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, April 13, 2017

News, Views Etc . . . T is for Toys in the Media

'News, Views Etc . . . ' this time got too-big to tag, so I've split it in two and the second part will publish later today, so as one-of-two:

It's been a while since we looked at one of these but toys are always in the media, for advertisers they are a double winner as they have both instant 'brand-recognition' and nostalgia attached to the imagery, upon which you tack whatever product you're pushing.

We've seen a few of these over the years, using a frame-runner motif to illustrate a consumer story in the City of London's business free-sheet.

'Rubber Ducks' (probably, actually; PVC) being used to illustrate, yeah! The Brexidiocy; easy to see the obvious when it's modelled in rubber ducks! I wonder how long it'll take the brexidiots to get it? Count them; it's all 27! Looks a bit like me and the PSTSM, but I'm facing the other way and giving better than I get back!

I'm sure most UK readers will have seen these; there are various versions and they have been running as full, half, quarter and eighth-page ads since before Christmas. Most of them seem to include a near-naked Bat Man in a silk smoking jacket (or dressing gown?), I can't think why - some connection to the recent Lego Batman movie no doubt, but a tad disturbing nonetheless!

Skeletor (the living dead) selling life insurance! Yeah, right! You're SO money-fucked-up dot com.

I love this shot, it was illustrating some tedious article on ISA's or something, but I recognise the railway (or railroad) track-side signs, I think they are vintage Bachmann, but I might be wrong; Model Power?. I've got some somewhere, but whether they were lose or on the card I can't remember and they are definitely in storage at the moment.

The yellow colour of the signs says US outline, our (UK's) railway signs were/are white, while the little jinks in the bases (for fixing down with picture-frame nails) is a very 'vintage' model railway thing. "WATCH CHILDREN", it's like something from the Scarfolk blog! And spot the Photoshop mistake with the shadows!

Coming Soon

Plastic Warrior's 32nd Plastic Toy Soldier Show

It's only a month to 'the show of the year' for plastic figures! Keep the date free of encumbrances by dobbing your close relatives into the authorities for something that comes with an automatic custodial remand.

Other Toy News

Pepper Pig
In the 'i' newspaper it was announced that the Canadian-based, London-listed Entertainment One (eOne) group have issued 65 retail licences for Pepper Pig in the US recently and the character became the best selling toy for pre-school girls in the same country over Christmas.

While Time Out carried a two pager on Pepper Pig last week which explained the 'crack for toddler's' appeal of Pepper and her brother George.

Wilco / Wilkinson's Erasers (35p for a set of three)

Apparently 'dandelion' yellow is to be ditched from 24-colour boxes of the famous wax crayons, the replacement yellow is to be announced on 'National Crayon Day' (I kid you not!), this is only the third time in 132 years that they have dropped a colour (maize, orange-yellow and raw umber) and the first time they've binned one from the basic 24 set - although I thought the 'basic' was the twelve-pack?

Now call me cynical, no, really; call me cynical because I am and proud to be, but; could this be the beginning of regular 'Hey kids; buy a new set, we've changed another colour' announcements, maybe every NC-Day? Taking a leaf out of Monopoly's book with all the playing piece changes, leading to a necessity to get another big storage tub from the local discount-store, to put all the duplicate crayons in!

Alien archeologists will discover that not only did we consume our entire planet, but that we then stored it carefully in large plastic tubs, car ports and shipping containers! The triumph of Crayola's marketing over common sense.

Metro Wednesday 2nd March - and most other papers

Speaking of Monopoly, who saw the Monopoly boards in the papers recently (this is the Metro) helping launch the new round of the regular McDonald's promotion?

Disney's Chief Executive (CEO) Bob Iger has extended his stay at the top for another 18-months, now expected to depart in December 2019 and at the helm since 2005, he's currently in line for a $5m bonus!

99p Stores / Poundland
Poundland (who bought 99p Stores about a year and a half ago - see Blog passim), were themselves bought by the South African Steinhoff conglomerate a while ago now (September) and have just announced that the last of the 99p Stores (60-odd shops) are to be handed to the receivers (Alix Partners) as a stand-alone 'fail'. I've noticed that as Poundland they have been carrying some old 99p stuff such as the Toto chocolate gift-eggs, but very intermittently and with the second buyout coming so soon, are clearly still finding their amalgamated feet!

Walmart-owned Asda have announced a 400% increase in sales of garden gnomes over the last year! They have further announced an advance order of 800,000 incoming gnomes, so get the one with your name on it while it's fashionably excusable! The phrases 'who'd of thunked* it?' and 'over my dead body' spring to mind on this one!

Meanwhile in England, the Echillis Wood Model Railway Attraction reported that vandals had broken into the facility for the second time and decapitated dozens of gnomes, I may be no fan of them myself, but what sort of fuckwitted, low-life, idiot does that? Twice? More than 60 were damaged, months after the similar attack and the gnome village has been destroyed at the park in Warwickshire.

* Thunked and Re-thunked - old family 'comedy' words, as in 'I re-thunked it when I was sober and realised I was being a fuckwit'! Others are Rargee-kick (rabbit) and the more common Heafferlump for elephant

Not toys per se, but both also stock the sorts of key-rings or other novelties that can find a home in some of our collections so two news stories that caught my eye recently was a piece in a Sunday-supplement type thing, the other week, about how well Clinton Cards have recovered from their mini-recession, in an interview with the boss.

Only for the City-AM to carry a story this week about how Card Factory are now suffering as profits fall, "Quell Suprise Rodder's"; there was never the market for so many card, birthday and/or party shops and a lot have disappeared from our high streets in recent years.

Hornby Group
Closer to home Hornby have announced a pick-up in sales and issued an upbeat profits forecast, leading to a rise in their share price, so hopefully the Samurai katana that was flicked carelessly through the various catalogues (Airfix, Scalextric &etc.) this year might be left sheathed next year? Who knows; they might yet get some new WWI stuff out before the various centenary dates run out! If there was any joined-up thinking in the group, Airfix and Hornby Railways could get a WD train-set out before September '18?

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