About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 56-year-old Aspergic 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, February 18, 2013

S is for Achtung! Achtung! Englander Spitfuren!!

And so to Sandown this weekend for the first show of 2013, and thence to what is becoming a bit of a (non) perennial on this blog...the Palitoy aeroplane range, previously covered in these posts;

Palitoy Search Result
 [if you click on this now and read-up the page from the third post down (to this post) it might all make a little more sense if you are unfamiliar with these 'planes]

Wandering back to the table from visiting my mate John's stall, or breakfast (or a fag-break!) I spotted what was obviously one of the two or three I don't have (the others being either version of the Sunderland flying-boat and the orange flying wing/experimental Northrop in the above link, and - maybe - a Hurricane?...read on!), at first glance I actually thought it was another Bolton-Paul, but I quickly realised it had no shake-the-wings-off turret!

Turned it over...'SPITFIRE', definitely one on the wants list, so I parted with a bit of hard-earned and wandered back to show off my trophy to Adrian and Gareth! Being one of the less-deformed silver ones I have previously suggested were actually earlier than the flecked or whole coloured ones, I was well pleased.

Here she is, funny old kite, thin wings, canopy like a Hurricane (you can see where that's going can't you...), odd looking tail, tram-lines running down the fuselage, hardly looks like a Spitfire at all, and arguably less recognisable than the Northrop to the real-life prototype. Indeed; it looks like a generic trainer!

My first thought was that maybe it was based more on the Schneider-trophy Supermarine whats'it (Googles....)..S6/6B, which I vaguely remember ruining an Airfix kit of, as a very small boy (sliver plastic, very skinny pilot), but Wikipedia reveals it to have an open engine cowling and massif, round-ended wings. Next suspect was the Type 224, but that looks more like a Blackburn Skua or Junkers Stuka than this little model!

The moulding line down the fuselage seems to have more in common with the Supermarine Type 322 Wikipedia, but that was a high-wing design with an air-scoop under the engine, but it is a suspect for a British Caseloid employee researching for the toolmaker?

But I'm getting ahead of myself...next trip across the hall, I spotted another one, nice RAF blue plastic, but...wing cannons..."eh'up" I thought, "I've bought a ringer with broken cannons, better buy a whole one!", walking back to the table, I thought it looked a bit more like a Spitfire, but put that down to the cannons, not the wing-shape, as the canopy was the same Kittyhawk/Hurricane looking arrangement...

This is the other baby, she's a much more recognisable war-winner, but still with the shelf down the fuselage and the long, strutted canopy. Researching for this post, I've checked most of the non-float plane Supermarines I could find (and a few with floats!), and the only one close and so far not mentioned is the Type 300 trials prototype for the Mk I Spitfire. In some photographs, taken at a certain angle it does seem to have a canopy that looks more like an Me.109, and in other photographs can look to have thin wings, but neither optical illusion can explain the upper - silver - variant!

When I got back to the table, a quick look was all that was needed to see they were completely different models, and after I'd got the silver one out of it's little bag and run my fingers down the wing it was equally obvious that there were no missing cannons, just no cannons, period - Phew!

This blue one though, despite the faults has the distinct - even 'world' recognised - lines of a true Spitfire, with the double ellipse wings coming together to make the iconic pointed wing-tips, the sharks nose and the little round-ended stabiliser/elevator assemblies.

What to make of this new mystery - well, turn them over and it's clear that the blue one is a re-cutting of the silver one's mould, to be specific, the female part of the mould only. Extending the wings out, adding the cannons, redesigning the tail area and cutting new aileron/flap detailing, while leaving all the 'stuff' from the male part of the mould - the canopy, makers title & marks, tail wheel, wing cavities and nose-shape along with the strange lines/shelves down the sides.

On to the new guesswork - the silver 'Spit' seems to be a conglomeration of pre-prototype sketches, artwork and rumour, possibly married to similar Hurricane sources, probably garnered from prospective drawings or 'recognition' silhouettes in 'Boys Own' annuals, engineering magazines, air cadet or scouting publications and the like from the mid-1930's. The blue one is a corrected later version, using the same moulds - where possible - to give a better outline of a 'plane that was a hero before the last leaf was off the trees in the Autumn of 1940, despite the Hurricane doing the donkey's load. Therefore, my suggestion in the original post that there might be a Hurricane in the range, may have come from sightings of the first version Spitfire, and actually be a red herring, although; after reader Alfred turned-up the Northrop, who knows what else is to be found?

What it means - that my theory previously voiced here on the blog, stating the less deformed (this one actually is quite deformed!) silver Palitoy 'planes are the early ones, is almost certainly the case, that they also almost certainly pre-date the second World War - as issued play-things, that the flecked and whole-colour models are later (with the flecked one probably being recycled wartime production, and the whole-colour being possibly post-war), and that people who insist they were a wartime or post war toy are not seeing the evidence suggesting otherwise.

Also on view this Saturday, the seller of the blue Spitfire had a really nice all-yellow Lockheed, and the seller of the silver 'Spit' was offering a silver Lockheed and a flecked but majority brown Bolton-Paul flying Flak-wagen.

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