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.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

C is for Christmas Past

There are many thing's in Picasa (or on the dongles) that languish there because I've forgotten about them, or because I've forgotten exactly why I've photographed them, or that I haven't taken enough/suitable images to get a post out, or make a post work, there are even a few that have just lost their relevance...if I don't post these now - while I think about it - They will be joining the lost stuff in Blog limbo!

So, a round-up of the toys/toy related bits that came my way around the 25th, three months ago...

Presents from Mim were two cats for the Cabinet of Curious Things, including the Wade Whimsies kitten and a resin tabby, two antiqued metal examples of recent (but dated) technology, which I was expecting to have pencil sharpeners in, but they don't, so just 'trinkets' in the best traditions of the 'under a fiver' section of the museum gift-shop! Also destined for the cabinet.

And at the top; a set of Christmas decorations from Fiddes Payne, which - in heavy resin - are better used as cake decorations than tree ornaments and have already lost their gold thread loops!

Presents for myself; a dunny-bunny thing from a charity shop in Alton, there were two, but the other was hideous, this one was painless, if a little pink! having mentioned them on one of the pages I thought we'd better have one up here at some point, I don't know what series/make/type he his, but as a generic example of a Kubrick, he'll do!

I love Christmas for the buying of presents for the kids, and not having any myself, always look forward to spoiling those of my friends, in recent years blind-bag Lego and Mega Bloks have become a staple, and I always get an extra one...for me! Also shows how much bigger the Kubricks are. Finally an old Erzgebirge type tree decoration of a Santa-sleigh that came as a make-weight in a 5-for-a-pound charity shop bauble splurge in Basingrad.

This Giraprendi Madball water-squirter (called 'Fleabag') was found in the street after the Bin-lorry had done it's post festive-season round, making room for newer stuff no doubt, anyway, it made a bid for freedom and - for now - resides in the 'what the hell do I do with these' box!

From the same mentalities that produce designer toys and Kubricks, but aimed at kids, it really is a awful thing, without a redeeming feature (it's ability to wet someone?) and as a measure of human achievement would suggest we are entering either the end of days, or the period of decadence that - like Paris at the turn of the last Century, or Berlin in the 1930's - tends to presage a big war?

Saw this in...you guessed it...The Works for 99p, and had my mother wrap it for presentation on the day! Not much of use to toy soldier collectors, but plenty of nostalgia, two relevant entries and some useful company histories, particularly on Asian and 1980's electronic toy manufacturers.

Friday, March 27, 2015

T is for Toy House from Toytown

As a main course for the bitty aperitifs posted a few minutes ago (previous post, or immediately below this one on the homepage), this is back to a real favourite of mine...the 'infant' toys of J & L Randell / Merit. The same colour range we saw with previous visits to this make.

The set is supposed to contain a Noddy figure bought-in from Lone*Star (which explains why he's the commonest) but this one actually had two, and I photographed the PC Plod for a sizer.

A rather tatty box, the colours on it and the actual contents suggest that all parts will turn up in all colours? Compare with the other Merit bits...Mr Booby ... Castle Builder/Stacker ... Noah's Ark ... Circus Train.

Thanks to Adrian of Mercator Trading for the photographs.

T is for Toys of Toy People from Toytown

I've got all the pictures in the wrong order, so this will jump back and forwards but it's a post of bits and bobs anyway, so we'll press on. I have mentioned the origins of the 'Golly' moniker before, so to recap, I'll copy the entry from the abbreviations page, which I hope sums it up succinctly without causing offence...

Golliwogg/s - Ghul/s Working on Government Service (led to; 'Wogs', a now extremely derogatory nickname for Egyptian natives employed on British government service in the 1800's, which then gained wider use as a general racist/racially-derived slur word)
Golly / Gollie - See; Golliwogg/s

However, it is the only word we have to work with, and when it comes to Robinson's (Jams and Preserves), a sort of 'pax' was called on it's use due to the fame of the brands logo use, and the fact that Robinson's never used him in a negative context...not that most of the thousands of other 'Golly' products, books and soft toys did...Enid Blighton's (sometimes bad Golly) being the exception rather than the rule!

Adrian had this on his table back in the summer and I shot it when I had the chance, it was empty, but I had an idea I'd seen the HFC label before somewhere, without even noticing the image between the jar and the orange above, but that'll have to wait 'till the end of the post...

...in the meantime, the above shot shows some of the larger Marx (UK) figures (which may or may not have been supplied to Codeg / Cowan de Groot?), the two to the right have been paint-stripped, probably by Ron Good of Good Soldiers who casts them in metal and sells them in sets, in red gift boxes, like old Britians! I'm not even sure they're not from two Marx series, as Big Ears seems a tad too large?

Below them, are some finger-puppets, possibly from Christmas Crackers? But unknown in the provenance department and could just as easily be from a pocket-money craft set. Litho-printed paper faces glued to a felt loop, which on some provides the hat or other detail.

Back to Marx (UK) the upper-shot here is of a figure also from the above set (sets?), but which was languishing in the 'Unknown, probably Blue Box' box for years due to his similarity to other Blue Box (or Blue Box-like!) figures that follow the Marx (US) Disney production. It is actually (I assume) Mr. Bear; husband to the Mrs. Bear finger puppet above.

Below him and we're back to the top...where I'd recognised the HFC from; a bit of a disappointment, but it was illustrated on the lid, and pretending to be a Golly Badge (we think the link with Robinson's - established on the box - is tenuous, if not; non-existent) when it's actually a pencil sharpener! These were sold in newsagents and corner-shops back in the early 1980's although; note no date on the (C), a sure sign of everything being not as it seems in the licensing department?

This image was in my files, I suspect evilBay, but I'm not sure, so if you're the owner of the image, recognise it and want it removed, that's not a problem, eMail me...I rarely use downloaded images, and it's presented here for research purposes.

As a footnote; in 2001 Robinson's ceased to produce Golly memorabilia and he was dropped in 2002 with this press-release;

"We are retiring Golly because we found families with kids no longer necessarily knew about him. We are not bowing to political correctness, but like with any great make we have to move with the times"

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

F is for Fighting Fops in Feathered Fedoras

A quick look at my small selection of Britains ECW figures, I only have the foot figures to view here (I think there's a horseless, broken-sword'ed,  lobster-pot'ed rider somewhere in storage?), along with a couple of knock-offs...

The duellists, we've looked at the red one before, he's marked ABC, the yellow one is more of a generic, but probably from the same source, there were a few Hong Kong brands with similar (or no) marks, we looked at them here a while ago (ABC, CM, CMV, HK, &etc.) , and they specialised in copying the better output of Britains, Crescent and Timpo...badly!

Britains varied the paint on these figures and a group together are really quite stunning, I think one of James Opie's books has a lovely en-mass picture of them and it makes you want to morgage the kids to a poppy-farm and buy loads of these!

If the two above are paired as a sword-fight, and the mounted figures make-up another 'pair', the third pair of this 6-pose set is really imbalanced, a musket against a poll-arm...it's just not cricket! Still, it's a rather tatty musketeer, maybe one of the pikes will get through while he's reloading!

The only figure in this set with a moveable arm; the musketeer presaged the German 'Tommy-gunner' in the Deetail range with the way the weapon is lined-up in the hand.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

C is for Crescent Children's Ward

Quite uncommon, due to their being made out of  poor batches of Zamac/Mazac which is notorious for breaking-up and crumbling, they've obviously been well looked after!

There was a Matron figure in a darker pinafore in larger sets, and I suspect the blankets are replacements, the originals should be squarer - apparently - and these are a modern sort of nylon towelling? You will see if you click on the image that the kids and the bedside-cabinets are all on the way out, but they're here for a while now, whatever happens to them and the beds and adults have kept their integrity.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

B is for Big Blobs in Bags!

Just as the Montaplex New Zealanders had different contents, so some of the sets in the 100-code numbered series of pocket-money toy 'sobre' (surprise) envelopes had earlier incumbents prior to the better known Airfix/Matchbox/Atlantic copies, it is these we will look at now...

There is a forth set, being equally crude 30/35mm's; copies of the Blue Box GI's (possibly with a few Monogram poses to make the set up to ten poses).

Each set comes with a piece of scenery as the runner they are attached to which are missing from my collection, I'm not sure why the top set has only seven poses (there may be a clue below), nor whether there were three duplicates to make-up the total sought?

The set at the bottom were sold as Japanese, the set above them as Americans, the top set (Germans?) and the missing set (Brits?) are still a mystery to me...any ideas?

Here we see some 40mm Italian originals of the Spanish piracies, these are in hard metallic colours of polystyrene, very much in the style of the CoMa Spacemen and Galenites, although there is no actual connection known to me other then the obvious similarity?

The prone guy seems to have a control box for a rocket launcher or something (like the little Roscopf figures) and the kneeling chap (in gold) was 'using' or operating something. While I believe Serjan copied the mini-submarines (as flats), Montaplex didn't, neither did they copy the flame-thrower (damaged above), which may account for the lower pose count of the copied set?

Note how the Spanish efforts are not pantograph generated copies, but free-hand lifts, much reduced in size.

P is for Pixies from Pixieland, but not by Pixyland-Kew!

Box-ticker, but a nice one...

These don't seem to have survived the move over to plastics, I've never seen them in plastic does anyone know otherwise? Box say everything else...scale? 1:1?

Friday, March 20, 2015

N is for Nuffield Health

These were a part of a recent promotional campaign for a chain of health clubs here in the UK;

I'm not sure if this - clean - image will blow-up at all, it's a screen-grab of a thumbnail I couldn't enlarge, so I've cropped a couple out of a Youtube link, I won't give you a link to as it's got very little to do with the subject of the blog, just a nice use of runners ('sprues') in a design context...

I've tried to ask Nuffield if they actually made them...no reply! Looking at them; some seem constructable, others seem to be missing vital parts, so I suspect just interesting CAD creations to match the promotions theme of wholeness = wellness or some such.

Similar stuff here; Marketing Tools and here; Catch 22 goes Monogram

You'll notice if you follow the links that I used to use 'Sprue' outside the brackets, but it's not correct, and as there are a few etymological usages that annoy me in the hobby (Caisson for Limber among some large-scale or N. American collectors is one, re-cast [for plastics] is another heavily abused term - metal is cast, plastic is moulded) I thought I aught to make the effort to at least get 'runner' right.

The sprue is the deformed (and commonly truncated) cone-shape, usually near the centre of the runner, where the whole thing ('product') was divorced from the mould-tool's injector head. The lack of sign of a sprue-mark on the above is further evidence of their being fantasy creations, rather than the cereal premium stuff I hoped they be! When I first saw them I hoped they were from the same people that produced the recent Dr. Who figures

M is for Mao!

A classic bit of factory-painted Atlantic now...

7510 - Mao - Chinese Revolution; these are in 54mm and mirror the plastic colours I've seen them in in the small scale (red, blue and brown), although here painted. This line included the four 'revolution' sets (I think the backing card is saying 'the great revolutions'...not sure Hitler or the risible Duce were revolutionaries...reactionaries more like!), the Carabineri band and several sets from the Italian modern forces range, but none of the 'true' World War two sets, which it probably pre-dates.

P is for Playcraft

I looked at one of the two sets of figures from Playcraft/Jouef right back ta the start of the blog, intending to show the other a few weeks later...and never did! They are now in storage, but I got a couple of catalogues from Jan Komarome who used to be a sales rep. for Tri-ang-Pedigree in South Afrika the other day, so to help anyone ID them until I get the figures up here (year or two?) these are the scans...

I can say that the painting on my samples is as poor as the ones in the link, but the colours aren't quite as lairy. Supplied by Jouef for Mettoy, the Rail Staff aren't in these catalogues and I notice a code change (simplification) as the range grows. Thanks Jan.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

D is for Dinosaurs - Ancient

Having looked at some modern 'minis' below, here are a few older 'mediums' from Timpo and Cherilea, all photographed on Adrian's table at Sandown Park toy fair in February. I only have the Timpo something-therium which is not a dinosaur, it's a giant mammal and it's in storage, so we'll look at it another day.

Tyrannosaurus Rex (The Tyrant King) from Timpo; or is it an Allosaurus (now renamed Alioramus?...no different periods and classes), the nameing of these beasts is not an exact science, like early hominids, each discovery gets a new name (for the 'name' or fame of the - human - finder), only to be found to be something else later, then another find leads to a whole class being excised, or several families being amalgamated...

Triceratops and Stegosaurus...among my favourites, with a Brontosaur or Diplodocus? One of them's gone now too; the Brontosaur is an Apatosaur apparently!

Cherilea, a little smaller, I know them as Brontosaur, Dimetrodon and Triceratops, and moulded in a marbled plastic which works quite well for little toys! Dimetrodon was my favourite as a kid, but the fact that the same few sauropods kept being modelled hints at which were everyone's favourites!

As big as you'll find a 'dinosaur' in this 'Green and Pleasant Land' these days, an Adder swimming across a flood-pool I shot near Fleet Pond (a lake) in Hampshire last July. It's a good 3-feet+ and I've seen bigger nearby. I was fascinated to see how it shot into the reed-bed in an almost dead-straight line - like an slightly crooked arrow!

D is for Dinosaurs - Modern

Most of these have been sitting in Picasa for a year, or two, or more! So they may not all still be available, however the article will give you an idea of the sort of stuff out there these days if you have a hankering to start collecting - mostly small - dinosaurs! Or to identify some if they come in with mixed lots of something else....as is often the case!

The fad for hiding things in plaster must be more than ten years old now and most toy or gift shops have something like this in them most of the time (we looked at Pirates a while ago). and while there is some sense in putting plastic 'fossils' or plastic 'skeletons' in plaster; a whole - glow-in-the-dark - dinosaur? Anyway, these Geoworld digging sets were 99p in The Works a while ago and I bought one for the hell of it. I haven't got it out as they are all illustrated on the box and he/she is easier to store still in the box with a pile of other boxed things!

Paperchase had these for a couple of quid a year or so ago, although I think they are still available. While being rather rounded-off for their primary design-use of pencil-erasers,they are never-the-less reasonable renditions and most dinosaur fleshing-out is conjecture anyway! Indeed, in recent years they've re-invented the way they believe a lot of them moved and stood upright so it's a very movable feast!

Signature Publishing's Dinomite is one of those ephemeral 'comics' that come and go with print runs of - sometimes - only a year or so, I don't even know if it's still going, but there are several 'dinosaur'-titled kids periodicals on the self at any given moment and they all buy-in mass-produced Chinese manufactured bits and bobs as cover premiums, as this had two I bought it.

The contents (from Co-Prom) are common 'toob' toys which have been around for a while now, but this stuff gets marketed in dozens of ways, and they are quite nice sculpts.

Back to The Works for more clearance! Nicely finished with a matt coat, these are let down by being a bit wobbly, they're made of one of these new slightly 'crumbly' hybrid plastics like some of the HäT stuff which seems to be PVC with a bit of styrene in it?

The rest of the Dinowaurs (geddit?!) bumpf from One2play, the inevitable 'collectors/trading' card and a set of rules for a sort of three-dimensional 'Trumps'. These were down to 49p, so I grabbed a handful over a week or two, while they were available!

All the above are small figures, a few inches long at most (the Paperchase are the biggest), but then collecting dinosaurs in true scale at 1:7something or even 54mm would require a warehouse as a living space...

Monday, March 16, 2015

K is for Krad (Kraftrad)

I think a couple of these shots used to be on my Imageshack account but I closed it years ago (it never worked properly?), so they can go here and then the originals are off to the dongle-jail!

When Hät Industries first hit the hobby with their Mamalukes (could they have chosen a more esoteric, yet popular stater set?), it was  a real breath of fresh air. They then added some nice ACW (some since 'enhanced') and a lot of 'Nappies' (Napoleonics to normal people), each set being eagerly anticipated...after which they sort of went a bit off for a while producing some stumpy Napoleonics and some ancients that appeared to be sculpted from sun-dried snot.

By the time they were issuing/experimenting with crumbly 'glueable' hybrid plastics (that wouldn't glue) I gave-up keeping-up and couldn't tell you what they've issued in the last few years - some nice camel troops I picked-up a couple of years ago and lots of good-looking WWI artillery types, I do know of! - but Dave's PSR will have them all listed, and looked at beautifully.

The above comments are not meant as an attack, just a gentle gibe at some of the less memorable sections of their prolific history. While everything else was going on (experiments with painted 54mm's, introduction of 28mm's etc..) there was the advent of a range of 'Quick Build' vehicles under a slightly separate branding (Armourfast), since hived-off, but not really?

Explained (as is the Cotes and Shine tale) several ways, around the Internet by people who talk as if they know what they're talking about, but clearly don't because the tales are all slightly different? Probably only 'H' knows what the truth of the two brands is? And after the years-long "Don't admit they're Airfix" approach to the 7000 series I've learnt not to ask!

Under that branding, these arrived, and they were brilliant; a bit chunky, but they are aimed at the war gamers not modellers, and several years before all the other makers sets came out (as a direct result of these - no doubt), they are made of a pretty rigid PVC (not as rigid as Galloob or Wizards of the Coast though), and can be glued (for ever, it's a kind of chemical welding and is almost instant) with plumbers pipe-sealant.

The set 'German Motorcycle with Sidecar' is available in either Hät or Armourfast boxes (same artwork same material...same batch?) and I felt they needed a little...more.

One of the things about German Motorcycle combinations of the Second World War is that model companies like to give them an MG34 or 42, usually on a pintle-mount, when in reality most had no machine-gun, and when they did have one it was often clamped to the crab-rail, given a dedicated, raised rail, or fitted anyhoo as a field-modification.

So, a [hand?]-rail was the first thing. I could only get a heavy-gauge brass-wire, but not having the patience to wait, went with it! I never resolved the bracket, so the MG is rather 'plonked' at the moment (I say - as if I didn't do these in 2007!), and a little bandage of Evergreen strip is still required. I added a US Halftrack's Jerry-can rack to the side car.

A body-swap improved the out-rider and I removed the parcel from the spare wheel to give this a more businesslike look, they're out looking for something and they think they've just found it.

This one lost it's machine-gun completely and's been loaded to the gunnels for a long distance convoy escort...or something. they're eating-up the miles anyway!

The overall chunkiness of these is not an issue, but the tyres are, they're quite poor, but they are what you get, so this one got an extra spare...spare! I also added the dispatch-case's released by the other two models; one to the motorcycle the other squeezed in on the left-hand side of the side-car.

There seem tro be three main 'factory' configureations; one satchel/box on the left/inside of the side-car; two cases, both sides; or an inside dispatch case and an outside Jerry-can rack. But all other possible combinations can be found.

The third machine lost its side-car all together, there is a second set with single Zundapps, but I've yet to track one down...when (if) I do, I'll give one of them the spare side-car!

For dispatches, this machine got a Tamiya (or Italeri?) 'bread bag' from a 54mm 'multi-pose' kit and some blanket rolls or such-like, also from 54mm kits and a heavy stand from the same brass-rod, this looks OK, due to the heaviness of the models, they are much bigger than their styrene forbears or even a lot of the resin/white-metal contemporaries.

As I say; I did these in 2007 and they remain unfinished and unpainted! I used to have a link to a site with thousands of photographs of German machines from WWII, but I've lost it somewhere along the way, however this forum thread is good for a quick game of 'spot the machine gun'!


The 'combat units' (reconnaissance and motor-infantry) seem to have a 50% issue, but most of the lone combinations (scouts, dispatch riders/staffers, signallers, engineers, medics etc...) have none at all.

And the burning question de jour; side car, side-car or sidecar?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

T is for Toys in the Tabloids

The 'Easy-reads' like a toy story, so do the toy companies, they sell papers and they sell toys! here are a couple of recent puff pieces from the 'i' (little brother of the Independent)...

What intrigues me about this 'news story' is the little blobs at the front of the image...I suspect they are 15mm (or thereabouts) figures. Just like the figures Megabloks designed for use with their submarines and warship models about 15 years ago! The Chutzpah of Lego is really quite staggering...let's recap with a dateless time-line;

Lego 'acknowledge' (without credit!) Airfix with a very similar-looking Ferguson tractor

Lego steal the design from Hestair Kiddicraft

Lego lose a court case on that matter, to Hestair Kiddicraft

Lego pay a large amount of money for the intellectual property of Hestair Kiddicraft

- hiatus -

Lego spend years suing Mega Bloks and others all over the world

Lego lose the majority of those suits, and where they win; often see the win overturned on appeal

Lego drop their 'no war toys' policy (they'd actually dropped it years earlier, with knights, Cowboys and US Cavalry v. Indians, Pirates v. Revenue soldiers, space ray-guns &etc)

Lego FOLLOW Mega Bloks with a wider range of more interesting and realistic colours, after purchasing the rights to make Star Wars toys (I think Lego followed Mega Bloks with licensing as well?)

Lego FOLLOW Mega Bloks with Dinosaurs

Lego FOLLOW Mega Bloks with Arctic Explorers AND a Yeti

Lego copy the micro figures of Mega Bloks

From Wikipedia: "The Lego Group has filed lawsuits against Mega Bloks Inc. in courts around the world on the grounds that Mega Bloks' use of the 'studs and tubes' interlocking brick system is a violation of trademarks held by Lego. Generally such lawsuits have been unsuccessful, chiefly because the functional design of the basic brick is considered a matter of patent rather than trademark law, and all relevant Lego patents have expired. In one of the most recent decisions, on November 17, 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld Mega Bloks' right to continue selling the product in Canada. A similar decision was reached by the European Union's Court of First Instance on November 12, 2008 when it upheld an EU trademark agency decision following an objection by Mega Bloks against a trademark awarded to Lego in 1999"

Conclusion: Buy your kids Mega Bloks, they are cheaper per ton, and lead the field in the innovation of a universal product...even Hornby-Airfix are using the Kiddicraft design now! (this is a drum I'm going to keep banging!)

I Thought this was good news - a non-warlike figure wiping the floor with his armed companions! Although I supose the millions of deaths in the wars of the reformation could be laid partly at his feet?

One day I will do a proper post on these toys as their history and the number of brands involved is even more interesting than the 8-stud building-block story!

P is for Premier Plastics' Polymer Pretenders

Students of these Premier Plastics Flash Gordon space-ships might want to get this page (Ed Berg's Premier-Plastics knock-offs' article) up on a separate tab, to toggle between the two and ID them, but I didn't measure them, so....Doh!

Photographed on Mercator Trading's table back in the autumn, these are probably all copies although the yellow one is 'clean' and hard styrene and may be an original dime-store item from Premier? Well...photographed on the floor, an old Britains box lid and my jumper to be precise!

Although I didn't measure them I'd say the two blue ones are both over 3 inches (so the fat one isn't the one you're still looking for Ed!), and they are both soft ethylene. The yellow one is shorter and as I've said; hard plastic.

Close-ups...that's it really; there's not a lot else to say about them, they're single-lump mouldings, dime-store/pocket money, probably knock-offs and Ed Berg's covered them in 21 sequenced articles if you follow the above link and click on 'Space Ships'.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

G is for Great Scott...What HAVE they got on their heads?

No...it's for Grey-Klip Armies by Grey Iron of course! I've been after a decent sample of these since...oohhh? 1981? First read of JG Garratt's encyclopaedia! Small-scale cast iron...gotta have some of those in the collection!

I actually do have one loose example (he came-in with a bunch of plastics from the James Chase collection's small scale), but I thought he was a Confederate soldier! And that's despite having R O'Brien's book too (which lists them all - I think?), but the trouble with having files on 30,000-odd toy companies and 400+ 'tomes' in the library is...you can't retain everything all the time, and a lot of it just melts into a mush of like names, places, sizes, materials, dates...and lets face it - he looks like Jonny Reb!

Card scans; I couldn't get the stupid machine (Epson, now you ask!) to find the thin edge properly, so it's a bit truncated, but still readable! They (Grey Iron) produced more in the larger sizes, but I think this was it for the smallies!

The figures; divided into a command group and a troop 'squad', set into a steel track (which will open your fingers up if you're not careful!), they are crude, sand-cast lumps and I love 'em! The dodgy headgear is supposed to be the smokie-bear/drill-sergeant/boy-scout 'Campaign hat', but really? Confederates...to a man!

I is for Instruction

I bought this Britains Swoppet out-worker's instruction-sheet at the last Birmingham show I attended (sadly three years ago, having not missed one for about 15 years, I've managed to miss two in a row!). I think they are all in the Plastic Warrior specials on the subject, but this is the only one I've got, and the two (I've cropped and split them so they'll enlarge to the maximum) aren't in sequence, so; a reprint?

Interestingly the out-painters got them by the gross (144) and had to hand the instruction sheet back with the finished products, also...if you follow the instructions 'to the letter', you'd be sending the cross-bow man back ready for retail sale (paint and parts complete), but the man-at-arms would return to the factory without a weapon (pole-arm) or visor?

T is for Twenty-five...Pounder

For anyone contemplating the Tamiya kit or it's scaled-down Esci counterpart; I think this is the old gate guardian from the Airborne Forces museum at Browning Barracks in Aldershot. When that museum was broken-up and the bulk moved to the IWM at Duxford, I imagine they found they already had various versions of 25lbr, so the good Burgers of Rushmoor got to stick it on a traffic island next to the stations and forget about it!

The business-end, for early WWII, you need to drop the flash eliminator, like the simpler Airfix kit.

 Shield and axle with inner wheel-hubs.

 Traversing plate and connecting rods.

 Hitch and spade.

 More undercarriage 'stuff'.

Mounting and elevation mechanism.

 The maths...range calculator and inner shield.

Walk round, rear and starboard!

Walk round, port and front view.

Friday, March 13, 2015

B is for Better, or Best!

I'm not going to cover the Germans this time round, they are too bad, little dwarven lumps of war gaming metal, albeit in plastic! They will appear here one day (if I live long enough everything will appear here 'one day'!), but to finish the current look at these sets; the best of the bunch....

I don't remember the Jeep's runner ever being included in the box, but I guess they were thinking of it when they commissioned the artwork? This set is also marred by a large chunk of plastic crap, but a more useful piece than the British bridge to nowhere, or the mini-bunkers the Germans get.

Basically a mix of pose-lifts from the Britains Deetail and Airfix 1:32nd scale US Infantry sets with a couple of leg changes and a radio-man. I clearly gave the Bazooka to the wrong pose...but then a man running with a Bazooka would look a bit awkward, so...

On the runner, 10 poses is not a lot (for all these sets), when you consider that at the same time you could get a pack of 48 Airfix for 18p, or 100-odd Hong Kong copies for 10p! Kits like this being around 40/50p (I'm talking about 1973-4 here), and that differential continued for years, even know a pack of Airfix 2nd version US is around £4/5, while this kit - if you can find it (and it does get occasional re-issues) - will be around £6/6.50.

Scan of the box-art, another last-stand, with useful helmet painting guide to half the US army!

"Everyone to me! Fall-back on the Jeep, make very shot count! Get that .30 barking!" yelled Master-sergeant John Audie Wayne-Murphy!

I forgot to scan the instruction sheet, I'll try to remember to do it next time I get them out.