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, March 27, 2018

P is for Puff-powered Paper & Puffy-Polymer 'Planes

In my day (he says; making himself sound like an old git!) they were all paper or balsa-wood, now they are mostly expanded polystyrene foam, but you still find the odd paper one!

This post is a bit off the beaten track of Small Scale World, and was in part the result of unexpected consequences, following that weird sycamore-Superman I showed back in February, in that Brain B sent a couple of shelfies of equally wacky playthings to the Blog, and it encouraged me to build a post round them, mainly because one set were . . .

. . . Cars tie-ins and I hate Cars like I hate anything, so probably would not otherwise have used the images! From Unique who do appear here from time to time as purveyors of quality tat and novelty polymer loveliness, they are four to a pack and probably as much-fun as anything else in their price-bracket.

There is a Marvel Avengers Assemble set as well - also with four models, but they all appear to be the same; both sets seem to be made from die-cut foam-core sheets which may make them a tad heavy, still; a sharp push into the wind and they should do the business.

And the business is . . . ephemeral fun, which if not timeless, probably goes back to well before the Wright brothers - if Da Vinci was drawing them, chances are kids were experimenting with toy ones?

As Mr. Berke was sending me his shelfies I had been buying this from Clinton's as a birthday card for someone who's hard to buy cards for!

I went back for a second; the wings were a bit loose until I worked out how to shove them back into a tightening section, not bad and all-paper! Despite the militaristic marking, it's unarmed, clearly a two-seater and probably based on a trainer or powered-glider of some kind.

Ah, yes . . . this, believe it or not; is HTI's Thunderbolt. Back in the day - the balsa-wood day that is - they were either outline printed in black on wood, or they came with a reasonable two or three colour screen-print; this has been fully litho'ed, but poorly and onto un-sized, expanded-polystyrene, which gives a opalescent look.

It has fold-up ailerons and stabilisers in the wings and tail respectively which the old balsa ones didn't, but we sometimes put them in our folded-paper 'planes at school, it usually resulted in a nose-dive or a tail-stand . . . followed by a nose-dive!

By now I was on a roll vis-à-vis getting a post together, and discovered that not only do women get less wages and pay more for their pink stationary, but despite making-up slightly more that half the toy-buying population, they pay more for their glider-toys too! This was £1.50 against the 99p's and flat £'s of the 'boys toys'! Investing in journalistic excellence, or being taken for a mug? Doh!

More like the ones Brian sent to the Blog as shelfies this one from Grossman's HGL is properly three-colour printed on foam-core board, and despite it's odd look, fly's as well as any . . . oh yeah; there's been ruthless testing!

Only this weekend I saw Tobar gliders of Dinosaurs, the same fighters we're about to go back to, and something else which I've forgotten, something cartoony and/or thematic? And I remember birds from when I was a kid.

But here's a thing - when I was rushing around looking for a couple of these to Blog a few weeks ago, at 5.25pm in a small parochial town that goes dark at 5.29 on the dot - I went into the discount store and asked if they had any and they didn't, but on Saturday - they had three different boxes of them . . . clearly; it pays to ask!

Although now I feel guilty for the little toy shop, as they did have them last time and that's where I ended up getting the four in this post, but now they have competition a few doors down, and it may be my fault! They had HTI and Tobar mixed in the same dispensing box, and after getting the Thunderbolt, I went back for a spitfire and Tomahawk, and half-wish I hadn't, as we'll see.

But first a comparison of the two packagings reveals that there is a slight difference in line-up, both companies are offering 12 aeroplanes, but only 11 are duplicated between ranges with HTI offering a MkII Spitfire to Tobar's Hellcat, as these sets always had a Messerschmitt Me.109 when I wer't'lad, I can safely assume they are both purchasing from a longer list offered by the Asian manufacturer. Also there's a couple of oddities on the list - Focke Wulf trainer?

Tobar's artwork shows them as they could be, HTI's as they are, you will notice there are only a few different pressings, with HTI the different artwork used is 'best as can be'; once you've opened the packing the actuality . . .

. . . is far more disappointing, with very poor QC, very poor registering within the cut lines, very poor pigmentation, very poor accuracy (we have a Japanese Tomahawk!), mirror-image of fuselage-halve artwork, leading to inverted lettering and reversed codes, all very poor!

The reason all the shots of the Thunderbolt above show the same side, is because the other side looked more like melted bubble-gum than aircraft artwork! And these were almost as bad, all over - a pinky-purple mess.

At least HTI aren't going to disappoint to the level Tobar's are!

I will look out for vintage versions and maybe come back to these in a few years - there were advertising premiums and some used to have a central balsa spar to which a rubber-band motor and wire-mounted wheels could be added, but if you're of a certain age; you know that, we all got through a couple or more - every summer!

I think I may have a four-engined Lancaster Bomber from a beach-day in the 1990's somewhere in storage, which was a better print, but the same sheet-foam construction - for now though; that's 'paper' planes!

29-03-64 (Very auspicious day!) Re- Tomolio's comment, these are being imported into the Antipodes by Pink Poppy - anyone recognise the logo on the stock-box?


tomholio said...

We have the foam planes here - sold in paper wrapping with deceptively good artwork. Link to the local importer:

Hugh Walter said...

Cheers Tomolio! I'll nick the image and post it at the bootom of the post with a note!

That's news for ANZAC readers if the rest of you are wondering!