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, August 9, 2017

I is for Imperial - and Offshoots

We start this look at rack-toys with a couple of Imperial sets sent in by Brain Berke the other day, so these are current in the 'States if you have an inkling.

This wild west set is a bit of a disappointment, a two-horse team and wagon with three foot figures, two ex-Airfix Indians of sub-sub-piracy quality and a cowboy who seems to have his DNA taken in part from Comansi and part from Hing Fat's robot Brave Star westerners!

The wagon however does seem to have a nice wood-grain look to panels and draw-bar which is an slight improvement on some of the smoother-modelled 1990's-2000's versions?

The Army men set for the summer of '17 (also shelfied by Brian Berke), is equally bereft of contents! We looked at the figures last year twice so I won't bother with them here, but there's five or six figures in the bag with a sand-bag sanger, two standard 'Hong Kong' flags with their little mole-hill stands, barbed-wire strand and a sub-piracy of the Tim-Mee Patton tank which accompanied the original figures. Note how you have to 'do' you own flags these days!

The Imperial tank, this one from Peter Evans and in the greener shade of one-half of the figures we looked at last year. The size-comparison shot is also taken with tanks from Peter's 'Big Bag' and is just a guide; I will do a better post on all the tanks, but probably not this year - we have looked at both the smaller ones illustrated here I think, but there are dozens and dozens of them!

Cropped-out of and cleaned-up from an eBay auction, on the left is a boxed set imported by Rex International for the dotcomgiftshop shows the Imperial take on Tim-Mee figures, sandbag emplacement and barbed-wire entanglements, but with a completely different tank and large jeep.

With a quick reminder of last year's Imperial offering on the right.

Both of which were in the big bag too! The hull is about 70% Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger, the turret about 60% Soviet T62! To be honest, with a scale size of about 1:48th, this would be better employed as a Space Marine fire-support vehicle, in a fetching Russian-blue with yellow go-faster stripes and a bunch of Games Workshop's waterslide transfers smeared over it!

You can see both it and the jeep's also in the same matted, chalky-ethylene as last year's Imperial figures and the Patton . . .

. . . unlike these two who are in a far superior polymer; a glossy HDPE or polypropylene. However, they are the same castings from the same mould as the Rex International version, with the same hull mark and the same wheel/axle sub-assemblies.

Also, as you can see, a quick turret swap gives us a 80%+ Tiger I (thanks Gisby - just the BTR50 running gear to worry-about) and something which is even more suited to Space Marines, despite bearing more than a passing resemblance to a Sheridan air-portable failed-experiment in rocket-projectiles!

Also note that again - for modern/current/near-current production - we have a stick-on label with consumer/tracking information, this is clearly a trend that's here to stay.

But the later - better material - AFV's don't come with the Imperial / Tim-Mee figures, but with a set of crappy new sculpts we will be looking at in a while (when we do - these are numbered 19) made of the new plastic to match the tanks.

Each importer/jobber (Greenbriar/DTSC in the case of both the Imperial sets above, despite Imperial being a long established name in its own right) or their agent (or shipper, shipping agent, middle-man, wholesaler, uncle Tom Cobbly or whoever) approaches the contract-manufacturer and selects from a menu of moulds, a menu of colours and a menu of materials/polymer types.

So Imperial choose the Tim-Mee stuff; maybe they originally turned-up with them, on the contract manufacturer's doorstep and said 'Eer'mate. Knock these up for us, will you?'. Rex/dotcom take the figures and some of the same accessories (possibly as off-the-shelf Imperial over-production), but chose a different tank, in the same cheap crumbly ethylene, with the unknown importer of the other figures choosing the second type AFV's, with new figures - the both in a more expensive material.


Gisby said...

Hugh, that's a Tiger 1, not a Tiger 2 (King Tiger)

Just sayin'

Hugh Walter said...

Oh! I see what I did there! Only a Prince among tanks! Thanks Gisby!