Sunday 31 July 2022


Well, as we all know, Neighbours shuffled off this mortal coil on Friday 29th, and it struck me that the soap had been broadcast in Britain for around half my life plus 5 years before disappearing from our screens.  I'm not really a watcher of soaps, but when it started, I was still a freelancer working from home and had the TV on as I worked.  BBC 1 was the default channel that flickered into life when I turned on my telly in the mornings, so along with Going For Gold with Matthew Kelly and a show (the name of which I forget) hosted by Tom O'Connor, I also half-watched Neighbours (as in lifted my head to look at the TV screen every so often).  Back then, television remote controls weren't so common and I was far too lazy to get up off my chair at my desk to change channels, so it was no surprise that I gradually got sucked into the 'social cliff-hangers' which usually ended each episode.

I must've watched it for a few years until most of the original cast departed, at which time I lost interest and departed with them, but I occasionally dipped into it every so often, until I abandoned it entirely as I found many new cast members about as charismatic as a group of stamp collectors or train spotters (or comics collectors).  It's ironic that characters Scott and Charlene gave the ratings a boost, because they were probably mainly responsible for killing my interest in it.  You see, until their romance and wedding became the main focus of the show, it seems to me that plotlines were built mostly around older members of the cast, but Scott and Charlene, due to the interest from teenagers, prompted producers to shift the emphasis to newer, younger members, with older ones slightly side-lined to that of supporting characters.

Anyway, I watched the extended last episode (as well as the afternoon one earlier in the day), and it was good to see the return of actor Paul Keane as Des Clarke, as he was always an amiable, likeable character and his performance when his wife Daphne died back in the late '80s was a good piece of acting, not something TV soaps are usually known for (with exceptions of course).  Funny how soaps can affect people, as, despite myself, I somehow feel I've lost some friends and acquaintances, and the ability to visit a Melbourne cul-de-sac, which was as familiar to me via the TV screen as the view outside my house is via my window.  (And that's what a TV is - a window to another world.)  Like so many other things I thought would be around forever, I felt I'd be able to drop into the Ramsay Street whenever the fancy took me, but I was misguided in that belief.

Having said that, though, I didn't realise there was quite so much (any in fact) same-sex kissing (and touching and fondling) nowadays, so had I known, and had Neighbours continued, it's unlikely I'd have felt inclined to renew my acquaintance with the show as it had transformed into quite a different kind of programme to what I knew.  Therefore, maybe it's a good thing it's finally ended, lest my memories of it in its heyday became sullied by its pc embrace of a lifestyle for which I have no empathy.  Better to remember the glory days of its early years, before it descended into 'woke'-ism.  So here's to Neighbours  - everybody needs good ones, and I hope all you Crivvies are lucky in that respect.

Did you watch Neighbours?  Will you miss the show, and are you saddened by its demise?  Feel free to comment in the relevant section.  It might take me a while to respond, but you can chat amongst yourselves 'til I join the party.  (I'll endeavour to publish your comments - if any - as soon as I can.)

Thursday 7 July 2022

Wednesday 6 July 2022


If you thought I'd exhausted the topic of Mego (and Mego-type) 8 inch superhero action figures, then think again, Charlie.  As revealed in a previous post, I recently purchased (on a whim) an FTC (Figures Toy Company) reissue of the '70s Mego Batman to complement my 'original' figure.  Well, the head, hands, and leotard are original, but the body itself is a contemporary Mego articulated figure from when the company started trading again in 2018.  I bought replacement cape, boots, gloves, bat emblem and belt from diverse sources, but the boots and gloves weren't the correct shade of blue (as I previously showed you), and the emblem shed its image with the merest handling, requiring me to make my own.

But back to the FTC reissue.  The emblem wasn't printed properly on the costume (it was a sticker on the original Mego leotard), and the toe of one boot was a solid blob of plastic so wouldn't accommodate the foot properly, which is why I didn't immediately show it on the blog - one leg appeared longer than the other.  I contacted the manufacturer and requested a replacement boot, as well as the spare emblem shown in their eBay listing, but absent when the package arrived.  The spare emblem was ever so slightly different, presumably because it was modified in later Mego releases, so I assume the FTC spare was to give buyers a choice of whichever version they preferred (or might've originally owned back in the day).

Anyway, I'm told that they're on their way, but I'm an impatient chappie so decided to take matters into my own hands.  I'd already ordered a second set of boots and gloves from another source for the Mego Batman after being told they more or less matched the originals, but although the boots were more of a match, the gloves were an even lighter hue than the first, so I 'mixed 'n' matched'.  By that I mean I used the first set of gloves with the second set of boots for the Mego-head Batman, and decided to use the second set of gloves with the first set of boots (I'm talking about the replacement sets in each case) on the FTC reissue.  They were too light of course, so I dug out a pot of Humbrol enamel paint and gave them two coats of number 14 blue.  You can see the result in the above photo on the Batman on the left of the pic.

I've also included a photo of the FTC boots and gloves (above), and, as you can see, there's a difference not only between the blue of both pairs of items, but also between the gloves, one of which seems to be made of a different kind of vinyl than the other.  (Actually, upon double-checking, the vinyl is the same, but one of them is 'inside-out' and the other is 'outside-in'.  One side is glossier than the other, hence the difference.)  It would seem that consistency is not the order of the day when it comes to these figures, though I'm informed that there was often a slight disparity in the hue of blue on different parts of the costume in the original Mego issues.

I'm not sure if it's obvious in the top photo, but the FTC Batman head is a slightly darker blue than the Mego one (though the lower face is a lighter flesh), and in 'real life', the painted boots and gloves are a closer match to the FTC head, so I might decide just to keep them in place even when/if the replacement boot arrives.  I've also included the earlier photo I took of Mego Batman in his replacement light blue boots and gloves (below), to provide an easier comparison with how the boots look now after my excellent paint job on them.  (The gloves are the same ones as in the top pic.)  Once again, feel free to tell me how multi-talented I am when it comes to improving things that haven't been done right in the first place (after you wake up of course).  Okay, I think I'm done with Mego posts - for the moment at least, but I wouldn't get too comfy if I were you.

One final thing: The bat emblem in the photo below is one I made myself and covered in clear tape to protect it before cutting to shape.  Because the tape was glossy, there was a reflection of the camera flash on the emblem, which I digitally removed for better effect.  In the top photo, the emblems are again made by me, but this time covered in a matt tape, hence the bat not looking so black as in the original one I made.  They're actually a darker black than they seem, but the light reflecting off the protective tape makes the black look lighter than it is.  Maybe I'll go back to glossier ones - what do you Crivvies think?

Friday 1 July 2022


One thing I recall a number of friends saying to me over the years about various toys in my collection which they'd likewise owned as kids is - "It's much smaller than I remember it".  It's understandable I suppose, as they're probably comparing it to how it looked in their child-hands against their adult-hands, but this is something that's never really happened in my case.  An Action Man (for example) looks the same size to me today as it did back when I was a child (though I never actually owned one until the fad had passed, when I got a couple second-hand from a neighbour).  Perhaps because I often used to place my toys on the floor (or on a table) and just look at them, and not see the scale of them in relation to myself is what accounts for the size of newly-acquired old toys not seeming smaller to me than they were when I first owned them.

My pic - interior of 6th photo (seller's) after repair

However, there's always an exception, isn't there, and my freshly arrived cardboard Yogi Bear mask is an instance of such a thing.  I do seem to remember it being larger and the collar being thicker (from top to bottom), but that may be because my memory has been influenced by other (plastic) Yogi Bear masks from subsequent decades that I bought as stand-ins until I could find an example of the original shaped-cardboard one I got from Woolworth's back in the '60s.  I've been having a think, by the way, as to exactly what years I bought the two masks I had (separately), and I've now got a clearer idea in my mind.

My pic - exterior of 6th photo (seller's) after repair

I'm pretty sure I was living in our first house in the new town, so if I got it for Hallowe'en, it must've been 1963 at the latest, as the next All Hallow's Eve was spent in a new house just down the road, which we moved to around halfway through 1964.  We were only there for about 15 or 16 months though, before flitting to yet another home in a different neighbourhood of the town in 1965.  It was there I obtained my second Yogi mask (same as the first), again from Woolworth's, and as my first Hallowe'en in that house was in 1966, that's most likely the year I got it.  But what do you care about such trivial, self-indulgent details?  "Nothing!" you say?  Fair enough.

Seller's pic - interior of 2nd photo (mine) before repair.

Anyway, Yogi required a bit of repair and restoration, so I've included three photos I took, which you can compare against the seller's.  I had to replace a missing piece from the base under the collar and I think I did a pretty good job.  If you'd like to swell my already inflated opinion of myself and my abilities, then don't let me stop you.  If you weren't going to, I have only this to say... what's wrong with you?  A little insincere flattery on your part isn't going to hurt anyone - especially not me.  Right, that's you told; start composing those paeans of praise immediately.  And if you have any thoughts about the seeming disparity in the size of old toys when you see them today compared to how you remember them, feel free to share.

Seller's pic - interior of 2nd and 3rd photos (mine) before repair

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