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, January 31, 2018

Thought for the Day 31

For those who still think they're better than their neighbour . . .

No matter how rich you become,
how famous or powerful,
when you die the size of your funeral
will still pretty much depend on the weather

- Michael Pritchard

As men we are ALL equal in the presence of death

- Publilius Syrus

Time is an emptied purse in a dead man's hand.

- Unknown

B is for Brucey Bonus!

I'm gonna' keep that alive! I've uploaded the starter for the Airfix 54mm Footballers page, as part pof the mini-season on footballers.


F is for Football - 3 - O is for Other!

So starting to wind-up the mini-season of footballers with the odds and sods who have come-in over the last seven-or-so years, it's not a priority of mine (sports or football) so it's a mixed bag which only gives a flavour of what's out there, although three theme's are obvious - premiums, cake decorations and board-game playing pieces!

And these probably fall into the former category, semi-flats, seeming a set of three-a-side plus a referee, but that might just be a coincidental happenstance from the make-up of the sample, which I can't remember the origin of but it could have been that Swagman's Daughter feeBay seller with the website, I got lots of interesting stuff from her?

60-mil-ish, I've managed to break the ankles of the white one trying to straighten it! Without a ball they look like they're busy inventing extreme tai-chi!

Now, if you are a completist, or an eclectic collector, or a 'small-scale everything' type (that's "Plastic smalls" to the PSTSM!), or if you spend a lot of time on fleaBay you will have encountered these, in ones & twos probably! They go way back to the 1950's and have been issued under various names and artworks, and are part of a magnetic board-game, interactive 'plaything'.

Originally called Super Soccer 'The Magnetic Football Game' by Balyna, an imprint of Toogood & Jones of Whitstable, Kent; the figures are manipulated by magnetic rods . . . actually - if you want to know more - just Google it, or keep an eye on evilBay as it comes-up quite often, and there's no point my explaining - at length - something I'm not showing you!

The important things to know are that there are slight variations over time in colour of plastic or shirt-paint AND sculpt quality, and the rare ones to find are the goalies, one in white strip with a white base, the other green/green, at only one each per set, they have survived in smaller numbers, although the whole game is only five-a-side.

I know I have a larger sample in storage, but can't remember what colours I have, I think I've got white goalies, but I'm not sure about the green, and I don't have a board/set as it's not my 'thing' at all!

Incidentally; the same Toogood & Jones/Balyna are behind the odd small scale cricketer I showed as unknown once, with the 'ball-receiving' base, he's one of nine fromthe non-magnetic Discbat Cricket Game. While another title for the game was Soccerette.

The larger 'also-rans'! With both an Airfix (far left) and a Wilton (far right) for sizing, these are; from the left - three poorly painted 'old school' Hong Kong cake-decorations, in the style of the larger Wilton/Anniversary House set, but smaller at 50-to-55mm. A pair of gold Total Oil premiums (recentlycovered by in full John Begg in Plastic Warrior magazine - Issue 168); Terry Cooper on the left and Allan Ball.

To the right we see a pair of soft ethylene cake-decorations from the 1970/80's, each of which has a ball. There are other poses and the moulds seem to have gone through several hands over their history, I've quite a lot in storage, so hopefully we'll return to them soonish for a better look at pose, paint, plastic and base variations.

In the centre is a Corinthian 'big head' and to miss-quote a famous footballer and manager; "Do I not like them!", they tend to often come in with large mixed figure lots, I really dislike them and they normally go straight to charity, but this one happened to be around for the photo-shoot. Actually there's another one somewhere (only came-in the other day), green-strip with a dark green base, but someone's chewed his arms off!

Ahh . . . more 'plastic smalls', the small-scale 'also-rans' with an airfix figure on the far left and one of the Balyna (I have no idea if it's supposed to be pronounced Bal-nee-yah, Ball-near, Bally-na or Bally-ner?) second-in from the right as sizers.

The others are - from the left again; Waddington's 30mm Table Soccer player, rather piller-like, they are among the earliest here and conform more to counters than figures, although they have a printed-pitch playing system. Then we have four Italian sourced figures, probably from a board game and donated to the Blog by Dario.

Next are two British board game pieces (MB's 'Pro Soccer'?)**, one of which winged its way here via MoonbaseCentral (thanks guys!) and another pair from Italy (also thanks to Dario) which may be from a board game, or something more akin to the Spanish 'sobre' concept?

The last one has a locating stud, so has been posed on a borrowed Balyna base, he may be from a pierced-board travel-game, or something more like the Balyna (a clone of . . . perhaps?). There are loads of these smallies in storage, so we will look at them again one day!

**I have images of an Australian version with heavier figures (other team in white), it seems to be the common one (there are two on EvilBay today), and both the fact that it's called soccer not football, and Milton Bradley are a US-based parent, means the ID's not 100% fact, as they seem to have left production to local offices; but they are certainly similar.

F is for Football - 2 - W is for Wilton and not Wilton!

When I was editing this post I was sure I had posted the Wilton set, however I couldn't find any photographs in the Wilton folder, so I guess I never got round to it, and as they sat there in the collection I just convinced myself I had? If they are on the Blog there will be a link here now! [No - I didn't]

But that meant I would need to post the Wilton's here to compare with the Anniversary House version - which the post was always about . . . anyway; it gave us a slightly weird title and here are both sets, with the - probably latter - Anniversary House to the fore and a quick comparison with the Wilton set at the end!

This is the set currently findable in the UK from Anniversary House, you get one team in red or blue (I didn't get a blue set, but will go back for one now I know they are the same as the Wilton's - side collection!) and a goalie who can be with or against the other six?

Close-ups, the first thing one notices is that one of the players is wearing goal keeper's gloves and appears to be preparing to hand the ball . . . fowl! It was at this point I started to think "Are these the same poses as those Wilton's in the attic, I got a while back?"

The other players, and again, the standing player looked both a tad odd and a tad familiar, so it was off to the attic, wasn't it!

Sure enough they are the same! These are Wilton's figures, and we can see they are configured for three-a-side with two goalies in reverse-coloured strip and a referee!

The main differences are the bright green bases, the slightly more elaborate painting and the fact that the Anniversary House 10-shirt, is not only painted as a referee with Wilton, but has an obvious whistle.

Blue's goalie is calling for a fowl, as one of the reds has brought-down a blue in the box, the ref's just blown for a free-kick and the red goal-keeper knows it!

At 70mm-odd they are on the big side (Airfix referee for comparison), and you can see how the whistle has been blanked-off to create the 'new' player, otherwise there is no real difference between them and flesh/face-painting is the same on both sets.

I bought the Wilton lot in the same craft superstore in Basingrad where I photographed the 4M pirate fort set, back at Christmas 2011? So the Wilton may still be available, although a craft superstore has recently opened in Farnborough, and; upon inspection in the cake decoration department - no banana!

I'm hoping I can track down a Wilton one with the players opposite-painted so I can have four teams of six-a-side, with two ref's, once I've grabbed a dark blue Anniversary House set - which we will look at [briefly] another day before I put them in the attic!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Thought for the Day 30

Ah, yes, that God of yours . . .
. . . the one that's SO much more real and factual than all the others . . .

Religion is regarded 
by the common people as true, 
by the wise as false, 
and by the rulers as useful. 

-  Seneca

F is for Football - 1 - C is for The Champions of Soccer

Back to board-games as an opener to the mini-season on footballers . . . a mini-season that's just started here at Small Scale World!

The box, that's it, it's the box . . . I went a bit mad on the imagery with this one, only because it's been in edit for some time and I kept getting them out again and adding images because I rather like them, the fact that they are the Airfix poses might have something to do with the OTT'edness of this post.

Back of the box - ditto! Published by Mike Orchard Enterprises in 1984.

The contents laid-out and ready to be looked at in detail, which we are about to do to the Nth degree! As you can see it's for 'up to' six players, with 2 as a minimum requirement.

The Figures! Basically six of the seven player poses from the Airfix footballer set, not including the [2'ish] goal-keeper pose/s, but including the substitute?

Stuff for the recycling bin! Actually I think I used them as fire-lighters back in the autumn, however; I kept the balls, although; for what reason, I have no idea!

Team-building trays; I'm not sure if the team shown is at all realistic of actual play, I just filled the tray with random pieces, correctly numbered 1-11, for the sake of a photograph!

The board, it's a complicated system which combines a round-the-board processionary mechanism (like Monopoly) for which you have the figures as counters, and matches; played on the centre of the board as quick Ludo-like races, while team-building (on the green trays) affects the other two elements of play, this - third element - being a collection/points mechanism.

Humm . . . "United", that'll be Mad'chester then! Sorted! Got any Vera's? Going through the rainbow in the correct order . . .

. . . the lupine origins of this orange made-up-team will not be last on the Midland's reader!

North-of-the-boarder's not been left out, yellow Rangers can't be mistaken for many teams!

Albion? At this point my lack of knowledge of the football leagues (read no interest whatsoever!) fails me . . . there are one or two Albion's I think, but which popular one might be represented by green is beyond my limited capacities (read complete lack of interest!).

Safer ground here, we're back to Manchester and looking at derby-game possibilities!

Rovers; and I'm lost again! Roy's were orange? Don't all correct me at once! The made-up team labels as well as seeming to represent real teams come as a sticker-sheet for the purchaser to apply to the green vac-form trays.

More shots of the players, this is a figure-Blog after all! There are six versions of the game to track-down if you want the whole lot, as all six poses were moulded in each colour, therefore there are six different game piece combinations to find.

The advertising hoardings round the 'pitches' make for a nostalgic journey back to the 1980's. with various consumer goods (some long gone) in their prime, or previous, long-replaced logographics! Unipart - "Supercover: keeps the gremlins grovlin'" The gremlins being actually dinosaurs!

The long-sides get three per hording - Vosene . . . looked like treacle and stank like a tanker's hold!

A comparison between the unmarked Champions of Soccer and the occasionally-found common'ish Hong Kong Airfix clones, the HK one is a far poorer sculpt and considerably smaller.

While the games figures themselves are slightly smaller than the Airfix originals they too are cloned-from.

They weren't easy to shoot against a dark background, so here are three images which between them show at least one good version of each figure! That's The Champions of Soccer board game from Mike Orchard Enterprises . . . more footballers to come.

Right - there's a problem with the coding which I can't fix until tomorrow (Virgin fail again, Library again, slow broadband AGAIN! so I'll have to close all the gaps later! Done

T is for Toy Fair (British International Toy Fair 2018 Olympia, London)

As it's a week since I shot this. I really ought to get it up here! There will be lots more to come on the Toy Fair 2018, but I've got a mini-season 'in the bag' of which the first post was pencilled-in for this slot. As this is another example of my pretty poor videographer skills, and probably of not much appeal to most of you, the 12.30 post today will be the main one!

As it's nearly 10 years since I last attended the Toy Fair, the only thing I'll add here is that it seemed pretty busy, and I prefer it back at Olympia than down at Excel, where it was always a bind having everything split between two halls.

Olympia though was a bugger to get to on a weekday - 7th richest nation on earth (or has India pushed us to 8th?) and we don't run the Olympia-spur tube-trains on show days; if they don't fall on a weekend - that's 39-years of Tory bean-counting for you!

There's not only a shed-load of 'News, Views . . . ' stuff from November and December, it's now the November-December-January stuff making it more than a shed load, to which I can add a shed-load (or at least a jute-bag load!) of Toy Fair stuff as well, so a lot of toy news and company reviews to come.

I also have lots of stuff in the queue already, there's plenty in Brian's folder, in fact there's a new 2018 folder rapidly filling-up, while Peter's contributions haven't all been published. However - I have other things to do (real life crap), so after this week things may quieten-down a bit here, a daily post only maybe - with the odd gap, we'll see how we go!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Thought for the Day 29

For the Trump's and Putin's of this world, for the Erdogan's & Bwreaksitieer's, for Ahn Sang Suu Kyi, AFD, UKIP, Marine la Pen . . .

Propaganda is a soft weapon; 
hold it in your hands too long 
and it will move about like a snake 
and strike the other way

- Jean Anouill

WTF is for What's That Flying . . .

. . . thing? Is it a bird, is it a 'plane, no it's . . . what the FUCK !??!

I dunno! You tell me! Clearly it's some kind of windmill novelty? It's big, about five/six inches and nothing seems to happen when you manipulate the toggle/button thing which is exiting the feet?

The wings are dense craft-foam, held on with shaped-paper over-stickers, and the arms are hanging loose, so another pointer to its being broken, or having a jammed mechanism or missing launcher? It was 50p, so I'm not losing-sleep over it!

There's no clue to brand or maker on the model, just "TM & © DC Comics (s13)"

Now - someone out there must know more, but for now - WTF?

L is for Living Room . . . Boot Camp!

Can't do much in the way of pictures as this is contemporary and therefore one has to be careful of the balance between 'review' and copyright infringement, but as usual, cover, spread and a close-up will suffice!

Published by Top That, (a Nathan Murphy shares a 'designed by' byline, but is not on the cover?) who were behind the Paint Your Own sets we looked at before Christmas; this manual from the Department of Secret Forces is a fun item which introduces toy soldiers to people who might not otherwise have encountered them among all their Lego and licensed Manga characters, so it's to be applauded for that if nothing else!

Spot the deliberate mistake on the cover . . . the Bren-gunner is reversed, something the Papo catalogue also suffers from, what is it with modern picture-editors that they don't check the original object? Or - apparently - liaise with the authors!

It's basically a fun series of simple, interactive things you can subject the enclosed 'Army Men' to; in and around the home; some you will be familiar with, some are predictable, some are more ingenious or inventive, and all are meant to be and would be FUN!

The meat and six-veg! The usual copies of Airfix Paratroopers with a lone German Infantryman for imbalance! They are unmarked and while they are poor-quality sculpts (detail wise), are nevertheless of high production value - if that's not an oxymoron!

Out there . . . Now! Get training!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Thought for the Day 28

For God-botherer's, Bible-basher's and tub-thumper's everywhere . . .

Christian, noun:  One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely-inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbour

- A. Bierce
'Devils Dictionary'

M is for Miniature Menagerie

Which may be a title we've had before, but I'm stuffed if I can remember, so I shall press-on regardless! Continuing with the recent purchase of Novelty toys from the party shop up at Clapham Junction, we find more Henbrandt single packet 'party favour' stuff.

Now, with the definite exception of the caterpillar (more on whom latter!) and one or two others; these are scale-downs of the larger ones we saw a while ago, found by Brian in the US in two packagings, both branded to Greenbriar/DTSC. The truth being that the Greenbrair/DTSC 'Backyard Travels' are actually scale-ups of these, lacking the finer detail, even at the larger size.

They also seem to be part of a larger wholesale set, some of which have been carried elswhere/else-when by Innovative Kids and/or Toy Major, but there are enough differences in line-ups and details to raise the possibility of several sets all copying elements off each-other!

The spider was not copied by Greenbriar's scale-ups but the others were, and while the caterpillar is in the greater 'whole' elsewhere, here it actually has a different code, with the other seven being coded T02 970, while the butterfly's larvae is T02 683.

The 'Bad Guys', we know they are bad guys because they are marked PSTSM . . . only joking . . . because they are red and black and yellow and spikey!

The 'Good Guys' are all green and 'eco'-looking! Even if one of them is an insecticidal, murderously killing, ambush-machine!

As I was putting them them away I found the correct 'Number 8' as far as coding seems to go - on the floor! A rather vile-looking fly, also copied-up by Greenbrier/DTSC.

So; it would appear that Henbrandt have taken the Innovative kids/Toy Major set (or very similar clones of the same) and split it, with bees, beetles and things still to find, probably with the 683 code, and a possible eight-count for the 970 code.

While I shot the dragonfly upside down to show the bog-standard 'CHINA' mark and the white PVC-like polymer they are all made of - like yesterday's dogs.