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, April 18, 2015

News, Views Etc...Plastic Warrior 157 AND 158 (I know...I'm still hopeless!)

So, don't know what happened there, as I predicted in the review of 156, the next one dropped through the door a day or two after I'd published! Then Christmas and the New Year happened, I predicted the imminent coverage of the new one at least twice (?), only for 158 to arrive (several weeks ago!), so we'll look at both today, to try and get back on track...doh!

As always - still available as a back issue; Plastic Warrior 157 featured..

* The next part of Thomas Stark's series on figure sculpts; 'Animation', looking at the ones that make him laugh! 
* James Opies obituary/tribute to Shamus Wade 
* Hearld 'Notes and Queries' by Daniel Morgan reaches the four ACW figures in both paint schemes 
The Editor (Paul Morehead) looks at a fascinating desk ornament (?) from Subbuteo 
Catalogue illustrations wet the appetite for tracking down Mettoy play set figures 
* An editorial center-spread feature on Gemodels is real eye-candy 
'What's New' includes...
  • Toy Soldiers of San Diego / TSSD (Alamo Mexican Lancers and WWII Germans)
  • Engineer Basevitch (Finnish War)
  • Replicants (Robin Hood character figures)
'Converters Corner' looks at restored Kentoy, Lone Star, Salpa and Timpo figures in a follow-up to the What the !&*$?...its Salpa from issues 155/156
* There's more museing on Cow & Gate farm premiums from David Scrivener and the ed. 
'Castle Warfare' from Brad DeSantis looks at a lovely MPC fort set called er...Castle Warfare! The mantlet/shields were new to me
Juan Hermida looks at a specific character figure of a real-life bullfighter known as "Manolete"
Brian Carrick looks at some recent production from China he's found including a couple of lovely Gladiators
* There's a look at Marx's Warriors of the World versions of Robin Hood figures from Les Collier
* What the !&*$? asks about a tractor/trailer pairing and a Cyclopean er...Cyclops!
* Reader's Letters covers
  • Engineer Basevitch (Mathias Berthoux)
  • Tudor Rose-Tim Mee (kent Sprecher)
  • Vietnam (Les Collier)
  • Shing Hing Plastics/Smyths (Eric Keggans)
  • Marx website update (Eric Johns)
  • Benbros (Editor)
  • Poultry What the !&*$? (David Scrivener)
Plus all the usual small-ads, news and views including news of Marx recasts (www.classicrests.com), Shaun's Fantasy figure blog and feedback from David Pomery on Johnny Walker, and Eurofigurines magazine
* This months book review looks at Figuras de Plastico Reamsa 1951-1978 by Juan Martin Garcia 
* Cover images this issue are both illustrating the Gemodels article within

While the - still current - Plastic Warrior 158 brings the following delights to your door (if you subscribe!)...

* Brian Carrick takes a look at fish-tank accessories with a view to use as war gaming scenery 
* The Star Wars Command sets from Hasbro are covered by Les White [Apparently like the Horrible Histories stuff, this range is to be dropped already, so get them while you can, they are still full price in most toy chains, Sainsbury's and other outlets, but expect discounting as summer approaches]
* An interesting in Poplar Plastics graphics with Thomas figures is examined by Kent Sprecher with accessories not covered here) and an apparently random Lido Indian! 
Les White returns to produce a brilliant turn of the 19/20 century's policeman at 'Converter's Corner'
Thirty Years On is a look back at the development of Plastic Warrior from its inception...fascinating to those (like me) who came a bit late to the party)
* Alwyn Brice is still looking at 40mm Elastolin (like the 70mm but not so well-painted!) 
'What's New' includes...
  • Austin Miniatures (WWII US Marines)
  • Paragon Scenics (Alamo Defenders)
  • Expeditionary Force (ACW Zouaves & Militia and Medievals)
Stevan Dance reports on the latest in Japanese capsule toys (Gashapon) with a look at Panda's Ana 'Green Green Army'
* There's an editorial on the elusive series II Horrible Histories - as I predicted, now filtering onto evilBay and Amazon as clearance 
Jack Shalatain (who has fed nice small-scale to me in the past) covers the ceremonial output of ABC out of Hong Kong, with nicely painted examples of the US Marines and British Line Infantry
Reader's Letters include
  • David Scrivener shows a Goodman Indian
  • Eric Johns announces an update of his Marx website (link to right of this page somewhere)
  • Mike Blake reminisces on Herald
  • Mettoy feedback from yours truly
  • Barney Brown talks glues
  • Juan Hermida ID's some of the What The !&*$? and reader's letters items from PW157
  • Andreas Dittman expands on the PW figures from PW156
  • Drazzen Lulic discusses Karl May with a request for help on the same
  • Juan Martin mentions the Wikipedia page on Reamsa
  • While Brian Johnson provides an illustrated mini-article on Reliable of Canada and their take on the much-copied Bergan-Beton/Lido horse
Plus all the usual small-ads, news and views, including an offer of reduced price, final [2nd's] copies of Suspended Animation by Peter Cole, a must for your bookshelf if you haven't got a copy yet
* Cover images this issue are a 'fish tank' diorama and an interesting Chialu figure from a composition mould

Both issues presented in shiny, rainbow, technicolourfulness!

Also, it's now only just over a month to the 30th anniversary Plastic Warrior toy soldier fair, full details here;


Saturday, April 4, 2015

E is for Exhibition Report

So, trundled down to Southampton in last Sunday's gales, spent an hour in a traffic-jam minutes from the venue (note; come off the A27 (M) at the A31, not 'town centre and docks'!), was well worth the trip...and the wait!

Character figures featured, with Herr Hitler coming in for a fair bit of ridicule! I believe the Kitchener doll (about 15", larger than Action Man/GI Joe) pre-dates the First World War, and reflects on his efforts in South Africa? - Correction - an hour later...He's a WWI patriotic item...Kitchener Doll

Wartime wooden austerity figures from the States ("Manufactured under licence by Colorgraphic") rubbed shoulders with some lovely Heinrichsens, tin-plate clockwork Westerners and Britians risible swan-song!

The three Heinrichsen cavalry are particularly interesting as they have a moving-arm feature brought about by a sort of tube/rivet/collar running through the body of the flat, joining the arms in free-movement. The Britains figures were reasonable, but the vehicles? Awful, just awful, and it's only when you see them like this that you appreciate how incredibly poor the support stuff for the figures was.

What's going on here?!! Just enlarge (right click, open in new tab) and enjoy...you've got Lilliputian Bluebird tying-down a vintage Action Man, while a modern one gloats, they are being totally ignored by an AT-ST engaging some Airfix Japs and DAK...an so it goes on...I could have spent an hour going round this table spotting stuff!

Architecture provided by Burnett's Ubilder and the entrance lobby of the museum building, part of the old Town Hall, the museum itself is a very modern structure.

There was plenty for kids, voting boxes with a supply of rack-toy figures to vote with (I was tempted to palm a couple of the larger pale green ones I hadn't seen before (I didn't!), colouring sheets, video-loop displays etc...

It's a small exhibition, took 40/50 minutes to cover? The message is social history, with specific regard to war toys, and there is a vague chronological path to follow through the room, with thematic displays.

Not photographed are lots more flats, some really nice compositions, the expected hollow-casts (including some lovely small size Britains khaki cavalry of Boar War typeidge (made-up word!)) and a lot of board games...if I have a criticism - it's the display of the board games; a lot were unopened, some just had the lids off and where they were 'set-up' it was 'token' rather than 'by the rules', and on CAD printed boards, not the actual boards (which were present, folded in the boxes)?

I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in these things, and while I don't know how much longer it's 'on tour' or where it's going next (if at all), it's will remain at So'ton 'till the 10th May, so you've got a month there.

And...I had no problem taking photographs in full view of the attendant - and wish I'd taken more!