About Me

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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, 2 October 2017

Battle of Berlin Mini Military Playpak - DFC - Multi Toys Corp.

I'll load this last so it appears above the other two of three, as it's ended up with the most images and the other two are pretty-much much-of-a-muchness! The three were - in point of fact - sold together in a cling-film outer with a card tray.

Box scan promises little but a light tank could reasonably be expected to star in the contents! The "Over 35 Pieces" on all three boxes is a funny one, there are in every set 31 figures, one or two vehicles and a polyethylene play-mat made of carrier-bag material. In the case of one set (the Battle of Berlin in this post) this gives an item-count of only 33, count the wheels and turret seperately and you get 36! The other two sets are a little better, giving 34 items/40 parts!

The contents complete and set-up on the rather simplistic play-mat; clearly a meeting of two cart-tracks down in the Grünwald rather than the more iconic urban setting of so much of the photography of the final, brutal campaign by the 'Red Army' to behead the Nazi-daemon!

Which makes the sight of two sets of Matchbox US Infantry piracies dukein' it out in the woods all the more incongruous! Especially as one side gets to call on a vaguely British armoured-car for fire-support . . . lend-lease to the Soviet Union!

The figures, no mortar or team but most of the set is copied (leaning-back Tommy-gunner, bazooka-man, AFV-overalls and stabbing down are also absent, along with the MG No.2) and you get them in two colours, a mid-green (close to the Russian summer uniform) and an olive-drab which sort of passes for field-gray!

The figures are so-so, they're not the worst copies of Matchbox in these small sizes, nor are they the best. Unmarked and in a glossy plastic; they is; what they is, what they is!

The armoured-car is a very basic version of the big Daimler as modelled in small scale as a kit by Hasegawa for a long time now. There are lots of versions of this from Hong Kong (and 'China'), most probably coming down from the Dinky die-cast toy original; this is the poorest version I know and is an umpty-somethingth-generation copy!

However, finish-quality is good; it's a nice clean, well-defined moulding, just not very accurate to the donor! Marked "Made in Hong Kong" in the body-cavity.

A scan of the play-mat should anyone need to print-out a paper replacement, neatly dating the set's issue to 1983 and suggesting that DFC/Dimensions for Children might remain with us through the still-busy MTC whose rack-toy products have featured heavily on the Home-Blog over the last 20-odd months.

Below this post you will find briefer looks at the other two sets in the series/pack-liner; Battle for Stalingrad and Battle for the Black Forest.

But is it Giant?
No - date is way off, source-material for the piracies is way-off, plastic play-matt is not Giant's style, although some of the comic-stuff with Giant figures did have similar play-mats; they were paper.

Battle of Stalingrad Mini Military Playpak - DFC - Multi Toys Corp.

So, to the second of the three sets issued jointly by the Dimensions for Children and MTC brands in 1983; small sets sold together in a trio and containing a handful of Hong Kong-sourced piracies, the contents similar between the three sets.

Scanned box, the artwork is even more exciting than on the (above/newer post) Battle of Berlin set, if only we actually found a Schwimmwagen with MG fitted upon opening the box, or plastic renditions of the walls of the Kremlin - wrong city DFC! Sadly - no such luck!

The figures are copies of Matchbox's US infantry and as we looked at the poses above, we are here looking at the colour variations of the two main armies, one being in a rich yellow-olive or khaki and the other set being in  a darker olive-drab or jade-green, however there is quite a variation between figures and each set has 31 figures, random by pose and number of each pose but always (or certainly - in the case of my three sets) 15 in one colour-way, 16 in the other.

In place of the Daimler armoured-car in the Berlin set we get two jeeps in this set, both scaled larger than the figures, one fitted with a spigot for an absent driver and looking vaguely like a US WWII-era Jeep, following a common HK design, the other having a hole forward of the driver's seat which may be for an equally absent driver, or a steering-wheel, as it's not present either - we'll never know!

This second 'jeep' however is not a Jeep, but resembles almost the Soviet version utility-car with a different bonnet (hood) and squat'er appearance, see also next/older post (Battle of the Black Forest) for a couple more views; it also lacks the star on the bonnet usually seen on Hong Kong Jeeps.

The different markings, plastic solour and wheels suggest both were bought-in from separate manufacturers, with the smaller one being supplied by the same producer who provided the armoured-car seen in the Battle of Berlin set, the larger one originating with the same company that made the figures.

As with the other two sets this is a 1:1 scan of the play-mat in case anyone needs to print a paper replacement for the PE original, and, in keeping with the Battle of Berlin set, seems to have eschewed the iconic scenes of urban combat around the tractor-factory, rail terminus, river-side wharves or main square, depicting - instead - the rural idyll to the South of the city as described by Guy Sajer in his seminal autobiography The Forgotten Soldier!

So we've had Berlin and Stalingrad, what great battle next; Iwo Jima, Leningrad or Moscow, Tobruk maybe, Kohima . . . Mote Casino, Dunkirk even . . . ? No, we're off to the Black Forest!

But is it Giant?
No - date is way off, source-material for the piracies is way-off, plastic play-matt is not Giant's style, although some of the comic-stuff with Giant figures did have similar play-mats; they were paper.

Battle of the Black Forrest Mini Military Playpak - DFC - Multi Toys Corp.

This set is in the same vein as the other two, and has almost identical contets to the Stalingrad set, whether the likelihood of getting two jeeps or an armoured car in each set was fixed or random I don't know, but one day will track-down some duplicates which will answer that particular question!

Again we'll lead-off with the box scan, hint's of a German tank are going to prove misleading when the purchaser opens the box, but at least this time we have US forces on the cover!

Of course; there was no major combat in the Black Forest in the Second World War - the people who started the bloody conflagration escaped remarkably unscathed, as - indeed - in the case of the Austrians, they had in 1918, after starting that 'show'! Some of the Cities had been bombed, often heavily for years, and there were some limited actions against fanatical Nazis in some towns, but generally Southern Germany and Austria escaped the worst.

The complete contents vis-à-vis the figures and in keeping with the two sets above ('newer post' or click the DFC tag) we get two colours of Matchbox US infantry copies, 15 in one colour and 16 in another; figures are reasonable for what they are, early 1980's piracies from Hong Kong.

It's seems amazing; but with random pose-numbers and plastic colour variation, it looks likely that the figures were hand-sorted/counted into the boxes, each of my three having exactly 31 figures with a 15/16 split as far as main plastic-colour goes.

Two Jeeps, again as per the Battle of Stalingrad set from the same brands (Dimensions for Children / MTC) and within the same retail liner, from two sources; one is a common HK design with star on the bonnet (hood), the other looking a bit 'quatsch'!

Well, it says Battle of the Black Forest and for once the play-mat delivers! Two connected, twisty paths for your handfuls of figures to rush round, stalking each other, a bit narrow for the jeeps though!

It's a 1:1 scan for anyone who needs to print-off a paper replacement for a missing plastic one - the original is basically printed on plastic carrier bag material; Polyethylene (PE) film/sheet.

What's clearly a missed opportunity with these three sets is that despite the similarity of the contents and the fact that they were sold as a trio in a cling-film wrap with card-tray, they (the designers, shippers, jobbers) didn't think to make the mats line-up . . . a bit of tweaking and they could have matched-edges like Lego base-plates!

But is it Giant?
No - date is way off, source-material for the piracies is way-off, plastic play-matt is not Giant's style, although some of the comic-stuff with Giant figures did have similar play-mats; they were paper.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Kositoys (Kamley Industrial) Cowboys 'n' Indians

The umpty-somethingth box-ticker today I'm afraid, but I want to get everything I have on this group up at once. There is actually a Cowboy and Indian set from Kositoy available for sale on-line as I write/publish this, but it's a large-scale set of pretty crude Airfix piracies, from the China-marked later period of Kamley Industrial with nothing to offer this post.

Which is; a header card for a small scale set, contents unknown.

It did come with a few figures, but they were clearly A) mixed from several sources and B) too small - as a sample - to have been all the contents; had they been matching; so just some card-art to look at!

The artwork is very similar to the Einco branded sets, this is not to say there's any link (beyond that they are both early/mid-1970's), but that if I've found three Einco sets (and seen more), which I have; there is every chance that a better sample will turn-up eventually and I can either update this post or post them again separately.


But is it Giant?

No, but it is likely to be found to contain 2nd or 3rd generation copies of Giant's mounted poses, there are as this Blog will show over time, only the two main sets of poses; the Giant 3 Cowboys and 3 Indians and the 6x6 poses set of the other main players, with lots of minor exceptions and one-off's like Solpa's figures, so there's at least a...oooh...60% chance (?) of these having the Giant poses when they are ascribed.

Kamley Industrial Co. Ltd. KS2 - 3001 Combat Troops - Airfix 2nd Type 8th Army Copies

Really another box-ticker as the bulk of the lose figures are in storage at the moment, but it's pretty self-explanatory, and indeed because I don't do the 'A is for...' trope on this Blog, the title has as good as covered it!

KS as a product code was the first incarnation of Kamley Industrial as they would be registered in the early 1980's and ran along-side the Kositoy brand of the same group, actually KS seems (as a generic) to have pre-dated Kositoy, but this set is a later addition to the range I feel, purely from the graphics and the fact that it contains copies of figures Airfix only released in 1974?

Only three of the figures are taken exclusively from the 2nd version Airfix 8th Army set; the mine clearer, the MG spotter and the chap running with a Sten-gun, the rest having been available as scale-downs from the Airfix 1:32nd scale set for some years and some of Kamley's competitors had been doing just that, however the bases suggest all were copied from the newer smaller set from Haldane Place.

I have a whole bunch of loose ones (in storage!) and I may have other colours, but I can't remember which (or if) so we'll leave it with these few who have come-in recently in green, and the bagged sandy ones!


But is it Giant?


Kammley - KS - Kositoys G2 Gunners

These are the second version of Kositoy gunners and going on the index card (also survived the flood - see G1 entry) I used to be less sure about these as they come with the latter sets that don't have the Kositoy marked (or the unmarked ones for that matter) card insert to the trucks (see Kositoy on the Home Blog), however I have now found them in Kositoy and Kositoy-Kamley carded and blistered sets so they are Kositoy.

Another of the shots sent in by Brian Berke helps put them in context and as I've explained elsewhere, the third gunner attached via the towing-eye may not be an official feature, but I have found several over the years so either it's a common trope for owners to put one there, or at least one of the factory/outworkers did so, with or without permission!

Just as I haven't found green G1's, I have yet to find any G2's in yellow or the pinky-oranges.

A standard US-style, cold war G.I. with the old M1 piss-pot and a fatigue-jacket; still only a torso though, it's nice to see the armed forces of Toyland providing such important work for double-amputees!

The sample size is greater because they were more recent, so more turn-up! The weird thing about them is that although individually they seem to be a dense ethylene, when you shake a handful they sound like dice or gambling chips, as if they were a harder styrene polymer, I suspect a propylene?

Also if you compare the index card with the G1 sample, you'll see that this one is definite about jeep-drivers, but has a question mark (added at some point) over Kositoy, the G1's were the opposite, except it was 'pilot'!

The cards were mostly written in the 1990's as I was hoovering-up this stuff at shows and car-boot sales and will reflect my knowledge at the time, with recent developments it's now clear both types are KS-Kositoy-Kamley Industrial Co. Ltd., with the G1 the earlier and the G2 the later. And . . . yes; that reads Hong Konk!


But is it Giant

No; the earliest KS-coded generics probably didn't appear until ten years after Giant had ceased to be as a going concern, possibly as long as 14 or 15-years after and there are no Giant-recognised items or pieces in any of Kositoy's sets.

G1 Gunners - Probably Kamley/Kositoy

These are one of two sets of gunners, the second of which (called un-imaginatively by me) G2 are definitely, 100% Kamley Industrial Co. Ltd. Trading as Kositoy or KS-coded generic rack-toys.

However there is a small question-mark over these for the time being as back when I was a Philistine (or even more Philistinical than I am now!) I used to chuck the crappy guns in the recycling or send them off to charity without the gunners, as I saw myself as 'only' collecting small scale figures.

I am pretty sure I removed both G1 and G2 gunners from Kositoy guns, and am equally sure that these are earlier than the others (due to A) having a smaller sample and B) not finding them on Google when the later (?) G2's are easy to find), however I always kept one of each 'intactum', so there will be a pair of confirmation samples in storage to return to at some point.

I did mock-up a brace for this post and while the G2's will fit the early gun without forcing, the G1's are loose in the later gun's seats, suggesting A) I've got them the right way round and B) that they are the two generations of Kamley/Kositoy.

As you can see he looks like a high-altitude pilot or astronaut/spaceman (but only a torso) with a full Gemini type or early Cosmonaut rig of straps across the front of his pressure-suit.

It wouldn't surprise me if he turned up in a rack-toy aeroplane, space-ship or racing-car at some point, and I have a feeling I may have removed some (of both G1's and G2's) from jeeps, but neither of the jeeps being listed today in other posts take drivers and I'm not listing such until I get the rest out of storage or find some on the internet to confirm.

Colours so far found. These are a softer ethylene than the G2's and when shook - as a handful - sound like Airfix HO/OO figures, unlike the G2's who sound like dice!

While I shall leave the question marks in the first part of this post I noticed that the index card is clear that these are Kositoy, which means they must have come with a Kositoy lot, this card predates 2006 having survived the 2008 storage-unit flood!


But is it Giant

No; the earliest KS-coded generics probably didn't appear until ten years after Giant had ceased to be as a going concern, possibly as long as 14 or 15-years after, and there are no Ginat recognised items or pieces in any of Kositoy's sets.