About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 58-year-old Aspergic gardening 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.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

M is for Merry Mass of Malleable Model Mayhem! 3 - Ceremonial & Historicals

Part-the-third, of the plastic plunder posts from Chris Smith's most recent parcel, brings us to the ceremonial and historical section, Royal Fail or Parcelfarce did their worst with these, as you can see from the first image in the sequence!

To be fair to Postie, I suspect there wasn't much in the bag when it left East Anglia, and was being sent as a sample of . . . Malleable Mouldings? But, yeah, it arrived as so much dust and two legs!
Funnily enough, the first Malleable horse I got (still somewhere in the pile) was found in the car-park at SAS, off the old A4, or at least, embedded in the gravel/puddle at the bottom of the steel fire-escape! It was/is missing both back legs and a base, and while I've handled several of Adrian's over the years, and posibly shot them for the blog, I have yet to find a decent mounted figure by Malleable! It'll happen!

Initially thought to be Italian, these are 30mm polystyrene Hungarian Imperial, or 'Royal' Guards, and - obviously - the same colour scheme as those 30mm plug-together 'swoppets' both Chris and Peter Evans have donated to the blog on the past. Lovely little things!
While the British 'Royal Guards' of the Household Division include two nice Hong Kong copies of Crescent (seen here yesterday), but in a Hilco style! next to them, the chap with the herb-green base is a real treat, he's the Reamsa copy of herald, and I think he might have been Reamsa No.1?
I personally love the eraser guardsman in purple, he's that silicon rubber which really just smudges pencil, but they were 'novelties' first and erasers second, always, I feel? The key-ring guardsman seems to go with some of the Highland pipers, one of the Welsh ladies and probably the fisherman we saw the other day, while KT and Rocco guardsmen need glue!
Cake decorations and premiums, we've seen the AWI before, and the French Dragoon (?) is from that set of premiums which used to have one name but now have several in two sizes, with base differences and Kinder joining the mix!
A Crescent lead, and Blue Box sailors (Merten copies) signal a Hong Kong copy of Airfix trumpeter to deal with some French interloper (HaT Industries) while a rather legless Lord Flashheart courtesy of Skybirds, recovers from a night on the juice, in the Mess!
In discussion, we think maybe Brazilian for this horse, although he could equally be Argentine? Missing a rider who may send it to the Wild West section, I posted it here, as this post only had six images!

And Postie again! But they were all missing their tails already, so just samples, and while I don't know what colours of this Rocco guardsman I have, if I need a white sample, I'll have one, once I've glued a couple of head back on!
Many thanks to Chris as always for all these, and even the broken stuff has its place, as place-fillers!

Added a few minutes later - I'd dropped some of the images in the Khaki soldier section!
It was looking at the damaged KT above and realising "Where are the other two?" that had me off looking in the other folders! Superb thing to get in the post without warning - two more boxed KT pencil sharpeners, and different boxing, both generic and serving the tourist trade, but aren't they lovely - I've already sorted the guardsman (forthcoming post) with a fully rifled replacement, so he's now a minter!
We saw him the other day, but he belonged here all along - the Blue Box Napoleon, which, with another figure in this parcel, get us closer to a complete pose-count, but we're still only half-way on the painted/chromed sets! Thanks again to Chris.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

G is for Get them NOW! Before They're All GONE!

Brian Berke has sent a couple of lovely scans from old Comet comics, a name I had totally forgotten, but I don't think they had an Annual, and as one of the older titles, probably got swallowed by a newer 'vehicle', that's how it worked! Anyway, I am able to action one straight away, here, and I'm hoping I may get the images for the other on Friday coming?

I notice the guard on the box-art, if true to what hit the stores, is hanging his drum off the wrong hip, while the one in the main image is looking pretty casual! I (b.1964) can barely remember this type of box, which was a very plain cardboard type, with two or three colour screen-printing.

Although I did them, individually, as seperate poses (or instruments) back in 2012, I don't think we've had them like this, as a group line-up, so thanks to Brian for the image and the nudge! They were manufactured by Crescent Toys, and were identical to the commercial issue by Crescent except for the base-marking.

Which, as you can see, was all Kellogg's promotional! I have mentioned (and shown) in the past, the regular occurrence of these - Kellogg's-marked - figures, appearing with a black, white & yellow (no flesh) paint-job, so consistently one feels some over production may have had a commercial venture of some kind, but equally, there weren't many paints available back then, and it may just be a coincidental series of similarly home-painted sets?

Friday, December 8, 2023

S is for ♪♪♫ Spaceman I always wanted you to go into space, man ♪♫♫♪

D'yer remember the blow-moulded astronaut I tempted myself into in Primark a few years ago, about the only thing I've ever bought there, apart from socks or T-shirts, or the pearlescent one I found a few years later . . . well, now they are a trio, so they can make a shot for the moon!

That is all.

W is for Who Made Who!

Bit of a surprise when these turned-up, as they looked familiar, but, err . . . better! Obviously I knew of Minikins, they are in Garratt, where he both spelt them wrong, and was pretty disparaging! O'Brian gives them quite a write-up, but mentions he's omitted the HO set (singular), so these should be new to most and new to the Internet, but I think we did look at them briefly in a show report, so they're not new to Blog!
Minikin or Minikins as they are sometimes dubbed, also, really nice presentation boxes for a make better known for dowdy or 'transport' packaging, but they may have been given this packaging at their destination, International Models Inc., of New York?
As Minikins were known for copies and derivatives, these would appear to be piracies of BJ Ward's Wardie Mastermodels? Except, as we shall see, they are better, so a new question mark present's itself? One set of station-staff and line workers, the other of passengers, they are reasonably painted, but just far-cleaner castings than Mastermodels.
The thing is, I never knew of them, so I've never looked that closely at my Wardie's, and with quality, scale and base-style (among other details) differing across the Mastermodels output, I may well have a few Minikins in there already, but these are probably the only two sets, so we may have them all on view here?

Now, they are not all Mastermodels sculpts the three railway employees for instance, and the central pair on the bottom row are questionable, Wardie did a version of the lady, but she's not quite the same. However, neither are they Comet-Authenticast sculpts, which would be the obvious direction to go in if these were repackaged AHI (see below). They are closer to the Hornby Dublo actually, aren't they?
A couple of seated figures, are they Mastermodels sculpts, or cleaned up Comet? They don't seem to be either, which points to original sculpts, and if two are, the rest could be, especially with the question-mark over the station staff?

Obviously the tied-in ones are the Minikins and the three loose ones are Kemlows' finest, except that next to the Japanese production, they aren't that fine at all, are they?  Rougher finished, with huge release-pin marks, heavier tool-handles and a marginally greater 'woodeness'? It's as if the Ward stuff are the copies?

In the Brooke's book 'The Illustrated Kemlows Story' these marks are credited to AHI (note above), but I suspect that was because he was familiar with AHI imports, of which these bear a remarkable resemblance - to wit; being the same!
But AHI (Azrak-Hamway International) were a US jobber (importer), Minikin was a Japanese brand, and (through work on the Khaki Infantry, not my non-existent knowledge of most 'BMSS' subject-matter!) I've always thought the better AHI stuff may have been or had a cross-over with Minikins, so the first thing to suggest, is that AHI's imported 'HO' railway figures, were Minikins product. And it would make the correcting of me on the ACW stuff more problematic for the corrector, as AHI had to be getting them from somewhere!

While dates give us the next clue, and with Minikins operating in the late 1940's and Kemlow's helping Ward with Mastermodels after 1951, it has to be suggested that Wardie are the copier here?
Also, because we will be looking at other arms of this tree in the next few days, it would mean that those copies of the Merit driving-game figures (themselves copied from Wardie) which come out of Hong Kong with a petrol-pump (a'la Blue Box) may have come straight from these?

Anyway, it's all only thoughts on new evidence, and if anyone would like to throw their tuppence-worth into the mix they're welcome! I'm just asking who made who? And I'm not looking to denegrate Garratt, O'Brian or the Brook's, they are the sources I turn-to for the earlier work on the puzzle, before adding my own tuppence-worth!

M is for Merry Mass of Malleable Model Mayhem! 2 - Animals

So, we're into the thematic posts, I hid most of the Pirate shots, this morning, in the ITLAPD zone for next year, so we're down a post, but there's a 'what can you see' shot, now attached to another post! In the meantime - Aminalls! As I called them when I was very small!

Polar Bears! The one on the left is lovely, a bit dirty which gives it a worn apperance, but actually bery few actual bald-patches, a flocked bear, Charbens I think? But done by Wend-Al for zoo gift-shops after they stopped the aluminium production.
I never know with the little one, if it's a Taylor &/or Barratt cub, or from a Corgi Chipperfield's Circus wagon, one day I'll sit down and sort them all out! The other is a PVC chap marked - quite neatly - MADE IN HONG KONG, and could be from one of Tai Sang's brands, for someone else?

Elephants . . . half a Corgi, from the elephant truck, unusual to see it painted as the 'styrene kit, but they do turn-up. The little 'ivorene' one is a charmer, and probably a Christmas cracker charm type thing, but with no charm loop? Top left is a Cadbury's UK Yowie (No.85) elephant (something else in the long-queue, four posts!), while the wooden flats are always reminiscent of childhood, and simpler toys for simpler times!
Cats & Dogs; the two biggies are HK copies as is the little green one (Crescent gun-dog), while the two black-cats (lucky for some) are cracker-novelties and the red one looks like a Euro-premium which has been glued to something? White is the Matchbox gun-dog.
Always nice to get a bit of poultry, especially when you don't recognise most f it, nor the parrot (Playmobil?), while the little hen is a less-common Hong Kong copy of the earlier Britains one from the hollow-cast original!
A couple of PVC-alike smallimals!
Aquatics, the crab is an old rubber 'jiggler', he's lost his two rear claw-things, but as they were his eleventh and twelfth limbs . . . possibly a good thing! I jest, always accept a first sample of anything with gratitude, and the whole point of rubber jigglers was that they should be as 'horrific' as possible, so limb-counts being way-off is par for the course!
The large horse on the left is marked 'Singapore', and will be a Blue Box or Redbox animal, from which the Japanese Officer's horse seems to have been taken? Small horse is Renold's composition in very good nick, while I'm pretty sure the large, hollow, two-part, polystyrene pig is from a Tri-Ang tin-plate pick-up/farm truck?

And so soon after Stephen Hawley had a horses-head in his bed . . . I get one too! Obviously a plug-in, but for what? Anyone got a clue? Soft PVC, or the 'paint-your-own set variety?

The two damaged ones are from R&L type premiums, the monkey is standard weight-filler/box-filler in those generic Noah's Ark playsets, and the lion will probably be another cracker-toy, the mini-jiggler crocodile/alligator will be a similar capsule toy?

Thursday, December 7, 2023

T is for Two - Best of British Box Ticking

And 'seen elsewhere' too, so just a Picasa clearance really! But they are both rather nice and less common, while no one ever said you can't enjoy a bit of eye-candy occasionally!

Lone Star Zorro, and not the one Wotan gave me years ago, who is in storage, and who lacked a horse, although I think I may have found a horse for him at some point, which means I've got two, which is greedy, but I'm not going to apologise because I'm too old to be blackmailed by threats of Santa not coming, if I brag!
Crescent Sikh Infantry, not that rare, but hard to get with this quality of finish on, paint wise, so very pleased with them. I used to think these were better than the Atlantic ones, for having more 'realistic' turbans, but now realise the Atlantic ones are representing units in the East African campaign against Italy 1940-41, so now I just think these are better for not being oversized, dancing loons!

B is for Bahnfiguren

A quick overview, or overfly, there's not much, of Roco's non-military figure sets, In which, with a donation from Jon Attwood and some dodgy scans of even more dodgy 20-plus-year old photographs, we get to where I think we need to be . . . a ticked box!
So, Jon sent me a nice pack of the Roco figures in one of his parcels, and these are they, sort of, this is one of each pose, which left me one figure short, with two spare, duplicate figures, so I shot them like this, and after a few weeks shot them again, with the two extra figures off to one side with the intention of musing on possibilities, when I remembered . . . 
. . . I had a couple of Roco railway catalogues, and all became clear! You can see, on the left-end of the bottom row, two ladies waving hankies! And twenty-two other poses.

Which means the second shot was rather redundant, but could be annotated to explain the situation! A nice set of sculpts, I would hazard a guess that it's one of the sculptors being used by Preiser at the time (mid-1970's), as the figures look familiar without actually being Preiser figures - although Preiser did supply several other brands.
So, main image is a scan of the early card as sent by Jon, and dating from that mid-70's 'Roco International' catalogue, and 49p in Beatties? An Airfix set at the time was around 18/20p, so they were always a bit pricey! Below which is the 1990's iteration, renumbered from 4466 to 40000, and joined by three-pairs of half-torso loco crew, at 40001, these may still be available?
Then to their right are the WWII Army Leader's we've seen before, and a comparison with early (US price code) and later header cards for the military sets. We will return to them all one day, and get everything to the same image quality!

M is for Merry Mass of Malleable Model Mayhem! 1 - Introduction

Oh . . . it'll do! It's a question of coming up with something fresh that isn't Chris's this or H is for that, and the two I initially came up with were a C and an S and we have plenty of them, but not so many M's, and there will be a few posts because Chris Smith's Christmas Cracker (yeah, you can see where one of them was going!), was stuffed like a trussed-turkey . . . shall I see how many seasonal puns I can squeeze into these posts! I'll try not to, it'd annoy me as much as you!
I've sorted the plunder into about ten folders, but some may get combined as I go, in the meantime these were the 'everything else' which I left in the original folder, and I don't know what to do with half of them, so I'll heave them up here in a lump, and blurb them as I work down the page!
Obviously the above is first impression, move the bags out of the way, and there's a very interesting diver, just sitting there, all "Look at me first", and possibly the best thing in the box, but you'll know as well as anyone now, Chris's boxes always have a few 'best things', so keep an eye out, these will be interspersed with Christmas posts, model railway posts, and anything else I can find, over the next week or two?

Had a bit of a dig, I think - taken a few choice pieces out, including the diver! More room for more rummaging! I've said before, the big bag/s of Hong Kong stuff get put to one side and will all be properly sorted/Blogged on the Giant site at some point.
If I recall rightly, it was a few weeks ago now, I had to shoot off and do something else that afternoon, so I emailed/messaged Chris my joy and gratitude (he hadn't told me it was in the post) and later I did the sort, while messaging him in Faceplant as I found everything else! I haven't labelled them, but you should get a flavour of each pile's theme, if you open the image.
Briefly, it's Medieval-Wild West-Historical/ceremonial up top, Civilian-Mad Figure-Vehicles down the bottom, with Ancient-Gwitarwrist-Odds-TV/Cartoon in the middle.

While this is Paratroopers-Animals-Buildings/Defence Works across the top, Military-Ethnic/National Dress/Pirates in the middle and Aeroplanes-Vessels-Sci Fi/Fantasy down the bottom, and that's literally the first layer of sorting, then animals say, become farm, zoo/wild, at the second level then insects, sea-life, arctic etc . . . at the third!

Can't have a Chris intro-post without the Paratrooper shot, not least because it's often a seen elsewhere shot, and this is a good lot, the big blow-mould is in army green, where they are often bright-coloured, and that Lion brand 'shooter' (second from the left) still has his parachute . . . funny how that 'file' has grown from a loose figure, through the catalogue scan, then a set with the trigger-poles missing, then some loose but complete, to this complete with parachute, over several years and several posts! And both Chris and Peter Evans have helped that journey, I think?

Oh lord! What am I supposed to do with this? I'm supposed to pray one of you knows the answer, that what I'm supposed to do! As I explained elsewhere on the day, he's in dense PVC-alike, about 65mm, modern'ish I guess? And I really can't tell if he's meant to be a cowboy, firefighter, circus performer, or Zombie-hunter!

Chris himself wondered if he might be a dinosaur wrangler or a modern day "child catcher"? Any help from the loyal readers with this one greatly appreciated, I suspect the sort of flat, big-box play-set A-Z/Paggett's might have imported? But farm, dinosaur or circus? Wild West or fire-crew?
Odds and sods, the soft plastic (silicon rubber soft) 'mine' has turned up a few times recently, and may, like that red-foam ball the other day be part of some larger game or craze? the Musketeers uniform is from a Kinder toy, the TV we will look at again in the Wild West post (it's fun!) and the [football?] cup, is interesting, and probably has some age, like 100-odd years? It's a very stiff foil, rater than plate, and could be for dolls houses, or home-theatres? Even a sample of some kind - very unusual?
I like the vehicle load too (the larger one, the small one, hard to see is from the Matchbox safari Land Rover), looks modern'ish, and from its squareness, not railway, so a pick-up of some kind, maybe a Model-T type thing in 1:24th? While the - homemade (?) - flags are just charming, and there's a whole unknown flag-zone they can go to.

Structural elements include the yellow 'roof' which I think might be a Kinder frog's umbrella! The sentry-box could be home-made, but it's so polished I suspect a hollow-caster's commercial piece, from a boxed/gift set?
The card portcullis will go in the tub of such oddments somewhere, the HK bridge is missing it's centre section, but there's a bag of bits for them somewhere too, and the benches are exquisitely home-made, carved, sanded, and varnished in an age where you had to do it all yourself, O-guage I think? The brown hexagon is from Atlantic's Abaline City.

This is all Kinder which would - otherwise - have been broken down into the various other pages, and I think one or two were re-shot for those posts, but here they all are together, except the paper Musketeer's outfit . . . and the frog's umbrella . . . and probably something else we'll see in a day or two - Doh!

The blue & orange monster is the last head type, missing from the post we had here at Small Scale World, not that long-ago, often how it works! The cartoon mini-Indian was one of very few victims of the Post Office's art, but I found the feather so it can be glued back on?

And the parts for the green hockey-player and the stickers for the red one are all both there (both-all?), while the pirate may be missing a hat, but has a spare pair of trousers - bargain! And I'm loving the red & blue medieval man-at-arms in the centre, my first.

I love this, I mean it's entirely homemade, crushed (post office again?) and seems to consist of the best half of an exercise-book cover, circa 1971 (I think History had the purply-grey in my school!*), but how charming, and what a survivor, only needs some reinforcing on the inside and it can go again!

While these could be military, historical or footballers? Anyone recognise any of the individuals, or are they generic after-market heads for probably WWII figures? I thought, Roman, Roman, Footballer, Rommel!

Many thanks to Chris for all this, only the intro, and we've all sorts of interesting things added to the pile!

* Maths was always red or pink, chemistry was yellow or buff, green was for geography, orange biology, what was blue? English? Lang or Lit? Latin was dark-grey in my first school, what colour was French, physics? More than 40-years ago was the last time I took mine out of the cupboard! What was your colour code?