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.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

B is for Birdmen, Bots and Something Else Beginning with B!

Captain Video was a kid's TV show in the 'States in the 1950's, although as the brand seems to have 'travelled', particularly to France, it may have had a wider audience? Running against shows like Tom Corbett Space Cadet and Space Patrol, they were the equivalent of the previous era's movie-matinee Flash Gordon and Buck Rodgers serials; or later era's Dr. Who, Star Trek and err . . . Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon again! That makes it about time - or even overdue - for someone to resurrect Captain Video!

I don't know if the figures bare any relationship to the TV series, but as they all look humanoid (and could have been 'worn', as costumes) I guess they are representative of some of the characters from some of the episodes? I'm sure TJF can correct me!

We have looked at them before here, but these are recent additions, so I thought I'd use the opportunity to have a closer look. It's very hard to say with any degree of definitiveness which figure is by which company, however it’s fair to say glossy polystyrene ones in primary colours (1 & 7) are probably from Lido's stable, or their French importer, however there may well be a UK source for these, Bell or Kleeware would fit nicely but I don't know. I'm sure TJF can correct me!

Reamsa (PVC; 6) and Trovadore (polyethylene) kindly mark theirs (if only Pech did!) but the mark carried over to a more recent re-issuer (2), phenolic/cellulose (5 & 8) types are (if found here) probably UK copies while the unmarked metallic's (2 & 3) prove more problematical.

The figures are also a rather amorphous group of poses which are from a set of twelve original or 'base' figures, but have been issued in different sizes and configurations, with Lido themselves seemingly not issuing the 'straight human' poses in the same numbers as the 'aliens' especially in the larger sizes, in the smaller size all 12 are as common as each other and the humans turn up more frequently compared to the more exotic creatures/robots.

They break down into four groups;

Humans - Four Poses (yellow figure, small scale premium, damaged)
Birdmen - Three Poses
Cat People with Respirators - Two Poses (metallic-green figure above)
Robots - Three Poses, although there are two similar 'pulp'-bots and one which looks more like a knight-in-armour (other two green figures above), with a ray gun!

The two Reamsa's in this current sample, although the grey one is in a modern-day tinny polyethylene and is almost certainly a re-issue probably from Capell? The earlier one is a PVC rubber as used by a few Spanish companies in the 1950's (Teixido and Pech y Hermanos spring to mind!) and the gold coating he (she, it?)'s been given has - over-time - reacted with the substrate to produce a sandy texture which makes it hard to clean, and you can see how while the figure photographs quite silver, the very bright light of the scanner has revealed a golden-brown residue of the factory finish, deeper in the surface.

Showing some base variation; there are also pod-foot and 'twin-baselett' types out there. I think the robot may be a re-issue as well, as he's impossibly clean, but he could be an unloved/un-played-with Lido survivor?

Some shots I took a while ago, the two on the left (now in my sample and also pictured above) have been cut-back to their footwear by a previous owner, on the right are a 'twin-baselett' Birdman and a whole version of the Lido marching robot.

Provisional listing


Alca Capell (or 'Al-Ca' or 'Capell')
Were probably responsible for the more recent reissues of the four [still base-marked to-] Reamsa copies of Lido, having a history of purchasing other moulds - they also inherited some of Casanellas' metal moulds, I believe.
·         42 - 'Knight' with ray gun?
·         43 - Robot striding?
·         44 - Robot waving with syringe-tool?
·         45 - Bird-man with side-arm?
Shusssh . . . can you hear TJF and his cock-wakin' monkey-lizard rushing-off to see if it says Puchol on page 200-and-something in some tome? I don't care; they're tinny, soapy reissues!

Dumont Plastics
Licensed the Lido figures for a large gift-set which contained 18 figures; taken as twos or threes from three poses of the bird-men and two-each of the cat-men and robots.
·         Captain Video and his Video Rangers (window gift box with pop-up display-back)

Invented the line, producing it in various configurations of carded and boxed set, and is credited with the smaller, scaled-down figures supplied to other sources. From O'brian (via Kent Specher) we know that Lido was created by brothers Effrem and Seymour Arenstein in 1947, and produced 'dime store' toys and novelties - quite prolifically - until 1964 when the company was sold to a Bala, who themselves ceased trading the following year, Gabriel Industries bought the rump but most of the moulds were sold for scrap, and given that the US figures all date from before this time we can be confident the Captain Video mould/s were among those lost at that time.
·         Atomic Cannon (boxed 'dragster')
·         Pursuit Ship (boxed 'A'-frame)
·         Rocket Tank (boxed twin-tailed spaceship)
·         Troop Transport (boxed 'zeppelin')
·         Missile Patrol with Rocket Launcher (assorted vehicles, figures and accessories, carded and bagged)
·         1403 - Moon Shot (four figures and cork-pistol, blister-carded)

Post Cereals
Issued the 12 Lido scale-downs in their Raisin Bran breakfast cereal, Kent Specher dates them to 1953.
·         Captain Video Space Man (one per pack of cereal)

See Alca Capell (above) and Reamsa (below)

Issued four of the Lido poses (as copies) in their Saturn Patrol Interplanetary War (Patrulla Saturno Guerra Interplanetaria) sets, gold-decorated figures being named Marcianos (Martians) and the undecorated; Lunaticos ('Lunatics' - Moon Men) in a PVC rubber, the gold paint giving the Martians a sandy texture over time. Modern re-issues in bright gold and plain grey ethylene were issued a while ago, possibly by Alca Capell or Puchol, depending on whether Oliver inherited the mould first. Each figure is numbered on the base below the Reamsa lozenge.
·         42 - 'Knight' with ray gun
·         43 - Robot striding
·         44 - Robot waving/throwing with syringe/grenade-tool
·         45 - Bird-man with side-arm

Rex Jouets
Produced [probably pirated] copies of Pyro X-100 spaceships (with French-language wing titles Terre (Earth) and Mars) and helmeted spaceman of a derivative (ex-Bonux) style, none of Lido design, untitled, but all in the manner of the Techni-Plaste Captain Video carded sets.
·         [Two Figures] (bent-stand carded with spaceship)
·         [Three Figures] (bent-stand carded with spaceship)
·         [Four figures] (bent-stand carded with spaceship)

A French company were supplied by Lido with bare mouldings for their lovely boxed set 'Captain Video and his Equipment' (Capitaine Video et ses Equipages), they also issued them on smaller cards with a vehicle and three figures in the Lido style.
·         M436 - Capitaine Video et ses Equipages (12 figures, 4 vehicles and other accessories in Dumont style gift box)

An Argentinian company produced eponymous base-marked copies of Lido's figures titled Explorers of Space.
·         Exploradores del Espacio


Sets in a phenolic or cellulose resin, copied from Lido and branded to Winco (abbreviation for [Air-]Wing Commander) Condar; an obvious take on Captain Condor the Lion comic strip and a definite candidate for a Star Wars name!
·         Winco Condar's Interplanetary Spacemen (4 figures on card)

The smaller figures (which may or may not be Lido-supplied) have been issued as premiums or gum-ball capsule prizes.

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