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.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

B is for Blast...From the Past

Or...rather a bit of a fizzle...there was something a bit disappointing about the Atlantic sets. We had seen the little outline or silhouette adverts starting to appear in comics in the mid '70's, and had been dying to find them. When we did they had fantastic action pictures in comic-art style on the boxes, matched with Airfix style line drawing on the backs and we couldn't wait to get them home and opened...

...but when we did...huge bases, gawky poses, massif figures...disappointing! There were some good poses and some good sets, but overall; disappointing.

I bought these in the little Totto-Lotto shop at the crossroads in Neuhausen ob Eck (then a large hamlet - now a small town!) in about 1976 or 1977. I bough the Russians and Germans first and went back for these and the Americans a couple of days later, two boxes of Japanese and the Indian Brigade followed when I managed to talk my long-suffering little brother out of his two-Mark piece - they were a mark each, which at around 5 Marks to the pound was about equitable with the 18 or 19p they were going to cost in 'Blighty' a year or two later.

I was disappointed with them; they were clearly too big, and there were some duff poses, the 'being shot guy' is the obvious dancing loon, but the grenade thrower is none-too-hot either, the prone crawling seems to be doing press-ups and the carrying-casualty vignette never went together the same way twice, nor ever looked like the line-drawing on the back of the box.

But they grew on me and one day in about 1983 I put paint to figures. Dug-out the other day for some comparison shots on the Airfix blog, the paint has survived well over the years, the soil has mostly rubbed-off the bases, but I used to pour it onto wet (ish) paint, so that's no surprise and the paint is going shiny with over-handling. They are a bit too green but otherwise I'm still happy with them - they used to have their own bit of shelf as they wouldn't really go with anything else.


Paul Foster said...

Nice post Hugh.

I can agree on everything you said about the Atlantic boxes.

So close yet so far away!

Hugh Walter said...

Cheers Paul! They're funny old figures, but no mysteries...a lot of rubbish has been written about them over the years, but they were just in their own class, which made them more of a curiosity!

Hopefully back on MMM next week!


tradgardmastare said...

Uncle BrianFebruary 13, 2015 at 8:49 PM
Hi Alan,
Glenn finding these figures at a bring and buy in Christchurch is unfortunately the only time I have known of Eko figures for sale in NZ.

I would guess that they should be more common in Europe and if you tap in to the blogsphere by letting folk know that you after some, perhaps you might get some leads on where to track some down?

Another possibility would be to leave a comment on Hugh Walter's blog:


As he has the knowing of a great many things to do with plastic, and may be able to tell you what the best way of trying to track them down is.

Good Luck with your search!

Hi I am interested in the EKO Swiss and wondered if you could suggest a way to track them down.

Hugh Walter said...

Wondered what was going-on there for a second! You've reposted a comment from elsewhere to bring my attention to it? I'll answer in both places!

Eko were available in shops and through Walther's Terminal Hobby Shop until quite recently (early 2000's), so they are not rare (or shouldn't be), but they are little bags, and not that popular, so tend to get dispersed or ignored, however most shows have a chap with a few bags.

My advice for anyone trying to track them down is to ask Andy Harfield to look out for them as he buys-in collections. After that, or if you can't wait...eVilbay, there's usually some on there.

Or...ask on your blog for a Spanish swap-mate?

Doug said...

Hello. I too would see these Atlantic sets when as a kid spare change was hard to come by. My favorites were the little boxes of modern sets and the ancient Egyptians. There were some Story Book boxes full of painted examples and sets ups that were inspiring. Unfortunately the World War 2 sets were rather disappointing. I remember the wargame sets that were available like Stalingrad. They were too rich for my blood back then. The best WW2 set had to be the Sikhs, they had the best HMG of all the sets and the unusual headgear made them a must for any desert army. I ended up with a bunch of Japanese and used them as the basis for many conversions. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Hugh Walter said...

Hi Doug...have to disagree with you re. the machine-gun...2nd version Airfix beats the rest hands down!

The beauty of the Egyptians was that there were no rival figures for them to disappoint against! And you felt the mighty Pharaoh's army should be a head taller!

They all have good and bad points, I like the riot police, but they are dwarves! The late Wild West sets were lovely but the ranchers are huge. The DAK? You love them or hate them...best send them into battle bare-headed though!

Anyway, they are going on the Airfix blog as I write...I put the Indian brigade on the 8th Army post (shorts!), and when I get round to it the ones that don't belong on there will appear here!


Sun of York said...

I've got some of the Atlantic Wild West sets and while I haven't done anything with them, I will one day I hope as they do look good.

I have some Atlantic Russians in my Stalingrad collection and they are serviceable.

It's good when you can mix them in with other figures, although that can be a challenge if the sizes are out (which tends to be really noticeable if it is the kit they have is also over size.

Now I must resist going out and digging my figures out to have a look at them.

Hugh Walter said...

Sorry Sun of... I missed your comment, or do I follow Lancaster!?

The Russian set had some brilliant poses and some lame ones!

I wonder if anyone has ever tried using a butcher's slicer to take the bases down flat, that would bring a lot of the bigger figures back into line...but then what to do with the early sets - they're too small!

(get the figures out and play with them! It must be done)