On December 19th 2009 midst one of the bitterest cold snaps in recent years Spitfix! set the world record for the largest number of people constructing aircraft models.

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Here come the girls

by Artie

Desperate to avoid the accusation that CollectingFriends features toys of interest only to chaps, I thought it a good time to introduce a range of 12" dolls targeted fairly and squarely at the fairer sex. Although equally determined to avoid accusations of sexism if any of the toys illustrated in this article were purchased by boys (or adult male collectors like me – that’s fine and dandy). The same sentiments go out to all the female Action man collectors out there, for there are many!

Probably the most famous post war plastic doll is Mattell’s Barbie. Established in 1945 by Ruth and Elliot Handler with their business partner Harold Mattson, the trade name Mattel is derived from the conjunction of the first part of Mattson’s surname and the first part of Mr Handler’s forename.

Midge doll

Against all the odds – it was a ‘doll for boys’ after all – GI-Joe was the US toy sensation of 1964. Young Americans rushed to toy stores in their thousands to buy the three versions, Soldier, Sailor and Airman, of the new 12" fighting man. What’s more with US activity in Vietnam still largely at the covert stage – although under new president Johnston, US military activity was about to be ramped up – soldiers still enjoyed a pretty positive place in the public’s affections.

It wasn’t long before British toy manufacturers eyed the success across the water and saw pound signs in the hope that they could bring GI-Joe to Britain. Inevitably, the Yanks were about to mount another friendly invasion, it was just a question of which toy company would win the concession.

Tommy Gunn - The Forgotten Soldier? Dogtag close

In a career spanning more than 40 years Tony Teiger has established an enviable reputation as the doyen of Property Masters. His association with 007 dates back to his work as a Stand By Propman on 1967’s You Only Live Twice.

Tony TeigerTony Teiger, September 2006.

This, the fifth Bond film, took the successful franchise to even greater heights. Starring Sean Connery, Tony’s favourite Bond, the Lewis Gilbert movie was set in Japan and required 007 and a team of ‘Japanese secret service ninjas’ to find and stop the culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked…

Since then, amongst a dizzyingly list of titles including films such as Operation Daybreak, Force Ten From Navarone, Ghandi, The Far Pavilions, Dry White Season, The English Patient, Highlander 4 and Blade where Tony was in charge as Property Master, Tony renewed his association with James Bond on Pierce Brosnan’s Tomorrow Never Dies. For this and most of his 60+ movies Tony was in charge of an entire department, working as Property Master.