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, August 26, 2011

Bits and Bobs

Rafael Lipkin below, the ACW Artillery have been cleaned-up and added-to over on the Airfix blog, Berlin Wall on 'Other Collectables' and a whinge over at PPE Rant, which will be renamed soon!

So a fair bit today and more next week hopefully, but not until after Thursday, when all sorts might come out of the woodwork!

M ist fur die Maur

It is 50 years since the wall went up, and as there are kids in their 20's who see it as an historic event of the likes of the Titanic or a World War, I get to feel very old!

I was there...and I'm still here, so it was yesterday for me, and gives one a sense of what it must have been like for veterans of earlier historic events, trying to explain to the next generation that it was real. Ever wondered as a kid why the old guy at the end of the street or village always got a bit shirty with you as you played 'war'...

One of the first things any troops did when starting an operational tour of Berlin was have a coached orientation-tour, which basically meant having a tourist-bus ride with a man from the Intelligence Corps shouting stuff to the back of an army white-bus.

While we were being shown the sites round the Brandenburg gate area, I managed - with my old Kodak 33 Instamatic (which I'd been bought for my first visit to Germany, a touring holiday in 1969) - to shoot a Soxmis or Stasi spy-type person in a red Volvo photographing me! [us]. They would then compare these photographs with any movement documents they'd copied from the convoys and military train that ran 'down the zone' to West Germany, along with any passport photographs, to build-up a picture of the new units as they moved in.

I think this was shot as we went round the Victory Column, which celebrates someone other than the British giving the French a good spanking!!!! They love it really...bend over and bite your baguette Frenchie!

Years later I'd have one of these red Volvo's (a 940) with a bit of chrome round the windows! The East German's also had a fleet of 6-door 'stretched' Volvo estates in a pumpkin purple/midnight blue, which were parked outside the town hall in East Berlin, I never understood why one of our Allies would be selling fleets of specially prepared cars to the 'Enemy', then I saw some documentary which tied the subsidiary of the subsidiary of a global drinks company to part ownership of a 'peoples' ball-bearing factory somewhere in the East, making parts for T62's and realised that the world is merely mad, and it's rulers madder still; madder than the rest of us that's for sure.

One of my most treasured possessions, this is a real bit of the 'Wall' chipped-out near the Brandenburg Gate in the early hours of the day it came down by my ex-Girlfriend who was a West Berliner (and not a doughnut like Kennedy) and which she then sent to me. My brother happened to have this piece of hex-bar left over from making hand-tools as an apprentice a few years before, and I can't remember if I found the steel block or if he did, but he drilled it and jammed the bar in.

The East German concrete set like metal so I couldn't drill it, or not without destroying the whole thing, so I propped it all on its side, super-glued the bar to the lump and then fully-married them with a wadge of Araldite!!If you have a piece of 'the wall' smaller than a finger-nail, in a little plastic box from one of the traders down at the Zoo or Ku'damm, with a thin layer of florescent orange or pink paint; I'm afraid you have a fragment of the scammers equivalent of toffee-crackle, probably broken up with a toffee hammer as they make it so thin!!

Genuine pieces of the 'Wall' have a many-layered 'plastic' coating, created by the endless re-painting and over painting of the artists, graffitists and (occasionally) East German boarder-guards, who would come over via ladders and paint sections out at night - until their bosses worked-out that they got more 'runners' among the guards than any corresponding 'worth' of some whitewashing of stuff their own people couldn't read anyway! [They supposedly had the meter 'our' side of the wall, and did grab the odd person, by leaning down from the same ladders, or so it was told??]

I think these were taken in the Summer of 1987, and this one is a favourite of mine, it also appears in some of the better books on Wall Art. Years ago I painted this on the back of a leather Jacket for some guy, I wonder if he's still got it?

Taken over the wall from one of the wooden viewing platforms, and looking at one of the 'killing zones'. Sandwiched between both 'our' Wall and an inner security wall (over to the right) is a tarmacked road for the vehicles used to change and feed the guards, patrol the barrier etc...the sand strip which is a minefield and then a clear area of grass covered by firing ports in the tower in the background.

I think this is part of the area cleared to allow Roger Waters to perform 'The Wall' in 1991 (? I was there so I should know!), a superb event spoiled only by the helicopter lent by the AAC flight down at RAF Gatow (the garrison hung around for a few years after unification) who flew in to do the "You! Yes YOU - Laddie, Stand Still Will YER!" bit, and then decided to hang around for most of the next number having a gander and drowning everything out until one of the lighting guys encouraged them to leave with a white-spotlight!!

Another favourite, if you find this one in a book it's usually missing the anarchist epithet! I have another book on the wall somewhere which is a combination of actual art and the results of a competition which included lots of these 'release' or 'through the key-hole' motifs.

A bit of a story, the long version I may tell one day...me and a chap called Maiden were a gun-team (GPMG) on a live-firing exercise in Sennelager 'up (or 'down') the zone', when we were accidentally shot at by our Platoon Commander! Nice chap, fresh out of Sandhurst and trying too hard! Anyway, being a 'Rodney' he got the weirdest punishment while he waited his real punishment...he was sent from the battalion up to Brigade (in the old '36 Olympic Village) and put in charge of a REME team building a scale model of the British sector of the Wall.

Knowing I had trained as a graphic designer in civi-street, and knowing I wasn't too bothered about the fact he's loosed-off a 7.62 full metal jacket in my general direction, he came and asked me if I could produce some drawings for the guy's to work from, which I duly did.

Being given - then - classified photographs (which any tourist could get with the right lens!), I took copies of the finished drawings before I handed them it. I don't know if the model was ever made, and if it was whether it survived the fall of the Wall and withdrawal of Berlin brigade? It may be in one of the Wall/German Division/Reunification museums, of which there are several in Berlin these days.

I actually got the dimensions of the later-style 'lollipop' tower wrong in my haste, making it oblong when it did in fact have a square floor-plan! I have visions of all the towers on this 18-meter model being wrong and can only hope some bright-spark in the REME spotted the 'grunts' cock-up...

Me photographing them photographing me again! I'm the shadow bottom right, and they are 'photo-guy', left, by the hut and 'I guard he guards I guy' next to him. I wonder if they are still out there somewhere...now 'just' Germans living normal lives like the rest of us?

This was shot down in the 'hippy'/alternative/goth/punk squatter area near Krautzfeld, and one suspects that the lorry is backed right up to the wall for a purpose. As can be seen, there is a maze of 'Wall', 'Wire' and various blockages as road, rail and internal border all meet badly up against one of the canals. I wonder if there wasn't a bit of late-night 'traffic' here than ignored both boarders and politics!

For every inch of the famous 'Wall' there was 10 kilometers of the less famous 'Wire', running along-side the main arterial road and rail links with West Germany, down the middle between the two Germany's' and round the outside of West Berlin.

From time to time we'd get the BMT (British Military Train) 'Down the Zone' and these two shots were taken covertly from the window. A sealed station somewhere between Magdeburg (a big grey soviet industrial town with a Tank Barracks right-up against the railway-line) and Braunsweig, where we re-entered the West.

I think there is an almost discernible 'ghost' of Taff Davis in the window sitting opposite me...

You have to wonder why the current government of the State of Israel are busy building walls, when they always fail...

Jericho, Troy, Mahenjo Daro, Siegfried, Maginot, Hadrian's, Bar Lev, Berlin, French Indo-China even the Great wall of China is in pieces and saw the Mongol hoards swarm across it. The night I got home to see it coming down, I shed a tear, I'm not ashamed to say, not because I was sad to see it go, but because it represented waste, wasted lives, wasted time and wasted money - foisted on all of us by those who would rule over us.

They were - in the mid-1990's - talking about giving us a medal, us 'Cold-war Warriors', or a Berlin bar to the GSM (we were written off the combat-ready strength of NATO due to our 10 minute survivability status if the 'balloon went up' - 99 red one's, who remembers that...and better heard in the original German, thanks Nena!), but then Phony Tony B.Liar took us to war in three new places and our young successors started really dying, while we just thought about it occasionally in the Irish Pub in the Europa Centre. So we - rightly - stop asking for a medal and go back to our memories and a little piece of concrete 'History' on stick!

R is for Raphael Lipkin Ltd.

This post is due in no small part to the Littlewoods catalogue page that Bill 'Wotan' posted the other day over on the 'Moonbase' (link to left). One of my favorite vehicles of all time top ten favourite vehicles 'Mate', messieurs's Backman, Turner and the Mighty Antar Overdrive!...did I say I do a lot of greeate work for cheearitee?...!

Three shots of the Raphael Lipkin Mighty Antar Tank Transporter with both it's own load; a Conqueror, and the Jimson copy of the Airfix 'Attack Force' Patton Tank I fell for at the PW show two years ago (where does the time go!).

Raphael Lipkin were a small London based company that produced a lot of the toys recognisable to people of a certain age...namely; people like me...oh, 47 all right!! But they didn't always mark them, or the packaging, so they go quite unsung, I know a guy who collects them as a speciality/side-bar to a wider collection of early British plastic, and while I've never seen his collection, I did see what he sold as swaps a few years ago and Lipkin featured.

If they are marked it's a little stick-man logo that spells RLL, but looks like it's trying to say LRL

The catalogue page courtesy of Moonbase's 'Wotan' Bill, along with the Hong Kong 'No.975 Armoured Car Friction Powered' which looks like Telsalda or Lucky but is in an unmarked box, showing the trailer stand/legs. Also the Tractor unit being used as a recovery platform.

The tank is polystyrene while the truck is polyethylene, the colour match being down to the use of neutral granules of each material with the same staining compound.

We used to make - here in the UK - toys that were worth exporting all over the world, toys that were worth every penny they cost and toys that kept people like me happy for a whole rainy August (apart from the odd fight with my brother! - some things never change), now they get bored with the three-billion things their iPod can do and torch the local High Street instead!

The value built into this is pretty 'special'...a four-piece tool set and winch handle, stored in lockers with secure doors. Working ramps and support-legs on the trailer, it's quality man!

Another excuse to check out the Triang Conqueror and also a look at the Airfix Antar with the sand version of the Patton Tank.

Enviromental Health - They think not!

A friend of mine had been having a bit of bother with his Employer/Landlord (?) and turned (as you might imagine we all would)...to the local authority who have a statutory duty in these matters. Only it turned out they don't really, in fact as long as we keep paying them their salaries, they'll do as little as they can

This is what his bedroom looks like, and has done for some time, he brought it to the attention of the home-owners solicitors some 5 months ago, but it still looks like this and he still sleeps on the Sofa.

So he got in touch with the council and was told someone would get back to him on Monday, FOUR weeks latter he got a letter telling him they were assuming everything was OK and that if they didn't hear from him in a day or two they'd close the case. Furious phone-call later and he had an appointment for the middle of the next week, where he was told someone from 'eevee' would ring him the next week.

Someone did on the Monday, she said she'd get back to him by the middle of the week. She didn't! Sometime on the Friday (in office hours) he rang to find out what was happening, only to get the 'We've all gone-off for the weekend, try again Monday' message, he left a message alright, it produced a phone-call first thing the following Monday with an assurance that they would ring him by Wednesday...

...without the promised call he got this from Sue on the Thursday. Has she earned her money, do you think? Perhaps if we sack a few of these useless jobsworths we could keep a few mobile Library's going, so vulnerable people in outlying areas can get help finding books that might tell them how to get stuff done when the people tasked with doing so by legislation fail to.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

J is for Just a quick one!

The library have updated their computers and I can now see my 'followers' for the first time since December, along with all the images on Paul's Bod's and Figabulary both of which have been closed to me for some time...still can't comment on a bunch of blogs though!

So welcome and thanks for linking/following, I will check-out all the new blogs, sort out links etc...soon but other crap keeps me away from all this still...although...Dum Dum DUM!...my total has barely changed, so a few people must have dropped-off the bottom, there's only a toy-free Hell below the bottom-rung chaps! You should have held on tighter, consider what you're missing; a gobby Aspergers retard who thinks he knows a bit about soldiers...what else could anyone want?

I see we're not far-off the magic 100,000 views so having missed the fifty, same rules as the 30,000; First to send me a screenshot of their being the viewer on the page with 100,000 will get something nice, but I don't know what yet...or when (and the event itself is weeks away still), possibly a mint Airfix first version ACW Artillery set boxed on sprue? Or a handful of Speedwell Germans for a large scale collector? (scroll to the bottom of the page and if it says 100000, hit Ctrl/Prtscn, together and save on prompt to where you want - desktop etc...or you can open a word doc. or pub. and paste).

Thanks to Philotoadia for sending me a lovely rubber Dalek, and to a German guy who has sent me some Bubble-gum premium stuff to publish here (which I will do hopefully in three or four weeks), can he check his email and get back to me, I need to know who to credit!

Also I haven't forgotten Pam the cellulose Lady in Wales (I have some animals for you), and Ken - your Ist version Airfix Attack Force tanks are still there with your name on them (I carved it in with a hot knife...hey; they're OLD, I didn't think you'd mind!!!!!) (wink-ani)

About two weeks ago there was a fascinating article over on the Moonbase with the Rafael Lipkin Conqueror and Transporter on an old Littlewood's catalogue page, along with what I assume were two other RLL friction-motor trucks, supplied with Lone*Star crewmen...worth checking out over there.

Premiums in a week or so, Berlin Wall stuff over at other collectable in - hopefully - a few days, and lots of opinion after 2 September! Lots...Burning city's, jailed scrotes, usless politicians, tax-evasion and venal millionaires to name but a few subjects in my sights...oh yeah...and I've been officially declared a retarded genius (very liberating - I can report)!