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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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

G is for Guns

I was sure I'd Blogged this, but there is no sign of past images on the dongles, and I couldn't find any post to link to when I posted yesterday's Bell set last week, so this post is by way of 'being overdue'!

Not a false memory in the normal sense of falsely imagining a set of figures from childhood, or a wrong scale due to the growth of the hands in adulthood, but rather more simply (or simplemindedly!) convincing myself I'd photographed, edited, collaged and published something I hadn't . . . I wonder what else I think I've publish but have yet to show?

No matter; it's here now . . .

. . . looking much like yesterday's gun - at first glance - but in Merit cloth, not Bell, this is a common design from the 1950's 'dime-store' oeuvre, I'm assuming it's a Pyro design originally as the other vehicles in the Bell set were, but this gun wasn't issued in any of the large Pyro boxed sets, and other makers carried a similar beast.

Indeed - one of the frustrations of having the bulk of the collection in storage is that I have several versions of this gun, in various sizes and both hard and soft plastic; which would go well here - ne'er mind, it's an excuse to return to the subject another day!

The various components of the gun, it's quite a fictional piece, loosely based on (or vaguely resembling) the weapon that was Gunner Milligan's 3-inch howitzer part in the Second World War! Missing from my example are both the small rubber dental-band used to provide fire-power and a runner with 12 of the small shells.

This one has wooden wheels, requiring a complete redesign of the underside to take a copper-plated steel axle. There are other differences between this version and the earlier Bell model, not least the 'hammer', which is smaller, flat topped and less well defined as a moulding, suggesting that the Bell may well have been a mould-swap, while the later Merit was a copy, re-cut from left-over stock?

An old evilBay auction shot of one with hollow-backed, soft-plastic (polyethylene) wheels, a year or so younger than mine (?) but with the same box, along with the one we saw yesterday, with the 'Pyro' tractor wheels. The Merit plastic wheels were also deeper than the HK copy.

Looking at the shells in what appears to be an old cap-carton rather than a Merit 'thing' reminded me I might have them somewhere?

A selection of Randal stuff (as I had the box out) in styrene, ethylene and propylene with metal and wooden parts (both the bomb and the pistol have spring-actions). Between their known brands; Bell, SEL and Merit, they produced a vast range of toys, playthings, hobby accessories, educational/early-learning products and scientific instruments from their HQ in Potter's Bar, over about  a half-a-century - there's always a decent enough selection on 'the 'Bay'.

I then went into the attic to look for the shells, and while I found some and they are in twelve's  and do look 'right' and might be by Bell/Merit, they aren't the right colour, however the smaller, silver ones reminded me that not everything is in storage!

So a three-shot post becomes a nine-image round-up! First-up; we’ve looked at this set on the penny-based khaki-infantry page, where it comes with Britains piracies, it's about the same size as the Merit/Bell gun, and the wheels are copies of the fuzzy Merit one I snapped from evilBay.

While this smaller one is quite common having been included in/with several sets around the end of the 1960's, these two versions sharing the same backing card and mini-ship, but one having a few Airfix-copy figures while the other comes with two guns.

Both of these sets were dated to 1969 by James Opie; we have seen them here before as well I think, or on the Airfix Blog, but 'in context' gives us the excuse necessary to look at them again!

The Woolbro set - clearly considering itself above 'the rest' - has posh, gold-plastic guns, the poor-old generic set gets the commoner silver polystyrene weapons.

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