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.

Friday, May 5, 2017

I is for Introduction and Italian - Space Figures

I am delighted to announce a series of guest posts sent in by Ervino (otherwise 'EC') from Italy on his country's output of plastic space toys including astronaut/cosmonaut types, proper spacemen (armed!) and various aliens and other beings.

My only input has been to stitch the various eMailed parts together and run a hardly needed spell-check,; all text and images, links and general layout is Ervino's and I thank him for these needed posts on a popular subject within the hobby. Over to EC . . .

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Size Comparison
Italian Space Figures – Legend:

1 - ALPIA
2 - CO-MA
3 - BARAVELLI
4 - DULCOP
5 - APS / POLITOYS
6 - TORGANO
7 - ATLANTIC
8 - UNKNOWN

Italian Space Toy figures from the '50 to the '80

Starting from the years after the WWII, the recovering Italian toys industry produced a really great variety of various scaled toy soldier figures, employing in their production a wide range of materials: from 'metal-reinforced' plaster to composite rubber mixtures, from early hard plastics (Bakelite and Vinyl-acetate) to more modern soft plastic Polyethylene and PVC's, so greatly expanding the somewhat limited range of products previously available between the two WWs.

Equally wide was the range of themes covered in the production, spacing from historical and 'modern' military to Wild West, from Pirates to Medieval Knights, from Vikings to Spacemen & Aliens. Moreover, almost all of the figures produced in those years were of original design and moulded and produced directly in Italy.

My personal collecting focus is limited to the 'Space' theme, and so, in this series of posts, I will try to give at least a general overview of the main companies active in the field during these 'Golden Age' years of the Italian Space Toy soldier figures, and of their production.

For this 'Post Zero', I will begin with a list of the main manufacturers of Italian toy soldiers and figures that produced space themed ones, with a brief note for each of them about their specific space-oriented production.

In following instalments of the series I will post more info and images from the pieces in my collection about the products of each company.

Beware that neither the companies nor the product lists have the pretension of being exhaustive, as, even for the most famous of them, every then and now it appears on the collector scene a new variation or an entirely unknown figure or set of figures, or even a never heard before manufacturer.

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Bibliography – FWIK, a specific book doesn't exist focused specifically on the Italian Space Toys & Figures production. There exist anyway at least two books dedicated to the general Italian Toy Figures production:


·         ITALIAN TOY SOLDIERS - Composition and Plastic Production from 1930 to 1970” - Orazio di Mauro/Franco Paoletti - Edizioni Lazzaro, 1994


·         ITALIAN TOYSOLDIERS & CRIBS FIGURES - Mauro and Orazio di Mauro - Self-produced

Both have many wonderful images and descriptions with text both in Italian and English.

Moreover, there are some web sites and books dedicated to one or more specific company, sites at which I will refer to in the posts dedicated to every/each specific company.

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NB: The years span in the brackets refers to the named companies toy soldiers main production. Some of the companies existed before and after they started/ended their 'adventure' in the TS field: e.g. the COMA company, that started its activity as a supplier of plastic pharmaceutical and stationery implements in the early '50's and closed in the late '80's as an early childhood toys producer/distributor.

ALPIA (mainly '50's) - Produced a set of eight Spacemen, a firing 'Bazooka-Man' (in 3 or 4 variations) and four 'B.E.M.' Aliens, plus at least one space vehicle.

APS-POLITOYS-TEXAS-ASTRAL BUBBLEGUM (from middle '50's) - Produced two series of semi-flat soft plastic figures, one of Spacemen and one of Aliens, plus some vehicles.

ATLANTIC (from '70's to early '80's) – In the huge production of toy soldiers and other items from this famous company, there were three lines of items dedicated to the Space theme: the Legionari Spaziali (1/32(ish) power-armoured troopers & their 'B.E.M.' foes, plus a couple of vehicles), the 'Anime' series (from the Harlock & Goldrake/Goldorak animes) and the Galaxy Series (really more 'action figure'-scaled items than toy soldiers, but IMO too peculiar to be left out! :-) )

BARAVELLI (mainly from '60's to '70's)  – Produced some (probably bootleg) 'Gemini-suited' Marx 1/32 astronauts copies, plus a series inspired by the 'Apollo-suited' Marx figures, and a series of six boxes of 1/72(ish) Airfix 'blue-box'-inspired Spacemen and vehicles boxes, with gorgeous original graphic (and cheap mainly Giant-type HK figures... :-/ )

CO-MA (mainly from early '50's to early '80's) – Produced various series of Spacemen and Aliens in 1/32 and 1/72 (ish) scale, with colour-coordinated water pistols and a couple of vehicles.

DULCOP (mainly from late '60's to '80's) – In the context of a wide range of 1/32 military figures, this company produced a single set of 6 poses figures with cosmonaut-style suits.

ISAS (mainly '50's) – Produced a set of 70 mm spacemen, in the late '50, made of a mixture of rubber, latex and plaster.

ROVELLO-PORRO (mainly '50's) – Produced a series of plaster 'Martian' figures inspired by George Pal's 'War of the Worlds' movie.

TORGANO (mainly '50's) – Produced 'Bakelite-like' figures of various kind (semi-flat and full-round) and scale.

VARIOUS - Companies that produced only a casual few of space-themed items.

UNKNOWN - Some of the figures/series of Spacemen that I collected or have seen in the years, and that, even if I'm sure that they come from Italy, I haven't been able to associate to a particular company.


Next;  Part 1 - Dulcop
EC

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