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.

Friday, March 30, 2012

P is for Palitoy Plastic Prototypes

One of the more interesting things to appear on this blog, and not figures!

Originally formed in 1909 to manufacture celluloid and other early acetate, Bakelite-type and phenolic plastics; the Cascelloid company was taken over by one of its rivals (British Xylonite), and the new company chose Palitoy as a friendly sounding trademark for the new toy division as in 'Pally Toy', this was in 1935.

These model aircraft - among the earliest things known to come from that toy division - are quite mythical within toy collecting circles, the favourite story being that they were made from the plastics recycled from downed German 'planes during the Battle of Britain! Well...it's not that far fetched, the aircraft types so far identified as being in the range (in addition to the three illustrated below - I'm pretty sure I've seen a Hurricane...whispers; but don't quote me!) are all types that were common in the skys leading up to the Second World War - they also made a Sunderland flying boat and a crude Spitfire.

So a date of 1938-41 would be quite a reasonable starting point for these models, making them among the earliest British plastics of their type. Some sources claim they are post war, but I suspect that while the Palitoy 'take' on the Thomas Toys pull-motor helicopter was added to the range post-war; the rest of the range are wartime if not earlier.

As to the plastic - It is not stable and warping of some level is found in every example encountered, and there seems to have been three main issues; plain greys (light and dark), silvery-grey or aluminium colours, mottled/swirling mixed-pellet, and plain but bright colours (red, light and dark blue, pink and British Racing Green), . It's my belief that they were probably issued in that order, with the greys made from clean material before the war or before wartime proscriptions/restrictions, then the mottled examples from 'recycled' plastic and finally after the war - but from the same set of moulds (hence the early/pre-war aircraft types) - the more colourful ones which match the later helicopter addition. It must be said though - this is pure guesswork and it may be that the mottled ones were first and all the plain ones part of a second 'tranche'.

Other reasons for placing them earlier than the post-war dates I've seen given to them is that A) had they been issued in 1955 (one date ascribed to them on a forum) they would have been more up-to-date types (Mosquito, Typhoon, Lancaster...), B) They would have been made from more stable plastics such as those being used post-war by Airfix, Thomas, Irwin et al, and C) British Xylonite/Palitoy began injection moulding in 1941, the probably date for these, as you would reasonably be expected to experiment with a new technology by making a cheap toy you could get some return on, if it all went a bit Pete Tong!

The 'Welly', with a close up of the wing markings with "PALITOY RED'G. NON-FLAM" on one wing and "MADE IN ENGLAND" on the other, the aircraft type was printed in the upper fuselage section/roof. Wellingtons first flew in 1936 and became a service aircraft in 1938.

There are versions of the Sunderland with a fixed-key clockwork motor, I don't know if the body of the Wellington is large enough to take the mechanism - I've certainly never seen one.

There you go Bud! Brand-spanker...
...and we've even painted those targets you limeys like on the wings!

Yes...thanks awfully old chap, no chance of your lot joining this show then?

This model helps with the dating; as it is called a Lockheed Bomber, again; first flew in 1938, RAF service aircraft by 1939 when it became the Hudson, why is it not called the Hudson? Most pre/early-war recognition pamphlets and Boy's own Annuals etc...describe the 'plane as a Lockheed bomber, so this must have been on the drawing boards of Palitoy's toy department quite early? Or even already in the pattern-room when the Hudson moniker was officially adopted by HMG.

Another 'Hudson', one of the plain metallic ones (photographed at Sandown Park toy fair) which I think may pre-date the mottled ones, but I could be wrong, they may well go together with the coloured ones which I - myself - think are later? Warping - as can be seen in the photo's, is not as severe with these silvery ones. I have also seen some with a chromium like finish, I haven't guessed their place in the cannon! Also of note with this one is the more realistic wheel/propeller colour, most examples having red or pink wheels and propellers.

The Boulton-Paul Defiant (first flight; 1937, service item; 1939), this was a real early-war type, and again has a staring role in early coverage of the pre-war and Fall-of-France/Battle of Britain RAF in popular journals, magazines and 'boys annuals', so further adding to the evidence for an early issue date of this range. B-P had a furniture factory in Southampton-Eastleigh until quite recently!

This is one of the mottled ones, and to deal - finally - with the myth, re. bits of Dornier and Messerschmitt being the base material for these models...While it is possible that some plastic recycled from downed aircraft did find its way into the war-time material supply-chain (in which case there would be plenty of Spitfire, Hurricane and even Boulton & Paul pieces in the mix!), the truth is more likely that British Xylonite must have been producing components for the War Effort and would have been allowed to use sprue, flash, off-cuts and machinings from those contracts to make the 'planes as the models would have been seen as a moral-booster.

It is a depressing fact of human nature that war brings an renewed interest and corresponding production increase in 'war toys'.

Father - buying one of these on the way home with his gas-mask round his neck would have been happy to say "There you go son - it's made out of bits of a bloody Nazi fighter", not having the knowledge or inclination to say "There you go son - it's made from bits of radio-set dial off-cuts"! or even; "There you go son - it's made from bits of a real one some chap I went to school with died in - flying to protect us..."

[Note - If anybody has a Sunderland or Spitfire (or even Hurricane?) that they could take some decent pictures of, I'd love to add them to this post for completeness, full credit given]

In the end I added the Spitfires Here
...and a 'Flying Wing' Here
...and finally - the Sunderland flying boat

Thursday, March 29, 2012

N is for Noah (and Nano'nanimals)

Very much an unscheduled post, I have Pirates, Bull Fighters and French troops in the queue along with more link-stuff from the Wibbly Wobbly Way and some new production/new acquisitions also waiting...but these came in half an hour ago, it's my Birthday (no - I'm not fishing for congratulations...I'm 40-too-old today!) and my Mother found these in a charity shop; they are so small the only word for them is exquisite. The whole ensemble, I've found them on Google and the current set has a few more pairs of animals, but from the condition of this set and the packing, it's either an earlier one with fewer animals, or the seller couldn't bare to part with some of them? Noah and his wife are smaller than N-gauge in size but at this scale it's all a bit relative with over-sized peacocks (no peahen!) and undersized giraffes and elephants. The lions look a bit 'powerful' next to the cattle as well! Another shot of the Ark loading, the little jewellery box they come in and comparisons with - on the left; a 54mm/1:32 Crescent circus lion and on the right; a 40mm baby elephant probably by Heyde or similar. Made for 1:12 scale dolls houses play-rooms the website (Minnie Maria) has not been updated for a year or two, but the speed life moves at these days - this means nothing and they are worth an eMail if you fancy a set, they also do a Toy Soldier!

L is for Lady Luck

There is within the hobby an expression used by the dealers on the show circuit; "He was spotting my mistakes!", it refers to those occasions when a dealer known to be a bit 'tight', to have cobwebs in his wallet, suddenly buys something another dealer thinks he has priced for 'all the money' without a question, during the pre-opening 'trading'. It means that the other guy has spotted something that is worth more than it's going for.

This post is not about a 'spotted mistake' as the description was quite clear;


Made of hard plastic Painted and based figures, make unknown but 20+ years old.

Comprises a total of 69 figures.

...and the photograph was reasonable;

However, when I spotted this a few weeks ago, I though "Plastic?...15mm?...I'll have to have a look at this!" and realised immediately that it was a old-school war gamer's American Indian force made from Merten figures (first bit of luck), loads of them...69! Of course they are really 18mm, but with war games bases added (and very thin bases originally) were clearly fitting in with 15 mil figures. And if they hadn't been Merten they could only have been Starlux with that description!

So I bid and got them for the start price, which was the second bit of luck, no one else bid? They were in the right category and the photo is clear?! However there was still the gambol that I'd be able to get them off the bases without ruining them, and/or that they hadn't been touched-up with non-factory paint.

When they arrived the rest of the 'luck' slipped into place, they had been based in/around the 1970's with something resembling sun-dried porridge (I suspect a non-rawlplug 'plastic-wood' that dried faster than the war gamer could base the figures!) and apart from the odd cracked - Merten - base as they came out, they all came away with relative ease.

A set of the six poses as they would have originally come out of the box, I have a few spare boxes in storage and at some point will see if any have the right background paper via the old catalogue, if there is a correct one; Lady Luck will have brought a near-mint boxed set to the collection!

We looked at some of the other sets in this range back in the early days of the blog so click on Merten in the tag-list to find that, I didn't know this set off-hand so a really nice find.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

W is for With appologies to Stanly Kubrick!

A harbinger of things to come...

Now published a few posts above - a two part overview of the larger scale Pirate figure output both sides of the pond!.

G is for Giocadag

Whom I presume are the importer/repackager of these French figures for the Italian market? This is the third set of these Italian Starlux sets and it's probably the best - value wise - having 12 poses, two of each for 24 figures, far more than the other two sets.

The set complete, the poster-map and the sticker, I don't know how many of these sets were issued, and with neither/both the Circus and Fire Brigade sets having any 'enemy' it's hard to tell, but I think we can assume there was a set of Cowboys (probably 2 x 11 poses for 22 figures? - see coming post; above somewhere in the next few days!).

As only non-military sets have turned-up so far it may be thet the military sets being French wern't offered to the Italians in their own-language packaging...can any Italian visitor help with that?

Close-ups of the figures, the one I like the most is the guy who's found himself a Colt Peacemaker, probably stole it from one of the bodies at the Little Big Horn! The 'Chief' with blanket is also a nice piece and his 54mm version sits (actually; 'stands') well next to the Britain's one we looked at last night.

[Rivet counters please note - I don't want comments on when, where or how the Peacemaker was or wasn't issued, or to whom...they are TOYS! Just call it a 'six-gun' and sit on your hands...]

After checking the published version; you might get a Google '500 error' message when you try to enlarge the second image, keep trying and it will come-up! Here they are announcing a "...new look for April..." when they have yet to get either of the old looks right!!! Is this a slow suicide note by Google...something new and better will take their place if they're not careful....

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

H is for Herald and Hong Kong

Similar to the cowboy shot the other day, but this time we do have all poses from both sets so; two photographs and a bit more blurb!

Not much more though, these are Britains and - much to my puzzlement - are one of those marks which generate so much interest (the others being Airfix, Timpo and Marx) it's all been said before and covered in greater depth than I can muster the enthusiasm to attempt!

The early set, first made under the Herald banner in polyethylene. Like the cowboys, some but not all poses were carried over to the Hong Kong production phases, to be made in a rigid PVC, namely; the standing and sitting 'Chiefs' in full war-bonnet and the squaw with baby in papoose - along with the camp-fire.

Note how much smaller the PVC standing Indian (far right of the row) is compared to the UK ones to the left of him.

Losing the three (see note below) fighting poses in the production move to HK, they were replaced by these guys, the crawling one was one of my favourites as a child and I still have a soft-spot for him today, but he's not a '10 items to rescue from a fire' pose, as these are pretty common, pretty indestructible and can be found in reasonable condition, with relative ease.

I also like the fact that the standing firer has full clothing, it's amazing how stereotyped 'Red Indians' were in the toy industry of the past, they all seemed to fight semi-naked on hot days! This guy is ready for a cold winter...it's just a shame he bought his PJ's form the local fancy-dress hire shop!

I realised after I'd published - there was a forth figure transferred over to the HK range; the kneeling archer (there is one; top right - first photograph!), so the range went from 7 to eight with four new and four old poses plus the camp fire, Tee-pee (Ti-pi?) and Totem pole.

C is for 'Civis'

A guest post tonight with thanks to Bernard Taylor for all images and the information behind them, it all goes back to 'stupid blog' which was going to be all the text only listings, one of which was the Merit list (now; Here), when I brought them back over here Bernard dropped a comment to the effect that some sets I had bracketed 'May not have been issued' were actually issued as he had some...well; the other day he sent me pictures of the ones he had, which were of such a quality they were suitable for posting, hence...

Photographs of three of the four sets, correctly labelled and a shot of the typical late packing that was probably the first version they came in, missing out on the 'cartoon artwork' and the rail scene packs that preceded this type.

In the original list I had ignored 5128 with a typo duplication of '27' and had them in the wrong order, but as I was working from Merit, Peco and Pritchard paperwork at the time there may be a reason for the wrong order, anyway; unless you read this and follow the link in the first few minutes after I publish it, I will have updated the list by 'now'!

Of interest is that the separate bases in clear styrene common to Merit (and missing from most Model Scene sets) have been dropped in favour of integral bases more like the Triang Model-land/Minic Motorway figure sets of a decade or so earlier, whether these were sculpted by Stadden at the time or as a later additions is unknown, they certainly have the look of his work and could have come from the Havent plant, the Merit pink plastic was the same as a lot of that Triang/Mettoy stuff?

A Prichard Patent Products (PPP from Peco) catalogue scan above some of the figures Bernard is working on for a layout, these are as well painted as any small scale I've seen (sorry Paul, sorry Sam, sorry Peter, sorry Carmen!) and remind one that it's not just toy soldier people who have the painting and modelling skills or an interest in figures! Bernard is taking them back a few decades - to the Edwardian hight-point of 'Steam' - so all the ladies have had their hemlines dropped so's not to over-excite men to whom they are not married! It's not just Islamic fundamentalists you know, ask Mrs. Spankhust - as the National Theater of Brent called her!

Two of these are the Slater's figures - the sailor and the woman with a hat (far right) - that were originally metal Mastermodels (Wardie) sculpts and then early plastic members of Merits population, but that's a story half-touched on before and - fully; for another day! [Bernard added that the shiny ones will get a final coat of matt varnish!]

The N gauge sets - I was pretty sure these both existed as I had one in the late Merit brown & red version of these graphics, I never-the-less marked the one I didn't have as possibly not being issued, as I never accept a product existed until I've seen it!

When Peco picked up what was left of Merit, they re-branded the whole range 'Model Scene' and used the last type Merit HO sets colour scheme for both gauges. As Model Scene these are still current and those few surviving High Street hobby stores still stock them.

Thanks again to Bernard for the info and pictures, we will return to Merit again, as there is a lot to get through.

Friday, March 23, 2012

News, views etc...Plastic Warrior 147 (February 2012)

Forgot to cover this when it came out the other week so quick review now. Since it went all colour on us - a couple of years ago now - it has got better and better, so to this issue;

* Peter Evans looks at Marx swoppet Guardsmen and Mexican Copies
* Cherilea Diddy-Men by Colin Penn
* Matt Thair continues his round-up of Cherilea's British Commandos (part 2).
* A look at a new maker with Scott Lam's thoughts on his new company Expeditionary Force
* Coverage of other new products from
- Kid Robot
- Armies in Plastic
Dollar Tree and Accoutrements via Paul Stads
* Rare/unusual Timpo Box from Karl James
* Elastolin Copies
* Daniel Morgan has an in-depth look at Britains/Herald Ballet Dancers
* Lone Star test shots and rarities
* Developments in Gerald Edwards research of Poplar Plastics, both Spacemen and Romans
* ...and Alwyn Bryce finding mysteries where there probably aren't any, but we must humour him - he's a journalist!
* Plus all the usual news & letters (BMS French Foreign Legion), and front and back cover pictures that are worth a years subscription by themselves, so subscribe!

And don't forget;

Forthcoming PW show at Richmond confirmed for the 5th May at the Queen Charlot Halls, Richmond, Surrey.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

G is for Girls, Grandad and Gallic Gunmen!

Just a quick one tonight, the photograph can tell you almost as much as I can, previously unknown to me these were at an antiques fair at Alexandra Palace this Sunday just gone, and I would assume some sort of decorative items.

The subject matter is a bit 'Dickensian', or...more like the output of both the Italian company Nardi, who - in plastic - do a lot of rural/rustic/nativity stuff and the Spanish firms who make the little terracotta people with paper hats,; Bull-fighters and maids usually, with childlike countenances.

As these are also terracotta, I'm guessing somewhere in the South-west of France? They seem to be a group of 'village' women, an older Shepard and a group of younger hunters? Any other information on these and the company - Senton - would be most welcome. Height is around 65mm.

Later - much later; Now known to be Santons, French nativity scene items

News Views Etc...More Fugging Blogger!

I now have 75 followers and am on-target for my first 11,000 hit month after three consecutive 10,000+ months, so thanks again to all who visit or follow, I can't add the new followers Blogs to my blog-list as I can't edit any of my widgets, even from the design page!!

This is an ongoing problem, and we can only hope that Blogger have only failed to fix it because they are already so busy fixing the image-upload problems!! Ha-ha...some hope!

Details/Discussion can be found;

Here Original Post

Here Google 'Groups'


Here Read Only

If you are having problems with 'Quick Edit', the pencil icon, the tool icon or updating your side-bar widgets, or the URL changes stick a polite comment on one of the threads, or you can rant on your blog like me and risk getting chucked-off Blogger, but as they won't stop a plagiarist using my images, there's a 'better die than live like this' element to my "WTF's going on Blogger/Google?" attitude!

To Paul - I bet you didn't believe me...

Well done mate! You are now coming to us from three different places - at the same time! Your empire will blot out Google with it's shadow and we will enjoy wall-to-wall Revell Panthers 'till the end of time!

T is for Tin-plate and Tractors!

You may well have realised I have a side-thing for tractors, and while I tend to call such things 'side collections', the horrible truth is I have so many side-collections they are really all part of 'The Collection'!

I took these a while ago at Sandown Park as I though they'd make for a slightly different post. There is something joyous in old tin-plate toys and food or cigarette tins, I suspect it's the brightness of the litho-printed colours even on rusty examples.

This tractor - made in Germany or; as it states quite categorically - 'Bavaria'! - differs only slightly from the one below, as the other one has all the company marks and dates of an original it must be assumed this is a newer, post-war copy.

Patented in 1916 by Animate Toys of the USA, this 'Baby Tractor' has the recognisable layout of an European tractor with far-set wheels, unlike the row-crop layout I hate! The lines printed on the rear wheels probably represent steel treads on a steel or iron wheel, much-like the contemporary traction-engines. My father tells of metal spade-lug wheels still being used on the family farm in WWII.

This is a bit of a mystery...the box (in its entirety - not just the label) appears to be a photo-realistic/printed 'repro' but still has some age of it's own, the car was not known to be a Schuco design originally, it's of Schuco quality and seems to be pretending to be Schuco and any help given would be greatly appreciated. I suspect a 1970's line of new 'Retro' models, from a Japanese tin-plate specialist? Anyway it's a concept design or 'Space Car' and help with identifying it would be as gratefully received as help with its history or origins.

Unknown British tin-plate searchlight, marked MADE IN ENGLAND, it will date from between the wars where its primary goal was to compete with the imports from Germany by Hausser and Lineol!

A pom-pom type AA gun from the same source, all sort of working features allow fro the projecting of match-sticks over some distance, no wonder all those hollow-cast guardsmen at car boots are always missing their heads and old composition are full of cracks!

"There'll be lots of 'Archie' over the living-room sector Biggles!

W is for War - as a game

Food for toy soldier thought; War as a game?

It seems boundaries are getting blurred...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

M is for Montaplex - Part I - Quadruple-bags

As you collect the Spanish 'Sobres' or 'Surprises' you realise that the companies (of whom Montaplex was only one - but the most prolific one) were very good at regurgitating the same few products in various ways or including them in various sets.

These four-vehicle bags being a case in point as they all contain things that had either been available singly, or that had already appeared in the figure sets, where a sprue was often thrown-in to give the set a bit more playability!

The car is quite nice, described as a Ford, it looks quite like a Rolls or other prestige mark to me, the two space items (UFO and NASA return-module) have been seen on Moonbase Central before now, the tanks are a bit lame but the 'planes are OK really, a bit crude and around 1:100, but not that bad.

The bag at the back contains the ship which is so brittle it's powdering in front of itself! It's also a very poor model and not worth putting together - even for a photograph. The scooter is closer to 54mm in scale/size.

Close-up of the astronaut in his capsule, he also mans a Wild West era fire-wagon! And the car on the sprue and with an Airfix 'Officer Type' to give an idea of the size - quick bit of paint, some dry-brushing and you've got yourself a staff-car!

M is for Montaplex - Part II - Single Bags

Before the larger envelopes that are so familier to collectors of Montaplex, they produced single-model Sobres in two-colour printed paper envelopes (black and one true 'colour' on white), I only have a few, on the backs they list lots of others, but the same few vehicles actually keep turning-up, so I suspect a lot of the models never got copied/made/issued?

The Russian infantry (from Airfix) were the only figures I've found in one of these sets, there is another design of helicopter but mine is incomplete so I'll save it until a good one turns-up! The tanks are simplified and too small for most 'uses' - cirtainly with war-gaming - but the Unimog is a very neat little model and as can be seen from the figures is relatively in scale - presumably taken from either Roskopf (1:100) or Roco-Minitanks (HO).

A selection of bags, the car is the same as the one looked at in Part I (above) the, the helicopter is the bag for the one illustrated, but looks more like the 'other' one mentioned!

It's worth noting that within these four bags you have;

Montaplex, Monta Plex and Monta-Plex!

M is for Montaplex - Part III - Other Vehicles

M0st of my Montaplex sets will appear on the Airfix blog as comparisons when I get that page properly loaded-up, so here are just a few vehicles from sets not in the two previous parts of this overview.

The sprue with two little vehicles came in a few sets, being what appear to be an Airfield traffic-control vehicle and a fire engine/appliance.

The other four came with a road-works set that included Airfix civilian copies. There is no attempt at scale with the tractor in a bigger size than the lorries and the car somewhere between the two.

Top - some sets gave you two helicopters instead of one!

Middle - some of the other vehicles you can find in Sobres, the road-roller and fire-wagon seem to be copies of Matchbox, but Lido did produce a similar model, whether theirs was first or another copy I don't know, what I do know is that they weren't crewed by astronauts! The gun is a Manurba copy and the jeep come in a lot of sets although I've only found two plug-ins so far, searchlight and radar.

Bottom - The Montaplex copy of the Blue Box copy of the Dulcop copy of the Dinky Daimler Armoured-Car!...I think!!

A nice lorry with a US marine from Airfix for scale, the set actually contains copies of the Quiralux French soldiers/GI's identified Here, I not sure if BuMSlot re-issued them, I think they did, but not with the truck!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

G is for Gunslingers

A few hours later and I'm a dot-co-dot-uk! Why? If it 'aint broke - don't fix it! I was going to do this post so you didn't have to look at my earlier rant for too long, but honestly, Blogger/Google seem hell bent on getting rid of their site owners and destroying Internet security at the same time - I link to 106 other Blogs and 5 of them have disabled their verification words this month, and that's just the ones who've announced it?

Does Google not understand that Bebo has all but surrendered to Myspace/Facebook. that the market leaders when they (Google) came to prominence in 2005 have all but disappeared and been forgotten, that things happen so quickly on the Internet that if someone comes along doing it better, everyone goes there. There is talk - on Blogger's own forums - of people moving to Wordpress, well I'm going to look into it, and if the image limit is the same and the layout can be similar I'll go there and start again...anyone who's bookmarked me but doesn't follow me through Blogger or Google now has a dead link to smallscaleworld.com because I'm .co.uk, despite still editing this in www.blogger.com?!! Feck!!

And they still can't get four pictures to load in the right order! Why don't you fix something that IS broken?

Anyway...here's a pretty picture of some toys! It's not the whole early set, it's not the whole late set, it's not all the paint variations, it's not all the plastic colour variations, but it's a guide to both UK and HK 'Herald' series cowboys from Britains and as I've said before with these small posts - box ticked!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

News Views Etc...Fugging Blogger!

Well, not only have I lost the quick edit (Followers are back) but a quick visit to Google (search) shows this is a problem Blogger and Google (Corp.) has known about for months, and while it's going on they have decided to convert the Blogger forums into Google Groups! Soooooooooooooo....the threads about the problem are divided between the old Forum which went read-only a few days ago, the replacement Forum which will be superseded by Groups and the fledgling Groups which are not fully active yet.

A problem thirded is easier to ignore eh...Blogger?

On the funny side...Paul over at Plastic Warriors is now sending me traffic from three Blogs;


How the hell they've put him in the UK is anybodies guess!!!

I swear - The Internet is getting less interactive and harder to use every fugging day!

The problem/s stem from the introduction of .au URL's (and it would seem .co.uk and .nz...at the same time!), problems with the new version of Firefox (a month or two old now) and Google (who swore they would never do anything 'bad') wanting to rule the planet and buy everything on the Internet that isn't already on evilBay!

The question being; why would the internet leader (Google) want to break up Blogger into national 'islands'? The whole point of the Internet is to make us one people one planet, not reinforce the existing 18th-to-20th Century divisions?

Edited - after I calmed down...a bit!

M is for Merten's Menagerie

While I was taking the shot's of the exquisite little wooden animals yesterday I took these as well, they are not all the Merten animals I have, just those that fell out of a box during the move in November and nearly got left behind! Still they are a reasonable sample to give an impression of what Merten were capable of.

The loose set at the top is set 1001, but there is a question mark over the central horse running without a base, then there are two 1002's (one missing the two smaller animals) to show how the paint changed from batch to batch (or; out-painter to out-painter?), while Preiser went with lesser numbers of animals in a standard box depending on the size (with exceptions for the very large and very small), Merten produced custom boxes for each set, with the N-gauge being left on the sprue.

Set 1003 has the larger native wild animals, common to central Europe with three different types of deer and a couple of wild boar for Obelix to track down!

Below are some more wild and domestic animals, probably the contents of more than one set, with pigs, sheep, goats and some smaller Red deer (fawns?).

Some more horses, with a comparison Airfix piece and one of the aforementioned sprues with N-gauge versions attached.

S is for Stationery

This is the last of the pencil top stuff for a while - promise (you don't want to see the recent Weetabix football shirts and shite like that, do you!?), and as we were looking at the TV related stuff last time, some more of them first;

From left, top row; Skelator and She-ra (I think - Teela see; Comments) from the Masters of the Universe franchise, I was busy playing big soldiers in Germany (providing real-time OpFor for a couple of Soviet Shock Armies!) at the time MotU was popular so know little about it, I think it involved a grey skull or something! Then a soft vinyl Flintstone figure and a Hello Kitty cat differing from Miffi only in the shape and size of the ears...and the marketing budget! Strange how not only is Hello Kitty so like Miffi and the boys of South Park resemble the earlier Mainzelmännchen?

The flying Snowman of Raymond Briggs, and figure I think is Lucy (or the other one!) from Peanuts and a knock-off stupid kid wizard like Harry Potter.

Two characters from Rupert the Bear but I think the old git is from Popeye? A non-stationery frog (in love with a pig...since when was that sort of thing to be encouraged on kids TV?) trying to work out how he too can get a pencil up his arse and two of the dreaded Trolls that were literally everywhere in the mid-1970's...and still come around on a regular basis, these days Russ Berrie exploit the franchise, the two here are - like most of these toppers - Hong Kong.

Not Toppers; 'Clingers' and 'Holders', all Kinder with K-numbers from 2000 and 2004, I had to use the lids to show-off the 'holder action' as anything more than about a third of a wooden pencil is too heavy!

Finally the old and the new, both figural; The pencil sharpener is marked 'GERMANY' and dates from the 1950's (if it's a day) while the Sports Relief chap is currently in Ryman's. The Cowboy is that much copied pose originally by Lido and the like, both the sharpener and the Harry Potter lookie-like'ee above are polystyrene.

W is for Wooden Wildlife

From time to time the odd piece come into the collection which either defies labelling or is so exquisite you feel it should be in a museum cabinet not one of my little plastic bags, here are on or two, the largest item is probably the snake, with the Airfix 'control' a near match, so all very small.

The two images top left show little animals of an Asian look, probably Indian or Burmese? I suspect some sort of votive or other little religious ornament, but they may have enough 'age' to be export items from the days of the Raj? Maybe from a little zoo set, Noah's ark or for use as dolls-house ornamentals? Although in support of the religious possibility - some are slightly fantastical looking or mythic.

The Bear is typical Black Forest craft work, but about as small as they come and of very fine work, as is the cow. Given that it is probably another craft piece, it shows an incredible knowledge of anatomy, even a 'love' of the animal form, it seems to have lost two - probably paper - ears and two horns, which will need to be replaced with steam-bent cocktail-stick tips.

News Views Etc...Blogger!

Right - I've now lost my entire 'Followers' list and gained a message telling me it's configured wrong! As I also seem to have lost the ability to edit from the blog screen as well, and have touched not the settings for a while - I'm going to assume this is the Blogspot.annoyance.elves and go to bed in the hope that it's back to whatever Blogger deems will be 'normal service' tomorrow!

D is for Disneykins

We looked at the Marx Disneykins not that long ago within the context of the European bubble-gum premiums taken from the Heimo moulds and one day I'll post more of the lose and individual boxed ones, but having been busy with other stuff today I thought I'd chuck this up as one of the old 'lazy posts'...

I think the date is 1971 (MCMLXXI?) which makes it quite a late set and interestingly states that it is made in both Hong Kong and Taiwan. Among others I have the resistance fighters with both markings, but had always assumed the mould had moved mid-production, this set would seem to be suggesting that there were several sets of moulds?

Not the complete set of Disneykins, but the main - and therefore; most popular - characters in a hard styrene plastic.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

P is for Pompier....' i!

Well I said we'd look at a couple more of the Italian sets, and this is my favourite of the three in my collection, we have looked at the Firemen before (Starlux Firemen), but I seemed to cover only a few of them so no harm if we have another look...

A close-up of the figures and the box with it's lid on, also the box from the late unpainted issues; you can just about see the fireman on the deck of the landing vessel in the background!

With this set the artwork is everything and the reason it's my favourite, I have quite a decent (not large) side-collection of 'Adult' comics and graphic novels with the work of Mobius, Milo Manara and Drillet to the fore, but as a youngster I was drawn to the cartoons of people like, Degano, Mordillo, and Serrano and this artwork is very reminiscent of some of their stuff.

If anyone can identify the unnamed illustrator I'd be very interested to know who he is, the firemen look a lot like some of the characters from the opening and closing scenes in Yellow Submarine, that seminal work of animation attached to some music by a Northern beat-combo who's name escapes me!

Sadly -
Jean Giraud who's pen name was Moebius died last Saturday, at the youngish age of 73, but he's had a bloody-good innings and left a body of fine works as a memorial/testament to his passing through this world. I'd recommend him to anyone with an off-beat sense of imagination or an appreciation of the drafters art; his economy of line and the little hidden gems in the backgrounds make going back to his work a pleasure - time and again.

One of the figures missing from my loose sample is the hose-head guy (left), also; a close up of the diving team, comparison of the two rope-carriers (early version on the left) and a better/different angle on the ladder-climber.

A is for Aluminium (or Aluminum!) Animals

Having told Sam in the comments section to the Starlux Italian circus set post that I couldn't see myself publishing more circus for a while, I remembered that I took these at the Sandown Park fair the the other week...so a Small request-post for Sam and a bit more circus in an unlikely material...

From Wend-Al (or Wendal), Britain's only volume producer of toy soldiers in aluminium, they are all from the circus range and consist...(I was about to list what is clear from the photographs!)...of what you can see! Like most of the bits I shoot at shows these were on Mercator Trading's table and may still be available from him, link; top-right somewhere.

Because my knowledge of Wendal is no better than my knowledge of Quiralux (which is non-existent) I couldn't tell you if these were also made by the French firm and with collectors varying in opinion as to whether Wendal copied Quiralux or Quiralux copied Wendal or some mould-sharing went on, I'll leave it as a maybe Quiralux carried these in their own civil range!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

M is for More Mud-hopping

Well - back out to the garden and sure enough I turned-up a few more pieces, though not the trunk of the Lego tree I was hoping to find, also as I suspected the number of items has lessened the further away from the corner I dug...

Top left looking East, the bits of Lego and Airfix Betta Builder I found a few years ago (2006) were in the highlighted corner of the strawberry frame, the stuff I dug yesterday came out of the bare corner, and - I believe - the real mother-load is within the overprinted black border, beyond the frame where there is a distinctive mound.

I suspect (due to the antique bottles) that the owners before us knew there was an old Victorian dump there (most houses in the UK built before the 1920's had one somewhere at some point) and just carried on using it, the plastics having survived along with the old glass bottles, why it would only contain toys (and one shampoo bottle lid) and why more than 50% are not damaged is the real mystery...maybe some draconian punishment..."If you don't clear your playroom now, I'll..."

In fact the shampoo bottle lid (see green lump in last nights post) is instructive, as it's easy to forget we've had 'dayglo' shades of ethylene for several decades now!

Other photos are looking West with yesterdays 'hit site' in the black box and the first fork of the day turned-up a Timpo horses base! I think I must have missed it as it got dark last night!

Another graphic pinpointing where I believe the main load to be, which also shows the bed finished (you can see where this is leading can't you - I'll be shifting the gardening Blog over here too!) and today's haul...the other wing! It had better transfers as well, but went in the bin without a clean this time...sorry Spitfire.

As well as the Timpo base I got a Stickle-Brick wheel centre, two nice pieces of 'Legoland'-era Lego (headlight grill and the Legoland block that came with all the lorries) and a bulkhead from something like a DC3 Dakota or Mosquito? Whatever it belonged to it will go in the spares box; being a tad more useful than damaged spitfire wings!

So - more free stuff out of the ground and I only put the seeds in this afternoon! Spinach (nearest viewpoint), Broad Beans (behind), early spuds (nearly out of shot far left) and Onions round the back corner of the Strawberry frame, but I've laid-down the rest of the toys to vintage for a few more years!

What I'm hoping will be in the future dig; Missing poses of Lone Star musketeers, loads more soldiers, lots of rare Lego pieces, the rest of the white Aircraft kit - complete.

What will actually be there; More of the same odd tat and a shattered Matchbox Spitfire fuselage...with transfers intact!

C is for il Circo; the Circus, le Cirque

Speaking of Italians as I was the other day, Italy provides us with a nice range of own-language Starlux sets, very similar to the window-fronted boxed sets in French - contents wise - these Italian market sets have a completely transparent lid which is stapled on to an under-tray.

A couple of shots of the set with the lid still on, the contents don't really add up to a circus in my opinion, but there is play potential there for a younger owner, not least the big cats eating the other members of the cast...well; if it hasn't got tanks in, you're going to have to make your own ultra-violence aren't you?!!

Lid off; this is a delicate operation, that involves carefully opening each staple for re-use if you can't match them exactly with modern staples, a lot of old staples have a round cross-section which is impossible to match with modern domestically available ones, these were easier and a match was found - I have three staplers and about 5 different kinds of staple for exactly this purpose.

Various studies of the contents and a couple of colour variations, the dark bear with the farm/civilian pig and the paler lion with the two clowns (another old scan previously published in black and white). This is hardly a circus, with two keepers, two clowns and a compare that leaves a lion-tamer as the only 'performer'?

For added play/educational value there was a data-card (small poster) and a sticker (on the right) included in all these sets and we'll look at a couple more over the coming days.

I love the artwork on these, it's sort of the cusp between 1960's psychedelia and 70's style pop-art, all Heals or Habitat, A Clockwork Orange, the Magic Roundabout or the early packaging for Britains Detail, dating this nicely to the early 1970's...around 1971/3?