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.

Monday, April 23, 2018

D is for Death . . . of a Toysaurus.

Or - The bigger they come - the harder they fall.

Not really news; it's been all over the media but I was visiting Woking the other day and popped into the Toysaurus for what will be the last time, and it was a sorry site, I can't imagine they had actually sold everything on the miles of empty shelves, so I guess a lot had been sent back under sale-or-return deals and other stock had probably been shifted in bulk clearance deals to wholesalers,  sold-on to bigger evilBay outfits, or sent to those parts of the TRU-empire still trading; if there are any - Australia, HK, some US stores I think?

Following previous posts and 'News, Views . . . ' on the subject here, and the constant talking-up of their future viability by both the UK and US management, the end unfolded with the same rapidity as the sudden autumn collapse.

Miles of empty shelving.

The 1st of February saw the US parent announce it was looking for a buyer for the UK arm, which pretty-much sealed their fate, and could be seen as an act of cowardice on the part of the US had-office, but it was - I'm sure - also designed to protect a core hub of the US stores.

The trouble with Thatcherite-Regonomics is that it is driven by long-knives and short-termism! The beauty of the Victorian 'family firm' model (even when the firm got to be as big as Cadbury - for instance) was that it featured no knives and long-term vision.

No matter, I have little sympathy for the Toysaurus, as I think you know, and for a month there was little more in the media. However, you could see at Christmas, the writing was on the wall, people are simple creatures with a herd instinct, and the autumn headlines, far from driving people into the stores to look for bargains, frightened them away - I went to the same Woking store in Christmas week and it was dead; an early evening a few days before the 25th it should have been heaving!

Beware - loud [yet vacuous] music!

On the last day of February both Toys 'Я' Us and Maplin (a UK out-of-town/mall-based electronics retailer) announced the plug was being pulled, the administrator's spokesman - Simon Thomas - announcing "All stores remain open until further notice . . . " he also encouraged customers to redeem any vouchers and gift cards outstanding (see below) and added that the search for a buyer went on.

Having watched Price Waterhouse Cooper's (PWC) wind-up a business I was involved with, I know that these 'receivers' and administrators just talk bollocks until they've changed all the locks and padlocked everything they can't sell; closing down forums, denying rumours and threatening disgruntled staff or customers with legal action!

With no stock you can leave the stock-room door open!

On the 9th March came news from Moorfields Advisory (the administrators) that stores not included in the Autumn tranche would begin closing the following week and that an 'orderly wind-down' of the company was underway.

Five days later it was announced that the end had come, the company or the UK arm was bust and the remaining 100 stores would start closing - the same day. The whole process to be completed in six-weeks - which is this Wednesday, but I believe they either closed the final stores Friday just gone, or will close them this coming Friday?

Everything was for sale
If I'd had £40 on me I would have had a ladder, they're £100's new!

Of course the broadcast and print media have been blathering on about the death of another high street staple and it took a Michael Cooper to remind the 'i' (Letters - 16th March) that the Toysaurus is not a 'High Street' store! Which is the point I've made in the past, Toys 'Я' Us are among those corporate 'free market' fans who helped damage the high street in the first place.

Furthermore, in the case of the Toysaurus, they helped destroy the world of the 'Toy Men' and create a global behemoth of a few giants, sourcing licensed TV & movie-character driven polymer tat from China, containerised round the world in huge, polluting, vessels while all the little domestic firms went to the wall . . . well; eat your medicine Toysuarus, you've fed it to everyone else.

No you 'ain't!

At the risk of repeating myself, of the big five; Hasbro and Mattel (1 & 2) are in merger talks, Lego (4) and Hornby Hobbies (5 - Corgi, Scalextric and Airfix) are in trouble and Tomy-Takara (3) are increasingly branding Tomy only (to improve their visible footprint/customer recognition), all five (who between them hold several hundred defunct 'household name' brands) hung on to the coattails of the TRU-model (because they had to) and have suffered as a result.

And there's a wider problem, as well as Maplin, we have B&Q looking ill, Homebase on the way out (both DIY giants), Carpet-Right struggling, Restaurant chains Prezzo and Byron, House of Frazer (department stores), New Look (Fashion) and Jamie Oliver's mini-empire are all in trouble.

The problems are many and varied - B'wreaksit hasn't helped with a falling pound fueling inflation leading to lower consumer spending, which was already down following a global crash, ten-year austerity and negative wage-growth which had nothing to do with Labour and everything to do with global corporate greed and lack of regulation!

To which you can add higher ground-rents and business-rates (greed - bad), competition from Amazon, feeBay and Alibaba et al (all fair under capitalism!), and - recently - the creeping up of union wage demands and minimum-wage requirements (reward - good) have created a minestrone of problems for senior managers.

And it's funny [ironic] that it's now hitting the big malls and out-of-town complexes, as the high street's been under attack for years - from them, and while for a while the 'empty teeth' in the high street were filled quickly with discounters, pop-up's, Chinese-run nail bars, hair dressers and Turkish or Kurdish barbers, the empty units are beginning to stay empty now, even in affluent, middle-class, dormitory-towns like Fleet or large malls like Basingrad's!

Have I said how luscious this figure is?

I bought this morning's posted-figure as a goodbye, for the hell of it, and when I took my 75p 'bargain' to the till it first racked-up as 76p (a trades description (consumer credit) violation!), then got reduced to 61p with an applied  'voucher' I never saw or handled! Chaotic!

Win a hundred-quid and collect it . . . never!

And despite the fact that the store had either four days or 7 to go, and was/will be one of the last to go (being also one of the first to open in the UK), it's still offering all the club-cards, gift-cards, offers and prize-draws, oxymoronic when you consider that six weeks ago the administrator was urging people to use-up such things. I mean - I'm sure nothing would happen if you followed any of this up, but why is it still there at all?

It was amusing, there was very little still in-store, a single large bay (where the bikes used to be) piled-up with mostly Disney-licensed, pinky-purple stuff and last year's movie-related bits, while blokes in their work clothes (on lunch) wandered round talking to their wives on their mobile 'phone; "I don't know, shall I get one?" one chap was saying, and I thought - if you've got a kid, get everything you can carry, there's the next three Christmases and Birthdays here for less than one at normal prices!

See'ya Geoffrey; wouldn't wan'na be'ya!

Stop Press - the last press release stated that all remaining stores will cease trading on Tuesday 24th April - That's All Tomorrow Folks!

Sad - but I ain't crying.

S is for Super-Shiny Supergirl is Super!

My last ever purchase from Toys w'Я Us (last UK stores closing this Friday/Saturday I believe), is a lovely little thing. Following on from various shelfies we've seen from Brian and the Toy Fair catalogue post; I found one of the Jada Nano Metalfigs - Supergirl!

This is a luscious thing, it's manufactured in the same way as Matchbox or Hotwheel cars in a Zamac/k - Mazac alloy, following a small tradition; with Monogram (WWII and Vietnam) and Kenner (Star Wars) having both produced similar figures in the 1980's.

But what sets this apart from those previous stabs at 'die-cast smalls' (they're bang-on 40mm) is a coat of paint which is as smooth and shiny as a smooth and shiny thing which has gone to university and been elected professorial-head of the faculty of Smooth & Shiny Things' department of Really Smooth & Really Shiny Things!

When I get something I really like I tend to rip the arse out of the imagery, I really like this so here's a bunch more images! Did I say it's (she's) really smooth and shiny? It's like she's been enamelled in a kiln used for painting limousines!

The fact that it's mostly metallic paint may have something to do with it, her hair is flat gloss and her flesh is a semi-matt or silk finish, but the red and blue feel a mile deep!

Scan of the card, it's the card - I scanned it! Joking aside I scan about 50/60 items per month for the archive (a lot of it will end-up on the A-Z Blogs as 'supporting paperwork'), once it's scanned it can be thrown away, I don't throw anything away of course; I'm a bloody squirrel, but I do collapse everything flat and pile it in A4 sized Really Useful boxes in no particular order as 'long term' storage.

With perfect timing Terranova sent me these the same day I started the two post's folders (goodbye to the Toysaurus later today) and they're shelfies of the Disney figurines (below) and more DC above. Cat-Babe seems to be in flares - flares are back - again! And she seems to be about to have a fist-fight with a lady trucker!

Again it seems The Riddler and the Girl Bat both make use of the metallic finish to equally good effect, Batman's grey is also a gunmetal I think, while the other two ladies are - or look to be - all over flat gloss colours?

No squeaky-voiced rodents (phew!) but an odd mix of Alice in Wonderland, Donald Duck and what looks like a Manga character - Lilo - from Lilo and Stitch.

Metallics have again been used for all reds and blues, but look at the Cheshire Cat, metallic pink fur with over-stripes in a heliotrope puce-pink and candy -pink smile, these are really luscious figurines! Also, it's never occurred to me but Bagpuss is - technically at least - an old Cheshire Cat stuffed-toy, because I think the Disney movie came first?

Sunday, April 22, 2018

I is for Iwako Again

Brain/Terranova also sent these shelfies to the blog, as he himself pointed out, we've seen some before, and I hope he won't mind my suggesting some of the images are not his best shots (I also take the odd poor shelfie, it's down to bad or flickering/resonating lighting in the store, speed and an unsteady hand etc . . .  so it's no criticism), consequently; I'm just going to shove them up here and tag them with minimal text as a box-ticker to close the Eraser Weekend, which - unlike Eraserhead - didn't require me pulling a gun out of my stomach - phew!

Sushi or street-vendor food?

More food - Nom-nom-nomnivore!

Daruma - whatever they are, Ninja types? Something akin to Leprechauns?

Those pesky Mark II cats (see Iwako-posts passim) with 'dolls' and cushion.

Animal assortment - the elephant's lost its trunk! It says 'Zoo' but contains a mix of wild and domestic animals.

Cheers Brian - it all adds to the whole.

R is for Rubber Round-up

I don't know when 'eraser' replaced 'rubber' or why, I vaguely remember the new wave of European rubbers from Pelican, Staedtlar Norica, Rötring and co., coming to the UK at some point in my childhood with 'eraser' on their little card wraps, and while much better that the old India-rubber ones which seemed to be made of either wood-pulp (the pink 'pencil' rubbers) or recycled sandpaper (the 'ink' rubbers)* I wondered at the need to change the name, after all they rubbed stuff out didn't they?

I ask because for a while they were interchangeable words or terms, but these days rubber is rarely used, and when listing on auction sites, or tagging on Blogs 'Eraser' is supreme and 'Rubber' carries the slightly giggly baggage of French Letters and English Overcoats!

* While ink rubbers had a tendency to drill holes in your exercise book, they weren't as vicious as 'typewriter rubbers' which seemed to be made from recycled concrete!

Anyway - as the trope of 'A is for . . . ' I stuck-with years ago continues ad nauseum (it was going to be a quick single run through the alphabet and then more normal post titles) it gets harder to find title-words which haven't been used for those things which keep coming-up.

All of which is a overly long-winded intro for bugger-all's worth but it's also sometimes hard to find an intro paragraph in a fuzzy brain . . . and it gets us to picture one!

As a follow-up to January's football mini-season, Terranova sent me this image of another Amscan rack-toy which - if nothing else - is fun! But it's also useful! I suspect the bar-hole that appears to run through the shoulders is designed with the placing of a pencil in mind, for the playing of school-desk-table-bar-football!

Brian also sent this which is similar to a set of four we looked at a couple of Christmases ago as a shelfie from Basingrad, but I think this chap is larger and more angular? Obviously one of four, he is distributed also by yesterday's new tag; MZB, as Imaginations this time, not Inc. He may be the same in individual packaging though, I can't find the images now, but will check when I upload the post!

Really meant for TLAP Day, but we can return to look more closely at the figures then; I picked this up in Woking on Tuesday in an end of January Sales clearance sale in Paperchase, in April??!! There's no way I'd give you four-fifty for a half a palm-full of erasers, but one-fifty? . . . Bargain!

Brian also found these . . . how f*****g cool are these? These are too cool for the International Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol School, that how cool! Imported into North America by the regulars here; Greenbrier (USA) and DTSC (Canada) I've got my eyes peeled until they hurt so's not to miss them if they turn-up this side of the pond!

Soldiers and erasers, erasers that are soldiers; "Rub him out Private!", I'd like to think my work here is done, but this is the Internet and you're only as good as your last post, so - more to come! And thanks to Brian for most of these.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

P is for Pencil-Perched Poppets

Not really Erasers, but you may have noticed by now that I try to do a larger post in mid-morning and a smaller one in the early afternoon, scheduled times are aiming for nine-thirty and half-past noon, but it's a movable feast, and 'subject to change', so having looked at the pretty-reasonable 'dinorasers' this morning we're sticking with stationary for this rather shite post!

Look at them; they're shite, aren't they? Don't ever think that just because I post it I must collect it, but I am a collector and if something comes in with a mixed lot and looks to have potential for a blog-post, or to enhance a thematic post, I'll run with it! And there are dedicated collectors of both erasers and pencil-tops out there; today's posts are as much for them as anybody.

They are very small, with holes that normally wouldn't take a pencil, however, they are made from a soft silicon-rubber and stretch over most 'normal' writing instruments. There seems to be more than one set's contents here, with characters from various Disney films, although aimed firmly at the pinky-purple pound - being all from the 'girly' films!

There is also - one assumes - at least one metafleck'ed transparent set, from which the castle comes, The other glassy item (next to the pencil sharpener) is I suspect damaged and missing anything which may have been a clue to its identity other than 'squashed cone' or builders safety-hat!

Backs are marked and branded to MZB Inc., a New York based importer/jobber also called MZB Imaginations LLC. You can see how they squidge-over the ends of the pencils, becoming slightly portly in the process. And . . . err . . . that's it.

This guy has an equally small hole and is made of similar material, I think he may be an earlier tranche of moshling, or zomling or something - there seems to be dozens of the same kind of pocket-money, blind-bag collectable around at the moment, with more released over the last few years. But he's not marked, most are marked Moose or Magic Box or something, this chap is 'clean'.

The oft-mentioned - back in the autumn - post on the subject is still in the pipeline, but A) it's not a priority and B) it keeps getting added to, which far from making things clearer - makes them more confused! But I will do a brief 'overview' at some point.

This came in half an hour ago in a mixed lot (Friday A.M.); not so much of a 'find' as a 'waited-in and signed-for'! Soft PVC or similar, marked 'China' in the bottom of the recess and a little smaller than Britains' earlier moulding, it's obviously pretty current, but fun! I imagine zoo gift-shops have a selection of animals on [writing] sticks?

E is for Eraserfest!

This post isn't an 'eraserfest'. It's a few 'dinorasers' I mentioned the last time we looked at such things a week or three ago, but the weekend will be a bit of a trip round the stationary cupboard . . . and as they are all both novelty 'finds' and/or 'plastic smalls' I trust the PSTSM will bugger-off and read something else for a day or two!

These are the Iwaco (or Iwaco-like; it's not clear) dinosaurs in Hawkin's Bazaar I mentioned when I posted The Works' new dinorasers the other day - two colour-ways of two vegetarian dinosaurs Triceratops and Styracosaurus, I intend to get two more Styracosaurs and swap the bits so I have a heard of four similar beasts!

The Tyrannosaurus, I could only find the one colour, but there probably are two out there? They all have the Iwako style of eyes made from a round-ended rod pushed - equidistant - through a little channel or tunnel in the head of the animal. And - I knew those 'paint-your-own' backdrops would be useful, but the trick is to not cast a shadow . . . Doh!

The pterosaur; I think is a Pterodactyl (using my Styrofoam glider bag as a guide) and also has two colour-ways, although in both cases his head is a flatter different colour than the slightly metallic sheen of the bodies.

The heads on these are so loose, you will have to dig down through the bodies to find the heads which are in a pile at the bottom of the compartment, the same is true of the two veggies, and you need to check your T-Rex has both legs before you pay for him!

The flyer has only the two parts, all the rest are three-parters and so far I've only found the four designs, about the same size as the new ones from The Works but a level of realism or accuracy which rather puts them in a league of their own.

The Red Barron's circus - fly again and strike again! Going for the eyes - bastard-birds!

Now, when I said last time that I'd seen these but not bought them because they were too expensive, I am pleased to report that currently Hawkin's Bazaar are offering all Iwako and similar erasers for 50p each or a 12-for-£5 deal, so if you are an eraser collector, or fancy these dinosaurs, now's the time to mosey-on-down to Hawkin's for your own herd of dinorasers!

PS - They are supplied by Iwako and as carded Iwako come with two smaller dinosaurs in one piece, a little velociraptor and an archaeopteryx (both in sand or dark green).

Friday, April 20, 2018

G is for Gift-shop Guns and General George

While he was at the Museum of the American Revolution shooting this morning's diorama for us, Terranova also shot a couple of items in the gift shop, indeed; Brian made it clear in the accompanying eMail that he shot ALL the stuff useful to the blog in an otherwise disappointing retail display - I'm imagining piles of coasters, posters, place-mats, graphical key-rings, paperweights and printed Irish-linen tea-towels?

Branded to the museum, this gun is too big for 54mm; Brian reports, but it may be fine for larger figurines, Elastolin's 70mm's maybe? It's almost a scale-up of the old pencil-sharpener 'standard' of museum gift-shops in the 1970's and '80's, albeit without the sharpener! But the decoration (a sort of antiqued bronze effect and gilded barrel) is very similar to those older novelties.

I'm rather intrigued by the hint of working, wooden cannon - off stage right! It's just what you need for 'Little Wars'.

Brian was equally disappointed by this lump of poured resin, which - conversely - is smaller than 54mm! As you know I'm no fan of resin, it's a cheap technology which ends-up in High Street 'jewellers' windows as over-priced series of 'adult collectables' and at $12.99 this is about ten-dollars more than I think it's worth! Paperweight?

However, resin has its place and I do show it from time to time (Brian's Kung Fu/Ninjas the other day and we'll be seeing another bear soon!) and if you were to find one in a junk shop for a couple of dollars it'd paint-up well; it's a reasonable sculpt?

And that was it for 'Toy Soldier'-related stuff in the gift shop. Thanks again Brian.

T is for Teutonic Troops Trounced at Trenton

Back at the beginning of February Terranova (Brian B) had cause to visit the Museum of the American Revolution (that's 'Terrorist Insurgency' in today's lingo!) in Philadelphia where he found and photographed this frankly rather gorgeous, superbly executed diorama of the action at Trenton in the American War of Independence (AWI).

Presumably; Thomas Temple Allan is the modeller? The figures are reported by Terranova to be 54mm and so may be from Airfix 'Multipose', but I would suspect Historex with a lot of work; however they could be metal and if anyone can recognise any of them other readers will be interested I'm sure - and there may be some 'enhanced' soft plastic toy soldiers?

An overview of the battle, the revolting colonists are nearest the camera, the money-grubbing surrender-monkeys (no, not French this time!) behind the picket fence at the far end of the street, I know it's only two houses, but this is a superb example of a dioramists art, with everything scaled down unobtrusively - i.e. a few figures to represent several thousand men, 3 building for a whole town, two scenes in one, &etc.

I'm loving the woman at the window . . . "Don't you men know it's Christmas? Bloody heathens, with all yer shootin' and hollerin'!" 

A close-up of the American line, the guns probably the ones captured at the fall of Fort Ticonderoga, also due to the vagaries of recruiting and terms of service in the American forces at the time (The first tranche of recruits finished their year's service around this time) Washington had recently seen a complete change of personnel and the uniforms on Boxing Day may not have been quite as 'uniform' as these smart fellows - the brown guys are New Yorker's I think?

Some of these look like commercial 'toy' figures, particularly the kneeling firers?

The Hessians behind their fence, these look to have been heavily modelled; what's under all the straps and webbing I don't know, could be Historex, Multipose or home-cast lead!

Behind the houses is a second whole scene from latter that night - after the battle - which Washington coming down to meet an impromptu victory parade (of a column of prisoners) through the town centre! It really is a lovely and very clever diorama, and the backdrop is a period map of the area blown-up . . . not by terrorist insurgents; by graphic designers!

Close-up of the meeting between the general and the captured troops, the guy in the greatcoat looks as if he's saying "Don't worry George; I've got this one!" and it looks like the Hessians are surrendering their colours, pretty serious stuff!

Thanks as always to Terranova for sending us the shots of this wonderful model.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

T is for Ptobar's Pterosaurs n'Ptings

Just a quick follow-up from the I pay for this shite so you don't have to department; I mentioned when looking at 'paper' 'planes the other week that the discount store had several and that I might go back for a couple, well; I did!

I also said I couldn't remember what the third thing was . . . well, it was insects! Along with dinosaurs and the same 'planes as HGL and HTI, these are all badged to Tobar, and it turned out the Sikhs had got them in because I'd been asking for them a few days before . . . so I had to buy a few, although they were already going out like hot cakes with all three dispensers more than half empty, after only a few days.

Pterodactyl was purchased as the signature species! But three other designs are available and I would imagine they will be a lot of fun for people of a certain age? However . . . spot the deliberate mistake . . .

. . . you can't get the wings through the hole! To do so I had to carefully extend it without creating a cut-line that might spread, and one has to wonder how such a thing occurred or how it was allowed to leave the factory? And it's not a question of QA or QC, it's a technical problem 'at the coal face' . . . very odd!

The ant, I wanted a dragonfly, but they had all gone . . . verily - fussa-russa! But the ant's bearable, he has an odd tail-plane and stabilisers which I suspect are supposed to be a bit of foliage or something; there's no explanation, but the alternative (if you know about these things) is a brain altering, lethal fungus - hardly child-friendly?!!

The bee is just silly . . . and a near-duplicate of the ant (wings are different), while the two beetles are also cut from the same die, the mantis looks to be a cut-above and . . . I really would have preferred the dragonfly!

Back to the 'planes; I got the Hurricane Mk IIC . . . it might as well be a sausage. I think it's trying to be a Western desert theatre airframe, but suffers from the poor print resolution and reverse code bollocks I pointed-out last time we looked at them.

Now, along with the oddities alluded to above, this sort of think bloody annoys me . . . I know they are 'cheap and nasty' or pocket-money toys, but . . . the artwork was done once and costed-in, I suspect decades ago, and it's about time they were all upgraded/replaced. The overall cost would be peanuts in an ocean.

These are clearly selling well, and constantly as a 'traditional' toy, They are now in three outlets locally, in Basingrad I saw the HTI ones in the Entertainer, again with plenty of room in a once full stock-carton, so they are probably selling in their millions world-wide. They come in very basic paper envelopes (like Sobres), and consist of a few scraps of Styrofoam/expanded polystyrene (which will have to go back to balsa or card as the - overdue - polymer backlash gathers pace).

All-new artwork for the twelve/thirteen known aircraft could be CAD'ed-up in a weekend by a couple of commercial artists and the cost per unit, over time would be fractions of a penny. And there's a misrepresentation element here, under consumer legislation, the artwork on the outside of the envelopes is not depicting what falls out of them.

The problems are not to be seen on the dinosaurs, the insects or the foam-board/foam-core unicorns we saw last time, suggesting the war-planes are relying on print-plates which probably go back to the 1970's - come on guys, sort it out; you muppets! Get on to the Chinese supplier and tell them to sort-out the printing (and the insects wings) before some local authority's Trading Standards unit sues you!

TJF is for Tons of Jolly 'Finds'!

That arrogant heap of shit 'The Jabbering Fuck' suggested I should 'stick to showing my finds' the other day, I'll deal with the whole whine, in-the-round, later, in my usual inimitable way, but I would suggest in repost that as I seem to be out-editing him by at least two posts, three words and/or five images to one, every day, week or month, he would do better suggesting something else if he's to have a cat in hell's chance of catching-up, because 'keeping up'  . . . he ain't!

Although - he beats me hands-down on typos - as does his assistant. However, if it's 'finds' he wants, along the lines of his piss-poor output (rather than my usual thematic or subject-specific posts), it is 'finds' he shall have!

These all came in the other day with a no-other-bidders (or one-other bid? I can't remember) speculative-offer, couple-of-hours-to-go auction on evilBay, for a mixed job-lot of mostly farm and zoo animals. I actually took the punt for the Lido/Kellogg's animals in the lot; of which there was a large double-handful of both sculpt-types.

You could see the Britains horse clearly in the lot, all cut-about with a Stanley-knife, but the rider (Sheriff of Nottingham) was half buried in Hong Kong horse flesh, hens and hippo's. His paint is OK (I've seen - and got - better) and he's complete, but weirder still was that the Speedwell Sheriff's mount was among the said Hong Kong horse flesh, sans rider, but the tail's there!

Here they are together with the previously posted (here at Small Scale World) better paint figure and correct horse from the master collection, on the screen behind them!

They don't make a good combination, he looks to be riding while suffering piles . . . Ooh, me' tag-nuts . . . ouwh, me' daggle-berries, yeh, verily - me' arse is on fire!" and is sitting, apparently bracing himself against the stirrups with a gap between his bottom and the saddle. We looked at the correct Speedwell rider for the horse last time as well.

In the same lot was this Crescent grazing horse, normally I wouldn't show shite like this to you but . . . if it's a 'find'; a 'find' it is! Someone has made a horse blanket from a sticking plaster - and quite effective it is too!

They have also added a walking halter (??? I know f-all about horse tackle!) from button thread, of the sort we used to move our Aberdeen Angus' around - if they let us, if not they kindly dragged us where they wanted to go! The knots are even in the correct places.

I've already removed them; the plaster had been there so long both it and it's glue had all gone brittle, and it came off in hundreds of tiny little pieces, but some surgical spirit got the plastic back to 'original' in a jiffy!

Sticking with early British polymers, the same lot also contained two pieces of FG Taylor's later plastic farm (you may have noticed the metal version of the nesting hen came-in with the last lot of Sandown plunder), with the piggy-wig being a very poor moulding (in otherwise good condition - or it will be after a clean!) and a rather insipid shade of pinky-mauve, either the mould was too cold, or the injector head wasn't hot enough and what are known as 'jetting-' or 'blush-' marks are clearly visible all over the pig.

These are similar to the Rena birds, and while looking like some of the Macau-made PVC stuff are actually marked Hong Kong. I've seen them described as 'Dolls House' birds, but I think that was just feebleBay bottom-feeding through speculative-hopefulness rather than salient detail!

There are at least two more to 'find'; a crested macaw-looking thing and something purple with a nest, they would have been sold blister carded as a set, as rack-toy novelties or - possibly - cake decorations?

These were in the box too, another part set (of pairs) or parts of two sets? There was another duck, but he clearly went with a bunch of the horses and donkeys (by base mark and less subdued colouring) while these are all marked China and decorated - bar the hen - in a rather insipid scheme. I'll keep one of each for the master collection, and shuffle the rest off to a charity shop. . .

. . . from whence I got a nice card fort with figures today (Monday 17th), I also bought another mixed lot of farm and zoo on feeBay for four-quid, all piled in a basket and photographed through the holes! We'll see what's in it, maybe get another 'finds' post out of it, or five? These bits-&-bobs posts are easy (probably why TJF sticks wi'em!), and if you'd prefer them I can do three or four a day for err . . . like . . . err . . . forever!