About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 60-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”. Likewise, 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.

Friday, July 16, 2010

B is for Back to Blue Box

So, I covered the Bedfords a while ago now, and took these shots at the same time, so lets 'av a loouk...

The US half-track is a very useful war gaming accessory with the proviso that you ignore the earth-mover arrangement of the tracks! Apart from the odd change in shade of colour and positioning of the stickers (real 1970's things on quite heavy vinyl and very sticky!), there was little variation in these and they do turn up fairly often, there are in addition at least two soft plastic versions from more anonymous HK producers, but they can wait for another day.

Bottom left is the DUKW, with a two-tone camouflage, this is ruined by having only two axles, however it is probably the least common of the Blue Box vehicles. The two crew figures are the equipment operators from the Bedfords, while the twin cannon cupola is taken from the Marx (and/or Airfix 'Attack Force') Landing Craft.

The helicopter is clearly based on the Sud Aviation Gazelle. Of real note is the fact that it is identical to the Hornby-Triang 'Battle Space' helicopter, and - so being - helps to further confirm my theory re. Hornby-Marx-Blue Box connections as laid out in One Inch Warrior magazine Vol. 11.

Austin Champ and American M-100 1/4 ton Jeep trailer. The Champ does not have a hitch, however the Jeep does, but has already been covered somewhere on the blog so I didn't photograph it this time. Early Champs have colour matched drivers the later ones have Mr luminous radioactive-man!

The trailer is well copied in soft plastic often pulled by piracies of the Lesney Matchbox Land Rover! The grey one comes from earlier sets which came with two 'armies' one in green, one in grey. Several vertions exist, some with the pre-war hollow-cast type accessory of a fold-down wire-stiffened cotton tent, or two!

The Blue Box Patton, a vague M47, not much to say about this one, there are a lot of copies around usually in soft ethylene plastic. Of note are the three different barrel ends pointing to a fair bit of work on the mould over the years.

Armoured cars; above are two versions of the Ferret, post-war British armoured scout/reconnaissance car, the soft plastic grey being by/supplied to Marx and possibly pre-dating the hard plastic version issued by Blue box, which was itself copied by N.F.I.C. of Hong Kong.

Below is the late Rado/Ri-Toys Daimler armoured car, taken from the Dulcop one, and so recent you can still find it on rack-toys about the place if you look hard enough. Larger scale and a nasty tinny plastic leaves it a quite undesirable piece!


Anonymous said...

Helicopter looks to be an Alouette rather than Gazelle.


Anonymous said...

Looking at the chopper again, I've decided it's a Bell 47.


Hugh Walter said...

Definitely not a Bell, they had rounder bubble-cockpits and an open tubular-steel frame tail.

The Sud Alouette became an Aerospatiale gazell, the Alouette is boxier with quadricycle landing gear, while the Gazell usually has skids.

The Hornby model first appears in 1966, about the time we were talking to the French about license producing the Gazelle in the UK...

So I've re-decided it's a Gazelle!!


Hugh Walter said...

The Sud Alouette became an Aerospatiale gazell, the Alouette is boxier with TRIcycle landing

Anonymous said...

But the gazelle has an enclosed tailrotor... The Tri-ang chopper was based on a Lionel original IIRC.


Hugh Walter said...

Hi Sean

Meant to answer ages ago but lost internet for a while, The tail-rotor could be a red herring as all these things are toys!

The Lionel connection is interesting, as it suggests that the Hornby/Blue Box one is a strait piracy!!! But interesting also as there are two moldings, (the more anal list dozens - so I probably will one day!!!), the sets 3409, 3410, 3419, 3429 and 6820 all contain variants of a 1960 design which does - indeed - bare a marked resemblance to the early Alouette.

However the one we are concerned with is set 3619 Helicopter Reconnaissance Box Car, which obviously needed a new design to fit in the more constricted (box-car) space than the other 5 which were flat-beds.

There are however differences between it and the Hornby/Blue Box one, the roof slopes away behind the rotor more sharply, the differential between the window sizes is not so marked and it's clear canopy is more 'Alouette' domed.

On the Hornby/Blue Box helicopter the canopy is the most like a Gazelle's of the three.

Now you and I both know that if we go to our library's we will find research books full of things which never made it to service, or if they did, didn't look like the original pre-production prototype or early concept artwork.

(with me so far?!!!)

Now, turning to Wikipedia (not the most reliable source of information I grant you, but I'm not a 'plane guy!) we find - for Gazelles built, this; "SA 340 First prototype, first flown on 7 April 1967 with a conventional Alouette type tail rotor."

Now if the late Lionel version is based on this it would make sense as they would quite conceivably have been working on drawings of the 'Latest/Upcoming/Newest' helicopters - the model was issued in 1962, the prototype flew in 67. Hornby/Blue Box (in my own opinion - for the reasons stated in PW's 1 Inch Warrior article - Blue Box for Hornby) adjusted to fit later press-release stuff, then both Helicopters could be representations of concept drawing hybrids, makeing them either Alouelle's or Gazette's!

And making us both half-right! Ah Ha; Honor restored all round! Cheers!

1) Phew, it's not a straight Pirate
2) Far from being a red herring, the tail is central to the thesis!
3)Lionel 1 - Alouette
Lionel 2 - 'Alouelle'
Hornby/Blue Box - 'Gazette'
Majorette - Gazelle

BUT! you have the aircraft books - so you have the last word, I can't find any pre-production/concept/press-release stuff on the Wibbly Wobbly Way. But if the SA 340 had the earlier rotor it's immaterial?!

Andy W said...

Without doubt it is definately modelled on the BELL 47J.

Hugh Walter said...

Googled . . . confirmed . . . absolument (as the French say and they know what they're talking about - they speak French!)what a star you are Andy W!