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.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

N is for New Finds, Pt.7 - Gold Daleks and Pencil Tops

Or...B is for Bluesky, Blueprint and Bluw Ltd...

So, this little lot of interrelated things were all coming in to the collection over Christmas just gone, as I went about seeking things out for other smaller people, the linking trends being names with blue in the title, gold Daleks and/or pencil tops!

So the first purchase (back in the late summer/early autumn?) was the Bluesky pull-back motored, hard-styrene space-shuttle pencil-top and astronaut rubber (that's 'eraser' to those so childish they can't say rubber without giggling), there were other designs, I can't remember them but I know I then found more on the Internet but this was the one with a figure, so this was the one I got. Can't remember where either, but it was a cheepie shop - I think?

Then at Christmas I was passing through Basingrad and found a little old model shop clinging on to the pile of new precincts joined together with poured concrete. In a mug on the counter he had white, yellow, blue and orange Fatleks along with a TARDIS as pencil-toppers, this time by a company called Blueprint out of Harlow, Essex (importers I imagine), I bought a yellow one.

At around the same time Dr. Who Adventures were re-running (?!) their pencil-toppers, so an issue was acquired.

This meant I needed to go back to Basingrad to get a TARDIS (for comparison!) and another - blue - Dalek...because it was there and er...the orange and white ones had gone! The TARDIS is a pen top, not a pencil top.

A week before Christmas doing last-minute shopping for jelly window-stickers (a tradition) I found this die-cast key-ring of the new-old-shape gold Dalek in Robert Dyas (UK hardware chain) and had to have one...for comparison! I also couldn't resist taking it part to see how it was put together. it's a very robust little model but the eye stalk is the softest PVC ever. This is the Bluw contribution.

Then just after Christmas I got this big one in Waterstone's bookshop, it's part of the range of little boxed games and 'executive toys' they do on a rack near the tills. I've previously bought the little set of foam aeroplanes. I suspect it's a re-boxed toy from the action figure lines but is unmarked?

Comparison shots include the Character Options minis in black and gold, a styrene Fatlek from Dr. Who Adventures/HMA and another of the Basingrad Fatleks - in orange, because...

...in January I returned to see if he'd been restocked and he had, so red, orange and white were added t the growing pile of approximately 35mm Fatleks!

The shots to the right are the final comparison for now and include two colour variations of the DW Adventures pencil top, the Blueprint pen top and a resin Police telephone-box from Harburn Hamlets.

Now when I wrote '(?!)' above, that's because when I was putting all these away I realised that the Christmas Adventures TARDIS pencil top (which came with a note book) was different from the one issued with a Fatlek and other things a year or two ago (see blog passim), so HMA have issued two different TARDIS's (what IS the plural - Tardis, Tardii Tardises or Tardis's?), but that will have to wait for another day when we can also look at the Dinky and Wardie/Mastermodels Police boxes!

Relevant Links;

Church Street Models - Basingrad
Bluw - Daleks
Blueprint Collections
Bluesky Designs Pullbax

Friday, March 21, 2014

N is for New Finds, Pt.6 - Dr. Who Adventures Magazine

A return to this publication, which we have looked at several times already, and despite its having gone to fortnightly - meaning you have to wait 6 months for things to come round again, rather than the three or four you used to be able to count on! - is still issuing useful stuff from time to time. I don't have all the dates of these and because I've published some of the items in-between; means that these might be up to 18 months/2 years old, the latest (bottom of this thread) is still on sale today!

Left - bog-standard Dalek and Cyberman 'army' card, this is issued regularly in this format. Bottom Right - another build-your-own Fatlek, this one in blue...previous issues have been white and red? (I think). Top right - about a year ago the Fatleks appeared in a metallic blue and vermilion, I think I said something at the time (but it might have been in an eMail to an interested party), the upshot being that I'd missed them in the shops, but managed to get a late set, which I will split with the other party!

Close-up of the metallic Fatleks, really nice colour, ties in with no known TV/Movie Daleks and they were issued after the new-old Dalek shape - All these magazines appear to have gibbons for marketing personnel; whether it's the original (1990's) Lego comic, the current one, the Horrible Histories or this, they are missed opportunities time after time?

On the right the inner tray from the pre-Christmas issue Advent Calender. There is no Auton, no Minotaur and no Weeping Angel with arms out (packaging restriction), some of these figures are becoming far less common than others?

Outer wrapping, box and playing board for the game to play with the pieces as they come from the box, one at a time over 24 days!

Three weeks ago we got a polypropylene build-your-own Weeping Angel with clockwork motor, this was a bugger to put together, but the judicious application of a No. 3 Swan Morton blade soon took care of that. Comparison shot with the kit figures issued back in the Autumn (which have been blogged) and the little PVC rubber ones from the figure sets. They are approximately 70, 59 and 38mm receptively.

Last week's (and still on sale) was a blind bag...I took a punt (after feeling through the plastic what I thought might be the pencil tops - Dalek blister is Dalek blister!) and found moulds for a non-branded 'play-dough', it's fun, but I'm not recommending it to figure collectors...although...at some point I'll try the Cyberman and Sontaran with an oven setting modelling compound!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

N is for New Finds, Pt.5 - Kit Lot

At Sandown Park the other week I encountered a chap who had a stack of kit boxes, mostly AFV's but a few aircraft and a ship or two. Checking a couple of boxes it was clear they were not what one might call mint! The seller leaned over and said "They've been given a good seeing-to, make me an offer!"

Well, I started sorting them into stacks of 'apparently mint' and 'buggered about with' and asked him what he wanted for the buggered-about stuff, which included a couple of bags of bits and all the either empty boxes, or boxes with signs of tampering, plus an envelope of header cards and transfers. A deal was done...

Top image is how they came home, the lower image is sorting in progress. It turned out to be a reasonable spares purchase, not least than because there was a complete Airfix Matilda and Bren/6lbr in their bags, five Midori squeezed into one box with the wheels, tyres and gear-cogs in the other box...no casings for the pull-back motors though, just loose cogs!

The header cards will have to be checked against the collection as there are two distinct printings of the 2nd type 'full-artwork' cards. The early 1:50 Tamiya Crusader was pretty much absent, but the box is good and all three instruction sheets, the parts for wiring-up the motor and the plastic motor-housing were present along with the transfer sheet, so I may get something back on evilBay one day for that?

Further investigation revealed that the little tin of bits for a Cole's Crane suspension (and front mudguard) was from another kit, and this one is complete on the runner, so I feel a couple of conversions coming-on there, one day! The bags of bits contained the missing turrets for the Midori tanks and most of the 'medium sized' parts for most of the kits in the Airfix inventory (no JS.III or modern armour), along with a complete Bloodhound, launcher and transport trailer.

But...no AFV hulls or running gear (clearly in another bag, 'bagged' earlier in the day) and few wheels. The wheels aren't a big problem I have a lot in the spares dept., but turrets without hulls are a bit of a pain! There were also several floor-plates for the 5.5in Gun Paul posted on Mystery Model Monday, but a week when I wasn't on-line, typical!!

There's something very reassuring about a well stocked spares dept. no?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

N is for New Finds, Pt.4 - Sci-fi and Fantasy

These are all all less than a year old I think (the insects may be a slightly older purchase?), and again should all still be in the shops if not on the Internet somewhere.

Could have been in the Works post, as that is where they came from, but I was looking for ways to divide up all the pictures in the 'new stuff' folder in Picasa and a Sci-Fi/fantasy post seemed a good idea.

Really these are 'action figures' of the type I don't usually bother with, however I saw in the carry-cases a potential for Bamiyan Buddha/Petra style rock carvings for use with small scale figures,...a quick dry-brush, marbling and wash should have them looking like Easter Island monoliths in no time, or set them in a cork or plaster 'wall', so I grabbed the two when I saw them...they were also dirt cheap...they were also Blue Box!

These are still available all over the place, I bought two blind bags when they first came out and ended up with two of the better figures so stopped! Mainly because they will be turning-up loose for pennies in small groups at shows or on evilBay for the next few years - should I fell the need to get a full set.

The marketing ploy here is three different antiqued-metallics for each figure (gold/brass, silver/pewter and a copper-bronze), but that's no different to various colours, so hardly a whinge! About 60mil, the deep, plinth-bases make them awkward for playing with, but you could try to create a chess-set or something? I also think they'd paint-up nicely.

I've seen various versions of both these exact models (the same Poundland carried them a few months later is realistic finishes) and other brands of giant insect, but thought these - with their charcoal and chrome plastic - would make excellent robo-sects for my LP spacemen to battle one day?

Also - if you follow the blog regularly - you'll know my love of Stag beetles and Rhino Beetles meant I was never going to leave them on the rack....at a pound a piece? Not sure if Funtastic are the same as Fun-Tastic, but I'll give them the same label for now. [2016 - They are and I've changed them all over to Funtastic!]