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.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

S is for Star Fort

The fort which first accompanied the Shell Petrol (well - really it was a 'gas-') premium (for it was them!...and I don't know why I was asking for the petrol gas company's name a year ago - it was written on the bags at Kent Sprecher's site! "...wood; for the trees" as they say!), and would go on to accompany the retail release of the Men of '76 (hereafter; MO76!) actually holds the answers to most of the other remaining questions posed last year, and raises a couple of intrigues to carry us onward!

The 'grey' issue

Thanks go to Bill Nevins a US collector with an enviable stack (or is it a 'stash'...?!!) of Marx and other Play Sets for today's photographs, and indeed all the photographs and most of the info., over the next few days; I've cropped, collaged, blurbed and drawn a few conclusions from packaging dates, but without fort pictures - there'd be no posts!

This is the rarest of the two rarer visions on the star fort, which is not a bad rendition of Fort Ticonderoga as we saw yesterday, the real thing has a couple of extra bastions external to the dry-moat, more substantial officers living accommodation/admin stuff and wide, flat-topped walls with barracks, indoor ranges, arms cotes &etc under/within them, but for a toy, this is the real deal!

PS - I think we only 'lost' it because it was made by the French! Wasn't worth keeping in the inventory . . . ;-)

I would say this is a pastel or nut-brown? But Bill (and American collectors generally?) refer to it as grey to differentiate it from the one below which is in a golden, sandy-brown or tan plastic, they are both soft polyethylene, not the hard styrene of the retail issue. Unfortunately we can't get a date from this late looking box which was an old Internet image.

The 'gold' issue

Called: Revolutionary Fort in this - the Shell promotion - period it would have a name change as we will see tomorrow. Note that the code on this (from Bill's collection) is 101 and the date is 1973.

Referring-back to the leaflet issued with some of the latter figure cards (and included in some forts it seems) you will recall that they are ©'ed to 1972, 73, 75, now we'll be looking at the 1975 one tomorrow, but could this mean that the above soft plastic 'grey' version was the 1972 initial release, being so rare as it was produced in small numbers, Innovative having not anticipated the likely popularity? More on my thoughts about that tomorrow, where I argue the opposite!

Note also that the contents (including a tray of figures and things in the top of the box which we'll look at in a couple of days time) are listed on the box in at least two places.

How the corner bastions fit into the side walls, this is one of the two 'standard' sides, the front and back both having 'specialisations' . . .

. . . one (the 'back wall'); taking the 'jail' which could be the armoury! Or a guardhouse, but it seems to have been built large enough to take the evil Cornwallis - complete with/mounted-on . . . his horse! The other wall being the main entrance or 'front wall' with the main-gates inset.

An easy way to spot these earlier ones on feeBay is that - as Bill pointed out to me - with the soft-plastic forts the doors are the same colour as the walls, tomorrow you'll see that with the grey styrene ones, the doors are a darker charcoal or black.

Sadly Bill reports that brittleness is starting to show with these soft plastic forts, something I'm suffering from with one of my early Airfix French Foreign Legion Fort Sahara's - also soft polyethylene.

Sunlight is the killer here, but I will do a page on plastics one day, and it's a little more complicated than just sunlight, but it is sunlight with triggers the release of the free-radicals which eventually 'dries' the plastic out.

Many thanks to Mr. Nevins for the pictures, Bill is also the proprietor of a war-games figure company which - you'll be unsurprised to hear - specialises in the revolution: King's Mountain Miniatures.

2 comments:

Paul´s Bods said...

I wouldn´t mind it as it is, plastic rot and all. Bit of additional work and it would look the biz

Hugh Walter said...

To be honest Paul, it's not too shabby for 25 / 28mm war gaming, imposing, but workable! And there are always a few on feebleBay!

H