The 27th Annual Plastic Warrior show will be held on 5th May 2012 at:
The Queen Charlotte Hall, Richmond Adult and Community College, Parkshot, Richmond, TW9 2RE (the usual venue)
Doors open 11.00
The Plastic Warrior anniversary souvenir figures.
Can we really have been doing this for 27 years? I have attended every one and remember the first one like it was only yesterday, it was so bad that there very nearly wasn't a second one. The Show was the brainchild of Peter Evans who booked the hall, arranged tables, did the advertising and roped in the dealers, his Mum made sandwiches and tea for the refreshment stall.
There were only four dealers but they were big names on the London collectors scene at the time: Seamus Wade, Peter Flataus, Bill Kingsman and Roy Lemon, they all normally dealt in old lead but acquired some plastics when they bought up collections, it was good of them to take the time out to support us. They sold the plastics very cheap and by the end Seamus was begging people to take them for nothing so he didn't have to carry anything home.
Several of us put on displays of our collections, a big feature of the early PW shows were wargames and "the fight". Ross Perry (whose Dad had written two books on 54mm wargaming) put on a massive medieval castle siege game, it looked magnificent but took so long to set up there was no time to play it. "The fight" was a reenactment, usually some sort of duel or personal combat. in this first one Peter and a chap called Bob Chitson dressed up in chainmail and helmets then went at each other with broadswords. Their ferocity was actually quite frightening to watch, when Peter bludgeoned Bob around the head we all just stared on in a terrified mesmeric awe.......... an ambulance was called and Bob was taken to hospital with concussion.
My contribution was to man the door and take the entry fees, not too onerous a task as only four people turned up, I had taken my new rather enthusiastic young girlfriend along with me for the day, she dumped me shortly after this. One of the exhibitors had brought along models which had featured in Don Featherstone's book "Skirmish Wargames" there was an amazing two storey western saloon, a pirate ship and a Peninsular War Spanish town, at the end of the show he didn't want to take them home, Ross took the first two but couldn't squeeze the town into his car and convinced me to take it rather than see it go on a skip.
When the curtain came down we divied up Peter's Mum's unsold sandwiches and headed out into the dank North London dusk only to find that half the cars had been vandalised.
It had not been a success, we all agreed that, but Peter assured us this always happened with a first show and next year would be better and, of course, he was right. With a highly sceptical team in tow Peter went ahead and arranged the second show, he managed to get some prime time coverage on Danny Baker's TV show and PW has never looked back.
By the tenth show we had already imported remoulds of Marx figures from Mexico and Dulcop's from Italy so had some feel for the collectors retail market. Peter Cole had been making figures in resin for some time but the process was slow and the materials made them too costly, he thought he had found a way to make short runs of plastic figures that would be reasonably affordable and we agreed to back him. As an experiment we commisioned him to make a figure to celbrate the 10th PW show. Herald had made a set of four infantrymen standing at attenetion, a highlander in glengary, sikh, guardsman and modern infantry in beret, we felt there should also have been a boer war infantryman in khaki and putees so that's what we went for. The experiment worked, in fact it was a great success and from the techniques learned the firm of Replicants was born, we were so excited about it none of us noticed that we'd made the figure with his rifle in the wrong hand.
By the time the 20th show came around Peter Cole's firm Replicants was firmly established and didn't need us to sponsor a figure but he made one anyway, a war correspondent from the American Civil War, quite fitting really. Last year Ron Barzo came over from the US and brought with him a supply of his own souvenier figure, a lady pirate brandishing a cutlass and quite fetching she looks too! Will there be more such figures to follow? Who knows, my next post will be after the show so we'll see what turns up.