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.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

C is for Carabinieri

Or...how all good things come to an end!

I first became aware of Micro Machines in 1993, when I found them in Betties in New Oxford Street, I thought they were silly, however the Star Wars figure sets caught my eye and I started collecting them. But the 'normal' sets left me cold, little squashed out-of-scale-with-each-other cars and trucks and stuff, just silly! And a half-mile long Star Destroyer having less mass than a twin-pod Bespin taxi? Silly.

Clearly though; the guy who came up with the idea understood the 90's kid, as they took off and became very popular and not just the Star Wars and military sets, the really silly stuff did as well! Poor old Galoob can't have had the funds to keep up with demand, so deals were done with the sharks, Kenner started to muscle-in and eventually the little guy got eaten by his partner, who then got swallowed by Hasbro.

Hasbro didn't seem to understand the concept or the customer base (or maybe the customers had changed?), and some pretty risible tie-ins resulted with Action Man being a notably forgettable one. Increasingly desperate to make the line work again led Hasbro to produce these...

Exclusive to Italy (well, who else would buy them?) where Hasbro was also getting into chocolate premiums by putting figures from their UK Subbuteo purchase into Kinder-style eggs. They must have made vast quantities of them though, as a warehouse full was issued in the UK last year as clearance through independent discount stores.

The bulk of the range were simply repaints of old/existing moulds - I bet half these vehicles have never been seen in Carabinieri livery, nor indeed been seen in Europe in any guise...not-yellow school-bus anyone?!! However, someone obviously realised something would have to make Italian kids want to buy them, so a few motorcycles were painted-up (always a good seller) and at least one new casting was knocked-up.

A mounted Carabinieri with cloak. The two officers on foot are also old sculpts, but again figures definitely add to the play value of a set like these. there were in fact about 7 sets, but I've already opened the ones with figures in!

A perfect size for HO railways as seen by the comparison with a Preiser ACW Union officer, it's a pity they didn't make the vehicles to match?

I have lots of the motorcycles from the 'silly' range, and we looked at the military one way back at the start of the range, we will look at them all one day (they're currently in storage) but my collection tells me these are also re-paints. And would the Carabinieri use a Harley-D Elecra-Glide in the country that makes Ducati? I don't think so!

That was pretty much it for the Micro Machines, there was - at about the same time - a re-issue of some Action Fleet Star Wars stuff - the AT-AT in a stupid snow-splashed paint job was one - but somehow Hasbro had killed a golden goose!

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