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.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

S is for Seen Elsewhere - Wild West

A few bits I've posted elsewhere on the internet in the last eighteen-months or so, all on a Wild West theme, nothing to get too excited about, but getting them up here, so I can get them off the new Laptop, which I still hate!
These chaps, which were donated to the blog by Theo Van de Werden elicited no response here or elsewhere, but I found them looking for something else! They're Baravelli, who seem to have contracted quite a bit of unique stuff from the former British Crown Colony, so while they may have had other branded issues elsewhere in the world, Baravelli is good enough for me, and being 100% 'toy soldier' polyethylene I will hang on to them for the time being, thanks again to Theo!

This was funny - not my pun, which was predictable, but the aftermath; I posted this back in January, as a joke, which read "Jean Hoefler trading as 'Big', got . . . err . . . very big!", only for Deadleaf to post all six figures a few weeks later, then some other futwit sent them to a magazine (whose readers would mostly have seen Hairband's already!), now . . . I know my 'eemies' are desperate for any crumb that they can award points too, but really?
This stuff is German, both subsequent 'contributors' are Germans, it's not rare, and I would expect two middle-aged German collectors to have their local production to hand? Indeed, why hadn't they shown us their 'treasures' years ago? Why wait 'till I've posted one, for a laugh, a cheap-laugh at that, before stampeding to the public sphere with their take on it?
Aber ich habe auch einen, tatsächlich habe ich sechs! It was a joke . . . but it's deadly serious to these pathetic point-scorers, when they're not trying to hide their purchase-guilt from their 'fat, psychopathic wives' (thanks Pink), by doing the housework! There; I just clawed some of the points back! Pathetic, isn't it?

We've seen another Argentine copy of this Timpo Hopalong Cassidy copy, on the Blog (dirty-white on a brown horse?) already, but I managed to find another pair, second Hopalong and a copy of the Herald Indian with full war-bonnet, on the same Timpo horse piracy.

We saw these in full here, so it's just clearing the picture, Hong Kong/China solid copies of older HK copies of Timpo and HK 'swoppets'.

N is for Novelty Animals

I can't remember if someone mentioned these in a comment on an 'H is for How They Come In' post, or if it was in an email, but a conversation was had, to the effect that I would blog them more fully another day, and it turns-out I have more here than I think I have in storage, so here they are!

These cats, are the ones my collection started with, not these specifically, who have only recently build-up here, and I do have a better sample in storage, they are also, along with the frogs, the commonest, or at least that's my experience, I'm sure different animals prove more or less popular in different countries/sales territories and would have been ordered-in accordingly.

I'm equally sure any similarity with the Marx Minikins 'Figaro' from Pinocchio, is purely coincidental, as there were - between 1900 and the 1970's several similar short, fat cats in popular fiction or the arts/entertainment, including two Felix's (I think), Penelope Pussycat, [Babbitt &] Catstello, Muff (from Tom & Jerry's Fluff, Muff & Puff kittens), Corky, Fritz, Lucifer, Pussyfoot and others, so these were aiming at a well-worn constituency!
I thought I had a card in the archive with them all on it, as a 'rack-toy', but I can't find it - although I found other things to enhance the post - so I can't tell you if it was an adult with six kittens, or all six as small or large mouldings. The smaller mouldings are commoner, as they were chosen for gum-ball machine capsule-prizes, among other things.

Pigs are also popular, and the Hippo's seem to turn-up with more regularity than some of the others in the range. I don't know, but suspect they may have got themselves into Christmas Crackers at some point, or maybe only the larger ones? They don't all seem to have larger versions, though.
The frogs, with a gum-ball machine's insert card below, I have seven poses here, maybe more in storage and there seems to be an eighth on the card, which also has a duplicate for a five count.
Other examples, again; there may be more in storage, but you can see it's all the things people tend to collect - puppies, owls, moo-cows, chicks etc. . . I think there were small elephants? The kitten doing a hand-stand (like one of the pigs), is from a later set, not connected with the (1960's?) black ones. While, I didn't realise I'd hidden the tortoise!
The tortoise and the rodent (far left) may be from a line of Netsuke look-alikes, their decoration is finer, and they are more realistic sculpts, indeed the rodent may be an Asian water-rat or vole of some kind?
The hole in the underside is the unifying factor with all these, although as you can see here, some don't have one! The smaller kitten has the standard hole, while the whole set of pigs (with the exception of 'hand-stand') have one which is large enough to make them pencil-tops?
The prone kitten has an oblong hole, and smaller base area figures tend to get smaller holes, and the frog to the far-right has a medium-small one. While typically the large-sized ones have a larger hole, the pair of frogs here have a small and medium-small hole, just to be different!

There is a tendency within the hobby to call all this type of feature mould-release pin-marks, but I suspect that's not the case here, and it's more about minimising material-used, and/or preventing heat-shrinkage on tools with a fast cycle-rate?

I think these have both been on the blog before, but they turned-up while I was looking for the other bits, so here they are again! These three cats are in storage, but probably not yet with the 'master' sample, so you can see there will be quite a few in total.  The bear is later, and probably from a different company, but more on that in a mo'.
Just a quick-one on all these, they are similar to Kinder's 'hard plastics' and Kinder followed the concept of cartoony 'styrene animals, but the Hong Kong ones mostly predate Kinder by a decade or more, and while some of the above were claimed in early Kinder collector manuals from Germany, I think they've mostly been excised from current edits as there just wasn't the empirical evidence.

A set of clowns are within the oeuvre, usually sold as cake decorations, as were these Santa Claus figures mucking about, again, slightly newer and contemporary with the bears, we saw them here, with a Model Power iteration and links to Tobar (Hawkin's Bazaar) in the comments! Note the Greensward Leprechaun!
I also noticed, while sorting this stuff the other night, that those garden gnomes (hollow plastic, wheel barrow and garden-tools lot, and musician lot), have a smaller, solid iteration, which may be part of this extended range? Six clowns are also sold as cake-decorations.

I've tried not to lecture or pontificate this Rack Toy Month, but I often come back to one message in RTM, with this cheapo', novelty type stuff, you can only pin them down to a brand if you have the packaging with them, otherwise they are any one of several brands AND several anonymous/generic issues, and I'm sure a quick search of evilBay will pull Unique, Carousel and/or Grandmother Stovers into the fold!

To which end Wilton carried families of larger animals, glossy airbrushed; pigs, lambs, squirrels, poodles, pandas, rabbits, chicks &ect. Typically, they were two or three babies and one adult, Culpitt had a set of chicks, but they are larger, and mostly in storage (if I have more than one or two?), so can wait for another day!

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

F is for Follow-up - A Splash of Paint

A pair of rather colourful Astronauts now. This could equally be a 'T is for Two' post, but we have looked at one in detail, and covered the other in passing, in a roundabout sort of way!
So, first, the eraser Macro Nauts we looked at here, I have now found a painted one, which makes sense as they were made of that silicon rubber which makes crap erasers, just smudges the pencil and eventually splits down the weak-points, so, selling them as painted playthings would be an obvious step! I don't have anything on maker/brand or set yet, but I'll be looking!

While this guy is interesting because when we looked at the Kinder version, someone, elsewhere (of course), made a comment to the effect he 'thought' they were Azrak Hamway (AHI), but they weren't, although they are clearly copies, here's an AHI original, and he's about 75/80mm to the Kinder's 35/40mm!

F is for Follow-up - Space Flats

I don't know how I've ended-up with all this space stuff, it was supposed to be vehicle-figures-vehicle-figure post and then move-on to something else, but there's a folder full of the stuff and I just carried-on working through it! In the meantime, I shot this to confirm an earlier comment . . . 

. . . re the green semi-flat chap having been issued by Montaplex unpainted, and here we see two in yellow, they seem to be from the same tool, so someone must have bought a bunch to paint-up and sell at a different price-bracket, because you do see them like this from time to time?
Posed with two contemporary figures from Torgano (grey) and an unmarked white version of the Linde/DS Plastics (Plasticraft) spaceman we looked at here. The helmet is a non-canon one which happened to fit . . . 'ish!

11-Sep-2023 - definitely not French! He is pathetic, isn't he? "Neh! I got one too and mine is blue!"

Saturday, August 26, 2023

2 is for 'Men From Outer Space'!

Picked this up a while back, ostensibly for the 'missing' pose, from this post (was it really five years ago? I don't know where it goes!), anyway, because I spotted the pose I didn't give much more attention to it beyond noticing it has the same card-art as the previously-seen set, but with a 2 instead of a 3 . . . begs the question; was there a 4 (with one of each pose), or even a single 'Man From Outer Space'?!

So, what I missed, was that the lenticular eyes on this pair are printed in a Nordic-blue, rather than the black/gray ones I've seen hundreds of times over the years, possibly on every other example I've seen - which still had the eyes, tatty ones are usually missing them! So, that's a rack-toy variation on two counts, Giant copies, box ticked!

Q is for Question Time - Rack Toy Question

Sean at Fantasy Toy Soldiers had these somewhere, and I think he has more poses than me, but he too was asking for further information, so, hoping there are different readers here, I'll ask too - does anyone know anything about these chaps and chapesses?

They are about 50mm (a Hing Fat trait?) and pretty mid-to-late 1980's in style; a bit Star Wars, a bit Nottingham Mafia, a bit post-apocalyptic and straight-to-video! Medium density polyethylene and, apart from the sci-fi subject, typical 'army men' rack toy fodder.

Colours are also very Hing Fat, ignoring the two shades of grey, and these are also very reminiscent of the Galaxy Rangers from Hing Fat, which is not to say they are Hing Fat, but might be, or might have been supplied by them for someone else?
Looking at the two in the larger picture, could they be meant to be Buck and Wilma from Buck Rogers, after the 80's TV series? They carry no mark (which is also the case with the Galaxy Rangers I think?), and I have one heat-shrinkage figure who is useable - the white plastic chap in the small picture.

Friday, August 25, 2023

S is for Star Patrol

Do you remember those Imperial glow-in-the-dark bug-eyed aliens we looked at a while back, well, they did them in a smaller size with armoured space-marine types and a few lumpy space vehicles as real rack-toy trash; brilliant!

The boys in gunmetal; there are five poses and each is in a different 'battle suit' and they are a similar hardish polyethylene to both sizes of alien.

The aliens come on all four of the larger poses, I only have three so far, but that's the fun of collecting! They are in the same three glow-in-the-dark colours, but don't have their eyes painted in.
A part/near complete set on evilBay a while back, in trying to brighten the contrast it may have lost a bit on the aliens, and I suspect there's a second flat ship missing, I have none of these, but must find the space tanks! It may even be most of two bags?

S is for Starguards & Aliens

Another post from the 'Seen Elsewhere' folder, this one actually combining two posts from elsewhere, the loose figures from Britains Starguard (or Star Guard, 1981-1987'ish) and friends, and the rare boxed set (there's one on evilBay at the moment for a hundred-quid, which might be cheap?), which can go here as they're not going to generate a too-long tag-list, and it gets KP Foods on the tags!

I'm guessing these were a mail away offer, there aren't enough in here for a counter-top or behind the counter multiple-purchase offer type thing, so they must have been a save so many packet tops or coupons or something, but you get six of the standard yellow Starguards, and six of the black Aliens with the 'divers' helmets.
My set is definitely missing a decent sample of the kneeling-squat guy! But they aren't that uncommon, in any variation, so I'll pick up the rest one day, probably just get everything missing in a single feeBay session in a year or two. And, as we'll see in the next few minutes; my sample is currently quite small, overall!
The trouble with this set - as I see it, and it's only my opinion - was that they were dated the day they hit the stores, and not only dated, but incompatible with anything that had come before; Captain Video, Hill/Cherilea hollow-cast, similar lead-solids of Buck Rogers from the 'States, or latterly, the vaguely NASA stuff from Europe, Marx/MPC or Cherilea's 60mm giants in plastic, so there was little to do with them . . . if you know what I mean.

However, the plethora of space toys which have been issued since the Star Wars (and Battlestar Galactica) phenomena of the late 1970's means that actually they have grown on me a bit, and you can, if so minded (I'm really just a collector) now paint them up and add them to, or add-in all sorts! While they will enhance any space-toy display shelf!

The original Aliens, these are just the Starguard bodies in black with a red 'deep sea diver' helmet, another problem with the range; repetition throughout the range! Technically they should all have silver weapons, but over time other colours would be issued, and the slight 'swoppet' nature of the range, means anything goes to get the shot!

The Cyborgs! Again Starguard bodies, but with more complicated add-ons and a universal head/computing-unit! These have always suffered (from nearly new) with a stickiness caused by a reaction between the gloss, metallic green (possibly the Humbrol 50 enamel, which makes renovation easy), and furry lumps of these were a common site at car-boot sales or in rummage trays a few years ago, all covered in pet-hair, carpet fibres and dust!

My only 'Raider', he should have a gold weapon, and in catalogues is shown with a black or blue base. These are just the Aliens in an orange/blue scheme, and went up against white-bodied Starforce (or Star Force), of which I have none! Well, I say that, there may be one or two in storgae, in the TBS piles?
The Mutants, who would become Mutant Raiders are also lacking at Chez Smallscaleworld, they were similar to the Cyborgs, but had whackier heads/plug-ins and sometime come ina  metalic grass green.

Eventually, in 1985, a set of green, polyethylene aliens called Terror Raiders (which I do have somewhere, we'll see them here another day) were issued (after about the time it takes to realise your figures are going sticky in people's play-boxes!), which had actually been shown in the earlier 1984 catalogue, as different sculpts in a chrome-finish. By 1987 they were the only aliens in the catalogue alongside the orange Raiders and white Starforce, then the curtain closed on the whole Starguard 'experiment'!
Ten minutes later - I'd forgotten we looked at all the weapons here; lower shot.
And later the same day - Many thanks to John Begg for letting me photograph the KP Outer Spacers set in his private collection.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

S is for Space Tank!

Definitely had this title before! You know I like a space tank or two, and I was quite pleased to pick this up, although a quick search on evilBay revealed a half-dozen, so not old, and not rare, but equally it was't pricey!

Boxed space-tank, or 'Reconnaissance Tank', made in 'China' so not that old, but carrying the legacy of 40-years-worth of cheap plastic or tin-plate space toys. There's a relatively illegible logo which seems to be an apple or a tomato, with two letters the second of which might be an 's', while the toy's code is prefixed 'PS', which means nothing to me!
The beast; it actually looks a bit 1980's to me, and while some Hong Kong manufacturers phased in the China marks prior to 1997, that mostly occurred in the year or two before the changeover of administration, so this is probably an early, all Chinese (mainland) company's efforts?
Posed with a few figures to give a sense of scale/size, and a shot of the relatively generic underside, there's a production code of some sort but no further clue as to a maker. The stickers could fuck-off with my blessing (it looks like a cake-decoration racing car!), but it's boxed and relatively mint, so I guess they'll have to stay!

S is for Seen Elsewhere - Space Shots

Quick round-up of spacey stuff I've posted elsewhere in the recent past, although that included stuff from 2021, and I'm sure we've had seen elsewhere-posts since then, but maybe not the space stuff?

All Spanish, I think? We saw the Credeco Romano-Greek bronze-age chap here, while the fireman is unknown to me and possibly from one of the major figure guys (Jecsan, Pech or Reamsa?) for a vehicle maker like Paya or Guisval?
While the focus here is the spaceman/space-alien, unpainted these are 'Sobres' by Montaplex and slightly cruder (flashier) mouldings, I don't know who put paint on them, but a minor make I guess, and they are slightly redolent of a couple of the Captain Video aliens with the long respirator / face-mask.

Saw a similar shot on the But is it Giant Blog, but here's another shot of a bunch of Giant's finest, reporting back to the hive-mind godhead-mother on their victorious exploits in Junior's carpet-wars!

I believe these are both gum-ball machine capsule prizes, obviously knock-off's of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, or at least the chap on the left is, but I think they go together, and most Power Ranger baddies were men in rubber suits, so, as a figure, it figures! He has a half man-bat, half lagoon creature look about him (or her!) and Keith Bowman wondered if Ultraman might be an origin?

Ah yes! More shots of my Portuguese copy of the Sel-Mac (not "Set Mac"!) robot (or spaceman; there's a helmet missing), imagine . . . just imagine waiting five months to score a point off me with your 'I can post that too' by waiting for your very good friend to send you the image, only get the name wrong! And the name of your very good friend wrong! They're funny guys, very funny guys. All the info is to be found in the links I posted, back in January.
Jim from France are responsible for these two, NASA types engaged in peaceful exploration, one seems to be taking a sample while the other films him in close-up from a youie-stick! I can't work out if they are a styrene or a very dense PVC, so it's probably the same hard phenolic/formaldehyde polymer of other French stuff, but looking-feeling odd in pure white?
Finally, these came in not that long-ago, and obviously painted, which I will remove, Thomas spacemen and aliens in PVC rubber, I rather like the painting, which seems to have been done from the limited pallet probably provided by a paint-your-own thing, there's the three primaries, black and white . . . the metallic bits are the figure's own colours left unpainted.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

X-40 is for Thunderflash!

Although Arto has it as a 'Space Rocket' too. And before we look at it; if you only watch one thing today, this should be your viewing! I know I could embed it, but someone else (cheers Aidan John Bradley) found it on one of my Faceplant groups last night, so it would be a bit naughty, trying to take the kudos!

Apparently designed by Heinkel, it should have been the X-111! Hardly a rack toy, but from the Hong Kong cheapies section of the toy store, and probably something you could save your pocket-money up for over a few weeks, it's a bit ugly, but it grows on you once you have one to handle.

That German bomber nose-cone in full! Obviously, it's all about the figures, and this one is quite neat if hard to photograph, and while collecting vehicles only really took off to ID all those odd seated figures which have come in, the likelihood of finding a good example of this chap loose is unlikely as the amount of damage which would need to be created to free him would almost certainly damage him too! Yes; he has an ariel in his helmet!
On the ramp for a verticle launch, an exercise which is not easy as the two lateral fins are also the triggers for an XL5 type launching nose-section/capsule, and - like all these early spaceship toys - the otherwise clean likes are marred by the carpet wheels.

Pressing the fins launches the cab-unit, not very far on my example, but that's as much down to age as anything, the spring is a bit rusty! But it does work, and on 1960's lino-floors would have shot-off in a mission-like fashion I'm sure! Indeed, when I first got it, the two halves were apart in the box (it's a bit hair-triggered), and I spent a while wondering if I was missing parts of a battery-housing, before I worked-out what was going on!
Navigational equipment and the two fins, I don't think they are meant to come out with quite the ease of my example, but again, we can blame age for everything being a bit loose and flappy 'down below'!

Box Art, nothing exciting and my box is shot to bits, but I'd never bid on a 'new one', they are way out of my budget! And yes, the graphic is clearly aping the Project Sword logo!
In comparison with one of the Lido space vehicles for the Captain Video sets, the diminutive American polymer product makes quite a good Space Port tender, or even the apron tow-tractor!

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

S is for Stampers

Just a quickie, although I'm trying to save my shekels, I had to go to Home Bragains (who, answering my own question of a week or so ago, may be the future slayer of B&M?), to get a couple of vape pens (nine years no cigarette), and checking the toy section, which usually has little to interest us, found these.
One of those annoying lines wherein there are 12 to collect, but they are five-to-a-pack, so you must collect/acquire duplicates to obtain a set, and I was going to take a shelfie and move-on when I noticed they were only £2.99 each (presumably clearance stock), so quickly investigated the packs to find there were only three variables, and bought all three, intending to open one, which is what's happened.
These are the two which remain sealed, for now, one day I may get them out, or once all the boxes have been ticked (future entries on the A-Z blogs, TMNT round-up &etc), they may be sold on to raise funds for future purchases? As you can see, they are more cartoony/stylised sculpts than the more realistic ones we've seen from Yolanda, Phidal and Playmates et al. And they are solids, not action figures.

The five who have been released from their vac-formed prison, vaguely 54mm compatible, albeit with the very thick bases associated with this type of novelty, you can see that Donatello is much fatter in this iteration, while the other three are much skinnier (two of each character, plus four other figures), and while I did Google the 'Rise of' era, I couldn't find a good explanation for this change, nor why they can be brothers when apparently they are four different species of turtle?
Dirt cheap rack-toys, out there now!