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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

B is for Bendy Frankie

Yesterday's Flexi Freight bendy skeleton (16 posts below!) came with two mates who will close today's mammoth session, as we will continue with more bendy toys tomorrow. Now, I kept going back to see if there were other poses/sculpts or colourways, but this is it, and when I went to Hawkin's Bazaar in Basingrad they had the counter pack (these are all from a local independent store) with the two versions of Frankie and the skeleton on the artwork.

Branded with a sticky-tag to Tobar, (who are to Hawkin's as Accoutrements are to Archie McFee) they bear more than a passing resemblance to Dr. Frankenstein's monster who was never given a moniker, but usually ends-up being titled 'Frankie' for convenience sake. I just wish you could get the apple-green one with the pink/purple clothing!

♪♫ ♪♪ ♫ All the mon-sters were Kung-fu Fightin'
Dada-dada da-da..Da-da Darh!
Those zom-bies were aaasss fah'hast as li'hight-nin'
Doodoo-doodoo doo-doo..Doo-doo Doooh ♫♫♪ ♪♪♫

So we leave Halloween with an ear-worm . . if you're of a certain age! Back to normal tomorrow . . . well . . . more bendies!

M is for Monster Women and their Pesky Invasion!

Another quickie, box ticking to add info to the tag list, this one covers Accoutrements and Archie McFee, and concerns their product line 'Invasion of the Monster Women!'. Made in a soft silicon-rubber they tend to deformation which probably won't respond to the hot-water treatment?

Issued in the late 1990's, I'm sure I remember mates having these (or something VERY similar) back in the late 1960's/70's) but I've never seen 'old' ones on evilBay, so it may be a false-memory; cross-pollinating with the many other, similar rubber-jigglers/rubber uglies et al, along with illustrations of similar monsters in books and comics?

From the left we have Spider Lady, Snake Lady, Sphinxy-phoenix Lady and Centiplady (Taratuella, Reptilica, Draconia and Sarapede respectively) and due to their truncated-human-bits and nominally-female nature they can cover a scale-range of 50-70mm.

I'm pretty sure I have Brian Carrick to thank for these, they came-in a couple of years ago and there may be the other two (Bat Lady [Vampira] and Scorpion Lady [The Scorpion Queen]) in storage, but thank you Brian C.

MIMP is for Monster In My Pocket, MEG is for Morrison Entertainment Group

There is one skeleton in this lot, so I've managed to pretty-well alternate skeleton/zombie types through the 15 posts today (still a couple to come!), and don't expect a post-fest like this next year, it's just how the cookie crumbles sometimes; how it crumbled this year!

Wing-ed Daemons!

These also came as part of the mixed lot with the Yolanda's and some other stuff a few weeks ago, I have more in storage and would have Blogged them as a box-ticker at some point; being as this sample is a reasonably sized one it might as well be now!

These are all - I think - common line/series/version/wave 1 and 2 (I'll post a link to somewhere that explains it all better at the end!) with no rarities or unusual colours. My favourite colour of these is the apple-green of the right-hand winged panther; which is also one of my favorite sculpts from the various sets, along with Tony the [Trainer] Tiger from the Wrestlers line.

The most Halloween-specific of the sculpts with two colourways of a hunchback on the ends, an evil dwarven type, a yeti, skeleton and Death himself, come to the party to deal with the salmon-moose eaters!

Katzenberg:       I don’t see it that way, Geoff. Let me tell you what I think
  we’re dealing with here, a potentially positive learning
Grim Reaper:    Shut up! Shut up you American. You always talk, you
  Americans, you talk and you talk and say ‘Let me tell
  you something’ and ‘I just wanna say this’, Well you’re
  dead now, so shut up.
Katzenberg:       Dead?
Grim Reaper:    Dead.
Angela:              All of us??
Grim Reaper:    All of you.
Geoffrey:            Now look here. You barge in here, quite uninvited, break glasses
  and then announce quite casually that we’re all dead.
  Well I would remind you that you are a guest in this house and…
[The Grim Reaper pokes him in the eye.]
Grim Reaper:    Be quiet! You Englishmen… You’re all so fucking pompous
  and none of you have got any balls.

Number two (from the left) is ork'ish and number 6 is ogre'ish, the rest will have to be looked-up, I haven't had time with preparing these posts to go into the minutiae!

An Ent-like tree-monster, storm wraith and sea-monster/serpent king, all three among my favourites and a couple of oddities!

I didn't follow these at the time, except the wrestlers who came in my cereal! Matchbox reboxed some; others were in Panini blind-bags and I think there are specials, well I know there are they are on Soupies Blog somewhere (link earlier today . . . previous post?), issued with a board-game.

Actually the werewolf (2nd from the left) should have been in the Pic-2 line-up, he's very Halloween! He's in my other preferred colour of these figures

The Elephantine Ganesha is another 'like' along with the other serpent-god, but the last two don't hit my mark at all!

T is for Top-up

Another of today's quicker posts, a top-up for-/addition to- the Yolanda tag!

These two came in with a mixed lot a few weeks ago and with one appearing to be Dracula; into the Halloween folder they went! The other seems to be some sort of club-footed Mr. Toad . . . "Poop-poop" . . . with a bionic/android arm - he's from the Toxic Crusader line, covered by Soupie (over on his MXD Blog back in 2012!) and is called Psycho

An equally brief comparison shot with their close relatives, a Monster Wrestler In My Pocket (MWIMP) on the left and one of many Millions of Uscles on the right, also showing that they are smaller than the Super Monsters from Yolanda we've looked at previously.

L is for Looking Spooky, but not in Boots!

More Spooky Spectres' of Undead Ancients, these coming from a Chinese outfit called Ningbo, via Walgreen's in the 'States and to us here at Small Scale World via New York and Brian Berke.

He only sent them the other day and the first thing I did was troll-off to Boots (a subsidiary of Walgreen) to see it they had them this side of the pond, they didn't, I asked the girl of they might have a Halloween section in the bigger stores and she ummed-and-erred, so I tried the website and for the 'Skeleton' search-term found a stick of nail polish, and a Minecraft horse in the Christmas gifts department . . .i.e.; no dice, no banana, no skeleton army!

Walgreen's promise 100% satisfaction; well - I'm 100% satisfied by what I can see (4x4 poses for a total of 16 figures), but I'm 0% satisfied by their subsidiary's stocking-of-skeleton-army's policy! I'll try the bigger stores next year, sometimes these things seem to be tested on the US market and then come over here a season later!

Close-ups of the figures; Shaun covered these about a week ago and everything said by him and the commenter's seems to stick, they are definitely derivative of the Amscan figures which we have yet to look at here.

Which reminds me, the PMS ones (earlier today) were issued here at Christmas, not Halloween? I'll have a bit of a shooftie round the discount store in December, they may yet turn-up sooner rather than later!

I love the chap with a meat-cleaver, I'm guessing a French chef who ate the wrong snail, stuck in limbo until he's paid the Ferrymen in souls! Again - as said on Shauns Fantasy Figure Blog - painted-up they'll make excellent additions to the other sets.
Pretty prefect for 54mm gaming or role-play, and with the Crescent 'Khaki Berserker' having Halloween off, we have a painted legionnaire (AIP) as a scaler - looks good with the sand-base as well; you have to get close to kill the undead! Don't worry; I've since taken delivery of more images from Brian and the British Berserker is already back on-station for the winter!

M is for Minus One (Countdown to Halloween)

Found far too late for the countdown, this is Morrison's effort in this year's apparent 'competition' to see who can carry the most of an extended series of bugs and things!

And it's the winner, with 12 items - all the ones we've seen, a frog, a new spider and two snakes! The skeletons looked familiar too, but as the others went straight to recycling, so did these!

Couldn't wait - opened them on the train! But a red background wasn't the best medium for shooting them. Due to the lateness of their being located, I've not done comparisons, but they seem to be the same - or from the same source - as the Sainsbury's ones. I will do a follow-up of all these sets with the Morrison's one's included.

Better picture, but I forgot one of the snakes! The bat is even worse than the first one we saw, being a rigid  polyethylene semi-flat, yellow passes for glow-in the dark, it's another 'colour rule' with this stuff, and we have pumpkin-orange (Halloween) along with black (dark side).

Viper and Cobra types are the obvious additions to the 'oeuvre' and apart for the comedy-tongues, they're not bad.

Z is for Zombie Toy Soldiers!

These came out a couple of years ago; EMCE Toys 'Previews Exclusive, Zombies At War', and come three each of five poses in two colors for a full 30-count, medium hardness PVC and a tad on the small size at around 45/50mm

This was originally going to be it, as far as imagery goes - along with the captioned one at the end - but I was never too happy with it, it enlarges OK but it's a bit grainy and the contrast is all wonky but it shows all the figures, and can stay, as I hate chucking every image from a shoot!

The GI's, placed somewhere between WWII and Vietnam (one's got a M16-alike), they're not heavily equipped and the chap with a pack has one that defies ID'ing as a piece of service kit!

What's more  of a mystery is that two of the figures; 3rd and 5th from the left, appear to have been designed to interact with accessories - which are not present - both having almost 'grippy' hands and poses that need a support of some kind?

The Germans are clearly WWII, with no's 2 and 3 from the left also seeming to need-/be designed for- missing props or scenic items. That second one is also equipped with a similar main pack and utility 'bat-belt' as the GI!

The guy with the Luger/Mauser/Captain Scarlet blaster is doing a good job of balancing on one leg, and while the commander (middle figure) is holding someone else's leg; number five is holding his own arm in a rather macabre fashion!

Kelly's Zero's

As always with this horror/fantasy stuff; Shaun was way ahead of the wave, so there's more here.

D is for Dragon Domain

Just a quick shelfie from TK Maxx for this post, again; not really Halloween'ish per se, but where else do you post dragons this close to Halloween?

'Big Box' set from HGL, very similar to their Megasurs sets (coming soon), and like them I'm guessing there were other sizes of Dragon Domain set, PVC, mixed-to-no-scale, Chinagons!

K is for Killersaurs!

Not really Halloween fodder, but they ARE 'horror' in execution so they've been waiting in the folder for today, and I know absolutely sweet-Fanny-Adams about them!

Dinosaurs with a horror twist, I suspect a larger set, or a blind-bag thing, but they are bigger than most Blind-bag stuff, but no bigger than the Hobbit/LotR's stuff? The red one is missing an arm - probably got in a fight with one of the others down the water-hole!

Close-ups of two of them; 'twistyneck's got a twist in his neck, while the 'tyranoseratops' is the least silly of the bunch, does anyone know what they are or who made them?

Close-ups of the other two; another 'tyranoseratops' and the red one which I like the most as he's the most 'deformed' (not a comment on his missing arm) and it's typical that the damaged one is the nicest! Came in a mixed lot from a charity shop!

Z is for Zombie Figurines

Not often we get a descent zed in the tag-list and this one comes courtesy of Brian Berke, from where it's actually zee-for-zombie, but the effect is the same . . . ZOMBIES! These are the ones Johnny Rockets mentioned in a comment the other day . . .

. . . . and currently for sale in Dollar Tree stores over the pond. The set titled Zombie Figurines and at around 54mm they are ideal for all your Zombie scenarios, planed or future! I particularly like the two zombie-dogs, but you also get a pair of gravestones (which will enhance any Deadstone Valley scenes . . . Ed!) and eight zombies (? I'm working off the photographs!) along with a couple of human 'normals' running away.

The two humans are not the best sculpts, being rather caricaturist in the faces and having cartoony bendy-bodies, but the zombies look fine., except the bloke on the far right who is either coming out of the ground (does that make him technically undead rather that zombie? Risen-dead?!!) or dragging a double-leg amputation torso around? He is also a bit comic in his execution.

Brian has started painting his; with the women felling the brush first and by painting the running 'normal' as a zombie he's cleverly hidden the cartoonishness in a layer of mouldy zombie-flesh . . . all very Halloween - thanks Brian!

Carried-in by Greenbriar/DTSC, Shaun had already found them, more pictures and close-ups here.

F is for Follow-up -Poundworld-Plus Insects

Well . . . I bought them . . . it's funny, a few years ago I never would have bothered with this stuff, and - indeed - have been studiously  not buying the other set since the store opened back in the spring (or was it last year? I can't remember when I first Blogged their stuff?), but after the plethora of insects came together in one day last year (or the year before!) and with the Halloween tat piling-up this year, it's almost like why wouldn't I? And when you follow the traffic-stats per-post; it's funny what people actually want.

Buying the other set the other day obviously triggered a re-stock message back at head office as there were a whole bunch more when I was in the other night, and sure enough the other six of the "12 to collect" are on the other card, so 'two to collect' really!

No spiders in this sample, but we get two longer coffin/ground beetle types, three more hedge/garden beetles (the yellow one is very chafer-like) and a roach-alike.

They still look better dead! Gas! Gas! Gas!

A is for Army; Army of Skeletons!

A Bit of a stop-press post, in that Brian Berke sent me these the other day and they got thrown in the Halloween folder quite late, but I'm publishing them earlier in the day so I can alternate skeletons with other things of a Halloween or horror nature!

I think got them as Funtastic from Poundland or PMS from 99p Stores? A year or two ago now, no matter; in the above guise they are now being peddled in the 'Staes by an outfit called Dolgencorp LLC of Tennessee.

I shot the previous lot again so we'd be reminded of what they look like out of the packaging! Although it could be due to the lighting; the Dolgencorp ones look distinctly greener?

T is for Ticks All the Boxes

I don't know for sure what these are, they may be an earlier run of Zomlings, or Moshlings, or something else entirely, and while I'm not that bothered right now, I will have to find out at some point and if anyone can ID them that'll be appreciated!

The thing about the pair is that they really do tick every box, with their skull removal stitches and bullet-hole Elastoplasts, their metallic finish, bulgy-eyes, giant feet, pipe-work tail et al, they are . . .

  • Space Alien
  • Undead Zombie
  • Super Deform
  • Baby Animal
  • Robot
  • Collectable Minis

. . . and as such are definitely at home on halloween!

S is for Skeleton Sky-divers!

They're skeletons and paratroopers, on Halloween, what's not to love about these, they parachute, and they're skeletons! I thing we had a shelfie of this set last year, courtesy of Brian Berke, he then donated a pack to the Blog, so this year we have them 'in the flesh . . . less'.

One of the reasons we've had so much rack-toy crap in the 'countdown' is because I've been looking out for these; even after receiving this set from Brian in order to confirm the Amscan UK were carrying them here, but no dice. They have a full multi-lingual packaging for the US, Canada and Mexico and I particularly like the French word for Skeleton which is Squelettes!

Parachuting skeletons - brilliant!

Countdown to Halloween - Lift Off! - As Waitrose Glows in the Dark

Well, I got them, the funny thing is my subconscious had convinced me they were two-quid, actually I'd walked-away, last week, at one-fifty, I'm a real tight-arse! But when I took them to the till they were £2 the pair, with no reduced tickets on the rail?

Glow-in-the-dark or fluorescent spiders and cockroaches, apart from the higher advertised price, they are the same as all the others we've looked at in the 'Countdown to Halloween' posts this year, and it's almost as if all the retailers have got together to market a similar range, probably because their buyers got on the blower to their shipping agents, middle-men or manufacturers and said "What's so-and-so [insert name of rival here] carrying next October . . . really? Then we'll have ten-hundred gross of some too!" because that's probably, exactly what happened!

The spiders seem to be the same mouldings as the orange ones from Sainsbury's (who didn't have cockroaches) and Waitrose also seemed to be carrying the same little rings as Tiger, neither of which I've invested in on your behalf, as they are both poorer (in quality) than . . . and copies of - the Poundland one's we looked at on day-one, which were poor enough!

So concludes the 'Countdown to Halloween' [no it doesn't, more came in after I'd finalised the 'spreadsheet!], there's more to come through the day, today, thought and we'll see what turns-up in a year's time; anything small and novelty/figural should appear here at Small Scale World, then?

Monday, October 30, 2017

News, Views etc . . . Stop The Presses!

Confirmed! PW's 2018 Show Date . . .


Countdown to Halloween - 1 - Asda (Walmart); Look Familiar!

Slightly more interesting than they appear at first glance, these two packs from Asda are to the casual observer the same flies and cockroaches we've already seen this week, but as we know from the comparison of the flies, they aren't quite the same, and at a quid-each, were worth a punt!

I saw very similar stuff in Waitrose on Friday (20th), but being Waitrose, they weren't cheap, I may go back for them in the week, in which case they will appear tomorrow (this is all being done ten days or so before you read it) for comparison with the other sets, but they are literally twice as much** as all their competitors - or more.

Waitrose - where wealthy idiots with more money than sense and status-complexes go to shop with logoed bags-for-life that will help identify them as 'for the gallows' come the revolution!

Fly and 'roach bags, quid-each, nice mix of colours, the green isn't fluorescent, but after the orange rule, comes the 'use puke-green if you haven't got glow in the dark' and the 'purple is like a Vampire's cloak-lining' rules of Halloween colouring!

The clear ones aren't so clear - Halloween colouring rule-wise - maybe you hide them in your mate's Guinness and laugh like drains as he chokes on a rubber cockroach! Like the red food-colouring trick but with more immediate and very real medical consequences!

We have already looked at the fly in comparison with the other two similar sculpts, so it's the turn of the cockroach today. The Asda one is clearly better with full definition of the wing-overlap but nothing else notable as to clues to origins, what's amusing is that as the Poundworld/Sainsbury's centipedes mirror errors, so too has the bent antenna been diligently reproduced.

Accepting that the Asda 'roach is the superior and the Sainsbury's centipede is the poorer the order of copying would seem to be Asda Poundworld-Poundworld Plus Sainsbury's, but I still suspect better donors; yet to be turned-up and probably common/available a few years ago?

** They weren't, I did!

B is for Bendy Bones

We have an independent discount store here, not a 'pound' model, but one of these general and home-goods places with carpets and storage bins, giant stuffed tigers and beach toys, gardening, hair-products, wool . . . you know the type of place - a little bit of everything!

About six months ago they expanded their toy section from a few big-box electronic type things from China to a more general any-or-all budgets double aisle, although they seemed to do so through one outlet/supplier, who was obviously a Tobar agent; as all the new cheaper toys are Tobar branded - useful as I can check them a couple of time s a month instead of waiting until I'm passing a Hawkin's Bazaar.

Flexi Frights from the aforementioned Tobar . . . a flexi-skeleton no less, just what you need for Halloween!

"If you get hungry just snack on your own feet" says Skelly the skeleton! Hardly a fright, but definitely flexi!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Countdown to Halloween - 2 - Still with Sainsbury's; Spider

It's a spider, a big PVC-rubber spider, it's quite realistic, apart from the fact that it's had at least six eyes surgically removed, as have most of the spiders we've looked-at recently!

See; told you; PVC-rubber spider; two eyes! Sainsbury's!

News, Views Etc . . . Month's Round-up

Nerve Centre - Stomm und Zajazz!

I thought I'd share this image of Tuttle's (or is it Buttle's?) desk-top in Central Planning here at Small Scale World, you can see how he has used the latest in dynamic-portal, on-line, digital, smart-tech, file-sharing to produce a multi-layered, computer-aided, interactive, predictive/responsive spreadsheet, making is easy for the other staff to place and manage future-posts between the 21st and 31st, he even managed to provide separate data-layers for the three recent comparison shots and a graphical-interface extension, carrying-forward to the 4th of November! I only employ the very best technicians here!


Flat Metal
Nursery Rhyme/Halloween themed modern, commercially-painted, whitemetal flats from Scully & Scully's window display in New York, image courtesy of Brian Berke, and we will return to this company in a while.

Plastic Waste
Already touched on in one of the 'countdown' posts; the environmental charity Hubbub issued a report estimating that last year's Halloween sent 7-million costumes to the rubbish bin. This year it's estimated 150-million people worldwide will spend £510m-quid on these costumes, volumes of which will have been trashed by the 6th November. (Stop Press - the figures given out on R4 last night (25th) were worse)

Now I don't know if you've studied the vast racks of these things (which have mushroomed in the last few years) in supermarkets and discount stores, but they're not a bit shite, they're 100% shit. It has to stop, or we will destroy the planet. If you have to celebrate death, at least re-use costumes, share costumes around a circle of friends each year, or make costumes from recyclable stuff you would otherwise throw-out.

Ask what your grandparents' did, not what a mile-long plastics factory in Guangdong can do for you!


This is the third 'News Views...' in a row with a substantial section on stamps, but they are collectables, have been featuring toys recently and additionally do come within the whole feebleBay/postal aspect of the hobby.

Stanley Gibbons
Losses at Stanley Gibbons have worsened ('widened' in the language of the traders really responsible for most of our problems!) an £8.8m trading-loss being posted, an £18m revenue drop and loan-repayment defaults also being announced.

Harrington & Byrne
However, adverts like this - from a rival I've never heard of - which has been running for several months now, in several papers; may have something to do with SG's problems? Having been a stamp collector in my youth, I remember how surprisingly numerous Victorian stamps actually are (few designs, long period of issue, per stamp), and it seems to me that with three 'penny-reds' and three ha'penny greens in the 14, it's probably not actually worth twenty-nine of your smackeroonies!

Star Wars Stamps
The next set from Royal Fail is a set of Star Wars stamps, given the last few sets, it's clear that the privatised company is not issuing needed stamps, nor even particularly worthy celebrations, but rather stamps which will generate the most revenue and therefore - in the future - be of little value to collectors, a phenomena most 'commemoratives' since the 1980's are guilty of!

Stamp artist
Peter Mason got the i's page-three treatment on the 16th but the piece didn't make clear that he only uses definitives, inflation producing so many postal charge changes since the 3½p (olive?) of my childhood, and each change requiring all new colours, for the postal system to recognise instantly that there are now hundreds of colours in his 'palette'!

Paddington Bear

There's a new movie coming out for Christmas! The last one was brilliant, superb animation and CGI techniques with the humour of the books writ-large and little 'Hollywood'isation'

New York
Apropos a previous mention of Mr. Bear here on the Blog, Brian Berke sent this picture of his wife's original Paddington with all his tags, and a few additional ones - 'cabin baggage' . . . how very dare they!

Duchy of Cambridge
Paddington Bear - approved by royalty . . . apparently - some lush bird from Lunden Taaan wiv 'er bloke and 'is bro dancin' wiv Mistah Bear init!

Hayday Films . . .
. . . are trying to get out of a distributions contract with the Weinstein Company for obvious reasons, I suspect the Weinstein Co. won't be around long enough to defend the action, or even care!

Thomas the Wank Engine

Some pox-jockey of an arsewit called Jia Tolentino (is that her Star Wars name?**) has ripped into our favourite little blue tank-engine Thomas on the New Yorker's website [no; I'm not posting a link - it's clearly the digital equivalent of arsewipe] making out that the stories are some sort of fascist polemic/allegory for Empire Building and slavery! Coming from an American Publication; that's a bit fucking rich! "Authoritarian rule through disinformation" on the Island of Sodor . . . I kid you not; this Kia-ora Tarrentino woman would be better employed investigating her President's philosophies - I humbly suggest!

Off the Rails - Hornby Chug-on

Hornby Hobbies (or are they Hornby Group these days? Notes elsewhere!) have issued another profits warning, lost another - interim - chairman and announced a new plan . . .sorry 'strategy', which will involve '...maximising the value of our brands including Scalextric and Airfix...' (call me a big-head; but that's probably something they ought to have been doing all along?), this will include less discounting of existing stock.

Now, as far as Airfix is concerned; they have already cancelled all the potential WWI money spinners, put several other projects on hold and slowed the release of new stuff, now they seem to be saying the website offers will also go? Doesn't leave much for the fan-base!

I wonder if the new chairman is the chap/shareholder who started the bloodletting back whenever (last year sometime?) and had so far been kept at arm's length, but I've not got the other cuttings in front of me, however there has been such good coverage (with more on the Internet for those who want to follow-up in depth) that I will at some point do a fuller report on all the machinations . . . perhaps when the dust's settled a bit!

Hobby Show

You can only report on hobby shows beforehand if you are told about them beforehand, and sadly a lot of reportage is 'after the event'.

This is a case in point; The Annual Exhibition for Model Railways, Creative Arts and Play (I'm sure it was more catchy in German!), held in Leipzig which ended on 1st October but was only reported on 30th September (i Weekend). Now we used to have the annual Model Engineer Exhibition (MEE) at Earls Court after Christmas, but it's so long since I saw any publicity for it I couldn't tell you if it's still going? I'll check!

Our hobby - in all its branches - is very poor at Internet penetration, except the big retailers with their mountains of polymer shite and their fifteen versions of the same board game, and all their lookie-likey bollocks.

Toys in the Media

Bit of a cheat as toy sale ads are common as muck, and don't really qualify for 'Toys in the Media' but this one is a more 'designer' graphic with a minimalist artiness to it - so I shot it.

This one's not much better, but Scrabble is a board-game, so I thought it qualified for inclusion with its pile of recognisable tiles!

Toys R Us

The Toysaurus here in the UK is now struggling to get stock from some of it's suppliers in time for Christmas, as they have been "spooked" by the news from across the pond. Firms including Worlds Apart (I know) and Tutti Bambini (I've never heard of!) had stopped resup's while they tried to find out what was going to happen to the UK stores, but all parties are hoping to have everything running normally again in the next week or so.

Meanwhile - Character Options (better than Lego figures!) are worried about the longer-term fall-out of the TrU bankruptcy on the whole industry and report that effects are already being felt by them - seriously; now might be the time to open an independent, The Toysaurus is dying, Hornby and Lego are desperate for sales, so must be looking for new outlets, new customer models . . . maybe we will see a rebirth of local hobby or toy shops?

The 'They don't come much bigger than this' Department

This was the scene at the launch of Hamley's Christmas campaign, if Mummy & Daddy are very rich, you too can have a life-size menagerie! Hamley's predict Lego, Hatchimals, Barbie and Nerf Guns as the big sellers . . . does this mean fidget-spinners have already gone the same way as loom-bands? I bloody hope-so!


The parent of Legoland here in the UK (along with Alton Towers, Pepper Pig Parks, Madame Tussauds et al.) posted worse figures than expected in previous 'News, Views...' with the blame being put firmly on terrorism (by both Merlin and the wider media) and somehow managing to ignore a larger number of Theme Park accidents and deaths here and elsewhere in the last 12/18 months! Not necessarily Merlin's I hasten to add, but that won't prevent the general public putting 2 and 2 together and getting five, they're like that; poor, frightened, stupid little sheeple.


The coastguard called out a Lifeboat to rescue Spiderman from the ocean, after a helium balloon was mistaken for a parachutist in difficulties. When superheroes need recuing it's time to get rid of them, surly!

Now I get sick of seeing the remains of helium balloons in the woods, in fields, hung-up on fences . . . and the bloody things must be singlehandedly laying down the anthropocene-layer, worldwide! This shit's got to be banned eventually; the law of unintended consequences dictates that just because we can - doesn't mean we should.


** Mine's Core Novawar - A wanderer from Ampliquen!