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.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

3D is for Pen

Ten years ago I was chatting with a German toy collector as we walked into town for a meal one evening, turning from toys, to talk of non-toy stuff - as you do - we got to discussing the then newsworthiness of the Too Much Stuff hypothesis, which had recently been proposed by some talking-head at the UN, EU, Times or somewhere equally worthy.

During which discussion we both agreed that we too; had too much stuff, and mishearing his pronunciation of a well known German discount store, I was eager to agree with him about the cheap but efficient (usually German) power tools I had been buying, we then enthusiastically regaled each-other with our tales of mini-drill purchase, big-drills, drill-stands, powered-drivers, garden tools, paint-strippers and etcetera, only to realise we were both talking of our identical trips to collect either the Lidl 'forthcoming items' catalogue, or stuff from it!

Being a faithless whore, I also patronise Aldi, but I prefer Lidl! And it was to Lidl I repaired a week ago to grab this little gadget . . .

. . . advertised in the previous week's flyer, I wonder if my German colleague also trotted-down to his 'local' for a 'fix'? And - yes; I also got four packs of stollen-bites!

Having seen similar things in News, Views Etc . . . the other day, only slightly cheaper and aimed at kids, you may understand why I chose to invest in something a couple of quid more expensive but aimed at adults . . . I needn't have bothered, and if you are thinking of a 3D pen, my advice is try the cheapest kid's one you can find - as a sort of 'tech-primer'.

This is the object of my attention, and there were only five left by 3pm on issue-day, you have to be quick with Lidl's offers, or stay at home! But you usually only have to wait about six-months for it to reappear and it's often less-subscribed on the subsequent releases.

Although sold by Lidl it is in fact a Karsten product and the support sites are Karsten's not Lidl's. The first thing I can tell you is that so far I have been unable to reproduce anything remotely resembling the blue pyramid on the cover.

"Ergonomically designed" it definitely is, a 3D printer it definitely 'aint! What this is; is exactly what it looks like - a reduced-scale hot glue-gun! The fact that you load it with a rigid, continuous, polymer filament rather than soft, rubbery, synthetic wax-based sticks is the only difference and that's one of detail, not technology.

There is a second difference which is technological, the feed is automatic rather than trigger- or thumb-based, but you still have to operate a button to activate the feed - so for all practicable purposes is it a glue-gun . . . with a fine nozzle.

You get three 10m x 0.6mm filaments (an 'industry standard' size - there's a few of these pen-designs around now) of Poly-lactic acid polymer (PLA); a relatively new plastic which is certified 100% bio-degradable and even compostable - so don't make anything with it you might be planning on leaving to your children! You can however get ABS (Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) filaments which will last in the environment for thousands of years, so an ethical choice there?!

I found the filament feed to be problematic from the off; the instructions are adamant that you mustn't force it (manually push it in or pull it out), but leave the auto-feed to do it . . . from brand-new it failed to successfully achieve both, several times within a half hour or so (and needed manual 'help'). It's also important to cut the filament flat (at 90° to the cable length) in order for it to feed correctly.

Also like a glue-gun the nozzle cools with use and the thing stops occasionally to get a mental grip on itself, and if it gets too hot (cooks-off) it starts spitting and leaving bubbles in the substrate. To alleviate the later, it switches-off automatically if you don't use it for two minutes, and like a glue-gun you will need a bit of scrap for over-dribble, for cleaning the nozzle, for colour-changes, flushing &etc..

Once it has stopped it takes up to 80 second to reheat before you are green-lighted to go again, while stopping the feed doesn't stop stuff oozing out, ruining your work if you're not careful. The fact that the 'off-button' and the reverse-feed button are one and the same is also bloody annoying.

The pen is described as a '3D' (for three-dimensional) pen with a 'print-head', but as you can see from my introductory efforts; it is neither a pen nor a printer; what this is, is a deposition modeller, or material-deposition device and nothing else. A glorified, hot, icing-piper - splodging stuff roughly where you want it - indeed; a practised pastry-chef might well get better results than the average user and would certainly get better results than me!

It oozes, briefly molten plastic under relatively low pressure (in comparison with injection-moulding pressures), with little accurate control, in order to make novelties - which you will see from the Faceplant page and linked Youtube videos - are variations of the things previous generations have made from raffia, matchsticks, beads, empty lavatory-rolls, tooth-picks, straws, cotton-reels, tissue paper, scissors & glue et al.

The reason I am being so negative about this pen is that I don't want people being too disappointed by it; or one of the similar animals out there prowling for a bite of your 'hard earned' shekels.

I thought it might be useful for converting figures or filling gaps in models, but the plastic is pretty unworkable once set - having the properties of nylon or polypropylene, or indeed its stable-mate filament; ABS, the polymer of choice for electric kettle manufacture, vehicle interiors and engine-bay-furniture type stuff!

It cools too quickly to join cut-n-shut figures, and while it would fill gaps, trimming would be laborious and it may not take or hold model paints (older spirit enamels or newer aqueous and PVA types) well? I haven't tried painting my efforts yet, but I suspect paint would easily scrape of small pieces, or flake from larger constructions.

In the upper image you can see my attempt at the lower image; my initials/moniker! And when I tried to remove the diagonal between the two uprights of the 'H' [using the new, sharp enough for bone, blade I had replaced in my Swan Morton No.3 handle, after the 'proper' glue-gun glue removal exercise and steel-fracture, suffered working on the lip-balm bear project the other day (keep up!)] it all fell to pieces, because if you don’t stab the joints into each other, they don't actually stick together as one bead of substrate has cooled too much and the other is cooling as soon as it leaves the pen.

This means that even if you use one of the templates provided to make, say; the butterfly, it will be shedding bits about the house for ever after, especially as it's bio-degradable and will only ever become less stable!

It will be useful for building up scenery (but that will prove costly in filament), likewise it may have applications working with wire-armatures, or using its own crude armatures* and I'm sure if I get a brown and green filament I will produce passable trees, but it's all a bit of a faff for a simple thing dressed-up as future-tech-today. And the trees would be passable with Lego, not as war-games terrain, they would still need paint and flocking.

* There are more expensive, more pen-like models out there (like the original TV-advertised one a few years ago) and they may be better suited to producing uprights or horizontals, but I tried, at all three feed-speeds and various human-arm speeds, and couldn't produce a measured upright of constant thickness to the point I wished it to finish, thin filaments of 'stretched-sprue' being the result of attempting a sudden, pull-away finish, with lumpy, collapsing stumps being the result of attempting to halt at the desired point.

While all horizontals sag unless they are held-up until they cool, something which requires a third hand while the nozzle dribbles, forgotten, out of the corner of the mind's eye!

Where it may have some use, is in restoration/mending of old hollow-casts? He adds after reading Scott's article on Mexicans the other day, getting heads back on, or fixing arms, the ooze being more easily cut, filed-away and/or sanded from a metal substrate . . . worth a try! But I don't think you could use it to say - rebuild horses legs?


There are other videos you can navigate too from the above and in one of them someone builds a box (with a different brand of pen) but you can detect the editor's film-cuts at the end of each stroke, so you are never shown the full process.

I will persevere with practising and report back again and if anyone else has experience of these types of 'tools', I know lots of people are interested in the practicalities, and applications. It may be useful for hidden mends in restoration for instance; pink filament might have an application in the restorative surgery of Action Man or Barbie joints?

Get the dark-green filament and you could have a decent stab at making The Creature from the Black-Lagoon, brown - a Bigfoot, white - a Yeti! Or orange for a REAL swamp-monster, but there's no way you can accurately model that hairpiece with this pen!

But - seriously; it's a lot of faff for something you may get out once in a blue moon? Like a lot of the tools I've bought from Lidl over the years! Digital micrometer, soldering iron, wheeled car jack, jack stands, watchmaker's screwdrivers . . . all useful stuff . . . occasionally!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Q is for Quick One!

Have we had that title before? I don't think so and that's another 'Q' in the tag list . . . bargain!

This was also 45p in the Basingrad charity shop, I got a bear and a kangaroo AND change for a quid! I put the ten in the box . . . what do you think I'm like!

The tub of lip-balm was a bugger to get out, in the end brute-force and a screwdriver blade did the job! Quick clean-up of the glue-gun gunk and . . .

. . . I've got another bear for the cartoon animals tub, another Blog post, but not another tag; we've seen NPW novelties before here at Small Scale World!

4D is for Famemaster

Just a quick one from the full-scale world, it looked better in the 'flesh' as it were; I promise, the colours were richer and worth getting the camera out for!

We have reached the point where more than half the leaves still on the trees becomes more than half the leaves on the ground, and the switching between rain and frost over this weekend will do for autumn and it'll be winter for a while.

I shot the 1st picture above on a trip to Basingrad to pick-up stollen-bites from Lidl last Thursday! They are much nicer than stollen-loaf or stollen-roll both of which are too bready and too marzipany for me, but Lidl's stollen-bites are biscuity yet soft . . . like little spiced rock-cakes; excellent. Four packs in the stash . . . well three-and-a-bit packs, I opened one on the way home!

I popped into the charity shops while I was walking through town and picked this up for 45p! It's by 4D Master who made the puzzle Tiger (tank) we looked at over seven years ago (link), and this is really quite exquisite; 22 pre-decorated pieces which have to be assembled.

Undergoing construction, it was relatively easy for me but then I'm over the hill; it should be; a younger person would get more fun from it, but the finished product is worth the effort whatever your skill level.

Normally I wouldn't buy stuff like this and they haven't featured in The Works as far as I know (as the tanks did), but when it's in a Charity shop for pennies; it's a must and something different for the Blog.

A very fine model of a Red Kangaroo, certainly giving Mr. William Britains' old grey model a run for its money, both heads turn and while the Joey can be removed you only have his upper-half and a square, peg hole scar in Mum's pouch.

Without the packaging I'm assuming (again!) it's supposed to be a red kangaroo as . . . err . . . it's not grey! But I know there are lots of kangaroos, including Giant ones, while nobody's explained Wallabies to me, are they somehow different in shape; or just small kangaroos?

And if they are just small kangaroos, how come the giant kangaroo hasn't got its own name like 'wallaby', but suggesting largeness as opposed to smallness . . . this stuff should keep you awake at night; we've put men on the moon, but the jumping-mice are all mix-named!

He's definitely a giant, red or not! A few I had near to hand as a comparison, obviously the larger you get the better the detail and the more accurate the sculpt ought to be (tell that to Cherilea's UN forces!), and the puzzle joins don't detract too much from the whole; although the camera-flash helped with this shot - compare with the four-angle above...

As I was putting away the previous lot I remembered I had more Hong Kong produced generics, so a panic shot, posed on the bottom of the box ensued!

Monday, November 20, 2017

C is for Combat Transporter

Possibly released by HTI (Halsall) as early as 2001, but more likely 2012/13 (it's not clear), this is still available around the place, I shelfied it about 2½ years ago, published the shot in August of this year, and finally weakened and bought this last week.

A bit of a weakness, it was, but it wasn't all that bad at £6.99, and a bit of a weakness for tank transporters was involved too! However and actually it was the 4x4 VAB-alike that swung it!

Better pictures than we saw last time, scale is all over the place but it is with all these new production, smaller scaled, Die-cast metal Chinatanks. Contents include the Transporter at a good OO/25mm, the VAB'ish APC at around HO/20mm and a Merkava and Gazelle/Aluette which are better suited to 15mm war-gaming, but may be a tad big for them? In addition abroad sign seen in many of these sets over the last 15-odd years, so probably bought-in.

The contents in mid-play, you've gotta have a play, easier to justify if you're taking photographs for a Blog article, but it's still playing! You would find two wheeled AFV's on one transporter, but with a longer trailer than this one's scaled-to, the reason this one fits is becasie the trailer is a bigger scale hence the spare width either side of the carrier.

Big rigs are big, but they're not too big to be pushed off the road by a boat-nosed AFV, this one is. But as a standalone model, is exactly the kind of thing operated by all these outsourced logistics companies used by modern militaries. The 5th-wheel works, although I think the fit would get loose with lots of play as it’s a styrene female working against a metal male part, and the latter would pare-down the former.

God Knows? Is it a late Gazelle, a newer Alouette; it's a small toy helicopter and will go in the tub with the other 'odd' die-cast helicopters!

As stated a bit big for the currently faddish 1:120th war-gaming, probably about 1:100? I'm not going to start measuring it and working-out ratios or percentages, I just don't care enough! Barrel seems to have slightly more elevation than the real thing, at that angle the breech is on the floor!

Historical footnote - it's exactly one hundred years ago today that these rumbled clanked over the mud at Cambrai, giving my Bavarian cousins a bit of a shock!

This is the kiddy I was after! I've got several with tons of Asian style parade markings daubed all over them; indeed we've seen a couple here, but there are more in storage, the models been around for at least 12 years, probably longer, but this is the first in a camouflage - I may have a plain, green one somewhere?

I'm sure the thing on the passenger cupola (I'm assuming left-hand drive!) is a water-cannon for riot control-work and versions do exist in fire (the red lights still on the roof!) and police/SWAT colours . . . nice!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

W is for Well, Well, Well . . .

I've had a lazy few days this week - as far as the Blogging goes, I've been busy doing other things, but it means the post pencilled-in for today probably won't happen 'till Monday (it's Friday in real time!), but I have got a new queue formed, just not finished sorting out the images or texting them up with blurb!

So this is a quickie that was ready to go, and Monday's will post later in the day than usual, if at all!

You see an awful lot of this stuff, there was David Winter (was it? John Winter?) the local lot over Alton way with their Cotswold bollocks, while these Lilliput Lane things turn up all the time, this was £1.45p in a charity shop, a bit pricey really; for a charity shop (as far as my purchasing habits go!) but with no chips (common with this stuff) I picked it up; the size helped.

It's funny, I'd been looking in a modern 'chain' jeweller's window, a few minutes earlier, at a bunch of glittery, enamelled animals and thinking "All these will be in charity shops in a year or two for two-quid-ninety-nine!" They were so heavily decorated it was hard to tell if the base medium was metal, ceramic, poured resin like this well, or an injected polymer.

As a species we have become conditioned to take our pick from a monumental pile of shite, and there's no stopping us. We toy collectors justify our activities with the thoughts that A) we are saving 'old' things, B) it feeds our need to hunt, C) presses a nostalgia button and that D) any shite we pick-up along the way is for completion - to tell the whole story, or for a 'project'; but I can see no similar excuses justifying the collecting of resin blobs made yesterday . . . unless they are pirates in plaster-blocks - of course!

But who wants to cover a mantle-piece or the glass shelves of a flat-packed 'shrank' in resin blobs of fictional architecture, or simplified, cleaned-up, examples of real, old buildings? Which - resultant collection - represents no real place or community known to man. This lump was probably fifteen or twenty-quid when new, priced as an 'entry-level' piece to draw in new collectors, the big pieces can be hundreds of pounds!

Don't get me wrong, I can see the justification for a touristy Shakespeare's cottage or White Tower model, but a collection of buildings you've never been to and mostly can't ever visit?

Poured resin is the simplest and cheapest of technologies, and these buildings are modelled not with skill, but practised technique; brick-work and tile work is hinted at with no attendance to scale, and the decoration is likewise technique-driven (washes and dry-brushing) rather than artistic; bright, blemish-free colours leaving the subjects looking like illustrations from a kid's storybook, brought to life! Rose bushes don’t look like that, a stand of lupins is half dead-petal brown!

And of-course the resultant villagey-townscapey thing you end up with on your shelf of treasures has no constant scale, and few small details! However, for war-gamers the larger (in 'scale') buildings can be ideal for 10mm gaming, the smaller for 15mm gaming, while the few pieces of street furniture - the 'small pieces' mentioned just now - can be suitable for 20/25mm gaming.

This is such a piece - with the bucket being a large water bucket in 20mm or smaller horse-feed/watering-bucket in 25 or 28mm?

Die you Britisher devils!
Donner und blitzen!
Achtung; Spitfire!
Gott in Himmel -Teufuell!
Englander Schwinehund!
Mine Beutelmaus hat verstopfung!

Crappy resin well -

Saturday, November 18, 2017

C is for Coming Soon . . . or Came and Went!

The 'came & went' is because you will recognise various bits as having been Blogged in the last few weeks, but these plunder posts seem to generate quite a bit of interest if the stats are to be believed, so; this is some of the stuff which has come in over the later summer and autumn.

August and September's bits and bobs sorted and waiting for the attic door to open, there's a Sandown Show's worth here (September's) along with several bags of moshlingkinderpops from a charity shop! Looking at it; we've had about 40% on the Blog already, the rest will be filtered-in over the next X-years!

On the left are my show purchases at Sandown Park last weekend, less the stuff I purchased from Mercator which are on the right, there's a scale distortion, with the right image having been collaged bigger than the left image. We looked at the Lucky dude the other say, the rest are very-much on the back-burner, but we may look at the two Cherilea animals as the paint is so good!

This lot came from 'Jim' who was supposed to send me his eMail or feeBay ID so I could credit him properly, but he forgot! Anyway he's a fan, or at least visits the blog and let me have these for very little money and there's all sorts of interesting stuff to be filtered into future posts.

I feel a little guilty about the Charbens Guards, as I had them, thinking - in poor light - they were the rubber HK-manufactured ones and because they were in a large bag which was useful for putting the rest of the sortings in and it wasn't until I got them home I realised they were what they were, and I already have them - in similar condition, so I'll take them back to him at the show in March!

A certain S.P. tried to liberate the Marx Wild West lady within seconds of my paying for her, but I will do a comparison with all the other versions next time I get the Marx box out, so she stayed!

This was the floor findings at the end of the show! The suitcase opens (dolls?) and the astronaut is from Dinky's moon-buggy I think?

Jim has been trying to bring a load of bits and bobs to the show for me for a while, but with table moves and such-like it didn't happen for a couple of shows, and he had it ready for last Saturday but forgot to put it in the car. Kindly he posted it to me, and on Wednesday this-lot turned-up mid-morning!

All sorts of interesting bits and pieces, but mostly one's or two's, so things which will filter-in to future posts; gap-fillers rather than 'box-tickers'!

Does anyone recognise or know the origin of the 6" GI? He looks to be from a larger toy, with base-plugs on his feet, possibly a heavy-weapons crew-member or AFV mechanic? I'm guessing 1970's or early '80's, Hasbro, Kenner or Mattel type 'Big Box' toy of some kind?

Other highlights are some nice flats, two funnimals, a Blue Box knight with original kerthunker (I believe students of such things refer to them as maces!), a lovely stacking policeman in an early styrol; I've only previously seen clowns like that, various bits of Cherilea and a Hong Kong cave man, he's often found with his fig-leaf missing so nice to get him fully-wardrobed.

We will look at the Gem (here carded as 'Ge-Models') bagged set in close-up soon, do a comparison of those paratroopers with some we've seen here, some of the Khaki types can go to that page and the Bergan/Beton-horsed figures will go on the Airfix page dealing with them, so all useful grist to the mill and thank you Jim.


In addition to the above; Small Scale World has received two parcels from Peter Evans, some of which have been blogged, some still to come, various other Charity shop bargains (some still in edit), again some in the queue of articles, some sorted into the pile, one headed for the still-in-edit composition page (don't ask!), and there have been some stand alone things like the boardgames.

Brian Berke has sent lots of shelfies in the last three months, and I've been taking a few, I also weakened and bought something - previously seen as a shelfie - today (a few days ago in Blog-time), which will post tomorrow and there was Ed Berg's package of 1950's Khaki polymer. It's been a good autumn - thanks all!

Friday, November 17, 2017

T is for Two - Bear News!

It's far too early for the Christmas decorations to come out, we are quite traditional and while we rarely leave it 'till Christmas-eve anymore, mostly because it takes several days to dress the tree now and we have friends who often work Christmas and they like to see it before they decamp to Warwickshire for three weeks, but we can still get in the mood here at Small Scale World . . .

. . . by looking at the bears; not THE bears, they are still in the attic, but the new recruits! Four this year, and there's still over five weeks to go, I'll bet at least one more signs-up for tree service!

Meanwhile, Christmas isn't Christmas without a big, feel-good, family, comedy-movie, and this year it's Paddington does Porridge in Pentonville Prison. . . apparently! Brian Berke sent this shot of his wife's medium-sized Paddintons and it looks like three of them have done tree-service at some point . . . it's what well-mannered bears do!

T is for Two - Shelfies

Just in time for Christmas, you may want one or the other or both of these!

Currently being cleared through TK Maxx here in the UK, Schleich blind-bags . . . err . . . blind-packs! You get two figures for 4.99 (I gave them a miss!), which as I've seen these for seven-odd-quid each seems a bargain, but then a few years ago you had £7.99 Revell Epixx reappearing as Blue Box for 4.99, only for most of them to pop-up in Poundland for a quid! So you pays your money and takes your choice with this 60mm+ PVC stuff.

Safer ground with these up-scaled, sub-piracies of the old Galoob sculpts of Starship Troopers, this time from Lanard, but across the pound; "only at Walmart", you lucky buggers, but I'll be checking Asda, just in case! Thanks to Brian Berke for sending these shelfies.

I just love that a sniper is crawling around on the lid, shooting-up the store!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

F is for Follow-ups - Combat Soldiers

Technically I'm a 'toy soldier collector', but it's a long time since the collection was more than 50% military, if it ever was, and even if you include all the cowboys & Indians, armed spacemen, the sailors and airmen, it probably won't get far over the halfway point! But I try to deliver a decent number of green 'army men' here, and these are follow-ups to they!

I've known for some time that my Taffy Toys stretcher has damaged carrying-handles, so I was very pleased to pick this up at Sandown the other day. We've seen them before more than once and with Brian Carrick's also on the Khaki Infantry page, they've had a lot of column inches here for 8 or so poses of odd-scale, odd era figures, with non-service weapons!

Also of interest with the new acquisition - he has clear signs of paint? The fleck of green on the pillow came off the base of one of the Timpo Brit's he was bagged with for a few days - I suspect, but the flesh seems to be all his, what's left of it! Given the number of other companies [possibly] in the frame with Taffy, could one of them have had a painted issue? For instance those TN Thomas space figures have a painted PVC version; alongside unpainted PVC and polyethylene issues and it's not 'firm' that they all came from Thomas?

We've seen the Chap Mai Land-Rover quite recently, with the figure frame Blogger a while ago, but I picked-up a few spare figures so shot them with the 'rover, and then looking for something else found this . . .

  . . . which is the whole set, beautifully shown-off in a box-opening type video, but she can't resist playing with them, para-drop AFV's! And THAT's obviously what the funny thing under the Lanny is - that fouls the carpet - it's for attaching the para-drop frame and parachute! I've got to find the whole set haven't I? . . . God knows where I'll stash a two-foot-by-three-foot polypropylene Hercules!

I believe it was sold here as an unbranded generic through both Argos and Index (before the latter folded), but may have been branded to either of the stores or Chap Mai (but not in the catalogues) and will have had different packaging and/or branding in different markets.

I had one of those anonymous eMails from an anonymous fuckwit with the misfortune to be born fuckwitted who suggested I had used the same few figures to pretend I had all three sets of the DFC-MTC  Mini Military Playpack's I posted on the Hong Kong small scale, Giant or Not Blog back in Rack Toy Month, he said "I guess you think your [sic] clever and you tricked folks", so - fuckwitted one - actually I think I'm clever 'cos I can guess which 'folksy' side of the pond you reside! 

Dude - if I've got all three boxes and all three playmats, I don't think it actually matters how many of the figures I might have in your addled brainbox. Wotafuckwit.

To add weight to his conspiracy theorising; there may well be a difference in the figure count of one set (or two sets) compared to the three published posts as I found a crawling figure on the floor a few weeks later and added it to the Battle for Berlin set, as A) it only had one prone figure, B) it only has one vehicle and might have an extra figure and C) I didn't want to upset the count of the other two, when B has some validity!

And I can't be arsed to check my own posts to further 'trick' folks! Sometimes you do have to wonder why you bother . . .

 . . . anyway; while I was at it - I did a better colour comparison!

Also now on the Gaint... Blog, but shown here in last year's RTM was the Wing Lung post , and here's the missing larger scale base mark, it's not quite as neat as my 'from memory' graphics, but it's not too far removed!

F is for Follow-ups - Lucky / LP

I've been photographing all sorts of odd-and-sods in the last few months, had bits sent in by readers/followers, had three hardly-used photo-sessions at Sandown and several decent purchases in Charity shops, and I'm starting to sort some of it out into some sort of order, and we'll be dipping into it all between now and Christmas, starting with a few follow-up's to previous posts here at Small Scale World.

This is one of several additions to the Luck Toys box in the past few months, the others being either duplicates or below! He's missing his arm, but he came in a mixed lot from a charity shop, so A) I was stuck with him and B) it turned-out he was a new variation of base mark, but only for this figure, the base actually tying-him in to the firemen, some of whom have the 1112 coding, along with the race mechanics.

This was 50p at Sandown Park toy fair last weekend, he seems to be another of the Lucky, Clifford, OK [et al] figures, but not one I'm familiar with and the first in the larger 54/60mm range with the smooth base in a flesh-coloured styrene plastic of the generic 40mm figures we looked at here.

He's a paint conversion of a Minimodels racing-car driver, having a cigarette before the race, from the Scalextric series, but he's also lost his fag in the Hong Kong pantograph!

Ages ago we looked at the LP divers from the cake-decoration range (they were also sold from racks - witness the Lifeguard carded set in Plastic Warrior issue 166), with an addition from a reader a few days later; here are two more which came-in back in the summer some time.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

P is for Paint Your Own! These Are Mine!

The reason I was light on critique, running through the earlier posts today, was that I wanted to bring them all together as it'll be god knows when we look at them again, and because I'd not shot the rears or obverse sides in the earlier photo-shoot! Call it loose-ends!

So . . . are they worth getting? Yes.

Firstly - if you do what I did and buy the deal-pairs they work out at £1.25p each; per figure. Now the average price - of all the figures in a sizable collection - is around £1, once you add up all the single figures, bags of shite, expensive lots, five of these for a tenner, 8 of those for a fiver, "Give us a couple of quid" (15 figs when you get them home and count them), charity-shop bags, it's about a pound a figure on the year, say. . . and let's be honest here: A) that's the intrinsic value at most, and B) that should be what you're always aiming for, this isn't Mesopotamian antiquities we're collecting here!

That's for the 54-60-mil bracket of course; it's about 50p per figure if you're a small scale collector, it used to be about 10p averaged over the year, but the big bags of HK shite don't happen anymore and I regularly watch mixed, loose, lots of HK/Airfix/Revell/Esci getting bid-up to silly-money on evilBay, so it's about 50p now.

Therefore one-twenty-five for brand-new, larger scale figures is a bargain.

Secondly, they are worth having, they are mostly decent sculpts, original designs (question mark over the Dinosaurs) and of a reasonable size for one task or another whether adorning a self, joining war-games armies, or getting a starring role in role-play!

Thirdly, they might very-well help bring youngsters into the collecting fold.

These are a tad on the small side for 54mm, at around 50mm dead, but they are delicate little princesses, so having a slighter countenance whilst standing next to your Starlux Napoleonic officer types won't be that incongruous?

They are single mouldings (only the Magical Beasts are multi-part), quite well-done, not very cartoony and 'different', these are nice figures, will paint-up well and are definitely worth a punt.

The real disappointment is this set. Don’t get me wrong, it's savable, they will make worthy role-play or D&D type character figures, the Centaur is a bit too-chunky to join the Merten versions, even though the scale's about right.

But overall, this set is cartoony in execution, it's not severe and can be hidden with paint, but it's also flashy (the only flashy set) and will need a lot of 'cleaning-up' and then there's this problem with the separate components not fitting and while I've had half a go at two of them, they'll all need work.

It's a shame because they are relatively unique in this vague scale range of 28-40mm (ignoring the [baby] Dragon!), it's like they came from another factory . . .well they probably did, no; that's not strictly true; I think the Princesses and the Magical Beasts share an origin, but the Princesses - being stand-alone sculpts - are more easily, better finished.

I'm glad I've got a set, but it's definitely caveat emptor if you go and buy them, I'm not recommending this set - sadly. The Griffon and the Werewolf/Ogre will probably swing-it if you do decide to buy!

Which is a point worth making actually; the book-box covers do lift; in-store, so you can check the contents of all the sets before you purchase.

Happy to recommend this set though, if Dinosaurs are your thing, these are lovely, the plates of the Stegosaur - for instance - are very fine, rigid enough to hold their shape, yet soft enough to escape rough-handling damage, surface detail is fine and they remind me of the WHSmith ones a couple of years ago, or those nicely painted ones which keep turning up in different pound-shop brands, TK Maxx et al.

While these are almost the cream of the crop, I'll try and track down an answer to the 3/4 sculpts question mark (Google says: x2 duplicate pose . . . fussa-russa!), but they are lovely sculpts, the horns are a bit disappointing, but if you remove them, you instantly have some really nice-looking horse-flesh, or if you texture them (the horns) and paint them up they'll look equally good as larger unicorns in 28/40mm scenarios or small unicorns in 54-60mm settings.

They are 35mm to the shoulder and about 50 to the crown, and may be copies of the Breyer 'Horse Crazy Surprise Horse Painting Kits' range of blind-bag craft collectables, with an added horn?

For the hell of it! Nine colours to work with if you purchase all four sets, but there are other sets as I said earlier today and maybe the owls or one of the plaster-casting sets have a grey, light-brown or some other colours?

All four sets are piled-high in The Works; Fleet, Basingrad and Farnborough in the last few weeks and still there last time I looked, go; check 'em out for yourselves, don't take my word for it - it's only an opinion! And if you wouldn't be seen dead buying stuff like this in the high-street . . . they'll start turning-up, badly painted, in mixed lots at car-boot sales or in charity shops in about 18-months time!

P is for Paint Your Own Unicorns

From the cover you'd be forgiven for thinking this was going to be wetter that the Princesses, someone in the marketing office came to the same conclusion, with the result the models have been put on the cover, which is useful!

Of the four sets today though; this is both the best of sets and the worst of sets, but it's all marginal!

Same as the others - only different!

Same as the others etc...

So, to 'the best of sets'; these are some of the nicest Unicorns out there, dense PVC with all the properties of polyethylene, they are anatomically horse-like, with fine detail well moulded. However; there appears to be only three poses with the first and third being the same.

It's hard to tell from the cover, but I think the one at the back left is a Photoshoped version of the one in front of it? I will check the remaining sets in the shop however just in case it's a mistake (as if they are different, or supposed to be; they are similar in every way; other than those two rear legs, and fit the shaped blister tray), yet, the box does state 4 unique models?

But also to 'the worst of sets'; the booklet has a collection of very simple games and puzzles, while the paints have two reds and two blues leaving little for wider artistic scope, but the 'projects' are all in the pallet of the cartoon artwork, so it's of no consequence if that's what you've bought them for!

Even the backdrop is the poorest of the four . . . won't stop me reusing it at some point!

As last! I would also point out that all the booklets have a separate RRP on the back cover, stating £4.99, so may be (or may have been) available separately somewhere at some point? With the whole set also RRP'd - to 12.99; two-for-ten-pounds are a bargain.