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 Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals

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ricknnc



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PostSubject: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Mon Oct 05, 2015 9:36 pm

Hello fellow Britains Zoo Animal lovers! I collected BZAs when I was a boy, in the late 1960s-early 1970s, and I still have them (and always will). I have every (plastic) animal made during that period. I just found this site yesterday, and it's nice to know I'm not the only one who holds a special place in their heart for BZAs.

I have 2 questions:
1. a couple of models have broken tails and legs (and the ears of the African Elephant have snapped off). What is the best glue to use to repair them?
2. the sculpting of the models is incredible, and the reason I loved them so much when I was a boy (I grew up to become a zoologist and artist), and still do. But the paint job on the models is awful. Not that I probably ever would (they have a lot of sentimental value, as is), but has anyone ever attempted to re-paint some of the BZAs?

Rick
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Lennart



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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Mon Oct 05, 2015 9:51 pm

Hi,

I have painted a lot of them, as kid I used the Humbrol paint, but it is now made with another formula and quite hopeless + You have to use strong things like thinner for cleaning brushes.
Now I use a spanish brand, Vallejo model color, which is waterbased. Be sure to find the matt ones.

If You are a hardcore collector it's probably totally out of question to paint but all Britain's are common so buy new ones if You want them in perfect shape. (Even the rare ones is possible to buy cheap if You look around, like the standing brown bear cub or the platyphus.) Otherwise paint them...

Lennart
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ricknnc



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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:17 pm

Thanks Lennart. I'm certainly not a hardcore collector, it's just the ones that I have have been in their present state for decades. It's good advice to look for and buy new ones to experiment with if I decide to repaint, and I'll check out Vallejo. Would love to see some of the BZAs you've repainted...I've never seen a repainted BZA.

Rick
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SUSANNE
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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:36 pm

Hello, Rick, and wellcome here Very Happy

This is very interesting ! I would love to see before-and-after pictures Very Happy

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widukind

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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:10 am

Welcome here :)

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ricknnc



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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:29 pm

Thank you, Susanne and Andreas. I'm just starting to explore this site and read the hundreds of discussion threads. There are so many incredibly talented and knowledgeable people on this site...very inspiring!
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elephas_maximus



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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:36 pm

Hi Ricknnc,

Briatins has also been a favourite brand of mine, I have not repainted them as I enjoy the original, nostalgic paintwork but I'm sure the colour can be improved upon.  I suspect minimal paint was used as it was both cheaper and faster for the factory to complete the end product.  

I believe the original paint on the earlier versions was actually liquefied vinyl, this explains why it adhered so well and is very hard to rub off.  For most hobby repaints acrylic is used and a spray sealant applied after for durability.
I think superglue would be best to reattach broken pieces but used sparingly.  

I have written a few post about the history of Britains zoo figures if you are interested have a look.  
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Here is a useful list of the complete Zoo range with catalogue numbers, date of production
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ricknnc



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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:58 pm

Hi elephas_maximus (great name!),

Thank you for the info. I found and read your posts on the London Zoo elephants and Indian Rhino that served as models for the BA models before posting my questions. Your posts were very informative and greatly appreciated. I'm going to download them for future reference. I also just ordered Barney Brown's book and Peter Cole's, from Barney Brown.

It wasn't just how the colors were applied, but also the color choice (bright red for the elephant eyes?). Plus, a number of the models (such as the Springbok) were painted with a glossy, rather than a matte, paint, which over time has become (slightly) tacky. Even so, I too have a fondness for the original paintwork, despite its shortcomings.

I also found the thetoybox list. The new models introduced in the early 1970s never impressed me as much as the older models. Their proportions are "off", and in my opinion, the older Asian and African Elephants are truer to life than their "replacements", as is the old Indian Rhino model vs. the 1979 Black Rhino.

However, I always found the old Indian Rhino calf a disappointment, as it looks nothing like a real rhino calf; instead it seems to be a scaled-down adult, with a much-too-narrow snout. Perhaps you know why? Was it because there were no rhino calves in captivity when the model was sculpted? I don't think Indian Rhinos began to breed in captivity until the 1960s.

Rick
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elephas_maximus



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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:17 am

I'm glad you found my posts informative.  I think you will enjoy the mentioned books, they are great resources for the production history of the brand.  You're right about the colours chosen, some are just odd but I guess it adds to the charm.  

I also agree with the older models being somewhat more accurate.  Most of the early models were derived from the old lead models, the basic design was re purposed for production in plastic, more fine details were engraved in the moulds for crisper clarity.
The sculptor George Ford was largely responsible for the plastic Zoo line in the early days, you'll read about him in the books.  He sculpted the African elephant cow along with some others.

Ron Cameron sculpted some of the later zoo figures such as the black rhino and I suspect bull Asian and African elephants in the 70s and 80s.

As for the Indian rhino calf, I'm not sure why it has such a concave, pointed head.  This figure is also derived from the 1930's lead model.  Though London zoo did acquire a (Black) rhino calf in the 1900's, I'm not sure about Indians.  Might just come down to artist error.
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Chris Sweetman

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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:38 pm

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Hi elephas_maximus (great name!),

The new models introduced in the early 1970s never impressed me as much as the older models. Their proportions are "off", and in my opinion, the older Asian and African Elephants are truer to life than their "replacements", as is the old Indian Rhino model vs. the 1979 Black Rhino.

Rick

Hello Rick

Welcome to STS. I was of a similar opinion regarding the newer releases from the early 1970’s as I played with the older plastic Britains Zoo animals as a kid. However, when I started buying the post 1970 models for my daughter in the late 1990’s I realised they were excellent models and the African Black Rhino is a firm favourite of mine out of all the Britains Zoo animals:

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And the gaur bull:

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ricknnc



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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Thu Oct 08, 2015 10:15 pm

Hi Chris,
Thank you. I’m really enjoying reading the posts on this site.

I can understand why you like the Black Rhino so much...it has a great sense of movement and is well-proportioned. I don't own one, but I seem to remember (and I could be wrong!) that it was rather large compared to the Indian Rhino, whereas in life the Black Rhino is smaller than the Indian. If you (or someone else) has both of Britains rhinos, the Indian and Black, it would be interesting to see them side-by-side.

As for the Gaur...the color and proportions are wrong. Gaur bulls are black or blackish-brown with white "stockings" and a white muzzle and a whitish - not black! - boss between the horns (imagine a Malayan Tapir that was all brown!). The body of the model should be more massive compared to the head and the horns should be more tightly curled. I know I’m nit-picking, but it’s those kind of details that decide (for me) how much a model is true-to-life.

But that’s just my opinion…each of us has our favorites for different reasons. If you love the Black Rhino and Gaur, that’s all that really matters!

Rick
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elephas_maximus



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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:40 am

Here are some images of the two rhinos.  As noted in my Indian rhino topic this model was based on a specimen from London Zoo who stood 5ft 4 in, remarkably the 1:32 scale model is that size too!  This specimen was on the small side probably not typical of the average Indian rhino bull.

The black rhino here is 5.56ft tall and falls within the range of that species which can be up to about 5.9ft.

Measurements are based on these being 1:32 scale.

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elephas_maximus



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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:27 am

Also a quick photoshop change to the gaur just to see what it would look like if it was a bit more accurate.

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Last edited by elephas_maximus on Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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ricknnc



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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:44 am

Now THAT"S a Gaur! A "bit more accurate" indeed! Great job, Andrew!
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Coop



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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Thu Dec 17, 2015 4:54 pm

elephas-maximus , I like the two rhino comparison pictures . Last year I got to feed and pet a Northern One Horned Rhino ( AKA Indian Rhino ) at the San Diego Zoo in California . I just wanted to add , for those who are interested , That the armor plate that is at the shoulder , actually rolls over and then under the rhino's shoulder plate . I had to know . So I pushed my hand UNDER that roll ! It covered about 6 inches of my hand , and was very dry . Coop
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Roger
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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Thu Dec 17, 2015 8:52 pm

The discussion in this topic is very interesting from the first to the last post. It is a joy reading it. Very Happy
We have on forum some customized Britains:
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I also collect some Britains because of their realism and good scale and Indian rhino was the figure that definitvely seduced me start collecting these figures. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:55 pm

Personally, their Wildebeest and Sable antelope (second version) are superbly sculpted and my favourite.

In fact I feel that the Wildebeest is a piece of art - the dynamic pose, the expression, it encompasses so much into a tiny highly detailed model.
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Kikimalou
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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:05 pm

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In fact I feel that the Wildebeest is a piece of art - the dynamic pose, the expression, it encompasses so much into a tiny highly detailed model.

I absolutely agree!

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SUSANNE
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PostSubject: Re: Repairing and Repainting Britains Zoo Animals   Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:19 pm

Just a link to the mentioned [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in case somebody don't know what you are talking about Wink

It IS wonderful indeed cheers

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