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.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

SP is for Supreme . . . Post!

Actually; Supreme Products or Supreme Toys but using SP in the 1990's, like a lot of the older Hong Kong companies (they were formed in 1974), we know little of Supreme or their output, as it was mostly contract manufactured for third parties.

But from the late 1980's they did (like Soma - another older company) start to mark some stuff (mostly packaging) so that it was ID'abl at the point of sale, allowing us to ID other stuff by default, even though A) not everything they produced and/or marketed followed the 'pattern' and B) even today they don't always mark their stuff!

Case in point is this 'shelfie' I shot in Basingrad last Friday, these are a reissue of Supreme's first version (mid-late 1970's) knights, marked-up to Halsall's rack-toy brand My Toy - Time4toys, new paint (compost-green shields over a silver wash) but otherwise unmistakeable.

In a few weeks (when the budget is healthier) I'll get the set and we'll have a quick look at it in close up, as a stand-alone.

I hope everyone is familiar with these (as this is all I've got - and all I want really!), Supreme's second attempt at knights, trying to compete with the action figure market/craze of the post-Star Wars 1980's, they were chunky, too large and produced in red, black and blue vinyl-rubber with gold and silver highlights, over-sized polyethylene weapons and similarly huge shields with stickers struggling to obey the rules of heraldry only added to the action figure look. Not to mention the Greco-Roman archer with leg-armour!

In recent years they (Supreme) have issued two newer sets of medieval figures (both pirating other makers stuff - Italieri for instance), along with Saracens for them to fight. However, they themselves have been subject to much piracy, and due to the 'back-door' nature of a lot of piracy in the Far East some of the 3 version figures have ended-up with the 1st version!

And due to my coming late to the collecting of large scale examples, while we're going to look primarily at those early ones, we will be mostly looking at the copies here today! The above being all Italieri sculpts/poses - from the current 3rd/4th 'sets' except the silver one (middle bottom) who's from one of the 3rd generation sub-pirate sets.

Both Supreme and its imitators have issued these in various sizes over the years and we have looked at the 25mm Blackrock Castle set donated to the Blog by Brian Berke before, next to it we see 30mm and 45mm versions, both unpainted, with the 30mm probably being Supreme (nice detail, PVC) and the 45mm a late pirate brand, in ethylene.

As can be seen from the artwork on the card, painted versions are available and I have some 25mm versions in a boxed-set of the castle which I thought was on the Blog somewhere, but can't find it so it may be poorly tagged; tags/tagging rather evolved as the Blog grew! Found it, which means it's in the attic . . . somewhere - it's the Guildford-bought one which is still missing; in storage!

Here we see the standard copies in 50mm (the 'action figure' rubber-uglies are 60/70mm) from at least two origins/sources, of which I'm sure one is Hing Fat, but can't find the reference, so will leave them off the tag-list for the time-being, but you can see the difference in the bases, likewise Applause may have issued some!

Another pose and we have 30, 45 and 50mm and again the late or 3rd generation copies are less accurate, having been re-cut, or mucked-about with! Also 'again' the only actual Supreme in the shot is likely to be the 30mm PVC chap!

Another pose and again the 45mm is derivative rather than a straight piracy, but only insofar as he has elements of other figures from the same original set, tacked-on or swapped.

Ditto, but showing the difference in base shape - between two generations of copy - clearly, suspected Hing Fat on the left.

I shot him so I'm posting him, even though this is supposed to be a post about the foot figures. The 30mm version and an unmistakeable Supreme horse with a splash of paint; the mounted figures get the huge weapons scaled down to still look over-sized in their diminutive ring-hands.

Contents of the whole tub shot together, although there are some painted ones still to go in it, they too, are probably copies - we looked at them before but I can't find the post (what am I like!) and I have more of the small scale (25 and 30mm) in storage, which we will come back too with all the forts - one day!

Note also that some of these - otherwise quite recent - black ones are getting brittle and will soon be no more than landfill

These have been sitting in Picasa for so long I'm happy to get rid of them! They were shot when the contents of the tub included a few 'similar' types and so included here are Jean'esque (foot, oval cartouche base, missing pole-arm) and Timpo'esque (mounted, shield sticker) figures now in another tub . . . ironically enough, the one with the four Supreme rubber-loons in it, as they won't fit in this one!


Brian Carrick said...

Hi Hugh, which store are the Halsal carded sets with the cannon in? I could use a few of those guns for the Chinese army i'm doing.

Hugh Walter said...

It's a little independent in Basingrad (piles of resin Budda'a and dog-bowls; that sort of thing!), but they're only 2 quid and I'll be over there in a week or two (they've had them since before Xmas, I just didn't shoot them before last week), let me know your needs and I'll get them for you.

It's funny, the reason I thought I must go back and get one is that the cannon has been 'engineered' into a ballista frame...as they must have been upon their first inception . . . you've got no guns, you capture some guns, you look around and think 'Ah! Catapults, lots of wrought-iron, heavy timber, wheels for recoil....we'll give it a go.

"Herald, fetch the blacksmith and the carpenter! And tell the captain of siege engines he's now gun-major".