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, July 1, 2015

P is for Poundland, 99p Stores and so on...

Frankly I've begun to loose track of them, there is Poundland and Poundworld (get ready for Pounduniverse), where everything is a pound, then there's 99p Store, where everything is...err...99p, even though they've been bought-out by Poundland - except an in-depth investigation by the competition regulator has put everything on hold! Then there's another chain with '99p' in the title, one with '98p' in the title (or were they bought by 99p Stores?), and Poundstreatcher, where most things are more than a pound...doh!

Anyway, I tend to stick to the first two as several stores are local to me from both brands, and the items we're looking at today have mostly come from one or other of them, in the last 12 months.

The 'Combat' Bag of Soldiers from Poundland is an otherwise unbranded generic, with the same figures in a 99p Stores Army Group bag the same day, about a year ago.

They were so poor I shot them on the hanger and left them be! A few months later I shot the bag top right in case it was new (I can't remember everything in Picasa!), and although it wasn't, I noticed they'd added a helicopter or something (black lump?), but didn't focus on it.

I then picked-up the loose figures a few weeks ago in a mixed pile of something else!

The same 99p Stores 'Army Troop' brand, actually blamed on Top Toys of Northampton (whom I've previously suggested are an 'in-house' brand of 99p Stores), has more recently given up these three sets, the figures larger and a bit bloody crude really, but the vehicles...well, I thought they were worth the punt at £2.97p just to bring them to a wider audience, as they have potential...

Hopeless figures and the helicopters aren't much to write home about...in fact they're not much to write a blog about either! But...the attack heli, with a bit of a paint-job would be fine for old-school war gaming or futuristic role-play insertion mechanics!

The chinook/sea-knight thing doesn't even have matching rotor-blades, but again; pair pf replacement blades, or clear-sheet material discs, paint and a wash or dry-brush, would give you useful lift capacity for pennies.

These are where - I think - some of the war-gamers might show an interest? They are crude, a bit wacky and poorly painted, but they are also fun and usable. De-seam them, bit of filler, new paint scheme, cammo-nets/stowage and Bobs your uncle! The truck is particularly nice, I think - don't get me wrong, on one level it's the very worst kind of crap, but imagination only needs a nudge...again, dystopian near-future, or just old-school 'don't care - army builder, me!'...box ticked.

More shots of the vehicles, only one set had palm trees (standard generics) and the lookout tower in another set was really bad! Note the other MLRS chassis has a sort of FROG-SCUD thing! Well, it's better than a pair of giant Sparrow air-to-air missiles welded to the cab-roof!

The twin-cannon 'tank' is amusing as Bluebird produced one in their Zero Hour line a decade or two ago, and there is a twin-gun Pz,Kpfw. IV - in a similar style to these - kicking around, so you could build an alien army where all major-unit armour was twin-boom!

Then this brand reappeared in Poundland with new figures in half-empty boxes blamed on Funtastic, but; for only a pound? And I have a wide range of Matchbox clones so a purchase ensued!

I'll check the tag-list as Funtastic is starting to look like an in-house brand for Poundland? I know I've bought some elsewhere, but that could be explained by the laws of wholesale and clearance at the end of the market where both are already rock-bottom!

The three figure types (30 and 45mm approximately) looked at above, middle have been around for a while, the left had ones are in 99p Stores at the moment and the right-hand figures are recent to Poundland, but from tired 1980's moulds somewhere in China!

The truck is the third in what seems to be becoming an occasional series (we've looked at the hovercraft and M60 in the past) which goes back some years on the blog, I bought the first one in Poundland Newbury in 2009? 1:48th'ish.

While the Combat Force generics (around 54mm) are another really poor offering from the same store, and remain on the hanger!

Sometimes you see evidence of the strange phenomena with these discount store; they make their money by getting customers to buy things for a pound, or 99p or whatever, which are actually cheaper elsewhere, this is a case in point; The three majors (Tesco, Asda [Walmart] and Sainsbury's) sell these for 98p! I was suckered, Poundland got my extra two-pennies!

Matchbox Oshkosh M-ATV combat weapons platform/armoured reconnaissance, and not a bad little moulding of a piece of modern design. Is it not funny, indeed more ironic how service stuff is becoming indistinguishable from items found in Sci-Fi movies and games from only a few years ago...Avatar, Halo...I suspect Mike Creek will have given this a thorough grilling on his blog?

This cruder High & Drive casting (finger-cutting window frames!) is a 99p Stores bargain and with me having a s oft spot for Hummers the little gold coin had to be given-up in exchange! Supported by some Blue-Box for a sizing - it can't actually tow a trailer!

These are a question mark, more than a year old, came in a mixed lot from somewhere, but if I don't put them here, they'll never conform to Mr. Warhol's rule of '15'! Tank (old Matchbox-Airfix hybrid/copy) is about right for 15mm figures; 1:144 gaming?

And the only non-military in this post, still in Poundland as I type, these are for the LRG guys - about 40mm and still on the hangers, I'll get them as loose figures in mixed lots in a few years! Funtastic again.

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