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.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

B is for Blind Bag Box Tick

We've seen Sambro before, doing quite high-quality Turtles of the Ninja variety and Minions of the eraser type, so these blind bags are a bit of a disappointment, but there you go, we buy this shit (in Poundland I think, but it might have been ASDA?) so you don't have to!
The more disappointing of the two, a Spinosaurus, nice as it will help ID any future incomers from the same set (on the reverse of the bag). Made of a modern, semi-foamed, PVC-alike, it's quite akin to silicon, and could be a type of the same? But flashy and with a slack-jaw from early removal from the tool (I suspect), the painting is limited to a casual pass with gloss-green!

Slightly better, but probably for being a simpler sculpt, and the same part stretchy, part clammy (but not the same as full-on stretchies) elastomer, and painting is two colours this time; an all-over gloss red and a glancing pass of gloss yellow (a reverse job suggested on the bag), the undecorated underside with red-blowback giving it a greater realism, which would have held better without the yellow stripe!

That's it, box ticked, a 3rd for Sambro on the tag list! Out there now, somewhere!

C is for Canoes - 20 - Wend-Al (and Quiralux?)

Just a box ticker as the two folders (Brian's and mine) thin out to a finish! This was on feeBay about two years ago, and while I did have a couple of other images of colour variations, I noticed the other day they are still on sale! So I won't use them now, but, Dude, if you've relisted something for two years; your Buy-It-Now is set too high?
As I've said for years to anyone who'll listen (attracting a few more 'eemies' along the way), none of this stuff is 'rare', it was all mass-produced!
Playful, chunky and almost indestructible! for such a 'solid' material, the figure is a nice animated sculpt, but the boat is definitely toy-like, and too short. Wend-Al and maybe Quiralux, in different paint?
But retuning to the previous point for a second, I was perusing this Faceplant site earlier today;
 . . . and there are guys on there with boxes of Astrid, or trays of Miniajouets or a shed-load of Gulliver, Pech, Comansi . . .  or whoever, literally; none of it is rare.
The rarities are the exceptions, where a set was never issued (Britains 'Superdeetail'), or the mould was lost on the first morning of production (Lone Star Musketeers) or something equally catastrophic, or the firm was very small, and it was a long time ago (some of the early 'from hollow-cast'), but for everything else, it's just a question of waiting!

AFV is for Absolutely Feckin' Vast!

Well, they're not THAT big, but pretty-much the next size-up is Action Man/GI Joe, so they are about as big as I'm ever going to go! We're talking Tudor Rose here, although we've previously seen one of them marked-up as Kleeware, and I'm pretty sure I've seen the same SPG (an M55) under Ideal branding in the 'States?
There was a lot of Tudor Rose showing at PW's show a fortnight or so ago, and some of it got a second outing at Sandown Park the following weekend, and I did buy some, but that was all civilian and will be seen in those forthcoming show-reports, in the meantime, this truck came in a while ago now . . .
. . . and I shot this quick shot; at an odd angle, seen elsewhere I think, to show off the Blue Box box of Blue Box BB boxes, which Chris had sent in one of his lots, along with a Blue Box four-inch figure, or just under, he's actually 95mm. Well, you'd need a military escort for that load, it's almost a cupboard-full of Blue Box toys!
Then these big babies came-in, not that long ago, and while they did go through to storage at the time, I found them the other day while looking for something else, and knowing the truck was still in the flat thought "Well, OK, we can cobble something together here I think!" As you can see they are almost as grubby as the truck, so cleaning as well as photographing was the order of the day.

The M55 got a spray with TFR (traffic film remover) watered-down at about 50/50, and then a drying with kitchen-paper, and I took the opportunity to strip it down to its constituent parts . . . I meant to do a 'parts-shot' for all of them, but kept getting too-keen to reassemble them after I had a pile of dry parts, so forgot to do the others!
Apart from the wear to the 'fighting compartment' deck, it came up pretty mint, but I knew it would as the underside looked like it was made yesterday, so it was mostly surface dust. I also re-cut the tab of the firing 'pin' and the furred edges of its receiving slot, as they had had enough play, in the past, to round-off slightly, making it hard to fire without a two-handed faff!

All back together and it's looking like the beast it was, briefly in the 1950'60's, The shells which just sit in the rack on the engine deck were mostly missing; there was only one! And it may be missing stickers (see below), but it's a 1950's beach/garden toy survivor, so I think it's looking good!

The 25lbr, as it's described when you see it in its box (there's one on feebleBay as I write), doesn't look much like a 25lbr! And is a very different beast altogether, not least that while the SPG is 100% soft polyethylene, this is mostly hard 'kit' polystyrene, this to hold a more powerful firing mechanism with metal trigger, securely in the moulding, by having it sealed round the trigger and spring. Wheels are 'ethylene though, with steel axles. It's actually a breach-loader, with a pull-back slotted-tray to take the shell, as the trigger is cocked.

The two, together with their ammunition, there's a bagful for the 25lbr, but only the one for the M55 . . . sniff! However, I can report - after extensive testing against the end of the bed - that both will take each other's rounds, the 25lbr's are snug in the SPG's barrel but fire efficiently, while the smaller rounds of the M55 roll-about a bit in the breach tray of the howitzer which could affect accuracy over garden ranges!

The Jeep completed the trio, and we're back to all-polystyrene, with the exception of two steel axles. Not the best rendition of a jeep, but not the worst either, it gets the 'look' right, but is a bit boxy or square, and lacks the rear quarter-bumpers/fenders/foot-steps, which help with the distinctive lines of a Jeep.
Mine is missing it's spare, and like an idiot, in order to shoot one in situ, I took the back one, instead of a front one, so had to prop it up with my fingers! Yes, I could have quickly sorted it out and re-shot it, but what fun is there in such sensible conformity?

Then it was go fetch the truck, and give it the same treatment, with this I didn't remove the rear cargo-bed from the frame, as it looked like I might damage it if I forced the six clips, but the cab came off and the seats came out, while tail-gate and headlight bar both popped-off.
It's not a recognisable mark, but more of a generic . . . Bedford? And scale-wise, sits between the larger Jeep and smaller M55. It has a towing hook, but isn't as happy taking the 25lbr as the Jeep is (tighter space), so I may be looking for a smaller gun, or trailer for it?
The other obvious difference is the two-tone colouring and I think I've seen civilian versions with red, yellow or blue superstructures as 'tipper-trucks', was there a builder's/road worker's generator trailer or cement-mixer, maybe?

You can see the PVC door stickers didn't survive cleaning, one is lost forever (down the plughole I fear), the other fell off while drying, they were both time expired, the stars however (being a separate contract/print run) survived much better, and leave the question, should they all have/did they all have stickers, or were they added from other toys/models, to this truck? Stickers aren't normally a feature of Tudor Rose, nor did the Kleeware version M55 have any.

Still cleaned-up nicely. It's slightly bent, which is more of a construction thing than an age thing; as the frame gets heavier (as in a heavier moulding) under the cab, where the front wheel-arches begin, the frame has curved slightly and could do with a bit of hot water on the long spars with a press-down at the cab-end of the bed to get it all parallel with the road surface, but it's not bad enough to worry about really!
Interestingly, there seems to be a missing steering-wheel, well, that's not interesting, that's annoying, but there are two receiving holes (that's the interesting bit!), so an export version must have been sold with left-hand-drive? Across the Channel or across The Pond?

All cleaned and reassembled, if I had to scale them off the top of my head I'd say about 1:20 for the Jeep, 1:24/25 for the truck and 1:30/32 for the M55, it's about the same size as the Airfix Abbot SPG.
Hopefully if I find a cheap, maybe knackered Jeep (perhaps missing its windscreen, or chewed-up), I'll be able to take a wheel as spare for mine, and use the steering wheel for the truck - it looks like it would fit? Trouble is, one knackered-enough to be cheap is likely to be missing its steering wheel too!

The marking is clear on all four items, with 'Tudor Rose' repeated on some, if you recall (or followed the link just now) the Kleeware 'Howitzer Tank' retains the central 'Made in England' disc, but looses the other two, having a heavy KLEEWARE raised on the underside of the deck floor/rear step, aft of the bulkhead.
Which conforms to the fact that after they had taken them over and as Tudor Rose concentrated on more trade-related matters (raw materials and machine tools), they handed production of some of their old models to their [Tudor Rose's] new Kleeware 'brand mark/division'.

Last minute checks before setting-off, a runner is sent up from the back to speak to the convoy packet-commander, who looks ready to shoot him, if he says anything too stupid!
The figures used are all about 95mm, or just short of the full four-inches, and are an earlier painted Blue Box, a later unpainted Blue Box, both with the same mark as the soft ethylene issue of the 25mm GI's, and the third, unmarked is almost certainly a Rado Industries (Ri-Toys) issue, from the same ex-Blue Box (or ex-Tai Sang!) mould tool.

"Gentlemen! Start. Your. Engines!"

Sunday, May 28, 2023

C is for Canoes - 19 - Dorset Models RCMP

Brian had a hankering for a Royal Canadian Mounted Police canoe, and when he couldn't find a decent premade one, he bought a casting or two and painted-up his own! Inspired by the books, comics and annuals of his childhood . . .

"When I was a lad watching TV in the 50's & 60's there was a rule that only movies of a certain vintage could be shown on TV, nothing recent if there was any chance of renting them out to the Cinemas that ran old films, the Rerun Houses.

What was shown were old 30's films with the RCMP bringing law and order plus songs to the frontier. As a result of that imagery, also covers of pulp magazines and some old schoolboy adventure books of my Dad's I developed a romantic view of early American explorers using birch bark canoes."

He chose the ex-Dorset Models casting, now part of Imperial Miniatures, to which order he added an RCMP and Native paddlers. I can't add much, so enjoy the images!

Many thanks again to Brian for all his Canoe stuff, there are a few more posts in the queue, but I've pulled one or two and need to have a rethink, but still more to come . . . !

Saturday, May 27, 2023

K is for Kollection of Kute Kaiju Killers!

Bit of a mystery these, they appear to come in two sizes, big and very big, I now have all the big ones but only two very big ones!
The story starts about 15 years ago when I bought three off the brothers' Curry, who used to have one of the most interesting stalls at Dave McKenna's toy soldier show in the old masonic hall in Birmingham.
They didn't know what they were, I didn't know what they were (apart from the obvious; some kind of Japanese monsters, probably dinosaurian Kaiju from the Godzilla franchise), but I could see their potential with small scale space or GI figures, so a price was agreed, and a deal was done!
These were they, the initial three, I now know the one on the right is only a big monster, from the set of twelve this post is mostly about, the other two are very bigs from a set of unknown quantities!
I posted them on Brain Heiler's fan site on Faceplant a couple of years ago with a call for help ID'ing them, and Keith Bowman and David Crow both answered the call, with the upshot that it is believed they are all Kaiju from The Ultraman / Ultra Seven franchise, not Godzilla, and from the left, can be ID'd as;
  • Bemstar
  • A version of the Red King
  • Neronga
But then this turned-up! Credited to a Victory, and carried in the UK by Henbrandt, I've seen them on eBay in the US and Germany, but with no clear jobber beyond the Victory brand-mark, I've added the extra three as there is room, indeed, there's so much room in the box, you'd think it was a counter-dispenser with maybe 24 items, but the box makes clear it was a set of 12.
Grouped mostly in pairs of matching plastic colours, presumably for production reasons, so I shot them in the same groups. These are the pair of reds, who are exploring the ashes of the bonfire down the bottom of the garden, both have green spine plates, and both need ID'ing (as do all bar the Neronga), if you know more about these things than I do!
The Greeny-golds! Another pair, and including a baby Beamster? They got to fighting on the gravel area at the back of the drive! The two larger ones in the original purchase have moving arms, with the red king having moving legs too, the smaller ones don't have moving limbs.
A pair of pinky-golds, while they don't have the moving limbs, they do have two halves, but only for reasons of production, there's little deliberate or meant movement, and they may actually have been glued or heat-sealed?
Running out of ideas, the blacks and grey (another Neronga) were posed round my late Mother's kitchen! the Neronga is slightly different to the first one I found, but we'll compare them in a minute.
Ah! The 'fairy' trio! Pale blues and mauve, I'm guessing these are not terribly close to the the characters they are ripping off, but it would be nice to get some sort of name/title for them all, if only to give me the excuse to blog them again another day!
Big and very big on the left and variations of the Neronga on the right, none of the ones in the box have 'China' stickers, so maybe they were marketed in different forms of which a box of twelve were one, and individual shelf-sales (with separate stickers) was another? Of course, it could just be that someone took all twelve stickers off! The older purchase has more silver paint and slightly darker plastic.
These were on evilBay the other day, only six of the twelve and more variations, but then you may have noticed some variety, just on the box-top photo'? The mauve is purple, and one of the reds has gold spine-plates, as here.
I think the dark blue one here has been given a home-paint, there's washing/weathering and more colours than the others normally have?
"Yeah, well, yer'no, it started small, lighting BBQ's for tourists, dealing with the rubbish on the beach, then one day I caught the changing shelter's thatched roof, and I was like, 'Wow, that's awesome!', soon I was doing whole fishing villages, moved on to small towns and then, well, yer'no, the whole Tokyo business init! But I'm a changed Kaiju now, mostly these red-carpet events and the odd drug-bust destruction fire for the Police . . . just keepin' me'hand in, like - it ain't easy, bein' fire-breathy!"

C is for Canoes - 18a & 18b - Airfix Blog Updates

I've added a bit of content to the two Airfix Commando pages, which includes all three different canoes, so a sort of Brucey-bonus for the canoe season!
Ist/4th (current) type

2nd (British production/3rd (French production) type

H is for How They Come In - London, March, Everything Else

A bit of a mixed bag to finish off, and we'll see which order they load themselves in! I'm not imagining it am I? Computing is getting harder not easier, it might be easy for 'smart phone' owners, but for people who actually work on/with PC's or laptops it's becoming increasingly glitchy and fragmented, the Internet is becoming less a tool for the advancement of civilisation, and rather an entertainment vessel for people glued to their idiot-phones!

Well, we're back to the yesterday system and they loaded in the order they should have, bargain! I know I did need a Vitacup reindeer with both antlers intact, and can't remember if I've already rectified the omission, so I may have two or three now, but this was going cheap.
Three little rack-toy old-fashioned cars, I think they may be crude copies of the Charben's 'Old Crocks', but I have to check, the orange one is the same moulding as the blue one, but seen from the rear.
Already joined by the two Chris Smith sent, this is a different-coloured plastic and mane/tail paint, so both lots only increasing the whole sample. Exin Castillos 40mm medieval figure; Prince on horse.
Premium flat dinosea-saurs! I mended the broken Plesiosaur I picked up a while ago, now I have an undamaged one - often the way! While the Ichthyosaur looks suitably mean and vicious!

Bog-standard rack-toy accessory, but seems to have factory paint, so I thoght I'd hang on to it and see if I can find it's set over time, Hing Fat had a copy, fantasy set, at one point, with a  'Halloween' tree that had a splash of paint, so it did happen occasionally!
We looked at these Lone Star African clones with a lot of help from Chris a while back, but worth getting more when you see them cheap, as there may be something new in them/their marks (I don't think so), and because one day you may have a plan to paint some up!
Lido or copy on the left, probably Tudor Rose on the right, nothing exciting, and we've looked at both under their tags in the past, including various copies of the Lido and a Tudor Rose bagged set. I've mentioned before that the Lido are among my favourites.
Hornby and Mastermodels, the Hornby five showing signs of lead-rot (a sandy whiteness to the exposed surfaces), while the Wardie stuff is safer, being die-cast alloy, but they can crack-up too, with their own 'disease'! A dip-wash with white vinegar and a new gloss paint-job, all over, might save the lead?
Cereal Premium!

Someone gave me these, I think, and I didn't look to check the base mark to see if they were Archie McFee/Accoutremants or BuM Slot? But the re-issues of the old Giant Mongols, which give us hope the spaceship, space tank and Viking longship mould-tool's are still out there somewhere?

Friday, May 26, 2023

C is for Canoes - 17 - HO-OO Scaled

A rather limp chapter in this canoe 'season', as I haven't done all the Merten/Noch/Preiser ones for a start, there's at least one metal one, and there are others, but here's a few which I happened upon as I was building these article folders

Atlantic have given us a trapper canoe in the Davy Crockett set and a raft in the Kit Carson set, smaller boxings would have one of each whole runner, sometimes cut into two with a smaller piece (the four - common/duplicate - mouldings beyond the obvious gap) and a larger piece with all that set's unique pieces on. Larger sets could have up to four or six complete runners, they aren’t rare; just over-hyped!
Woodland Scenics give us a pair of modern touristy/back-packing boats with obviously young people on a day-out/adventure, pre-painted polystyrene in the manner of the European figures mentioned above, but not painted to the same quality as Preiser or Noch.
The little Marx boats from various Miniature Masterpiece sets; silver paint only adds to the decorative nature of these, which were to be parked near the camp (there were no suitable crew/paddling figures), where matching toylike teepees were to be found, some of the other Wild West accessories however were much better, and the same camp would have a really nice little drying rack for an animal skin.
My homemade effort, I found it again in the recent moving of stuff, but it got damp in the 2007 flood and needs to be rebuilt, or just replaced! It was an evening's exercise in paper folding or curving; a boat is a dynamic shape, and a waterline model of one has it's own complications! Either side of it are the Thomas/Poplar canoes, painted with gloss brown by someone other than me!
Poly Pocket from Bluebird Toys, licenced to Mattel in the 'States, provided another leisure craft for the diminutive little madame to punt about in a flooded powder compact, but hide the seats with stores and paint it up, it's got the lines of a nice Native American boat?

H is for How They Come In - London, March, Military

Hmmmm . . . I've just discovered, for some reason Google have changed the image-upload system (again) overnight, for no discernable purpose (again) and it's loading them in reverse order . . . not for the first time! But as I gave up pre-editing and SOE'ing with this new, glitchy picece-of-shit (but not as piece-of-shit as an HP) computer back in January, it's just another 'thing' in the fragmenting 'Internet' of a declining civilisation - enjoy it while you can; 'cos we've had the best of it! Anyway, military stuff this post;
Possibly Mars-Hindenburg, but unmarked these two are about 45/50mm and almost semi-flat, they're depicting the German army of the WWI era, and composition, so I had to have them as soon as I saw them!

A small bag of Sky Birds (and others), possibly from Adrian, nothing terribly exciting, and I think I have them all, but getting the various marching poses with the rifles intact is always a bonus!

Couple of Coma/Co-Ma matelots, I couldn't remember if I'd got some of these (or the air force) at a PW Show a year or two ago, so grabbed them while I saw them, and will sort them later, the one on the right needs some rust removed!

Interesting figure on the left, being a copy, scaled-up of the Giant and other Spacemen, kneeling with ray-gun. Look's like a pretty bog-standard rack-toy, of some age, but I've never seen one in this size before?
To his right is a 'from hollow-cast' cowboy in a bit of a state, hardly any paint left, and I think he’s had his base trimmed-off, so 'damaged', but my first example (as far as I know) and maybe one of the BR Moulds stable?

Couple of Frenchies, I haven't looked them up so I won't attribute them, or try, my 'eemies' have such fun at my attempts in that sphere! Colonial Infantry on the right, khaki on the left, slightly small at around 50mm and polystyrene.

The Hong Kong 'swoppet' paratroopers i always think-of as French-looking, we've seen them before, but these are a different (more yellowish-olive) colour plastic and with colour-matched bases, they also have black and brown plastic weapons against the silver of my larger sample.

A bunch of Hollow-cast from Adrian's cheapie tray, I can't remember if they were 50p's or £1's this time, but as it had been quite a frugal show as far as purchases went, i rather filled my boots!

Now the text is all over the place, I just started adding this at the start and when I tried to delete it found I was deleting the line below? In fact the cursor is jumping all over the place (especially when I hit 'enter') and the radio is reporting problems with British Airways leading to 90-flight cancellations . . . and they think we're going to get to the stars? We can't make a garden shed waterproof for ten years!

Three more Siku premiums, you may have noticed these coming in, in ones and twos for almost the whole history of the blog, they are rather all-over the place and I'm still miles away from a full set of cowboys or Indians, in either size, painted or unpainted, but it'll still be nice to get them all together soon and have a decent look at them!

Finishing off with a few more of the HK copies of the Waddington's/Rojas e Malaret US cavalry from the Battle of the Little Bighorn boardgame, These must have been a gift from someone, or very cheap as they're not something I'd normally buy.
I keep hoping I'll see their - probably bagged - set on evilBay, as they're not exactly rare and must show-up with some empirical clues at some point! And because I do have a tub-full, I hope to paint up one of each one day soon'ish!