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. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Monday, November 5, 2018

1940's (Sometime?); [WWII], 500 / 500M / 501 / 502 Motorcycles And Riders

Tipping a nod to Plastic Warrior magazine and their Airfix special for the codes and to the Editor - Paul Morehead - for the original ID, wherein lies a tale we'll get to in a minute, but first a look at the machines and their riders.

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
A heavily painted machine, and the first I found, although not the first I'd seen, pretty standard 54mm/1:32nd scale compatible machine. Not knowing much about motorbikes I can only obseve that it's not a 'V-twin' although what that makes it instead is up for grabs, and the knee-pads on the tank look a bit like some BSA ones?

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
Comparison with an unpainted machine, the pink one I will wax-lyrical on in a minute, but for now you can see how it's quite a detailed machine for its age compared with the machines posted on the Home Blog today (5th November 2018) where Pyro, Teixedo, Reisler and later Atlantic were producing machines with hinted-at engine detail, or imaginary engines!

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
The commonest form you will find these in is a 'primary' coloured, colour-fast, soft 'unbreakable' or 'beach-toy' polyethylene, usually with contrasting wheels and often without a rider, but we see from that reference in the PW 'Special' that they were sold four ways;

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types). Unpainted only . . all unbreakable and removable riders.
500M - Motorbike Only.
501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types)

All trade, per gross.

What any retailer would want a gross (144) of motorcycles riders [without bikes] for is anyone's guess!

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
Another, with one of the riders, this is the helmeted chap, the other has a peaked 'service-cap', of a rather squishy US style, but I'm not aware of this being a US mould-share or copy and the machine is very British in lines.

The listing given in PW's special is from an un-dated 1940's catalogue and it's not clear which rider is 501 and which is 502, but I favour this as the '2, due to seniority, the other figure having sergeants stripes!

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
So, to the sorry tale . . .

 . . . I first became aware of these about a decade ago, when working for JB, he got a bunch of them in a mixed-lot from somewhere, and we didn't know who they were by, but liked the look of them, and it happened that Mr. Morehead had come round for a 'working brunch' and identified them as Airfix, heavily painted by a loon, with a spoon! [I made-up the last bit!]

Anyway, JB asked me if I could clean them, and I said "Yeah, sure, I'll take them home and do it tonight". I can tell you it took three dips in Nitromores (this back in the day when Nitromores would take the paint off a car-body in 30 seconds and was worth using - now it's some 'elf-n-safety' affected, watered down, oven-polish with no power to speak of!), and a hour or so with a tooth-pick to get the thick khaki 'mud' off them.

Then, about four/five years later, I found this at Dave McKenna's Birmingham show! I've since seen others and although the catalogue in PW states "unpainted", and while most examples are unpainted, it looks like either Airfix or a retailer painted them at some point, with this thick gloss paint, and that we'd stripped 'factory-paint' off a whole batch! Hey-ho!

As the paint matches some examples of the early mounted (Horse Guard in service dress) and early 54mm figures (Airborne, Japanese and Paratrooper), I think it probably was/is Airfix?

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
Three parts of the bike and both riders, as [unpainted] riders are usually a different colour to wheels/motorcycle, the fact that the painted one is the same colour as the bike he came with is another sign that they were probably factory-/out-painted and then matched to machines with the under-polymer colours unknown.

There is a variation of the helmeted figure, with his goggles on his helmet, not his face, with the same pocketed tunic as the Sergeant and without the Sam-Brown/cross-belt, whether this was dropped early or added after the PW-referenced catalogue is unknown.

Equally it may be that someone forgot to include it in the catalogue listing, OR that the 'two types' are cap or helmet and that there was 'artistic' variance within a multiple-cavity mould/tool?

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
My sample to-date (Nov.'18), whatever the truth of the paint/no paint, I'm not stripping my one; just in case! But the one I really like is the pink one . . .

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
. . . and I can't tell you how much I love this toy - it looks like a fossil, dug from the pink sandstones of the Gobi desert, painstakingly, with a hat-pin and a soft-brush.

By some series of quirks, from the similarly-coloured plastic for the wheels and bike, some factory or home painting at various times, some cleaning and/or weathering/play-wear over time, it has developed a patina of 'antiqued' age you couldn't re-produce in a laboratory with the greatest minds in the universe working on the problem.

This is one of the ten to try and save from a fire! If it wasn't identical to the others in every way, you'd think it was from another company and thirty-year's earlier!

Under the patina, the bike is a pale pinky-flesh and the wheels a mauve-purple. The engine seems to have been gold at some point and the patina is probably a sign of the vehicle having been a darker-red with an unstable additive/colourant?

10th Dec. 2018 - Strangely (not! They're always following me!) a machine turned-up in Vichy over the weekend - a month after posting this - with traces of all-over gold paint!

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
Best of British!

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
Signs of the front number-plate being painted on the faded one, and a short-shot / miss-mould on the front number-plate of the red one, I also noticed the mud-guard bar on the blue one has gawn-missin'. . . I'll trim it off to make it less obvious at a glance!

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
A few more riders, all the same pose, they came together, so probably date from the same factory-gate batch, a later (?) stable pigment ethylene run, matching two of my machines, the red and silver exactly, the black a new colour.

The original image I used in a mixed motorbike post on the 'Home Blog' when I was hedging my bets with a 'probably/possibly' I think! Other colours seen in relation to these include a bright apple/grass green and a subdued yellow.

500 - Motorbikes & Riders (2 types); 500M - Motorbike Only; 501 - Motorcycle Rider; 501/2 - Riders Only (assorted 2 types); 502 - Motorbike Riders; Airfix Model Figures; Collecting Airfix Figures; Collecting Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Figures; Early Airfix Toy Soldiers; Early Airfix Toys; Early British Toy Soldiers; Early Motorbike Toys; Motorcycle Toys; Plastic Warrior Magazine; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Vintage Plastic Figures; Vintage Plastic Soldiers; Vintage Toy Figures; Vintage Toy Soldiers; Vintage Toys;
So - I got them out and took the shot a few days later, but I'm not going to announce it on the home Blog, as I've posted a couple of links there (to here) in the last few weeks and I'm sure some people get sick of links to something they've only just read!

Therefore if you're reading this in December 2018 you're getting a 'sneak preview' of something I won't return to until something more substantial turns-up! Not that there's' anything new in it, just a nice picture!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

1971; [Civil / Sportsmen] Footballers Sports Series, 1835 / 51470 / 51470-3, 1:32 (54mm)

Along with the hard polystyrene plastic 'kit' figures 'Track Officials and Spectators' meant for the slot-racing system; these were the only modern civilian set issued in 1:32 scale, equating to 54mm.


Title / Titles
Footballers Sports Series


Catalogue number/s
Cat No. 1835 - Code No. 51470-3 (Type One box)
Code No. 51470-3 (Type Two box)
Item-No. 51470-3 (French box)

One Airfix website has credited the set with the following codes - 9-51570 for 1980-84, 14 figure 'small boxes' and 51570 for the 1986 equivalent; to this author's knowledge, neither set was issued and no second referee was tooled-up, as would have been necessary.

Catalogue entries
9th Edition
10th Edition
11th Edition
12th Edition
13th Edition
14th Edition
15th Edition

Meaning it was advertised (in all versions) from between 1971 and 1978 inclusively, whatever the retail availability and/or actual issue/batch date/s. The first version box seems no rarer than the second, so when the '73 artwork boxes actually got released is another question.

They say
"This new set of model figures will enable the enthusiast to stage his own football match. There are 29 pieces in the set - 24 players, in various poses, 2 trainers, 2 linesmen and a referee. In addition there are 2 footballs. We leave the choice of team colours to you as all the figures are unpainted." 9th edition catalogue, issued autumn 1971 for 1972

Box Types/Date of issue (with notes)

1 - Type One (no date, large box-end logo, herb green graphics, equates to brown box 'round logo' era, possibly available for Christmas 1971 but probably not issued until 1972)

2 - Type Two (possibly issued in 1973, but it looks as if they weren't got to market until 1974, small box-end logo, grass green graphics, equates to target box era, new 'Letrasett' style block-font)

3 - 'Le Redoubt' (French Language, 1974 issue, box; ©1973) The French version of the type two box, carried by the mail-order company La Redoute has a translation of the information panel, but drops the World Cup 1966 winners line and adds the winners of the 1974 Munich World Cup (Germany) after the Brazil/Mexico line, creating a new paragraph and letting us know the French issue was produced after the World Cup had been held, in late 1974, despite carrying a 1973 copyright, not found on the English box.

There are other differences in layout of that box rear and while the word footballers is on the front (and the four sides - leading to changes in the positioning of the figures on the long sides), on the back panel is has been changed to Footballeurs with a 'u', also the La Redoute logotype is to be found round all four sides of the box under the 'Footballers'.

Number of figures/accessories per box
The early box describes the set as containing 29 scale pieces, there are in fact 29 figures and two ball as one additional 'spruelette' moulding for a 30 or 31-count depending on whether they are found mint or loose.

Figure poses - by identifying number/letter codes
Figures are not marked.

Other notes
*The two figures above – reaching high & reaching low – are actually the same goalkeeper pose, placed in different attitudes vis-à-vis the base, prior to the final stages of the cavity positioning/cutting/mould-making process.

One of the two balls, if anything about this set is 'rare' (and it's neither of the box types if evilbeevilBay is anything to go by!) it is the footballs, which are tiny and easily lost, I've never checked but I think they may actually be under-scale?

Comparison between an Airfix figure and two of his clones; the Champions of Soccer board-game playing piece from Mike Orchard Enterprises, published in 1984 and a Hong Kong marked rack toy/cake decoration.

Vis-à-vis the HK one; the same source seems to have been responsible for the copies of the Airfix 1:32nd scale Napoleonic Infantry, being issued in the same colours and wearing the same, quite neat, base-mark.

Another of the Mike Orchard figures, it's easy to mistake the six Champions of Soccer players for Airfix if found in this colour, but he is both slightly smaller and a paler, wishy-washy creamy-white, rather than the full 'double-cream' of the Airfix originals.




The above are just four scans from the earlier box. There are more comparisons to come, more of the HK figures and better images of the 2nd version box - if I didn't sell them all in 2011, time will tell?

1:32nd; 1:32nd Scale Figures; 1:32nd Scale Footballers; 1:32nd Sclae Toys Figures; 54mm Plastic Figures; 54mm Toy Figurines; Airfix; Airfix Copies; Airfix Footballers; Airfix Model Figures; Airfix Piracies; Airfix Toy Figures; Association Footballers; Football Association; Football Figures; Football Players; Footballers; HK; HK Footballers; Hong Kong Airfix Copies; Hong Kong Copies; Hong Kong Footballers; Hong Kong Piracy; Hong Kong Toy Figures; Made in Hong Kong; Model Football Players; Small Scale World; smallscaleworld.blogspot.com; Toy Football Players;
Update on the Hong Kong copies with four different poses. They have lost a bit on [probable] pantographing, but these were quite late as far as copies from the colony went, and compared to some of those third or umteysomethingth-generation copies of earlier figures (8th Army or Germans for instance) these have been done well and kept most detail to almost the same level as the originals. It may help that there's been no attempt to give them different or wacky 'landscaped' bases?