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, March 28, 2018

Y is for " ♫ ♪ You Gotta' Right t'Not-Fight, But Par-ar-ar-ar-taaayyh! ♪ ♬ " ! *

So this is the stuff I live to collect for - forget yer' Airfix, yer' Jean, Elastolin or Starlux, all mass-produced, common-as-muck stuff, and how many colour variations of Marx cavalry? Who cares, they were packed in quantity in huge play-sets and piled high in ten-thousand stores, every Christmas for a decade! Britains farm and zoo? There are over a 2000 lots on evilBay - today (Farm - 1,897 lots, Zoo - 780), there will be in ten days time, there were ten day ago!

But these . . .

 . . . never seen them before, may never see them again! Best thing from Sandown, best thing this year - so far, two cool for dance school! **

What'der-yer recon? Balkans? Removed from some larger piece of tourist tat like a cuckoo clock? Cake decorations? Presumably, back in the days before globalisation, there were things like 'local' cake decorations? Wedding-cake? They could be a wedding party?

They are free-standing, but with a tendency to fall backwards and note that there is damage to a foot at either end, so they may have been removed from something which might have been a simple base, a complicated plinth or some household object? They could be the handle of the lid of a cheap butter-dish, with the other figures from a matching cruet set or sugar bowl or something!

We know a lot about UK, US and Euro toys, have learnt a lot about Aussie and NZ makers form the ACOTS guys and are now getting quite a bit on the Soviet bloc's commoner stuff, but there's a whole world out there and we know little about most of it, we don't even know what happened to Tatra's moulds after they went to Africa, probably in the 21st century!

These could be from the 'Stans, from the Balkans proper, South to one of the former Yugoslav republics, North to Bulgaria, West to Greece, are they Maltese or Cypriot (which half?!), the hats are quite Cossack-looking, black rather than red and softer outlines than true fez's (so I've ruled out Turkey arbitrarily!) which could take us up to the steppes of the Urals?

Bagpipes! Now we're in Syria or the Levant! Yeh - Scotii, you got them from the Picts who got them from the Legions, the little baby Jesus [probably] invented them two-hundred years before the Picts stopped painting each other blue like monkey's arses for long-enough to kill some Romans and take their wheezing-cat bags, you just added some notes and a fancy tartan cover!

Joking apart, they have a lot in common with the Female Italian from Codec / Commonwealth / Sanitarium and the male Turk from Sanitarium in the various World Doll/World Dancer ranges, so maybe Turkey after all! The apron and simplified skirt-stripes could place the women nicely in Skutari, Albania?

Researching this costume stuff - as I've discovered before - is not made easier by the fact that fifteen or twenty of the modern states/countries the figures may be from were in three empires in 1900; Ottoman 'European Turkey', Austro-Hungary and Imperial Russia.

The bag-piper has a wire-nail trumpet, but a plastic finger-whistle-mouthpiece-thing and is a single moulding with the nail presumably set into a jig in the tool before each shot. The brown 'worms' on him and the figure below were perished rubber-bands, used to hold them all together at some point in the past - let's hear it for click-shut bags.

All the figures are a creamy-white or neutral plastic, definitely polystyrene (as I mended some damage to the line-up) and are all-over painted in at least 12 colours - all of which are on the seven-figure line-up; flesh, pink, red, blue, pea-green, dark-green, yellow, tan, brown, black, white and gold.

These two however only add to the mystery, they initially looked as if their arms had been broken off, but close-ups show that they are just formed flatter (and possibly - further glue-melted) and with the deliberate hollow formed in the centre of their chest they seem to have been removed from something large; a base-drum, a May-pole, a dancing partner, a circus act . . . who knows?

Someone does - somewhere! They had to be informally discussed, formally planned, designed, funded, ordered, master-sculptured, pantographed, cleaned-up, test-shot, manufactured, packed, wholesale-marketed, shipped, retail-advertised, sold, used, discarded, found, sold-again and moved to Surrey, over maybe a 30/50 year period? Somewhere; someone knows all about them!

You want to know more about Cherilea Wild West? Google them!

You want to know more about these? Tough!

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* With apologies to the Beastie Boys!
** Actually it's a toss-up between these and the whale, as Balkan dancers can't have a fair fight with a whale, it'll have to be a draw for now! Look out for best ever non-board game game . . . with pigs . . . ever; coming soon!

And many thanks to Adrian Little who as good as gave me the bag of bits which contained both these figures and the whale!

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