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.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

C is for Clip Together

No more than an overview with these today, it was a bit of serendipity and a reader contribution which led to this post and I have many more in storage so we will look at them properly by company/type another day (or: other days!), for now, let's just get an idea of the wide range of mini (or micro) model-kits which were available as - mostly breakfast cereal - premiums, many - but not all - supplied by R&L (Rosenhain & Lipmann) of Australia, primarily (in the UK) to Kellogg's Foods.

Kellogg's liner which we've seen here on the Blog before and racing cars which were also issued by Sanitarium in the antipodes, as well as someone on the continent (Portuguese food company?), so they often turn-up, but with all the little pieces (especially the wheel hubs); are rarely whole. I do have another bunch in storage including orange, red and white examples so we will look at them again one day. The driver moulding is the same for every car, so you can build him half-and-half - two colours, he looks good in black and orange!

Various ages and generations of bits for the Montaplex Bi-plane, I picked these up as a single lot in a larger bag of mixed bits; someone was obviously building himself a 'circus'! Between the bits I can still get one airborne!

These are all soft ethylene plastic with the WWII fighters (and sub-scale Heinkel? Mostly bits) having been given-away in the UK with boys comics (Fury, Valiant and Warlord), as part of the hype surrounding the release of the movie Battle of Britain - I believe? Sellotaped to the cover as an unmade kit on the chunky frame...for years I wondered (not being a 'plane guy') if they were Atlantic, the frames are chunky enough!

The Concord (I think?) is one of three (or four) in a set with The Tupolev and Boing efforts, possibly from Quaker Foods or Weetabix?. I say "I think" as there were several sets with Concord in and I'm not sure which is which!

I bought the bagged ones at a car boot sale quite a few years ago, the chap had loads of them in a fruit basket, so I assumed they were a new issue or a re-issue of older moulds which he'd picked-up as a job lot or as clearance, so bought one of each, but I think they may be the 1970's originals, now, which is annoying as I would have grabbed them all, he only wanted pennies... The broken-up bits have come in with mixed lots over the years and I think between the two shots are aircraft from two different sets?

While the ME109 is probably a modern 1:144 kit, but he's in with the medium-smallies in the unknown bag!

Jet Petrol (gasoline) stations issued this lovely set of 10 (?) cars for quite a while, so they are not too uncommon, and while I'm missing one or two, I'm hoping I might have them in storage, but if not they will turn up one day!

One made-up and broken into its constituent parts, a pair with a colour variation and two soft-plastic (polyethylene) cars from Europe - Spain or Portugal I think...Tito? I do have some Ford and Vauxhall rally cars in this style marked Tito, but these two are unmarked.

The  next four images (below) are all courtesy of Andrew Boyce who sent them to me ages ago (before Christmas?) and I said I'd be publishing "soon", "in a day or two hopefully", "probably tomorrow" then in the February splurge...only for time, Nathaniel and Voda'fail to intervene in their timeless fashion! Can time be timeless? There's an existential debate for a cold winter's evening!

A lovely shot with samples of various sets Kellogg's issued, along with both Gerry Anderson sets complete. I also remember a set of clip-together Tony the Tigers', with another set of train kits coming out of Italy.

Of interest to me in this shot is the set of blue wheels on the red estate car (station-wagon) as the ones I have all came with black wheels and the helicopter which I was unaware of.

This shows the kid's comic ad. for the Captain Scarlet vehicles shown in Andrew's image above, I think I have the Patrol Car somewhere, and shot the SPV before Christmas here on the blog, it's a lovely little model, almost 1:300th scale, with all the little wheels (10 of them in two sizes!) separate.

I suspect these were from a different source than the others, they are much chunkier with only a few (or no - TB4) parts, and lack the finesse of the R&L stuff. It was including some of these in the novelty posts before Christmas which triggered Andrew's contribution, which in turn led me to gather up a few bits and bobs to photograph for this post.

Sugar Stars and Coco Crispies gave-up this set of six vehicles which we will return to one day as I have a tub of whole and partial ones somewhere! Like a lot of these cereal premiums, they were issued elsewhere by other brands or products, sometimes in different combinations, so some seem commoner over here than others, the train and 'Rocket' seem easier to obtain than the car, while I think I've seen the bus (still on the frame) in a small box as an Italian pocket-money toy. 
 Finally; an old scan intended for an article on wagons in Plastic Warrior magazine's little brother 1"W which never happened! A rather damaged London taxi from the 100 Years of Transport above (1834 Hansom Cab) it came with a horse and I think a better version in blue was shown on the Cabinet of Curious Things posts, but I haven't got the images here (editing away from the internet) and the tag list may not help!

I don't often deal with the filthy subject of money, but seeing some of the buy-it-now (BIN) prices of things like this, it's worth considering this: even though you are always competing with other collecting field's aficionados; train buffs, space fans, 'plane-spotters, more general premium collectors, kit guys, TV & Movie fans...so prices are often high even for common examples, you should always remember they made millions of them and you should set a limit and stick to it, I aim at no more than a pound a piece.

Let's do some hypothetical maths; Say two [popular] cereal brands (from the same manufacturer) run a joint-promotion with comic and early-evening TV adds, of a random-packed set of 4 models for 4 months in 1975, selling (even as early as the 1950/60's) maybe 100,000 packs a week to a population of approximately 12,000,000 baby-boom households (now closer to 16 million, but with less school-age kids per household).

100,000 packs x 16 weeks x 2 brands / 4 models = potentially 800,000 individual units of your searched-for 'rarity' were once out there! It's 'ball park' but it's not fancifully way-out there.

'Family Sized' packs may have two models (or five against three, three against two) which might push our fictional total to a million-odd, better known or more popular brands like Cornflakes might issue 500,000 packs a week? Three months (or two years) later the models are run again, or in another brand, or with another foodstuff, or in another country, or the model you're after is put in another set... Tom Smith get the mouldings (Quaker Gladiators) for 25,000 boxes of budget Christmas crackers, in four designs - six years running, or in more 'promotional' boxes (Thunderbirds figures)... a HK company or two copies them (jig toys)...finally some warehouse lets the remnants go by the bagful (Coca-Cola animals) as clearance or pocket-money toys to another country.

There's so much more to these, and as a specific collection, they can take-up surprisingly little room, but take a lifetime to track down as colour variations, mint in pack examples etc...but please - keep it in perspective, a 5-quid or $10 BIN is not worth the pain, when mixed lots might be had for 99p plus postage.

And many thanks to Andrew for the additional images.

Next day...Brian Berke sent this image of a "rubbery" plastic copy from Hong Kong of one of the R&L toys, still on the frame, he remebers the Rocket loco and has a Hansom Cab in the same neutral colour of soft polymer...remembering also they came from a 99-cent store in NY; approximately 1986. And that's a New York pound for scale!


Jan Ferris said...

Very nice. Did I miss the scale of those models?

Hugh Walter said...

No Jan...I carefully avaided any mention of it!

They are all scales, mostly mini' or micro', but some are easier to place - that penny-farthing is about 1:72, the racing cars around HO-guage compatible (if the driver is anything to go by, the cars seem more OO or 1:76?), hansom cab, sports and vintage cars are beween 1:90 and 1:100 maybe...ships and aircraft smaller while the gerry Anderson bits are mixed scales from 1:150 down to 1:300+. The soft plastic figters are also maybe 1:100'ish?



Actually the Penny Farthing is about 1/42 scale, the coin is a Scottish £. The Hansom Cab horse is 2cm high, not sure what that translates into in Hands?

The JET petrol cars were by an Australian company and were also made in the UK by Harburn (?) the people that made Plasticine. They were sold as OO railway accessories though they were closer to HO or 1/87 in scale. The rubbery copies were larger possibly 1/76 but didn't press together as well and had gaps where the halves joined.

Hugh Walter said...

Scottish! Well...I didn't look hard enough! Yes R&L are the Aussie outfit...I didn't know the Harburn's connection and I was going to add that the rubbery nature of your penny farthing is responcible for the slight drop in detail wasn't I!


Anonymous said...

Hi Hugh,
Harbutt's are the Plasticine manufacturers who sold that vintage car range as Harbutt's RepLicars in the late 1960s. I assume they used a large 'L' in the middle of the name to explain why the mouldings all had 'RL' on them. Scale varies; I don't have a full set yet, but so far they've been in the 1:56 to 1:98 range as far as I can ascertain, scaling from the wheelbase; it's hard nailing some of these older cars down when it comes to size. The three I don't have are 2 (Bugatti), 3 (Model T) and 8 (Renault), though I see you have. If you could measure the wheelbase (to the nearest 1/4mm or thereabouts) then I'll be able to complete the list with the exception of the Bentley as I still haven't worked out which 1927 Bentley it is; I've found three different wheelbases depending on engine size. With the Renault I can do a double check if you can size the wheels too.
I've also got a converted Spectrum Patrol car lurking somewhere. I'll see if I can dig it out and get a picture. Drop me an e-mail!
Bernard Taylor

Hugh Walter said...

I'll do what I can Bernard, but I'm wont to take them out of the bag, so it may be 'approximate'!! Did you see the HR post the other day? There's a Set 1 with your name on it if you'd like to swap for something?


Bernard Taylor said...

Thanks Hugh. Provided the 'hole' side of the axle is facing outwards it's not too hard to measure; several of mine are still fully wrapped. There's a full set I'm currently bidding on (silly cheap at the moment) but I already have some duplicates, including a Packard that is perhaps ideal for building as one of the wheel pegs has fallen off the sprue, even though it's still in the cellophane. I'm also slowly rebuilding the Vauxhall Hansen into a 'standard' 1905 two seater 7-9hp as it's 4mm scale.

Ah, HR Productions - I saw three packs on ebay recently but, I thought, a bit pricey. There were £15 + £3.80 p&p, then relisted at £12+, the £10+, but still hadn't sold. Just the same two patterns (with minor colour differences in the set 2s). Even if not brilliant, they are at least different and, I see, all different sculpts in the packs.

Hugh Walter said...

I'm in the attic tomorrow Bernard, I'll make a note now and try to remember to get them done!


Anonymous said...

Hi Hugh,

simply love your site, I'm a kid again whenever I come on here, my heart beats just a little faster when I come across pics of a toy I once had (I'm 57 now)! Thought you may like to know I used to live in Australia in the 1960s and had that Kellogg's liner (though mine was orange) together with its siblings, a hovercraft, an oil tanker, a tug and a freighter. The back of each cereal pack also had various printed sections of a harbour complete with cranes etc. which you could cut-out and assemble for your fleet.

Next up the rubbery plastic Concorde was one of four white-coloured airliners that originally came free with packs of Shredded Wheat around 1970, the others being a Boeing 747, Boeing Stratocruiser and Yankee Clipper flying boat (these 3 I had) but they were indeed notoriously difficult to clip together. Later these were all re-issued in different colours and given away by the "Victor" comic in 1974.

Finally the Battle of Britain planes you speak of. All four in the set (Me 109, Spitfire, Hurricane and Heinkel 111) I collected from packs of Wall's sausages around 1972. I recall the Spitfire was light green (and I think the 111 too which also came with a clip-on cockpit). Then they too were re-issued for "Warlord", the Spit's colour changing to jet black (which I felt spoiled its look) while the 111 became gold (!) and with a built-in cockpit this time.

I'll just close with this memory - I'd sometimes use the Heinkel model to re-enact the Blitz on London. After first painstakingly assembling a whole city across my bed using the many Lego bricks I had (though without clicking them together you understand so the buildings would collapse if hit), I'd then turn the light out, switch on an actual recording of the Blitz on my cassette player and proceed to 'fly' the German bomber high over my city and release various-sized bombs from Airfix kits, the 'grand-slam' being provided by the metal bomb from the old Dinky Stuka. Once the all-clear sounded on the tape, the light would go back on so I could survey the desolation caused. Oh yes, I might as well also tell you that I even placed Airfix civilians inside the buildings for added realism (!) Ah, the fun we had as kids...

Hugh Walter said...

Glad I triggered the memories Annon - I remember that Stuka bomb; it took caps and you could put several in at once and throw it against a wall for quite a bang - that's how it tended to loose its tail-fins!