About Me

My photo
No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 60-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”. Likewise, 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, December 31, 2017

12 is for Days of Christmas - Day Six

Kinder meets Disney, these are among the easier to locate, but the toys that use the [non-standard] container as a part of the toy are less common.

LP is for Little Plum!

Sometimes a title is so obvious it's like Newton's apple; it just falls into your lap! These two are by Lucky Products and resemble the UK Beano comic cartoon character Little Plum and his err . . . sister . . . girlfriend?

Not a terribly good likeness of Little Plum, but the principles of cartoon-caricature are there with the oversized head, the childlike features, the clowning-around and the succeeding in looking harmless even when waving a war-axe around!

The female is very similar, but dancing off the other foot. Both carry on the tradition of the earlier Jecsan set (which was also copied in Hong Kong I think; as gum-ball prizes?) made in Spain, although the Iberian set had more grotesque features, particularly in the faces (borderline-racist Indians), but also little spindly arms and legs, the horses drawing heavily on the Lucky Luke comic strip. As far as I know LP only did these two poses.

As Pink Floyd nearly put it: "Careful with that tomahawk Eugene"!

And a quick thanks to dadsattictoys on evilBay who got the boy to me in about four days, several of which included a Sunday, Christmas day and Boxing day! Grudging respect to Royal Fail - as well - I suppose!

PS - because I put "I think" in the title, I'd covered my arse - they're not scoring points, they're just being arseholes and for the second Christmas in a row; once an arsehole, always an arsehole. Nice of me to give them something to write about over the holiday season, onanistic tosspots!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

12 is for Days of Christmas - Day Five

More Jeeps! A whole field of four-by-fours, kubels, dune-buggies and utes! You can see the gaps Mr. Ferretti is trying to fill, if you think you can help eMail me and I'll get you both in touch.

F is for Follow-up; Belenes, Nativities, Santons etc...

Along with the angel we saw yesterday came these two as a response to the santon and nativity posts.

I'm on safer ground with the right hand figure; 70mm. 'ivorene' polystyrene nativity figure, probably the Hearald angel or Archangel, although I don't recognise it from a specific figure manufacturer's set, so could be a more generic or unrecorded decoration from a home-wares company or cake decoration supplier somewhere?

Equally though; it could be a tourist piece of Jesus himself, St Paul, or Peter? Also, while the colour of the plastic is more 1970's Hong Kong or US, the styling of the sculpt is quite 1950's French production?

I don't know anything about the John Bull look-alike which seems to be a fired-earth or terracotta, the chipping to the front of the base even suggests a composition, but with that paint definitely a minor-make!

It's clear Crescent's sentry doesn't trust him either "Your papers . . . Now!"

Can you help Brian with indentifying either figure?

Friday, December 29, 2017

12 is for Days of Christmas - Day Four

More steckfiguren, more Indians, more aliens and some monsters, the little cartoony horse-riders, cartoony knights and the best versions of astronauts.

A is for An Angelic Angel

This came in from Brian B the other day, it's sweet, Christmassy and I know nothing about it other than A) it looks like it's from a set of LRG's (Little Rubber Girls - hummmm . . . I think they may have a NSFW website!) or some kind of 'Blind Bag' thing and B) it appears to have been made by an S Sun [& Sons/Bros./Co./Inc./Limited/ Manufactory/Plastics/Products?] of China.

She's made from a lovely rich gold material which looks - from the swirls on the underside - to be PVC or a similar soft rubbery polymer. With her T-shirt and sneakers and recognisably Manga features she's modern, I guess she may be as well known to some, as my little running girl and mushroom community turned-out to be, the other month? She has a halo too, so some religious connection in her history; or from a set with little devils as well?

She has a protector, and while he may be aiming over her head, he is a bit to warlike for the 25th which - along with last week's connectivity issues - kept them off the page then! But still; Angels at Chrimbo - check!

Can anyone add anything for Brian?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

12 is for Days of Christmas - Day Three

Steckfiguren - Cowboys, Indians, Mexicans, backwoodsmen workmen, alien-robots and both sides in the American Civil War, a stunning vista!

A is for Army Force Playset

A very quick one today, I know this has been a bit 'thin gruel' the last few days; but the issues with Internet activity, coming as they did when I had other things to do, have left it all a bit pear-shaped here at Small Scale World Towers, and you gets what you gets what I had to grab!

The latest incarnation of the Pioneer 'Street Machine' sets we've been following, as much as by accident as by design, since Rack Toy Month, this time in Smyths (who had the big set with one row of military among the civil stuff the other month), but imported by them - in time for Christmas - not Kandy, who usually handle them.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

12 is for Days of Christmas - Day Two

More vehicles, I've always liked the grand tourers (front, center-right) as they make useful staff-cars for 1:76th scale figures, but who knew there were so many Jeeps!

N is for Nuts! Nutcrackers - Part Three; They're Everywhere!

I'm sure Brain Berke and I aren't the only ones to have noticed this slow, sentient takeover of global culture by the madly grinning but apparently 'nice' nutcrackers (Martians are nice . . . in the eyes of other Martians; as they render us down to a protein Vimto!), so; in order to protect humanity from further incursion, here's a quick guide to their clever disguises!

Certain tropes are adhered-to which can't be easily hidden, they follow a theme of pseudo-military dress, a pattern of sartorial elegance best described as privately-funded Yeoman Cavalry meet Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band in Biba's pirate-chandlery!

Boots are usually laced, the laces either straight or crossed, but buttons can be found and plain boots are seen. Smock-jackets are laced - again parallel or cross-stitched, while others have button-up dress jackets and either crossed-belts or parallel belts are sometimes seen being sported.

Headwear varies but is commonly military or regal, if regal; usually multi-pointed crowns, if military; busbies, bearskins, shakos and Polish-Lancers caps are all found, with or without peaks.

They hide themselves in numerous ways, Brian shot these in New York, I saw two similar sets in Basingrad (an easy target), but couldn't shelfie them, security was tight. Note however that while they wear different uniforms these evil-beevils are clones - the mustaches fool no-one observant!

Large tin-plate ones (5-foot) have been seen - also in Basingrad - drumming up support (it's an easy target), drums, other instruments, swords, muskets, fancy-staffs and ceremonial maces are favourite props of these invaders.

Larger figures (3/4 feet) have also infiltrated this New Jersey fruit market (have they no humanity), draped in rich, Prussian-blue velvet cloaks, playing with smaller infiltrators on puppet-strings, you see . . . you see how they inveigle their way into our culture with a mixture of charm and pushiness!

Don't mess with Skandi-Santa, he looks like he's about 'had' the human holidays, but you can laugh at his socks when he's not looking . . . but be careful, his eyes will follow you round the market!

I haven't escaped this invasion, forcing 2-quid (Poundworld Plus) from my still warm hands, this one has come home with me and there was nothing I could do to stop him. He has announced himself White Rod; Keeper of the Keys to the Lollipop Cupboard!

His mouth works, but is only big-enough for a pine-nut or sunflower-seed; clearly they have another agenda entirely, which has nothing to do with nuts and everything to do with world domination and the subjugation of the masses.

They've crept on to my wrapping paper! They. Are. Everywhere! Run . . .run for the hills!

These jumped-out of a cubby-hole in Debenhams, Basingrad (the bloody place is infested with them) and nearly got me, but I managed to shoot them and make for the escalator!

If this warning has come too late for you, and you have youngsters around over the holiday, this is an A4 dimensioned picture you can print-off for them to colour-in, it might buy you 20-minutes peace and quiet, but then again . . . it might not!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

12 is for Days of Christmas - Day One

♪♫ Trains . . . and boats and planes ♫♪♪. . . . . . . .aaand...er...diggers! Burt, you forgot the diggers!

Anyone wishing to correspond with Francesco with a view to swapping can get in touch with him through me, just email me for his contact details.

N is for Nuts! Nutcrackers - Part Two; Nutty Kings

The reason Brian B's shelfies were so timely is that earlier that morning I had encountered a huge nutcracker outside the gun shop, and when I say "huge" I mean these guys must be six-foot if they are an inch!

This is he; Brazil Nut! The left hand photo' was taken a few days later after I had worked out what the hell was going on, in the meantime I continued into town and found . . .

. . . another one - Walnut - in the window of the little boutique opposite Boots. Well, the game was afoot Watson! Arriving at my destination to find a bunch of shelfies from Brian was the news that the Gods wanted nutcrackers on the Small Scale World this holiday season.

Now while I may be a dyed-in-the-wool twenty-ninth-day non-evental atheist, with leanings toward the one true lord; The Flying Spaghetti Monster, equally; I'm no fool, and if the Gods want, the Gods get.

By now I was digging a vague memory of a flyer coming through the door a few days earlier, from the depths of my pea-brain, and suspected I would find more, and that one was likely to be found in the main precinct, this one!

Cashew Nut also has all the equipment (to his left) necessary to enable younger nutcracker-hunters to temporarily turn themselves into nutcrackers - bargain! To its right is an identical one (apart from his name; Peanut) which was found in the Public Library the next day!

I then managed to walk past a forth yards from my destination, Macadamia being found at Gina G's ice-cream parlour, in a fetching orange, again second images were taken later. It was a few minutes after this I found the mail from Brian and replied 'Funnily enough I've just....'

I also found that my mate hadn't thrown his flyer in the recycling, so was able to get to the bottom of the whole caboodle, it was a Christmas hunt designed to drive custom into the town, organised by one of the local commercial bodies (Fleet BID), which sadly hasn't saved the sweet shop which will close this weekend I think.

It was also at this point I realised they had different names, and nuts at that, hence going back to some I'd already shot to make sure I had all the names.

I spent the next few days looking fruitlessly for the other five with no luck, but after a new flyer had been acquired (all previous flyers having mysteriously disappeared from both houses (the Gods may want this shit to happen but they don't make it easy for the acolyte!) and partially memorised, I found these two (Chestnut and Pecan) in the dark walking home at the end of last week (15th).

Chestnut and the earlier found Walnut have the joint distinctions of A) being reverse colour-ways of each other and B) not having a same colour twin, the other eight are four pairs of identical twins!

The following Monday got me close to the goal of all ten with Cobnut in the dance studio (I explained to the lady that I wasn't in the market for a pink tutu, but if ever I was; hers would be the emporium I would patronise for the apparel!), while Pine Nut was outside the surf-ski shop.

However . . . I had by this point tried every store in or near the place on the map (see below) where Number two was supposed to be and had asked several of them if they were hiding it, all to no avail, so being me, and on the God's work, fired-off a quick maile-electronique (the French add 'e' to everything!) missive to Fleet BID, muttering darkly about competitions that were impossible to complete and local government corruption, which resulting in a swift, happy reply from (Tracy Shrimpton) explaining that it was in the toy shop.

This Monday (18th) found me right down the back of the toy shop, ticking the last box - Hazelnut - but there's something cynical about placing it at the back of the shop; some of the others took a bit of finding but they were all nameable from the street, except the toy shop one.

And if you think I'm giving the toy shop a hard time for no reason, remember it's the same one that places a giant Playmobile figure outside, in the street, every day!

So the Gods hopefully appeased, the trail followed, the nutty kings found, if they follow this up with the same again next year, and with the Historical Society likely to do another toy exhibition, we seem to be laying down traditional Christmas posts here at Small Scale World, but then Christmas is all about tradition!

Monday, December 25, 2017

K is for Kinderfest

I would imagine that despite eggs really being an Easter thing (why did they chose an egg shape and not a sphere?) there will be a fair number of Kinder eggs dragged from the depths of stockings today, a few triple-packs under the tree as 'little presents' as in; "You've had your big present . . . now what's in this?", so here's a few for those of you not blessed by Ferrero's finest milk and white.

This is a shot of Francesco Ferretti's mostly RP (Res Plastics) kinder toys, and it's a joy to behold, he has sent us lots of closer shots and they will run from tomorrow as a 'Twelve Days of Christmas', one per day, little or no blurb as I can't say more than the pictures show and each picture shows enough to keep you looking for minutes so . . . enjoy!

Another long shot, all these shelves will be seen in the coming days, including most of the all-important 'Steckfiguren' some German collectors get quite excited about!

At the same time ' Jargaba12' has got in touch, he is selling his entire collection of what I call Mocherette (for reasons I will one day get round to telling), and anyone interested can get in touch with him by via me.

As well as the Kinder versions he has (or seems to have) all (certainly; most!) of the earlier versions from Val Peltro and Westair, and later Winter Reproductions and Ancestors of Dover, as well as the Russian-made ones issued a few years ago.

An ideal opportunity to fill gaps or build a decent collection of these figures which are as sought-after as the Steckfiguren, which I would take myself if my budget wasn't so squeesed!

'12 days' from tomorrow.

Happy Christmas all!

N is for Nuts! Nutcrackers - Part One; New York Shelfies

I was literally just starting to collate nutcracker stuff for a foreseen post on their return, re-invention, restoration to prominence - whatever you call the phenomena - on my way to the Internet station (currently down) I use, only to find a bunch of these from Brain, who would send several lots in over the next week or two up to last weekend.

So, things spiraled as they do and we now have three posts which while not covering everything; will give a reasonable account of a set of figural 'things' that/who have been pretty-much absent from the blog - today looking at the wide variation in nutcrackers through Brain's shelfies.

So we start with the nutcracker equivalent of deforms or 'super-deforms'! These have deliberately short legs, short bodies and squidged heads to create short, fat nutcrackers, presumably for specialising in short, fat nuts - hazels?

These are more traditional in proportion, but flarxed-up with sequinned headdress'es, lace trim and fancy codpieces, I am reminded of Fanny the Wonder Dog!

Much more Christmassy; the God of the lollipop-stick on the left (see 'White Rod' - my new purchase - in part three), and clearly MacNutcracker on the right, or is it McNuttcraker, I think a massacre in Inverness is required to sort that out; yes - I listened to Mark Steel the other day!

I seem to recall we've had the camouflaged one before? News, Views, or Brain B last year? I'll have to find the post to add the new 'nutcracker' tag! He's compared to a very traditional drummer-boy one in 'Santa-scarlet', not available from Farrow & Ball . . . yet!

To the right is a fantastic post-modern, minimalist take on the nutcracker, this is almost a bare one, all the basic parts are there, sans hat or bearskin; it's just been given a coat of what looks to be gloss-white. Love it!

Here we see on the right some of the 'super-deforms' apparently attached to the hat of a more conventional nutcracker . . . "Shall I throw the green cannon-bauble of Antioch at the guests now, Mr. Scarramanga?"

While to the left; a priceless version with chefs coming out of their own cakes! The heavier base will allow for some serious leverage . . . Brazils' shouldn't be a problem for them, but it looks like they are powered novelties with little actual strenght? I suspect their lollipops may be real, sugary 'snacks' though!

Hummm . . . designer babe, least said - soonest mended; she doesn't even have the proper mouth!

Larger ones in more traditional layouts, Tyrolean musicians to the left, Bavarian guards types to the right, this is the size for a practical, actually use it for nuts, type!

This guy is looking particularly stern, he's also been clothed in starter-flags, while his hat has a weird Hibernian/Polish cavalry Officer vibe! Also he's unusual for having shoes and socks rather than high boots.

The reason I had started collection info. On these the same morning as Brian sent the first of the shelfies, was because these had all but disappeared by the late 1980's; you found the odd non-working, smaller one with hanger in peoples family collections of tree-decorations, and they were still a staple of tourist shops selling Erzgebirge in Southern Germany or Berlin (there was a lovely store full of this stuff in the Europa Centre down by 'The Zoo', and I remember a whole street of shops selling them in Bad Tölz in the 1970's. But - as far as British (and I suspect; other -) Christmases' are concerned - they had all but vanished.

Yet in the last few years they have multiplied like fungi on a forgotten silage clamp, and there is a tsunami of nutcrackers washing over the retail landscape like . . . err . . . a very big wave...

Now my theory for this is a simple one and I'm open to other hypotheses; namely, after the end of the Cold War (actually still healthily chundering-on in the background!) and reunification of the two Germanys, there was very real poverty in the Eastern portion of Germany and in the Former Czechoslovakia, and as a way of producing both jobs and cash, there was a re-vamping of craft-industries, including the wood-based ones, particularly those of the Erz (or 'ore') Mountains.

As a result of success in those ventures, and a triggering of the nostalgia button of Western consumers, they have caused this current plethora of nutcrackers, there may have been a smaller part played - particularly in the UK - by the likes of Lidl and Aldi shipping in sets of wooden decorations, a possibility backed-up by the apparent popularity of less 'Erzgebirge' wooden decorations using the new lazer-cutting techniques. Fashion says; wood's where it's at man!

Next - The Nutcracker Trail!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

C is for Carpentry - Field-carpentry

Bit of a box-ticker today, these have been in the queue since 2012, but they are common knowledge and already to be seen on the web, but with all the connectivity issues the last few days, and a big gap in the queue on the 24th (this is being written PM of the 21st), this si the best I can do at short notice!

When your soldiery aren't building heavy timber crosses . . . oh, no, that's Easter isn't it! The catapult from Atlantic, basically a copy of the old Elastolin siege engine, but more likely a copy of a copy . . . if you know what I mean, in addition to Ougan carrying the Elastolin model, various Italian and French companies seem to have knocked-out copies, and Atlantic just scaled one of them down for their ancient series; even the change from a counter-weight to a rubber-band looped over an eye came from one of the larger clones I think?

I am pretty sure this is an original - in every part - model, with both the heavy yellow rubber-band and the rope-coloured button-tread being 'as supplied' by Atlantic in the original box. The mechanism works well and will fling one of the little plastic rocks about four meters across a flat floor from the level position.

A shot of a couple of complete runners, as with everything Atlantic, they come in various colours, but tent to be kept to a range of realistic 'wood' browns, the same colours also seen throughout the Wild West range.
Another reason these images have been incarcerated in Picasa for so long is that I kept meaning to re-shoot these shots, it's not terribly clear (due to the angles I shot it at to hide extraneous background) but this siege tower (also following it's DNA back through larger piracies to the Hausser model) is moving against a shoe box with its lid on upside-down to play at being a fort!!

With all three of these machines the nightmare for collectors are the little wheel-plugs or wedges which don't stop-in, however hard you push them in, but - due to the nature of polyethylene's properties - tend to pop-out and go AWOL when you aren't looking, and I notice from the above I seem to have lost one after managing to husband 24 of them for the preceding 20 years . . . Doh!

The best kind of siege-engine is the one your enemy happily tows into his city for you, despite the oracle telling him NOT TOO! You deserve the government you get, and the Trojans got one that ended their existence, couldn't happen today . . . could it?

I have a bit of a soft-spot for Trojan Horses (which ought to be called 'Greek Horses'!) and have a half-a-plan to one day get an Action Man horse (not much different from this one in size - a tad bigger maybe?) and paint it in a timber-plank scheme, giving it a twig mane and tail, gold ears and those manic Greek-warship eyes!

The trapdoor is a bit of a 'fail' on this model, it sort-of clips on, but can only be on or off; it doesn't hinge. Being a more unique sculpt, it has less parts than the other two 'wooden-wonders'.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

C is for Chevaliers - Les Chevaliers Mini!

I picked these up in a charity shop the other day and recognised them as those announced in Plastic Warrior a while back (issue 163) by Peter Evans in his London Toy Show roundup - 'What's new for 2016'.

Feeling very pleased with myself (99p) I snaffled them home for further investigation - after photographing the suitcase they came in, popping the rivets on the plastic handle-holder and leaving it all in my mates recycling bin - collect responsibly; the planets dying and it's down to us!

As I say; they came in a little tin 'suitcase' (well, you could get quite a few of Action Man's suits in it!) which had obviously lost some packing (probably a blister tray) at some point, and while there are definitely some shields and weapons missing, imagining them laid-out in a tray suggests the figure/horse-count is possibly correct, however trying to sort them into 'two sides' is not so easy or clear, so it may be that the tin contained more, or that they are the part-product/s of more than one set?

The horses are lovely although the lance is a fancy jousting one rather than a plainer, more warlike and likely pointed one, and it's been chewed! The rearing horse is particularly fine but the charging one is good too; I believe they are scale-downs of the 70mm chunkers.

You can see that the level of detail while smoothed-off in the way of PVC has been enhanced with paint to the same quality as say the Starlux knights (which then would go OK with), or higher as you can see from the images.

The figures are designed to both sit in the saddle and walk upon the earth, and look good doing either, while a set of weapons and shield were included, even if - as I suspect - most of them have been lost in the mud of a battlefield.

But checking the PW story, I noticed that mine were lacking the finer details of those figures and re-reading the article it became clear that it was announcing a 56mm range, while the chaps I've picked-up are only 40mm! Indeed at least one of mine is a different paint scheme (red with eagle helm-crest) from one of the blue ones in the PW announce.

I don't know when they came out and whether or not they pre-date or followed the 56mm launch, the tin looked new enough to be less than two years old, but clearly the Papo knights (and other lines?) are available in three sizes.

I've not seen them new, but look out for them if you have the older Elastolin, Marx, Merten or Starlux knights in similar sizes as they will go well together, but don't store them together, PVC (such as these) figures have a tendency to melt polystyrene figures such as the aforementioned four brands, if barracked in the same block!

Stop Press! - It wasn't the PW article I was remembering, it was Shaun's posting of them (much more here) and the subsequent comments from yours-truly over there, which I've just found through Google (nice to know it works!), and they do pre-date the mid-sized issue, they were sell-off in the US as early as January 2015!