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DrJu@551c



Country/State : AUSTRALIA
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PostSubject: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyTue Jun 30, 2020 6:46 am

Hi All,
I stumbled across this (terrific) forum whilst doing some research into Britains zoo animals. As a small child I absolutely loved toy animals and had a huge bag of them that I took with me everywhere. Recently, the remnants of this childhood collection found it was back to me via my older sister, who's own children had grown up playing with them and who gave them back to me after I recently had a child of my own.

Now admittedly, as a twenty-something I had already cherry picked the few plastic Britains models out of this collection, long before my sister ever acquired them, and had kept them in a shoebox. My mother had always pointed out to me as child that some of them where Britains and "nicer" than the others (my parents are British themselves), so I'd grown up knowing the Britains where the quality ones and why i'd picked the remnants out. Unfortunately all I had left from my childhood where:

Two lioness', a brown bear, an eagle, an orang-utan, a cow, draft horse, a giant tortoise, an ostrich with a moveable neck and a gorgeous black rhino. most of them where in excellent condition.

But nonetheless, when my sister gifted me the remaining collection of non-Britains plastic figures, I started scanning through them and I was noticing most of these figures where actually quite decent sculpts (especially compared to todays figures) that reminded me of the Britains figures in style. Looking at the underside most said "Hong Kong" or "Singapore" underneath and so I started to suspect (and correctly as it turns out) that back in the 70' to 90's, Britains knockoffs dominated the cheap "zoo animal" market.

And this was all it took to set me off on my latest obsession, which is researching and then sourcing all the other Britains zoo models, many of which I now recall I used to own (and subsequently lost) as a child.

Shipping costs aside I have since managed to source and purchase most of the produced figures in bulk lots on ebay for a couple of hundred dollars Australian. And without too much doubling up either. For those species with two sculpted versions produced, I have usually got both and I even managed to get the platypus in one batch of figures I bought. Unfortunately whilst Britains where very much available in Australia, almost all of them I had to get from the UK, which naturally has just so many more floating around.

A few observations: While I appreciate that compared to other brands Britains at least got it "in the ball park" - they are not actually all in scale. To me there appears (likely unintentionally) to be pretty much two seperate scales. I'd place figures like the lioness, orang-utan, tortoise and black rhino in one and in the other I would place the smaller farm animals, the panther, brown bear, anteater, wolf, sable etc.

The other thing I noticed is not all the figures are the same amazing quality. The vintage sable and springbok for example are pretty lacking in detail and from the photos i've seen this looks to be the same for the buffalo, eland and others. perhaps these figures are based too closely off the old lead moulds?

Most of my figures are still in transit so when all of them arrive in mail (which could be awhile with covid delays) I'll upload a picture.

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who contributes to this forum, as I found in invaluable as I put together a list of the figures to collect.


Last edited by DrJu@551c on Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:48 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyTue Jun 30, 2020 7:18 am

Welcome on forum and thanks for your friendly words.
We are a little community but there are a few Britains collector around. Sometimes things take some time but we all have fun collecting.
You will find some Britains experts around, I have around 70 models or so but it is actually a quite humble collection.
You are right, they have a lot of quality in terms of sculpt and surely not all have the same quality, surely sables are a good example, the older version is not especially good.
I hope we can follow the development of your collection. It is always fun when we share our hobby with other collectors.

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SUSANNE
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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyTue Jun 30, 2020 9:21 am

Hello Dr.Ju, and a warm welcome here cheers
It is not very often we have Australians being active here, but they are always wonderful people Wink

Interesting to read about your collecting history.
How great that your mother told you to take good care of the Britains models !

Funny enough, I just was recently fortunate to find a nice little lot of britains here on an e-place for second hand stuff.
Amazing, because they are rather rare here.
And such a find kicks off the interest Very Happy

I look forward to seing your collection bounce


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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyTue Jun 30, 2020 11:33 am

Warm welcome :)

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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyTue Jun 30, 2020 1:15 pm

Hello and welcome to the forum!
Britains and their international friends are nice models.
My ears pricked up a bit at the mention of made in Singapore. I have never seen such, and in fact at the Toy Animal Wiki (https://toyanimal.info/wiki/Main_Page ) we don't have any listings at all for Singapore. I had been totally unaware that there had ever been a toy making company there. If you have time to show them to us, I at least would be really interested in seeing how they compare to those made in Hong Kong which are quite common in the US where I am from.

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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyTue Jun 30, 2020 1:24 pm

Great to hear from another Britains collector. You are right, Britains didn't always get the scale right, but the scale was much better than that of other vintage companies from the same period. Of the animals you mention, I think only the orang utan is out of scale (too large), the others could be large or small subspecies. I don't think there were truly two different scales, but some figures were slightly on the large side and some on the small side. We also have a 1:32 scale topic here, where Britains animals often feature [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]; if you have any thoughts about their scale, we'd be very interested to hear it.

Many of the earlier plastic zoo animals were indeed the same as the earlier lead figures that were mostly introduced in the 1930s. They tend to be less accurate and detailed than the later ones that were introduced in the 1970s. Also, before 1968, the figures were produced in polythene, which (to me) gives a more vintage impression than the PVC used after that.
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DrJu@551c



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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyTue Jun 30, 2020 9:21 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Great to hear from another Britains collector. You are right, Britains didn't always get the scale right, but the scale was much better than that of other vintage companies from the same period. Of the animals you mention, I think only the orang utan is out of scale (too large), the others could be large or small subspecies. I don't think there were truly two different scales, but some figures were slightly on the large side and some on the small side. We also have a 1:32 scale topic here, where Britains animals often feature [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]; if you have any thoughts about their scale, we'd be very interested to hear it.

I don't believe there was intentionally two scales, more just pointing out that of the figures I have so far in my hands, they are (for my eye) fitting rather neatly into two groups. definitely the orang-utan is one of the benchmarks for the larger scale figures, but i'd add the lioness and ostrich to that. At the other end of the scale is the brown bear, the cows and horses etc.

We sometimes have strange preconceptions scale of exotic animals. I suppose often due to the fact that we only see them on TV screens or if at a zoo from a distance or strange perspective (like looking down at them). On safari in Africa I was surprised to observe just how small blue wildebeest are. And thompson's gazelles are positively titchy!

Platypus always surprise my overseas friends when they see them here. People usually assume they are around a metre long! In truth they are very small animals.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Many of the earlier plastic zoo animals were indeed the same as the earlier lead figures that were mostly introduced in the 1930s. They tend to be less accurate and detailed than the later ones that were introduced in the 1970s. Also, before 1968, the figures were produced in polythene, which (to me) gives a more vintage impression than the PVC used after that.

Yes I noticed that of my two lioness, the older one is made of a different (better) plastic. Thanks for the info!
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DrJu@551c



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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyTue Jun 30, 2020 11:37 pm

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My ears pricked up a bit at the mention of made in Singapore. I have never seen such, and in fact at the Toy Animal Wiki (https://toyanimal.info/wiki/Main_Page  ) we don't have any listings at all for Singapore. I had been totally unaware that there had ever been a toy making company there. If you have time to show them to us, I at least would be really interested in seeing how they compare to those made in Hong Kong which are quite common in the US where I am from.

Sure!

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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyWed Jul 01, 2020 4:11 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
We sometimes have strange preconceptions scale of exotic animals. I suppose often due to the fact that we only see them on TV screens or if at a zoo from a distance or strange perspective (like looking down at them).

That's right, and our sense of scale can also be distorted by figures that are not to scale. For example, the Britains kangaroos are too large, so when I see a real kangaroo, I am always surprised how small they are. The Britains ostriches are actually too small, at least for a male ostrich.

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Yes I noticed that of my two lioness, the older one is made of a different (better) plastic.

I'd say that the newer plastic is better. Over time, the older polythene can become very brittle and doesn't hold the paint well. Polythene lionesses with their paint intact are very difficult to find.
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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyWed Jul 01, 2020 3:51 pm

Thank you for the photos. That's really interesting. At first glance I would assume Hong Kong knockoffs of the Britains with those. Interesting tot see it having been done in other countries too.

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SUSANNE
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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyThu Jul 02, 2020 2:37 am

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WOW !!! I would say that these may be more rare and interesting to collectors that the real thing now bounce cheers

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DrJu@551c



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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyThu Jul 02, 2020 3:07 am

really? maybe I should sell them to help cover the ridiculous money I have spent sourcing Britains figures! ha ha!
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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyThu Jul 02, 2020 3:51 am

They are rare, but I suspect you wouldn't be able to get much for them. I sometimes see Singapore copies on UK Ebay, but I don't think they are sold expensively. Most people want the original Britains. Probably better to keep them as interesting and rare examples of Britains copies for your own collection.

Here is one set:
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SUSANNE
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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyThu Jul 02, 2020 5:27 am

Now this turns into a really interesting topic cheers

I have seen these around on pictures, - even think I have one or two Very Happy

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DrJu@551c



Country/State : AUSTRALIA
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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyTue Jul 14, 2020 7:44 am

Was very happy to receive two packages from UK yesterday with lots of various models.

I now have almost the entire set!

Unfortunately a lot of the older models in one package broke. The plastic had become so brittle that others simply broke as I unwrapped them. This included the tail off my water buffalo! Sad

Curiously I tried to glue some of them back together and superglue didn't bond with the plastic! anyone else had this problem? Any recommendations for glue?

fortunately the ebay seller was kind enough to refund for half the amount.

A few observations now I have most of the models:

- The platypus is obese! and probably even still too large. I always find it amusing that outside of Australia they are known as "duck-billed platypus" and this seems to mislead people into thinking these animals have orange beaks and feet! (its a rubbery blue-black in both cases)

- I'm really not a fan of some models. And I can tell they were made by the same artist. the eland, sable (original) and buffalo and early zebra I would place in this category. Just not the standard of detail and anatomy as most of the rest in my opinion. I can see the original red deer looks the same (though don't own it). I can see why Britains re sculpted some of these. Also the standing bear cubs (in both brown and polar versions) are pretty awful! more like a person in a bear suit than an actual bear.

- The original african elephant, original hippo and indian rhino are all gorgeous. As is the giraffe and I didn't expect to love the huge snapping crocodile as much as I do. The giraffe I like so much I bought another with the later paint scheme. to bad my non-movable neck version shattered!




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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyTue Jul 14, 2020 10:18 am

Congratulations with all your new models  cheers
Which ones did you get ? Very Happy
I would love to see photos , please, please !!!
So far I have never got any of the elephants, - they break into 1000 ( almost) pieces during shipment. Sad

The models I bought recently were also part of a collection of very old models, and some were completely smouldering.
The seller asked me if I wanted those also, and as the shipping wouldn't increase, I got them also, but they were beyond repair Rolling Eyes
An okapi couldn't stand. When I tried to bend a leg a little, the leg broke off .
This doesn't happen with later models.
As you say, superglue can't repair these models  Suspect

I think it was the first material, which can not last over time.

Unlike you, I love the eland etc, and even if the old red deer is not very realistic, it reeks charm and The Good Old Days farao Laughing
I think they survived  from the time of metal models, at least the eland did.
The bear babys, standing on the hind legs, are very much the style of some of the old German composition models, so I see them a wonderful part of the history of our wonderful hobby Very Happy

The platypus ( we call it "næbdyr" - animal with beak - in Danish), - again this is probably from an age when nobody in Europe ever saw one alive.
There is a story that during WWII Churchill had two sent from Australia, but they died on the way.
So only few people even knew they existed, and those who knew, had usually only seen a pelt. History again Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyTue Jul 14, 2020 10:39 am

It's unfortunate that some broke. The polythene of the older models can indeed become very brittle. I think they were originally sold as unbreakable, which they probably were, but over time, the plastic deteriorates. They don't always become brittle though; I don't know why some do and some don't, but I have bought some lots with mostly brittle ones and some lots without any brittle ones, so it may be due to the way they were stored.

Normal plastic glue doesn't work, but Loctite all plastics glue does.

How long is the platypus? I don't have it here. I think Britains can be forgiven for not making it even smaller, it must be one of the smallest toy animals ever.

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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyTue Jul 14, 2020 11:17 am

WOW !! I will get some Loctite all plastic immediately ! Thankyou for the tip cheers

Perhaps it can even glue old Breyer also ? Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

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DrJu@551c



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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyTue Jul 14, 2020 6:42 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Congratulations with all your new models  cheers
Which ones did you get ? Very Happy
I would love to see photos , please, please !!!
So far I have never got any of the elephants, - they break into 1000 ( almost) pieces during shipment. Sad

I have pretty much bought every model made. this was not entirely intentional but in buying bulk lots thats just how its worked out. Some are still in the mail so I'll post a pic when the rest arrive. Probably the highest profile model I have not sourced is the later "charging" african elephant - the others I don't own are just all alternate versions of animals I already bought (like later sable or the smaller crocs etc).


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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyThu Jul 16, 2020 8:49 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Perhaps it can even glue old Breyer also ? Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

I don't know, I don't have Breyers. Loctite all plastics is very good. Too good, because the cap gets glued to the tube, so I can only use it once. Make sure you buy the "all plastics" version, not Loctites regular plastic glue.
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DrJu@551c



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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyFri Jul 17, 2020 8:34 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
.
Normal plastic glue doesn't work, but Loctite all plastics glue does.

How long is the platypus? I don't have it here. I think Britains can be forgiven for not making it even smaller, it must be one of the smallest toy animals ever.

Thanks for the tip, the Loctite all-plastics worked fine and repaired the broken models. Sadly though, I think now the plastic has turned brittle, those particular models are only going to keep breaking.

I also found all the figures that had difficulty standing very easy to fix by simply heating up the legs with a hairdryer repositioning them and then plunging them in ice water. Works really well.

The platypus is perhaps about 1cm long. Absurdly small. kinda cool but ridiculous.

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PostSubject: Britain's plastic Tapir   Britains collector in Australia EmptyFri Jul 17, 2020 9:50 am

I am trying to complete my collection of Britain’s plastic Zoo animals but have a problem. A listing I have seen tells me that there were two versions of the tapir issued but nowhere on line can I find images that show the differences. Does anyone have two versions and if so how are they different?
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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyFri Jul 17, 2020 9:55 am


Welcome here John, cheers cheers cheers

In this site, many friends have Britain models.

We would like to see photos of your collection.

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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyFri Jul 17, 2020 10:02 am


You can click on Toy Animal Wiki.

And and put the word tapir in the search, then select Malayan tapir , there you will find the two britain models.

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PostSubject: Re: Britains collector in Australia   Britains collector in Australia EmptyFri Jul 17, 2020 10:17 am

Thank you for your input. I think the two images in Animal Wiki are the lead and plastic versions of the Malayan Tapir. What I have been told is that two versions of the plastic form exist.
Your animal collection looks fantastic.
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