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, July 3, 2018

S is for Something Very Unusual

OK, I really don't know what to make of these, and while I appreciate that some of the sheeple have followed TJF's eMail campaign's instructions not to have anything to do with the blog (although they all visit Small Scale World - every day), I'm hoping someone will have a stab at ID'ing them, or even musing on the possible origins, as they are definitely Something Very Unusual.

60mm Figures, 60mm Toy Soldiers, Lead Toy Soldiers, Made In France, Metal Toy Soldiers, Plastic Toy Soldiers, Probably French Cross-Over, Probably French Hybrid, Small Scale World, smallscaleworld.blogspot.com, Soldiers, Unknown, Unknown Toy Figures, Unknown Toy Soldiers, East European or Scandinavian Figure, WWI American Doughboy, WWII GI or Falschrimjager, Italian Alpini, German Soldier
These were sent-in by Chris Smith, who's had them for some time and believes them to be 'right' as in: factory metal heads and arms on plastic bodies.

The body is as good a place to start as anywhere, it looks vaguely familiar (Tamiya did a similar sculpt but smaller) it's a German [body] in greatcoat as far as I can tell, the WWII era Mauser-pouches either side of the 'GOTT MITT UNS' (God with us) round-in-square interlocking belt-buckle is pretty distinctive.

But that is where the 'German' all but ends, with from the left, head for: a Swede, Norwegian, Rumanian or Netherlander (some 'minor-nation's' helmet?), a WWI Doughboy, a WWII American (or Fallschrimjager?), an Italian Alpini from either conflict and . . . oh, a German who might be Swiss or Spanish!

The only clue (other than recognising either the body-sculpt or the arms/heads from somewhere else) is the base, and it's not much of a clue at that, the clipped corners can be seen on Spanish and Italian makes, there's something of Cavendish about them or even some Rose Miniatures metal solids, but I'm not suggesting it's any of the above!

Note that coats and bases have been painted different colours, coats to match nationalities and that the paint has not stayed-on well?

60mm Figures, 60mm Toy Soldiers, Lead Toy Soldiers, Made In France, Metal Toy Soldiers, Plastic Toy Soldiers, Probably French Cross-Over, Probably French Hybrid, Small Scale World, smallscaleworld.blogspot.com, Soldiers, Unknown, Unknown Toy Figures, Unknown Toy Soldiers, WWII US GI American Soldier, French Soldier in Beret, British Tommy Sodlier
Another body sculpt; another plastic colour; same arm on all three and this time we have a clear WWII American GI, a French-looking beret-wearer and a Tommy (again from either war) on a body which is light-order US ('ish) or post-war French - and that, I think, is our first decent clue.

Looking at the base again, first, it has something of some (and only 'some') of Beffoid's bases, or again looking to Spain - some of their makers had the chunky look to their foot-plates! Beffoid's other figures being totally unlike these I'm not suggesting them either! It is also completely different to the other base in styling, but the figure is the work of the same person, I'm sure.

60mm Figures, 60mm Toy Soldiers, Lead Toy Soldiers, Made In France, Metal Toy Soldiers, Plastic Toy Soldiers, Probably French Cross-Over, Probably French Hybrid, Small Scale World, smallscaleworld.blogspot.com, Soldiers, Unknown, Unknown Toy Figures, Unknown Toy Soldiers, British Soldier, Tommy, Britains Herald Guards Officer, Guardsman, German Soldier
Heading toward 60mm, sort of brings American producers into the wider frame, but I think they may be French. There's an outside chance they could be an off-the wall thing like Malleable Mouldings (because bugger-all's known about them really, but the second base is nothing like anything they did), however, as I said; I think they are French and will explain why . . .

Typically (that's not all, but most, and only most of those who changed material/style over time) British companies went from Hollow-cast to polyethylene, some indulging in mere flirtation with composition or Styrene, with an unpainted or PVC 'sorry-end'. Similarly long-lasting US companies went hard, painted plastic to soft, unpainted plastic through stages, with the metal or composition covered by other makers.

In Spain, metal tended to stay metal while the plastics people went PVC-ethylene and in Italy it was composition-to-ethylene with some experimenting with rubber.

But in France several companies went the whole journey through solid metal (or hollow-cast), to composition in the 1940's, then the phenolic or celluloid materials, then hard styrene polymers and finally soft unpainted or basic paint polyethylene, because each change must have required new tools and techniques (in addition to the new material) it must have led to new staff and new ideas.

Aftermarket producers have recognised the benefits of head-swaps for years and the arm-thing goes back to early Britains hollow-cast or earlier. The fact that there is a French head among those above suggests France as while the others (even - to a lesser extent - the Alpini) are pretty standard fare (with the exception of the left hand blue one), hardly anyone - outside France - bothered with the French (except for the almost de rigueur inclusion of Foreign Legion in ranges); only Marx really - with 15-odd poses over the years in four sizes and various finishes.

Chris is pretty adamant there is a commercial 'edge' to the metal heads/arms, not least that they are slid over a long plastic spigot which is then melted-back to hold them firmly in place whilst allowing them to move.

I therefore think (or suspect - it's the same thing!) they are a cross-over or hybrid thing, an experiment with a new material and the old material? Maybe just using-up a pile of heads and arms left-over from metal production, maybe on a couple of 'test-shot' or trial sculpts?

But it's only my thoughts, only some 'thinking out loud'!

Do you know any different? Do you have these, or other sculpts, other heads or arms? Have you a boxed-set? What are your thoughts or do you recognise either of the two body sculpts from somewhere else, or the maker of the heads/arms?

Do you disagree with the French-connection, could they be Belgian? Could they be British, or from America, Japan, or Hong Kong? Equally they could very-well be South American?

Someone knows! Five and three of the same bodies . . . somewhere, somewhen, someone made a shed-load of Something Very Unusual! Cheers Chris.

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