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.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

J is for Jeep

Having passed-off two of these as a 'whole post' earlier in Rack Toy Month, I feel a bit of a fraud having them again so soon, but A) I did follow them up the same day with something else due to the frugality of that post and B) one of the features of this year's RTM has been the leading of things into each other, and this is a case in point.

I hadn't put the other two away when I blogged them and in doing so realised there were others among the bagged ones, which led to this comparison shot, however by the time I'd taken yesterday's shots for the Saracen Saladin hybrid follow-up it all grew a bit, so we'll have a bit of an inconclusive ramble here, now.

So, these are all very similar although there are differences, given the fact that those differences are found with the same cards, while similar Jeeps are found with different cards, it would appear that those differences are probably no more that either generations of the same moulds, different mould-tool cavities or shippers/packers using several suppliers and going through different generations of header-card . . . whatever the truth, let's have a closer look . . .

... or as close as can be with 50-odd years old polyethylene bags in the way!

The red one we looked at the other day is the better of the two; marginally, having a smoother pinch in the bodywork, forward of the seats, as found on the real-life originals while the orange one has the pinch sharper and further back.

Likewise where the body meets the radiator grill is simplified on the orange version and going back to the previous shot; you will also notice that the trailer is smaller with both the examples in the Army Vehicle carded bags.

Here is the other of the Army Vehicle carded pair with my loose green one; another telling difference is that the two loose ones have matching length axles, while the two bagged examples have too-long yet inconsistent axle lengths, something that you may recall differentiated types of the 1-ton Humber mini-trucks.

At some point in the future it may/should be possible to tie the one in with the other using these markers, the three letter code on the loose Jeep being another parallel with mini-trucks, swoppet Wild West copies, beach-toys and etcetera! Plastic colour in another signature, card art or the fonts or stamps employed to mark the toys are more ways of sorting, but you need the stuff preserved for such study to have any effect. And - of course - the other things in a set or bag, such as any accompanying figures; are also good markers.

However; . . . with over 600 makers, in plastics, in Hong Kong,  in the late 60's (he says from memory?) feeding maybe a couple of hundred shippers/agents and a few dozens of major importers/wholesalers/jobbers, the most we will ever be able to do with any certainty on a lot of this stuff is link them to the same factory gate, but we may never know the name of that factory!

Here we see the two in the Army Jeep header-carded bags to the left in the second image above; the gun-tractor is identical to my loose two, but the other is a third design with all plastic running-gear and a simplified body-work boundary.

Was it later (the card is glossier), or a deliberate copy by a third-party? We may . . . hell; 'will' . . . probably never know, it could have been an emergency purchase, to fulfil an order after another tool got damaged? I would imagine simply a later version/replacement moulding, designed [re-designed!] to reduce costs and make assembly simpler, but whether it came from the same source is a different matter?

Finally; to the two smaller bags on the right-hand end of the comparison-shot's row. The one in the newer-looking, glossy-carded bag is the same as the better quality loose pair, but with all-plastic wheel/axle arrangements, while the one in the much older-looking card is the simplified version, so as far as clues to research go - no bloody help at all!

However, both contain figures and there is a difference, the set on the left above; Larami's 'US Combat Tank and Jeep', contains the same little Airfix '1st version' and Britains 'being shot' copies we saw with the SF sets two days ago (I shook them out of the way for the shot - they're on the Airfix Blog somewhere!), while the set to the right 'Army Jeep'; has the same copies of Blue Box Germans carried by Nadel & Sons in little bags, so actually the clues to future research are sitting there after-all!

Moving away from the bagged/earlier Jeeps, we find these two which are interesting as the better of the two (the herb-green one with bigger wheels) is almost certainly the copy, while the rough-looking moulding is almost certainly the original!

I say 'almost' in both cases as there is a lack of packaged examples, but the olive-green one with little wheels is a late-1970's/80's one, which came-in with a bunch of contemporaneous stuff, while the later one (actually the four inset, with red backgrounds) came in Peter Evan's 'Big Bag' of recent/current rack toys.

They may come from the same place, may even come from the same tool, but the newer one has been cleaned up, release-pins have been moved and it's got better wheels, but from the currently common chalky-feel polymer.

The big boy on the left is the Imperial/Rex one from the post a week or two ago and lined up in front of him in the top-right shot are my loose green one form Adrian and three others; the earlier one from the previous image and two littlies, one a common 80/90's moulding and the other an unmarked copy of the Giant Jeep.

Below them . . . the state of play today - pretty poor really! The grey one (apparently missing a plug-in) is hideous, all tall and squished; it looks like something you might find on a coin-operated roundabout in a shopping-precinct or whizzing around a regional mail-logistics depot . . . when not plugged into a charger!

The other two are sort of OK for what they are and while both would benefit from a re-paint, the Willy's looks like a Mahindra copy and the Wrangler looks like it was requisitioned from Barbie!

That common 1980-90's one in two sets, both shipped and sold by LB Ltd (Levy Brothers), later than the Mini Army sets we've previously looked at, these contain very poor, crumbly figures, a third or fourth-generation copy of Blue Box's Patton tank (itself a copy of a larger battery toy by someone like Marx) and the worst copy of Kamley's little truck - look closely and you can see how it was cut straight into the tool-steel with a router and a drill; CAD-CAM at its most basic, if they were even involved - it may have been done by hand!

I have a shed-load of later Jeeps and/or smaller Jeeps along with a few larger vintage types and lots of Land Rovers, in storage; so inevitably we will return to them here!

The other day I mentioned the missing crew . . . well these (red and yellow sample) are the figures I was referring to and they are in two sizes, I think we've seen a carded set here with them (I can't find it so that may be a post to come?), but it may be on the Airfix Blog? Not only have none of the Jeeps in today's post got their figures; they are nearly all equipped for figures with ether male spigots or female receivers evident on most.

The provision of spare tyres and Jerry-cans with the vehicles is also a bit hit and miss with some having both and some having neither! And I was guessing the kit responsible (UPC - but who made the original? Renwal, Hawk, Adams?) for the figures also provided the material for the various HK Jeep trailers, even the Blue Box one, but it might be taken from MPC's Korean War CJ-5 kit?

To the right are the originals at around 40mm. The guy looking straight-forward has two levers between his legs and another in his right-hand and may be operating plant or a weapons system? He may be the rear-unit steerer/driver for the old atomic cannon model-kit?

Below the whoever (UPC et al.) poses are a few of the others you will find in cheap, mixed lots, all orphans until you see them in the correct vehicle in a carded, boxed or bagged set, after which you can pair them up or at least label them!

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