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.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A is for Artillery...Big Guns, Cannons, Howitzers...

Not all of them by any means, but a sample of mostly small scale artillery from two photo-shoots I've done over the last 20-odd years. the bulk are scanned photographs from 20 years ago, the rest are rescued from my Imageshack account with a loss of resolution, and were taken about 10 years ago - the first time the collection was in storage!

At the top is the diminutive take on a British 5.5inch gun by EKO, which they did themselves as far as I can tell, there was no Rocco/Roskopf in the mix! Below it is the common Hong Kong take on another British stalwart, the 25lbr. Shield-less, this is a common enough HK piece turning up in various sets through the 1960's and early '70's.

Here we see the HK one again - this time with red wheels, and sharing the frame is a grey version of the Airfix first version gun. In this colour it's probably the latter Brumberger/T Cohn version and I cut the ears off thinking they were flash/blemishes, long before I knew what it was, so no 6x6 truck will pull it now; the designed way, so I've drilled a hitching-hole!

Below are the two later Airfix offerings, the 25lbr again and a German PaK 36 type? I painted the one on the left a lifetime ago, I'm not owning up to the gloss mud-puddle on the right!

At he back of the superscript shot is the matchstick-firing beast from Manurba, with it's eponymous little brother to the far right, and again badly painted behind on the subscript shot (missing it's firing 'pin'), in front of that is the Tudor Rose madeupname Mk.1, while the large pale-green one may be Hong Kong, but I favour South America or Spain from the styling and lack of HK mark.

Montaplex/BuM top and Atlantic bottom. We'll come back to the Atlantic again as they are among the more problematical sets in the 'Export' series, being designed for two different boxes, the staff in the packaging department (and/or subsequent dealers) not being able to tell them apart, they tend to end up in both boxes, but the contents lists are different but constant depending on which set they are...on the sprue/runner

Lump of very soft, home-cast, lead from roofing, shot-gun or Air-rifle pellets or fishing weights probably - at the top. Dinky 25lbr below, father of many copies! And the nearest the observer is interesting, it has all the hallmarks of a penny toy from between the wars, but has ethylene plastic wheels, these may have been stuffed-on to replace something older (people used to make and mend, not upgrade to landfill every 12 months!), or it may date it as a sixpenny-toy from the late 1950's?

Equally it could be entirely home-made, as the barrel is again a crude lump of lead, the wheels taken from another toy and the carriage cut from thin sheet tin.

Blue Box provide the polystyrene copy of a Crescent WWI Horse Artillery gun and the very simplistic die-cast is a late Matchbox effort.

The hard styrene gun below is from the Italian maker INGAP, and seems to have shades of 25lbr about it.

Three from Hong Kong, the on eon the left turns-up from time to time, but I've yet to tie-it down to a set or group of sets. The brown one on the other hand is or was common in the late 1970's and into the 1980's in cheap rack-toys. The Dinky copy was a bit earlier, but again - quite common in it's heyday.

We'll be looking at these more closely when (if) I ever finish the series on small scale copies of Britains and Crescent I started well over a year ago. I may well cut and paste the ones I've published into a new page and carry-on below them? There is a third design with a four-legged cruciform mount. All three carriages can be found with both guns.

Top are Marx and NFIC, while the bottom one I should know, well I do but I can't remember, one of the lesser US makes I think? We looked at the smaller Marx one the other day with it's barrel (a black-painted recoilless rifle looking thing), back when I took these I thought it must be some sort of towing bogie!

The one on the left is the remains of the - I think - Corgi die-cast with Tom the Cat, a poor TV/Cartoon tie-in [Tom & Jerry], but it may prove useful one day...maybe on the wall at the Alamo?

The two top right have previously been ascribed to Kinder in early German 'Eier Sammlerkatalog' (egg collector's check-lists), but I never went with that as they are too big for a standard Kinder capsule, and I don't think they are still in them (the checklists), worse though is that I'm sure I have their real origin somewhere, but can't find it, I seem to recall there is a third design though? Technolog boxed toy soldier sets! And there were several other designs and other siege equipment!

The little HK piece still in it's blister is probably the commonest design out there, originating at the tail-end of the 1940's with one of the early US plastics guys (Pyro, Thomas, Lido?) it was copied by most of the other pioneers, they then shared their moulds with various UK makers, Merit had a stab and Hong Kong producers spent 20 or 30 years copying all of them! It comes in every size from huge to this one and in hard, soft and various rubberised polymers and Merit gave some of theirs wooden wheels!

Saving the best to last (well they were the best when I was a dedicated small-scale collector!), these are mostly Hong Kong. We've looked at the multicoloured one - back-right - before (Lucky Clover), in front of it are three post-Giant copies of the old Marx ACW piece, each showing difference in wheels, barrel length, or detail and all probably from Christmas crackers.

The blue one is Eagle Games (I think? It's also on the Airfix blog's ACW Artillery post - I think), the black one is anybodies guess? Pirate-ship toy of some kind is the obvious best bet, but it could be a game playing piece? The other three are also Hong Kong.


Uncle Brian said...

Could the small black cannon in the last photo be a piece from this game?


Thanks for posting pictures of all those guns - You certainly have a varied artillery park!

Hugh Walter said...

It's close Uncle B...but the ones in your link are quite realistic with long barrels that have a rather phallic tip on them! This one is stubby and more cartoon-like with a flat end...something like it I'm sure, or possibly one of the more 'infant' orientated sets with - typically - short, fat, vinyl pirates?

Thanks for the kind words...I'll do this post again one day with all of them...these are just a few that were kicking about in Picasa!


Hugh Walter said...

PS - Nice figures in that Broadsides & Boarding Parties


Mark G said...

The black one seems similar to one which I got as a souvenir at a US historic sight in the 1960's. We went to lots of them but I'm associating this cannon with Fort Ticonderoga in New York for some reason. Unfortunately it's lost to the sands of time somewhere so no photo available. I'm afraid nothing on their website either.


Hugh Walter said...

Hi Mark - When I was six my Father was seconded to Fort Bragg for six-months and he sent us loads of postcards, one of which was of a diorama showing (I think - it was a long time ago) an attack by a mixed force of Brits/Allies and Indians (I do remember lots of Indians) against a wooden pallisade/barrier defended - presumably - by Washington's men or French?

The historic details are a bit irrelevant (except when I'm annoying people by referring to the Insurgent Caliphate!), but I wonder if it's still there?

It was stunning, as good as anything you'd see at a modern modelling convention, yet this was back in the days before Military Modelling magazine and we can all remember how basis some of the diorama's in early copies of those where!

I guess the figures were big...maybe 80/90mm? And it was all matt painted with realistic grass and stuff. possibly based on a famous painting.

I'm already feeling guilty for my irrelevant comment and I'm off to Google the indecent!


Hugh Walter said...

So it must have been the Green Mountain Boys (with Indians?) attacking the British?

Cheers Mark

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