About Me

My photo
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.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A is for Apropos . . .

. . . a couple of 'follow ups' that I flagged I'd post last week - and yesterday!

Apropos the Dulcop 50-mils I got off Andreas at Plastic Warrior two weeks ago; . . .

Here are a few different-sized versions of what are ultimately all Marx piracies, although some sources think Elio Simonetti (not Emlio! Suckers . . . not shadowing me much!) may have sculpted for Marx, so they'd all be his work, as Musgrave, Erikson or Stadden also repeated favourite poses.

There's little between the three ranges - a couple of pose changes or plastic colour variations, the Dulcop set is the more original with new poses, and the lasso pose has a holster on the right hip and a left arm bent the other way.

The Italians on their own.

Apropos yesterday's post on the mini, white-metal, circus stuff I got at Sandown Park this weekend just gone; here's a line-up of the elephants currently known in the same sculpt!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

B is for Bargain!

This little lot cost the grand sum of one pound Stirling and fifty additional pennyworth! The two Black Panther/Jaguar types being the quid, the rest being a meer 50p the lot! With a couple of tails to tell between the lot of them.

All from the same stall-holder and as I never turn-away from black cats, they were an absolute, and then I spotted a Starlux clown in a bag of metal scraps, the seller said 50p which is fair for a single Starlux small scale, so I paid up without worrying about the other bits which turned out to be very interesting.

The fox (probably from a home-casting mould) is a fun thing, the camel is also probably home cast, Britains driver (late version) and two halves of a Corgi kit elephant are present too, although his tail is missing. Also a 15mm war games figure of a Bedouin or Dervish warrior for a later 'what is it?' post and a home-cast cow, probably pirated from a minor maker's railway-scaled cow - not Britains Lilliput and not Crescent, but there is a third maker we looked at years ago here and probably others.

The other large elephant (only about 20mm scale); also with a broken tail (that's both tails told - I'm not terribly sophisticated!) is very weird and if anyone knows anything about him I'd be interested to know more; he's made out of a rubbery yet crumbly material like some heavy-duty builders filler, or double-glazing sealant or something, not silicon, more like composition, or old 1950/60's ink-pen/typewriter erasers? And he's in two halves; the head - complete - on one half.

There was another, but more damaged in the tray with the big cats, so I left it. The other was in a conventional walking pose, while this one seems to be performing, so from a  circus set, or home made to a high standard . . . could they be 3D printings, coming on to the second-hand market already?

Then there were all the small scale circus bits, which may or may not be home made and may or may not be from one of several sets/sources, maybe someone will recognise them? The lion jumping through a flaming ring is lovely, but small (for a lion) if it's from the same set as everything else?

Among the other painted bits is a pair of trapeze acrobats, a guy in a singlet who should be holding something (lion trainer's whip?) and a clown sitting on a case/box. To which I have added the unpainted bits left from the whole lot, which may or may not go together and include two home-cast (?) copies of Airfix bears and a copy of the small-scale rack-toy copy of the Maysun (and other HK maker's) copy of the Crescent for Kellogg's elephant standing on a tub.

Now; both Germany and the US have traditions of small scale circuses which grew out of the HO model railway world and the sets of both circus and fairground rides in that scale, so maybe they are from one of those countries markets? However circus in general is always popular so they could be from anywhere, or home made (they are quite crude, especially the non-pirated figures), any one seen them before?

The two Airfix piracies, because they were originally from different sets I have posted separate comparisons on those pages of the Airfix Blog, but here they are together.

Monday, May 29, 2017

R is for Racing, to Sandown Park!

So, another weekend, another show, I was very reserved and managed to spend only £11.50p the whole day, but people's generosity contributed to the small but useful haul of plunder I carried away in two little paper, 5"x5", sweet bags!

The queue at twenty-past ten; the rain had been and gone a couple of hours earlier, the sun was shining and British Airways had used their extensive, state of the art computer systems to clear London's skies for to create a quite Saturday morning for the dweller's of the Home Counties - which was nice of them!

I'm not 'suggesting' the rest of the world is laughing at us, but we've lost two wars in the Middle East, fucked-up Libya, left the Egyptians to their own miseries, turned Syria and Iraq into charnel houses, sent the people of Greece to the food banks, watched 10,000 humans drown in the Mediterranean, voted Brexit and now can't get the national flag-carrier into the air, yet in two weeks time dumb-people are going to elect the Tories again, after 40 years of Tory and Tory-lite, 'New' Labour policies, we're so myopic we are incapable of reading the writing on the wall - No, I'm not suggesting the rest of the world is laughing at us - I'm telling you they are!

You don't want more pictures of greying, balding, pot-bellied, middle-aged, white men, most of them in too-casual wear (hey, I'm describing myself, it's no great criticism!), bending over tables of old toys so soon after the last lot, so straight into the plunder I think . . .

. . . with a fiver's worth from Abid's rummage trays; Blue Box knights, one with an original weapon, all with better paint than some of my existing samples, two Marty toys including a painted one, four Spot-On ethylene's, a copy of the Timpo foal, probably by one of the early Brits in that question-mark group of Kentoy-Speedwell-Trojan-Una or VP, a Festival carol-singer and Toyway Indian (sans base!).

An early hard plastic railway figure, possibly Hong Kong, or a margarine premium type thing (?) is the only HO-gauge piece. Kinder (?) Snoopy, 3 Deluxe/Topper ground-crew in the rarer - but more recent - orange, a Blue Box tiger moulding (but probably Red Box issued; as it's airbrushed), a bunch more Bravestarr Galaxy Rangers (I'm trying to build a set of one each of every pose in each colour, and one spare of each pose to paint-up!) and a plug-in/swivel-waist sumo wrestler. Lastly (top right) is a Takara for Hasbro figure which I suspect is a Halo video-game, tie-in figure?

Adrian Little gave me these! The two big Indians are more of the 'maybe Argentinian' ones looked at yesterday which I bought from Adrian at Plastic Warrior two weeks ago, but I left these as they were much larger and had holes in their bases, yet the paint and plastic looked like the others (which I think I posted yesterday - but that was published last week sometime, this is late Monday!), so I thought I'd better get them all together again, and Adrian said "Have them"! The blue remnant of something the green Indian plugged-onto is visible sticking out of in his base!

The barrel; I think it may be a wine barrel from an old tin-plate 'O' gauge wagon (it's wooden under the paint) and that the Castrol ends have been home-added, but as they have been carefully scaled to fit; they could be a more commercial thing? Anyway, now it's posted here it goes-on to my Mother's barrel collection (seen on the Blog passim) so its provenance ceases to worry me! 1:24th racing-car stickers?

Finally these were also a fiver, with several given to me by the seller! I did offer to pay for them but he insisted - I think he likes that I tell him what they all are as he seems to be a Farm Toy specialist? He had a lovely tray of painted Britains animals I had rudely referred to (jokingly) as his 'junk tray' earlier in the day - and he follows the Blog!

I'm never too sure of the athletes, Marx UK also for Kellogg's/Nabisco/Quaker or one of the smaller cereal makers was what I told him, I do sort of know, but you can't remember everything 'on the spot' without all your folders in front of you and some of this stuff was Pepsi or Coke, while the sculpts were common to Marx US I think and in the same cream plastic! It was Kellogg's - I think!

A Gem Indian was a nice find as were the Gemodels Life Guards, while the Gem-looking ice-skater is another Festival-marked piece. We had a chat about these on Black Dragon ages ago, and I'm only more convinced now sure that Gem (George Musgrave) was behind Festival, it's just the how and why, my own feeling was for/as an own or sub-brand of Culpitt? Specifically - the seasonal stuff (Christmas and Easter) and a range of mini-candle holders, and that seems to be the case.

I also spent £1.50 at another stall, but the results were so interesting I'm posting them separately tomorrow.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

D is for Dancing Loons

You probably spotted these in the plunder posts, more 'believed to be' Argentinian plastic, sort of original sculpts . . . sort of not!

The flappy-arms-man (bet noww, bet noww!) is clearly based on the old Crescent Medicine Man, and the dancing legs owe something to Britains Swoppets, but they are re-sculpts rather than closer copies or pantographs.

Also I can't work out if the guy with the shorter rifle-butt is a miss-mould or a deliberate second cavity with the rifle turned into a club/tomahawk, but it's got factory-paint over the truncated piece - if that's what it is, there are also differences with the scabbard and the feathers, so it may be meant, anyway he's holding a scalp in the other hand! Scalping-hands-man - bet now! No bet - no get!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

P is for Plunder Post - 4. Tail-end Charlie

So to the last of the plunder posts for this year, never mind it's Sandown Park today, something nice may turn-up there!

A bag of Zombies, a bag of Corgi, a bag of farmers and bags more other stuff! I think the ancients are by Applause (or Toyway?) but haven't checked, they were in Plastic Warrior a while back and I think I may already have them and some of the doctors & nurses (or Egyptians?) in storage, but they were cheap and I know I need some bases, so I bought them!

The bag top left may have been from Brian or Trevor, or someone else who should get a name check, but I can't remember who gave it to me or whether I bought it! I do remember a discussion with someone over its contents which are rack-toy mainly, Marty and Marty-clones, a few Airfix-clones, some Bravestarr Galaxy Rangers (Hing Fat?) and a smattering of DFC fantasy, a diver and some ninjas!

Apologies for the question marks but I've been busy in the garden all week and am now writing this at 5am Friday as I have to go to Basingrad tomorrow-today and then it's Sandown the next day!

A bit blurry but it's too late to re-take it - half the stuff was put away a week ago! Mostly from Adrian Little's Mercator Trading stall and it's 'spot the highlight' really! A bit of Polish, a bit of Premium, Lone Star sailor in good paint with both flags, a really nice Tudor Rose Walker of a bear, the Airfix has already gone on that blog and it's not just the Airfix flat trees I've got 'a thing' about -  flat scenery just goes so well behind the figures on shelves!

We've seen most of this now, I'm not sure what's in the bag bottom left, some Marx 'HO' bits maybe and an Aberdeen Angus from China? Dunno what the two silver bits are! A couple of nice Merten's and a camp-fire; well - if you haven't got a camp-fire you won't stay warm huh?!

Fontanini PVC cow from the Middle East via Italy! The Kellogg's/Peek Frean's/Tatra chap was only got for the MIP element! The 'Japan' made bear looks to be a plaster-filled celluloid model, but is in-fact a very solid, heavy, styrene one.

I think I've got a better Monaco guard (?) somewhere with his trouser still painted (from the 2009 PW show?), but at a show everything's a bit hurried and the odd thing gets through that afterward you think 'Did I really need to?' and he may be one of them. I love the jeeps, only HK rack-toy tat, but early'ish, in good nick and one's clearly a Rooskie - in red!

Mid sort and something's sticking out like a sore thumb, not the semi-flat sailor-boy charm in orange-red (actually - he is a bit!), not the green rack-toy diver, nor the blue French cheapie combat infantryman, not even the yellow paratrooper, no, what's shining like a diamond in the rough is a rather tatty, damaged key-ring, earworm disguised as. . .

. . . ♫♪ a rinky-dink panther . . . ♪ And it's as plain as your nose . . . that he’s the ooone aand oooown' 'ley ♫ truly-ori'gin'nal; ♫ panth'erpink from head tooo-toewwww! ♪♫ . . .


Friday, May 26, 2017

P is for Plunder Post - 3. Friends Reunited

One of the best things about a show like Plastic Warrior is you get to catch-up with people you may not have seen for a year, or since the last major show elsewhere, and when they bring you stuff 'into-the-bargain' as it were; it only helps make the day.

I think I've told the tale of how Trevor Rudkin came to be saving odds and sods for me, but he still does, and has for the longest time and this year he turned-up with several bags I hadn't managed to sort when I did the plunder-post photo-shoot, but I have now and there was all sorts of goodness in there!
He also had a whole bag of FG Taylor farm accessories, two 25mm chariots, one (a two horsed articulated) complete, one (four horse, rigid) a bit knackered, but it may be savable if I ever get back to a bit of modelling. In addition there was a bag of post-Giant medievals including a bunch of very useful crossbowmen and a bag of slightly damaged R&L aircraft.
Barney Brown of Herald Toys and Models gave me the four Marx 'HO' Vikings, two damaged and two whole (including the all important archer!), I never say no to these - even if damaged - as being hard plastic; they are easily convertible, Barney also gave me the cake-decoration hunter. While a nice chap (Eric Critchley?) was sent to ask me about the other 3 items by Paul Morehead, and after I'd told him what I know; which wasn't much, he gave them to me!
The two types of Cracker Indian we have looked at on the blog (here and here - which is all I know - crackers!), while I've never seen the Marx'esque Indian before. It's hard 'kit' plastic or a very brittle polymer of some kind, has an HK-mark in a release-pin type circular depression which is very 'Marx' Hong Kong, is missing an arm and is about 15mm?
I wondered if it had come with one of the prehistoric kits but the Aurora ones had much larger figures, with sort of 30mm cave people (I have somewhere) in the big 'scene' kit, so if anyone knows who made this chap, how many there were in a set/kit, what poses etc . . . I'd be interested and a chap in the Midlands will be more so! Were they 'enemy' in one of the troll sets? Is he a mantelpiece statue from a larger figure kit? Land of the Giants? A Swansea attempt to go up against Airfix? Or just a HK knock-off from gum-balls?
This was all from one table, I don't know the chaps name but he was very reasonable, with these being variously from different bags and rummage trays, some duplication with existing items in the collection but all useful stuff, with another Gygax/D&D chinosaur 'chinamonster', some funnimals, 2nd type Lego trees, two soft polyethylene flat Indians, another Betterware national-costume girl and best of all two more of those gum-ball aliens we looked at - last year some time? And a pink rabbit - everyone should have a pink rabbit, he says; not for the first time!
I have a serious problem with the Lego trees (1st and 2nd type); I can't not buy them, whenever I see them, and have a whole forest of them split between here and the storage unit!
As well as the new Indians we saw in the show report I got a set of the lovely smugglers from Peter at Replicants, having missed them first time round, with the aim of showing them fully on TLAPD. It's incredible to think Peter does all these from a couple of sketches and a block of wax, in his back garden shed and produces them one at a time on a virtual antique - one shot, one cavity, hand operated injection-press.
I had the usual sweep of the floor at the end of the show and this year got a Sikh's head in white-metal (I know! At Plastic Warrior - what were they thinking of; the floor's the best place for it!, a Timpo set of medieval reins and what I suspect is a pole from a Britains Tee-pee? Rare like rocking-horse shit, they are! If it is; I'll lay it down like fine wine in the retirement fund!!! I Know - but it's a nice thought . . . it might buy me a burger in 2030-something and keep me Blogging for another day!

PS - Don't forget it's Sandown Park toy fair tomorrow - gonna'be a lovely day!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

P is for Plunder Post - 2. Plastic Warriors

The PW guys brought stuff to the show for me and we're looking at some of that today along with a 50p tray-load!

Peter Evans dumped this huge sack next to me and told me I'd like it (he took so little for it I think we'd both be embarrassed if I mentioned the amount) and . . . I liked it!

The blue bag is full of Hestair Kiddybricks-call-me-Betta Builder from Airfix, which I don't know what to do with, but there is a load more in storage, so (as it's a styrene polymer) I may make-up a few of the 'official' pamphlet models and glue them solid one day, as permanent examples? The trouble with Betta Builder is it stuck with the donor's design (as per early Lego), which makes it looser than the 'exploited design' Lego then ran with.

The big bag was full of rack-toy stuff, mostly loose figures and AFV's which again makes them mostly spares (out of context), so the bulk will help to benefit Dr. Banardo after I've sorted them, but I will keep one or two of each figure pose or mould variant and have already had a photo-session of the AFV's - we will return to them in Rack Toy Month!

Other stuff in the bag included two of those little celluloid carts from Japan you see occasionally on evilBay or in those multi-stand indoor flea-markets, I have another one here so we will look at them in close-up soon, and I have a bunch in storage, including some with a draft cow instead of these donkeys, so we will look at them again in the further future.

The Solpa rack-toy will been shown on the HK Blog soon and raised a couple of interesting points, the fish we looked at the other day (I've only found two at the time this shot was taken, there were five more in the big sack!), while I think the Daleks may be the new Warlord Games ones? Similar to the old Games Workshop ones but NSD's and with the front section as a separate piece - to help keep all the bobbles even-domed - like the magazine freebies we've been looking at here.

Some of the animal flats we've looked at here before are very useful as there are a lot of poses and a lot of colours, while the two solid siege-engines are from Safari, and like the wagon and Tee-pee from the Wild West sets; make better HO-OO accessories.

The 'pre-sort' sort, excluding the stuff in the other two bags, most of this will be sorted into other bags when they join the ones upstairs, of interest is the bag of 50mm firemen; they are the same as the ones I showed about four years ago here and can't remember the name of (for the second time I think!) Halsall . . . Grossman/HGI? It doesn't matter, the point is, this lot were half duplicates and half new poses, now as the carded set we looked at that time had pose specific blisters, it would seem that larger/other sets had a higher pose count.

To the little bag of guards . . . these are basically 30mm copies of Britains Eyes Right figures, and one of the more exquisite things to come out of the pirating-dens of our former colony! I think there should be eight or ten in a full set, and they usually come with food-picks or icing-spikes as they were sold as Cake Decorations, these have had the rods cut short to fit HK swoppet piracy bases - clever idea.

There's a bass drum missing, trumpeter, maybe a couple of others (flute?), but as memory serves (I have some in storage*) this is how they came, originally; moving arms - separate on the drummer - even paint wise; really nice little things. Note how someone's put the cymbalist's arms on a side-drummer torso.

*I was working for a dealer about ten years ago, and saw a set on eBay, there was no clue as to the size, and I didn't even think about it, just mentioned them to him as I knew he liked that sort of thing, and they were obviously HK copies of Britains, he did like them and duly bought a set - you can imagine his disappointment when they turned-up in a jiffy-bag barely big enough for the address label! As I was then still a small-scale only collector, he gave them to me and I've always felt a bit guilty for having suggested them in the first place.

Brian Carrick also brought a small bag of freebies to the show which included some Bonux bits, some more of those Galoob mini action figures (with three of the really useful, always missing, bases) and a few bits of rack-toy stuff, along with a mini-take on Playmobile which I guess must be an early'ish Kinder toy?

We were discussing the probability of the white lumps being teeth at the show, and why you'd give plastic teeth away as a washing-powder toy-premium, only for some Hong Kong-copied ones to turn-up on feebleBay a week ago! They are for a game of knucklebones or something; like Jacks, I think; the seller said they were ex-Gum Ball prizes.

These were from a 50p tray and I can only count 18 pairs, as I must have been rounding-up to a twenty note, there are four items missing which must be mixed in with everything in the next post! I know I was rounding-up as the Maysun ringmaster Crescent-copy is clearly not as good as the one I already have! But otherwise an interesting lot, with four Dimetrodons!

There are also four of the Gygax/D&D 'chinamonsters' which are quite sought-after these days. For those Toy Soldier purists who don't know the story - the original handbooks for Dungeons & Dragons included a guide to the denizens of the 'fantasy universe' with a few pen-&-ink sketches illustrating some of the more esoteric (made-up by Garry Gygax and his co-conspirators rather than found in Tolkien or a medieval bestiary) entries. Those sketches were based on some of the weirder models in rack-toy bags of chinosaurs! Of which 'Lobster-tail', 'Gator-man', 'Aadvarky' and 'Beaky-head' (my names) were among the stars so rendered!

The airfix alligator copy is useful and the lot also had a few premiums and Kinder bits . . .

. . . including a nice group of astronauts and their vehicles.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

P is for Plunder Post - 1. Deutschland Über Alles

So, as I said the other day, re. PW's show, the Germans mostly turned-up, and despite rumours of his trading demise Peter Bergner was there with his usual island of goodness in the middle of the room, and was one of the first to set-up, so I was straight in there for 30-quids worth of 50p stuff before the tubs got a crowd! And I went back and had another fiver's worth later and then four more items for two quid before packing up time!

The figures

The first three (top left - two policemen and skeleton) turned out to be duplicates, but at 50p will move on for the same one day, while synergy being what it is; I picked up another of the yellow/white swivel-waist figures at the same show but with the colours reversed! The rest of it was really just make-weight stuff, it's very hard to exercise self-control with Peter's tubs, you just grab things which look useful, unusual or new.

We'll look at the pirates again on TLAPD, I suspect the 'Princess' grinning like a loon is a recent Kinder or similar, there were 4 Saban in the lot - yellow winged Egyptian god thing, Soma-like knight and the power rangers - they are from a rival chocolate gift-egg brand. The painted Indian is a vinyl copy of a US figure, here marked Hong Kong.

But the best thing here is the running tooth! Marked 'medentex recycling service' in English, he/she/it looked Heimo or Bully-like to me (heavy, dense, PVC) and a quick Google the other day confirmed that that's likely to be the case; a German firm founded in 1984 and centred in Bielefeld, now owned by the UK's Rentokil. There must be thousands of these corporate salesman's-gift / trade-conference mementos / advertising-giveaways out there, I wonder if anyone specialises in collecting them?


The Animals

We've already seen the fish, the unmarked but probably Heimo version of the Disney Bambi is a nice find as I now have that sculpt in about five versions? The wild pig (Hong Kong) is really quite good, but must be a copy of something from Europe? The big vinyl tiger/lion with the collar is I think a He-Man MotU item, but from which toy line?

The rather indecent blue horse was unusual, I think he is meant to be attached to something else with that prong and while he looks like a cheap French or German rack-toy figure from the wrong-end of the 1970's, he could be HK. The hen too is 'different', with the legs bent in the middle and stuffed into a slot under the bird.

A ZIP turkey to join a growing sample of those otherwise anonymous Hong Kong copies, and an elephant because I like elephants, a prehistoric something'o'therium (anyone know who by?) and a Topps hippo are other highlights.

Transport, scenics & other items

Nothing to write home (or a Blog post!) about here really except the little house, it's made by Hoffmann of Austria, who were err... in homàgé to Wiking (shall we say!) and it's from their Der Kleine Städtbauer play-set, among other things.

A few trees and a native hut converted from the straw-roof of a larger structure I suspect, but at 50p you can't complain! The two racing cars are clip-together (Manurba?), while the 'planes are catapult types.

Andreas Dittmann had taken a table to shift a few spares (I took a few bags along the other year - or else you'll be found drowned in the stuff one day!) and I had some of his 50p bits, which he kindly added-to gratis! Motorbike, because . . . like elephants! And an elephant!

The Two smaller cowboys are Dulcop (about 45/50mm), which is interesting as I think Dario sent a 25/30mm one to the Blog, with a 54/60mm to compare, if I can find them, I'll do a comparison of all three (?) sizes.

Wilma Flintstone (or Betty Rubble?) on the shell-phone - geddit! And some nicely painted Russian/Polish flats, which may be home painted, or may be commercial; it's hard to tell, they have a commercial feel to them with air-brushed highlights, but the cross has been carefully painted-in by hand? An Indian and a couple of Kinder finished the purchase.

A close-up of the 'flat' musketeer from Kinder, There were two ranges of these, the one's with card over-lays and fully-formed headdress and the all-flat ones with coloured-plastic plug-ins and it's nice to find these card ones complete now, although his ostrich-feather's a bit bent!

It's funny, when I was eating Kinder like a daemon to find the astronauts with satellites and other small scale figures (late 1980's-early 1990's), I used to give these away to other people's kids, now I'm buying them back - without the chocolate . . .Doh!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

T is for Two - Taffy Toy and Twin

When I said on Thursday (Friday's post) that I'd post the gun I thought I'd posted, I wasn't considering there might be a reason for my having not posted it in the first place! Anyway, we'll look at them as I said I'd post them and it adds to the on-blog Taffy archive!

Taken on the 24th February 2007 (just over a decade ago!) in poor light with my nearly-new, first-ever, digital camera (the first shot is DSFC0220), I still hadn't worked out how to set Macro, didn't remember the flash and seem to have lost any pictures I took of the whole of the other gun!

This is cropped out of the original on the old Taffy post and turned to give a vague idea of what the Taffy 5.5 Inch Howitzer looks like, a staple of the late war and used through to the 1970's by the British Army before being replaced by the 105 of Falkland's fame.

But there is another one out there and I can't call it a copy or clone, pirate or usurper; as it may have come first, indeed the fact that the Taffy one is non-firing would suggest it's the interloper? The 'twin' is the field-grey'ish one in each shot.

The muzzle is obviously different, the wheels are a little smaller (only a mm or so, all-round) with a deeper tread pattern, there are changes to the breech between them and the loading-tray. Otherwise there is little to tell the two apart. Given the similarities between the two AFV's - Taffy's Patton/Pershing and Kleeware's M55 SPG - which I mentioned the other day (and which ended-up with Tudor Rose in primary colours), one wonders if there is a connection between the two manufacturers and whether the firing-gun is a Kleeware piece?

To be honest, the wheels (of both) bear more relationship to Poplar's oeuvre, but while that makes sense - location/name wise - it takes u away from the similar firing mechanisms the other day! There was a lot of cross-pollination back then, and some interbreeding?

Monday, May 22, 2017

T is for Two Oddities

The last 'T is for Two' post of things I shot at Twickenham a week ago, with a couple of oddments to close . . .

These are just sublime in their madness! Argentine (or 'believed to be Argentinian') copies in polyethylene of Elastolin/Lineol type composition World War One, 70mm, German Infantry! Factory painted, the printed-fabric wallpaper only adds to the madness - enjoy!

This was unmarked and while the driver seems to be home-painted to confuse slightly, the dabs of silver seem original and point to Hong Kong rather than 'Western' origins, however I'm sure it's a copy of a Tudor Rose, Rafael Lipkin or similar toy, maybe even a scale-up of an early Matchbox or Corgi model? I liked it. About 1:40th and soft polyethylene plastic.

Thanks to Adrian at Mercator Trading for letting me photograph these.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

T is for Two Large Mounted Figures

Continuing to look at the stuff I photographed at Plastic Warrior a week ago, and like yesterday - bigger stuff; as we had Hong Kong second yesterday, they can go first today!

How lovely is this? Possibly (probably) a copy of an American or Canadian touristy thing he's only about five inches, so he'd be a bit small next to Reliable or Marx 6" Indians, but still a fine figure, he has a separate plug-in tomahawk and is probably missing reins as well as his left hand!

Years ago when I worked for a dealer we had a whole boxful of these - foot and mounted - and they looked pretty bad in my memory; seeing one in the flesh did nothing to lessen the shock of the things!

Landi-Xiloplasto-Nardi late-type mounted Roman, seems to have been sculpted by the same person who did Atlantic's Romans and painted by a Philistine on his day-off! What? What else do you want me to say? Expressive sculpting? . . . It's been modelled in pre-chewed bubble-gum with the blunt-end of a tooth-brush! Expressionist painting? . . . It's painted like the furniture in a bordello, fer-f's-sake! Still - If I'd had the budget I would have bought it!

And yes - the carpet at the Winning Post is a tad 1970's leery; almost as leery as the Nardi figure!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

T is for Two Coaches

A couple more bits photographed at the recent PW show, both wheeled, both on the large size for what they are, one a British rendition of an American vehicle, the other, hummmm.....

As far as I know this is the largest size of Stagecoach Tudor Rose made, like yesterday's SPG, it's 'beach-toy' scale and exactly the sort of thing you'd find in the seaside kiosks when I was a kid; in a poly-bag or net, with a cardboard header and a couple of the larger mounted figures from the same maker.

It is marked Tudor Rose but it doesn't show in the photograph and I assume the bar has been taped-in to strengthen the draw-bar/centre-pole manufactured in TR's usual soft ethylene polymer.

This is from Wilton in the 'States, clearly a cake decoration (as that's what Wilton does do in'nit!), it was lacking a team, but I suspect it never had one (there's no obvious way of attaching one anyway), or if it did they were probably unicorns or something daft like that; Pegasus's (Pegasii?)!

I guess (that's like an assumption but less firm!) it's aimed at wedding cakes, but 'trailer-park' rather than 'society'! Anyway it's about the largest thing I've seen in the cake decoration stakes at around 1:30th. You might be able to read the marks - Wilton - Chicago - Made in Hong Kong - on the hard styrene body.

Friday, May 19, 2017

A is for Another Update!

Renovated in the last few days
I've pretty-much doubled the size of the Airfix 'Bergan-Beton' horse/figure page, and added another dog! Also there's a useful horse comparison on the Toy Animal Wiki.

H is for 'Howitzer Tank'

Yeah! Kids just don't feel the same about 'self-propelled' artillery; might as well just call it artillery and watch sales tank . . . heh-heh-heh! "Better add 'Tank' to the box Dave"

I shot this at the PW show on Adrian's stall, what a peach; and an interesting choice for a model as this M55 was part of a relatively short-lived family of post-WWII SPG's with common parts, quite quickly replaced by the M108/9 family.

The model's big too, around 1:24th, maybe 1:18th? - It's about a foot-long anyway, and all in a dense silver polyethylene, what I call beach-toy scale!

The more interesting aspect than it's age (as a toy) or good condition is the shell-rack over the engine compartment, just like the Taffy Toys 'Pershing/Patton' tank we looked at back at the beginnings of the blog which was of a similar size. There are differences, the Taffy has no moulded track-link detail on the inward-facing 'walls' of the moulding and its shells are blunter-ended, but the firing mechanism is near identical, even to the flat blade trigger.

It raises the question as to whether Taffy were part of the Thomas group (as previously suggested - by me, on advise) or part of the Tudor Rose group of equally interconnected companies/entities as evidenced by the similarities with this SPG?

We looked at the two very similar yet different 5.5-inch guns last time too [Just checked, looking for the above link - no we didn't but I have the photographs, so I'll do a follow-up in a day or two! Tuesday!], it's as if there were two parallel lines, possibly designed to be sold side-by-side or at least - to complement each other?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

U is for Updates

Having  a lazy day today! I've added one picture each and a bit of blurb to two of the Airfix posts with stuff I picked-up at the weekend;

Animal Flats
50mm Figures

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

T is for Trends

I'm showing these before the 'Plunder Posts' as if I did them afterwards, you would have seen them all once, but if I do them first they will be somewhat hidden in the plunder shots next time and it won't be so repetitive!

As I wander round the show grabbing stuff and 'making-up' round numbers from rummage bins, I'm not always paying that much attention to everything that's ending up in the plunder bags, also with people bringing me mixed bags of all-sorts, it's only when I sort it all over the Sunday after the show that a few trends or verisimilitudes show themselves as things 'go together'. These are a few of this years -

Pencil Tops; who'dve thunked I'd end up with six pencil tops! The Rabbit was a make-weight from someone's 50p tray, the Andy Pandy and Luby Lou were from a small tub of mostly circus stuff Adrian Little brought for me while I think the two 50p tray Biro's (you have to put your thumb in her crotch to click the Biro!) are a current or recent kids TV nature show and Peter Bergner's rummage-bins gave-up the purple Gnome (back in fashion - see 'News, Views . . . ' passim) who has a tight-fit PVC tube or cup, with an eyelet for a chain or string to hang the writing utensil or your choice, round your neck.

He then stars again in another small grouping along with a very small Gnome, probably removed from a snow-globe or similar 'Touristica', while the large one may be bisque, may be terracotta, may be composition, but his paint is so thick and all-covering I'd have to damage him to satisfy my curiosity - so I'll just stay curious! He's quite heavy, but not metal, and he's not too cold to the touch, so I suspect composition.

I also ended-up with a lot of early Airfix, most or all of it from Adrian (Mercator Trading) but at different times during the show as I spotted them. They will all be filtered onto the relevant posts on the Airfix blog at some point.

The real surprise was the amount of fish I ended-up with - at a 'Toy Soldier' show! I'd bought 4 different ones from Peter B's 50p bins (the Japanese blow-moulded goldfish, the modern eraser-type purple-rubber, blow-fish, the unpainted ethylene pipe-fish and the painted ethylene Hong Kong dolphin) when I started finding the painted ones in a huge bag of rack-toy tat Peter Evan's sold me (for next to nothing), the more I dug, the more turned-up until I had another six fish, and a giant crab!

I think they are mostly copies of old US mould-sculpts from the 1960/70's but will have to check with Kent Sprecher's Toy Soldier HQ website (where you find all this stuff), in the meantime I had bought a set of day-glow fish, and have a few un-blogged ones kicking around somewhere, so we may have a more in-depth post on these at some point in the not too distant future - if we do - I'll try to remember to shoot these from the other side!

I also ended up with the little tub of Circus mentioned above courtesy of Adrian, to which I managed to add the Crescent seal from somewhere, along with a couple of extra Crescent horses from Trevor Rudkin's bags and another Maysun ringmaster, he has very poor paint and I already have a better one, but again I was making-up a round-number from a 50p tray and marked HK from that era is uncommon.

The blue lion-tamer is a mystery, he's a dense PVC plastic of the type early Heimo or Corgi used from time to time, has probably been cut out of a bigger base and then super-glued to another diorama or vignette so a bit mucked-about with, but - the first example so he stays for now, also he's obviously expecting trouble from one of his cats as he's carrying a gun!

The yellow chap is unmarked but I suspect Gem or Festival from the George Musgrave styling, I have a tatty one (also yellow) juggling balls? The rest are HK copies of Crescent with the exception of the tall girl who is from another HK set - I already had a similar male.

In the same tub came these, I have a few more in storage, and there is a similar set of carol singers, and while Gem/Festival is the favoured option again, they too are unmarked and someone, somewhere (in the hobby) has linked them to Spain but I can't remember who, where or when - One Inch Warrior magazine? They are about 28mm and I think the green clowns are missing something; a barrel or hoop to roll-in; ball to balance-on maybe, or something for or joining their hands together?

Thanks to Adrian, Peter E and Trevor for the bits they saved for me.