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, March 30, 2016

F is for French Figures II - Soft Polyethylene Plastics

Strangely - as a plastics collector - I seem to know less about most of these than the most of the figures in the other three posts! But they (the moulds) seem to have had several owners, mostly in that period when 'army men' were falling out of favour, cleared as rack-toys in pocket-money price brackets.

Mostly derivative of; or copies of; or soft-plastic, unpainted mouldings of; other, better known makes, or metal originals, or previously better decorated hard-plastic figures, they rather defy ID'ing from across La Manche!

This was also the post Blogger lost - adding a year to it's edit-shelf life!

Some of these are straight lifts from Starlux, others seem 'based on', and while they have the feel of Cofalux, I don't think they are. As we saw with the medieval figures, this late '60's-1970's French rack-toy ethylene production has both the moulds and the mouldings being handled by several companies/brands - whoever actually held them. I'm told that the sailors are Hugonnet (?), the marching poses being much copied by Hong Kong in the '70's.

Bottom right shot shows the differences between the 'same' pose from the two sets, based on a Starlux French Foreign Legionary, the one to the left is the closer copy, the one on the right has had a head-turn.

Again...Hugonett have been put in the frame for some of these (top left - but the bases are large enough to point at Aludo?), others are similar to Cofalux, but not so well finished (two main lots) while the little group to the top-right are so poor they could be Hong Kong apart from markings and the fact that again...they are the same poses that keep cropping-up in this late mono-colour production and again...mostly Starlux poses, or Starlux-like, including the pose which gets itself into the Timpo GI's and through them to half-a-dozen minor (and not so minor; Hilco) 'khaki Infantry' makers!

Speaking of Timpo - in all the time this lot have been in Picasa and 'Edit' Sam sent me a bunch which included more of the small lot above and there are several Timpo 1st version 'WWII' poses included with the Aludo-looking pose on the top row. The same shot has an odd figure (top right) from the Hugonett (?) set below, while the third row are from another origin and includes a scale-down of one of the US Auburn Rubber (Double Fabric Tire Corp.) company's figures - the white one, with a couple of Cofalux copies and a Starlux-a-like. Indeed I think they are additions to the same 'set' as the middle group in the previous collage.

The multicoloured row in the image below that has the same pose but larger along with several others from the Auburn 70mm's (but here around 60mm) in polyethylene, also very poor quality, no better than the worse of Hong Kong's efforts.

The upper shot here are now known (by me) to be Vilco issues of older figures by other people (in this case Cofalu aluminium figures I believe?), these being home-painted, the originals were issued on the runner in header-carded bags and as well as then olive green issues; also came in a variety of metallic colours including silver, gold, blue, mauve, pink &etc.
Below them are five modern production WWI troops by Armies in Plastic (AIP) really nice animated sculpts, I think the blue came first and the dung-brown after, but they ended-up side-by-side in the shop's stock so it's a mute point.
The recent (2009) re-issues of the Mokarex coffee-premium figures by Effigies, are in quite a dense un-glueable ethylene, but useful when you consider the frangibility of the originals and the fact that the packs are often missing, they can always be heat-welded on - of course.

Top left is the odds and ends, a couple of painted ethylene, which seem relatively uncommon and again I don't know who made them but the same names as the medievals are in the frame, just from the base paint! Then the little Airfix copy scaled-up to 45mm from Ri-Toys (Rado) which was also looked at here and a slightly rubbery 50mm from the Spanish Teixido?
The next two shots are of figures I've been told are Hugonett (?), very much in the dress of the Indochinese or North African campaign's and like many of these figures seeming to reference Starlux sculpts, either because they were all deliberately pirating each other (like the Brits were at the same time with their 'Khaki Infantry' types), or because they were all using the same sculptor?
The final shot is all Marx, from the States, with the marching figure in brown a 1990's re-issue (carried in the Uk by Marksmen) from the 'Soldiers of the World' with the set of 6 WWII figures from the 54mm range, two in the original powder-blue, with re-issues in light and dark grey and a deep bottle-green.

Additions that have come in over the three years or so since I started these posts! Some more Vilco copies of other people's good moulds at the top, a late Cofalux flamethrower operator who looks so thin and weedy he may be a copy by someone else (?) and a later rack toy in electric-apple-puke-neon-dayglo green...Hugonnet again?

While I've been cogitating on these posts for so long, I've got round to stripping the Nazi paint off the supposedly Hugonett figures, so a later additional picture. I don't know what's happening with the smaller bloke saluting...different make? Deliberate down-scale to make-up cavity numbers in the mould tool? And I'm assuming the glossier colours came after the matt'er olive and olive-drab issues?


Jan Ferris said...

Quite a through post you have here. Thanks for making the post.

Hugh Walter said...

Thanks Jan...but it is mostly question marks!