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, August 25, 2014

V is for Viking, not Vicky, but Very Vicious

Actually, apparently they weren't...very vicious that is.

There was some new research a few years ago (probably a decade or more, the years speed-up as you get older!) that they'd had a bad press and were 'misunderstood' and the Beeb provided for the school of thought with a sensitive documentary portraying them as peace-loving pastoral herders who loved their wives and kids and fluffy animals and stuff...

...then the archaeologists uncovered a few [more] mass graves in the UK, some filled with locals, some - I'm pleased to say - filled with Vikings, and we were back to the stereotype we all know and love - raping, pillaging, slave and hostage taking, Dane-geld demanding, berserker warriors, going a'viking every fighting 'season', burning, plundering and settling other peoples lands!

Some collectors get excited about the backwoodsmen, or the aliens, but to me these are the quintessential Giant...the copy of the Aurora Viking Longship. On the left is the larger of the marked Giant offerings, the double-ship set, to the right a single vessel, unmarked which may or may not have been produced in the factory supplying Giant.

The graphics, particularly the lettering is virtually the same on both cards, and the content - apart from being doubled-up in one set are pretty much of a muchness, but there are subtle differences that mark them apart.

Close-ups of the figure/accessory blisters - Giant figures are marked on the base and stick to a very 'Giant'esque' colour palate, while the imposter's (?) are unmarked and of paler shades, the same goes for the vessel and it's accessories, with the shields of the unknown vessel having non-giant colours like white, mauve and purple.

But then the Giant Cowboys and Indians (we've looked at here and Here) can be found in these colours, as can the aliens, so it's no guarantee either way.

There is more of a difference between the sails though, and this could mean two different producers in Hong Kong, or it could mean a second mould or a re-tooled mould. Whether the second set is Giant or not is pretty immaterial as far as identification goes as these will only ever be sold as Giant, with the ridiculous premium that attaches to them, but I bet a lot of people have paid those asking prices for vessels with the second sail!

We will come back to these and compare properly when I get the loose ones out of storage, but for now, they stay 'on the card'!

About 10 years ago this set was all over the shop, they are getting scarcer now, but again there were box-fulls, not that long ago, so one shouldn't be taken in by BIN prices in excess of 20-quid, a fiver is what they're worth.

The recent nature of them is confirmed by the fact that the hull is a tinny polypropylene-like material, as are the oars, sail and side-rudder (or steering oar) along with Saddam's two giant (not Giant) swords! What the hell Iraq's Victory Arch is doing here is anyone's guess...but it might help explain the loss of Atlantic's moulds!!! That's one for the conspiracy theorists! And...no, they don't look much like the Baghdad swords, but can you suggest anything else?

Of more interest than the very toy-like ship, are the figures, as these would have been contemporaneous with the reissue of the old Giant late type knights and Mongol figures, first by Archie McFee/Accoutrements and then BuM, suggesting that other Giant/post-Giant moulds have survived, and that any of this stuff could reappear at any moment?

Another shot of the newer ship with its shield stickers, above which are a couple of much older vessels, on the right a (stable) cellulose acetate or early polystyrene tourist piece of unknown manufacture in a toy-like style, on the left a more realistic fold-out ship-in-bottle kit by name-escapes-me (Multi-state Industries?) both in a ratio of around 1:120, roughly equating to N-gauge size. The kit is missing its mast, the older ornament might be?


Ed and Bettina Berg said...

Great post Will. I had these as a kid and they were one of my favorite toys, along with the Giant Civil War stuff and Great Wall of China (?) or Asian Fort (don't remember exactly what it was called)

Hugh Walter said...

Cheers Ed...I posted the loose ACW a while ago, and looked at the non-Giant medieval forts, I've added tags to make it easier to find the old Giant posts.