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.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

D is for Dispatches

Just as I suggested the other day it wouldn't be Rack Toy Month without some paratroopers, so I think it's fair to claim it's not a full RTM without some motorcycles!

Brain Berke coming to the rescue again; although he actually sent this some time ago as confirmation of the third colour when I blogged his previous contribution back near the start of the year.

He then sent this the other week and I'd love to have a go, who remembers the Corgi Pink Panther car which had the same mechanism? Indeed - some diminutive Kinder toys also have a pull-through powered kinetic-motor, while the Evel Knievel toys were more popular than either of the aforementioned!

Also branded to FunTastic, it now looks as though both the US FunTastic and the UK Funtastic are the same company, but it doesn't explain the logo differences, the Poundland exclusivity or where that will go now Poundland have been bought, but as we will see with the die-casts in a day or two, it's all as clear as mud and of little or no significance!

Rack Toy Month has room for smaller novelties and these Christmas Cracker/Gum Ball types are another recent purchase from the Swagman's Daughter and while the charms to the right (hard polystyrene) will be of limited interest to most, the figures on the left (soft polyethylene) should be of interest to any war-gamers exploring WWII.

Especially anyone using the plethora of Italian figure-set issues in the last ten or twelve years and the parallel AFV releases to build Italian armies; as they are almost perfect for North African dispatch riders - sculpted as if wearing shorts and with a leather side-flapped helmet and at a pretty good 1:76; you'd be daft not to get a set while they are still available.

A comparison with some of my existing sample, the blue ethylene one is the same as the Swagman's one, but the two styrene ones are variations of the recent acquisition - the brown one having a larger charm loop, the green one slightly better (??!!) sculpting and [apparent] factory paint on a loop-less helmet.

Friday, August 18, 2017

G is for German Rack Toys

We looked at bigger than HO/OO railway figures from Leyla right back at the start of the Blog; just shy of nine-years ago, now we're going to look at smaller than HO/OO from the same maker! I can only presume they are aimed at TT-gauge layouts, which were always more popular on the continent than here in the UK, and particularly so on the other side of the wire.

Sharing poses with the larger set we looked at back when, the newspaper-seller is also harking back to Leyla's 45mm pre-war O-gauge composition range
Heavily copied (I have three or four types of these as piracies in storage) by Hong Kong and - possibly - somewhere like Spain; there are good quality copies with neater bases, here we see some HK copies along with a set of three full flats (the Leyla are semi-flat) heading toward N-gauge, which look like margarine premiums but are I expect from a set of railway accessories or even a kit, given the plain white styrene?
The railway staffer/postal worker with trolley also looks like the sort of thing you find in some margarine, laundry-powder or coffee-premium sets, but again seems not to be; having a factory-looking paint-job, but him and the three white ones are still in the unknown 'pile'.
With the older (to the collection and judging by the packaging) set in storage I had to do this by eye/memory, so it's an approximation only, but it's about right! An Airfix platform figure would come between the two, but that only gives me a reason to return to them for better comparisons one day, we will return to them!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

T is for Two Toy Tanks

As a follow-up to this morning's which while not as lame as yesterday morning's post was nonetheless a tad 'lean'!

No detailed text needed, it's a comparison between the Imperial Toys Patton and the Shamber's Patton we looked at a couple of few years ago, both based on the Tim-Mee version and similar to the Fairylight/Jimson we looked at here, ages ago; if I get the latter out of storage and obtain a Tim-Mee original we can have a four-way comparison another day!

T is for Two - Hong Kong Rack Toy Jeeps

Bought these from Adrian at the Plastic Warrior show in May expressly for Rack Toy Month and nearly forgot to post them!

Haven't attributed them to any sets or maker yet, although I think the gun is similar to a bunch I have in storage which came with armoured cars, but I liked the pinky-red one! The hole in the seats look like they might take the Kamley astronaut but that's not why I posted them and I suspect they may have taken the Monogram/Revell 1:48th scale crew copies; with the officer in peaked-cap leaning his elbow on the seat back?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

F is for French Rack Toys

Just a quickie as I know this morning's was a bit lame!

Féral's copies of Hugonnet's Indians, although as Hugonnet appears - jointly - on a fair whack of Féral packaging; it's not as clear as it looks. I'm told they represent Iroquois Indians and I rather like them, the Indian with feathered lance looks to be missing a spear-tip but all the examples I've seen are the same, so? Thanks toSamwise for most of these, a couple may have come from somewhere else and I have a painted Hugonnet somewhere but couldn't find him to post.

S is for Sahara . . . no . . . Stephanie . . . no . . . Serendipity!

I knew it was a girl's name! Turned out I had the Kositoy version all along! In fact I had another four trucks but all the same cab we looked at the other day . . .hey-ho!

Also turns out I had positioned it near-right in the mock-up, but it was smaller and higher with a new KH code underneath! These both have the early wheels as you would expect, but the card is a copy of the earlier (?) non- Kositoy, KS artwork, with heavier lines and a yellow background.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

ABC is for Agricultural Blister Cards!

Nothing exciting and not even much of a box-ticker as two of the sets are generics and the third an import piece, but there's a couple of points of interest in them and any event; in Rack Toy Month you're gonna get the odd dud!

I picked these up on eBay a while ago (so some of you may have those photos in your files!) mainly because they were going for a realistic sum; otherwise I only download the photos!

A mix of ex-Britains and other makes farm stuff in generic packaging and it looks a bit like Blue Box but it's not; it's of poorer quality to start with, although it wants you to think it is - with the blue/white/yellow thing going on.

But first point of interest is that there is a mix of items decorated with hand-paint, spray-paint or unpainted in unrealistic-coloured plastic.

An ex-Corgi calve also copied by the aforementioned Blue Box in this set, same artwork but the pictures changed to match the blisters, each shaped for specific contents. Again a mix of contents; the unpainted poultry in primary colours were also issued with some of the small scale sub-piracies figures we looked at here a year ago.

The second point of interest, this card shares 'thumbnail' background pictures with the other two, and carries the same artwork, but is over-printed with a Linda branded header. Linda did carry some Blue Box but they also carried lesser stuff so that's no surprise, but it's nice to get the Branded version of a generic.

Indeed the main reason for purchasing them is that while downloading the images of sets like these is useful, it's only when you can inspect them up close and personal that you can use them to ID lose stuff in the HK animals box/tub, especially when you get different markings in the same set, or the painted/unpainted joint-thing!

Monday, August 14, 2017

News, Views Etc . . . Kamley

I always fuck-up when I try to tie posts into other posts, and it turned out that the Kamley entry in the A-Z was on Pacific Standard time or some shit, so it was sat in 'edit'! And I had forgotten to give the Wild West header-card's post a title!

All sorted now and the hot-links have been added to the bottom of yesterday's post - 2nd article below.

J is for Jazzy 'Jamas for Jaru's Jumpers

Although it's only the second Rack Toy month and there's no guarantee of a third, I think it's a truism that you can't have a Rack Toy Month without some parachute toys and as I haven't found any to post recently it's lucky these came in from New York via Brian Berke the other day.

We've seen this chap before in a green Jim-Jam jump-suit so this is only a box-ticker but I spent most of last week getting yesterday's 10 posts together (I also updated Jaru and Amscan's A-Z entries to reflect recent post's items) and rather ran out of time to schedule something for  this morning.

I think I also noted last time we looked at them that I'm loving the packaging, if I get time I will try to get over to the new Smyth's toy-store in Farnborough before the end of RTM and see if they have anything like this in their cheapie section, there's nothing in the Entertainer, Wilko or The Works at the moment, and I can drop into the big Asda at the same time, they sometimes carry Jaru.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

K is for Kamley, Kositoy and KS . . .

. . . I had hoped it might also be for Kamco but they seem to pre-date Kamley's existence by a few years (it's not clear) so even if the '...co' is for Company, it looks like it's a different 'Kam... '!

Famous last words! Not only have I watched a fair amount of paint dry since writing that (I painted the gable-end this time last year!), but here I am doing a "...substantial blog-post...' on some of those figures!

Bought these the other day (from the Swagman's Daughter - same source of the PVC fish we looked at the other day), I knew I already had one, and I had downloaded images of the other card from old evilBay lots, but I wanted them while they were cheap, so I now have three of four possible cards . . . except there are other cards and other contents so I don't really!

In the meantime I had two shots from Brian Berke sitting in his folder waiting - ostensibly - for use in future posts on the Hong Kong/small scale 'But is it Giant' Blog. Checking the 'KS' folder for the other images, and seeing the Kositoy folder I was reminded that there were Kositoy versions of the trucks in Brian's image.

Long story short, within minutes I had realised that the contents of three 'K' folders were all the same company, and 'probably' a forth (Kamco) as it's another HK firm of the same era, and Kamco looked likely to be an abbreviated or short-form brand logo of Kamley [Industrial] Company .

The Kamley folder having a larger carded set also found in the Kositoy folder and Kositoy being usually the KS generic cards with an overprinted logo, the relationship between the three is beyond doubt, but the likelihood of a Kamco (producers of robots and train sets) connection became less hopeful the more I looked into it and I now doubt a connection - however I don't have the address for Kamco here, so who knows what may turn-up?

'Technicals' in the artwork; before the term was coined! Other sets contain a Jeep, or up to 12 figures (the Attack Force Emergency sets) while later sets were carded with shaped blisters for a more standardised display of contents. These are the generic cards, with only the KS stock-code as the clue to their origin.

In the research of the last couple of weeks I've also ID'd other large-scale figures from the K's and ten minutes on Google will enable you to too, you will also find the connecting sets that confirm the news in this post.

These probably date from the mid-1970's at the earliest, and the company was wound-up in 2003 so they are (as I said on the Khaki page some time ago) still quite common - if you dig about a bit!

These are the figures from all the early sets whether generic or Kositoy, of the various versions on the Khaki Infantry page, these are the only ones so far seen in these 'K' sets, and with the exception below are all copies of those Britains Herald Khaki Infantry on the page where they first appeared here as unknowns.

Close-ups of the bases; these are most easily identified by the numeral 3 on the base underside, otherwise you start obsessing over the size and font of the HONG KONG mark - and in the past I have! There being several other versions of these figures . . .

. . . as there are of this chap, who was in another tub in another corner of the collection. Now ID'd from those mint sets on Goggle, and then found in their tub by way of confirmation of guesswork (call it assumption if you like!), only this pose is found with the matching base-mark.

I've shot him with two sub-pirates, you can see the dropping-off of quality and these are two of four different batches of Britains Swoppet copy; what I haven't done yet is compare them (the other swoppet copies) all with the other Herald copies to see if there are any other 'go together' matches.

So, having sorted three brands or 'unknowns' into one 'company', let's look at some of the other pieces seen in Brian's shot as most of mine are in storage. I have collected enough or happened to have a few shots around in Picasa for a decent overview of the whole, but we will definitely return to the trucks one day as I have a whole tray of them in storage!

The gun first as it represents one of the main or obvious factors about this range from Kamley - different generations of production/moulding. Guns issued with the larger figures don't always have crew, however if you do the Google search you will find some do, and they come in two versions, early crew-men are basically astronauts! Later figures are the GI's shown here.

The other obvious difference is in the wheels; early sets have domed wheels like they've got old chromed hub-caps, while later sets have more military wheels with six wheel-nuts and a small central grease-hub. This wheel 'rule' extends to the trucks and helicopters.

However, there is another variance; the two guns are not quite the same . . . the differences are subtle, wider seats, smooth underside to the trail-legs; little things but the gun was re-tooled, as was the helicopter (but it got at least three generations!), while the trucks just got added-to; new cab designs and more body plug-ins.

I don't know if the finding of a brown figure suggests a whole brown run, but there are certainly a fair few grey vehicles and while I haven't found them yet, I suspect grey figures will turn-up, either of the Herald infantry or some of the many unattributed Airfix 1:32nd scale German Infantry copies?

The early 'astronauts' and later GI's. In the image two up, the third gunner - in the towing-eye -  although put there by me, is mirroring examples in storage who came-in like that, whether they were sometimes issued like that or placed there by their human is currently anyone's guess.

The truck or lorry . . . in the card artwork for the Combat Set they are depicted as pick-up trucks, but the models are more like small lorries; 3/4-ton or 30kwt types. We will need to return to these as not only are mine in storage (for all the body types and later trailer), but between what I have here and Brain's shot we only really have one type to show of the three designs Kamley used.

The three to the left are early Kositoy trucks with the card insert which was dropped from later issues; I call this the generic Ford-GMC type. To the right is a 'CHINA' marked copy in green of what I call the generic Volvo type, and then there is a third intermediate design with three small lights on the cab-roof which I call the generic Mercedes . . .

. . . and yes I know giving a 'branded-title' to a 'generic' is a bit oxymoronic but you have to start somewhere with the naming-of-the-parts when it's all make-believe toy stuff!

The blue vehicle is earlier than the China marked copy; a poorer Hong Kong copy which has been stretched and given an additional front bumper-bar (fender).

From the left: Kositoy early version with card-insert, Kamley issue, China-truck and the HK-marked clone, note the reinforcing a-frame on the underside to prevent the longer (but as thin, or thinner - I didn't check) load-bed from warping

Another reason for needing to return to the trucks is that the card inserts shown here are from the very early KS generic sets, Kositoy sets had Kositoy over-printed inserts which I can't show you. However I have knocked one up in Picasa but can't remember where the Kositoy logo is placed.

I have a feeling it may be over the engine-block (upper white box) with the 'Made in Hong Kong' left in the normal spot, but it may be further back (lower white box) or approximately where I've placed it, maybe just above the 'made in...' mark? As I say; we will return to these one day! If anyone can send us a genuine Kositoy insert (scan or photo) in the meantime; I'll add it at the bottom of this post for completion.

Also showing how the insert is folded and stuffed into the bed of the truck to show the two crew through the windows - card flats, in service caps, too cool for staff-collage!

Finally - for now - to the helicopters, I'm not sure about the order of these, but it seems to go:-

  • Blocked-up cockpit-windows, six portholes (front left above)

  • Open cockpit-windows, six portholes (blistered Combat Set)

  •  Open cockpit-windows, five portholes, rear wheel arch (Brian's; top of post)

  • Open cockpit-windows, five portholes, rear wheel arch, crude rotor-blades (back right above)

With the later wheels being phased-in at some point, followed toward the end by the crude rotor-blades of my newer example, but that doesn't explain the fact that my 'early' one has late wheels (which is why I'm not sure about them!).

It may be that the blocked-windows moulding was just another mould or another cavity running alongside one of the other two, or - given that my new one has no wheels and the unrelated vintage yellow one is missing a pair - that there is just a failure in the wheel department of my heavy-lift helicopter tub!!

I will see how Rack Toy Month pans-out, but we may yet return to miniature heavy-lift helicopters?

To cement this post you will find that four posts on the companies/company's small scale output published at the same time as this one, over on the Hong Kong blog (don't get excited, two of them are the gunners, one has no figures and all-four are brief!), while what I know of the companies has published on the relevant A-Z Blog - six posts for the price of none!

Because I can't do the links for what will actually be 8 posts (with another 'kosi' and a disambiguation) until they are all published, I'll sort all the direct links out on Monday afternoon . . . or whenever!

Monday 14th - Links Added

Kamley's A-Z Entry
Small Scale Type 1 Gunners
Small Scale Type 2 Gunners
Small Scale 8th Army 'Combat Troops'
Small Scale Wild West Header Card

Saturday, August 12, 2017

J is for Ja-Ru - A is for Another Follow-up

Also sent by Brain Berke the other day (so today is Brian's Rack Toy Day!), these shelfies confirm my assumption vis-à-vis Jaru being behind the sets the other day, and it may well be that Brian told me as much when he sent those images last year? Those of you responsible have some idea how many eMails I get, and stuff does get lost or forgotten!

The Explore Planet Earth Horse Country sets again but clearly marked-up as Jaru, I'm not sure of the intended size, but figure modellers might want to seek this set out for mounted subjects as there is a range of sizes in the bag and they are mostly in peaceful (or on-parade) poses?

Alternate/new (?) artwork for the previous set.

The same artwork on a dinosaur card, did we look at the green-carded version of this last year? I seem to remember pointing out that they look like old 1970/80's stock, there must be a warehouse or shed-full somewhere!

Like the Gulliver Confederate ACW cavalry - some dealers were (are) listing them for a small fortune as 'really rare', but the whole point of the fraud was that a vast number were ordered and manufactured on a FOB/COD contract (in order for the accountant to run off with the [a meaningful amount of-] cash-dosh), so there was (is) a mountain of them and honest dealers still let them go for a fiver or so 'cos there's a warehouse-full of them somewhere, or there was, but they're still not rare!

F is for Follow-up - V is for Value Pack

A couple of days after I'd scheduled last weekend's posts, Brian Berke sent me his findings for this season too late to add to the relevant posts. One or two of the bits he sent have already been slotted neatly (or jemmied) into posts, but as the Amscan post was on the 1st of the month, it's easier to present these as a follow-up.

Unlike the sea-life the other day, these are definitely knock-offs of Iwako designs; the donkey we saw a while ago ('Erasers' in the Tag List) and at 12 for just-short of five dollars it's pennies per unit isn't it? Cheap as chips!

I'm loving these! I mean I am ab-sur-lute-ley f****g lovin'em! Brilliant! They are like the old rubber jigglers and I'll be looking-out for them in UK shops - quality . . . real quality tat! And the colours, you've got to love the colours - that orange is gorgeous! But they're not as cheap as the donkey-rubbers.

From the top you've got a six-armed cyclopean with Piglett's ears, an even more piglike cyclops, a wacky vampire batterfrog (indeed, is one of these a realistic likeness of a Basingrad hippa'crocka'frog?) and my favourite the triclopean who is borrowing heavily from Toy Story.

Note also that the way they're packed each one comes in three of four colours - so you have to buy a second set to get the lot? Thanks Brian!

Friday, August 11, 2017

S is for Swiped Swoppets

A quickie today, but interesting nevertheless as being not so common Hong Kong piracies of Britains Swoppets, I can't remember where these came from, but an odd bag at a show I think? I ask as I wonder if I should be crediting someone, but they're not in any of the major plunder photo-shoot's so I guess they were in an odd bag from a smaller purchase . . . it's funny as a typical collector, lists or records come a close second to the artefacts themselves, but things come in all the time and the odd lot gets-in under the radar of obsessiveness!

The components - and that's the whole point, not that Hong Kong has copied something again, but that it has copied a limited number of components from a multi-part 'system', to create a similar variety without the full range of pieces.

There were a few other pieces copied, particularly foot-figure's legs and we will see a few other variants when I get round to the relevant post on the Hong Kong Blog, as Baravelli imported them on little carded sets.

The mounted figures, note that one of the horses is taken from the American Civil War set also branded to the Swoppets line as well as being an Eyes Right mount for a 'Mountie'!

Both horses have a hole in the small of the back; as the Britains originals have a stud for attaching the blankets/Saddle-mouldings, and the copy's blankets are both lacking that [receiving] hole or any protrusion that might locate with the hole in the horses there's no real reason for the hole, but there it is!

Also showing a shot of the base mark, I have as yet not tied this lot into a specific set, vis-à-vis the mounted figures, but the foot figures were issued by Baravelli in threes with three smaller monochromatic figures as Indiani et Cowboy, on cards with otherwise generic artwork.

I only have the one set of legs but other legs do exist, all from the Indians though (so far ID'd by me that is - you may know different!); the kneeling archer, running brave and dancing witch-doctor.

I really like these; they're crap, but it's a nostalgic, colourful, glossy, think-we-had-some-back-in-the-day Rack Toy crap!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

O is for Ooooh, fishy, fishy, fishy-fish!

A-fish, a-fish, a-fish, a-fishy, Oh! . . . Ooooh, fishy, fishy, fishy-fish! . . . That went wherever I . . . did gooooohw.

I don't suppose we'll visit fish here again at Small Scale World for the longest time, so this is a round-up of all the fishy stuff that's hanging around, most having come-in in the last 18-months, so there's a synergy to the thing and the post is clearly meant by the gods (unless you believe in one of them, then you'll be spitting nails at my casual atheism and refusal to take your pan-dimensional mega-being any more seriously than the next guys, anyway - his is the one true-one, not yours!).

It's also all rack-toy type stuff, if not actually from a rack toy, or seen on a rack! Although; if they were on a rack, they'd be smoked and we don't do smoking here anymore - vaped mackerel anyone?

These are currently available for next to nothing from The Swagman's Daughter and when I first found them I thought they may be the old Prior moulds, but actually they're rather more 'based on' than actual and are - in any case - marked Hong Kong rather than Macau.

They are also in hard to shoot psychedelic primary-colours, but I had a go! In fact a mishap meant two sets were forthcoming and between photo sessions I took enough to give you an idea; but to be honest I think the shots on the originating site are better!

I wasn't the only person looking for fish online, the owner of the old photography/camera shop in town, recently rebranded for the digital era was also looking for fish to decorate the shop's float in this year's carnival, he found some, but they were . . . err . . . weren’t what he was expecting - always read the description!

They were in fact 30-40mm or so; not including flappy-bits! Anyway they went in the window for the same carnival's window-dressing competition, where I spotted them, took these shots and got the sorry story of how they couldn't be seen on the float!

I then tracked-down the catalogue images on-line and as you can see there are only six poses, but they come in assortments of twelve, six in a basic-paint finish and six patterned. I couldn't tell you if they are made-up markings or representative, but with the same sculpt used for two different schemes I'm guessing (like assumption - but wilder!) they're made-up's. Available here.

These were from Peter Evans buried in the big-bag of Army Men, the one with obvious markings (angel fish?) seems to be a direct copy of a Prior sculpt (with reverse stripe markings), but again they are all marked Hong Kong, not Macau and the others aren't so obviously Prior, although with different sources crediting two different crabs to Prior (one of which looks like this sculpt) and me not having any Priors here to compare-with; I'm sticking with 'after Prior'!

They are also all laced with a piece of fine thread, so may have been part of a hanging mobile, all very 'Seventies! Whether they were sold as a mobile or bought as toys and 'crafted' at home is anyone's guess. Actually (after checking); two - the crab and the fish with a stand weren't hung, so maybe a low-maintenance faux-fish tank? And why is the one so much better painted than the others, it's painted to match the Prior as well?

The rest of the local piscine shoal, a varied bunch with - from the left: an eraser-type rubber blow-fish (Schleich 'mini'?), an ethylene pipe-fish (US?), a modern, PVC electric eel from China, a small PVC goldfish similar to but smaller than the first set above, a two-part styrene goldfish (possibly of Japanese manufacture) and a leaping, factory-painted dolphin, probably copied from one of the US premium sets?

To which are addended two crustaceans, the left hand in polyethylene with traces of past having had gold paint round the eyes and the right-hand in PVC.

This chap (from Beverly Hills Teddy Bear - best toy company name ever!) was going to finish the post, he was sent by Brian Berke over a year ago, and was waiting for this exact post . . . to finish! However, no one ever said life was fair, or if they did (say it) they were lying, or unbearably, sickeningly lucky . . .

. . . so Brian sent this the other day to trump the Nemo-shark at the finishing post! Literally - because the post was in edit and nearly got published the other day.

I thought these to be bootleg Iwako erasers but I think they're the same ones we had in Poundland-Plus here, however it had already struck me it's clear that about 30% of all 'Iwako' erasers out there are bootlegs.

Given the history of relations between Japan and China over the last few hundred years, there probably isn't any licensing involved from the Nippon-end, or much policing from the Beijing-end! What's less understandable is that high-street names like Wilkinnson's-Wilko and WHSmith are happy to carry the bootlegs, heaps of them!

That's yer'fish, you'll have to find you own chips, and we'll probably not return to these 'till I get the similar sample of mixed odds-and-sods out of storage.