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.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

K is for Kioskowce

If by the end of the article I've managed to sound like I know what I'm talking about here, it's only due to the debt of gratitude I owe to Konrad Lesiek who translated both sides of the boxes and the little insert slip, explaining the social/historical background as he went!

Kioskowce were the Polish equivalent of French Bazar, German Wundertuten, Spanish Sobres our own Lucky Bags or the very smallest size of header-carded, bagged, rack toy.

These 'Miniatures' were issued by Andrzej Kawecki, based in Lódź, in the 1980/90's as the Communist government first relaxed rules on private enterprise and then disappeared into the pages of history following the events of the Autumn of 1989.

You get a little box with a pull-off lid, which is big enough for a small army to hide in! From the colour differences it would seem that there were three small tools to make this set, suggesting a very-small, possibly hand-operated injection machine, one tool for the combat figures, another mould for the prone poses and boat crew, and the last for the boats.

The figures are obviously Airfix piracies and I'll post some comparison shots on the relevant Airfix Blog posts at the same time as this article. Here the 1st version US Marines have been cloned, and to be honest; compared to the equivalent Hong Kong output as carried by Baravelli at one point, these are quite good copies.

The combat poses are leeching the same kind of greasy powder/film that you often see deposited on Matchbox figures.

My other set is also of Airfix piracies; the 2nd version British Infantry, a set which prior to getting these I would have said was one of the few sets NOT to have been copied!

I can't actually remember where I got these, it could have been one of Andy Harfield's shows back around the turn of the century, or even a Plastic Warrior from the Q. Charlotte Hall days, but I suspect it was from PB Toys at Peter's show in Herne about ten years ago? Anyway, Konrad reports that they do come-up on Allegro (a Polish-language feeBay/Craig's List type platform) occasionally, if you want to find a sample yourself.

The packaging states they were made from locally resourced/ recycled materials (the translation including the term 'Ivory' [or bone], which may be a reference to the small 'ivories' made from scraps and off-cuts, such as the little bear welooked at here, a while back?), and in the case of both my examples that recycled-material is a very soft PVC rubber - quite the very best thing to make a rubber-boat out of!

Again, with 50% in 'plain chocolate' brown and 50% in 'milk', the suggestion is that two tools were required for each set. I would also say that the cardboard made in communist Poland was a darn-sight better than the cardboard made in East Germany; which - in my experience - fell apart if you looked at it harshly!

Konrad also explained how under the state collectivism of the post-war, pre-glastnost Poland, the kiosks were all called Ruch, now they have been re-distributed to the private sector and are called many names and he has sent a couple of local examples, I'm sure they will be recognisable to viewers as that pretty-universal convenience-store known variously as corner-shops, drug-stores, newsagents' or tobacconists - kiosko, tabaque . . . 'Spar'!

He added that Kioskowce also included larger figures of local design; probably Centrum flats, PZG and others, without packaging. The insert slip - in one of the otherwise identical boxes - lists other sets being available as follows:

1 - US Infantry
2 - US Marines (above - and now here)
3 - British Infantry (above - and now here)
4 - Japanese Infantry
5 - Medieval Knights
6 - Cowboys & Indians
7 - Napoleonic Period Soldiers
8 - WWI soldiers and
9 - Ancient Romans

While I assume Airfix to be the donor for most; it would be interesting to know what the Napoleonics, WWI and Wild West look like, or if there were other sets?

Finally - Thanks again to Konrad for his help in the preparation of this article. I'll badger him about Spojnia next (their Napoleonics are Esci/Ertl copies) and then we'll look at their output!

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