Sunday 30 June 2024


STINGRAY copyright relevant owner

You Crivvies will likely think I'm flogging this topic to death, but something occurred to me about my recent replacement for my childhood toy, the Plaston Stingray.  Because it's main chassis is blow-moulded, it's ideal for use as a bath toy, and even though it's retroactively referred to as being such, it's not described as a bath toy on the box, nor, as far as I know, in any ads for it at the time.  It's therefore not altogether impossible that this toy has never even been near water in its 60 years of existence, prompting me to do something about it.

So, according to my diary, my next bath night's not actually due for another couple of years yet (I jest - it's only a year), but I thought the bathroom sink would suffice to finally fulfill this classic toy's purpose to be 'played with' (okay, photographed) in water.  (Classic and extremely rare - it's regarded among collectors as the 'holy grail' of Stingray toys.)  I added a little touch of Toilet Duck to give the water a blue tinge, popped the super-sub in its natural element, and snapped a few pics for posterity, plus for your palpitating peepers' pleasure.

No, don't thank me - 'tis my duty to serve.

Thursday 27 June 2024


STINGRAY copyright relevant owner

It was near the end of 1965, either for my birthday or for Christmas*, that my mother bought me a Plaston Stingray from a Co-op store named Krazy Kuts in my town's main shopping centre.  I remember us, on our way home, standing just along from the ground floor flat my grandparents had not long moved into, having relocated from Hamilton Road in Rutherglen.  (I think my father and brother were also present.)  I can no longer recall whether it was on the way in or on the way out (or whether we even went in at all), but I remember studying the box and the cut-out stand-up figures printed thereon.

It must've been early in the New Year in 1966 that me and my brother took my Stingray down to the bottom of the street, across the road from which was a marshy sort of field with a pond in it.  I don't know how, but I managed to lose the Ratemaster propellor and perhaps also the Tail Fins at the rear.  In fact, I don't know if it's possible to lose one without also losing the other, but it's the absence of the Ratemaster I recollect all these decades later.  Now, however, nearly 60 years on, I've finally managed to replace this toy from my childhood.

It didn't arrive in the condition you see in the first six photos though - no, that's the result of my painting handiwork and high-quality repro parts of the yellow pieces and Stingray labels, procured from a place in Canada which manufactures many Gerry Anderson pieces, as well as of other iconic toys from the '60s.  As you can see from the five seller's photos at the foot of this post, only the hollow, blow-moulded blue chassis arrived at my address after me obtaining it via eBay.  I knew repro parts for the missing pieces were available and promptly purchased them, along with a repro box, after winning the chassis.

As you can see from the seller's photos, nary a hint of silver remained on the body, aside from a smidgeon on one of the Aqua-sprites, and a couple of minuscule nebulous flecks of silver on the cockpit.  I'm kind of glad of that in a way, as had the original shape of the windows still been discernible, I'd have felt obliged to restore them to how they were.  After looking at images on the Internet though, I didn't like the look of the mask-sprayed windows, which were too tall and had two front screens instead of a single one.  I therefore took the liberty of painting on the windows more in accordance with how they looked in the TV show, but keeping a hint of the Plaston rendering.

So, like I said, it took nearly 60 years, but another cherished toy from my childhood has returned to the fold to keep me company (along with others) until my 'final bedtime'.  Welcome home, Stingray.  Now, how many comments will 'happen in the next half-hour' ?  Standby for action!  (I hope.)  Update: Only one comment so far?  Don't all rush at once now.


*Actually, thinking it over, it's unlikely to have been for Christmas as I wouldn't have been allowed to see it until the big day - even had I known it's what I was due to receive.

As you can see, the top of the cockpit had been pushed in, but I rescued
it by softening the plastic with hot water, then inserting an Allen Key
into the periscope hole and pulling it back up into its proper shape

And below is how the windows looked on the toy originally.  (I think mine looks better.)

Curiously, the Plaston Stingray is one of only two or three childhood toys which seemed smaller than I remembered it.  Usually, my replacement toys appear to be the same size to me as an adult as when I was a kid.  The Corgi Toys Aston Martin D.B.5, The Saint's Volvo 1800, etc., don't look one whit smaller than they did then, so why's this one different?  Perhaps it seeming larger to me as a kid was an optical illusion due to the taller windows, which makes the top part of the vessel look bigger.  If you compare the windows in the above pic with the narrower ones of my own, the impression given is that the above toy is more 'bulky' than it actually is.  That's the only reason I can think of, but it might be altogether fanciful.  Incidentally, to give you a sense of scale, it's around 10-and-a-half inches long.  (The toy, I mean.  What else would I be referring to?) 

Tuesday 25 June 2024



Special Marvel Edition was a comic which lasted for 16 issues from 1971 to 1974.  The first four issues featured The Mighty Thor, the next ten starred Sgt. Fury, and the final two introduced The Hands Of Shang-Chi, Master Of Kung Fu.  I bought #2 as a back issue at the start of the '80s, #1 circa the mid-'80s (I think), and #s 3 & 4 only recently.  I've also got #15, purchased around 15 years or more ago (from the late Pete Root when he rented space in other premises in Buchanan Street in Glasgow), so that's only five issues in all.  (Update: Now six, as I acquired #16 since first publishing this post.)

However, it's the Thor issues I'm mainly interested in today, as it's good to finally have all four 53 years after they first appeared, and around 43/44 years after I first acquired #2.  Incidentally, neither 1 or 2 are replacements, both of them are the original issues from when I first bought them - as are 3 & 4, though I've only had them for a few days.  I've shown the first two on the blog before, but thought it would be a good idea to feature all four together so that you Crivs can view them as the 'family' unit they are.  (I've also now added them to some previous Thor cover posts so you'll see them there as well.)

Thought, theories, observations, and speculations about the comics welcome, as are imaginative, creative, inventive, and fanciful comments and insults about my good self.  Get cracking.

On ODIN's helmet, the left horn isn't symmetrical with the right and extends further - almost in
alignment with the contours of THOR's body.  Such artistic errors were common with KIRBY

Monday 24 June 2024


Something for you to look forward to, Crivs.  (The above pic of this very rare and collectable item is just a 'taster' for you.  More to come before too long, along with a story behind this toy from my childhood.)  Betcha can't wait, eh?  (Hey, where'd everyone go?)

Thursday 20 June 2024


Copyright BBC TV and the Estate of TERRY NATION

Regular Crivs will probably know that I'm a big Daleks fan.  I must have several hundred of them in various shapes and sizes and from different years and decades, but I'm particularly fond of the Marx Toys Dalek Rolykins from the '60s.

I've just added a second black one to my collection, making them seven in total - not counting the dozen Product Enterprise revivals of the Rolykins from the late '90s - early '00s, which I also own.  The new ones aren't featured here - I'll probably show them in a future post.

I have boxes for six of the above wee chaps, though I've forgotten where they're stored at the moment, but when I find them (not that I'm going to be searching for them with any great urgency) I'll add them to the post.

Anyone remember the Dalek Rolykins, and are there any Crivs who have any in their collections?  Do tell.  Get those fingers typing.  (And don't forget to click on pic to enlarge.)

Friday 14 June 2024

The 'HABITAT' - Or There And Back Again...

Hard as it is for me to believe, today is a whopping 52 years since my family first moved into the house in which I now reside.  There were four of us back then, though I now stay by myself as all potentially eligible women realise I'd be too difficult  to live with.  Perhaps they know they'd never be able to meet my high standards and see me as too much of a challenge - or it could be that I'm just an ugly old buggah who doesn't appeal to them.  You decide - not that I care a jot one way or another.  (I'm quite comfortable with my own company.)

Anyway, as I was sitting contemplating that fateful day back in 1972, trying to remember my impressions of moving to yet another new home (my fifth in 13-and-a-half years), it suddenly dawned on me that I never spared a thought for the house we'd just moved from (or my old room), and never really missed it until around 12-odd years later when we'd flitted to yet another new house.  I've shared my speculations as to why that might be with you before so I won't bother again this time around, but I find myself surprised by the fact.

But wait a minute - didn't I say my family moved in here 52 years ago?  So what's all this talk of another house?  Simple.  As regular readers will be (painfully) aware, after 11 years here we moved once more, then just over four years later, moved back again.  On August 1st I'll have been back here for 37 years, though that time span doesn't seem one whit longer than our first term in the house.  37 measured against 11 - how can they both feel of virtually equal duration?  (No point asking me, 'cos I don't know.)

Anyway, not much to this post, but I didn't want the anniversary of my arrival here to pass unacknowledged.  I still find it strange that I acclimatised to my new surroundings practically immediately, with nary a thought for my old house - a house which now has such a significance to me, lo, these many years later, that I often feel I could live there again.  Having said that, I feel like that about every place I've ever lived in.  I guess I'm just getting old, and one's youth always seems to grow more appealing in retrospect.

If this strikes a chord with anyone, do please feel free to leave a comment.


The lovely and luscious Lynda
Carter sizzles in her red dress and
shows the rest of us how to look amazing
without really trying.  Oddly, when  I tried
on Lynda's dress the other night, I looked
simply ridiculous, so it doesn't quite
 work for everyone, sad to say.

Monday 10 June 2024

A BONANZA OF SUPERMAN AND BATMAN TALES From The '30s To The '70s... (Updated)

Copyright DC COMICS

From the 30's to the 70's (with the apostrophes after the zeros) never looked right to me.  It's like writing CDs as CD's.  Surely it should be From the '30s to the '70s?  That's how I prefer to render it anyway so that's what I've done.

Oops, sorry, got distracted.  The Superman and Batman companion volumes, first published in the US in 1971 by Crown Publishing, were/are great books, though looking at them now, I can see just how poor some of the reproduction was/is.  They appeared in the UK in 1972, published in paperback by Hamlyn under their Spring Books imprint, who reissued them in 1979, with no updating in the Supes volume to take account of Superman the Movie from 1978.  The contents of the two books were the same as before, though the spines were slimmer as ever-so slightly thinner paper was used inside. 

However, when Bonanza Books (a division of Crown) issued new hardback editions in the States, the film was mentioned in the dust-jacket's front cover fold-over, though not anywhere else inside.  Bonanza varied the size of the books, some editions being the same as the Crown printings, others being not-quite-so wide and around an inch or so taller, with the artwork on the Superman cover filling more space and with less margin.  (See photo below.)

I have three Batman and five Superman editions, the Batman volumes consisting of the UK 1972 and '79 paperback printings (Hamlyn/Spring), plus a recently acquired late '70s US hardback one (Bonanza).  The Superman volumes consist of the UK 1972 and two of the '79 paperback printings (Hamlyn/Spring), plus two late '70s hardback editions (Bonanza), which are different dimensions as mentioned in the previous paragraph.  (I've also got the updated From The '30s To The '80s Superman volume as well as the Shazam From The '40s To The '70s - both by Crown.)

So why buy so many you're maybe wondering?  You need to ask?  Obviously I'm bonkers (though you knew that anyway), but the 'real' reason is just that I'm a compulsive collector who likes different versions of the same thing.  However, another more practical reason is that back in 1982, I got my '79 paperbacks hardbound, which meant sacrificing the covers (though I retained them as pin-ups), so having the Bonanza editions means that I can scan the dust-jackets and print out new ones for my erstwhile paperback-now-hardback volumes.  I did that for the Superman one a while back, and now I've got the Bonanza Batman, I'll be doing the same with it, too.

So there you go - how to create a post from the most trivial and inconsequential topics, just so that you Crivvies can have something to read.  Of course, whether it's actually worth reading is up to you to decide.  I'm sure you'll let me know either way.  (At least, I hope you will.)

Saturday 8 June 2024


Deary me, so the Time Lord is now officially a Gaylord!  Won't be watching again.  Why we as a nation put up with these insidious attempts at indoctrinating our kids I'll never know. 

Friday 7 June 2024


Copyright DC COMICS

Here's a nice little facsimile edition you might be interested in - the very first issue of Mad comic, which lasted for 23 issues before being transformed into a 'magazine'.  However, when it first debuted, it was a a regular comicbook, plain and simple.  I actually have the Millennium edition of this issue, plus various reprints in books and magazines, but it's nice to now have it in something close to its original form to add to my ever-expanding collection.

'Close to'?  Yeah, because today's comicbooks aren't the exact size that they were back in (at least) the '50s and '60s (and even into the '70s and maybe the '80s as well), so it'll be a few millimetres less wide than the original and possibly there'll be a slight discrepancy in height, though unless you have an actual first issue from 1952 with which to compare, you shouldn't be aware of the difference.  (Apart from the fact that I just told you about it.)

So grab a piece of history while you can, because I hear this issue is selling well!

Artist Mike Higgs must've liked the cover as he used the layout for a panel in The Cloak's debut in Pow! #18, cover-dated May 13th 1967.  That's it below, next to its inspiration.

Thursday 6 June 2024

THE MARX OF THE BAT... (Updated)


You're looking at an extremely rare Marx Toys Poseable Batman figure from the '60s, which arrived at Castel Crivens yesterday.  This is my third time around with this toy as I previously owned two of them - though not at the same time - when I was a kid.  I last had this toy back around the late '60s when I swapped it (I must've been ill) for a Marx soldier figure with the same head as Batman.  (I've now got two soldiers, acquired just over three years ago in 2021.)

Bats arrived with most of his accessories, but sans cape and cowl, though part of his mask was a black sticker (with eyeholes) over the top half of his face.  It survives, but needs a little remedial work to restore it to its former glory, though truth to tell, when I make a new cape and cowl, I probably won't incorporate the sticker so as not to permanently obscure Bruce Wayne's upper face as was the case in the toy's original form.  No, I'll do a better job, as the original one-piece cape and cowl (apart from the sticker) was made of an easily-fraying fabric, which is likely why it didn't survive to accompany wee Bats to my house.

The surviving accessories from the figure above

I've told the following tale a couple of times before, but on the evening I swapped Batman for my pal's soldier, he was showing the toy to one of my brother's pals, who suddenly said "Let's see if he can fly" and launched it with some force across the playing field we were standing in.  Sadly, poor Bats didn't survive his descent to terra firma.  Over the decades, I started to lament his fate with a growing intensity - oddly lacking at the time (no doubt because he no longer belonged to me), and I'm really glad for the opportunity to roll back time and be reunited with a toy from my youth.

Below is the toy (not mine - image 'borrowed' from... somewhere) as it originally appeared in the shops back then.  Anyone else ever own one?  If so, permit your fellow Crivvies to dine on your memories before they fade beyond your ability to recall.  And out of all the Batman merchandise you once owned (if any), which one was your favourite that you'd like to own again if you could?

Is it just me, or does the face look a bit like MICHAEL KEATON?

Tuesday 4 June 2024



As you'll probably have noticed, faithful Crivvies, I've not been blogging as regularly as I used to, but I don't want any of you thinking it's because of laziness or that I'm no longer interested in keeping Crivens going.  No, it's simply due to health reasons, but don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with the specifics of what actually ails me.  Suffice to say my energy levels are at an all-time low and I find it increasingly difficult to muster the necessary stamina to pump out new posts every day as once was the case.  Sometimes I even published more than one!  Ah, those were the days.  Of course, I may be misjudging my 'panting public' - maybe some of you are grateful that I'm not as productive as I used to be so that you can have a rest from my woeful weary waffle?  I'm sure you'll let me know.

Anyway, in an attempt to demonstrate that I haven't deserted you, here's a cover gallery omnibus of Marvel's 18-issue Frankenstein Monster mag.  Titled The Monster of Frankenstein for its first five issues, it changed to simply The Frankenstein Monster with its sixth (thus dispensing with one small word - 'of'), and as the revised title graced the cover for 13 issues out of the 18, that's what I refer to it as in this post's headline.  I've shown the covers on the blog before (in four separate posts), but for this single presentation I've applied some digital technology to spruce them up a bit by removing any glaringly obvious imperfections.  If you've got any favourites, feel entirely free to let me and your fellow Crivvies know which ones they are.  Remember, Crivens is nothing without you.

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