Tuesday, 15 September 2020
Wednesday, 26 August 2020
Over on facebook someone on the "Friends who like Plastic Warrior" group was asking about the plastic figures made by John Niblett & Co (Modelmakers) Ltd that used to be on sale at the Tower of London. I have a couple of them so I put a picture up on the group, they're such nice models I thought I'd post it up here too.
Robert the Bruce is based on the 1964 statue at Bannockburn by Charles Pilkington Jackson, the rider is a little over 54mm and I think it was originally sold with an unpainted gilt finish. I bought this back in the 1980's as part of a collection, sold at Phillips Auctioneers, which had belonged to a chap who'd been a serious student of heraldry. His collection had been broken up into several lots, most of which were high end metal models, but there was also a big box of plastic odds and ends that nobody was interested in, so I went for it. The box contained lots of conversions which he'd made himself, based on historical figures and all painted in the correct livery, so I'm guessing that he painted up this model of the Bruce. Helpfully he put a little hand written sticker on the bottom of each base to say who the model was of.
The second model is the suit of armour of King Henry VIII which I seem to recall had been on display at the Tower, it stands about 80mm high and is missing a pikestaff but otherwise is in original condition. I know there was at least one more model in the series, a mounted knight in Gothic armour but there may have been more, anyone know of any others? John Niblett is of course best known for his work on the 1:72nd scale figures for Airfix but he worked on a freelance basis for several manufacturers as well as producing these and his own range of very fine wargame figures.
As mentioned above, I have recently joined facebook, which is a sure omen that it will shortly collapse, if my past history for joining such groups is anything to go by! In the meantime I'm enjoying touching base with many old names from the collecting world who don't necessarily bother to follow the blogging world. My only beef with FB is that the photos don't blow up very large and I'm very much a pictures person, also you have to trawl through reams of stuff if you ever want to refer back to them. For these reasons I will probably post pictures here and on FB, I hope that won't become too annoying?
Friday, 21 August 2020
In the past few weeks these three magazines have arrived through the post, here are some more details:
Glasenapp's volunteer hussars at the Battle of Rotha 1762,
Cinderella in tin and lead,
Vignettes for the Death of General von Craushaar 1870,
the search of Jager Tromm - Prussian Jagers in tin and lead,
Civilian figure sets by Spenkuch,
Prussian Staff before Paris 1870 by Haselbach/Rieche,
British observation balloons in the Boer War,
the Stewart Collection of toy soldiers at the Frazier History Museum in Kentucky
So all in all a lot of very varied articles to get through.
Subscription details for all these magazines are on their websites so just give them a quick Google rather than have me bore you with the same old information time after time.
Wednesday, 22 July 2020
Now this is a bit of archive footage I haven't seen before, it's an early meeting of the British Model Soldier Society. Among the luminaries I spotted Otto Gottstein (in the opening shot, sitting at the far end of the table smoking a cigarette, next to a chap with a pipe) he was President of the Society at the time and a great patron of the hobby. Also I think I see a young Deryck Guyler (at about 22 seconds in) who was a keen member of the BMSS before going on to be one of the founding members of the Society of Ancients. The clip includes a rather nice selection of model knights produced by Richard Courtenay.
Model Soldiers 1953
I have Detlef Heerbrand to thank for finding this clip and posting it on facebook (which I finally got around to joining this month - a sure sign that it's days are numbered). It features Bill Carman who was Vice Chaiman of the BMSS at the time and was one of the first to manufacture model soldiers for the collector. His figures are a bit basic by modern standards but I've always been a big fan of them so I was particularly pleased when this surfaced.
Archive footage shot inside the Britains factory showing the hand casting of hollowcast figures, through to cleaning the castings, painting and packing them.
This piece of footage has been doing the rounds for a while but given that it's dated 1965 it's interesting that the commentary points out the hollow cast figures shown are made strictly for adults as collectors items. Britains ceased hollow casting in 1966, the story that this was because of lead paint and child safety fears is an urban myth, the truth is they just weren't selling enough. The second half of the film shows an injection moulding machine being loaded up with plastic pellets and states that production of plastics was in full swing for the juvenile toy market.
Model Soldier sale 1968
This newsreel covered the very first specialist auction of Toy Soldiers (in fact the first specialist auction of any toys), held by Knight, Frank and Rutley who were founded in 1896 as Valuers, Surveyors and Auctioneers, they are a well known Estate Agents (Realtors). I didn't recognise any of the faces amongst the crowd here but the toy soldiers needed no introduction.