factory thing? And it's these we're going to look at briefly now...

Three different boxing's, all the same size with a cellophane window. The ' Operation "Attack" ' sets don't have the little disc overlapping the window, while the 'By Marx' rectangle becomes a national flag.

These are probably the hardest to locate as soft plastics, I used to think it was the space sets but they do appear on FeeBay quite often. Item count is the same in both sets, but the people stitching/gluing them in clearly had some leeway, as there are differences, The animals are from the old Noah's Ark sets, but in some wacky colours and - in some cases - even wackier paint!

Note also that the scenic pieces are mostly provided by items from the Wild West series (again all in soft ethylene), including the cooking pot, spear-stand and stretched-skin in both sets. And yes...the tree has been bent by 40 years of carton pressing down on it!

The British get a camouflaged box, there were German and Japanese and Vietnamese versions along with rarer Russian and Canadian sets (probably harder to get than the Africans actually?). So many US G.I.'s turn up in soft plastic they must have been included in other sets, probably late issues of the larger MM play-sets. The price label shows these were going head-to-head with boxes of 48-odd unpainted Airfix figures! 'Kress' was SS Kresge, the ancestor of Sears/Kmart today.

My favourite and one of the less common ones, all in soft plastic, silver versus gold, having a scrap in the courtyard! I didn't notice that the mounted gold knight had taken a tumble until I'd put them all back in the attic! Probably hit by one of those catapult stones...it's just not jousting!

We looked at a tatty version of the Wild West one Here Just over a year ago.


Ed and Bettina Berg said...

I'm always amazed at Marx's output although I know I shouldn't be. Nice work Hugh!

Sam Wise said...

Funny boxes : when I've read "painted by artists", it makes me laugh !
at this level, I think that I'm an artist too !
Interesting sets but odd figures !
I've never see pine-trees in Africa ...

Maverick Collecting said...

Hi Guys, sorry, I was on here last night - didn't see you comments!

Yes Ed; They produced and sold everything in every way, and it keep turning up, new bases, new colours, factories all over the place, mould-bank scattered to the four winds!

Sam, here we might say 'painted by piss-artists' in that they'd had a drink or two of the 'hard stuff' before putting paint-brush to figure!


Jan Ferris said...

Wonderful finds.

Maverick Collecting said...

Thanks Jan!