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 23, 2017

V is for Villagers; Various Little Plastic Toy Villagers!

Destined for the small scale Hong Kong blog but purchased for RTM last year it's a return to those keen and gay traders the Keen & Gay Traders! To be honest it was this set I was after over the Austin Champ I posted nearly a year ago, as I have been picking these up in ones and twos for years (I suspect cheap Christmas crackers; possibly the mini 'tree' versions), and was very pleased to find them in a generic pack.

The fact that it was a sample was also interesting as it may mean that it never got a release, or never got a 'Western' release? However here is one set at least and it says what it is - villagers.

To be specific: South East Asian villagers which could prove useful in choking roads with refugees if war-gaming the WWII Japanese campaigns, Korea or Indochina-Vietnam.

You get - from the left in the lower image - a guy sowing crops (carrying a rolled document in the header-card illustration); an artist or painter/decorator artisan type; a chap walking with a gravel-rake over his shoulder, off to make a nice Zen-garden (although it looks like a hoe in the illustration); a man walking with his hat (or a winnowing-basket) under his arm; a fisherman and an agricultural worker with bundles of rice on a [too short] pole.

You also get two pieces of wall . . . I can almost hear Peter Cook in the background "Four would be useful Mr Wall, but two? I have to say Mr Wall - two is two too few!" Looking at the header-card artwork; it can be assumed (or hoped!) that in some packs you got a arched-door/gateway piece, and that multiple purchases - if possible - could at least result in a pig-pen or local militia 'fortlette'! Age has curved them so they can at least be arranged as a partial backdrop for photo-sessions.

Posed with a Japanese celluloid tourist trinket, which is carrying us away from rack toys a tad, but sometimes you have to follow where the subject leads you. The size of both is perfect for 1:76 / 1:72nd scales and would seriously slow your armour down if they were travelling in the opposite direction.

Peter Evans as good as gave these to me back in May with the Big Bag of 'Army Men' and I am very grateful as I have been collecting these in ones and twos for as long as I have been picking-up the Asian civilians and although I have a dozen or so, they are all in storage, which will give me a chance to return to them in the future, but the three here are a good flavour of the type.

I don't know anything more about these than I can interpret with my own eyes, but they seem to have the look of craft items, made by hand in small quantities rather like Bavarian/Tyrolean or Erzgebirge wooden toys.

Some items are preformed-solids; the passenger, the loads, the wheels; but the animals are vac-formed in two halves and glued-together while the rest of the wagon is made from rod, tube, strip and sheet materials.

Different techniques are employed by different makers (again like Erzgebirge), some having the wheels and axles fixed, some making tube axles for the rod to turn in while others glue the axle but leave the wheels unglued so they fall off - if you're not careful!

Likewise the construction of the wagons, wagon-roof designs and even the attachment of the draft animal differs (one of these is removable, the other two fixed) and in storage I have paired teams and four-wheeled examples along with a man-drawn rickshaw in the same scale 'Ivorene' style.

So I suspect a kit of parts, sent out to lots of little crafters, collected in when finished and marketed from a central point?

As well as the wagons there are other common tropes in the same size and there are larger scaled versions of some, particularly the rickshaws which can be found in 54mm-compatible sizes. Pastoral scenes involving ornamental bridges, mini-dioramas or vignettes built in a real or celluloid scallop shell, and more formal plinth-mounted vignettes can all be found in this style, but it's the wagons I look-out for!


Jan Ferris said...

Fascinating little characters.

Hugh Walter said...

Aren't they just, Jan! Occasionally you can't beat Hong Kong as no one else came close, this is one of those occasions, crude, but painted-up; no worse than a lot of lead war gaming stuff!