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.

Figurines



Toy Soldier and Model Figure Types

Size / Type

Statue - Large (typically life-size or larger than life-size) representation of the human or animal form in a hard-wearing material such as stone, concrete, bronze or glass-fibre reinforced resin
Dummy - Representation of the human form (typically life-size) in softer wearing materials that might include glass-fibre reinforced resin, but also expanded foams, fabric on wooden formers and the like. Retail clothing and fashion shop dummies are also known as Manikins. A Ventriloquists Dummy may be life-size and decorated as a child, or decorated as an adult and scaled down. Adjustable tailors torsos may be called Tailor's Dummies or Dressmakers Dolls
Crash-test Dummies - Highly sophisticated dummies with fully adjustable physiology, electronic measuring sensors, the ability to the weighted etc... They are used to test the human world to destruction and measure the likely impact (geddit!) of new technology or applications
Tailor's Dummy - See Dummy above
Manikins - Dolls or life-sized figures of either sex, used specifically for displaying costumes (dolls) or clothes
Statuette - (1) Small statue or larger figurine (2) Larger toy figures presented in a material or decoration resembling more expensive figurines of the antique or mantle-piece type. Smaller than statues but larger than miniatures
Miniature - Any object modelled in a smaller size
Doll - Small figurine representing a baby or other human and intended for use as a toy
Dressmakers Doll - See Dummy above
Artists Doll - Wooden doll with swivel/wire joints or armature of various sizes fro around three inches to twelve or more, used to practice life drawing, try out compositions, or test poses, and to help choreograph stage plays and theatrical scenes. Also popular are dressing-table jewellery holders
Figurine - Any antique, toy or model figure, doll or anthropomorphic animal or object that is modelled to resemble a living thing but in a smaller size
Maquette -  A rough approximation of a figurine, statuette or statue produced by a sculptor to work through ideas, test the practicalities of the pose or show to a client
Puppet - An animal or human representation, realistic, caricatured or anthropomorphic and designed to be manipulated or animated in some way, usually as part of a performance, or for play, there are various types;
  • String Puppet, classic style with the strings attached to a cruciform handle arrangement, can have separate strings to the other hand or a second handle, or more than one 'short arm' on the main bar
  • Stick Puppet, more popular in Asia, where they can be found as full figures or silhouettes, where they are used for Shadow Puppet Theatre
  • Glove (or Hand) Puppet, usually the head and torso of the character only, operated with the hand, three fingers being the head, the thumb and little (pinky) finger operating the arms
  • Sock Puppet, simple puppet for kids, usually made from er...a sock...snakes and giraffes are popular!
  • Finger Puppet, individual puppets for fingers or thumbs, allowing up to ten characters to interact
Marionette - French for puppet and giving rise to the phrases Marionation and Super Marionation both coined to describe the kind of commercial puppetry practised by Gerry Anderson and his teams on children's TV series like Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Stingray and Fireball XL5, where close-ups of human hands are interspersed with long-shots of puppets in various scale to build a cinematic effect
Milettes - Small French dolls specifically under 14 inches tall
Mignonette - Small French pocket-sized doll no more than 20cm in height
Milliners Model -  Papier mâché dolls of early nineteenth century, with moulded hair (Term coined by Eleanor St George; Old Dolls, published by Gramercy, 1950)
Matryushka - 'Russian Dolls', nest of wooden dolls, each inside the other getting smaller and smaller

Toy Soldier Types

Flat - These are essentially two-dimensional pieces sometimes with detail engraved on one side sometimes on both sides, often board-game playing pieces. It is not a common format in plastic but again game playing pieces, some scenic items and a lot of Soviet era Eastern European production - usually 40/50mm, also most margarine premiums and a lot of other 1950/60's give-aways
Semi-flat - These figures are best described as flats that are ‘fleshed out’ somewhat, very uncommon in plastic, being mostly confined to metal figures
Solid - Everything else, fully filled-out sculpts
New Metal - Modern solid lead or white-metal figures originally (1970's) sculpted and painted in the old 'Toy Soldier' style; Gloss with pink cheeks and dot-eyes. Increasingly they are more sophisticated both in sculpting/styling and in decoration, at the high-end they have lead to Connoisseur Figures
Connoisseur - The realistic matt-paint versions of the modern well-detailed/highly accurate uniformed New Metal figures, some Russian producers take the form to such a level they are known as Art Figures
Art Figures - Ultra high-end poured metal figures, sculpted and painted to a professional standard beyond anything that came before, two or three houses produce these figures, all from the former Eastern Bloc, often sold to commission, some are available from glossy catalogues, or the main US and  London toy soldier shows
Swoppet - Multi-part figures that have interchangeable body parts and/or accessories, originally coined by Britains, other brands are called Poppits, Swapets, Change ‘ems, Plug-ins, &ect.
Clip-Together - Similar to Swoppets but all parts are necessary to make the figure whole
Multipose - Originally coined by Airfix, these are glueable figures presented as a kit of parts
Kit Figures - Figures that accompany kits as extras, pilots for aircraft, AFV crew and so on, sometimes there will be some minor gluing of arms to torsos or body halves, but not having the versatility of full multipose figures
Ring Hand - Figures with ring shaped holes in their hands to receive separate weapons or accessories, some also had separate hats, shoulder bags and such like, tend to be larger scales; 60/70mm, although 54mm Swoppets are usually ring-handed
Pod Foot / Pod Feet - A specific kind of metal dime store figure without a large base, instead each foot flares out to make a stabilising surface to help stand the figure up
Poseable - Articulated at hips, shoulders and sometimes neck, popular in larger sizes in the 1980’s as, and now known as Action Figures see below
Bendable / Bendy - Flexible rubber, vinyl or a foam compound with a hidden wire armature, which allows the figure to be bent into different poses, usually humorous if military subjects, more commonly comic or cartoon characters
Character Figure - A figure specifically designed to represent a given historical figure or media personality
War Relief Figure - Figures produced to raise funds in time of war, the first plastic soldiers ever are believed to have been produced this way, Germany, WWII, also Serbia / Croatia in the 1990’s
Premium / Give-away - figures used as promotional give-aways with a variety of foodstuffs (breakfast cereal, coffee, tea, margarine, bubble-gum and chewing gum), cigarettes and washing powders from the late 1940's through to the present, the 'golden age' being between about 1955 and 1975, in the States can be called 'Crackerjacks' after a propriety brand of snacks, and might - as a term - be used to refer to figures or toys from 'Lucky Bags', Christmas Crackers and other sources of small, usually mono-coloured figural and cartoon characters - see also Monochromatics below

Action Figures

Action Figure - Larger poseable articulated figures made popular in the 1980's following the phenomena of the Star Wars franchise, initially smaller than the 9-12-inch action dolls of the 1970's and pretty-much covering half-inch increments from around 3-9 inches, Bluebird, Gallob and Matchbox reduced them to small scale (25/30mm) sizes in the 1990's
Staction - Statuette with [limited] Action; simple Action Figures with limited articulation, or a gimmick like glowing-eyes
Springfield Fours - figures with only four points of articulation; neck, both arms (at the shoulder) and waist, as made by Playmates for the World of Springfield (Simpsons) toy line

Minis and Other Modern Terms

Mini - A modern catch-all used by different branches of collecting to refer to things which - in their eyes - are specific to them but are also similar to the other mini's of other branches of collecting...War-gaming; lead, white metal or plastic figures, Board-gaming; Plastic or PVC figures, Monochromatics/Little Rubber Guys, Lego type Kubricks &etc. The non-diminutive form - Minifigures - covers all the above and non-standard Action Figures, whatever that means and to whom, given the variety of Action Figure sizes!
Army Men - The mainly American term for the cheapie piracies of US and European figures, sold as rack-toys carded or bagged, with most production coming from Hong Kong for several decades, Singapore, Taiwan and Macau also produced some, while in the States Mexico and Brazil began to be a source of them from the late 1980's, as they located and acquired old moulds and remain so, While they haven't disappeared; they are far less numerous and mostly sourced in mainland China these days
Kubrick - Form of figure resembling a Lego Minifigure (originally called Legoland People), the term initially coined by Medicom Toys Incorporated of Japan, but now pertaining to many ranges by many companies
Monochrome / Monochromatic - Term used by Spanish, Portuguese and some French collectors for those figures previously called premiums, being typically made of a PVC or some other synthetic rubber, 30-60mm anthropomorphic animals or TV and movie licensed characters. The definition/moniker is now spreading to include figural erasers, smaller or single coloured art/designer figures, blind-bag collectables and such-like. With different collectors drawing the line in different places this is a very fluid term, and can include single-piece micro-scale aeroplanes and vehicles, space-ships &etc. Early ethylene figures are included when premiums, but traditional toy soldiers tend to be excluded.
Little Rubber Guys [abbreviated to LRG] - American term for Monochromatics
Art / Designer Figures - Figures usually of a horror, robot or sci-fi subject, over-priced, over-hyped and with larger versions. Often quite hideous in appearance their attraction has completely escaped me (God - I'm sounding like JG Garratt talking about plastics!). made of PVC or other synthetic rubbers. There are so many sub Genres with Bunnies (sorry; Dunnys) and things that this entry needs reader/follower input to do it justice.
Dunney - a deformed and usually garishly decorated rabbit-like anthropomorph from Kidrobot. Dunny is Australian slang for lavatory which rather sums up my view of Designer Toys!
Deformed / Deforms / Super-deformed - The modern practice of turning established figures or characters into caricatures by changing / upsetting the anatomical dimensions to produce cartoony versions, in the case of Cartoon characters - even more cartoony. The term came from the Art / Designer toy world, but the practice is older.

Decoration

Non-Painted / Unpainted / Undecorated - Figure is usually made of a single colored material, or in the case of 'Swoppets'; several single-colour components which may differ from each other
Marbled / Marbling - Where two or more colours of plastic have been mixed during the injection moulding process
Flecked / Flecking - As per Marbled, but the second (and any subsequent) colours are in a minority to the first or main colour, so giving a spotted or Flecked appearance, rather than the smoother swirls of Marbling
Factory Painted - Figure is given a full decoration or some highlighting (of faces, weapons etc...), which may be done in the factory or by out-workers, usually on piece-work
Multi-Colored - Might refer to marbled figures, Swoppets or painted figures and is therefore best avoided in polite conversation!
Chrome-plated - A shiny mirror-like surface given to metal or plastic toys, originally a vacuum process, it can now be done at home, from a can. Also known as Vac-metallised figures
Flocked - A coating of fur is added to an area of a figure or a whole model animal, first used for dolls hair