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.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

D is for Dinky Firemen are so Lucky!

I was going to do a Lucky Toys page like the World Dolls/Dancers, but it's actually easier to break it down into pieces, as some bits are simple, this is one of the simple bits! Lucky Dinky got enlarged by Luck-y . . . yeah, I'm labouring a bad pun here, let's move swiftly on.

I had forgotten that I posted these a while ago, so re-shot them; if you click the Dinky tag you'll get the other post a little below this one. Dinky's firemen; older than other Dinky figures; like those we saw yesterday, so not showing the distinctive hand of Charles Stadden, but rather the smoother style of some unsung sculptor.

The base marking (not a brilliant shot but try tipping your screen - or moving your head up or down - and it may become clearer); similar to the rail staff that came in the same blue plastic, but they were in an OO-gauge compatible size, rather than the approximately 35mm of these firemen.

Four of the poses were subsequently copied in roughly 50mm by the Hong Kong firm Lucky Toys, who used them in various sets, both badged to themselves as The lucky Toys and their subsidiary brand Laurie Toys, however they were also supplied to the importers/jobbers Clifford, Cragstan, Fairylight, Jimson, and Larami (among others), sometimes with the Lucky logo retained on packaging (some Fairylite), sometimes not!

There were other sources through further contract manufacture (Century21) while other brands OK, TAT and Telsalda for instance may be connected through contract or subsidiary brand status it's not clear and further complicated by some of them having ranges in different scales of the same vehicles - mostly Corgi or Dinky clones. I can't possibly pretend to be an expert on them all, but there is a fair bit in the plastics section of Planetdiecast. [Thanks to Woodsey at Moonbase Central for that tip]

Lucky numbered all their figures in the larger scale and the other two poses may well be out there as there is a gap in the numbering which points to them existing? We will be returning to the numbering (and its gaps!) in future posts.

548 - Fireman standing, both arms forward   (ex-Dinky/Meccano, Polystyrene)
549 - Fireman with breathing gear (ex-Dinky/Meccano, Polystyrene)
550 - ?
551 - ?
552 - Fireman with hose end (ex-Dinky/Meccano, Polystyrene)
553 - Fireman running, waving with right hand (ex-Dinky/Meccano, Polystyrene)

Marking for Lucky Toys is a bloody nightmare, but fortunately - due to the unique (for Lucky figures) full square/whole base marks, they are a bit easier to delineate in this case; there being only four (so far!) types.

Top left is the probable first or Lucky original, with the HONG KONG removed from the right-hand one, possibly to facilitate demand from a client selling in a country that was finding the buying public adopting the 'all Hong Kong is crap' of my parents!

The other two will be for subcontracts I think, but it's not hard and fast and as we will be seeing in a day or two, there are actual Lucky brand base marks (with the horseshoe looping an 'L'), and as yet none has turned-up on these firemen's bases?

We will also find that the 1112 sub-number is a batch (or contract/customer) code being present on all bases of the same type, irrespective of the figure-pose, and applied to two of the round marks we'll look at later as well as one of the lozenge bases.

Examples of three of the base types and some paint/plastic colour variations, I have three figures with the fourth type base mark (or I wouldn't have bothered CAD'ing them up - I know some people will go to extraordinary lengths in their attempts to make stuff up, even to inventing a whole port - huh Paul? But that's not my way) however; they are all damaged and didn't get photographed.

Models they were issued with is - again - not my field, but among the few I know of are;

114 - Fire Engine (with push-and-go gyro-friction motor, US style ladder truck)
178F - Fire Chief (Buick saloon-car)
195 - Fire Engine (Dennis?)
196 - Fire Truck (forward-control Land Rover)
- Land Rover Fire Service (series-3 Land Rover)
22/4175 (? or ..73) - Fire Engine (AEC, friction powered with siren, ladder/pumper)
No. 232R - Fire Chief Ford Zodiac (saloon-car)
- Fire Engine ('No.21 Fire Brigade', Dennis (?) turntable ladder truck)
50411 - Fire Engine (friction motor, extending ladder, 1950's type vehicle)
- Fire Chief (copied by Clifford, station wagon)
- Snorkel Rescue (US style cab-over hydraulic ladder-truck)

Which of these models also appeared in another or each other's branding, or whether they all had all or any of the figures is also unknown - to me!

Other figures supplied to Cragstan were unpainted or minimal-paint versions of Lucky's (VW camper van for instance) and as I haven't found such firemen yet, I'm proceeding on the assumption they didn't carry the Lucky fire appliances, but Cragstan were a US concern, also imported from some of Lucky's rivals and seem to have concentrated on 'autos & race-cars' as the Americans would put it, but on fire trucks American collectors may know different, Erwin Sell probably went to all twelve factories the year before he was born; in Port Tain Sang no doubt?


Steve G said...

Two things spring to mind! Firstly I like your descriptions of the firemen's poses but as a lifelong (post-school, obviously) fireman I would have said the figure with both arms in front was a pump-operator, the guy in breathing gear was wearing a Proto (2 hour oxygen) Breathing Apparatus, and the guy running was in fact meant to be holding the trade-mark fireman's axe and was leaning in to a strike with it, rather than running. :) Your words of course are less confusing to the average collector.

The second thing is that when I joined Hampshire Fire Service in 1969, I was 1 of 6 newbies. We were numbered from 549 to 554 inclusive and I was 553. I always felt this was an amazing coincidence since I owned and treasured the Dinky figures and one has 'my' number. I am slightly confused right now though as I thought I remembered that the figures had 553 and Dinky on the base, now I'm wondering if they were actually Lucky Toy and time has merged the two types in my mind. It sucks getting older....but beats the alternative. :)

Hugh Walter said...

Hi Steve - Thanks for all that, the 'running guy' does have an axe in the Dinky original, but without it the Lucky guy looks like he's late for and yelling abuse at; a passing bus!

While I've got you here - as it were - would I be right in thinking the yellow helmets are probably later issues, following the same event in the real world?

Respect for your service! We had an all volunteer force in Hartley Wintney when I was a kid, and I well remember when the siren went off, the Butcher's boy (Des?)throwing his apron in the sawdust and taking-off like a scalded cat, and as you looked out of the window you'd see the rest of the crew haring down the village street from Webb's the Newsagent the Post Office, the council building and the other butcher on the other side of the road!

He was the driver, and the Fire 'Station' (a Victorian double-doored garage) was behind the Butchers down a little side alley (if I remember correctly), so by the time the others had got there, he was sat in the cab revving the engine with an unbuttoned jacket and his hat on crooked! But the time the engine pulled-out my Brother and I would have our noses pressed to the window waiting!

Sometimes it went the other way, and the dinging bell would fade without our seeing it - big disappointment.

It was usually either a hay-stack fire over Turgis Green/Heackfield way (spate of them!) or the Gypsies starting a heath fire by the Police Collage at Hazeley to make more room in the brambles for caravans!

Different age!


Steve G said...

Hi Hugh, great reply! Yes we changed from black to yellow helmets during 1979 so that dates the figures a little better for you. As far as I know the whole country changed about the same time. The only fly in the ointment might be that Belgian firemen used the same helmets as us but had different colours for different duties so if any were made for that market (or some other foreign country) that nmight upset the dating.

Of course 08 Hartley Wintney is also part of Hampshire FRS so I come across their guys from time to time and have been to their station a few times since '69. Great service to be in, being destroyed by politicians now sadly, along with our police and armed forces. As you said...different times. Keep up the great blog mate! Cheers, Steve (Greenaway), Eastleigh

Hugh Walter said...

Hehehehe! The co-incidences continue, I know Eastleigh quite well!

Excellent 'old-school' model shop I discovered only recently. And - speaking of different times - a hideous modern airport with all the red-tape and bureaucracy of an International hub, replacing the eccentricity of them holding the plane on the tarmac if you were running late and rang them to say you were five minutes away; or the quite gentility of the Primrose Cafe (which was a four sided roadside 'greasy-spoon' with a hole in the middle above the old concourse!

And a burnt-out church in the centre of the town which must have a story, whether WWII monument to bombing, or CofE budget cuts - I don't know!

And thanks for the helmet stuff, it seems they faded from 'branded' products to OEM in the 1980's, and may well still be with us (my research is ongoing), so 1980'ish is a nice fit.


Hugh Walter said...

Last question - the guy with the white band . . . is he the indecent commander or watch supervisor (Fire Chief in the US?) or somthing?


Steve G said...

Hi again Hugh - yes, a single white band on the black helmet signified a Leading Fireman, today called a Crew Manager (yawn). The guy in the peaked cap is proabably supposed to be a Station Officer but could be anything up to Senior Div Officer. BTW the helmet was how I recalled it being '79 when we changed - because I was a LFm at the time and still have both my helmets - black with white band and yellow with black band!

I was in that model shop in High Street under a week ago just looking at paint as my buddy and are intending to recommence ACW wargaming after about 17 years cessation.... The church you referred to was Holy Trinity and it basically burned down when derelict on July 21st (I remember as it was sister's birthday) but not sure of the year....87 I think - I missed it as on a photographic trip in South Wales. It got converted in to some very nice flats about 15 years ago.

I have only been on the airport site maybe 6 times in my entire life! Couple of fires in the grass on the far side, a training day using thier own mockup airliner, a couple of exercises and one return flight to Jersey in '76 when you had to walk out to the plane and climb stairs!

Best wishes, Steve

Hugh Walter said...

That was the beauty of it! Stroll out to your prop-job, pilot asks everyone if they're all right - over his shoulder - and away you go making a noise like a Lancaster bomber and talking (shouting) at the person next to you in a Dalek-voice!

Thanks for the confirm on helmet colours!