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, September 26, 2015

U is for Ubisoft

Credited to Ubisoft, a French 'games' manufacturer (originally Ubi Soft) - I use the inverted commas as it's 'games' as in interactive, on-line, X-Box type stuff, not Parker, Spears or Waddington's type stuff!

Presumably to support one of their gaming titles...Combat of Giants, Dragons. These were on clearance in The Works back in March/April, and - at 99p each - didn't last long. The bi-lingual spelling looks like these were originally also destined for the Spanish market?

Nothing to get excited about here, a transparent plastic jewel (presumably part of the game-play?), a points card and a collectors card or two...I think, I didn't study any of it, just took the shots and kept the figurine! This stuff is becoming two-a-penny, both games companies and pay-per-view TV companies try new lines all the time, like prepared meals in supermarkets, some work and become household names, some disappear after a few months or a few episodes, and occasionally there's a tie-in toy line, this is one of those! I haven't even Googled the game title...I really don't care!

The animals are OK and useful for 20/30mm role-play or sci-fi/fantasy war-gaming, but they are pretty crude as well as being distorted by the packaging, also the pinky-orange one is more robot or rock-like than he/she is dragony or dinosaury!

I don't know how many different sculpts there should be either, I'll have to look it all up for the A-Z one day, but that day's not today!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

D is for Dulcop

When I covered some of the ACW stuff back in 2011, I indicated my intention to keep posting ACW-related things as the 150th unrolled over the 4-years of the conflict. When thinking the other day; "Hummm...didn't it end in '65, I better get some more posts out" I turned to Google (where else? This is 2015, not 1865!) and found that I'd missed the boat, the whole falutin' shootin' match was over by April...so here, for no reason at all is an ACW article!

These are by Dulcop, an Italian company, and while by no means a full sample - I have only one mounted and five foot poses across both belligerents, they nevertheless are a reasonable sample for anyone who hasn't encountered them before. Although as they are mostly clearly marked on the upper surface of the base, they are easy to ID when you do encounter them!

The top left image shows early and late paint styles for the Union/Federal forces, with the other shots showing an early painted Confederate officer and unpainted versions from a few years ago, these were part of the accidental lot the other week, so my sample was even poorer a couple of months back!

The bugler and mounted rebel came in the other day too, top left shows the whole sample without spares, it'll do; these are not that rare, should I get a sudden urge to track them down, but like a lot of Italian stuff, they are a bit gawky-looking in the sculpting, and these will do for now.

The mounted Confederate bugler, this is one of the many sets which follows the plastic colour rule for ACW toys, allowing the manufacturer to 'get away' with one set of sculpts, making them in blue for North and grey for South.

Dulcop are still around in some form, I shot these this afternoon in Poundland, but they've also got some 'Frozen' ones in The Works, so if someone had a bit of cash and was minded to, getting a production-run commissioned from the ACW or any other moulds should be quite easy - I imagine?

L is for Lucky Luke

This is an unusual set, branded to Novalinea (Comansi), it contains what I think is a complete set of the Lucky Luke bubble-gum and ice cream premiums made by (and still marked;) Tito.

Obviously with these premiums there was always a search for other ways to market them once the promotion they were originally commissioned for has come to an end, and you often find them turning up elsewhere - as with the Tatra Warriors of the World. But to get the whole set, nicely laid-out is a treat.

A close-up of Luke and his near neighbours, I have most of these loose in storage, so we will return to look at them in grater detail another time. Indeed, I may have all of them, as I think I've got the vulture in another place with the rest of the known or suspected Spanish/Portuguese premiums?

Around the same time as I took these into the collection I also picked-up this copy of the smallest but eldest Dalton brother - Joe, he's a very poor-quality copy, but without any obvious mark, not even an HK so he remains a real question mark.

The copy Dalton's feet compared to the feet of the Indian female - I had trouble getting the mark to show, purely down to the plastic colour, but you can see how poor the copy is, unmarked, without the two little holes all the originals have, but with tons of flash.

Because this is the only copy from the whole set I've found in 30-odd years of seriously collecting, especially small scale (and as a stand-alone piece he is 'small scale'), I wonder if he was the only one copied - because of his size (maybe the vulture as well?) - as a gum-ball gift, he's certainly small-enough for a capsule machine of that era - the Kinder-egg sized stuff is more modern. But that's all just musing or pure conjecture?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

C is for Chad Valley via Chap Mai

When I bought this at the PW show in May, neither me nor the seller knew what they were from, but we both agreed they were interesting and well done if a little esoteric, uniform/equipment-wise! A bit like the SOMA figures, but actually Chap Mai.

Well a quick Google revealed tons of 4/5-inch action figures at the budget end of that market, but no little figures (these are 23/25mm), but I was sure I'd seen them somewhere, and an Argos catalogue was the saviour on this occasion.

Foreign readers/visitors will want to know Argos are a catalogue shop, where a small counter with several ordering/paying stations fronts a huge warehouse and the stuff comes up a  conveyor to the hand-over point (I don't know if you have something similar where you are so forgive the egg-sucking explanation!).

As well as the action figures, Chap Mai made two Micromachine type play sets, an Aircraft Carrier and a heavy-lift C130 Hercules type plane, both of which were the carry-case and 'playmat' for a handful of Micro AFV's/'Planes and this frame of figures.

Originally sold in Chap Mai packaging as two separate sets, they are now combined as a contract-product under the Chad Valley label Argos bought from the Woolworth's fire-sale. So anyone wanting these figures can have them for £19.95 (two for thirty quid), with a load of free plastic and die-cast tat thrown in...actually the carrier looks quite good...just the turret looks silly....still Chap Mai and separate sets elsewhere/on the Internet.

Argos Listing

They are OK figures, although as I hinted above; the uniforms/equipment are a bit all over the place. Also unlike the Galoob precedent, they are unpainted and a bit bigger, having the appearance of a last minute chuck-in-the-box for added play value. They would go very well with the Bluebird Zero Hour/Code Zero figures though...very well indeed, look at the frogman...and the heavy bases.

News, Views Etc...Plastic Warrior 159 (Yes! Totally hopeless; me!)

I've done it again...next issue through the door and last one not reviewed! I'm not going to do both of them, I'll do 159 now and try [really hard] to do the new one (160) in a week or two. The thing is (in my defence!) ... I try not to do the review as soon as the issue arrives because it's either been covered in the last few days on the PW Blog and Facebook pages (as 160 just has), or because sometimes I pick it up from Paul and it's a few days before the subscribers get theirs in the mail and it wouldn't be fair to wax lyrical before they've seen it!

As a result it gets read a couple of times, put to one side and buried in crap...usually quality toy-related crap, but once I can't see it...so anyway, here's the contents of 159, which was issued back in July sometime and is therefore now available as a back issue!

* Steve Morris reports on a Blue Box fort repackaging with the small-scale Wild West figures as Reddish Maid
* Colin Penn digs up new information and a new [old] figure from Lone Star
* Hearld 'Notes and Queries' by Daniel Morgan covers the Khaki Infantry, including the Zang variations and the 'Enemy' issues over 4 well illustrated pages
* Les White looks at the US Toy carded blisters - some very interesting sets
* P. Lopes Cunha covers the Regimento TV serial premium figures from Raja Ice Cream
* A very interesting article on the UK/Lines Bros. end of US maker De Luxe Reading (here; De Luxe Toy Co.) is penned by Stephen Dance
'The Mexican 'Dime Store' maker Amex is brought to wider knowledge courtesy of Paul 'Stads' Stadinger
'Converters Corner' also from Les White shows how to make Crimean War Russian infantry, using a mix of Timpo and Armies in Plastic (AIP) figures
'What's New' is covered by Stads' and Les White's coverage above and the letters section where the following are mentioned...
  • Funtastic (Poundland) - Wild West - Stuart Asquith
  • CTS - Korean War - Stads again!
  • Lod Enterprises - Greeks and Trojans - yes...Stads!
  • Takara-Tomy's 'Panda's Den' - 'Fat Cute Soldiers' - Mathias Berthoux
* Frank Langcaster looks at the pricing of Timpo knights colour variations on evilBay (lovely pictures, but the text went over my head like an aeroplane...you know my views on prices!)
* The diorama's of a company called Giocattoli Bambole are looked at by Andreas Dittmann, and fascinating they are, with figures from Elastolin - in the main - enhanced with Lineol, Isas and other pieces, along with shots of Cherilea figures in an Elastolin catalogue
* What the !&*$? seeks answers for some question-marked Wild West figures and horses from Dave Scrivener's collection
* The rest of the Reader's Letters section includes
  • Horrible Histories (Eric Chapman)
  • Timpo Displays (Barney Brown)
  • Starlux (and other makes) Prehistoric Diorama (Alan Copsey - illustrated on the front cover)
  • Bergan/Beton (Jack Shalatain, who's second letter is a show and tell...Trojan, VP, Miniplast and Gem)
  • Corgi (George Nixon...who follows up on my letter in an earlier issue...thank-you George, I picked-up a couple more the other day, if you need a pair eMail me...free to you)
Plus all the usual small-ads, news and views including sad news of the passing of Geoff Ambridge, a call for feedback, new on back-issues and the latest Eurofigurines magazine
* Cover images this issue are Alan Copsey's dino-rama (my pun!) on the front cover and a 1977 'trade' publicity card from Britains on the back.

I will try to get the next review out in a more timely manner, look out for 160 in a week or two...or order one anyway!

Monday, September 21, 2015

N is for Novelty

Novelty? How would one define a novelty? Something which has not been designed as a plaything but which has play value? Something with a practical application that leaves the user feeling amused? A household or garden product with added playability?...goes off to Google...

novelty ˈnɒv(ə)lti - noun - 1a. the quality of being new, original, or unusual. "the novelty of being a married woman wore off" synonyms: originality, newness, freshness, unconventionality, unfamiliarity, unusualness, difference, imaginativeness, creativity, creativeness, innovativeness, innovation, modernity, modernness, break with tradition "they liked the novelty of our approach" antonyms: conservatism - 1b. a new or unfamiliar thing or experience.
plural noun: novelties "in 1914 air travel was still a novelty" denoting an object intended to be amusing as a result of its unusual design. modifier noun: novelty "a novelty teapot" - 2. a small and inexpensive toy or ornament. "he bought chocolate novelties to decorate the Christmas tree" synonyms: knick-knack, trinket, bauble, toy, trifle, gewgaw, gimcrack, ornament, curiosity...

...I think that covers tonight's trio of recent acquisitions!

These were £2.50 a set (that's 62.5p each!), and while branded to Hawkin's Bazaar's 'Tobar' label, where actually in a clearance book-show a hundred yards from the nearest Hawkin's! They are the same stretchy material as the Alien I tested to destruction a while ago, so I'm being careful...I intend to base them, but silicon is hard to glue, so I will try bathroom or window sealant! Baubles.

An ABS type polymer Massey-Harriser [of pencils] (geditt!), imported by Strawberry Design...also available in John Deer green, Ford/New Holland blue and 1970's Local Authority yellow. But with that bonnet (hood) shape it had to be the red one...£1.25, clearance, now. Trinket.

Previously seen in Plastic Warrior magazine and bought from fellow blogger Brian at the PW May show in Twickenham; how cool are these? I intend to find a second pair and cut the cork/plinths down until they're bases and add burning cotton-wool wicks for a bit of off-the-cuff urban house-clearance! One ex-Airfix pose, one ex-Matchbox. Knick-knacks.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

W is for Wehrmacht Series...&etc.

This is a follow-up article to some developments on the original listing post, and I thank Alex Keery for his input. I had originally listed the Century series with an impertinent note about someone's claim to them having metal parts (or being all plastic...or something...I edited it out a few weeks ago), Alex than stated he had them, and I said I was happy to be proved wrong, which he did with images (seen below here!).

I then dug deeper (on Google), but Alex was digging deeper into his stash of the old Modelworld magazines and it turned out that everyone was right, There were three series of Almark 54mm/1:32 scale figures, each series has three 'entries', one is all metal, one is all plastic and one is a mix of the two (the above link having been edited twice in the last few weeks is now correct), so we'll look at them all...

...starting with probably the first sets, the three Minimodels national troops from the Lines plant in Havent, issued as 'Almark Kits' but still on the runners, unpainted. the Japanese figures were set 2 and the US troops made set 3...

...which were enhanced with the 'Century Series' which are part plastic (figures) and part metal (weapons and personal equipment - including helmets)...

...and gave the infantry in the boxed sets their support weapons; the third card was holding an LMG (light machine-gun) team...

...to which further additions came in the form of the Wehrmacht Series of three stand-alone figures in all-metal. Like the 20mm range, these new figures are Charles Stadden designs, he having designed the originals for Lines/Minimodels.

Only the Germans benefited from these additional ranges, something that has bugged fans of other nations since the dawn of modelling, and from most manufacturers...it's all about the Germans!

Although...in the original Minimodels range, I've not [yet] found a German flag! The Japanese and Americans being the ones who liked to claim each other's bare-arsed volcanic atolls with flags! These were not - as far as I know - issued by Almark either, but you never know?

The original source was correct to suggest they were plastic with metal parts, I was correct in remembering all-metal ones and we'd all forgotten they also re-issued the plastic Minimodels figures. Hopefully that's put the subject to bed for a while, and thanks again to Alex Keery for his efforts and the four upper images, the flags were shot by me years ago, but I don't seem to have put them up here before!

H is for Her Madge and Hangers-on

As I'm looking at the tackier end of the toy and model figure spectrum (see magazine article below this one!), we might as well cover this quality shite while I'm at it.

In the past I think I've posted a quite sportive article on the subject of our monarch...or at least a post with supportive comments, but the truth is that as time moves on and and I see what a iniquitous world we have created since 1979, and watch how ex-soldiers are as good as forgotten by their nation, I find myself increasingly less enamoured of the cosseted, privileged old bint, sitting in her ivory towers, saying nothing!

But she gets the odd model of herself made, so we do have to pay lip-service to her here, from time to time! I guess 3D printing will lead to some narcissists getting more models of themselves made than there are of the likes of QEII, the 'selfie' generation!

Cavendish Miniatures had these solid lumps of polystyrene made at some point in the....late 1970's? Don't think they are rare, some chap had a whole box of them at the London shows a few years ago, warehouse clearance, in various finishes, from a near-unpainted flesh or white'ish plastic, to these silver and chromium-polished types.

I bought one of each to show both while taking up the minimum of space in the collection as they are big! He's a flat, sprayed, silver, she's had the shiny mirror treatment with an 'antique' wash.

These obviously date from the Wedding, and are hideous, they are also quite accurate, yet remain hideous, if I discovered that some American firm like Franklin or Danbury Mint were behind them I would not be in the least surprised...hideous! Computer-painted, factory-tampo'ed polypropylene, or an ABS type polymer?

These are a little more interesting, they seem to be from a kit, yet have the feel of commercial painting in two colour schemes? A soft white styrene like 1970's Airfix kits, but not Airfix (I'm pretty sure?), you can see they've both been glued to something dark, whether it was the same thing or two similar things I don't know, does anyone out there?

Sizer-shot; the 'kit' figure is about 60mm? (They're in the attic again!), making the naff, detailed one about 90 85-mil and the Cavendish at the equally popular 120 100mm. If anyone knows the origins of either of the smaller ranges, let us know.

3rd April 2022 - According to Peter Evans of Plastic Warrior the top pair are Charbens, probably sculpted by Ron Cameron and issued in 1974, they can be found on a wooden plinth in realistic paint as well. While the middle four were by Dapol (later cleared by Colin Penn at toy fairs/shows), still looking for clues on the two smallest, ball gown Queens? Glued to vanity sets or music boxes?

M is for Magazine Mash-up

Just a quick round-up of recent (and not so recent!) magazines with a figural element, it is a fact that any time you glance at the kids section of a newsagent of supermarket's magazine racks, you will find several carrying figures or animals. We have seen magazines dedicated to dinosaurs already on this Blog, and have covered the Dr. Who Adventures mag on several occasions, but there are others.

Magazines specific to cats or kittens, dogs or puppies, farm animals, horses or ponys, wild animals or TV and movie characters go around and come around again, they often have figurals on them as premiums, if premiums is even the right word, they are now an intrinsic part of the 'package', with something small, cheap and plastic or paper on every cover, were - in the past - it was maybe one in ten issues that had a 'freebie' or the first two or three issues of a new title.

The 'premiums' used to build the title, or as a bonus to prop-up sales through the slow summer, or during the christmas period when pocket-money was being spent on other things, now they are an intrinsic part of the cost from the inception of the magazine, with specialist companies manageing severl dozen titles, and running the 'gifts' in sequence, or on rotas!

Snowmen Skittles last Christmas (or was it 2013?) on an infants publication were fun, I actually bought two copies so I could have a decent 4, 3, 2, 1 line-up for something I did on Facebook, the Octonaut's - aimed at slightly older kids - have a whole series of these toys, styrene they will prove ephemeral and I notice they are already appearing on FeeBay with imaginative descriptions and equally imaginative buy-it-now's!

The Thomas I photographed on the rack a while ago, these horses will appear in mixed lots, years for now, and no one will know the origin, leading to all sorts of ammusing forum comments; "....probably...look like...same as...similar to...IIRC...a friend told me...", in turn leading to; "...I think you'll find...I Know for a fact...I went to the factory...I've got somewhere..."!

Also last Christmas; the Dr. Who Adventures issued thier advent calender again, look out for it this year, but the mag has gone from weekly to fortnightly to monthly as we've followed it here on the Blog, and earlier this summer I thought it had gone for good, but saw an issue the other day (nothing useful on the cover), so it may stagger-on 'till November?

Like the Star Wars Command range from Hasbro and the Horrible History figures we covered here, this has been poorly managed by 'pretty young things' who have the degree in marketing, but no clue as to the real world, and follow algorithms that tell them what to do and when to do it, rather than using life-experience to decide when to boost a product, or when not to issue a rival title in the same stable!

The two new figure poses added to the range last year (or the year before? It all goes so fast these days!), and the classic Dalek sculpts (both advent calenders have reverted to the traffic cone 'new shape') meant that this was beginning to look like a fine set, and it should be expanded. Boxed or carded as a stand-alone, tied into specific episodes of the TV series and promoted, instead it's just an ephemeral add-on to a crappy magazine, being strangled at birth.

From the same source as the Octonaughts come these BBC characters, same polystyrene construction in a blow-mould style (but actually two halves glued together before decorating), with the odd accessory.

"One banana, two banana, three banana - four..." A 'swamp-hog' may prove more useful, de-stickered and repainted that as issued? The set of fish inclued larger styrene lumps and smaller PVC animals. As with the shark-submarine in the next image, these would work well with 28mm role-play, especially 'Steampunk'.

More Octonauts, note the breakables, especially on the rabbit-thing, these are very ephemeral, and while I excuse the purchasing of the ones I do buy as 'rather me than you', as in - I buy them for the blog so you don't have to...in twenty years these will be uncommon and worth having stuffed in the attic, if only as examples of cultural history/mores?

Sometimes even I can pass on the tat, and just fire off a photograph in passing, last week I shot this in a store, there was another mag with sheep and lambs , a dinosaur magazine (there's always a dinosaur magazine!) and another one with a horse. I don't advocate buying any of this shite, but it's worth keeping an eye-out, as sometimes the stuff is useful...scenics or buildings for instance, semi-flat trees are often included in these not-so-freebies.

News, Views, etc...Airfix Blog

I gave-up faffing around and just loaded all the HO-OO posts today, so with the exception of the SAS there is now a page for all the boxed 'HO' sets at the Airfix Blog...


Basically it was the Nappies and AWI, 2nd version sets, rest of the WWII and all the ground crew sets along with the late three 'modern' (cold war) sets- 27 posts in total I think?

Some have little content and are just page-holders, all need text, which those of you who know me, will know, will take me ages, but I'll try to work on it over the autumn...54mm will follow when time allows.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

T is for Two...Paratropper Boxed Sets, or; A is for Again?

We have looked at these before here, but the abiding interest in them means that there are unlikely to be complaints about a return visit!

They are - of course - the SuperDeetail Paratroopers from Britains, but compared to the replacement set as a side-by-side....sort of!

So the six-figure set (above) as issued by Britains in limited numbers (see my thoughts on the numbers question in the link above) with two of the older Herald scenic pieces and below that the seven-figure replacement set, which had no accessories.

In total there were - effectively - eight poses, four of which were wholly dropped (kneeling firer, 1st grenade thrower and both weapon at waist poses), two adjusted/simplified (call it redesigned; standing firer and ATGW firer) and two new (2nd grenade thrower and officer). Plastic Warrior magazine No. 150 had images of a ninth pose, or the three-times sized master for one, another weapon at waist figure which never got to 54mm production size (back issues from the normal sources, or...subscribe!).

Close-ups of the figures in the earlier set, you can see how the flesh has run down the underside of the GPMG and up the side of the rocket-launcher. But note also how the catches on the webbing are over-moulded in black, the rank insignia, the elasticated cuffs of the para-smocks, they would have been fantastic figures if they'd worked and the ones that turn-up are still quite fine.

The replacement, two-each of the Toms and one officer would suggest a shortage of officers over-all, but having handled plenty of these I can say they are all about as common as each other, the counter boxes presumably balancing things out, but the grenade thrower is the harder to get a good sample of as he's the more likely to be damaged.

The pocket-catalogue image from 1978 (so 'good for' 1979), they weren't actually in the '79 pocket-catalogue! I've seen the blister-packs, and with this boxed set it would seem that the relative rarity of these is down to the counter-pack orders having probably not been fulfilled until the replacement figures were ready in the 1980's...

...which, when they arrived were still very good figures, I'm missing a pose from these here, but mine are in storage, these are some old photographs of figures I put on FeeBay at 99p, all of which went for around the 2.50 mark, which was OK, they are not remotely rare in this configuration, Note how the colours of the plastic vary from batch to batch, with the added deliberate move to brown boots and rifles on the Marines and SAS and black webbing on the Marines. Overall though they are as good as - or better - than anything Timpo was doing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

H is for How They Come In - PW 2012

This is another of those posts I always feel a bit guilty about posting; sort of showing-off, even though I know they are popular posts when other people do them and I always like reading other Blogger's 'look what I got' posts, so here goes...also; it's from the 2012 show so I can't necessarily remember who gave me what, but I'll try to credit as I go!

Bottom left image is everything that came home after the show, with the various loose figures being my [definite] purchase, the various bags being either purchases or stuff people brought to the show for me. The Argentinian boxed set has been blogged - Here.

Mostly the 'own-purchases', the Blue Box 45mm Aussies and 25mm Germans have also both been covered, the khaki infantry were for the book project that became a page here somewhere (I've still got to get the text finished on the HK stuff!). The bits in the bottom right-hand corner were from Peter Evans I think - with a nice 'paper exercise' what-if Panzer, while we've looked at the shrinkage Indian boy from Thomas, and I don't know when or if the Aurora rats will get their own post!

3 bags of bits; at least one - if not all? - came from Gareth, but one may have come from Peter Bergner? More Blue Box in the sailors (copies of Merten and blogged separately somewhere), a 'nice-paint' runner from Gem/Culpitts and various other useful bits and bobs.

There are game playing pieces, premiums, cake decorations, kit figures, die-cast vehicle accessories...farm, zoo, fantasy and 'Wild West' and WWII..a motorcycle, tipper-truck, AFV's, boats...several dogs and a broken B52...bargain!

This was from my mate Trevor who always brings me a bag of the best bits! The Harry Potter knock-off Hagrid is the best thing here I think, but the Kenner Small Soldiers (?) were also useful as were the gold Romans, Blue Box wagon, Matchbox Battle-King figures &etc...the pile at the bottom needed further sorting...

...and this is initial sorting by horse type and figure type, the inset showing how they go together once they have been separated, with the common 'wavymane' horse and figures in the white circle, the 'pony' in the blue and the bits for further sorting in the black circle...we'll be looking at these properly when I get that page going.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

P is for Pick-&-Mix

I said we'd look again at the two carded Hong Kong artillery pieces in the vague round-up of various smaller-scale guns the other day, and while sometimes it takes me a while to do a promised follow-up, I have managed to get this one out in a quite timely manner...for me!

A fascinating little range of interchangeable parts making six possible artillery pieces, not all of them terribly accurate to real life I fear, but I remain to be corrected. We looked at the two commoner carriages last time...here they are again with the third carriage....

In the upper shot we see the various components of this 'set' of artillery pieces, being three carriage (structure) types, two barrel types (with the same pivoting superstructure/cradle); a quite good 155mm and a poorer rendition of the M115/M1 8inch (203mm) Howitzer, two wheel arrangements - on same length axles, along with accessories for the 155mm 'Long Tom' barrel (a pair of recuperators/recoil buffers) and coastal/siege mount (a pair of pivoting legs).

Below left shows the range of adjustment of the two extra legs; from full cruciform to almost tripod. This seems to be trying to be the M3 mounting for the M1918 3-inch gun?

The right-hand image compares the two wheeled mounts, with the supplier cutting the axles to a standard length, duel wheels are correctly used on the Long Tom, while single wheels are employed on the box-structure of the less historically factual (?) mounting.

The coastal/siege (AA?) mount with both guns in-situ. As mentioned above it seems to represent the M3 mounting for the old 3-inch gun of WWI vintage previously known as the M1918, neither gun being quite right for the carriage/cradle/mount.

Again this box-bodied carriage seems to have no parallel in the real world and - as the toy - has the legs (fixed) from the previous 'coastal artillery' piece attached to a box!

The construction of the 155mm is quite neat and makes a reasonable rendition of a popular artillery piece from WWII to the mid-Cold War...indeed; I'm sure they are still in use/inventory about the place!

Here it is ready to pound Aachen, Iwo Jima...or the Golan Heights! I'm missing the trunnions on the howitzer so it's posed (balanced) in all the above photographs, although the carded one we looked at earlier is complete and we will look at them again when I get round to finishing those articles on the HK figures.

These are perfect for 20/25mm - 1:76/72 scale figures, and when I first encountered them I assumed they were piracies of Roco-minitanks models, but Roco were later than these rack-toys and only did the M1/M2 duel-wheeled carriage so I think I'm right in suggesting they are actually 'based on' the early box-scaled 1:30/40/50th ('ish) model kits of Monogram, Revell, and Snap, (Aurora, Tamiya?) from the 1950's, themselves copied/pirated and/or licensed to various other makes (UPC, Crown...even Fuji or Marusan?), and if anyone can add further light on the origins of these diminutive guns, it would be much appreciated by me and I'm sure; other followers of the blog.

A few links to Wikipedia which may help...

Wikipedia - M115 / M1 - 8-inch / 203mm Howitzer
Wikipedia - M59 / M1-M2 - 155mm Long Range Field Gun 'Long Tom'
Wikipedia - M1-M2-M3 / 90mm AA Gun
Wikipedia - M1918 / M3 - 3-inch Gun

Monday, September 14, 2015

M is for Militia...I hope!

So, not much posting recently, seem to have caught the 'Summer Hiatus' buzz! Also had a bit of a writers block/can't be arsed type thing going on there and some dodgy Internet service provision courtasy (or not courtasey..) of Vodafone!

Still, Sandown at the weekend means the autumn season is in full flow, Chicago for those lucky enough to attend (one day...one day!) in a week or so...and I must get some 'News, View's etc...' done in the next few days, the PW review has slipped...again!

A quick bit of news; For fans of the old Star Wars micro-machines...Hasbro issued new sets into UK toy retailers last Monday, or over that weekend, they seem very expensive so I'll wait until they get some more sensible clearance pricing in about 8 months time, or in a year or so when evilBay is flooded with them at 99p! I didn't look closely at them but the old 'standard' three vehicle (in this case 3 item) sets are there with a couple of figures each and there are larger transforming head type things...didn't see any all-figure 'army-builder' sets though.

So to the meat of this post - a purchase from Sandown Park on Saturday:

With so much of the Soviet-era toy figure production being semi-flat in either alloy or ethylene, it's always nice to find figures that are either fully-round or polystyrene, just for a change, and this chap fulfils both search criteria...

A note on the box states "Soviet Militia, circa 1962" and with no reason to doubt that I await a more knowledgeable mind than mine (he might be a composition under that thick lacquered paint finish?) to correct me or add anything? he's about 54mm, but doll-like and appears to be a styrene solid in what I guess is a dress uniform.