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.

Monday, November 7, 2016

News, Views etc . . . Bits and Pieces.


A few bits not worth whole posts . . . starting with a few balloon related items from the recent press, as the previous post was also balloon-related!
I saw this in the other day and got to thinking how cool? Fully inflated it's the ultimate diorama base for space figures, robots, aliens and rocketry stuff! Indeed, one's gone on my lottery-win 'wants list', yes; I know my lottery-win wants list is quite long, but I'm planning on a triple-Euromillions rollover win, so I think there's still room on the shopping-list for a giant planetary satellite - and a stronger tether!

You could put it in a little house, like an observatory with a domed-roof and a spiral gantry-walkway )similar to Foster's Reichstag renovation), so you could lean over and glue things to the surface of the moon, you could have Hing Fat astronauts poking-about in the dust doing a little exploration, then, just over their horizon a vast alien battle could be raging between Games Workshop changelings painted different colours, further on maybe Buck Rogers and Dan Dare - taking turns to photograph dinosaurs from the relative safety of a Marx space base! Clangers, Trolls, Daleks, gun-toting apes, they could all have a sector?
Another story (actually a dry thing about investment company divests) with a balloon involved this library shot from Getty Images of a street-parade Sonic the Hedgehog; had me to thinking what would your favourite inflatable be if you had the choice, I'd probably go with the LP robotic cycle-cop?

Picture - Dennis Mathies

I mentioned the other day that someone, possibly the Royal Engineers or RCT had locally-purchased Mercedes 'Wagon & Drag' combinations in Berlin Brigade, the above is the set I was trying to explain, although I think ours had timbered drop-sides like the trailer and no cantilevered plate overhanging the cab, but it was a long time ago in a life now far away.
Obviously they would have been that particular sun-faded British Army green with broad swathes of black over-painted or over-sprayed and have been wearing the Berlin Brigade bumper sticker.

Sticking with military vehicles; preparing the figures and photographs for the articles forthcoming on the Hong Kong Blog page and posts, I found these; well, I didn't find them - I knew exactly where they were - but I encountered them again, and noticed that their product code was one of the question marks in the Blue Box A-Z entry listing, so I'll sort that out!
Various military versions, presumably, as the number (7438) appears in the civil vehicle list there are more colourful versions out there? Or did they just stick with the green and grey to save money?

There are two versions of the bike (a Dinky Toy piracy) and both wear the number, one which stands up and another which doesn't! A block was cut into the mould tool to allow for an unsupported, upright stance on later production models.


Speaking of Blue Box and further to my recent treatise on accuracy and fraudulent frauds, research reveals that Tai Sang Toys are still going (as Tai Sang Industrial Co. Ltd.), still own the company (BBI) that owns Blue Box Holdings, also own the company (RBI) that owns Redbox and own several other trademark/brand names such as Cheerful Toy, Hitech Electronic Manufacturing and Talentoy Ltd. remaining, in fact, the administrative vehicle and legal parent of the 'group of groups' which includes the Blue Box group and the Redbox group, and that therefore - yes - Blue Box (in a roundabout way) presumably now have access to the Zee Toys/Zylmex moulds.
Therefore Tai Sang weren't renamed Blue Box (the impression given by the owner of both companies in his interviews with Sarah Monks), but rather that Blue Box were created as a separate entity following the conversation with/visit to Cecil Coleman, with Redbox following a few years later - they first appear in the mid-1970's; allowing for the brief entry in Garratt, published 1980/1.
Tai Sang still occupy some offices in the old Blue Box HQ building in Aberdeen, the rest of the plant now given over to other tenants some of whom are toy companies, so Tai Sang are also landlords! Redbox now has four mainland factories, apparently (interestingly) in a different region to Blue Box's. Rivals? Mr. Sell couldn't have been more wrong about Redbox if he'd said they never existed or were called Green Box!
So the Blue Box entry in the A-Z already needs a 2nd edit, with fuller entries on Tai Sang and Redbox in the pipeline, indeed the history section of all will probably be transferred to the Tai Sang entry with links to the various other-brand's listings; a similar exercise of which is ongoing, with Giant/Arco/Sarco, the Rosenberg's and the Gardener's at the moment.
Also makes you wonder if Blue Box's die-casting works in Macau ever had a hand in Zyll's prolific production? Over the weekend Peter sent some interesting Blue Box 6" figures to Paul, because there's always more to find; have to add them to the listing too!

I've spent the last few weeks sorting out the small scale Britains/Crescent khaki infantry copies to get the job finished on them, the page at the top of this blog may well go, or I might rush-finish it at some point with links to the Hong Kong blog, but on the Hong Kong Blog there will be a new page with a brief run-through linked by figure type and set to the individual posts which will appear at the same time.

Having taken over 7 years to get the first million hits up (last June was it?), it seems we are racing to the 2-million! With a lot of help from Russian clik-bots it has to be said, but with 700+ as a daily average (I took this screen cap as I liked the round 1000 of the previous day!), I find I'm starting to consider biting the bullet and re-jigging the blog to a more conventional scheme; I've always been happy with it in black, all my favourite Big O and Dragons Dream books have black pages, and I did jig it to a dark purple-brown with grey text for those who were having problems with it.

However, not having Internet on my laptop for the last nine months has shown me how much the layout appearance varies from PC to PC, and even I find myself squinting at the hot-link lists on some machines, so when I have a day to play on a mate's Internet I think a planer layout will ensue . . . anyone got any strong ideas or real bugbears? Speak now or forever hold you piece.

Other Media appearances for toys in the last few months have included . . .
. . . this little chap; called Wilbur . . . the Penguin (no shit Sherlock!) is the new face of British Gas's 'Planet Home' series of TV and print adverts, expect toys any day soon, remember Buzzby, the British Telecom brat? Still turns up on feebleBay like a bad penny from time to time! AND . . . Royal Fail's The Stamp Bug . . . Hahahahahah!

While this story on a market slowdown was accompanied by an arena of Kiddybrix decedents; people, aliens (that look like aliens), aliens from long ago and far away (Tunisia and Shepperton mostly!), a bloke made from sewn-together body parts and various other miscreants and ner'do'well's, including a few pirates, Harry Potter and Genghis Khan! Who's the monkey-man in the grey cloak?


I don't know where this year's gone, but it went there so fast I barely noticed its passing! Been an odd year, and it could get odder in the next 48 hours huh?!!
I've 'so' tried to stay out of that one, but it begs a question - if he is . . . you know . . . if he does . . . what will it say to the Kennedy conspiracists? I mean, if Kennedy can be assassinated by any one of those groups , organisations or individuals placed in the frame over the years - other than the nutter in the book store - why is the wigless one still here, hinting that "She" should 'get it' from an NRA member or two?
Anyway, closer to home; this is my seasons stash of Sweet Chestnuts, so the war can come and the world can go to hell, I'm alright for roast dinners until at least the 4th Jan! Just call me . . . dadaa-dadaa dadaa-dadaa, dadaa-dadaa dadaa-dadaa . . . Squirrelman!

You may be thinking 'But they're only chestnuts?', you don't know that three years ago we had a poor harvest and while I was picking through the damp, wormy remains on the forest floor, several squirrels up in the trees started throwing the spiky husks at me, while chattering "Fuck-off human" in Squirrelish at me!
This year was perfect; wet spring, warm summer, dry autumn and they fell before the rain; the squirrels were busy elsewhere and before you could say "Holy Rodent Roulade Squirrelman!" I'd bagged a stash.
Equally Seasonal is the annual appearance of Christmas cake decorations, an advent which gives slimmer picking every year in my experience, but these are being sold in The Works as crafting accessories, six for a pound - that was about US-75¢ a few months ago, but thanks to the basket-case Brexiteers it'll be about 7¢ by the time you read this! Anyway, if you need winter coverage for your Panzerlarger, now's the time to invest!


Mentioning the possibility of NRA members shooting a President to retain the right to bear arms (beyond irony!), I see that Nigella Fáràgê (rhymes with c**t) was wishing urban violence, revolution and Mad Max on us this weekend; fantasist twat, but, after the fascist headlines of last week I think we all know where we're going here, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, the UK (or at least England) and yes, even the 'States . . .
. . . although as I muttered warnings of burning cities on Dear Prime Minister a while back; none of this is surprising me, it's all just rather depressing, that we seem to be blindly marching off to war, to re-learn the lessons of the last two! The main lessons being 1) War is not nice and nobody's the winner; 2) It costs more than getting to the stars and 3) Liberal Democrats are eminently preferable to self-interested, brain-dead, flag-waving Nationalists.

This picture (from the tables in the background - sat in Picasa since 2011!) really needed to be in the Preiser/Elastolin band post the other day, but I forgot it! Home painted by one of those weird types who do such things "Ooh-yeah, ooooo, ooooh-yeah, Nazis, lots of lovely Nazis, just . . . just paint one more, yeah . . . oh yeah! Ooooh, ooooh, huh . . . fuck'yeaaaaaaaarrrrrrhh!"
Seriously; they are nice-enough figures as they come, and can be re-painted to any arm of the military, even Waffen-SS, but as black-clad 'bodyguard' thugs? Really? He's even painted-over a composition original - not just a sick Nazi but a bloody vandal! Still - guarenteed seller!
Safer ground with this one! A while back (January?), I did a post on the various cereal-premium kits, and there were a few mostly incomplete soft-plastic 'planes given away with UK comics at some point, this came via Gareth in the Spring and is an almost complete Messerschmitt Me.109, I posed the missing fuselage-half to show the 'whole' runner.


Repeating the call I made the other day, in case this post gets more/different traffic over time . . .
Someone stated that he wouldn't produce a complete list of Preiser as it would run to 100's of pages; actually it currently runs to less than 60 - with all or most of the blanks in place; and I am in the process of completing it for the A-Z entry.

However I have two gaps, one is the very early days (with any additions to the small 3xx series we looked at the other day), the other being the four-number codes from the 1970's/1980's.
Also while I have various lists of Aristo-craft, Bachmann, Faller, E-R, VIP, Vollmer and Walther's/Terminal Hobby Shop products as supplied by Preiser, I'm sure they are not all complete. If anyone can help supply scans of old catalogues (mine is PK 12 I think, but in storage now) or listings of early stuff or the mid-four number era, that would help, and all help will be acknowledged when I publish, also you will get my current draft by return.

The other call for help is: can anyone tell me anything about the two 'space-cars' in the picture? I am guessing they are from an early track-race game, as they have wings with rods that seem designed to follow a channel or stay within track-walls or something?

About OO-gauge compatible for size and with plastic bodies, heavy lead-wheels and clock-work mechanisms, this is the second pair of these I've picked-up, worse condition than the pair in storage, I have an idea there was a problem with one of them too, so I'm hoping that between the four I will cannibalise a decent pair, with all their bits intact.
The other pair is the same colour way, so I think that's it; 'a pair'; twice? I was thinking Chad Valley, Marx, early Lines/Mettoy or Rovex, but haven't the faintest idea, anyone know? Might they even be a Hornby or Hornby-Triang thing
The other items in the shot are an inter-war slush-cast Renault in need of tracks and a Japanese celluloid cart with blow-moulded figures and load.
Finally reader/follower Jacob Ndolu from Indonesia (Small Scale World dot com goes global!) asked me if I had any spare Wing Lung copies of Matchbox/Airfix, I don't; can anyone help him find some? I can pass details, just email me, or post links in the comments.


peter evans said...

I have had those Blue Box 90mm figures since I was seven years old

Hugh Walter said...

'JB' had some, but even though I have an interest in Blue Box, it was back when I was small scale only, so I never grabbed them when I had the chance...Hey-ho!

And I got three lovely HK hollow blow-moulds earlier this year to compensate!