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, June 23, 2020

M is for Military Mystery Men

I really, really, REALLY thought I'd posted these, in fact I thought I'd posted them more than once, but I can't find them anywhere on the blog (except a relatively recent distance shot, in a 'Forthcoming' post) under the correct tags (Comet, Eriksson, Spencer Smith and/or Timpo, nor 'Motorcycles'!), so without further ado; let's get'em up'ere!

Agasee Moulds; BR Moulds; Bren Gunner; Britains Khaki Infantry; Britains Machine Gunner; Comet Authenticast; GI's; Hilco Plastic Figures; Holgar Ericksonn; Holgar Eriksson; Home Casting Motorcycles; Home Casting Moulds; Homemade Figures; Johillco; Joplin's Book; Motorbike; Motorcycle; SAE; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Timpo Khaki Infantry; Timpo Toys; Toy Importers; Toy Motorbike; Toy Motorcycle;
I think I must have thought about posting them once or twice and written the blurb-bits in my head, leaving me with a false memory (or false memories!) of having posted them, when I hadn't?

Anyway, here they are and they are brittle, polystyrene 'kit' plastic, in a much darker colour than the flash has rendered them here! Most of the other images are truer to the eye, but not the last one (bottom) which was taken in the same circumstances as this one.

They are relatively unusual and an odd mix as we have a semi-flat running G.I., a fully-round kneeling firing Tommy Atkins and a very generic motorcyclist who's more civilian racing scrambler!

Agasee Moulds; BR Moulds; Bren Gunner; Britains Khaki Infantry; Britains Machine Gunner; Comet Authenticast; GI's; Hilco Plastic Figures; Holgar Ericksonn; Holgar Eriksson; Home Casting Motorcycles; Home Casting Moulds; Homemade Figures; Johillco; Joplin's Book; Motorbike; Motorcycle; SAE; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Timpo Khaki Infantry; Timpo Toys; Toy Importers; Toy Motorbike; Toy Motorcycle;
The sources are therefore as eclectic as the finished group and we'll go from the left in the previous image, which means the kneeling firer here first; he's taken from Timpo's WWII figure, and may well have been taken from the original hollow-cast rather than either of the later plastic issues we looked at here, they having copied they own hollow-cast moulding!

Agasee Moulds; BR Moulds; Bren Gunner; Britains Khaki Infantry; Britains Machine Gunner; Comet Authenticast; GI's; Hilco Plastic Figures; Holgar Ericksonn; Holgar Eriksson; Home Casting Motorcycles; Home Casting Moulds; Homemade Figures; Johillco; Joplin's Book; Motorbike; Motorcycle; SAE; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Timpo Khaki Infantry; Timpo Toys; Toy Importers; Toy Motorbike; Toy Motorcycle;
The running chap is taken from a common (and much used) pose/sculpt (or should that be sculpt-pose?) from the famous figure-sculptor Holgar Eriksson. Seen here compared with the diminutive Spencer Smith's, but also used by Comet-Authenticast, Comet-Gaeltec, SAE, Tradition and probably others, it can be - and is - many nations with head/webbing swaps, or the addition of a frock-coat and bi-corn hat, and the match illustrated isn't completely identical.

Agasee Moulds; BR Moulds; Bren Gunner; Britains Khaki Infantry; Britains Machine Gunner; Comet Authenticast; GI's; Hilco Plastic Figures; Holgar Ericksonn; Holgar Eriksson; Home Casting Motorcycles; Home Casting Moulds; Homemade Figures; Johillco; Joplin's Book; Motorbike; Motorcycle; SAE; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Timpo Khaki Infantry; Timpo Toys; Toy Importers; Toy Motorbike; Toy Motorcycle;
The third member of the 'set' which I had remembered as four (they've been in storage for a while) and may be more, it this motorcycle, again it seems to have been a common design back in the 1950's (or even late 1940's), predominantly for board-game pieces? Luckily I have found all three 'junk' lead and unknown Hollow-cast boxes in the garage!

You'll see the best match for the front-forks among the smaller trio, is the green one, but the head of the pink one is closer - they are very play-worn, very soft lead. A lack of fettling has led the larger red one to look like one of those Bisque imp-devils for cake-decorating, but closer study reveals several similar key-signatures . . . actually closer study suggests he is meant to be an Imp? Pointy ears?

Further I have a note to the effect that the trio are 'similar; to an Agasee home-casting mould (166? I've already put it away!), which is important for the rest of the narrative, and as I haven't found the Agasee catalogue yet and the red one has come in since, we may find it (Imp), or the plastic one, are actually closer to - or from - the Agasee mould?


Now known to be from Glevum Games 'Dirt Track Racing' game.

Agasee Moulds; BR Moulds; Bren Gunner; Britains Khaki Infantry; Britains Machine Gunner; Comet Authenticast; GI's; Hilco Plastic Figures; Holgar Ericksonn; Holgar Eriksson; Home Casting Motorcycles; Home Casting Moulds; Homemade Figures; Johillco; Joplin's Book; Motorbike; Motorcycle; SAE; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Timpo Khaki Infantry; Timpo Toys; Toy Importers; Toy Motorbike; Toy Motorcycle;
These were sent to the Blog by Chris Smith the other day (prompting the fruitless search for the originals on the Blog!), I think they are all polyethylene and we find, as the fall-out from the BR Moulds revelations in Plastic Warrior magazine gathers momentum, that there are lots of these figures out there, who have come, not only from that set of moulds, but from other, poured-metal or hollow-casting (?) sources.

Off the top of my head we have here an ex-Agasee bren-gunner based on the Hill/Johilco pose (inset - from Joplin's 'Big Book of Hollow Cast') of the same hollow-cast pose; another of the Eriksson runners, but this one with an apparently different base; landscaped and wearing the Authenticast 'ears' and a sling - but mine may be a short-shot version of the same tool, I don't think so though; more likely Chris's was the donor for my simplified cop-of-a-copy? While the MG gunner is ex-Britains too, I think, with that ammo-box sticking-out the side?

The point being made here is that a lot of the figures previously credited by some in the Old Guard to Hilco, Charbens or 'Early Cherilea' . . . err . . . aren't! They are in fact taken from either the newly discovered BR moulds, or home-casting moulds, or pirated from Hollow-cast figures/production, either by smaller commercial outfits, or industrious individuals/hobbyists.

The three (prone MG, rifleman and Kneeling GI) I put on the Khaki Infantry page (and sent to PW (issue 156) are now looking more likely to be Trojan than when I first suggested it, while the ex-Airfix para' almost certainly is, as Trojan probably helped themselves to a set of BR's moulds! To them it would have been investing petty-cash to write-off against tax . . . ?

Agasee Moulds; BR Moulds; Bren Gunner; Britains Khaki Infantry; Britains Machine Gunner; Comet Authenticast; GI's; Hilco Plastic Figures; Holgar Ericksonn; Holgar Eriksson; Home Casting Motorcycles; Home Casting Moulds; Homemade Figures; Johillco; Joplin's Book; Motorbike; Motorcycle; SAE; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Timpo Khaki Infantry; Timpo Toys; Toy Importers; Toy Motorbike; Toy Motorcycle;
The mould for Chris's Bren-gunner, it's a home-casting mold, but if jigged to fit a single-shot hand injection-moulder (as still used by Peter Cole at Replicants) it could produce a number of figures without distorting as the pressures built-up by such an appliance are no greater than the weight of a body on a bottle-jack, the trick is probably more to keep heaving until the extremities have formed, to prevent short-shot 'blob-ends', than to be releasing the pressure early to prevent damage to a solid-metal mould!

I believe some of these moulds were Zamak/Mazac alloy, so pretty tough, and while a modern six-second-cycle, fully automated injection-moulding machine would probably blow-them apart in less than a minute; that's not how they were done back in the day. Some however were softer whitemetal, and wouldn't last long before deformation? So, yes, it's in the Hill catalogue, but that doesn't make it Johillco.

I don't know if it's specifically an Agasee mould, and seem to remember being corrected last time I mentioned them as they were mostly importing someone else's moulds, but there were other mould-makers supplying home hobbyists (Gilbert and Schwarz spring to mind), often with variations of the same sculpts - the modern home-casters use the output to melt-down for new lead and few of them are in Joplin's big book - the 'BMSS & OTS guys' just don't rate them.

Agasee Moulds; BR Moulds; Bren Gunner; Britains Khaki Infantry; Britains Machine Gunner; Comet Authenticast; GI's; Hilco Plastic Figures; Holgar Ericksonn; Holgar Eriksson; Home Casting Motorcycles; Home Casting Moulds; Homemade Figures; Johillco; Joplin's Book; Motorbike; Motorcycle; SAE; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Timpo Khaki Infantry; Timpo Toys; Toy Importers; Toy Motorbike; Toy Motorcycle;
The bases of mine, there are no marks on mine, nor on Chris's, nor the commoner prone/kneeling figures, nor the guards and highlanders now attributed to BR, nor my funny little Highlander or that larger prone highlander and lifeguard we looked at a couple of years ago, nor the 'Trojan' paratrooper.

And don't think I'm attacking the Old Guard, they've always used the caveats of 'believed', 'thought', 'might' or 'could' be . . . assumed, presumed or 'seem to be', so arses were always covered, but it's clear there was much shenanigans going-on back in the 1950's-early '60's to produce all these more esoteric toy soldiers!

Thanks to Chris again for his images and for the second time this month - the more we know, the more we know we need to find out! That's five or six figures - new to the blog, new to the Internet (except evilBay!) and new (ish) to the hobby . . . oh, and thanks to John Begg and Steve Vickers for my three, which came to me from a fruit-box on a tailgate in a car-park back in 2009, some of my first large-scale purchases!

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