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, August 10, 2014

L is for Loose-ends

Beginning at the end...or ending at the beginning (unless you're coming to this via 'next post' in a few months or years time, in which case it's in vague order in the dozen or so posts below this one!) we'll look at the early figures and some of the minor variations, and then the final - to date - incarnation.

When I took the initial pictures for the book project, I didn't bother with the commoner figures, and being late to large scale collecting and still not too bothered by common stuff like Deetail, I can only cobble together what's come in, in mixed and junk lots.

The originl 'silver' knights, consisted of six poses on foot and six poses mounted, the standard for a set of Deetail, and most Britains plastic production. First appearing in the 1973 catalogue, they would - along with the WWII Germans - get a second set of 6 foot figures in 1978 ('77 for the Germans), the two ran alongside each other for some years, with 6 poses (3 from each set) being dropped in the early 1990's. Two of the poses would re-appear in the five-pose reissues of the 2000's.

From the mid-1980's the production decision-making process seems to have been moved by degrees to the Hong Kong facility, leading to the realistic paper shields being dropped and replaced with laminate plastic/foil designs with a chromium finish, the advent of the black 'Storm' knights and the oddity of second 'slim-jim' mouldings, and we see two above, in the image top left and the archer on the far right of the lower line-up.

I don't know the reason for this other than demand? The figures are smaller and all external detail (crests, bow, sheaths, feathery-frippery) is thinner or truncated. Also I don't know how many poses were affected, although a couple of the Turks have thin versions as well.

I've never seen information on this, so input would be invaluable for other collectors if you do know something, or have half an idea? The thinnish ones weren't used in the 2000's reissues.

Above - a box of mounted figures as they came into the retailer, there are 3-each of the six poses, each three decorated the same, so when you encounter colour variants they were from other boxes from other out-painters or other production batches.

Below - comparison between all bar the swivel-waist and Robin Hood figures, you can see how big the Gold 'Great Shield' knights are, next to the others and also how the black 'Storm Knights' are compared to the blueish-charcoal of the original Turks.

Toward the end, gimmicks came in and they are rather fun! Running alongside the Robin Hood sets in blister-packed carded pocket-money ranges were various tilting or 'Tournament Knights' with pull-back motored jousting horses and a dragon.

The other image shows a mounted version of the gold knights we look at a few posts below, with the black helmet and grey mail highlights.

Slight colour variations exist of at least three of the horses (the blue one wasn't present - on the day - in a large enough sample to present a variation, but I'm sure there will be some), and the horses visible areas (tails and a bit of neck) could be black, grey or a pinkish-brown.

The most resent issue, nearly a decade ago now (2006/7?) were the realistic-paint version, with only 3 mounted figures each for knights and Turks, all 6 foot Turks but only 5 knights, two of which were among the poses dropped from the consolidation - from 12 back down to 6 poses - years earlier. Also, the old large sculpt/moulding of archer was present in the five, suggesting that the skinnys were second moulds - not replacement moulds.

When I was working for my dealer mate, we retailed these straight from the UK arm of Britains, and I think they ran for just  two or three years around the dates above? Have there been other issues?


Phil said...

Beautiful knights!

Hugh Walter said...

Thanks Phil...bit of a scratchy bunch, but I'll build on them over time!


Ed and Bettina Berg said...

Great Stuff Hugh! Having only recently acquired some Deetail Knights for my fledgling castle collection I am a rank beginner and look forward to any information I can get! - Ed

Hugh Walter said...

Hi Ed

It's all further down the page, but I've reorganised the Tag List to help people find them, look under Deetail