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.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

News, Views etc . . . All Sorts!


How many of you remember when the Blog carried these? I had Adsence from the off (December 2008) and ran it for a year or so before I dropped it as being a bit pointless! Now, the first rule of Adsense is that you can't talk about Adsense - I'm only talking about it because I don't have it!

In the first few months it earned me about $12-something, which - at the time - seemed like pretty small beer, however I was only getting 40-odd hits per day, so looking back it was quite good! But the money doesn't seem to have ever made its way to my bank, and when the major layout and coding changes (by Blogger) hit in the autumn, it all disappeared? It was re-instated (from zero) at some point and accrued another 8-dollars or so, before I closed that account so I never received that dosh either.

1.5 million hits went-up a couple of weeks ago!

But now I get considerably more hits per day so I may well reinstate it soon. Those who don't like it can just ignore it, as it will be for those who come here on an ad-hoc basis from Google searches, not the regulars. My stats are such that the 'casuals' outnumber the hardcore toy soldier people by a factor of 3-1 or more.

Also I need a new camera and it seems like a good idea to see if the blog can fund its own camera, no?



I said I'd look at it, and having been using the Library, my mate's router or the free service in Café Nero, for a year now, I can assure you that the problem is with the screen it's being viewed on, not the chosen layout. Some older Dell's seem particularly prone to poor settings, but it is all about the settings, and if you find it hard to read the Blog - use it as a 'test-card' to get your settings right!

It should be pale grey text on a dark-chocolate/purple-brown background, with muted prussian-blue hot links which go heliotrope once you've visited them. If the layout gives you a migraine (as it does for one poor chap on one of the die-cast forums) every time you visit it, it may be a sign of deeper problems which should be discussed with a doctor or optician.

If you have problems with it loading, you have slow broadband speeds and will have to wait! If you have to wait more that 30 seconds for a page to load, you're probably still on dial-up? The electric blue of hotlinks on older pages is a glitch in Blogger's coding I can do nothing about, but seems to be limited to posts/tag-results older that around 2011?


Plastic Warrior Show

Don't forget it's only a month and a half away now, and the latest PW magazine is out with news that the table prices are down this year so if you are still thinking of taking a table, now's the time.

And they are on Paypal.

The old website is to be run-down/retired.


A Year in Toys
The British Toy & Hobby Association's press release for 2017 included:

Toy sales in the UK were up 6% at £3.5bn quid in 2016.

Approximately 415-million toys were sold in the 'toy year'.

Shopkins (similar to those Fungus Among Us we looked at here, but one I'm trying to avoid!) were last year's best seller for under a £enner.

Collectables were the big trend with Star Wars and Lego 'minifigs' leading the way.

250 firms stalled-out at the fair.

The UK is the fourth largest toy market in the world after the US, China and Japan, Lego was the most popular brand.

Nanobloks (a mini [and bloody expensive] version of building block) sales are growing at 20% year on year!

Altogether it was an upbeat forecast/report, but then it would be - it was showcasing their annual get together!


Real Toy News
Culled from the newspapers recently:

Did anyone else notice Transport for London (TFL) using Mr Men and Little Miss's in their advertising over Christmas?

In January the Character Group who we know from their Lego-like figures of British serviceman and Dr. Who (a license they seem to have lost to Lego), but who also hold licences for Pepper Pig and the (fading?) Tellytubbies announced that the fall of the pound due to Brexit would lead to higher prices for their toys, consequently their share price fell 5.8%! Cheers, Brexidiots.

Nestlé also posted negative results with a slowdown in growth to 3.4% from 4.2 in 2014-15, not that interesting but they do still contribute a few premiums through some of their subsidiaries.

Nintendo's [Apple] i-product compatible mobile 'app' version of Super Mario Run was the fastest ever download, with 40-million in its first three weeks (up to christmas) which may lead to a renaissance in the character's popularity, but - thankfully - there have never been many toy figurines of the little twat!

Hasbro have buggered-about with the playing pieces in the standard Monopoly set again - dropping three oldies for - among other things - a mobile 'phone! Obviously the 20-odd versions I saw in the Toysaurus last visit, just aren't enough!

Ex-Marx figurines in vinyl
From Disney Store play set

Disney is buying a controlling stake in err . . . Disneyland Paris! People said when it was announced in the late '80's that it was a bad idea, and it's struggled to make serious money ever since it opened in 1992, making a €102m loss in 2015 and ending-up €858m in the red last year. Disney plan to develop the unused sections of the site (nearly half the original area) and inject €1.5bn into new attractions and an overhaul, but first they have to purchase a 95% stake in order to get it off the Euronext Paris financial market. It may be that Europeans are just not that keen on a mouse in shorts with a girly voice! It's one thing to make a 'proper' go of it with [young kids and-] a trip to Florida, it's quite another to visit France and deal with traffic 'flics' on the Autoroute to and from Calais - in the rain!

Tesco PLC (Supermarkets) have obtained/resurrected the old Sindy Doll brand, taking a licence from Pedigree (who knew they were still going? Google reveals a small holding-office somewhere - presumably a Hornby subsidiary?), however the new Cindy isn't the stick-thin rival to Barbie of old, but a rather more realistic, rounded, 'buddy' doll.

The brand manager Iconix is contemplating a sale of its property Snoopy, if it is sold we should expect an injection of energy which ought to include new toys, whether any of them would be in our 'sizes' or formats remains to be seen. Chinese companies are apparently interested.

Speaking of China, at the beginning of February Jack Ma the head of Alibaba, while opening a new hub in Australia warned President Trump that 'the world needs globalisation, it needs trade' and went on to add that while he would try to create one million jobs in the US (bye-bye Amazon!) "Everybody is concerned about trade wars. If trade stops, war starts".

Finally - last week a local (Guildford) firm; Vivid Toy Group, was sold to private equity investor Privet Capital for an unknown amount.
Other Lego News

Image courtesy of Brain Berke
Similar publications are available in the UK

Lego pushed Disney off the top spot in Global Toy Brands last year, the success is put down to the DC license and Lego Batman Movie, helped by continuing sales of Star Wars stuff and the tail-end of the Harry Potter craze.

They also pipped Tomy and Hasbro to No.2 toy seller worldwide, behind Mattel at No.1

Sales grew by 6%, which was a slowdown on 2015's 25% to hit $4.4bn while profit remained flat over both years.

They sold 75-billion bricks and launched 335 new lines or ranges, with the large 'scale' Millennium Falcon being the best-seller.

One of only ten 2x4-stud Lego bricks known to have been made in solid gold (14ct) recently sold for £12,000 on Internet auction site Catawiki.

Lego opened a flagship store in Leicester Square, London in November just gone.

In August of this year they will launch Lego Boost, the next level in their interactive PC/IT-based electronic product range with a user-coding element.

They also plan to enlarge their London offices making them some of the main offices outside Billund.

They still stole the idea from Hestair-Kiddycraft and Hillary Page though!


Return to the 1970's?

Has anyone else noted these adds in papers and magazines, they are just like the old Sunday supplement 'Home Farm' and 'Funnimals' add's of the 1970's, an early sign of things to come in the Brexidiot economy no doubt. Both these are claimed by The Happy Puzzle Company (THPC), but I've seen others.

So far no figures or Noah's Arks, but it may only be a matter of time so keep an eye open. There are also the Corgi and Atlas Edition flyers, but they've been around for a while and are a different concept - same goal though; getting your personal/postal details on a saleable, mail'able list!


I know - not enough pictures of figures in this 'News, Views etc...' so I hope this will do! I'm still working on the Hong Kong hollow-horse articles for the other Blog, these are some of the Giant or Giant-like on the 'Smoothie' or 'Mexican' horse types during a sort out/photo-sesh!


Doug said...

Hello Hugh. I'm running AdSense.
(I hope I haven't violated terms of service!)
The "never discuss your earnings"....
Remember Star Trek 2 Wrath of Khan?
"If rewards were dollars...I couldn't buy coffee at Starbucks!"
8 years and running!

Hugh Walter said...

Cheers Doug! That's how it was for me first time round, but with the traffic up I thought it was worth a second try, It's not that I expect to make a living at it, you need to be a 12-year old cosmetic 'box-opening' vlogger to do that!

But if it can get the Blog a better camera and the odd storage dongles now and then?