Saturday, 12 June 2021

Paint a toy soldier and win a car, or two!

 The French take their coffee and their art very seriously, if you have ever doubted this just take a look at the handbills below.  In the 1950's, Mokarex along with several other French coffee manufacturers gave away unpainted plastic model figures as advertising premiums with packets of their coffee.  Collecting the figures and painting them became a national pastime, to such an extent that Mokarex sponsored a painting competition for their figures:

First prize was a Versailles, a luxury saloon car manufactured by Simca, second prize was a Citroen 2CV, which I understand is also some sort of car, the next four runners up each won a television set!  Don't knock it, bear in mind this was 1956, my family didn't get our first tv set until 1963, and even then it was second hand.

Another version of the handbill for the same competition, which was to be judged by a jury made up from members of the Societe des Collectionneurs de Figurines Historiques.

The all important terms & conditions were printed on the reverse of the handbills, for those interested in such things.  For anyone interested in seeing more about these very fine models, known affectionately by the French as figurines publicitaires there is a very good website here: Mokarex

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Repairing PZG medievals

For those who might not have come across them before PZG is the Polski Zwiazek Gluchych (Polish Association of the Deaf) and during the Communist regime they used to run employment schemes, one of which was producing toy soldiers.  And extremely good toy soldiers at that, I always pick them up whenever I come across them and I've never been too fussy about condition, these three were long overdue for a bit of attention.

The horn blower had lost his lower legs and base, the other two were just broken off their bases at the ankles, all three had lost their weapons.  They've all had their legs pinned and filled with miliput, the hornist will need a bit more reconstruction, don't know why I put him on a round base instead of oblong though, didn't think that through!

The finished items, I matched the original paint as best I could, the double handed axes are accessories for 28mm figures, made by Fireforge Games, and the crossbow is from the Replicants range of Britains swoppet replacement parts.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Italian Wars Imperial Cavalry

 Or at least my interpretation of them, I'm not sure they'd score many marks for accuracy but then they are just toys for playing 54mm wargames.  Mostly converted from Britains Deetail knights, except for the rearing figure in the middle which started life as a chess piece from a Harry Potter partwork!  The shield designs tie them all together as being part of the same unit, maybe one day I'll get around to doing the French opposition?

You'd think that one set of figures, which are mostly all silver would take no time at all to paint?  Not so, these have taken an eon, not that they're difficult but just down to a lack of enthusiasm, it's been a lost year, many, many projects started, hardly any finished.

In the absence of any games to report I may just start posting up random pictures of toy soldiers, these chaps have already featured on Facebook so apologies if you're fed up with seeing them!

Friday, 7 May 2021

Austin-Putilov made in Russia

 Austin-Putilov armoured car made by MKI the Moscow Toy Plant, it's plastic and looks like the chassis and turrets have been produced in blow moulds.  Collector Aleksey Dmitriyev in Russia tells me that it was made in the 1970's or 80s, it feels much earlier to me but there you go, I know virtually nothing about Russian toys, except that I like them!  I found these pics while idly searching the net (as you do) and fell in love with it, so I thought I'd share it.

You can just about make out the makers mark on the right.  If you want to buy it you'll find him on which is a kind of Russian ebay current bidding is just over £106 good hunting.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Beautiful Big Battleships

 I recently unearthed these photos I took a few years back of a rather fine model battleship, it was in the window of a high end antiques gallery just outside Hastings in East Sussex, the place was shut and I wouldn't be able to get back there later so I had to take the pics as best I could through the glass.  The model was about eight feet long (from memory) and I thought it was amazing, but I know nothing else about it.  Does anyone recognise the ship? the four smoke stacks might give a clue, could it have been a shipbuilders model or a film prop?  I have no idea but I thought, if I like it, then maybe someone else will too, and I think it's too good an image to leave forgotten on an old memory card.  Double click the pics to see the detail, it's taken a lot of punishment over the years but not beyond restoration I think.

In this pic you can just see the stern of another battleship.

Just to add to the confusion, I think this may be a photo of the second battleship mentioned above.

Yes, definitely a second ship, again with four smoke stacks but I think this one was a bit shorter.

When I look at the damage strewn across the decks of  these old models it makes me ponder on the carnage left in the aftermath of a sea battle between such steel leviathans.