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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.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

D is for Dunby...Dunby-Combex-Marx

When I began collecting seriously (1980/81'ish) the first thing I realised was that information (accurate information) was key, hard to find and often misleading! At the time I was a specifically small-scale collector, and turned to Garratt's encyclopedia (available in public Libraries back in the day) which I read from cover to cover, taking notes on every mention of small scale and learning some of the 'trade shorthand' to find small scale that wasn't specifically mentioned as such by the author.

As a work, it leave a lot to be desired now, but then it was the only work of it's kind (in breadth it still is!), and while the historical/ metal entries were reasonably accurate, his own dislike of plastic and failure to keep on top of new production (something I'm guilty of...) meant the major errors were all in the new/plastic entries!

One of the entries was: Dunby Combex Marx Group. See Marx Miniatures. Turning to that cross-referenced entry brought you to one of his biggest mistakes, the MPC link one! It also suggested that the Swansea factory was the DCM connection and latterly (when he was writing) it was, but there had been a bumpy ride to get there. No matter, the point was I had added a page to my 'master list' along the lines of Dunby Combex Marx...may have made small scale figures, or copies of Miniature Masterpieces?

I then spent 35 years looking out for anything with Dunby Combex Marx on it! Earlier this year that wait was ended, but Dunby and Marx had nothing to do with it...the find was Combex only!

The box was pretty destroyed, so I've cropped out the usable bits, but basically it was a shop counter display box with a push-back lid with cut-out to make a half-oval backing display behind the open box's lose contents, and the contents were vinyl Disney figurines, probably shipped in from Heimo or one of the other European Marx concerns - despite stating the 'Manufactured in the Crown Colony of Hong Kong'.

The grubbier ones above have been added by me to show colour variation of the figures over time, and because now I have the box, all the similar figures can go in the one place!

So far so predictable, but the box also contained hard plastic (polystyrene) figures which were mercifully saved from the usual vinyl-to-styrene melting by dint of most items having full paint coverage. But it is an odd mix, with the duplicates I've not photographed there was about 50% Minnie, Daisy and nephews (all vinyl), 25% King John's (styrene) and 25% all other movie and short-film characters (mix of vinyl and styrene), with no Mickey figure as you might be expecting (sold first?).

As always with Marx, it further muddies the water rather than leaving it clearer. Were all the contents from HK, or maybe only the styrene polymer ones, were Marx (UK) shipping vinyl from HK while Heimo produced it over the channel?

The King John is a HK piece, he has 'Hong Kong  No 510' for a mark, but the Pecos Bill is a Charmore/Heimo piece - or known to be? Maybe the HK refers only to the box, rather than it's contents, or were the contents topped-up in-store by bags of similar figures - which were from Heimo? All the vinyl figures have the pin-release holes but no marks (Daisy, Minnie and Nephews) or only the 'Disney Productions'?

Anyway, they're all in one place now with 'some' packaging and I'm not looking for a DCM piece any more! Below are a couple of comparisons we've seen before here, but re-shot, to make the post more worthwhile!

Pecos Bill, old chalky Swansea-produced, UK ethylene on the left, HK styrene Disneykin in the middle and a vinyl (Heimo?) on the right.

Again the UK version is on the left, the two Disneykins showing how some had stickers with the Marx mark, some didn't and the new polystyrene large size, previous versions of this in my collection are vinyl.

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