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, July 19, 2017

K is for Ker'neeling Firing

Mentioning the piracy which was rife in the early toy industry yesterday, I thought it would be timely to have a look at what the Brits were up to, and mostly they were up to taking the piss out of Britians!

So, this is the chap we're looking at today, the Britains 'Herald' kneeling firing cowboy figure. Here are six, at the top the Multi-colour originals in brown, chalky ethylene plastic, the yellow-shirted chap having six paint-colours, the red shirted chap seven.

Below them is a pair of the later 'simplified' paint scheme figures, with four colours each on a more stable grey plastic and at the bottom a final pair of Hong Kong manufactured rigid PVC vinyl cowboys.

They too are four-colour, but changing the colour of the plastic makes them 'go further', while re-sculpting or a new tool has led to them shooting upwards more markedly, not quite the skywards of Airfix's paratrooper, but at the sneaky guy who was always in the upper-floor of the saloon!

UNA actually improved the figure slightly with a decent foresight on the rifle, they are also easy to spot with their television-screen shaped depression in the base underside of a three part mould. Speedwell are marked round the edge of a two part mould with the split-line running straight across the base. They are also slightly smaller figures.

The last figure in this line-up is unmarked and unattributed, but the suspicion is that he's a Hong Kong copy, both from the glossy paint and the glossy plastic. He has also had his head tilted over slightly and along with a general loss of detail over the previous figures is slightly thinner, a pointer to pantographing.

On the left is a definite HK version, courtesy of Darius who sent him from Italy, he is joined by another two Speedwell figures. The grey one looks different but only because some vandal has clipped his rifle tip, only for his pistol grip to be lost later to brittleness!

Markings on the HK copy include a very feint HONGKONG on one side of the base and either 03001 or 100ED on the other - I favour the former but it's not clear.

Benbros made some effort to pretend they hadn't bought a handful of Britains Herald originals before starting their own set, and Trojan - seeing an opportunity for 'originality' (bloody-hell Hugh - you've used single-quotes correctly!) among pirates - stole the Benbros cut-n-shut rather than the Britains rifleman!

For which you have to admire their chutzpah and logic; you can't be sued for pirating a pirate (by the pirate) nor are you as likely to be sued by the originator for a while, who will be after the first pirate, first - if at all?

Lone Star (above) also spotted the guy in the saloon bedroom, but clearly with help from Britains, although I think a previous owner may have spotted the shirts? While the chap from Cherilea (lower four) is a new moulding, only similar by dint of doing the same thing; not because he's a copy.

Helping the different look; he's wearing gloves and his holster is further round, and we see three base versions here with the small oblong depression in the base underside to the left, two with the shallow penny-depression and one (darker plastic) smooth.

For completion I include - here - the two kneeling figure poses from Hilco, these are pirated from earlier French hard plastic (or even metal?) figures and can't be mistaken for anything else with their wide-brimmed sombreros and dinky-little, chorus-line, cowgirl-booties!

The ultimate ignominy; Britains Hong Kong contractor is allowed to retire the kneeling guy and replace him with this piece of bent-rifled shite, a squatting, one-shot-and-he's-on-his-arse pose, apparently painted by trolls with broken-fingers! Four colours, separate base.

But it's not the end of our journey; as the cut-n-shut merchant at Benbros was so pleased with his six-gun conversion of the cowboy, he decided to use the cast-off to create an Indian kneeling rifleman; taking the head and legs of Britains archer to marry to the rifleman's torso.

Really - it's probably the topless torso from the standing Indian firing pose, but it's a nice idea! Trojan copied this pose from Benbros too, but I don't have one to show you, sorry!

Which gives us an excuse to visit these again (we've looked at them before here), just for the comparison. Two six-colour early figures to the left (the first is damaged, or maybe it's the the rare firing-last-arrow variant!), two four-colour intermediate, simplified-production in the middle, then from Hong Kong - a PVC integral based figure (five colour) and a late separate base on the far-right; four-colour paint-job.

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