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.

Friday, June 22, 2018

T is for Two - TAT's Tankette!

As flagged-up this morning, these are from Chris Smith, and while we've looked at them before, it won't hurt to have another shufftie, especially as Chris's seem to tie my lose examples together a bit.

The vagaries of digital-photography! That dark one down the bottom right is the same vehicle as the one to its left and the one on the far left in the upper image! But flash aside, you can see that both carriers are different shades of green polymer, and also differ from their own crew's plastic-colours. Painting (if you feel one or two stab-and-hope blobs of pink qualify for the moniker 'painting'!) between the crews also varies quite a bit.

I hope Chris won't mind my pointing out that some of these shots are not the best images (he's only just got his camera and I understand these are some of the first shots taken), but they get the job done. As well as being copies of the Britains slush-cast Bren Gun Carrier, these TAT machines carry copies of the Britains hollow-cast crewmen, which strangely I happen to have a set of in storage, so when they are out and the missing Tri-Ang officer from this morning turns up we will return to the subjects again.

Also I think I'm right in saying this and the Britains donor ARE Bren Gun Carriers, while the later Dinky toy and the miniscule Airfix one are actually Universal Carriers - with the boxy body?

O is for Odd's & Sod's in Olive-drab!

And other colours! The images in this post have been taken in four different years, on five or six occasions, by two people, and, to be honest; it doesn't amount to a hill of beans . . . but it may help you with some of the stuff in your 'unknown' pile! And if Chris Smith hadn't sent me a couple of them the other day, the rest would have sat around in Picasa for another year or two!

Odd's & sod's; Specifically figures from toy vehicles . . . from the left we have the Bren-gunner form the late Dinky Toys die-cast model of a Bren Gun Carrier, a 'troop' from Tri-Ang's Mini-highway amphibious troop-carrier and an unknown, up-scaled copy of an Airfix HO-OO (now 1:72nd!) artilleryman. I can't remember if he's been shown here before, we did look at his painted brother with some Marx stuff a few years ago (2011/12?) and I mentioned him at the time.

Inset bottom right is a comparison of the mounting spigots in the bums of the two figures. Duplication is a feature of this post as everything got shot in different configurations from time to time!

More Bren-gunners, I think the smaller ones are all TAT, but there are subtle differences between the two, the paler one being a heavier sculpt, and with all those HK plastic vehicle companies copying each other, they may be from two sources, I doubt it though, and suspect mould-cavities, or tool-tweaks as being behind the differences!

The respective drivers, the polyethylene Dinky driver has a fold-up steering-wheel on a flexible tag, the polystyrene TAT driver has his integrally moulded, which to do - in the way it's been done - must have had him sitting at an odd angle in the mould-tool, which was a three-part'er, lot of effort for a pocket-money toy!

The TAT are copied of the earlier Britains hollow-cast era, slush-cast Bren-carrier, and while we did look at one here a while ago, Chris sent me more images as I was editing this post, so there will be a quick look later today!

While the Dinky are from the Lines-owned period, so I would guess they are Stadden sculpts, probably from the Havent Minimodels plant, but I'm not going to keep bugging the younger Stadden with questions on such esoteric matters, so it's only a thought! And - even if they are his (the elder's) work, the criteria - being stuffed into a small space, in a die-cast toy, where accuracy is a question of compromise - means they are not his best.

Chris sent me these two shots of the Triang amphibious troop carrier and ambulance. They're loosely based-on the Stalwart amphibious artillery servant/logistics vehicle, and/or the 1-ton Forward-Control (FC) Land-Rover's both of which were newish vehicles when these toys first hit the selves. There's a bit of early Pinzgauer DNA in there too!

These are interesting in being 'crossover' toys from  the Minic era, being half-plastic and half-tin plate, there were 6 different upper body variants  with various numbers of the same figres and including an armoured car with none.

Both are suffering from melted wheel 'syndrome' as the phthalates leaching from the unstable PVC tyres/tires attacks the polystyrene wheel-hubs/rims. If you find good ones, it's best to remove the rubber tyres, coat the wheels with either a clear, matt enamel, or (less desirable an option) a matching yellow - which you would have to mix yourself (add a bit of olive-green to a 50/50 mix of matt and gloss yellow for the closest match?).

You could also try my new remedy for these plastics' problems - a quick coat of plumber's sealant? And if you have some real-world car/auto bumper-gel or dashboard shine (both silicon products) it might be worth a try wiping a small amount on the inside of the tyres before you replace them?

Despite the fact that this is supposed to be the once-in-a-blue-moon Odd's & Sod's round-up, there is a figure still absent, the Officer; who sometimes accompanies these (- lose; boxed he's always in the cab I think?), now I know I have one somewhere, but can I find him - can I hell! He looks like the soldiers but with a peaked cap and no '58 Pattern webbing's kidney-pouches.

So we'll have to return to these again one day, but in the meantime, like the three posts the other day (Lone Star Roadmasters, Kleeware crazy cops and . . . err . . . the other one!), these will be - for a good number of you - one of those 'what are they' questions marks you can now put to bed.

The mystery figures - both copied from the Airfix small-scale Artillery kits 6-lbr and 25-lbr - the pointing figure was in both kits, the guy with an empty shell case/blank was only in the 25-lbr kit.

One is painted to match hard-plastic versions of the Marx 45m figures, the other unpainted and missing a base? I think the painting is more coincidental than anything else; back in the day paint was gloss and came in about twelve colours! Similar painting styles (two, three or four-colour gloss) are found on made-up shop display models from Aurora, Monogram, Pyro and others.

I think they must be piracies, used for something like an early Crown or Aoshima kit, presumably an artillery piece or SPG? Aoshima did a bunch of 1:48th scale AFV's, while Airfix themselves bought-in a small range of 1:35th kits in the 1970's; where they included-in/added-to one of them?

Have you seen the other poses - drill-sergeant/SNCO with swagger stick (25-lbr), Standing at attention (6-lbr) and holding full, pointy shell - both kits; there's no reason to suppose they were all copied, but no reason not to . . . or do you know where they originate?

So that's a few odd's & sod's from the vehicular 'khaki spectrum', more on TAT later today.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Q is for Query - International Products

Yesterday (Wed.) was a mare of a day for a number of reasons, not least of which was that Bakers hardware are closed in the afternoon and Farnborough Hardware had burnt down? No matter, I managed to get a thumb on the little buggers tail when he raided the cat food and a humane release on the golf-course followed!

Mice! Another failing of the 'assistant'. But nothing got posted for today, so this is a quick one from the archive - Sandown Park about a year ago - Adrian's stall.

Not a question mark as we know it's by International Products, but that's all we know, do you know more? M38-type Jeep 'Wrangler' and trailer, the trailer pierced at the corners for a load, box body, tilt-cover or something of that ilk; possibly a sweet container or tied-in bag of figures or sand-castle flags? The whole in the style of Tudor Rose, Lilo or other (International Products!) beach toys.

Mark - International Products London xx (??). The jeep is missing a windscreen and possibly a spare-wheel.

That's it, bit of a box ticker; can you add anything?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Q is for still a Querry

Juan Angel (Gog of Toys From the Past) has sent in some more shots of his unknown cavemen in the hope it might wrack people's brains as to their origins? I can only add what I said the other day;

"I know they are late Hong Kong or early 'China' era rack-toys, probably with dinosaurs and a palm tree or blow-moulded rock or two, but can anyone ascribe a set title or brand-mark to them?"

I've previously - I think - only seen two poses, possibly the two on the left with rocks, whether the advent of two more heralds the fact that all six original Marx poses will turn-up is anyone's guess, have you seen the other two - clubbing prey (or another caveman!) and squatting with spear?


Guarding the cave-entrance!

Out and about, they suffer from being rather too pale for near-naked prehistoric types, and as copies will never have the quality of Marx originals, but they make a nice little group. If anyone can help Gog - he'd appreciate it.

S is for Scott's Squaddie, Sculptures - Singular!

Standing around the 60-millimeter mark, but with a fusiliers hackle and heavy base pushing him toward the 65/70 area visually, this is a resin sculpt, and you all know my views of resin, but it's only the overblown hype and commonly high prices surrounding what is actually a cheap tech' that really gets my goat.

I can't find much about this firm (Sculptures UK ) on t'Internet, but it seems they may have operated under more than one name, be extant [still] under one of them, be/to have been a Scottish firm, and to have 'flourished' - in the best sense of people who haven't got a clue - around 2011?

There's a Roman legionary on Amazon with a very different 'puddle' or 'mound' base out of stock at the moment, and a - similar to the above - plinthed Black Watch piper, but clicking on the Sculptures UK link takes you to a dead page. And that's as much as I can find with a cursory look, but lots of 'Scottish' hits come back on a Google search which I didn't have time (or the inclination) to investigate further.

Conversely - having fingered Scotland; twice - the box is more reminiscent of the Russian 'art house' metal makers! I'm guessing a tourist/museum gift-shop outfit, whether still with us or - more likely - long-gone?

He's similar to the RHF of my time (they had a white hackle), but is I suspect contemporary with the 2011 date, being a post-amalgamations (and 2nd tranche amalgamations at that) soldier, in the interim combats and newer webbing I don't recognise, with DPM pouches, he's armed with a post H&K updated SA80 - what are they called now; SA99-and-a-bit! Probably the All Points North of Berwick Regiment!

He's slightly stylised, but it helps hide the resin, being sculpted with more traditional smoother surfaces. He's wearing a light belt-order and Tam O'Shanter, so more range-day, NI-patrolling, or gate-duty than either parade or full combat operations.

A close-up, name tags were another thing [unofficially?] adopted in recent years, although - as I drag my sorry arse toward it's 60th with alarming rapidity - I realise my 'recent years' is now, actually, the previous 30!

A nice enough figure depicting a glimpse of a short period in the many changes in the appearance of a British Soldier in his day-to-day uniform, since the monumental change of the 1989 falling of 'The Wall'. Still not as well-tailored as the French, but never as scruffy as the Israelis! Thanks to Peter Evans for putting him in the latest Plunder bags.

M is for Mulan

A 1998 movie from the Disney stable, I won't pretend to know anything about it, as until I bought this from a charity shop I'd never heard of it! And until I Googled it; I didn't have the date!

Arcotoys Inc. a Mattel Company (yes - that Arco!) produced these 'jewellery' ('play' jewellery!) sets apparently in three slightly different configurations along with a larger battery-operated chirping-cricket toy, presumably as a tester to the likelihood of merchandise from the movie shifting?

Non-human items, after the real junk had already gone to recycling, all marred by the ring-loop for attaching to the plastic necklace. The tree is a flat, or relief sculpt with a plain back and semi-flat front while the panda is quite realistic, or at least bearable (geddit!) and the horse isn't too bad; pointy face though! The other three would have gone to 'recyce' if they weren't figurals!

The three humans, I have the chap in the middle in the unknown manga/anime zone of the unknown superheroes box in storage, so it's nice to have him ID'd, all three are about 30mm.

The figurines and tree are all PVC and the necklace, earrings and wristband, along with some of the smaller pieces were polyethylene.

After removal of the ring-loops and a quick touch-up with some PVA paint, they all look a lot better, the cherry-blossom with make a nice background scenic display shelf item; another set had an oriental doorway in the same shades of pink.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

K is fur der Karmine Katzen ist so Kühl wie eine Kukumber Johnny!

Said Wulf Sternhammer, and he knew what he was talking about; I hope, 'cos no one else did! More pink Panthers, for such rare and unusual animals there are a lot about!

50mm PVC-alike (I'm preparing a page on polymers, after it's published I'll start referring to a lot of this 'PVC' as 'elastomer' which covers a multitude of sins) figurines which some of you may have seen on feebleBay, from whence I got these a couple of weeks ago, I'm on a bit of a Pink Panther hunt at the moment - among other things!

Each of them is greeting in some way with one hand, greetings being a 'high-four', 'got-cha'covered' finger-point, OK sign (not clear but it looks better 'in the polymer flesh'), a thumbs-up, a hat-doffed in greeting and a 'good idea' or 'agree with that' type finger-point.

Down the drive-through watching baseball on the big screen! I bought these from https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/391944784951 for £2.69p (free postage!), which is less than 45p-each and it was the first time I've purchased one of these direct from China lots, I can report there were no problems, they arrived from Hong Kong within a week, and the automated postal label had been ticked 'gift', so nothing evil doing at Heathrow either, you can pay £3 postage and have bigger problems buying something similar from 50-miles away.

Gangs of New Holland! What's rather comical is that apparently Pink Panthers can be naked to play table tennis, go to the theatre , play basket-ball, woo a lady panther (with a bunch of clover? Probably cat-nip!) or sit about doing nothing, but - get your camera out and you'd better-be probably dressed young cat!

And; when I say "Naked", a dickey-bow seems de rigueur!

T is for Two - Wheelers!

Bit of a lazy post, because I had a lazy weekend and didn't get anything ready for yesterday or today, except the stuff for the other Blogs announced in yesterday's post! Both these were shot at the May show, both self-explanatory and the second probably seen before - certainly seen before in some form.

This is obviously a touristy-thing; I suspect from Ireland, it's err . . . a Jaunting Car! For going for a jaunt in, obviously! I said they were self-explanatory! Nothing else to say really, it's a brittle or tinny polystyrene, airbrush-decorated through stencils and around 54mm or 1:32nd scale, almost in the style of a porcelain 'fairing', the sort of thing it probably replaced.

There is no clue underneath as to make or origin, date or anything else, so that's the first; a probably Irish jaunt'er! It's also the leading candidate for the most boring shot ever loaded on Small Scale World Dot Blogspot Dot Com competition! However, don't think I dislike it, I bought it - after I'd shot it!

The second has been before, but I can't remember if it was a boxed one, and whether or not the figure was PVC or ethylene, but here's another one and it'll get it in the tag-list so it comes up with the previous post/s. This bronze version is - I think - the earlier one (even though I consider the vinyl figures more common than the ethylene ones) that the Hong Kong copy was based-on.

[checked upon posting - it was red with white horses and the PVC spear-man]

The box, nice 1960's (?) artwork; playing-on the Chariot Race from Ben Hur on one panel, with a reasonably accurate depiction of the contents on the larger side.

Monday, June 18, 2018

News, Views Etc . . . New Content - Airfix Blog, Galoob, Football, Card Collector's Flyer +

New content has been added to various small-scale posts on the Airfix Blog today, including horse/base comparisons on the Bedouin/Nap. French Infantry/AWI Grenadiers posts, new content on the 1st & 2nd version WWII Eighth Army, 1st version WWII German Infantry, Civilians and the Infantry Combat Group, while the Lone Star/Airfix comparison shots have finally been added to the 1st & 2nd versions of Afrika Korps & WWII German Infantry and to the British Paratroops. Most have had some text, but it's only reminded me of how behind I am over there!

I've also added two pairs of new pictures/screen-capchas to the Galoob page - numbers 40; pilot, and 41; a new carrier-deck bib-colour/base variant.

_ᴥ­_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_

For any fans or collectors of tea, gum and cigarette cards, The Card Scene magazine (formerly Card Times) is the one for you - if you've not found it yet? Six issues a year (each with up to 36 pages) for £17 seems reasonable value for money compared to other publications of the same type.

[cheques payable to Ace Card Ents]

Ace Card Enterprises (C/O J. Devaney)
10 Yelverton Road

_ᴥ­_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_

Football News
The first casualty of the current pig's-bladder kicking contest in Putin's war-mongering gulag may be Panini's UK-distributor Connect. After some negative publicity earlier in the year over how many packs you'd have to buy to guarantee a full set following - what seems to be an act of pure profiteering - a price hike from 50p to 80p (about a Dollar or Euro), sales dropped, leading to an ironic - if you accept my charge of profiteering - profits warning last week!

Although this is not to mistake a profit warning as equating to a lack of success; with or without a price hike the two packs (single and x6) were the second and sixth best selling items in the toy sector; week-ending 19th may, according to analysts NPD Group.

Nevertheless, Mark Cashmore the CEO of Connect has resigned and WHSmith the High Street newsagents (themselves, recently declared worst shop on the said High Street by the consumer watchdog Which?), felt the need to organise an in-store 'Swap Event' (Saturday 2nd June) encouraging kids (or dads?) to come in and swap their duplicates with each other, in order - presumably - to minimise purchases, in the normal course of events I'd say "You can't make this shit up" but in the new Trumpundbrexit 'world order' it seems anything goes while we wait patiently for the end!

The cause of all this was a work published back in March by mathematics Professor Paul Harper who calculated the cost of obtaining a full album to be a eye-watering £773.60p which is probably about the same as my total toy-figure spend in two or more years.

With 32 squads to collect plus the special-page and whole-team stickers it could be more, I'm not sure he's calculated the potential inequality of the 'randomness' of packs contents (vis-a-vis batches or waves) given that a sheet (seen at the printers - in the i newspaper; Thursday, 7th June) only had 200 stickers on it (A1 sheet, 20x10), suggesting different batches will have different duplicates - if you see what I mean?

As far as other football playthings go, Match Attack and Top Trump football sets are also selling well at the moment. Apparently football-related toy-sales have doubled in recent times for the periods of each World Cup or Euro-Championship, making up 6% of toy sales in those years, for a seasonal industry relying on Christmas and summer 'super-soakers' - that's not small beer.

_ᴥ­_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_

Toys in the Media! This is a current flyer locally my friends got sent, for the central heating firm undertaking checks for Vivid, who are the new name for several local authority's preferred housing association. It looks to be a library shot, possibly available on-line somewhere, as it's unlikely a central heating company in Farnborough would have access to a HO-railway model of an alpine chalet, but you never know! Anyone recognise the model/maker/brand?

_ᴥ­_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_ᴥ_

Returning to Galoob; my assistant - being as helpful as always - decided that sorting the Micro Machine G.I's numerically by base-mark is just not the sensible way to go at the task, in her own words -

"Hughman - You need to sort them leastest lastest, mostest firstest, and the red & white ones can go on the floor for now, look, here; I'll do it for you, you're obviously 'busy' faffing about with that camera!"

Sunday, June 17, 2018

News, Views etc . . . Khaki Infantry Page, plus, plus . . .

Chris Smith has kindly sent photographs of a set of the Toltoys Combat Squad copies from Australia for the Khaki Infantry Page and I've added them there; after Tenco's Model which has also been updated.

Meanwhile Barney Brown eMailed with news of a new bunch of 'Khaki Infantry' subjects in his store which was rather fortuitous timing!

New game: random search-term gave-up Dipsy* with a bullet-hole in his forehead - Priceless!

* Or at least I think it's Dipsy**

** Other dead Teletubbies may be available - check stockist's for details***

*** No Dipsy's were hurt in the making of this Post ****

**** Or were they?

Toys in advertising; dodgy-Muppets flogging credit cards, wasn't it ever thus in bwanking!

Fleet Toys (who aren't actually called Fleet Toys anymore!) have changed their 'gate-guardian' again, we have a unified-German policeman, anglicised! If you had a big estate it would be fun to have a few of these hidden about the place holding hose-pipes or rakes or something! Or you could get some Lego ones and have them fighting!

I've nothing ready for Monday, I was busy with a wild-flower 'meadow' (more of a 'patch' really) on Friday so it will be a late posting tomorrow!

T is for Two - 'Army Men' Artillery Appliances

In the pile of 'Army Men' vehicles from Peter Evans, was two artillery pieces, one of which was problematical in that (or 'a') uniquely Hong Kong/China fashion, I fixed the problem, taking a few shots as I did so, so that's the core of the post, but I've stuck the other on the end for the hell of it.

Vaguely showing its heritage in a hundred copies of the old Dinky 25lb'er and similar, but simplified to the point of futuristic/air-droppable howitzer . . . of a sort! The maximum elevation is shown - great for firing off a castle-wall, but bugger-all use on a battlefield, even against crumbly, modern, stick-weapon army men!

A quick inspection revealed that two flat plates coming forward of the trunions was the core of the problem; fouling the shield, it was only 'right' or comfortable, if pointing at the grass in front of it! Indecently - from the clear 'CHINA' mark in that sqiudged sans-serif, it appears to be from some of the larger bagged sets with the same figures as those Halsall/HTI sets we've looked at.

A bit of surgical engineering and bob's-your-uncle; all that was needed was to cut off those two flat ears of plastic. But one wonders how the hell it ever got out of the factory, I know it's a cheap rack-toy and I know I've made the same point in the past, but the tool costs the same, a trail-fit at some point, ten minutes with a burr or welding-rod,  or a combination of the both could have prevented it? Weird!

Fixed, it's still not pretty, but a bit of paint and it'll do for lawn war-gaming?

This was in the same lot, and it's an odd one, because it looks like the New Ray piece, but is pretty-poor quality, now, I'm only going on memories of catalogue images, and catalogues which have been in storage for over six years, but I thought the finish/build-quality of the New Ray models was better than this which is quite naff, really!

But then maybe I'm being unkind, its main problem is the flashy mould-lines right round the middle of the gun and the floor-tray of the mounting/trailer, the real naffness is the lack of detail to the underside, but then that's hidden from view. The 'chrome-plated, mag-alloys' (which I'm sure the New Ray one desn't have) don't help, but they are a problem with a lot of cheap toy vehicles.

I will check it with the New Ray's in time, but thought I'd chuck it up here as a box-ticker! And again; a bit of paint and you've a nice piece for cold war-ear smaller armies - Argentine commandos used similar units.

D is for Dinosaur Eggs . . . With Mini Toy Inside!

Pity they died-out really, although we'd be knee-deep in toys by now . . . err . . . some of us already are! Brain (Terranova) sent these a few days ago, and I was going to include them in a capsule toy round-up, then I thought they'd better go in an eraser follow-up, but sorting those I thought "I'm sure I've done the pigs . . . and I think we've had that . . . ?" so decided they'd better get their own post while I work out what's been published and what hasn't!

Four in a bag and Terra' didn't give a price, but I bet they are cheaper that the equivalent Kinder eggs, but then without the chocolate; they should be I suppose! Imported by Regent Products and manufactured by '1707-6500' . . . that'll be a state-owned contract-manufacturer then!

Four little dinosaurs! If I was a lady dinosaur though, I'm not sure I'd be wanting to lay eggs covered in sharp little knobbles! I'm guessing they are grippy-bits to help little-fingers separate the two halves of the eggs?

Each dinosaur comes with a list of the models available, which is not divisible by four, so there will be duplication as you try to collect all of them. And the 'berserker' shows they are perfect for adding to the micro-mini's from Imperial/The Works we've looked at a few times here now, and one of the reasons Brian set them to the Blog - thanks Brian!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Thought For The Day!

Is liberal democracy based on the rule of law safe?

M is for Magnetic Personalities

At May's Toy Soldier show I picked-up an odd lot, or more accurately (probably!); 'collection' of mixed items with one thing in common, they are all fitted with a magnet, or some rubberised, magnetic-strip material.

I could Blog them as six 'Q is for Question Time's, but as they came together I thought I'd Blog them together and there's too much stuff in the queue for me to be unnecessarily creating another five posts!

These are they, at a rather awkward angle, but I was fighting a dying camera and a sharply angled evening sun casting shadows on everything! A couple of 60mm figures for scale, you can see the grey motorcyclist is around the 35/40mm mark with the two civilians at the back toward a standard 54mm.

Just mentioned; their magnets are set into slight recesses in the base and their style is 'stylised'! Or, semi-flat (demi-ronde) . . . really; just a bit basic! Hard polystyrene, slightly French-looking, slightly Hong Kong-looking and painted to match the sculpting - simply!

I believe, or suspect . . . or even 'assume' (they all amount to the same thing as you'll see going down the page) that some of them were from a magnetic street scene, traffic, driving game, or a board-game of some kind (rather like a scale-up of the old Merit small-scale one; Remote Control Driving Test), to which the owner/s added other suitable things, these two being possibly from the original . . . whatever it was?

But it's all speculation and any ID's will be appreciated.

This chap is - I think - a lot older, his arms - rather threadbare now - were once a furry pipe-cleaner, whether it was dyed to match his jacket or not is a long faded fact, if true! Also, it's hard to tell if the magnetic washer has been added or was a factory-fit, for use with another, similar toy or novelty to the one which probably produced the above figures.

The glue-line suggests addition, the matching paint suggests factory? But it is rather 'painted to match' - the motorcycle itself being unpainted polystyrene, so I favor the former, thinking his original 'novelty' was bendable arms, not magnetic toy?

He has the appearance of a premium/corporate gift item for a 'Formeta', but again, he could have been added to a small Formeta sample sheet, of the type given out at trade fairs. Again styrene, but unpainted, and while resembling the 30-odd millimetre Dinky road-worker (as copied by Blue Box and others) it is actually a subtly-different and - again - quite French looking sculpt?

Presumably, even if it IS a Formeta gift/premium, the figure and wheelbarrow would have been bought-in from somewhere? The barrow is similar to, but not the same as; Starlux, so another French link . . . sort-of!

I had a bit of a search for the Formeta, but could only find several other Formetas, all of which were in metal fabrication, several of which used similar logotype, but not quite the same (two are inset above), some of which seemed to have been linked or merged, others not, at least one had gone bust leaving dead-links and they were geographically spread over the Low-Countries, Canada, France and the US, so nothing to really help there, especially as the guy with a barrow is not exactly screaming 'formed metals' at us, but rather . . . road-works or building site!

This guy, like the first two seems to have a 'meant' magnet and while he's as poorer-a-sculpt as them he's a different scale and material, being a softer polypropylene or nylon type plastic, and while he also looks newer - though not as new as the next guy!

So I guess, a different magnetic game/novelty or plaything of some kind and gathered together with the others? And while you can't say he looks as French as some of the above, that's definitely De Gaulle's nose!

This guy looks more like he's from a board game as a counter/playing piece and has had the magnet added later, it's not even centred, but it also looks so modern; sloppy workmanship might have resulted in a lopsided gluing in the factory, so again not much informative to take from it.

The glossy styrene (or even Bakelite type phenolic - it's a very odd plastic) looks modern though, so I'm hoping someone might recognise him?

To split the previous lots from the last image below, I'm posting these as they seemed to be part of the same group. The little 'start of motorway' sign is marked Majorette and probably has nothing to do with any of the other pieces, being from their similar range to Matchbox's 1-75 smallies.

But the two larger ones, are both - obviously - French (which is nice because the group's looking French overall), and I hope at least one of them might have a direct link with at least one of the figures above? The 'Nice' may be from O-gauge railways, but the 'Give way to the left' crossroads sign is just the sort of thing you might find in a magnetic driving game!

These two seem to be German. The uniforms are West German police, pre-unification as far as I can tell. They are also magnetic, but have moving arms, presumably so they can do the various traffic-control signals, while standing in/on a - missing - dais or sentry-post type thing?

They also look to be earlier than most of the above; 1950's? Particularly the hat on the left-hand figure of the two on the right, which harks back to the inter-war years, although the grey motorcyclist may well be of a similar age? Also, they weren’t part of the 'group' and I thank Adrian Little for letting me photograph them.

So there you go, a very mixed bag, which apart from the last lot, seem to represent a French collection or collection of French (or both) magnetic civilians, with three motorcycles from different sources, a premium/desk-toy which may not be either and a couple of road signs to match, or not! Can anybody add anything?