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.

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.

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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!

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But is it Giant?

No.

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!

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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!

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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.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Birds of a Feather are Manufactured Together - in the Far East

Apropos a spat elsewhere in the Small Scale World family of Blogs, Amscan were raised recently, we don't want that crap here, but as I haven't posted here for a while this is a timely post illustrating why we will never know the whole truth on Hong Gong production between 1946/7 and at least the Mid-1990's, although much that appears to be factual today is only made-up brands for Alibaba wholesale or evilBay/Amazon retail sell-through.

On the left are two Amscan sets with slightly different contents bought on a steamy-hot day in the summer of 1994, from one of the many discount stores within walking distance of Clapham Junction station's main entrance.

Were they made by Amscan? Of course not! Next to them are three other sets with identical/near identical contents of the same 'Airfix type three' figures (we will look at all this in greater detail another day, this post is about packaging and contract manufacture!), for the Canadian and Italian markets, and; as can be seen from the duel-language graphics of the Amscan sets, they too were intended for Canada (or France?) as well as the UK.

Note also: the dimension-data panel on the 'HK' set is remarkably similar to panels used by or seen on Jaru and Gordy packaging (off the top of my head - there are others), one day this may prove to be a Hong Kong factory tie-in clue?

In France and Germany you were more likely to encounter them in Hans Postler's 'HP' packaging which varied. We see here three versions, the early ones without the CE mark can be dated to pre-1992 (at a guess!), then a CE'ed version and finally a larger carded blister more in line with the set in the previous image.

All the CE marks in both images don't conform to the CE mark rules, which means that they are almost certainly forgeries; to whit - the manufacturer in Hong Kong added them without the relevant permission (or full knowledge of the CE graphic's rules) and the importers turned a blind eye to the fact without being in possession of the relevant certification; a situation which has improved greatly, over the intervening 25-odd years.

The Hans Postler 'earlies' carry artwork from these generics, dated to the early 1980's (a couple of the non-CE cards above carry clues dating then to '84'ish), and here again I don't have a large enough sample to know whether this is six-of-six, six-of-more or one or two from three series?

For instance, one of the Han Postler bags hints at a missing US set, while my US set is in a card trying very hard to pretend it is the card seen below. Matching graphics/same font on the first two of each row seems to point to two series, while the German set doesn't match either pair convincingly.

I suspect they are five-of-six with a missing US Infantry one carrying a fuller version of the HP card's artwork and the one bottom right above is an interim set? The Para's card seems to have employed Action Man (GI Joe) as an artist's model! While shades of Airfix artwork are in the other four, the last one however - as I said - is (with the addition of a dodgy NATO symbol) trying to be this one . . .

. . . which dates from the 1970's and contains ex-Giant factory-clearance, but no mention of Giant, Arco or Sarco or even Mattel or the Rosenberg's  anywhere, in point of fact; a totally blank, generic, rack toy.

Listing

2MacDue SRL (Italy)
Amscan Inc. (Canada, Mexico, UK and USA + others?)
Generics (early - Giant-clearance knock-off artwork and contents)
Generics (later - 3/4 packaging-artwork variations)
Hans Postler GmbH / HP (2/3 packaging variations, Germany and France)
Hong Kong Toy Exporters / HK (for 2MacDue, Hong Kong, China etc...)
'N' (Italy)
Toys and Wheels (Canada)

This list is NOT exhaustive, just what I've found so far. My 'Airfix type three' is the second size of solid, flat based Airfix copies with sharp edges for those of you who have sorted these, they were all explained in the One Inch Warrior magazine article on the Japanese, and I will do something fuller here - soon; now we’ve started to cover them!

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But is it Giant

The last one has Giant contents, but it isn't 'Giant', the rest aren't even Amscan (the subject of the spat elsewhere), they aren't any of the brandings they wear, they probably aren't even Hong Kong Exporters (but they might all be - with the exception of the last one), they are however; all contract-manufactured ex-Airfix sculpts pirated and made in Hong Kong and flogged as pocket-money toys from wire-peg racks and revolving dollar-trees.

Actually the Amscan were being flogged from their shipping-outers on the floor! I went through about 80 sets in two cartons to make sure there was only the two variations in contents!

There is the possibility of a mould move to China 'proper' by the time of the issuing of the fake CE versions, but the figures may have been sitting (in the '90's) bagged, in large, stacked, metal-stillages in an HK warehouse waiting (from the '80's production run) for sales-contracts to be found/fulfilled.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Hong Kong Hollow Horses - Mexican Large - Lucky Clover - Fort Cheyenne with Red Indians

I think we can assume there was a similar one printed 'With Cowboys', but more on that below. This is another easy one, clear distinctions between the similar 'bits' of this set and other sets, some of which we will look at here, others - in future comparison posts.

We've looked at the ancient and Royal Guards sets over on the main 'Home' Blog, and this has no real surprises, however while they had the same title (Tower Fortress with Soldiers) or shared the same packaging, this has a set-specific title block.

Four mounted figures replace the guns or chariots of the other sets and again we can assume that would be true for a cowboy version. A number of relatively unique (by size) foot figures accompany a pretty standard Hong Kong Wild West fort, although it has higher walls than the more common versions from Giant, Woolbro, Gordy, et al., and shallower step/walkway . . . too shallow to stand the figures on!

Logo, code number and a locating arrow, the purpose of which will be to ensure the packers get the tray-insert and the lid to line up, with the fort's own title-block reading in the English fashion (right-way-up, left-to-right) for neat, uniform, shop-displays.

The Stock-code number is the same for all sets, and as I've seen some of the sets as a probably later 1970's blister-carded assembly coded 6647H, it is fair to assume this too probably appeared in that guise, however, both from the numerically earlier stock number and the graphics, we can place this in the 1960's and indeed James Opie dates them to 1969.

The Indians; I have no way of knowing if these are all the poses, and the evidence would suggest probably not! There's a seventh damaged foot figure still to find, complete, for a start!

The figures are based on various sources, notably Timpo '1st version' Swoppets providing the mounted poses (spellchecker wants me to replace 'poses' with posse!), with a couple of Britains Swoppets and the Crescent 60mm sets providing the foot poses. They are also quite large, 26-28mm for the foot, so hard to mistake for other HK figure sets using any of these poses.

The foot figures have 'peanut' shaped cloud bases which are quite thick with an ogee edge and the locating studs on the mounted figures are surprisingly small, almost pointed pimples and all the Indian figures only appear in shades of purplish or oxide browns and red-browns, the darker figures are a bit translucent, and may well be from the later carded sets (if they existed), but the paler solid-colour ones are definitely from these window-box sets.

The horse is the one I call Mexican Large, and is about the best examples of the type you'll find after the Giant issued ones, unmarked and with a slightly textured surface to the interior to the body cavity and very thick body-walls.

Base mark is a blocked HONGKONG in a DIN type font and the fort will be looked at against the others in a comparison post at a later date.

Because I have only the three sets (Guards, Trojans and Indians) we will look at the cowboys as well here, in the hope that a cowboy set will turn-up one day . . . it will! I know the cowboys belong here as they have the following in common with the Indians . . .

• Size
• Base mark (foot figures)
• Peanut bases (foot figures)
• Ridden horse
• Locating stud (mounted figures)

. . . and because they came together in 'clean' loose-figure samples. Indeed; they were among the first sets to be sorted out of the main lump, such is the clarity of their signature features.

There are a couple of differences, namely that prior to obtaining this set, they had only turned up with a darker fort (although there were a few creamy-tan spare bits in the unknown box from mixed samples) and they don't take any poses from Timpo or Crescent.

It is my belief therefore; that the dark-brown (Indian figure colour) forts probably accompanied the so far missing cowboy sets, while the Indians got a fort which contrasted with their own plastic colour. Although the previous clean-sample loose sets I had taken-in often contained similar quantities of cowboys and natives, so there may have been 'belligerent' sets with both sets of figures and an oxide-brown fort.

The Cowboys; again I have no way of knowing if this is all the poses, but at eight foot and seven mounted two things are likely: A) there are probably less cowboys (if any) to find than the Indians, and B) there probably ARE one or two more Indian poses to find!

Always in the same four primary colours, but various shades and hues, the poses this time are from Britains Swoppets only, but from both the 1st and 2nd series. If anything their bases are even thicker than the Indians and with a sharper radius on the edge.

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But is it Giant?

No. 1969 puts it a year or two beyond the best of Giant, although some of their original stuff lasted on as sell-through (barbed wire, wagons) or comic book game-playing pieces, they were gone before this lot hit the toy, model and sports and bicycle-shops of the West!

Wild West Figures - Wing Lung - Airfix Copies

It is unfortunate (for this Blog) that some of the stuff which would be [is!] due to appear here ended-up in storage, among which were all the Guards and their forts/sets (most already on the home Blog though), all the Giant and Giant-like ancient and medieval forts (some on the Home Blog) and loose (apart from the few on the Roman Page some of the chariots and the Viking ships) and all the loose Matchbox and Airifx piracies; I do have the mint bagged stuff here, so we can visit some of that in good time.

The Blue Box is the opposite, with the loose stuff here and all the sets, cards and boxes in storage! Also I do have all the Britains/Crescent combat figures (loose and carded/bagged) here so we will finish what we started over on the Home Blog, along with 90% of the hollow-horsed Cowboys & Indians, so - with the Airfix exceptions - they will star to start with.

So this is just a brief shot from a scan of old photo's never used in the 1-Inch Warrior magazine days, showing four of the Wing Lung copies of Airfix 1:32nd scale (54mm) figures downscaled to 30mm (and now in storage), so you can compare them with the Modern I and Modern II sets I have posted (two posts immediately below/'previous posts'). There are Cowboys as well, equally distinctive and obviously we will look at them all here in time.

Both Indians and cowboys only come as foot figures, no horses or accessories, and they are marked boldly on the base "HONG KONG" either in-line or up-and-under. This base-mark is the same for all three scales Wing Lung issued. Both this and the next image are a bit crude, but they give the post a bit of substance!

Wing Lung sold them in header-carded bags on the runner ('sprue') which was of the tree design and you may be more familiar with their larger 45/50mm copies of Matchbox British and US troops, or in about 18mm: Airfix German Infantry, German Para's and Matchbox US. The logo's are cropped-out of much larger evilBay images, so they've been a bit pixilated!

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But is it Giant?

Nooooo.