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, April 9, 2017

C is for Curate's Eggs

Bit of an odd assortment today, but interesting nevertheless! I have picked these up in ones and twos over the last few years and the only thing linking them together is that they are all apparently taken from old poured-lead hollow-casting or solid moulds.

I picked these up the other day and they may or may not be 'new' to the hobby, I say "...may not..." as they might already be in the Plastic Warrior [link] magazine 'Special' edition on hollow-cast to plastic mouldings which was issued a few years ago now. My copy is in storage and I intended to pick another up from the Editor the other day but plans changed so I'm still in the dark as to their position in 'the cannon'.

On the left in both shots is what seems to be a new (third plastic) version of the Charbens Household Cavalryman (here given a Horse Guards treatment - No. 291 in metal) while the right-hand figure is a Crescent US style infantryman with bugle, although in Joplin's 'Great Book' (see; Mr 'Emsworth Library' chap, now you know why I needed it!)* they are just described as Khaki Infantry with this one coded FC92 by Crescent in metal, and here given a rather wacky paint-job!

The metal originals in The Great Book of Hollow-cast Figures by Norman Joplin (photographed in low-resolution and at deliberately distorting angles for obvious reasons), this shows the pre-war version of the bugler, post war he was re-issued with a green helmet or paler fatigues.

The Household Cavalryman would get two further versions in plastic, a similar copy of this one but with a larger thinner base, and then a more obviously re-cut one on a heavy ovoid base, both however taking the pose as here with the awkward holding of the sword out to the side with a straight arm - try it! You did, didn't you? You just made a right-hand turn signal, don't worry, so did I and I've done it before!

The Charbens collection is so small it has its own box - which is in storage - so they were missed out when we looked at the other Household Cavalry, what; six or seven years ago? So we will look at them again - all three versions together - another day, but I have picked-up a few more mounted figures (in the storage-lot there are black, white and brown plastic with various saddle-cloths including orange) as a size'er.

This chap (black one) came in with a bag of odds and sods from a charity shop about six weeks ago, and would appear to be the Cherilea (all the British 'C's today!) hollow-cast moulding (No. 6/11), of interest as in plastic they produced the two over-scale examples in the lower shot - the new one can 'play' being a bantam!

Again I say 'would appear' as in Joplin's book a black hen is photographed against a black background and seems to have a slightly thinner neck and different tail, but the only other close one is a Barratt's hen which is more of a U-shape without the flat back. Or/also the neck may have needed thickening to inject plastic effectively?

The real curate's egg of this bunch; I assume he's Charbens, he matches the style of their other farm animals, and in particular; the [other] rearing foal, upon-which this one seems to have been based, but with the back in the air. I can't find the pose in any of the hollow-cast books or plastic resources and Dave Scrivener didn't know of it?

I have one in what looks to be good factory paint and one tatty, chewed one which may have been painted, maybe not, there's no residue anywhere? The back legs look similar to the Charbens wagon horse but the front legs seem to have been carved out of the mould tool by a 16-year old on day one of a Youth Training Course!
I would be interested in anything else on this sculpt.


With regard to Plastic-from-hollow-cast generally I was musing with Paul Morehead a while back on the possibility that while we know some moulds ended-up elsewhere, might some of them have been issued by the parent companies of the lead figures, perhaps as an initial toe-in-the-water testing of the likely plastics market?

It would make sense to purchase a small single-shot hand press (for a few hundred pounds?) and run a few figures off, distributing to maybe a dozen or so local corner shops and newsagents (of which there were a plethora in the 1950's) in the streets near the factory, on sale-or-return or gifted (for feedback), before investing the vast amounts needed to obtain an automated machine . . . or two!

*It'll be back with you in May, we've just been given a four week extension on all books as the renovation has over-run - sorry!

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