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.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

News, Views Etc...Two Weeks to PW's 32nd Show

Well, it's not even two weeks to the big one! Last time I spoke to the editor - which was a while ago, there was still a spare table left, so if you are thinking of trying selling (or want to display something - it's a 'club meet' after all!), or if you have forgotten to book drop Plastic Warrior a line now, before it's too late

Contact details as hot-links:

Tel: 01483 722778

The old website is to be run-down/retired.

For those thinking of travelling to the show, here's the maps I did a few years ago, with birds-eye views for those who find maps too cryptic! They are getting tired and cluttered so I will try to do some more for the week before the show.

The venue has plenty of parking, a bar, and full toilet facilities. Hot drinks, meals and snacks are served from quite early, everything's on the ground floor and wheelchair friendly (apart from a couple of stalls on the main stage) and it's the best show for rare, unusual and especially British plastic figures - in the world!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

S is for Something Old

These were also hiding in the Timpo folder in the Timpo zone! And we may have looked at some of it before? Maybe even all of it? Nevermattermind, it will be of some interest to someone!

A group shot 'from the archive', none of these are mine, but it shows two of the Timpolene composition 'planes (believed to be made by Zang, but here labelled to Timpo) and a pair of the similar figures with what may be factory paint, but may be home-paint?

They (the figures) do keep turning-up in different finishes and the trouble with the effort of trying to decide on the decoration is exacerbated by the fact that the average hobbyist in 1940/50-something could daub a bit of gloss to the same level of competence as the out-painters!
Also, this is another of those moments when you think it's fine to push back the date the experts have previously given to the 'stuff's usage, as that is an experimental Whittle 'plane is it not? A late war, not post war machine? The same machine to be seen (controversially) in fibreglass in Farnborough?

This is mine and I'm sure we've seen one of these shots before, but there were two in the folder so I've collaged them together; to tick a box, or 'tick them off'.

Zang's (or Timpo's?) 30mm highlander in working/combat dress (with kilt!), possibly used as a whiskey premium, maybe Haig (who Britains would work with later) or Dewars, and as I said before; he's been broken cleanly at the ankles and glued back together.

S is for Something New

I picked this up in Wilkinson's Basingrad four weeks ago and can't remember how much I paid for it, but I know it wasn't much or I wouldn't have bothered; maybe a couple of quid? £1:50? Something like that, and it's fun!

Speedy Turbo Jet Wind-up Speed Boat, I've placed a figure in it so you can see that it's fine for 54 or 60-mil figures and would make a nice rigid-raider for your Airfix SAS or Vietnam forces! They had a speedboat as well, and both came in two colour-ways.

A wind-up motor so it'll run round and around the swimming pool - until you can sink it with an elastic superhero catapult!

Friday, April 28, 2017

S is for Something Borrowed

I found a bunch of old photographs from about 10 years ago hiding in one of the Timpo folders on the dongle, so we'll be looking at them in the weeks to come, starting with these; the Timpo Mexican bandits from the wild west range.
The Mexicans came in three skin versions, brown (left hand figure above; late production?), a sort of pallid, sickly, zombie-flesh colour (right hand figure; early production?) and the standard Timpo pink (Friday production!?, I have no idea if there is any other significance (beyond being a vague dating aid) to this, but obviously the hands need to be matched to a same-colour head if you're building them up from bits, out of odd lots on evilBay!

The below shots were all taken at the same time while I was working for a Toy Dealer and were shot from a crate with several hundred figures in it, which had come-in from a hundred sources over the previous 15-odd years. It was obvious that while you will find various combinations of torso and legs, there were six 'standard' mixes, obviously from the main production batches, so I photographed a sample of them.

My favourite when we were kids, he's just gonna' do a bit o' killin' un robbin' on the way to the disco! Check-out those threads man - too cool for dance-school!

 Another sharp-dressed man!

 Note - standard pink hands on two of them.

This lot is the 'exception to the rule' having both brown or black holsters (at a 50/50'ish ratio), and a 'new' set of legs with a single holster, which I think are taken from the cowboy range?

They were all shot without heads as A) it would have taken all day to colour-match them all with the hands and B) there was no 'rule' as to the hats colour - the hats come in more that six colours, shades vary over time and sometimes they got the bandit head to boot - so they were going to be photographed separately (these were for another book project which never happened), something I don't seem to have got round to!

S is for Something Blue

It don't get bluer than this, I can't remember where I picked this up, some evening train-fair in a school hall probably! But a fascinating 'artifactal' thing nonetheless.

It is basically crêpe plastic! A sheet of shopping-bag type polyethylene has been run though the paper crêpeing [spellcheck says 'crêpey'!] machine (interlocking-rollers?), probably with some heat in the mix, and when cooled you have a brilliant water surface for model railways, that glistens like you want to dive-in!

'Something borrowed' later today!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

S is for Something-else!

I'm having a lazy week and this is supposed to be a post on Clifford and Guiterman-branded fire engines, but I haven't even sorted the images out, let alone got the text done (I was sorting the letter i's for the A-Z; 270+ and counting!), so here's something I picked-up in a discount store this week.

99p novelty from Tobar, isn't it fun! They come in blue as well! Nominally 54mm, you can make him 120mm - temporarily! Practical too - good for getting spiders in the top corners of a room!Contemporary; probably easier to find in Hawkin's Bazaar than a random high-street store (I was just lucky). That's it, the pictures say the rest; go, buy, have fun!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

T is for Tipper Truck

Actually it's called a dump truck but hey! I was raised to think a small 'puddle-jumper' was a tipper-truck and 'dumper-trucks' were to be found in quarries and on major road-works; despite the double-axles and heavy cargo compartment, this is a little Ford puddle-jumper! Don't all write-in - it's childhood versus semantics!

Looking a lot like some late Marx vehicles of the same type (but not their dump truck which was a big, yellow, 'proper' one!) and various OK/Lucky types, it's actually branded to one of those typical Hong Kong (or Japanese) logo's which could mean anything if you don't know the company and while most Japanese companies have been sorted, most HK ones haven't!

As with a lot of these Hong Kong toy vehicles, the attempt to reproduce the functionality [in plastic] of their [mostly metal] western counterparts led to lots of easily breakable small or delicate parts, and while scaling-up helped somewhat, I'd hate to think how much of Christmas would have passed before the tipping mechanism on this would have been busted if it hadn't survived to the present day in its box?

Note that this toy's motor housing has the brass eyelet-rivets, the same system found on the TAT bren-gun carrier I looked at here ages ago (I think? I know I have one and I'm pretty sure it was Blogged!), TAT is another brand with a Lucky cross-over, and like Lucky late TAT stuff is battery operated, but re-branded to Stratco in their packaging.

The brand-mark for the tipper, your choice is as good as mine, although as the 'S' is smaller, I'm guessing we may be limited to a choice of four; HIS, HSI, IHS or ISH! And - like TAT, the logo is on the base-plate as well as the packaging.

Another 'anonymous' outfit only known as NN produced a two-axle version of this truck in various body-styles and with a heavy bumper/fender added at the front.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

T is for Telsalda

I've seen references to this company as being Spanish, but as far as I know it was a Hong Kong maker or brand, shipping to various markets one of which may well have been Spain? They have been linked with both Lucky and Clifford (all three carrying the same vehicles), but the links I posted the other day also suggest they produced a range [their own?] of scale-ups from Lucky.

Just to be devious we will therefore look at a third scale! This is as close to an OO -gauge compatible scale as makes no difference and could be a copy of any British maker's; as it's such a distinctive vehicle there were several 'original' models to copy from.

What I mean is; while it's easy to say all versions of the Humber 1-ton truck are ultimately copies of Dinky, as Dinky were the only firm to make a decent version of a vehicle which in 'real-life' never went on to have a large run or become a service vehicle, the London bus was so iconic everybody made one . . . or two! And providing the windows are in the right place, the roof sections, 'lines' and so on properly modeled - in scale - there's no way of telling who the 'donor' was. There's a very real chance it was based on the Tudor Rose plastic version - it all seems to be in the bonnet (is this one a Leyland?), the bodywork rarely differs greatly.

Again, this has the fold-back tabs holding the motor-housing in place that yesterday's VW Beetle had (except I'm loading this the same day the Beetle publishes - which I loaded last week - but for you it's 'yesterday's'!), this is not necessarily a big clue, but it's one of those identifiers which help place these toys (of which there were hundreds) in groups to build a better picture of the HK toy industry and its supply-chain relationships.

The other main variant is the four brass (or 'brassed' (brass-anodised) - some of them rust!) eyelet-rivets, with others having screws, small slot-head bolts, or solid aluminium rivets

I think the model code was No.454, but it's not as clear a picture as I hoped! This is not a typical Lucky code (they were 1xx, 1xxA, 30xx, 50xx, 70xx, and 6xxxx for combined sets), but as the Telsalda box code is B5046 (closer to a Lucky code!) there's the usual lack of clarity there - that one expects from Hong Kong! Was 5046 a Lucky bus, leaving 'B' as the contract code for Telsalda?

Telsalda did another version of a Routemaster bus with larger bonnet/engine (Daimler?) but otherwise the same configuration of windows, roof &etc. It had clear windows, yellow seating and a driver, this (probably later) model has blue tinted windows hiding the fact that it’s hollow!

Monday, April 24, 2017

F is for Follow-up, to Lucky Toys; Flat-screen Beetle - Fire Chief!

We're going to look at a few of the vehicles I photographed at Sandown Park last month which may (or may not!) be from the Lucky Toy (or LP!) stable/s over the next few days, and we’re starting with a little peach!

It's a VW Beetle (raaayy!), flat screen (double-raaayy!) but not split (boooooh!), it's a fire vehicle (raaayy!), with push-and-go motor (raaayy!) and blue windows (cool!) hiding a lack of figures (boooooh!) and it's fitted with racing-slicks . . . on a Fire Chief !!!?

I used to be a big fan of VW Beetles and some of my friends still are, but I saw the light . . . here's the news; all vehicles even back in the 1950's have/had a built-in obsolescence, and while a 15 or even 20 year-old vehicle can be a cool conversation piece, a 30 or 40 year old bubble-car with a propensity to catch-fire on the motorway, is just an old piece of shit - isn't it?!

Same with old-series Land Rovers (aluminium rot), 1950's Harley Davidson's (noisy, gas-guzzling, rust-buckets), any pretty Citroens (hydraulic nightmare), Morris Traveller's and Mini-traveller's; they get woodworm in their bodywork FFS! Old vehicles look best (and last longer) in museums, period.

Clear base mark with the full Lucky horseshoe. Points to note are that the motor housing has bend-down tin flaps, and while there are two screw stations, only one is being used, suggesting other variations, probably for other/different customers with different wheel or bodywork arrangements or even different motor-types/configurations?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

F is for Follow-up, to Lucky Toys; Miscellaneous Figures

Not so much 'loose-ends' as just a few figures to be added to last month's posts; there's plenty more to be added to the subject before we get to loose-ends, I'm sure!

I suggested in the past posts that I had another Marx made-in-HK road worker here, in fact I seem to have two, but not the one I was thinking of! I do have a full set in storage ('so we will return . . . ' etc...etc...), but for now here's another two!

I was originally told these (the set, not the two) were prototypes which never went into production, but actually both the figures and the dump truck they are known to have come with (among others) are quite common, I think the speaker was talking of the particular boxing he had, which may have been among the tranche of unique Swansea-factory design/art-shop stuff which came-up at auction about 20 years ago?

While they may be common, the detailing is fine and because they are hard, brittle styrene, they are often damaged, particularly the chap on the left who is usually missing his hammer and a similar pick-axe armed guy.

Speaking of Marx, I've used their Disney dog to scale this addition to the 'probably' Blue Box 50/52mm road workers we also looked at the other day. He looks as if he's been designed to hold something, and may well be a stand-alone figure, possibly a delivery driver for a larger sized Blue Box vehicle? But - he's from the same family as the road workers and in the same pink-plastic, with the same base mark as the ACW and Wild West.

Clifford Fire Engine crew, these are the larger size of HK push-and-go vehicle at around 1:24th scale, with the driver (not a terribly clear shot - sorry) having his arms up at the wheel, the other crewman being a more static pose.

Of a similar size to the firemen is this chap on the left, possibly from a towed boat? There are several towed boats in the HK push-and-go vehicle universe as anyone who followed the links to Planet Die-cast last time, will know. Equally; he could be an ambulance or police vehicle driver?

Next to him is the Blue Box copy of the Dinky farm tractor/combined-harvester driver in hard plastic, while the right-hand shot shows him again with a soft plastic copy of Corgi's similar tractor driver. There are many verstions of the Corgi guy, in hard, soft and vinyl plastic, several from Corgi themselves who were sourcing in Hong Kong, we may have looked at them a while ago, we will return to them one day!