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, February 17, 2016

HK is for 'Chinatanks'

A common enough 'content' of mixed bags of detritus under the dealers tables at shows, or from car-boot sales, these are a tad smaller than Roco Minitanks (about 1:100 or 1:110 maybe?) and an eclectic collection of vehicle types. The commonness of them being due to the fact that they were added to plenty of sets...

Here we have basically the same set, on the left an unmarked generic rack-toy, on the right one branded to and imported by World Distributors of Manchester (UK) who were a wholesale book importers and publishing house of some kind.

Clearly this is the sort of thing they would have bought-in to enhance their otherwise 'bookish'  Christmas range...a lot of stores not normally offering many toys tend to expand their toy department at that time of year, and it behoves suppliers to make sure they have a few toys in their lists for the autumn.

World Distributors handled the very popular Dr. Who and Dalek annuals, so would also have had a foot in the door of Britain's newsagents, just the places to find sets like this in the 1960's and '70's. The 'Playtime' branding seems to me to be trying to mimic Rhemus another rack-toy of that era, which carried Airfix series one kits at one point. Airfix also suffering from the main thrust of the piracy present in this set, along with Roco's Gemini-craft and rubber pontoon boat

This set - sold in Germany (1DM was equivalent to about 18p or 30¢ at the time) - is pretending to be Ri-Toys, and has had one of the little beasts chucked-in, but the otherwise unbranded [card] set had flat-based figures (as per the two sets above) rather than the distinctive hollowed-base ones of Ri-Toys, so the only clue here is that it's not Rado!

Meanwhile in the 'States, Unique Industries were shipping them over without the other accessories as carded 'party favours' in sixes, all enhanced with 'allied' stars! Unique - of course - are still around and still carding-up party favours in sixes, we looked at their current paratroopers on the Blog recently.

One of the real problems with these, apart form the poor quality and sub-scale, is that the people in the factory didn't care which turret they put on which hull...

...as a result it takes a while to get a full set. Also the quality control was so poor on the material (it was non-existent on the finishing!) they come in a hundred shades of 'army' green, and to get the right turrets on the right hull...in matching shades takes forever!

When you have collected a large-enough bag-full, and matched everything up, you should end up with a Centurion, AMX30, T55, Panzer IV, Leopard 1/A1 and M60 of some kind (A3?). As the Syrians still had Pz.Kpfw. IV's when they lost the Golan Heights in 1967, when all these tanks were in service; there's a sort of sense to the range, but I'm sure it's purely coincidence!

I have a much larger sample in storage which gives-up some marking variations, along with moulding variants and a much better Centurion which was probably the donor-model for this lump, along with more carded sets, so - if you can bare it (and even if you can't!) - we'll return to these one day!


Doug said...

Nice post! I have some of those tanks, I remember that I bought them at a 7-11 convenience store. The packages of infantry have the same sort of artwork (the one on the left with the Nato symbol, but with a variety of different soldiers with a land rover "jeep" or a small Saladin armoured car. These are the same soldiers later seen in Toy Galaxy sets of Made in China Airfix and near Airfix troops.

Hugh Walter said...

Thanks Doug. The Toy Galaxy ones are a tad bigger than these, with slightly striated bases. But yes, these are the same as the 'Land Rover Included' ones...some of which are on the Airfix Blog under their respective 1:32 scale sets as they pre-dated the small version from Airfix.

The Toy Galaxy ones should be there too, or soon will be as I'm chucking a lot of stuff up there as well, and have definitely taken the shots!

Maybe I should do a couple of articles on them here too? I feel I'm cheating my readers if I keep shooting the same sets from different angles or with different backgrounds!!!


Hugh Walter said...

PS...I'm sure I used to follow your blog? Things do drop-off Blogger from time to time...I'll reattach myself!


Doug said...

Welcome back, Hugh! A month back or so some followers were removed by google. They sent a notice out about it, but I treated it like a set of model kit instructions...

Hugh Walter said...

Yeah! I lost a bunch just before Christmas - went from 132 to 111 overnight - then a few more the other day...after it had climbed back up! Same on the Airfix blog, but such a large number? I guess some are dead accounts, but I'm very-much still alive!