About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic 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.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

T is for Toy Fair 2018 Reports - Re-Creation - Lego Franchise

You may have gathered over the years that I'm not a fan of the Kiddy-brick thieves, but that's at the corporate level, as far as the bricks go; I'm easy, I just don't buy the hype of the rivals being bad or falling apart, they all seem OK when I encounter them, but anyway, this is technically about Re-Creation not Billund!

Original, 1979 toy-fair, award-winning, astronauts, now available as LED torches! That's too cool for space-school! There were also - originally - black and yellow spacemen, they must be chasing down Mr. Musk's sports-car!

Re-Creation has the territory-license for Lego's non-toy stuff, and they had plenty of other things on display (bags, belts, stationary, Swatch-like watches), but I was concentrating on the mini-figure related stuff.

I don't know the significance in the backing-card graphic changes here . . . new range? It may be that different corporate/bulk customers (Tesco or Sainsbury's for instance) can stipulate packaging . . . I should have asked while I was there . . .hay-ho!

The new characters from the recent movies are starting to be included alongside the older icons of the franchise, and larger versions are available of some of those iconic characters, I have the little Darth Vader (we saw him the other day here at SSW), but I bet the large one is blinding!

Which reminds me; if you're buying the Darth, check he has a cloak, I bought two back in 2012, one for a friend and one for me and didn't notice mine was missing it's cloak, someone had nicked it, presumably to replace a damaged one at home!

DC and other Lego themed figures, each in the graphics of their respective toy-range . . . I like the old-school Batman & Robin, and the Joker.

There's that babe in the sexy-basque again, but looking more like someone's granny! And I love the Clark Kent with his shirt ripped-open, only trouble being - Lego Minis (formerly Legoland Minifigures!) can't get their hands round to the fronts of their chests!

If they've sold 8-point-something million of them in the UK and Eire, that's about one per hundred people . . .no, it's one per every ten people? Oh . . . bother! [Get's the calculator up on the screen!] It is! it's approximately one per every 10 or 11 citizens! Well - I've got mine, have you got yours - they're very good - while the batteries are fresh!

Ph is for Yada yada yada . . .

Yep! Phidel again! Now I've got a system for finding them quickly they are turning-up everywhere, and when I say 'system', like some secret squirrel, it's quite simple, look for the logo!

The Phidel logo is a largish rainbow-coloured swirl of pastel P's, usually on a darker background than the above, which is easy to spot among all the tat in the kiddie's section of charity shops, whether among the board games, the books or the general toys.

With each charity shop or chain having a very different look or set-up, it's the easiest way to do it, just run your eyes over the shelves looking for the logo and if you spot it, check the spine text for My First... or My Busy if you also see ...Stick-on, ...Magnet or ...Puzzle you can ignore; the My Busy Books (with an 's') is where you'll find the pay-dirt!

A pound each, one was mint (Peanuts) the other a bit of a mess, but adding to the whole, the books gone to recycling before I'd got home, hence their being photographed on the verge . . . well otherwise it's like carrying half the Encyclopedia Britannica around for the rest of the afternoon!

One pocket got a mint set of Peanuts, nice, would never have bought them new, but now they ticked-off the lists, mental and real, and box-ticked here - favorites above, rest below.

They were a bit chewy for peanuts, but I got them all down! And I love how the kennel finally explains why Snoopy never got chronic back-pain; I always imagined he was balanced on the knife-edged ridge of a pitched roof!

The other pocket got what was covering for the frozen set, which was different from the previous one (also a part set - it's the male characters and the moose who keep going AWOL!), with smaller characters - I think I mentioned seeing it somewhere on-line the other day?

And I'm not sure if these are all from the set, nor if one of the trees might be from a second set? The girl with the purple cape won't stand-up and has to be propped so I suspect this is an older set, and things/designs have improved with better bases or chunkier, balanced figures?

This is actually quite useful, it would be OK for 28mm role play, or as a larger sled with a 2/3-man bench-seat (for towing by a light-tank or half-track) for WWII 'Ost Front' winter war games in 1:76th, put an AA-mount on the wind-cowl/arm-rest at the front, couple more guys on the back . . . bob's your uncle! It even has a ski-stick stowed down the side!

Picture 5

See 'Q is for Question Time' - published five minutes before this post (below) for what was picture five (it's now picture six but - hey-ho!) and its blurb.

Q is for Question Time - Rabbits and Turtles?

As part of the post publishing [above] in five minutes but really needing to be both separate and below it, for scroll'ers; is the rest of the [mixed] contents of the Phidel Frozen set I recently caught in a Farnborough charity shop . . .

Not really Phidel plastic, and there may be duplicate bunnies! The three turtles are all different and I feel the rabbits should be too? As with the wrapped pig/piglet the other day you feel that three turtles looking three different ways must be 'known' to someone as a cartoon meme or memorable scene in some way . . . anyone got any idea on any of them?

Rabbits are all tampo-printed on their bums: 50921AMP - and marked: 16665 © SML China - each with the numbers overlaid on the image above. Could it be 'Super Mario Logan'

Turtles likewise on the rear left flipper: 50914AMP - and carry the same moulded-in marks with numbers as above.

The printed codes being the same within species and different - but similar between - suggests family groups, further reinforcing the feeling that there's a rabbit missing/duplicated? The single numbers are probably mould or mould-cavity marks.

There was also an unrelated polypropylene traffic cone and a transparent, purple, styrene bead, in the 'lot'! And - No, I do not search this stuff out or collect it, but it's here - might as well try and ID it . . . and it gets another 'Q' in the tag-list!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

T is for Toy Fair '18 Reports - HGL - Other Wildlife

Because the name changes (and two ownership changes) are quite recent, there is still stuff in HGL's stable with H. Grossman branding, while not everything is Ozbozz'ed, so all three are in evidence here.

In addition to the vast range of dinosaurs (shown on Thursday just past), there were plenty of other novelty and pocket-money toys, among which were the 'Farm & Zoo' we're looking at here.

Paralleling the core of the dinosaur range, Both the farm (domestic . . . ) and zoo (. . . wild animals) come in header-carded bags of two sizes and tubs large and small, along with other items mirroring other aspects of the Dinosaur or Dragon Domain range packagings.

All are seen here, along with budget tractors, some smaller die-casts running out of the bottom-left of the image (I wasn't focusing on them at all!) and a stand-alone (graphics-wise) bag of sea-mammals/cetaceans.

The bottom corner of the previous; here shot in better detail, with - in front of them - two counter display boxes of larger single animals. The window boxes are in the same style as the similar dinosaur and dragon boxed-sets currently in TKMaxx.

We looked at the Wild Animal tub earlier today and while the contents look similar in the current tub, it would appear that there's now a larger tiger evident and possibly new giraffes or new decoration of the giraffe, there a smaller baby giraffe in the larger tub, which following my rule of thumb is getting close to being a toob!

The same 'line' also has these sea-life sets which are a mixture of larger and smaller animals, some of the smaller ones seeming to be the same as those packeted by Henbrandt as single party-favour type things, seen last year on SSW (why have I been abbreviating that as SCW? . . . sigh!).

I think also these are different sculpts to those in the bagged set, the sealions look similar though, so it may just be a change of decoration?

The insect bag has similar graphics to the sea-life one, and giant insects are also available, except, they are probably merely life-size to some of the things that crawl out of the Amazon basin or the volcanic jungles of Indonesia!

I can say with some certainty that 'figural' - as the driving concept behind SSW these days - precludes the My Lovely Farm stress-ball sheep from ever being deemed necessary on Small Scale World and that consequently they will not appear again, ever!

There is a sub-line of rack-toys in blister cards called Fun Toy Critters with five selections on show at the end of January; Insects (6), Spiders (4 or 5?), a snake/lizard/alligator mix (also five, with scale all over the place!), dinosaurs (6) and birds (5 or 6?).

The dinosaurs (I though we'd cleared bloody dinosaurs!) look a bit generic and familiar, but the birds are new to me, the reptiles seem to have been collected from several sources, the insects are chunky and a tad-unimaginative in decoration, but I'll buy them if I see them as I'm getting quite a side-collection of them now, and with my other hobby of photographing the real ones (saw my first Bumble-bee out and about today - Wednesday) I'm growing quite attached to my polymer invertebrates! The spiders also look interesting, although - for 'interesting' read; ugggh!

W is for Wild Animals

And what's wild about them is the attention to scale . . . and the attention to realism!

Sorting out the images for the third Show Report on HGL's offerings this year (coming this afternoon) I though "Oh, are they still doing those", only to find I hadn't Blogged them, so here's a set I got some time ago, like several years ago . . . I think?!!

So, the smaller of HGL's standard tub-sizes (I have a rule of thumb - if the height is less than about two or three times the base diameter, it's a tub, more than three; it's a 'toob'!) and filled with a very strange assortment of animals in larger (Papo/Schleich size) and smaller 'mini-mals', along with a couple of medium-sized to boot, and while some of them a really very good and 'up-there' with the aforementioned 'premium' brands in quality and sculpting, others are quite cartoonish.

The elephant managed to get left out of the subsequent close-ups, so I'll just point out that while a bit tusk-less, he is an ideal size for a war-gaming elephant, albeit a tad-too savannah 'African'?

Looking at two of the better models, the cheetah is really quite superb (clone of Safari's?), not enough spots, but then 90% of every cheetah ever made from Nuremberg flats, through hollow-cast and composition and up to the present-day didn't/doesn't/hasn't had the right spots, so that's not real criticism!

While the tiger (about twice the bulk in the wild) is less than half the size, but an equally nice sculpt, and again the stripes are better than many. A lot of effort has gone into these two; design, manufacture and decoration.

Of the smaller animals I thought this mandrill/baboon stood-out as being some way away from same-old-same-old, although the right-hand image was saved from 'delete' to balance the collage and should have been re-shot!

The zebra and giraffe, as well as being in intermediate scales to the lion and cheetah on the one hand and the smallies on the other (the elephant is in a scale of his own really!), are also poor sculpts with toy-like expressions.

The lion is OK, but looks familiar - an old Elastolin-clone? Something like that!

When I dug these out I wondered if any of the smallies would be from that lot we looked at a few weeks ago, but, no, although in the same 60-70mm size/dimension bracket, they are all new or different sculpts.

I think - from the mix of scales/realism that this is a construct of animals from different sources, or clearance from different contracts, brought together as a budget-buy, and when you consider these sets sell for 4 or 5 quid retail, that can be less than one Schleich tabby-cat or rabbit model!

Friday, February 23, 2018

T is for Toy Fair '18 Reports - HGL - Aliens & Monsters

Or A is for a tale of two genres!

Continuing to look at the shots I got-off at the Toy-fair last month; we'll look at the monsters first, or 'dragons' to be more exact!

This is an odd one; it clearly states 12, not once but twice, yet I can count at least 18, possibly a few more, and it looks to be three-each of six (which would be 18) or seven (21) sculpts, whether they have combined the contents of two boxes for display purposes or not I can't say, but can guess at . . . that'll be a yes then!

Also while they are called dinosaurs (and this image was removed from that batch of shots), they are clearly dragons, and of European/heraldic pattern or tradition, rather than a more Chinese/Asian design or Mayan/Amerindian style.

Also - look at that unit-price! I bet they'll be at least two-quid; retail! But - very useful for fantasy gaming.

I shot a couple of these in TKMaxx, can't remember if it was this autumn-gone, or last autumn (2016), but they were four or five-pounds I seem to recall, and fifteen-odd for the large set - matched in style to the Megasaurs box of similar size.

Moving from fantasy to full-on sci-fi; we have a box of big-head, squeezy-aliens, shown here for completion, because I took the shot and to get them out of Picasa, not because I've any desire to track them down and add them to the physical collection!

There was also a full range of eggs with or without slime or gypsum/plaster and a digging tool, along with the novelty 'grow' aliens - just add water!

I have a few grow-your-own novelties, I think we may have had one or two on the blog over the years, but fully-grown they are A) a bit big and B) a bit damp! I wonder if you could coat them in something to keep them small - problem being that most 'coatings' are likely to be or act like liquid, so likely to soak-in, causing growth!

Perhaps you could use a lacquer-spray (hair-setter or artists pastel-fixative) to seal the foam, then a spirit based varnish (Humbrol spray-matt?) then a top coat of something more substantial, that plumbers-sealant would give them a nice polymer 'shell'. You could then use them forever with 40-60mm figures!

Peter Evan's; who I was at the show with, suspected the larger models were part of the production process; masters or mould blanks, and certainly the smaller neutral-beige one would seem to be, but the two purple ones don't bear any relationship to any of the sculpts of the products on show, and were quite 'play-worn' so I wonder if they might be display models or painted-blanks left over from earlier lines or ranges, perhaps from some time ago - Grossman have been around for decades now?

A is for Agglo

That's Agglo the Chinese exporter, not Aglow the French importer! Just a quick fillip to yesterday's dinosaur posts which absolutely clears dinosaurs from the lap-top . . . I think!

Shelfie'd in one of Mr Berke's favourite NY discount stores and sent to the blog at Christmas, so still current'ish? We'll look at the Dino's first even though the second set is the more interesting.

This seems to be a mix of two sets, smaller monochrome 'minis' in yellow, green and brown; the green being very washy-looking, and larger models with a bit of airbrushed paint, the whole bulked-out with the usual rocks and trees and stuff.

They look to be really old sculpts, whether they are old stock or not remains a mystery, but from some of the stuff which does turn-up from time to time it's clear there are the odd warehouse or two full of old stuff out there somewhere!

This is more interesting, as it's the same figures and vehicles we saw Imperial (and others) carrying earlier last year and again in Rack Toy Month, the Tiger turret is still on the Sheridan hull and the T-whatever turret is still on the Tiger's hull! Unified-Germans versus Yanks? Seems to be a tad against the spirit of NATO membership!

The 'planes may have been bought-in from another source, as the F-something 'scaryplane' (F17?) thing turns up quite often in other play-sets (including Redbox's Motormax sets) and is in a harder polymer like ABS or propylene, but the Tomcat/Eagle (? I don't really 'do' aircraft) is usually found in the same crumbly plastic as those figures look to be the version of (see previous posts), so the stealth-fighter may just be in a harder plastic due to moulding issues, especially with that tail!

A lot of Fun!

The 'other' agg'lowe! Imports of generic Airfix 54mm clones, reduced to 25mm.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

HGL is for H Grossman Limited, Ozbozz and Megasaurs!

A while before I attended the Toy fair, I had spend a whole pound on one of the carnivores with a 'tick' on it which had come into one of the Charity Shops after Christmas and which I had already shot ain TKMaxx, and we'll have a quick shufftie at it and another HGL-branded dino, to close the day of dinosaurs on Small Scale World.

I don't know if it's actually supposed to be a T-Rex, Giganotosaurus, Megalosaurus or an Alaosaurus or whatever (most of which are bigger than a Tyrannosaur I believe?), I just assume it's Tyrannosaurus, here being brought low by the biting, snapping of a little lizard-leech-raptor'saur of some kind! {Quickly checks the model - it's got T-Rex 2 stamped on one foot!}

The little leech-like lizard thing, on some models there's quite a bit of blood, mine's got quite a clean wound, but 'Rex looks pretty peeved, with or without his mouth open!

This is not one of the jaw-movement activated voice models, more of a Britains crocodile mechanism, albeit without the bloody-great handle that the vintage animal had under its muzzle!

I also picked-up this HGL-branded whatever-'tops (Septaseratops?), which I think is from an older line, as I can't find it in any of the show-shots, it's sub-branded to Ozbozz but over-branded to H Grossman, not HGL. The 'Dinosaurs' logo on the tag is very like the font on the box for the squeeky-toy's in the previous post, but with an additional 's'.

Also it's quite like the otherwise-unknown Dimetrodon from this morning's second post; both in the treatment of the eyes and the overall colour-scheme?

T is for Toy Fair 2018 Reports - HGL - Dinosaurs

Continuing with the Toy Fair reports and we're looking specifically at HGL's Dino-stuff, which is all (or mostly) being re-branded to 'Megasaurs' with their own website.

Here we see large stand-alone models and counter-display cartons with various toys at different pricings, some with moving parts, others with electronic actions, there are wind-up walkers and hand/glove puppets as well. To the far right, there appear to be dinosaur pencil-tops.

Already seen on the Blog, these sets (along with larger assortments) have been in both The Works and TKMaxx for several years now, on-and-off. Note in the foreground both 9 and 12-figure assortments of more dragon-like creatures. The unit-price to trade is also interesting compared to the retail prices!

The larger 7-piece sets, we did see a huge set before Christmas (2016?) with a volcano tub of mini-saurs a bit like the Geoworld iceberg in the previous post.

I took a close-up of the squatter, not even the legendary 'Tyrant King's' are safe from revolting proles! We'll be seeing more of it before the day's out.

Dino Backpacks with a tree, rocks, different animal assortments and the odd egg! To either side you can see those fluid-filled continuous worms themed to dinosaurs, dinosaur skeletons and both dinosaur Grow Eggs and plaster/gypsum eggs with embedded models.

Dinosaur slime (with dinosaur), slide-projector and tubs, along with header-carded bags of dinosaurs in two sizes - I think Brian Berke sent us shelfies from the coast of similar (non-HGL branded?) bags back in the summer?

I rather like the giraffe-like colouring of the stegosaurus in the larger bags, and the tiger-striped T-Rex for that matter! Light-up, glitter-putty, Goo Egg anyone? I think I'll pass; thanks!

Finally we have roaring models, more moving heads, friendly/cuddly dinosaurs and a larger version of the tubs. The box to the far left seems to have squeezy dinosaurs of the same type as dog-toys!

D is Dinosaur Round-up

Not something you'd contemplate from the back of a horse, or even an open-jeep! Being; all the Dinosaur-related stuff hanging around on the desk-top or in Picasa. Have we had that attempt at humour before?

Brian B sent these back in the autumn, if not further ago, and they were sitting patiently waiting their turn (which is now), and while I know some of you will be groaning inwardly with a sighed "Not more novelty crap on SCW!", the fact is, if you have a skeleton army outside of the restrictive-practice legislation of someone like Games Workshop, these are fantastic, who wouldn't want a dirt-cheap, dead-bear 'Champion' or a skeletal War Elephant!

And bollocks to scale - you're proposing to field an army of skeletons who have not only come back to life, but can operate under combat conditions without muscles or sinews holding their bones together! And Geoworld give you a 'free' iceberg for your Revell Titanic model-kit or Timpo Esquimaux - double bargain!

I bought the upper group the other day for a quid, and photographed them with the aim of trying to separate them into the two (or even three) origin-samples I thought might be in the bag - along with the three 'minis' we saw in the Paul Lamond-post a couple of days ago.

But then - looking for something else in the archive - I found the lower shot, taken from the US importer D&D Distibution's catalogue, and it would appear that while I'm missing one or two (all right - three!), they are all from the same source!

Quite old-school in execution, they are a softish PVC, although there is variation enough in density between them for me to have set-about trying to sort them into separate lots! I seem to be missing the large upright sauropod-looking green one, the spinosaur next to him and the flying dinosaur to the left (in white), although I think I may have the 'bog-standard' palm-tree somewhere!

Picked this up because it's a Dimetrodon! Don't know anything else about it (it might have been carried by HGL - that's something else about it actually!), but look at my Dimetrodon! It's a Dimetrodon and it's mine!

Picture Credit - Meme via Doghousediaries 2012

If you squeeze his head together his teeth line-up nicely and slot together! It's purely coincidental - I think - but it's cool!

This is also from Brian B and is only posed (I hope, the thought of dinosaurs free to wander up the tracks is worrying!), but it's a rather neat use of different sized/scaled sauropods to make a family group, here paying a little too much attention to the bus-station under the arches!

Thanks to Brian for both contributions and more dino's to-come today.

A is for A Tail of Six Dinosaurs

Tail - tale - dinosaurs . . . never-mind! Brain sent a bunch of dinosaur shelfies the other day without knowing I had just bought another from the range in Poundland Plus, nor why I had bought it, and it's led to my digging out a few other images for a post which - if nothing else - is instructive of how the toy industry works at the bottom end!

These are they (Mr. Berke's shelfies, that is!); three dollars . . .  is what; one-eighty? Something like that! And for that money you can't complain, nicely blister-packed with backing-cards and a decent level of decoration, my complaint - voiced before now - is the rather obvious joins where separate mouldings are fused-together to give the impression of, or allow for poses which would otherwise have proven difficult or impossible with only undercuts.

By the 'other' LP; Lollipop Toys (or Brooklyn Lollipops Import Corp. as they call themselves!), there are six in the whole line, and you may have recognised one or two of them, as they have popped-up on the Blog in the past.

This is the range in its entirety, the upper shot being from Henbrandt's old catalogue, the lower shot from the back of the Poundland one I bought and Blogged a year or two ago. You can see that both companies were (are?) getting the same colour schemes, which also those carried by Brian's shelfie herd.

But, I'd already bought my 2nd 'Dippy', this time from Poundworld Plus, and now in a different scheme (right) to the [common] previous scheme, as we saw with the Funtastic one on the left; Funtastic being what the industry calls a 'phantom-brand' of Poundland, I tend to call them made-up brands or imagibrands!

The new one is by Toy Bank another phantom-brand . . . of the same group! This time the sub-branding on the box is 'Little Fossil Toys', which has to be added to Green Gecko and Pirate Monkey in the ever spiraling-upward list of cross-referenced 'brandlettes'!

Packaging - clockwise from top left - for Lollipop, Henbrandt and Poundworld Plus, note however, that the counter display carton from Henbrant's catalogue is wearing the logo for Zhong Jie Toys, a company already supplying Poundland (or was it 99p Stores? . . . Aaaaarrrrrhhhhh!) with wild animal models!

Remember my paint-tray-guilt-stupid-Brit-thing purchase the other month? Well, it's from the same range, in the same (older?) scheme; Out of the Blue, probably a contractor rather than a phantom, and while I can't remember the counter display, I bet it was the same as the Henbrandt catalogue shot . . .

. . . and I'll bet there are other contracted and phantom brands out there carrying these six rather good, usually very cheap, foamed-PVC (or similar) dinosaur models, indeed, I think I mentioned TKMaxx having sets of three about two years ago, with different graphical packaging! In fact I thought I'd taken a shelfie, but I can't find it so I may not have!

More dino's - later today.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Q is for Question Time? Pig Parcel!

As we're looking at girly, civilian type, larger-scale stuff today, perhaps someone can help ID this weirdness - which came in for the princely sum of 10p the other day? It's a swine of a query!

It appears to be a (possibly . . . probably (?) still alive) piglet wrapped in brown-paper and tied-up with string!

It's a soft polymer, so not likely to be a Playmobile accessory; unmarked, and if taken as an adult pig; would be 54mm-compatible, if as a piglet; around 80/90mm-compatible, so possibly an action figure accessory?

I tried throwing it to see if it was a variant of Pass the Pigs, but it just keeps falling on a side, so I don't think Pass the Porcine Parcel's a line of further inquiry!

Anyone got any ideas, it's such an odd thing I feel it must be a known character or represent a memorable incident from some comic or movie scene?

It will fit the Horrible Histories pigapult!