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.

Monday, July 9, 2012

B is for Best of British Bandsmen!

Over the next few weeks I will be trying to put up here as many of the guardsmen available as I can and hope to publish both company specific sets like tonight's and thematic posts on individual poses, or at least that's how it's supposed to work. First up - the reasonably easy to find Crescent Guards and Musicians and the Crescent-for-Kellogg's versions.

From left to right we have the unpainted Kellogg's, which were definitely given away in breakfast cereal, then a set marked Kellogg's but apparently painted to the Crescent scheme with black bases but with yellow instruments, followed by a similar set with silver instruments also marked Kellogg's, the final row shows the Crescent marked versions with gold paint and black bases and tucked away in an almost invisible fifth file is a Crescent tuba (?) player with an unpainted base.

These four main variants seem to show up all the time, so I don't know if there were a lot of fathers faithfully following painting instructions on the packet sides to the point where they all ended up the same all over the place, or whether Crescent used the mould with the wrong base-plug day-in day-out? Maybe there was a set of paints to send away for, or some were issed (in a foodstuff) painted before the modern approach to food hygine got off the ground? Whatever the truth; all four seem to be valid 'variants' for the purposes of collecting.

Also worth note - the plumes on the 'standard' paint Crescent figures are on the same side as the moulded-in plumes of the non-band figures shown below, while all the 'Kellogg's' (?) paint variants have the plume on the other side - thinking about that; perhaps the (inordinately large quantity of?) unused Kellogg's went on to some clearance house type outfit who did the painting...

The last two shots show a whole band in standard Crescent paint and a couple of lousy shots of the base marks - it is very hard to do macro-photography of red anything, especially shiny red plastic! The 'true' Crescent sets have smaller, smoother Bearskins, suggesting that the change from a Kellogg's base to a Crescent base came with a re-cutting of the mould?

A closer look at the five variants listed above, the unpainted base of the fourth (Crescent marked) figure is unusual, but apes the silver painted bandsmen with Kellogg's graphics. The trupmpet and trombone are the two most likely to suffer damage and I must thank Mike Melnyk for the examples shown today.

Crescent also produced a set of six ceremonial or 'fighting' Guardsmen, these were never issued with Kellogg's bases but I say that with a caveat I'll explain below. The upper shot shows the full set in the rarer (less common!) dark red in the 'standard' scheme.

Below are a few different types. On the left is the 'sandblasted' moulding, which due to it's usually haveing poor paint I'm placing as the early version with - next to him - a slightly 'redder' sand-blast with surprisingly good paint.

The next one is my 'caveat', you find really clean/paintless figures which look like they should be Kellogg's, but they are marked Crescent, can anyone over fifty'ish (!...I won't tell) remember if these non-band figures were issued by Kellogg's...or someone else...Peek Freans?

We then have the 'standard' in dark red plastic, another with a seemingly factory-painted green base (they do turn up occasionally so would appear to be genuine) followed by the guy in green 'trews' with a painted jacket. Again I have seen this paint style before once or twice in a dealers stock so it could be a Crescent 'thing', or just a common home-paint? If it was a company originating paint-job, the presumption has to be an experimental finish, perhaps for a Canadian or Danish market - I'm no expert on Guards uniforms but I know some of you are!?

Again; close-ups of the main differentials, from the left - Sandblasted, dark red, unpainted base (like the lone tuba player) in a pinkish shade of the common red and 'clean'. The 'Sandblast' finish/phenomina also exists with the Romans, Combat Infantry, Wild West and others, so was something to do with the production of the early moulds...some kind of sand-casting or mould cleaning?

The sandblasted one and the unpainted one both have thinner bayonets and no trigger/trigger-guard which is a bit odd? The sandy chap having the finest moulding, the pinkish guy being probably the worst.


Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

Only one of my Canadian bought Crescent guards survives, and he was heavily converted in my early teens (thanks to the influence of Henry Harris) but, studying the base carefully, confirms my memory that they had factory painted green bases. No green pants though.

They do have that pebbly finish to the plastic (apart from where my low heat soldering iron smoothed over the newly welded arm).

The only reason for green trews that I can think of, other than error, would be to represent Royal Scots Fusiliers perhaps?

Most of the cereal soldiers I can recall were Marx 54, Giant 20mm or some crisply done 52mm-ish ones that I've never seen since, a musketeer with musket rest comes to mind.

Hugh Walter said...

Hi Ross, thanks for all that, I was pretty sure the green bases were 'genuine', the trews though are not so firm, I've only seen about three over the years.

Would these be the others you mention;

Soldiers of the World

Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

Ahhhhh SOTW! Yes, that's them. Thanks!

I only had a few, just couldn't eat enough cereal and it wasn't always easy to convince Mom to buy the right stuff! :)

As long as I'm thinking about toy soldiers from Canadian sources, are you familiar with sets of Marx soft plastic, factory painted WWII 25mm figures that came in window boxes with about a dozen figures and a few vehicles either, 1/2 track, tank, landing craft or jeep plus barbed wire? The figures appear to be soft versions of the hard plastic ones sold in playsets.
I've never seen them listed anywhere and someone suggested they were a short run released on the Canadian market and dropped. There were 8th Army, Japanese, US, and 2 German sets that I saw/bought.

I have some matching, size wise, unknown hard plastic French Resistance that are probably Starlux or similar.

Anyway a few of my surviving figures can be seen here:


Hugh Walter said...

Hi Ross, they were a bit more widely issued, they are '70's to the hard plastic's 60's!

In fact they are the better source of the little spacemen than the hard plastic, but the soft plastic knights are far harder to find than the hard ones.

It's a half-and-half thing! With the Jungle figures you're as likely to find either, but the various Lancers/Indians/Russians from the sought after hard plastic 'Charge of ...' sets don't seem to have had a soft plastic phase at all!

Nice to see them being used on campaign rather than stuffed into little bags and stored in the dark by the likes of me!!

Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

Good to know that I'm not the only who has seen them! Mine were bought in the 60's though. I'm afraid to disappoint you but this handful of surviving guys have been hidden away since the early 70's. I have thought about getting them on a table if I could just find a few more.

Thanks for the info -Ross

Hugh Walter said...

I will be covering them soonish, but at the moment I'm drowning in photo's and half-finished articles without the time to get them up here!