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, December 23, 2014

M is for Rado Industries (Ri-Toys)...No! it's for Marx and Marksmen!

An overview of recent developments with old Marx 30mm mouldings, well...I say 'recent', it's all a few years ago now, and I say 'Marx', some of them may be mere copies...I say '30mm' when Marx themselves couldn't decide on a common height for their 'Miniature Masterpieces' and when I change to 'a few years ago now' one of the developments is current!

Also, we've looked at a fair few of these before, but there's many ways to skin a rabbit and always room for another look so we will come back to them again yet!

Basically; Marx made a bunch of stuff (or paid some guys in Hong Kong and Taiwan - it was always 'guys' in those days - to make the stuff), some of them were then copied at the time, the rest appeared via Rado in the late 1980's, being supplied (in the first instance) to Marksmen here in the UK, from whence, via ad's in Plastic Warrior and Military Modelling magazines they wended their way to collectors.

From time to time, the figures, sometimes enhanced with horses, or as reduced-size copies would appear as stand alone rack-toys, and the other day some more turned-up with new poses...pretty clear; huh?

The basic Marksmen range, less the dinosaurs (micro scale) and with some of the other issues, the labels are self-explanatory, but I'll waffle a bit anyhow! Sets were basically paired for five 'friendly/enemy' situations; which very much depends on your point of view...especially with the oldest set, are the British Grenadiers the good guys or are you rooting for the colonial insurgents? If only Mad King George had ordered a Shock & Awe 'Surge'!

So, in chronological order, we have:
Washington's Army versus British Grenadiers
US cavalry stealing something from the Mexicans (shako hat versions)
The genocidal move 'West'- Cowboys and Indians
La Légion étrangère exporting bratwurst to Arabia (or should it be le?)
and...Tommy Atkins loosing Singapore to; and then re-taking Burma from; the Japs

Federal/Confederate fratricide - Ri-Toys also re-did the American Civil War, but using the round-hat Mexican mouldings as either Confederates, or Union, depending on the plastic colours of the day! They or someone else then ripped-off the FFL, smaller and set them to combating US Marines taken from Airfix, and the Arabs have just (a few months ago) turned-up with three new poses.

Upper shot is a comparison between the Marx originals and the Rado supplied versions, the Japs are slightly smaller, but the Brits are if anything a tad bigger? All explained by shrinkage/bulk of the different materials used, and I think it's safe to assume these were the original moulds, fallen into Ri-Toys hands, something I dealt with in PW's little brother One Inch Warrior, but will return to here one day. We will also return to the WWII troops as there are a number of variations of the Japanese, and we've already had a peek Here.

Lower shot shows the two colours of the Marksmen figures as issued (white and oxide red-brown), with - above them - the latest incarnation of these figures, the three new poses on the right-hand end of the line-up, being mounted figures made 'foot', an old Montaplex trick!

These figures were kindly supplied by Doug of the Doug's Soldiers Blog, who found them on the Wibbly Wobbly Way and sent me a bunch, for which he took neither payment nor swaps (although the offer's still open Doug!), he covered them in detail Here

I have also previously covered both the Marksmen and the rack-toy generics Here, to illustrate a discussion on a forum.

Another quick comparison between the Rado-Marksmen figures and a re-issue of an Arab looking character figure (called Kulu) from the Marx African Hunters set.

The ACW set from Ri-Toys, for some reason although they had ACW moulds, they chose to supply Union troops taken from the old Marx Confederate moulds, while making Confederates from Mexicans! As they then made both from both in their own blister sets for dollar-trees by swapping colours, you wonder why they didn't just do the Confederate moulds in two colours, or use the (lost?) Union poses? They also added the horses needed, even though they hadn't supplied them to Marksmen, despite some of the sets being supplied with mounted figures...the whole thing is/was a bit mad.

What's madder is the tale behind my examples of this carded set...

The above set was from Gareth the other day and is complete, the set I've had for years isn't...Paul Morehead from plastic Warrior rang me back in the days before I had the interweb thing (1997'ish), and said there was this chap in Scandinavia who wanted to contact me, was that OK? "Yes" says I, "No problem".

I get a nice enough letter from one of the then new collectors (the Internet, evilBay, and H's Hät & Eric Williamson's sites practically inventing small-scale collecting as it is today!), with a mad scan involving lots of miss-attributed figures he'd seen on-line, and an offer of a swap, the item on offer being another example of the above carded set, also scanned, and although the scan was fuzzy it looked like the 'new' one.

I duly sent-off my side of the 'bargain'; I can't remember what it was now, but I seem to recall it was either a loose Airfix Tarzan set (they were £50+ on feeBay at the time!) or maybe a set of Civilians or Station Accessories? Might even have been Highlanders, a lot of those new collectors fifteen or twenty years ago seemed to think they were rare! Whatever...the parcel went off and I awaited the return part of the deal.

It arrived with most of the horses missing and a note to the effect he'd kept the 'artillery' and some of the horses, hoped I wouldn't mind?...Some people! It's now clear he kept one-each of the mounted figures for each side with a horse...the set was no more use than an example of packaging! And there never was artillery (what had originally tickled my fancy), he was talking about the miss-attributed Marx gun team on his daft collage!

That's not the end of the tale though...he spent the next year or two sending Paul and I free (unsought) bootleg CD's of original Nazi marching songs with flyers that seemed to connect to the Scandinavian far-right! Lucky for him the correspondence (and the Nazi marching songs!) are in storage or I'd name him as a bloody menace!

The US cavalry sculpts were chosen to fight the Mexicans, but the 'other' Mexican mouldings were used - 'round hat', again the Cowboys would have been just as good? Meanwhile the British Grenadiers were made available in Blue for George (Washington) to use, or hire from France, but his set wasn't made available in red to help the British recruit line infantry with tricorn hats?

The US cavalry - as issued by Marksmen - was one of the sets that included mounted figures without horses, clearly, when you can find the Ri-Toys horses they are bloody useful! Here the size difference is noticeable in the standing poses, but not the kneeling ones, again; suggesting shrinkage rather than pantographed copies.

Marksmen has a set of non Rado-supplied ACW, which; with a tie-in to A Call to Arms (ACTA) packaging, leads to six colours to track down; red, butter-nut, navy blue, sky blue, mid-grey and pale grey.

Ignore the labelling of the 'sprue'/frame, one of the figures (the officer) isn't the Herald one, and while the kneeling firer is know as a 'Replicants' pose, I think I'm correct in saying the others were commissioned by Michael Ellis (Marksmen) from Peter Cole (Replicants) anyway, so they are all 'sort of' Replicants.

The thing is; it was - at the time - a rare thing, figures previously available in 54mm, being made available in the smaller size, and the fact that it took figures from at least three sources and placed them together in one set made the enterprise all the more useful for ACW army-building.

We looked at these in some detail Here, so I'll let the picture talk for itself, the upper image is the new info, a size comparison with various Marx originals. The Dale whatsherface (Evans?) is a named-on-the-base 'character' figure.

The Ackerman sets and the generic header-card Marksmen used for the little packs, it actually lists the larger Marx reissues they carried, the smaller figures were only listed in magazine ad's and the flyers he used to send out. The above link to the Arab article will lead you to shots of earlier Ri-Toys packaging. Marksmen had another header card for the Reamsa reissues but I've never seen it used with the 'HO' packs.

Marksmen Listing;

Return of the Hero (nominally ‘HO’ but actually most were 28-30mm)
Basic Range (+/- 30 figures per bag)
1 - Redcoats
2 - Washington’s Army
3 - Mexicans, (Shako)
4 - Cowboys
5 - Indians
6 - 7th Cavalry
7 - British WWII
8 - Japanese WWII
9 - Foreign Legion
10 - Arabs
11 - Dinosaurs
Bulk Sets (+/- 150 figures per bag)
1501 - Alamo (figures taken from sets 3 and 4 above)
1502 - Revolutionary War (figures taken from sets 1, 2 and 5 above)
1503 - Custer’s Last Stand (figures taken from sets 5 and 6 above)
1504 - Burma Trail (figures taken from sets 7 and 8 above)
1505 - Desert Patrol (figures taken from sets 9 and 10 above)


Doug said...

Thank you for the kind words and link! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

Paul Foster said...

I liked the tale about the bloke from Scandinavia Hugh.

Classic and dodgy.

Hugh Walter said...

Pleasure Doug, pleasure...

Not half as dodgy as your MMM today paul! What the hell is it? I feel it should be a bit of Buffalo or Scammell, but the sprue's wrong for Airfix...I'll kick myself when you post the answer as I recognise the hooked bars...

Happy Christmas to you both, hope you're not working over the important days!


"Please prove you're not a robot"...well I could stab myself with a compass 'till I cry! I didn't order that from Blogger-central...used to be you chose what capture features you had? I blame North Korea!

Sam Wise said...

First : I'm definitively not a Robot... and will never be !
Second: I was lost in all the lots of figures, manufacturers, etc..
but interesting: it looks like another world!

Third: Merry Christmas! I wish you a lot of little soldiers under the tree !

Hugh Walter said...

And a Happy Christmas to you and yours Sam, glad you got something from the article!