Jeff Imel at BMC Toys USA recently sent out an email to those interested in his plastic 54mm Army Women Project:
“I’ve got some exciting news about the BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Project. The story about young Vivian’s “Why aren’t there Plastic Army Women?” letter has been circulated widely over the past month. The CBS Evening News will feature Vivian in an ‘On the Road’ segment at the end of the program tomorrow (Friday, August 30th). Steve Hartman (host of On the Road) even took some time to ask me about the project.
“The interest in Vivian’s letter has already helped increase subscribers to this newsletter from about 200 to nearly 500 (my goal is 2000). The extra attention and support has prompted me to get this project in gear, so I’ve had a bunch of new art created and will have a full update this weekend. In the meantime, I’ve created a handy link to share the blog posts. Thanks for your support, Jeff Imel at BMC Toys”
I like a nice steam fair, not just for the shiny, steamy and clanky vintage transport, but also for the stalls and auto jumble.
This year at long last I saw a steam waggon amongst the usual and commoner traction engines and steam rollers. This was of great personal interest as my Great Uncle, killed in France as an 18 year old in the last months of the Great War, was in civilian life back in Home Front Britain a steam waggon stoker. Now at last I have seen up close the sort of conditions where he would have worked.
This machine was a 1921 Foden steam lorry – 25 mile range, one and a half hours to steam up, top speed 14mph. Loads of many tons could be carried by this wonder
Several times over the last few years I have taken a gamble over a tightly packed bag of vintage plastic glimpsed amid the jumble of a steam fair stall that you couldn’t quite make out what was inside. Another vintage plastic owl pellet …
There were some useful Hong Kong made plastic civilian farm worker copies of Herald (or tiny Lilliput) figures.
Amongst a jumble of bashed toy cars in a bucket on a charity stall, I spotted the plump form of Sir Topham Hatt The Fat Controller (70mm) from Thomas the Tank Engine – Mine for one pound. He will make a suitable civic dignitary to rescue. He has a slightly Churchill look or a mini Mussolini.
Later on in a craft tent I spotted this new large 95mm Guards Officer made by GG. I think he might be painted resin – only £2. Other similar ceremonial figures were for sale.
The first thing I spotted was a tiny selection of not so common Britain’s Deetail figures. Afrika Korps. French Foreign Legion. Waterloo French. Complete ones were £1.50, armless ones for repair 50p. I did not have either of these two Afrika Korps figures which are well animated.
Oddly the French Foreign Legion, Sons Of the Desert, get grass green bases. The Afrika Korps get sandy ones – why?
The very last thing I bought was a £1 bag of 50 figures of flimsy and thin plastic.
These Henbrandt figures (£1 a bag for 50 figures) are generally pretty poor quality. They are remarkably thin, almost semi-flat. I did not examine them well on the stall, buying them at the end of my steam fair trip. If I had, I would probably have bought the other few bags as there were a few interesting poses amongst them. These standing guardsmen for one, shown next to 54mm Airfix and Matchbox originals.
My favourite figures were these thin spacemarine type figures and their officer figure, that you may recognise big and small from my other pound store purchases. This set have the head turned to the side.
I’m sure that they were there last year, so they may be there at next year’s steam fair!
So another successful haul of cheap convertible plastic and some happy stall holders.
About 25 years ago I painted these cheap Pound Store copies of Airfix 54mm Cowboys and Indians into a home-made DIY western play set. It was made as a jokey present for a western movie enthusiast daughter of a work colleague. This was recently passed back to me 25 years later for safekeeping.
The Wild West. Independence. The Frontier. These are the seductive and selective histories and stories that countries tell about themselves, to their young and to others. The pioneers, the frontiersman, the noble savage …
A familiar cast of stock Western characters – and then someone comes along and subverts this all with a jokey pop music video
American music charts for the last three to four months have been dominated by a country / hip-hop crossover track called Old Town Road by young hip-hop artist Lil Nas X and Country and Western star Billy Ray Cyrus.
Warning – It is the perfect earworm and in crossing two distinct genres of music has caused controversy and divided musical opinion. Is it Country and Western? Is it hip hop or rap?
Controversy? “Cyrus sent a tweet to Lil Nas X after Billboard decided that the rapper’s song, Old Town Road, was “not country enough” to be on its Hot Country chart. Billboard said the song “does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version” despite its twanging banjo. The removal of the song sparked a fierce debate — white country artists like Florida Georgia Line use hip hop beats in their songs, why can’t a black artist embrace country beats?“
So Billy Ray Cyrus stepped into the remix and the music video ‘movie’ to make it a little more country.
I like the tongue-in-cheek western movie pastiche that was made as the music video. It features black cowboys in 1889 falling through time into the blingy 2019 modern equivalent of fast cars in place of horses, line dancing, designer label cowboy hat and boots.
Time tunnel? Interesting gaming scenario, pure pulp fiction and “Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur” in reverse?
What it suggests about the reality of cowboy life is quite interesting – many cowboys were in fact Black or Hispanic. Not quite the rugged Hollywood 1950s myth making.
Classic and much pirated / copied Airfix figures, still around today in clone form.
I packed inside this all into an old decorated shoebox with their favourite cowboy novel and a simple set of rules for gunfights (roll a dice or split a card deck – highest value wins) or decided via using scissors / paper / stone. Each cowboy and Indian (Native American / first people) had a name on the base of famous historical or western movie characters. (Subrule – Clint always wins). I wonder if the gunfight rules were ever used quietly when no one else was looking?
I wonder – Where have all the cowboy movies gone?
Various cowboy film and dime store novel images were decoupaged onto the box, wrapped in Western wrapping paper.