About Me

My photo
I’m a 56-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, 3 September 2018


The markings on Kinnukiman figures by Bandai, also known as M.U.S.C.L.E. and sold in Western markets by and see; Bandai and Mattel

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Zhenhai Toys - Ningbo Zhenhai Wantang Toys Factory

No. 189 Zhenhai Yufan East Road

No.1238 Luodong Road
Zhenhai District

Phone: 0086-57486453
Fax: 0086-57486457
See also: Magic Source

The company is one of the many new names cropping-up (written summer 2016) on Alibaba and other platforms, adopting the new Chinese directive to create domestic brand image rather than just sub-contract generics for Western traders, although it appears to have established a relationship with Magic Source in the 'States. This Company is reported to specialise in games and 'game sets' for adults and children, toys and leisure products.

Estimated sales of $10M-US and a staff of 402 puts it in the medium to large bracket. All information taken from dodgy click-bait/aggregator or subscription sites found through Google. There are several other 'Ningbo' plants in crafts, toys and plastics, so probably a State-owned co-op of some kind?

Known Listings
Rack Toys
0154 - Military Superpower (crude Matchbox 8th Army piracies)

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Ingo Roggatz - Riezen Farm - Riezen Zoo - ZZ - ZZ Riesen - ZZ Riesen Farm - ZZ Riesen Zoo

Schnelsen, Hamburg, DE 22457, West Germany - via Hong Kong

Flourished 1973-1990's

See also:
R. Dakin & Company (San Francisco, California, USA)
Skyline Inc. (P.O. Box 61, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)

Herr Ingo Roggatz set up as an importer (US - 'jobber') and/or registered the ZZ logo of two superimposed Z's in the - then - West Germany on the 19th of May, 1973, the trademark was awarded on the 4th March 1975. The company may be extant, but the registration of the trademark has lapsed or been surrendered - "Registration Cancelled"?

Mr Roggatz (or his successor) now seems to be trading as Nordblume GmbH a floristry and giftware wholesaler. He originally imported toys, gifts and general home-ware, a good deal of which came from the - then - British Crown Colony of Hong Kong, latterly just 'China'. Generics were overprinted or ink-stamped with the ZZ logo, and two lines carried the Riesen prefix; Riesen Farm and Riesen Zoo, as a civilian range. The 60mm Wild West were mould-marked ZZ in raised letters, as was some of the Riesen animal range.

A debate about the graphics of the header-cards on these bags is ongoing; there were three styles (two farm - numbered and unnumbered; and one zoo), they all bearing a more than passing resemblance to the earlier packaging of Storck Riesen Schocolade, small chocolate-covered toffees.

The similarities between:

·         Names (Riesen)
·         Graphics (outlined balloon-font and squashed balloon-font lettering)
·         Target market (children and/or their  pocket money)
·         Time (1970's) and . . .
·         Market locations (Germany and the USA - also fans of the edible Riesens!)

is beyond coincidence, the only question is whether there was a link between ZZ and Storck or just some clever scamming by ZZ.

Increasingly it looks as if ZZ were deliberately trying to link their product to the chocolate candies, although a publicity or 'premium' link can't yet be ruled-out, particularly when you consider that Storck were also shipping their toffees to Hong Kong, where the toy products were coming from.

The US issues were handled by R. Dakin (who claimed to have "Exclusive distribution in USA…") and Skyline Inc. They both also claimed the products were made (and 'Hand Painted') in West Germany, when they were in fact HK knock-offs. Dakin may only have handled the Farm, but Skyline handled both.

The fact that one claimed exclusive rights is probably explained by the way territories were divided-up in the US market, one taking the West Coast salesmen (Dakin), the other the East Coast (Skyline), it's easy to see how Dakin - to impress customers - would make a claim they knew to be incorrect, as they also knew their bags would never been (in the pre-Internet age) seen next to Skylines'. It should be noted that the stickers on both sets of imports clearly came from the same (German or HK?) source.

Skyline were a jobber in similar vein to ZZ, importing/carrying inflatable beach/play furniture, Halloween trick-or-treat bags, Japanese-made train sets, 'Shrinky-Dinks' and such-like.

Dakin were probably similar at the time, also sourcing stuffed toys and teddy bears, however they went on to make a fortune off the back of Garfield the cartoon cat merchandise licenses and became a major manufacturer of soft toys, famously commissioning the Dakin Building, on the San Francisco Bay in Brisbane, California…well, it's 'famously' if you're also a student of architecture or Star Wars!

Among ZZ's other toys were tin-plate Christmas tree decorations (sometimes erroneously credited to Zimmermann of Bavaria), some ex-Giant product (Wild West) and copies of British and European 'Cowboys & Indians' (Native Americans) in both 54 and 60mm, these were above the usual HK quality - as were the Riesen range - but if ZZ were dealing with pan-national jobbers like Dakin, Skyline and the Rosenberg's Giant, that's not so surprising.

Product Listing
Plastic Figures
Generic Packaging (over stamped/printed with ZZ logotype)
- [Carded foot (6) and mounted (6) Indians and 2 wagons] (all mounted on ex-Giant 'Smoothie', with 'Mexican Small' draft horses)

54mm Swivel-waist Mounted Wild West (copies of Britains swoppets)
- Cowboys
- Indians

54mm Rubberised (or Part Rubberised) Swoppets
Art Nr. 2707 - Gangsterjagd in Cowboy-City (3 foot, 2 mounted Britains Swoppet piracies - 54mm)
Nr.2715 (?) - Westernfiguren (Timpo Mexican copies, likely to be vinyl/polyethylene mix of parts)

70mm Swoppets (copies of Isas)
- Cowboys, Foot (various)
- Cowboys, Mounted (various)
- Indians, Foot (various)
- Indians, Mounted (various)
900 - Horse

Reisen Branded Animal Ranges
Reisen Farm (Hausser Elastolin 1:25th scale copies, graphics seem to deliberately mimic Riesen Schocolade graphics, two sets of header cards, one set numbered sequentially 36##, the others unnumbered)
Art.No.3602 - Pferd Fressend (horse grazing, Hausser Elastolin - Nr. 3812)
Art.No.3606 -
Art.No.3609 -
Art.No.3610 -
Art.No.3611 - Schäferhund (sheepdog - Alsatian, x2)
Art.No.3613 -
Art.No.3616 -
Art.No.3617 -
Art.No.3618 -
- Duck (mallard, same moulding as goose - may go together in one pack)
- Goose (same moulding as duck - may go together in one pack)
- Horse Prancing
- Horse Standing (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Heavy Horse
- Foal Gambolling (Elastolin copy?)
- Two Horses
- Goat (Elastolin copy?)
- Bull (Aberdeen Angus?)
- Donkey/Ass (x2?)
- Der Hahn (The Hens - x6)
- Cockerels (x6, Elastolin copies?)
- Doves (seem to be 20 in 2 poses, Elastolin or Preiser copies?)

Riesen Zoo (nominally 1:25th scale (Elastolin copies) but some up-scaled Britains copies, graphics seem to deliberately mimic Riesen Schocolade graphics)
Art.No.2672 - Das Känguruh (The Kangeroo, Elastolin copy?)
Art.No.2673 -
Art.No.2674 -
Art.No.2675 - Das Renteir (The Reindeer, design?)
Art.No.2676 -
Art.No.2677 - Die Gazelle (pair, Hausser Elastolin copies)
Art.No.2678 - Der Warter (The Keepers, x2, Britains copies, enlarged, 1 with meat on pole, 1 with bass-broom)
Art.No.2679 -
Art.No.2680 -
Art.No.2681 -
Art No.2682 -
Art.No.2683 - Panther (unique design?)
- Pelican (x2 ex-Britains mouth open, wings closed pose)
- Sea Lion (Britains copies)
- Giraffe (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Hippopotamus  (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Elephant  (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Baby Elephant (original design?)
- Penguins (1 each - x3 poses, Britains copies)
- Zebra (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Tiger (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Moose (unique design?)
- Rhinoceros (Hausser Elastolin copy)
- Black/Brown Bear (same moulding as Polar Bear, unique design?)
- Polar Bear (same moulding as Black/Brown Bear, unique design?)
- Lion and Lioness (hard hollow styrene polymer? Hausser Elastolin copy)
- American Buffalo/Bison (x2 small, polyethylene Britains copies)

- American buffalo/Bison (1 large, hard plastic, Britains copy)
- American Buffalo/Bison (large, prancing)
- Camel (Britains-like, hard plastic)
- Camel (Elastolin-like, poyethylene)
- Flamingos (x2, Britains copies)                      

Tin-Plate Christmas Tree Hangers (1990's, also carried by Schilling in the US who work with the Uk's Tobar)
'Series 1' (probably numbered 1-10 on boxes/packaging)
Smaller Toys (Chinese (?) re-issues of old Japanese (?) or German penny-toy designs)
10 - Airship 'Graf Zeppelin'
? - Bi-plane (with German WWI balkankreutzen)
? - Monoplane
? - Flying Boat / Sea-plane 'Dornier 18 / DO 18'
? - Military Cavalry Rider on Horse
Larger Toys (same note applies)
? - Horse-Tram / Railcar 'Pferde Bahn15 Altona St Paula' (no horses)
? - 19thC Steam Locomotive 'Nurnburg-Furth'
? - 20thC Steam Locomotive 'DB 1571 Express'
? - Motorcycle and Sidecar 'Sport'
? - Omnibus '103 Nivia-Puder'
? - Fire Engine Ladder Truck 'Falke 13'

Urban (or - in this case - deliberate?) Myths
In the course of 2018/19 one or two British and German evilBay'ers started listing ZZ with a connection made between the ZZ-marked stuff and [Georg] Zimmermann's of Zirndorf, (and Nürmberg) a link confirmed as fact by a Detlef Herbrandt on a Hong Kong toy collector's Facebook page. There is no such connection, the Zimmermann plant closed - under the control of the grandchildren - in 1972, a year before Ingo Roggatz applied for the logo-mark and three years before the branding was granted. Further - the output of the Zimmermann metal works was general household goods and hardware, with a small number of mostly larger tin-plate and/or die-cast toys (large vehicles and money-boxes), not the small novelty tin-plate tree-hangers and plastic figures sourced from Hong Kong/China by Roggatz.

ZZ on Home Blog

What This Entry Needs
Better understanding of Riesen link/relationship
Fuller product listing
Animals linked with correct bag numbers and German language titles

Thursday, 24 March 2016

20mm Nostalgia Revival - 20mm Nostalgic Revival

2008-12, (flourished 2010/11)

See also: Douglas Miniatures, Les Higgins, Niblett and Wodensfeld

John 'old John' Cunningham - Founder/Owner
This company is/was (?) obtaining old moulds and getting them back into production, in the works are/were figures from Douglas (Crimean War troops) and Niblett's English Civil War range. Recent emails have proved fruitless and I seem to remember someone saying the project was handed-over/taken-over by a third-party so…? Nothing has been announced since 2011, with no new blog posts since 2012

Known Range
Original Sculpts (20mm)
- Wellington in India (Sepoys)
- Akalis Fanatics (19th century Sikhs)

- Arqubusiers de Grassin (1740's, Harquebusiers)
- Irish Piquets (1740's, Pickets)

- Polish Troops (17th century)
American Civil War (ex-Wodensfeld)
- James Longstreet
- Major Taylor
- Officer in Kepi (2 versions)
- Officer in Hat (2 versions)
- Robert E Lee
- Stonewall Jackson
Other Sourced Vintage Moulds (20mm)
- English Civil War (ex-Les Higgins)
- Seven Years War (ex-Wodensfeld)
- Marlburian Period (ex- Douglas Miniatures/Les Higgins)

20mm Nostalic Revival Blog

What This Entry Needs
Fleshing out
Full history
Full product listing

12 Inches Factory

Vordere Esch 4, 72224 Ebhausen, Germany
(and on-line)

Tel: (0049) (0)7054 - 9294777
eMail: 12inchfactory@action.ms
Website: http://12inchfactory.de/

Manuel Holz- owner
1/6th scale action figures/doll modeller, seem to produce some aftermarket parts, namely; replacement heads along with helmets and Hitler Youth drums. Also there is a small range of .pdf files which I'm guessing are tutorials on dressing and super-detailing 12-inch military dolls.

PDF Documents
- XX Police Division
- 169th Infantry Division
- Volksgrenadierdivision Aachen1944
- Battle with the Pig
- Gasmaskenbüchse
- Falaise Pocket
- Installing Glass Eyes in a Dragon Head
- Mg. Gunner Russia 1943 Charkov
- Panzerfaust
- Repaint with Acrylics
- Sculpting BlainVentura
- Tutorial-Handgrenade
- US Medic Tanker 1944

What This Entry Needs
Whatever anyone thinks it does!
Better/definitive product listing