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.

Monday, August 22, 2016

F is for Flying Circus, No Clowns

Watching the Catalina Flying-boat take off at Farnborough the other day, was one of those times when you wonder how any aircraft ever gets of the ground, despite understanding the principles of flight, or like watching a butterfly cross three gardens and avoid a both a blackbird and a tree with apparently three or four flaps of its huge wings, in a breeze! Flight is fascinating, so small boys love flying machines.

Nice carded set from what? Around 1970/72? The Psychedelic and cartoon artwork seemed to come to toys a few years after the Summer of Love, nothing quite like the fashion industries' ability to miss the boat and spend the next ten years exploiting something which has already passed into myth!

Today's equivalent (picture courtesy of Brian Berke), these have pull back motors and are hard plastic, but very much in the same price bracket as their 45-year old brethren! Call me stupid but I prefer the old ones, nostalgia strikes again, so let's return to them for the rest of the post!

When I got them out for the above photo (they've been in the collection for years) I noticed that actually five of them are very different to the two-part versions I'd always assumed they all were, being in fact single mouldings with integral struts.

The orange one is however they 'old' type, this is an example of a stock-change in action, with the last of the old moulding being cleared through with the new stuff. It's useful as it may tie two 'types' to one source, but as they may well have been bought-in from two sources by a third packer, it would require more evidence before that could be assumed, with any confidence!

So a post which was going to end there, has been expanded somewhat, as I went and looked at the loose-stuff I have here to see if any of the others where single mouldings (I'm not counting wheels and little parts), one was - the orange '4'!

But I photographed all the good ones, and the above is four examples of different string-bags in the smaller size; we looked at the largest size here and will look at the interim/medium size ones another day.

Three of the 1's from underneath, showing the marks -  a 'MADE IN HONG KONG' split over both wings. Also note the wheels are smooth-tyred and quite large. These numbers are not 'types' in the sense that I know the order of their production, but rather to help you follow them through the images. There are at least three or four other designs, not represented here and the carded set could be 5 and 6, or: 5a and 5b?

In storage - for instance - I have some marked with the aircraft type (Albatross, Fokker, Camel, Niewport (and SE5?), maybe a Spad? Another lot have the aircraft type and nationality; 'Niewport France', 'Fokker Germany' &etc. "Yeah, but these fokker's were Messerschmitts!" {Thank you Roy 'Chubby' Brown, for one of the best jokes ever!}

While yet others were sold one to a bag, with the wing-marking's as heavy raised carving and no wing-stickers. We will return to these one day as they need the same level of fartyness research as the 1-Ton Humbers, but I need to enlarge the overall size of the sample (which takes time and money!) and bring the two lots I do have together, so we're just looking at what's here and the numbering is for ease of passage.

The 2's are a tad larger than the other three samples, and may well be earlier (as are the 1's I think), I've already re-numbered them a bit to get them in a vague order, they also (like the 1's) have a pin-through propeller with a colour-matched pin, unlike the 'later' versions which have a plug-on propeller which slips over an integral spigot.

The other three compared, 2 has MADE IN HONG KONG smaller on one wing, 3 gets a smaller, inverted HONGKONG on the left wing, and a larger rougher one on the right wing, 4 gets MADE IN on the left wing and HONGKONG as one word, in a different typeface on the other wing, these will all prove to be important clues one day. As will the similarity between the wheels of 3 and 4, and the differences with 1 and 2's wheels.

A comparison between 'banana-planes' of samples 3 and 4. While the fuselage is getting more and more whacky with each passing generation of sub-piracy, the 4 is a better moulding, with less distortion, presumably due to the integral nature of the moulding rather than the plug-in main plane.
And while one is tempted to conclude that the shorter wings are due to the single-moulding process, it doesn't seem to have stopped the carded versions at the head of the post from having 'normal' length wings?

Also, while the pilot and gunner have been given collars on their locating spigot, in every other respect they are the same, so that can be explained as an improvement, and can be carried-out on the mould tool, so the crew at least are from the same source, but that could just mean a family business on the fourth-floor of a residential tenement block, sub-contracting to two 'plane makers, using an injection-moulding machine Replicants would recognise!

I have a mate with Asperger's, who makes my eccentricities look calm and responsible and he has a habit of shouting 'Banana-Car!' like a four year old every time he sees a yellow or orange car, it's become involuntary . . . I'm going to post this to his Facebook page and tag Banana-plane, he'll be so angry . . .Ooh yes!

Imagine the roar! My balbo of kites crabbing along on a coastal rhubarb mission, with no clouds to play pussy in they'll just have to snake about and hope they don't buy-it in the drink!

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