About Me

My photo
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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

T is for Taffy Toys

I must apologise for the quality of the images in tonight's second post, however these were taken with my old camera in very poor light, but I thought a bit of large scale would go down well for a change!

Now believed to be part of the Thomas Toys group, 'Taffy' is considered quite derogatory in these PC days! Thomas were covered in one of Plastic Warrior's 'Specials', see the website (top right) and eMail Paul for details of availability.

These figures turn up all the time, the vehicles are a lot rarer, and I only know of two boxes in existence, this being one of them. The trailer - in particular - is a much copied/licenced/borrowed design.

The box has that classic 'Technicolour' stirring stuff of 1950's Boys Own annuals and the like.

The tank is a generic M46/47, and the ammo is strapped to the engine deck! Having nearly melted my boots hitching a ride on a CVRW fox once, I worry for the crew of this warhorse...?

A is for Airfix

P.S. I love my new Picasa!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

M is for More Unfinished Projects

As well as these, there are various scenic projects in stages of unfinishedness, the Hoth thing and a large industrial complex which may be sci-fi, may be Stalingrad, haven't decided, and unless someone grants me another lifetime or two, I'll probably never decide!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

M is for Minor Makes

A quick look at some odds and ends, as I'm getting as sick of my unfinished stuff as some of you may be!

Copies of Airfix Washington's Army in 35mm, made in Hong Kong and sold primarily as cake decorations, notably here in the UK by Cullpits from stands in bakers and catering supply retailers. Showing front and back of each figure with two from each end of the Union Jack spectrum.

Hit men and drive-by shooter from Parker's board game Vendetta, also called 'Vengeance à Chicago' or Cosa Nosta. There was a third pose, the boss men, but they're cruder and bigger.

Close up of the hired gun, the game seems to be a glorified game of Ludo, with the added excitement of semi-random murder and 4 Mafia speakeasy's! There are two cars, this one being removed from one end of the 'spinner'.

I've been collecting these for years, starting with the smaller ones and now just buying them whenever I see them. I can see Britains Herald (UK & HK), Cofalux and Starlux among them. They have been identified as both ice cream premiums and chocolate lolly premiums, however, both were tentative, so more information is needed on these. [02/03/2012 - In Belgium they were issued as boiled-sweet type lollipops in orange or lemon flavour as 'Soldabar' by the Plasticom company.]

Friday, November 27, 2009

H is for Hog

Clearing out one of the sheds today and woke this up! I then did a frantic search on Google to see if I had to do anything, and apparently - I don't. They wake during hibernation anyway and just go back to sleep, although if you force them awake too early in the spring, they can starve as there's no food about. Sadly I had left the camera on the eBay setting, so it's not too clear.

The Bridges of Wet County

"Just here please mate!"

I've been meaning to get these photographs up and have a rant about the flooding 'oop North, but have procrastinated to the point that five minutes after I finally loaded them tonight, there was an ominous announcement from the news on 4 that the army WERE building a bridge ( over the river Derwent in Workington) after all...I'd heard some reporter last week saying a bridge had been ruled out as they [the army] "only build bridges suitable for tanks, not cars or lorries"...yeh, exactly! So I was ready to pull this article when the report carried on to repeat the rumour and state they will only be building a footbridge!?!

A spokesman for the army repeated the fact that the WWII style 'Bailey' bridge capable of handling 70-ton tanks is not, that's; NOT suitable for civilian traffic.

Well, as I was researching hoglets on google (see Greenfingers blog - Now here somewhere [13/10/2012]), I thought I'd better look into this more closely before shooting my mouth off...

Ladies and Gentlemen, I can report that the 5th richest country in the world; Phew, beat the..., can't build a civilian road bridge with military hardware because...we're not that sure whether we can or not, and will err on the side of caution, even if they [the Whitehall mandarins and local apparatchiks] allow traffic on some of the dozen or so bridges being contemplated (Bailey, Medium Girder and M5 ferry), it is likely to be limited to light vehicles in low numbers?

Now, pardon me for getting my rant after all, but what the F**K is this country coming to? We used to be able to span ship navigable Western European rivers in hours and get 100,000 tons of military muscle across them before the end of the week, yet here we are still contemplating where to put them over a week after the damage.

Is it that the surface of the bridge is too rough? Well - prepare the roadway, match it to the bridge and put three six-inch layers of macadam over the whole lot - as if it is a highway - and landfill it afterwards. After giving the bWanks billions, some of it in secret, there is no way you can use the 'two much money' excuse Mr. Brown Trousers, and I can't find another concrete reason for not getting on with it....too narrow? Build two next to each other or use single flow traffic lights....it's just not rocket science is it?

Any suggestions?

"Job Done, Where's the next one?"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

S is for Still Sitting There

Reconnaissance is supposed to lead from the front, these have all been left behind!

I've posted these before, on my imageshack, but to prove how bad I am here they are again a year later - no change! Some may end up in the sleigh diorama, piling up in a ditch and leaping over the bank to look for partisans? Mostly HaT with Airfix horse and bicycle

One of my favorites, the Matchbox Sd.Kfz.232 Armoured Radio Car. I built the kit (radio) version of this years ago and fancied a GS version, so filled the holes in the roof, added the MG/grab-rail and some more stowage boxes, covered the spare wheel and...er...I've sorted out some transfers! Although one of them is an Afrika Korps palm tree and they never had these, Doh!

Italeri have brought out a kit of this vehicle and while I haven't managed to compare them yet, there were several body-types in real life so one day I might try the same thing with the new kit, then I'll have three unfinished 6-rads on the table at once!

Like artillery and trailers, small 'jeep' types seem to breed on the work bench while your backs turned, there are two Eidai ones somewhere and an unmade Renown metal kit from Phoenix.

News, views etc..

I've started an eBay thingy (presence?), have a look from time to time you might find something worth a punt! Link with 'My Other Stuff' top right.

The French premium site is still playing-up, or at least it has a lot of dead links to generic pages, so consult it before it disappears.

The next Toy soldier show in London is on the 5th Dec.

Show Details

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

P is for Pending

Also on the worktop are a number of artillery projects, I seem to have more guns than a greedy person, but they do tend to accompany large lots, usually in a beat-up state, hence the first pic...

Bags of guns, trailers and limbers waiting for the day they see a fresh coat of paint or replacement draw-bar, or get re-acquainted with their own wheels! Somewhere (bottom centre) is the US 105 M'whatever that came with the Aurora Skycrane, it ONLY needs painting!

Er...does this need a comment, representing as it does both greed (4 x 88's?) and tardiness (all still in pieces 15 years after they came into the fold...). Not to mention the fact that a set of wheels have been stolen for an overworked Opel's trailer!

This was (is still to be?) a BMSS entry, I built the sled in a one-evening burst about 4 years ago, while under the effects of a flash of inspiration brought on by a third reading of The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sejure, and his description of a 'left-behind' ad-hoc battle group, during the retreat from Russia. Slowed a bit after hand carving the horse trace spacers (what are they called???!) and having to actually ORDER two suitable horses (Hinchliffe I think...I sanded the bases!) and then put it on the medium back-burner.

Super-detailing the Esci Flak.36 came in another flurry, the same night I made all the magazines for this and a half-track project (lost somewhere, but visible - damaged - in some of the Tudor Rose/Spencer Smith posts), after which; Nothing. Well I've thrown the odd figure in the bag from time to time and a horse who's not got a job to do yet, nor a rider!

The plan is to have this one side of a frozen muddy road with the guys all looking up at the guy thumbing his helmet ring (ooh, matron!) in the Sd.Kfz 250 I shot in the snow last winter (see posts passim) as he whizzes past to safety, leaving this lot jammed in the wreckage of defeat, the other horse pulling a small sled with casualties, lots of dead horses, frozen bodies, empty ammo boxes, shell cases etc. Problem being...if I'm going to do lots of snow-stuff why don't I finish my Battle Of Hoth project...8 years and counting...haven't finished cutting it out yet... AAAAHHHHHHHHH!

L is for Languishing

The armour have not been forgotten in the 'forgotten' pile, in fact there are more tanks than anything else but most are still in their boxes.

I built the Esci command Pz.I years ago and wanted to build the other main body types, here - in pieces - are another Esci chassis, the Fujimi SPG and a Nitto (?) turreted version. The Esci is going to be an engineering version when I find out how they treated the hole where the turret went, it will also get a spare wheel rack. The Nitto (?) tracks are as bad as early Airfix when it comes to melting styrene.

Hasegawa tracked tractor strait from the box, I just want to do it justice paint-wise. And the Fujimi Jagd.Tiger II, a while ago while still suffering 'forum disease' I bought the new Dragon Tiger II with German Para's and promised to build it as a project here, what was I thinking...it'll take me another 10 years to finish this one! But it will be nice to compare them one day!

These two aren't even started yet, but I'd like to identify them if any one's got any idea...bought from Dorking Models about 10 years ago, they were all ready old stock, made from old-school resin with hot-water malleable track sections....BT 5 and BT 7 ?

U is for Unfinished

I have loads of unfinished truck and soft-skin vehicle projects, and here are a few, in no particular order...

From the sublime to the ridiculous, or; David and Goliath! The white metal French carrier is by, er...um...who? (probably Skytrex?), while the 'Airfix' Thornycroft is actually an early MPC licenced product, made in a very peculier waxy-soft styrene which was also hopelessly miss registered re. the two halves of the mould, as a result I've had to pare-down or scrape all the pieces until some don't fit or others; look right!

My first Opel Blitz, made in about '79/1980? needs to be overhauled and will be given a nice load of oil-drums. The Matchbox early war command caravan was nearly finished when I discovered Cooper Craft (grey lump to rear of photo) and reckoned that if I swapped bodies I'd have two convincing vehicles for the fall of France, so the well-glued backs have GOT to come off...ouch!

Leaving to the left; An Esci Gun Motor Carriage with the gun left off to make a GS 'Beep' (I've never liked this kit, it seems far too big and the suspension is far two high, no?), and to the front another Cooper Craft, this time a Bedford which will join the 8th Army before I'm finished with it...compare with photo below.

These are all on the final strait, the Blitz (Esci) is getting a Cooper Craft trailer with Eidai wheels (Kfz.11 at the front and 88mm Flak.18 Anhanger 'duals' at the back), the trailer will be painted to match the truck and get a loan of crates.

The Steel bodied Bedford OYD is based on old Military Modelling or Airfix Magazine drawings, and was inspired by the pictures on page's 21 & 36 of Almark's Focus On Armour No. 2 (ISBN; 0 85524 279 2), and is a scratch build body on the Airfix fire tender with a widened bonnet (hood). To the right is a similar kit bash on the Airfix ambulance, a downed Luftwaffe pilot chats to an equally wingless commonwealth sky-Jockey while a grim looking Scot holds a bayonet on him! Both need weathering, with a figure painting session.

Ignore the skype thing, it is the ISBN No.

Monday, November 23, 2009

News, views etc...

The link to Eric Williamson's site was playing up, but I think I've fixed it, though for how long is anybodies guess? It seems to be slowly dieing, and with the demise of Geocitys, the adage "Nothing lives forever" rings horribly true!

Speaking of both Geocitys and troublesome web links; There are other dead links which I will sort out in the next few days and I will be adding a few new ones and shaking the tree on some old ones!

The french premium site was also playing up, but a download of Java add-on's sorted that out.

I must also apologise for any drop in image quality, the screen on our new PC is not up to the standard of the (10 year old) Compaq laptop I used to use and I find myself struggling to get a good looking image, then, after publishing find it's better than it looked?...same screen viewing both??? Anyway I'm messing about with them before upload when I may not need to? I'll work on it!!

P is for Projects

I have so much stuff in the unfinished/to do pile I thought I'd share some of them with you, if only to justify their existence!! One theme that that made itself apparent as I was taking photos was that despite all the new production out there I seem determined to force old Eidai kits 'up to the mark'!

This is the Eidai Sd.Kfz.11 half-track which I intend to finish one day, the front mudguards needed re-sculpting and I intend to hide the rest of the non-existent bumper/front end with a roll of barbed wire and a bundle of logs. Sides have a lot of work still to do but the crew are mostly selected and posed (actually, looking at the photo again they're selected and posed for another unfinished model - the Hasegawa/AHM Quadruple Flack.36 I posted some time ago!!). The trailer is from the elusive French company Alby, while the gun has been rebuilt from the ground up as a totally different mark/model.

Two Eidai Stug.IV's, from the box with new side skirts and minor detail differences (roof and spare wheel bin). The scratch built trailer is the one I again mentioned some time ago, from a photo, it was pulled by a Pz.I and seems to be a field modification carrying two standard German oil-drums.

One of my favorites; Krupp Protze, cross country artillery tractor/GS truck, the bonnet (hood) will never be right but I've built-up the exhaust bulges from the engine bay to the wheel arches and put something equating to the distinctive bulge seen on the radiators, width markers from an Esci Kfz.11 and a new steering wheel, just visible are the canvas 'doors' which came from the Matchbox Morris.

This will be my third, it's the 2nd Kfz.69 I've done, the previous being the Eidai bodywork on a Matchbox chassis, and a Matchbox strait from the box. I hope to put the alternative Eidai body (Kfz.70 troop carrier) on a Matchbox chassis one day and have it tow my other Nebelwerfer, this one will join my Pak.36 unit.

The weird angled 'axle' at right will be the spare wheel once I've worked out how to fix it on and trimmed it to fit!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

W is for more Wagons

A lazy post of what amounts to horse-drawn porn! These are the display cabinets I had in storage, and couldn't find when I covered wagons a year ago and there are some nice ones among them. I'd love to put a manufacturers name to the spot-welded steel AA gun in the first cabinet, anybody got an idea?

Click on the images, and then click again to get them really enlarged and scroll with the arrow keys. This over-lettering is an additional feature of the new Picasa, which I didn't have on my old laptop, I'd recommend it as a download to anyone trying to impart information/knowledge via the Internet. They are a bit fuzzy round the edges, but the 'macro' feature need to be used close up to really enhance images, while I had to take these from about 3 feet back to get each cabinet in!

The cabinets are a standard unit from IKEA and cost a few pounds, I've picked mine up at car-boot sales for 50p, 50p and 20p over the last few years! They are just too small to display wargameing horse-drawn stuff, or 4 horsed Hong Kong bits. I will get round to painting the other two mauve and pale herb-green to match the yellow one.

Friday, November 20, 2009

News, views etc..

Hi all, thanks for your patience, I'm back now and hopefully equipped with a more reliable PC, so regular updates.

Kicking off with something I've been after for years, and more goodies to follow, I had a similar find at Dave Mckena's Birmingham show the other day.

Paul at Plastic Warrior was hoping to get a One Inch Warrior out before Christmas, I'll keep you posted on that, in the meantime PW itself has covered a lot of flats recently including some in the smaller sizes, so if you aren't a subscriber, can I suggest a visit to the PW website.

I'm not going to make Herne this year, but it's only a week or so away now - Check PB's website, link to right somewhere.

I'll be eMailing those I need to in the next few days, so bare with me on that one.

And keep an eye down the page as I might even get the T34 stuff published!

F is for Feudal

I've been after this for years and was really pleased to pick one up at the Plastic Warrior show in Richmond last May (I've been off-line for a while!), only problem is...this is a German edition so I'm in need of an English instruction sheet or copy thereof, should anyone be able to help.

Six players seem (?) to fight for two empires or forts?, each player having a different coloured army. Made originally by 3M in the states in the mid 1960's it was later reissued by Avalon Hill, and was certainly still available in the late 70's as I eyed it in wonder on more than one occasion!

A complete set of figure poses with two standing on the fort, the tall post things visible in the previous image (click over it to enlarge) are the 'slots' for the board divider helping the two 'Teams' (?) to set up with an element of surprise a'la Battleships.

Colour variants are inevitable with a large, international or long production run and a few are shown here. Once you've found a good set, you can start removing the studs from the figures you've built up over the years. In front of the fold-out game board you can see I've started this process!

Comparison shot between the Revell Norman and one of the Feudal pieces, there's not much in it and a paint job would lessen the difference even more.