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, December 10, 2017

J is for Just a Quick-one!

For 99p in a charity shop the other day . . .

. . . came this wooden fort; flat-packed like a piece of Ikea's best, but I think I saw them in The Works about 8/10 years ago? It's got two figures! Is there a category of Toy Soldiers for them - Multi-directional Flats; Semi-flat Slots, Pseudo-flats, Slotty-slot Slottingtons?!!

I'll not be getting it out of the pack for a while, hence the quick-post nature of this post! It'll go in the 'paper and card flats box' (currently in storage) at some point, but due to greed on the part of the storage facility; that may be sooner than even I thought, which will benefit the blog!
I think from the measurements on the Quay-branded packaging it will have the same 'footprint' as all the other small-scale forts at between 6 & 8-inches per side?
Running late this week, so tomorrow's post will be late posting and I don't know what it will be yet!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

T is for Those Pesky Astronauts

I don't know where your collection stands with regard to theme or 'purity' or scale, period or type, but some of you at least - I'm sure - will be as uncontrolled and esoteric as me when it comes to amassing plastic tat, and one of the things you will have accrued in the 'unknown zone' is an assortment of PVC figures between 25/30mm and and around the 60/70-mil mark depicting NASA Astronauts.

Some of them you may have ID'd over the years (maybe even these), I know I've pinned some small ones down to Matchbox's Mega-Rigs, others to Safari Toobs, these came into TKMaxx the other day and frankly; twelve-quid is too much for the contents, so 'shelfie-cam' came out!

Brand-marked to Motor Max the rump of Zylmex now owned by Tai Sang's offspring Red Box (sibling of Blue Box - as we discovered, sorry; RE-discovered, a year ago!), this NASA-influenced play-set definitely contains some of the 45/50mm'ish 'unknown' figures from my storage sample, does it help you with any of yours?

Close-ups of the window box shows four or five poses among the six figures, but for some of you the moon-buggy may well be the bigger draw. There's also a piece of ground equipment and a shuttle and 'big-rig' with booster rocket, all in different scales!

S is for Supertastic Supernumeraries!

Or E is for Everything Else . . . there's no order to these, some shelfies from Brian Berke, some shelfies from me a couple of figures from Brian's collection, a couple from mine, a bendy follow-up which nearly got its own post and some other stuff . . .

Aisle-end display in a store who's logo I just can't quite make out but it looks like Cookies, Cowboy's or Coopers! Racks of what look to be 16-18-inch Marvel figurines flanked by a pair of DC statuettes about two foot (24-inches) tall? Superman's about to take off, then he'll have to book himself for shoplifting and hand himself in to the commissioner down at 'City Hall'!

From the left and we have Brian's Batman (one of Brian's bat-men) talking to Goofy and (is that?) John Wayne! And why not? In fact he looks like he's telling Goofy to wise-up, grow-up and start acting his age; Goofy looks like he's not listening, or - at least - not taking it in, and JW is studying the horizon in the hope he won't have to intervene in the on-coming fisticuffs!

Next to them are a couple of Cherilea crime-fighters I bought from Jim at the last Sandown Park toy fair, sans-bases, there are always one or two of these on feebleBay, so they must have sold like hot cakes in the snow, back in the day. Bases are red bat-signs and I hope they'll turn up in junk lots over time, while Robin's missing his yellow cape, but I have a sneaky suspicion I may have one attached to a Cherilea knight somewhere?

Lastly we may have had Spidey before, but he was kicking about when I was shooting some of the others, so here he is again, nice sculpt, nice 54/60mm compatible size, if only I could get him to stand up he'd be a star item!

These are new, sent by Brian the other week and solid die-cast metal, a tad under 54mm as we can see from the Crescent berserker - who's back on station! Manufactured in China for Jada Toys Inc.; there are currently 38 figures in the initial wave.

Follow-up to NJCroce's bendy-toys posts passim, classic Bat-DuoTM, slinky looking Bat-Girl in her purple passion-suit, The Riddler and some bloke I don't know from Adam Sandler! TKMaxx - now; get them before they're gone!

The guy on the left came with that funny little farmers lot from a charity show a few weeks ago, I think he's a capsule toy, or blind-bag thingy but I'm not sure so I held him over for this round-up. On the right another of Brian's Man Bats . . . he's missing an arm because I've cropped him out of a forthcoming post where he was doing point-duty as a scaler, only I don’t know how tall he is, about 70/80'mil maybe? Brian?
Five Below shelfie from Brian on the left (DC by Hasbro), TKMaxx shelfie from me on the right (Marvel by Schleich) . . . Superheroes . . . they're everywhere!

Friday, December 8, 2017

D is for Deforms

If I'm a bit snobby about Action Figures it's because A) I have neither the income nor the space to collect them and B) I'm too old to have had them as a kid, so haven't made the emotional connection with them that leads to collecting as an adult, if investment isn't the driver, and it shouldn't be, this stuff is not rare!

However, the point is my snobbery around Action Figures is cursory and half in jest, but my feelings for these are not printable! Deforms and super-deforms . . . what the very, actual, fuck?

You want to make some toy figures, right? You get some sculptors in, have them talk to the CAD guys, send the whole product of their creative co-operation to the CAM guys, they programme the pantograph milling machines, meanwhile you purchase a lorry-load of vinyl pellets, cost up-front, have the engravers clean-up the tools . . . and spend a week churning this shite into the warehouse! You sir - are nuts.

A waste of an opportunity to make normal figures, that's what deforms are all about!

DC's Justice League, these are both deforms and simple action figures, having three or four points of articulation, and with three figures per pack and a single piece of a forth, you have to buy all of them the make the missing figure . . . that used to be called racketeering!

Another thing about 'Deforms' is that there is no consistency to the genre, some are big-heads, some have stumpy legs, others have giant hands, these have steroidal shoulders, some are funny (haha) looking, others are cross-over (Star Wars - Angry Birds), yet others are pretending to be cars or spaceships, I don't mind all sorts including cartoon characters, but deforms manage to be everything, yet nothing.

Marvel's much-loved gang (not by me I've decided that if I'm anything: I'm a DC man!) get it in the neck from Hasbro under the resurected/old Playskool label, I'm sure the bean-counters at Marvel are grinning all the way to the bank, but it's not progress! These have a big-hand meme, we saw a similar non-articulated 'Spidey' last time we looked as superheroes here.

Ohhhhgod's bodkins and lawks-a-lardey . . . there's play-sets as well, it doesn't rain but it pours this shite! This is like a scaled-up Micro Machines play set! And yes, I can see, it's aimed at little kids, but - to me - that just makes it worse! There's a moral cynicism involved, no?

Back to DC and to prove I'm not ungrateful to Brian Berke who sent-in the above shots, I took these shelfies myself, in WHSmith, where there's currently a part-work for DC characters (Batman and the DC Super Friends), now, choices, choices . . . they are £5.99 . . . each issue . . . or you can find a pink (for 'girly girls'!) Kinder egg and get a realistic figurine for 59p? You shouldn't need to think about this one!

And - just to prove what a hypocrite I am - if this was the bendy toy it half looks like, I'd have no problem with it, but it's not; it's a wasted lump-of-shite-moulding that doesn't look anatomically like the known character!

This one (also from Brian) is going for the Japanese Astro Boy look we were studying the other day, and while it's called a 'super deform' doesn't look that deformed to me, just a robot version of a human character.

Of more interest is that A) the main artwork-logo bears a striking resemblance to the Skylanders range of Electronic toys, while B) the wacky language points to those Wild West sets Peter Evans sent to the blog; "The Excellence Design", "Collect it All!" and "High Speed Soldiers" being all odd phraseology?

It also has the for-Arabic/Middle Eastern market consumer panels of those other sets . . . but no bag of chalky sweets! And - following a comment on those earlier superhero posts - looks to be of the same tinny plastic type and vaguely similar press-together construction as the horses from those sets?

U is for Universal, Super-powerful, Superhero Heroes!

I don't normally carry Action figures here, but when we have them, and especially when they are contributions, they will find a place on Small Scale World as they have a place in the small-scale world. Sometimes that will be on the A-Z Blogs (which I've been working on in the background), and that was where these chaps - from Brian Berke - were headed until it seemed there was enough in the Spandex Leotards folder for a small season!

Also I can't be too snobbish about one aspect of the hobby 'tree' when I'm as likely to Blog Christmas-tree decorations or bubble-gum premiums the next day! Different strokes for different folks!

We have seen one of these before, in the Firefighter 'mini-season' back near the start of the year, but along with the firefighter was these Universal Hero figures, all of which could double for both Ninja warriors (with a can of black spray-paint) or Mexican Wrestlers!

Larger sets come with three figures and a helmet/mask, no prize for guessing who that's supposed to represent! Ten accessories include cats-claws, a kebab sword (?) a Katanga, three throwing stars, two odd-looking helmets and a truncheon with Arab-blade at one end and knuckle-duster at the other, which must be the oriental martial-arts equivalent of a Johnny Seven 'One Man Army'!

These two were donated to the Blog by Brian earlier in 2016, the fire fighter was mentioned above, but he came with another take on Captain Red-White-&-Blue! He gets to chose from a pair of swords or throwing stars.

Close-up of the same figure, there's not a lot to add, these are branded to OKK Trading and imported into the 'States by JPW International, I have seen them in the cheapie shops here, but not studied them closely.

LP/Lollipop Toys (who imported the Silvercorn sets) has upgraded theirs to 'Super Powerful' while having them made in a more Ninja-like colour of plastic! With those sandy breast 'plates' it's like they are trying to be heroes in a half-shell too!

That's because half of all brand-recognition is visual familiarity, the colouring of TMNT's being as distinctive a brand-mark as the name, or the shells! You'll notice from the box-art that these are available with a range of familiar-looking eye-masks and come in other shades of green (like TMN Turtles!).

A busy parent will see the colouring, the whacky bike, the two 'bad guys' on the other side of the card and buy these; then, when Junior kicks-off that they're not TMNT's, the parent (thinking on the hoof and lying like a banker) will tell them that maybe the Turtles were busy and recruited some humans to help!

You may have noticed that the first figure had light-up eyes? Well, so does this one and with the same card imagery is clearly from the same place, but is now a Samurai . . . yet looks like a Ninja! He also comes with a full set of accessories, a shield and two helmets - greedy!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

S is for Small-Scale Superheroes

A weak post, but it clears a load of bits & bobs out of Picasa, so it's an exercise in housekeeping if nothing else, and the last image is all-new, and interesting.

Carrying-on from this morning's Kinder, I think the chap with a skidoo is from a superhero set of some kind, but also from a capsule toy or blind-back type line? Toy Options are part of a UK outfit (Character Group) with quite a few tentacles and have carried Galoob clearance in the past, this looking like a re-paint of a standard micro-machine winter-sports item, it may have been a James Bond thing; not a superhero thing?

To his right are the contents of the 'Miscellaneous' bag in the Galoob box, the pirate is for another day, while I don't know if the damaged bike is from Ninja Turtles (see below), Small Soldiers (seen here sometime; Mattel) or Biker Mice (storage, Applause?), but the chap in the middle is looking like he might be the spandex-bedecked victim of a nuclear accident, or radioactive spider's bite?

The image above is the side panel off something we've looked at before (Galoob baseball players) and shows some other BatSetsTM!

We've also looked at this Playmates set before, but it seems I had some shots left! Teenage Mutant Ninja Heroes in a Half-shell and some dude who's so fat he needs a tank to go to the shops! He'll be the bad guy; bald, loud-shirt, grey equipment, definitely a bad guy!

Seen before, but I had a spare image; they accompany larger action figures, found in corner shops and pound-stores, I'm still missing the blue one!

Now, these were sent by Brian Berke a year-or-so ago, but should still be findable and I quite like the looks of them, but I haven't seen them over here anywhere, not even Asda, which is where you'd look given that they state 'Walmart Exclusive'.

Not 'deforms' so much as slight caricatures, and from Marvel who come second to DC in my book, but none-the-less a nice little set of what look to be 28/30mm figures.

I don't recognise the first one (Phoenix Man?) or the second (The Man SnailTM), Captain A and the Archer bloke are a bit more familiar, while for UK readers - is the forth one down Bodie or Doyle!

K is for Kinder-kind Kids

Funnily-enough I've received Kinder or Kinder-like stuff from three other people in the last few days and had some stuff I'd bought to add to the mix as well, but most of it's not superhero-related, so will be in a later post on the subject, but these two are Kinder (or Kinder 'like') so we'll have a quick shuftie!

I think this is the Goblin? Marvel anyway, and one of these 'Big Head' deforms which I have little time for, I keep getting the footballers in mixed lots and they go straight back to charity!

I can't actually remember if this came from a show, a charity-shop purchase, or was in the bottom of Jim's lot the other day, but I'll 'thank you' anyway and Contribution will be in the tag-list as the other item in today's post definitely is!

Hahahahahahahah! Really? With that string? Heeheeheeheehee!

Guter Job Schultz, war er irgendwelche Schwierigkeiten?

Nein, mein Herr; Er ist nur einen Vichy großen Kopf!

Peter Evans sent me a bunch of Kinder's the other day, which as I say; we'll look at in a few days, but in the meantime one of them was from the above set, I think - like the Barbies - these are from 'pink' eggs, and obviously I'm going to have to pay more attention to the pink ones!

From the left we have Leprechaun GirlTM, WaspBeeFly LadyTM, Harlequin (?) or is it Harly Quinn? Supergirl, Wonder Woman (see below), NinjagirlladywomanTM and Bat-Girl/Cat-Girl? I think! You will - by now - know I don't take these American superhero's terribly seriously - being a Brit (Judge Dredd and 'War Comics', following-on from Tarzan and pulp-space) I find the formulaic superhero trope to be hard to revere.

How many people will fall in, get caught in the beam/ray/wave of, eat, drink, sniff, suffer a spray/spill/inoculation of, or be bitten by; something radioactive, diseased, secret, experimental, unknown or alien before DC and/or Marvel find an original storyline? They're one-trope stories, dragged out for years, even decades!

A four-part plastic figure-kit with a sticker! Are we heading back to the glory-days of the 1980/90's with Kinder's return to Steckfiguren? I hope so . . .

 . . . Up, up, and away!

Nice figure! You pull back on her ankle to flick her forward, it's not terribly effective, but nevertheless it's added-value and presumably the other figures have similar gimmicky features?

Don't get me wrong I don't hate them, I just can't take it seriously, I used to watch the Hulk every week as a kid, it was the same every week;
  • Moves to new area/helps someone
  • Seatles down with new friends/job
  • Someone makes him 'very' angry (which you won't like)
  • Packs his little rucksack and buggers-off to next episode! 
 'Return & repeat' very week!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

B is for Badassasaur and Bionic Boy - Argentina Part III

Some you may be disappointed to learn this is the last of the unknown-believed-to-be Argentinian figures' posts; some of you may be delighted! I think I've saved the best (err . . . and the worst) 'till last?

This is the poorest quality of all the figures in this batch we've been looking at, the master hand-carved from a block of margarine . . . I think, maybe, probably!!!

I assume it's one of the monsters from the long-running Godzilla franchise, but which one is anybody's guess, although; if you're familiar with the films he'll be easy to ID with that nose spike and the spinal-ridges, not to mention that he quite deliberately has one humanoid foot and one combined dino-claw and can-opener?

For all the lack of quality; he's my favourite of the lot; being made in a luscious, marbled, salmon-pink plastic, no sign of paint so I'm guessing either a member of a larger play-set, or a very cheap kiosk type thing?

I'm sure Google would quickly reveal whether this chap is a giant from the Godzilla movies, a friend/enemy from Ultra Man or a character from another Japanese Anime or Manga series, but I don't care enough to look it up before posting, and I'm writing all these posts away from the Internet, so if you know, you're one-up on me!

However, whoever he is, he's the best paint of the lot, and not a bad sculpt, so my second favourite of these after the dino-monster above. I used to have a bookmark of a Brazilian toy site which I lost when I changed computers back in late 2011, but that had a big-box play-set called Phantom or Phantasm (?) where the main character-figure was a very similar (hooded, black and purple?) sculpt, so this figure may also be from Brazil?

To be honest, they would all have looked much better when new and the extreme levels of paint loss on all of them (last three posts) and the tatty capes are probably testament to their having been much-loved and played-with by someone , somewhere!

Thanks to Adrian again for letting me photograph all the figures in the last three posts - Mercator Trading's website.

B is for Better Bat Toys - Argentina Part II

They are still on the big-side and at around 6-inches would pass for Marx if they weren't equipped with purple faces and/or Playtex cross-your-heart and make-a-cone brassieres! And don't think I'm taking the piss because I don't like the figures in these posts, I'm just in Holiday mode.

This is the one which looks most Marx-like, is he based on a Marx pose, the base is very familiar looking, but the purple face suggests he should spend more time in the gym and less time crime-fighting with a heart-condition!

The rest of the gang, again there's nothing empirical to say they are Argentinian toys, but plenty to shout that they 'aint anything else! Bat Girl and what I think was once Wonder Woman have . . . ahem! . . . some unmistakable, womanly charms, although; that shape and they've usually been purchased from a Brazilian surgeon!

Meanwhile, Superman - for it is he - has had a wardrobe failure and attempted to choke himself to death with his own cape; Mk.I, shopping, originally for the bagged use of!

The Fly? Well-endowed Lobster-Fly Man? Those Argentinians, huh?!! Is he from a Japanese cannon; Atom Boy, Astro-Boy, A Straw Boy, Godzilla, something like that? See this'arvo's post for more on those!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

B is for Bat Toys - Argentina Part I

Back to Argentina (or 'believed to be' Argentina), back to blow-moulds, back to dolls, back to Bat Toys! Listed under the unknown moniker, they are indeed blow-moulded Bat-dolls, probably from Argentina!

The man-bat himself with a cape made from [soon to be illegal; they already are in Kenya] shopping-bag polyethylene! We've seen a similar Tarzan here and given the size, they really are dolls, they even have the same plug-in arms as the cheap rip-offs of Action Man/GI Joe. This one's about ten-inches with only his arms moving.

The Boy Wonder (who appears to be Joe 90 moonlighting out of season-three) has five points of articulation in pink ethylene attached to a red torso, his cape is either a replacement or made with slightly less love than Batman's, same shopping-bag supplier though! [The next day . . . see comments - might be Mexican?]

We've also seen the Batman parachute toy before but I had a spare image kicking-about in Picasa, he was around eight-inches I think, while Robin is twelve-inches+. Thanks to Adrian at Mercator for all these.

S is for Super-Bionicles . . . Not!

Well. It seems we've embarked on a quick pre-Christmas superhero season! These, too, are from Brian Berke, and they're quite cool for what they are, not superheroes, but what look to be quality Bionicle rip-offs and those of you who have followed the Blog for a while will know I consider Lego to be the biggest pirates of all, so I'm always a fan of looks-like-but-isn't legot!

He's not a The Hulk, he's not The Thing . . . he's The Giant . . . a not very jolly looking green giant at that, this is the gift that keeps on giving. Here branded to Ever Bright (Kowloon wholesalers) with a sticker, he is otherwise a completely generic, rack-toy, type chap.

Captain A is for Astral-logo . . . I think we all know who he is really? Red white and blue . . . he's Captain UK . . . err . . . Captain France, n-no . . . Captain Formerly the Russian Federation! I'm joking - even I can see he's Captain Lego-likey!

This is clearly Polymerman! These are (for all my brickbats) very good take-offs of both well-known superheroes and the Bionicle concept and about ten-times cheaper that Bilund's products - I'll bet! Thanks Brian.

Just for the record - Hulk'ing America'n Iron! From China!

Monday, December 4, 2017

H is for [Super] Heroes in a Half-shell!

How can you possibly follow Bat-BotsTM but with humanoid Tortles . . . no; Turpins . . . err . . . Terratoises . . . Doh! These shelfies from Brian Berk were sent in a while ago, but they should still be available in the 'States or on-line?

The back of the pack gives news of a full set of four being available and that if you put children under three years of age in a wheelie-bin, they may take-on a miserable countenance; so Don't! It's Christmas, everything goes in the bin after the New Year!

"Hey kids! If you're going out to beat things up with nun-chucks, remember to wear skate-pads!" Michelangelo keeping his chained fighting-sticks warm under his armpits!

I think the click-and-go refers to the base; there's no sign of other moving or replaceable parts?

Around 70mm, I'll be looking out for them over here, although [he thinks] I'm still missing one of the smaller Tactik ones (Donatello) I was picking-up a couple of years ago. These are under the new or second Monogram label, the same lot behind the Batman pencil-top bust we looked at a while ago, also courtesy of Brian.


B is for Bad Boy Bender and the Bat Bots

Who will be performing live at Guildford Civic Hall from when until then!


A is for Almost Superheroes

Or Super Heroes, Super-heroes or even Superhero's as some feebleBayers will insist on calling them . . . Superhero's what? Which one?

I'm going to presume, guess AND assume (it winds-up you-know-who and that pleases me) that these were larger gum-ball machine prizes, although they may have had a header-bagged issue as well, probably mid-to-late 1970's, but; maybe later . . . the accuracy doesn't really matter, as while they have a charm (like a lot of rack-toy shite), they are - on one level - really, really, really shite, and will only ever be a curiosity, even when the full facts ARE known!

They turn-up infrequently, but I've been encountering them pretty-much since I started collecting again back in the late 1980's, usually in ones and twos, although both this lot and the bulk of my collection in storage were together, obviously amassed by someone else who saw through the charm to the shite, no . . . saw through the shite to the shite . . . hold on - I'll get it right in a minute . . . oh - you know what I mean!

The weird thing about them and the reason for today's alternate titles (apart from the fact that I couldn't make up my mind which one to go with), is that while they look - at first glance - to be 50mm space robots of some kind, when you study them, they all have Batman's logo on their chest[cabinet]s! I mean WT-very-F?!

Then you realise the left-hand 'knobbly-knee' robot has a Bat-HoodTM, with Bat-EarsTM and a utility Bat-BeltTM, while the one in the middle looks a bit like Bender from Futurama? In fact there are elements of Bender in both right-hand designs, but I suspect any resemblance is either coincidental or was the other way round with Groening and/or his/the artist/s having some of these esoteric lumps of polyethylene on their desk/s as they started the Futurama project?

To give the post another image! The reason I was picking these up even when I was only a small scale collector is they were smallish, at around 50mm, and I tended to collect the stuff no one else rated at the time - up to 50mm!

You can see the Gemodels spaceman (whom I always consider a spacewoman) which I also collected from the off (there's a bagful in storage, all different colours, even a marbled-swirl one - I think?) is a slight 50mm as well, with the Crescent-for-Kellogg's at a more traditional 54mm, the two German Wundertuten coming-in around the 60-mark and a factory-painted Hong Kong copy of Archer at their original 70-odd-mil.

Sometimes I look at these and wonder if I haven't just missed a Batman parody episode of Futurama, but then I realise the Asian toy-producers had pretty-much stopped using the HK marks by the time of the TV show (late 1990's) and I was encountering them earlier than the show anyway.

I'd like to think there are more poses, but I'm pretty sure my in-storage sample has the same three poses and no others? It's just struck me that the Bender-Bot is wearing his Bat-signalTM Bat-logoTM like a medal; on a chain!

Also - I'd like to say there are other colours, but my memories of the storage lot seem to suggest this is it, there may be dark blue ones, or maroonish-red ones, but I think rack-toy  'armyman' green, brown and 'sand' is your lot? Greyish-black maybe?

But they're great aren't they? I mean they're shite, but it's some great shite!

Go BatbotsTM!