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.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

ANZAC is for Australia and New Zealand's Army Corps

Technically it's for 'Australia / New Zealand Army Corps', but that's a Blog-post title, not Part One Orders! We leave the denizens of DC and Marvel's fantasy worlds for figures more firmly anchored in the fighting history of the real world.

There are strangely few 'obviously' Antipodean troops available in the toy soldier world, and even in the countries concerned, the only figures issued were a small set of Museum figures (I'm still hoping to return to one day) and some flats that look like bog-standard 'Tommie's in helmets . . . which of course; was how they usually appeared in combat.

While the Slouch-hat, which best represents them was either a WWI thing (where there is an equal dearth of figures), or a non-combat thing, like our beret, or the American side-hats or baseball caps . . . thinking more of WWII there, now everyone has berets, and Slouch-hats are more of a formal headgear down-under, I believe?

Even when toy-makers tell you they are modelling 'Australians' or ANZAC's, they usually then give you figures wearing a generic jungle hat, which was also worn by the Brits, Yanks, non-Hindu Indians, Ghurkha's and other allies! But here are some anyway:

These are quite hard to find and command a decent value when they do turn up - Hilco's Aussies; these are copies of the old Timpo solid 8th Army figures but with the addition of the aforementioned 'ANZAC' headgear. Not as crude as the similar HK marked piracies, they are smaller than the Timpo originals at around 50/52mm

I've been spiriting these shots away in a Picasa folder for a while, waiting for enough to make a post, when Brian sent me the upper Timpo 'swoppet' picture the other day, more in conversation than intended for the blog . . . but "I can use that" says I!

I don't think I have these at all, maybe one? I don't remember Blogging them when I did the other 2nd type 'khaki Infantry' with berets and helmets, and if I had any they would have come in that same collection-purchase back in 2010. Hard to find and commanding a similar value to the Hilco's, maybe a tad more affordable!

Below is a Trojan 14th Army figure. Trojan made them in this green as Jungle fighters, not specifically ANZAC's, and in sand as Australians - presumably in the Western Desert?

Here is one! This is my only example to date and he's a bit tatty, from last May's Plastic Warrior show (PW163 is out now - if you don't subscribe), he's missing his muzzle/flash-suppressor, but as it made his Thompson SMG far too long (in scale), it's not so bad a problem!

I've posed him with a couple of Airfix figures in the upper picture, to which he scales well and with the smaller figures from Blue Box (on the left) and Ri-Toys (Rado Industries, on the right) in the lower picture.

The Blue Box figure is a bit on the small side, but the Rado is awful - pantographed down from a Blue Box original, and then given the Airfix officers arms as a cut-n-shut, near same size, he ends up looking like a bug-eyed, knot-kneed, monkey-pirate, holding a blunderbuss in one hand and a butcher's knife in the other!

This is a cheat; these aren't close to ANZAC's at all, being actually French Indochinese colony troops, cast in aluminium from Cofalu, it's easy to see how they lost Vietnam, casually wandering about, lightly-armed or playing music, they needed to take the Vietminh a bit more seriously!

Thanks to Adrian Little for letting me photograph these and the 14th Army chap, and to Brian Berke for the Timpo shot.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

D is for Mar...mer...err...not DC

While clearing a few DC bits out of Picasa around the submissions by Brian, I also thought to clear these out, but they are the other lot - Marvel! It's funny, when I was a kid the impression was always given (or that's the message I got) that Marvel were all powerful, and DC the 'also-rans' or 'smaller party'.

But actually it's clear that it's the other way round, Marvel have the Spider Man (a copy of the Man Bat) and err . . . the Hulk? Thor totally escaped me and Captain America was . . . an American! Likewise; Collectively the Avengers are a warped mirror of the Justice League?

DC - on the other hand - have Superman, Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman, Super Girl . . . a whole bunch of big characters, but anyway, that was my take on it then and my opinion now, however; some people prefer Marvel and for them: a quick round-up of current gift-egg contents . . . and a few other bits.

These are all out there at the moment, the Zàini 'Ultimate Spiderman' ones have reappeared with a greater choice of contents and next to them are a set of 'Avengers' eggs from the same source with various characters on the wrappers, I got a Hulk, but I saw Thor and a Captain America one.

This figure is becoming a bugbear for me, I was given one by Garth Morgan years ago as thanks for helping him with his Blog, then I bought one from Peter Evans in a mixed-lot, and finally when I bought one of the eggs I got him again! And I've forced you to share [suffer] the same disappointment . . . because he's been on the blog before!

It is nevertheless a nice sculpt, with a dynamic pose attained through the use of multiple clip-together parts to get round the problem of undercuts. I probably said all that before too, if I was you; I'd ask for my money back, this is duplicate copy!

The new changes in the gift line-up, between issues 1 and what - going on the information on the safety leaflet - seems to be issue 6; namely; the addition of three pencil-rubber/erasers.

I actually got one of the looped 'charms' - of interest as it is an over-moulding; using the layered over-moulding Italian military badges were using long before Timpo had a go. Which is not a dig at Timpo, their form of over-moulding was a far more technical achievement that this one-layer-over-another style, but you can see where the idea came from.

Also I got a pencil-rubber, but from the Avengers egg, not the Ultimate Spiderman one. As there are nice figures in the series I will try again, until I've had all the wrappers and scanned them into the archive, but these will all turn-up in mixed lots five or ten years from now, if experience is any guide! It's worth noting that the disclaimer/'small print' down the bottom of the paper slip hints at a wider range?

Bonbon Buddies are offering a much wider range of gifts, but no figures, so I won't be returning to them in a hurry! This is real 5p / 10¢ vending machine stuff isn't it!

These came from The Works quite a while ago (2011), and were clearance from a larger line coming from Hasbro Canada; reasonable figures in around 54mm I think - they're in storage now and might have been closer to 60 or even 70mm.

I picked these up in the same The Works about three-weeks ago, for a quid each, and I can't remember the handling brand, but I will get more when I see them (they've disappeared but should reappear) as they are really nice figures, and we'll get the brand then.

The Disney Princesses are the 'new movie' style which is semi- or near-realistic, especially when turned into a 3D figure, while The Hulk is a solid chunk of PVC; these figurines are/have real value for money.

The Hulk was funny . . . every week he'd lose his temper, rip his shirt 'clean ahrrrff' (to quote Dirty Harry), somehow maintain his trousers at the waist but shred the turn-ups? Tip a pick-up truck or car onto its side, not kill a bad-guy or two, stop a digger, let the bad guys run off, calm-down, find a woman to fall in love with, do something in the bedroom with her (which we knew involved kissing a girl...urrrh), have a shower, get new clothes from and then leave the woman - citing his crap life and at the same time next week, be found losing his temper again, in another set of clothes altogether! And where did his little rucksack go between the temper-loss and the end credits, when it always reappeared? Maybe his rucksack was like a Tardis, waiting somewhere out of shot to be called when needed, filled with a thousand sets of clothes . . . and shoes . . . and a toothbrush!

Calling the curtain down on Superheroes of all types for a while here on the Blog are an unknown 'super-deform' Spidey that must have come-in with a mixed lot at some time and the set of Mon Desir figures we've also seen before.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

B is for Batman, super Bloke and Babe'alichious Babe one...

So bringing the DC season to a close with some more exclusive to Five Below stuff also contributed from Brian Berke up there in NY.

The Man Bat! A nice version of the classic TV Batman, but beefed-up a bit to meet the expectations of modern fans raised on the darker muscle-Batmen of the recent movies.

The Super-dooper Man. Brian reports that these figures are around 3-inches (90/100mm), and again this seems based on an older vision; the early - Christopher Reeve - movie Super Man, but also viewed after a steroid-based workout!

The Wounder'ful-come-to-rescue-you-in-Ann Summer's-kinky-nightwear-Woman! I had such a crush on Ms. Carter when I was a kid busy going through the crushes on TV stars phase of adolescence! I don't recall her having a polished steel brassier though, so I think this sculpt has more modern references, but it looks a bit like the old gold-lame one I remember.

Reverse of the packaging reveals that there are five in the series (which is the 2nd series issued), and that they lock together via their bases to make a shelf-display vignette. I wonder who was in the line-up of the first series, if such major characters are in the second.

Brian states he knows of no significance behind the 'New 52' graphics on both sides of the card, neither do I, anything to do with the Justice League? Are the two in the background bad guys, or other members of the Justice League? If they're baddies the other three shouldn't have their backs to them!

Close-ups of the three figures; probably doesn't add much to the post, but I've done the collage so it can stay!

Monday, June 27, 2016

I is for Itty Bitty Batman

Micro DC today, this comes from Kenner and is clearly 'after' Galoob's mini play sets, but by the time this set was issued they had actually bought Galoob.

The box-art was a darn-sight more exciting than the contents, in my opinion, but to be fair to Kenner, the back-side of the box and the display-window, gave you plenty of time to work that out for yourself, and let's face it, a kids sense of imagination is a darn-sight more active than this cynical adult's!

That other side; showing most of the elements of a Star Wars 'head' play set, with fold-out panels and a couple of figures along with a larger plug-in accessory.

The widow (also carried over from the Galoob sets) showing the little pieces that make it a 'playset' and not just 'a set'! It's lucky the Man Bat has that Bat-schtick thing going on; 'cos in a straight fist-fight he'd surly lose, that Freezer-dude's huge!

Galoob had bought the licence before they went tits-up, and there are a couple of other Batsets (Batsee what I Batdid there!) shown on the back of the baseball quartet we'll look at another day. If anyone has that Harley Davidson set on the right going spare, I'd happily swap it for the baseball players. They - Galoob - also had a stab at Marvel with some Spidey-sets!

Friday, June 24, 2016

M is for Mark this day well....

...it is the day the idiots finaly got the keys to Pandora's box...

...or as Farage might have said if he had an honest bone in is body:

"A victory for Stupid People!"

B is for the Board-game Batmen!

Mattel issued two board-games with batmen, namely: Gotham City Mystery with Batmen and Robin, two main bad-guy characters and a 'bunch-of-five' baddies, and Shadow Assault (a 'Batman Begins' tie-in from 2005) with four Batmen and a herd of ninja baddies!

It is from that latter set that these three are probably taken, I say probably as there were several versions it seems, and not all of them had the same four poses. There seem to have been three with this type of base (red, orange and yellow) and another with a different base. The Ninja bad-guys are all the same pose and in unpainted transparent PVC.

The Upper Halesworthington Synchronised BDT (Bat-flying Display Team) totally mess-up their compulsory flaming-swoosh with triple-salchow fly-past, right under the judges noses; spacing is all over the place, yellow-leader has not turned-out early enough and green has stopped smiling his very expensive, snow-white, Harley Street dentistry. . . awful performance!

I'm missing the blue one, presumably kept by the owner as the most realistic of the four, originally included in the Spears Games game of Batman Swoops Down, from 1966. Thanks to . . . I'm not sure, they came from the PW31 show, but whether they were a table-purchase or in one of the brought-by-mates lots I'm not certain, so thanks to Trevor, Graham, Adrian or Gareth anyway!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

T is for Two - Batman Paratroopers . . . Batroopers? Batachutists? Batatroopers!

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No . . . it really IS Batman this time! More from DC, and one f my favorite side-collections; Parachute Toys!

The first one is pretty standard, late 1970's, polyethylene blow-moulding, seems to have obtained a license, although not a likeness - he looks like Momma from 'Throw Momma From a Train'. Also, he seems to be wearing a nappy, probably a good idea as his fellow blow-moulding . . .

. . . seems to be err . . . packing a bit of a lunch-box, if you know what I mean! How did that get through trading-standards? Believed to be an Argentinean or Mexican in origin, it's a more recent toy, with a much thicker walled moulding, waxed-nylon or rayon (?) fishing-line like strings (pined through his shoulders - ouch!) and a thick polythene parachute.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

R is for Res Plastics to the Rescue

Picked these up at the London show from a mate who's a DC fan, these were only his spares and talking to Paul Morehead (PW's Ed.) on Monday he thinks there are 12-16 in the set.

Originally manufactured by Res Plastics (RP) of Italy, the moulds should be with Red Scorpio (DSG) of Argentina and I'll try to find a link and put it below when I go up the Library to publish this! The originals were a soft polyethylene - we looked at the Superman and Batmen in a Kinder post here - while these are in a tinier, more rigid plastic, but not a brittle styrene.

Red Scorpio seems to have them (painted?) but the links are dead here (and PC-crashingly dead at that...he says - ten frozen-screen minutes later), maybe you'll have better luck?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

O is for Old School

If this was the 1970's, seeing these in a specific [American] store's packaging would be the signal to go out and try to find your local unbranded generic card from the same factory! Sadly, these days the contracts between the Asian producers and the Western retailers are much tighter, and if you haven't got a Five Below down the road you will not have such an option . . . or will you?*

The Bat Man!

Many thanks again due to Brian Berke for these shots, he went out last week in the good weather (peeing-down all week - this side of the pond!)** looking in the discount-stores round Queens in New York and found these.

What is so cool about them is that they aren't the new 'dark' knight characters, or any of the incrementally darker knights of the string of barely connected movies since the 1990's, but rather the old TV serial, even the faces are reasonable renditions of the original characters!

Robin the Boy Wonder!

And - in the light of recent posts here - they are bendy toys, but full-bodied, anatomically correct (ignoring the Boy Wonder's elbows!), bendy-toys; these are too cool for school . . . one of the bigger boys would nick them! If you live near a Five Below get down there and forget the whole Trump-Clinton future shocks by losing yourself in these for a few hours . . . that's a suggestion not an order .
. . Biff! Pow! Thwack!

Has it ever stuck you that the old school Boy Wonder also looks a bit like a camp Robin Hood! "Holy Hot-Pants Batman!" said Robin the Boy-Wonder Hood!

Back of Batcard!

*While they seem to be made exclusively for Five Below, the other change from the '70's is - of course - evilBay, and it's only a matter of days before some of the bottom-feeders on there have these listed with a silly BIN mark-up! There's probably also an online portal for Five Below, but whether they will ship overseas remains to be seen, however I think I'll be looking!

** Oak before Ash - you're in for a splash, Ash before Oak - you're in for a soak, thunderstorms in 'flaming' June - Wimbledon's coming very soon!

There now follows a minor DC 'Super Hero season' on the Blog as I use these as an excuse to clear some stuff out of Picasa! I love these - Thanks Brian.

Friday, June 17, 2016

T is for "Timmaaay"!

Cartman . . . you're such a fat'ass . . . wrong Timmy!

So if the term 'Ubiquitous' was ever deserved by a set of toy soldiers, it's got to be this lot . . . I know the Britains Guards,  khaki infantry or Airfix Para's fight for the title in the UK, and elsewhere other people may have had a more common inhabitant of the toy-box, but globally, these guys have to take the medal.

We had a few Marx and MPC from Woolies, a bunch of 'inherited' Crescent, Lone Star and Charbens (from the church fete!), tones of Airfix, Britains Herald HK (including the above-mentioned) and Timpo swoppets, but we had a bunch of these as well, in various colours; everyone we knew did!

I actually took this - rather fuzzy - shot in October 2014, when I was blogging GI's for a while, but never got round to using it. More have come in, then someone else Blogged them so I held-off for a bit, now, with contributions and a purchase, there's enough for a better view!

This is the contribution (from Brian Berke - thanks again!): the current Imperial version; Delta Force, they're poor sculpts, but not as poor as some copies you'll see! They've taken 10 of the original 12 poses and issued them with a card that illustrates other maker's better figures!

Three days after I took the original image I found this large PVC rubber mine-clearer from a Burger King promotion on the back of the Toy Story movie in another tub, so fired off a quick comparison shot to add to the folder against the day I'd use them . . . as it happens - today!

Below them are three Imperial figures of the same pose showing the differences between cavities of a mould-tool; the one on the left practically sand-blasted of detail, the one in the middle not bad, while the one on the right has one less release-pin mark and a thinner left wrist.

Boley have also had a go recently, and we did look at them before, the other figures in the set being a mixture of ex-Airfix and Matchbox poses, so these are the two Tim Mee ones - in a glossy polypropylene. The mortar operator appears to be holding an upside-down bottle in the other hand . . . very poor mouldings!

Starting a run through the poses, we'll lead with the 'Ell Tee': Thinks "Shall I shoot them or shall I throw my binoculars at them?", the chinatroops (to the right) take the choice away by giving him a more belligerent arm pose!

These Tim Mee chaps got a whole new shot in the arm, when following the Toy Story movie, various sets, tubs and other tie-ins returned to the old figures they were parodying in the film, and we see two here, bottom left, with the story behind the larger one elsewhere on the blog, he having been removed from a Mattel infant toy.

Close-ups of the bases, I think the slightly marbled one (top left) is the original (or as close as), with various other versions roughly as they are in the previous collage, along with a new 'officer with Bino's' pose thrown-up by the licensed toys, the left-hand example of which looks like he's on Charlie Brown's pitchers' hump!

He's a mobile-phone (cell phone) stand I've blogged before, and I never really did work out how it was supposed to work, a triumph of marketing over any practical value . . . very American!

The dark green guy on the right of the middle shot is a 'recent purchase', and I'll keep referring to them as that as we go through, because while they are Tim Mee clones, when we get to the kneeling-firer you wouldn't know it - if you didn't get them all together! They are re-cut to a reasonably high standard (for China), and look more like paratroopers than GI's.

Again: top left is probably the original, with three of the common clones we all knew next to him; they ran through 'till the end of the 1970's at least. Bottom row has two current Imperial and two crappy chinatroops with a Toy Story between them.

The chinatroops have reduced the calibre but appear to be firing dildos at the enemy, as they're apparently also wearing half-gonads on their 'eds, that's really no surprise! Toy Story - on the other hand - clearly mean business and have gone-up a few calibres.

If these Tim Mee's are ubiquitous, then this pose is the quintessential one! A weird one nonetheless, a sort of semi-Japanese Bren-gun/BAR on an 'avoiding-undercut' designed bi-pod! But still - such a dynamic pose, bi-pod braced against one foot as he strains to find targets, crouched over to make as small a target as possible for returning enemy fire.

He's also one of the few toy-soldier, medium machine-gunners to have his left hand where it should be: firmly gripping the neck of the butt and cushioning the cheek. Ignored by Toy Story (too much firepower?!), Boley and Imperial, he seems to have died the death of all things . . . or have Processed Plastics resurrected him?

The prone guys, chinatroops have swapped legs at the waist! Note how the 'recent purchase' (middle of the bottom row - crawling guys) has been re-tooled and 'chunked-up' a bit, the pale guy to his left might be a more recent copy of him? Both poses are also based on the previous 60mm figures by Tim Mee.

Kneeling firers: you can see that if you found him on his own, you wouldn't recognise the 'resent purchase' as being from the same set of poses, he looks more like a 1990's Revell paratrooper? Meanwhile the chinatroops have now swapped legs with the flamethrower guy in the next collage, and Toy Story has given-up trying to look like his ancestors!

The chinatroops kneeling-down on the job while the Tim Mee and clones fight their way uphill through the rain, a mix of thick jungle undergrowth, barbed-wire and smashed palm-trunk bunkers.

Here the chinatroops have taken the legs off the stabbing guy, Toy Story have a bit of a redesign and - like the knee-mortar - an increase in firepower. I particularly like the 'baselette' on the raised foot of the larger Toy Story guy, having never seen the movies I don't know if they carry them around in the film; like magnetic puddles on each boot, but it certainly gets the point across on the figure.

Digressing for a moment: have you seen the magnetic liquid that was going round the Facebook as a viral a while ago, brilliant stuff, if you want to lose five minutes of your life on a frivolity, Google the Youtube!

Radio operator/field-telephone guy; another marbled one seeming to be the original, as they were never marked and some clones are very good, what with me not being an expert on them and Tim Mee or Processed Plastic producing dozens of runs in various colours it's hard to know what I've got here with some of them!

Mine clearer guy, the only one who looks to be doing any real work is the larger PVC one; he's got it on the sand, pushing, most of the rest are waving it fruitlessly around 8-10 inches off the ground, presumably waiting until the loss of their legs tells them they've found a mine?

To be fair the chinatroops are holding it about right, and the recent copy (bottom right) is also holding it near the sought metal. This is also the other pose not taken-up by Imperial in their recent act of piracy, but I think the PP re-issues do contain him.

Waving-forward guy becomes grenade thrower guy with both the 'recent purchase' and late HK clone to his right (the viewers left), making them about the only pose in this set that are close to the contemporary Marx/MPC figure sets, the other two make's figure however, are both holding Thompson SMG's.

Although even without the grenade added, this pose is closest to those other sets, strange really as the rest of the set is quite original, while the other two sets have several poses in common, as we saw when we looked at them.

Toy Story and chinatroops have similar legs, 'recent purchase' is looking like a Paratrooper again! Called Stabby-guy (by me) - the original is top left and has a very fine bayonet sculpted, most of the others are trying to spear their enemy with a sausage on the end of their weapon.

Common to most of the line-ups, but missing from the officer one I annotated the base shot of, I've also added text here to point out the HK marked versions, they are present in most of the line-ups as are the 'China' ones. Most of the copies though, in all poses, are unmarked.

Loose-ends: Two new poses given-up by the 'reborn' franchise; 1000-yard stare'y-guy and at last . . . advancing with rifle! Still no marching with slung weapon though? Also a close-up of the finer detail on Stabby-guy and the various treatments of the business-end of the mine detector, his headphones undergo similar change/transition through the various generations.

12 original poses, four new ones and with chinatroop conversions/Toy Story variations: 23'ish to collect . . . so far! "Timmaaay, Timmaaay, Timmaaaaaaaaaay"!

More here

Thursday, June 16, 2016

L is for Larger than Life-size

Not really a 'toy soldier', not even a 'box-ticker' as there's no manufacturer . . . this would have been a one-off commission by the council (or a similar body) to a commercial studio or model-maker of some kind, but there's no credit on the thing. However, it's painted and it's fibreglass which is considered a polymer, so it's in!

'Wellington' shopping centre - Aldershot

Taller than me, even without the plinth, it represents a drummer from the time of Waterloo, presumably in the uniform of the Hampshire's, who at the time were still waiting to become 'Royal' I believe? Listen to me . . . "I believe"? I once had to pass a test on their regimental history to get a free cap-badge from the Queen! How quickly we forget . . .