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.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

News, Views Etc . . .Regular Round-up

Usual, general collation of bits and pieces from the inbox, the national press and further afield, with a few links of things you may find interesting, or consider worth visiting.

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New Model Navy
In the 'i' on Monday the 22nd of May, there was an interesting editorial article/'infomercial' about how in 1667 our then Master Shipwright, one Peter Pett, in the panic of a Dutch attack up the River Medway decided that as he couldn't save the real vessels (all tied-up and crewless under the orders of Charles II while he negotiated the end of the second Anglo-Dutch war), he ought to save the exquisite models, which showed how to construct the 'new' Navy's vessels.

One of the saved models

Those who have visited the Maritime Museum in Greenwich (pronounced 'grenn-itch' - for my foreign visitors!) in the past will know just how exquisite they are. Anyway; long-story, short - the saved models and the tale behind them is being told in an exhibition 'Breaking the Chain' at the Royal Chatham ('chat-um') Dockyards until the 3rd September if you're looking for something to do with the kids over the holidays.

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General News
On the 25th June a stationary chain called Smiggle has announced plans to increase its workforce as sales increase, but not to open new stores - yet. I mention it therefore only because I don't know the chain (big cities?), but it may well prove to be a source of new or different erasers, pencil-tops and novelties, and we like that sort of stuff here!

Our glorious err . . . not quite leader (yet?) 'gettin' down wi' da' kids' during the recent election campaign, I was struck by the toy which seems remarkably un-different (is that a word?) from stuff companies like Tudor Rose were chucking-out 40 years ago! ♪♫"We'll-keep the yell-ow truckroll'ing"♫♪! That's it . . . you can read the rest later, off you go to work now - humming the anthem of revolution, my work here is done for the day!

The Hornby story rumbles-on with further press releases on the 23rd and 27th of June and the 5th of July, all concerning the management's urging of shareholders to reject the mandatory takeover-bid by Phoenix Asset Management - itself a major shareholder and the group who's management coup failed a few weeks ago.

The Stanly Gibbons story also continues to make the money-pages, with an approach by private equity firm Disruptive Capital, following the failures of Gibbons' own efforts in the last couple years, and of the plans of recent months.

Further news also on the Go story with the computer AlphaGo beating the current reigning world champion (Ke Jie) for a second time, the human claimed the computer was playing "Like the God of Go"! Once they are truly smarter than us, they will identify us as THE major threat to the planet's future.

Rod Stewart, yes the crooning popster; collects Scottish toy soldiers (and model trains!), so if you're a dealer with a particularly fine sample of Scots, or 'Highlanders', might be worth a try getting in touch with his PR people, you may be sitting on a Christmas bonus - if you know what I mean!

Poundstrecher (an occasional source of useful clearance toys) is in sales talks as it struggles with the slowly gathering Brexit recession - as we haven't recovered from the last [Banking] recession, that'll be fun!

Mattel have announced a whole bunch of Ken Dolls, including one with a 'man-bun' and another with corn-rows, I'm not exaggerating when I say we are in the end of days; Barbie's going to an gang-bang! Although the six CGI'd models in the 'i' newspaper on the 21st of May all looked mildly demented and incapable of satisfying Barbie without bursting into tears and needing therapy.

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Toys in the media

This has been used to advertise the Guardian's jobs edition in recent weeks, a CGI of a table football team which manages to cover every base as far as political correctness is concerned, well; it's the Guardian, you'd expect nothing less!

Tim'Maaaay!

Paul Morehead - editor of Plastic Warrior magazine -sent us this from PW Towers the other day, it's a whole battle! You can't beat 'Army Men' in articles, proper reading!

The downside of polymers in the environment was highlighted in this article in the 'i' a week ago - more here: Seafieldview Blog

Lego seems to be a main offender, but you can see here that Airfix and Hong Kong are not far behind, with Matchbox and Kinder both contributing - you may love this stuff, I may love this stuff, but this stuff will have to end. We must either find the strength ('good sense'!) to make these toys out of short-life, bio-degradable, vegetable-based, pseudo-polymers, or go back to wood and metals.

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Pepper Pig
Two Pepper Pig stories were left off the last 'News, Views' (buried under other stuff!), one being good news (if you're a Pepper Pig fan or a corporate bastard) in that Entertainment One (owners of PP rights) announced it was to produce 117 new episodes and had signed new licensing deals.

The other was also good news (if you're a hater of Pepper Pig or an anarchist) as share-values dropped 22% in Entertainment One after the Canadian-owned, British registered firm took a £47-million spending-hit on global restructuring and the investment announced in the other story - easy come, easy go, it's only money!

Lego's Bid for World Domination
Lego have announced that Merlin Entertainment will be opening another Legoland Discovery Centre, this time in Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena building next year, construction has started.

In a separate story, Lego are to work with Mencap the disability charity to find employment for learning-disabled people.

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Publishing

In mid-June Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl overtook Harry potter to regain number-one spot in the top 10 books for children list, suggesting the decline of pottermania is acelerating apace.

Under the headline 'Tolkien's Lord of the Wins' daily free-sheet The Metro reported the other day that his family have settled a law suit with Warner Brothers.

Obituaries
Still on publishing - obituaries this time sadly include Michael Bond, the creator (finder surely?) of Paddington Bear, while Grotbags actress Carol Lee Scott, Geoffrey Bayldon: Catweazle and Andy Cunningham of Bodger the Badger fame have all sadly passed.

The news yesterday that George A. Romero has gone too means that it's not just our childhood which is being buried but - increasingly - our teenage-years too.

Health and Safety
Not something I normally consider or think about, but a little girl died in April after swallowing one of those tiny little coin-like batteries, not some tragic suffocation as you might think, but because the stomach-acids break into the batteries, the acid's of which are far more powerful, and can do fatal damage, worth a thought if you have younger children. The lithium-cell was from an electronic car key-fob, but similar batteries are in a lot of toys these days, Lego mini-fig LED torches spring to mind.

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A Few Links

This is one of the more amusing things I've seen recently related to toy soldiers

Looks like fun if you can get there

This is a salutary lesson for arrogant people like you-know-who, more comments in three days than any five Toy Soldier blogs get - together - in a week!

Best pictures ever of one of my favourite toys

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Finally - Best Bath Bomb ever!

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