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.

Friday, September 13, 2013

M is for Miniature Mosquitoes

No, not more insects! I've loads more, but I can bore people on Facebook with them now!

I got a really nice little Mosquito from Mercator Trading the other day, turned out to be Beeju (EVB), so I thought I'd do a little round-up of the sub-scale 'Mozzies' in my collection...

So here they are, from the left we have a composition one from Zang for Timpo, made of compressed pumice in a combination known as 'Timpolene'. Then the Beeju newcomer, a Hong Kong copy of the old MPC 'Minis' 'plane and finally a small polystyrene version which I have tentatively suggested might be early Airfix.

Detail, both accurate and inaccurate make all four very different, yet they all manage to carry-off the distinctive lines of the original, just not when formed-up next to each-other! Scale is I guess from about 1:120 through to about 1:150.

I believe Timpo bought the rights (or remains) of Brent, and not wanting to confuse themselves with a factory full of hollow-casting machinery and equipment, turned over or contracted to Zang, the timpolene production. We've looked at the figures before Here but several aircraft were also made, I've seen an early jet (Whittle?) and a Hurricane as well as this mozzie.

As far as I know, Beeju hadn't been credited with sub-scale aircraft, being know for a range of mostly buses and fire engines, first in a distortable cellulose acetate, then is a more stable polystyrene. This is an early Cellulose-acetate one but mercifully hasn't warped much. It has the most exquisite little propeller plug-in/pop-ons made from the same material. The EVB mark is hidden in the under-wing roundels while MADE IN ENGLAND is present in relief along the bomb-bay.

I don't have the MPC mosquito, although I do have most of them and will cover them here one day, but there are several 'levels' of Hong Kong copies, of which this is from the commonest. Also the latest, being included in various sets when I was young in the late 1960's/70's. It was a smaller range than the original MPC range, or some of the earlier ranges of piracies. This is the lowest grade quality-wise, but carries over the detailing from the MPC version, just in a chunky fashion.

My speculation that this is Airfix, is based on no more than it seems to be the same plastic, in the same colours as the later version Animal Flats, contained in building blocks and baby's rattles. While they could be Tudor*Rose or Kleeware or any one of a dozen other early British makers; the colours (I have a handful of these; Lancaster, Spitfire etc...) particularly the pea-green and pink are identical to both the early cellulose acetate and late styrene Airfix flats, and the marking 'MADE IN ENGLAND' is more Airfix that the other main makes who tended to use circular marks. Still it is only a possibility, not an absolute confirmation.

This is a styrene examplr and it has warped, but due to early removal from the mould, I have a red one with broken wing which is much straighter. I would imaging that they would have been sold as a small handful, possibly in conjunction with a larger beach/bath toy, or as 'party favours' or cake decorations?

The rest are now to be seen here; Airfix Mini Planes

Finally; J. E. Beale - the trading arm of the still extant Beales department store in Bournemouth, UK, commissioned a set which contained both two Timpo/Zang Mosquitoes and some Skybirds figures, being two 'plane guards and an MG-team.


Sam Wise said...

Bigger and nicer Mosquitos than the midgees in Brecon Beacon Park!

Hugh Walter said...

AAah! There - I fear - speaks the voice of experience!! Still the scenery was stunning, n'est pas?

Paul Foster said...

Nice post Hugh. They all look very "Tin Tin" to me!

Hugh Walter said...

Hi Paul - Yeh! I suppose they do...there was a blue Mosquito in one of the books wasn't there? Or two-tone?