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Playmobil color, Enamel, acrylic...

Posted by PhilC on 06 Feb 2017, 21:07

Hi everyone!

Today's post is meant to be a sort of time travel, and a naive exhibition too. If I am always happy to repaint my old minis in today's standard, I also appreciate to bring memories back from the past, and to see these minis as they were. Before I finished to repaint all of them (I don't really worry, I am so slow, and I have so many of them), I took time today to take pictures of these old dear toys.

When I was a child, I first played with the minis out of the box, without any paint at all. But one Christmas, my brother received a fabulous gift that would change everything: a box of Playmobil Colors. Do you remember them ? The men, the horses, their equipment, everything was white, and you were meant to add the color with a set of dedicated pencils. An example below:
Image

I don't remember how long it took before I realized that these pencils could be used on other plastic minis... but as soon as it came to my mind, I started to color every mini I had. In those days, my 1/72 soldiers were Airfix and Atlantic.
Let me show you my gallery:

Atlantic Greek civilians
Image

Airfix Tarzan figures
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But it was impossible to represent armors without metallic colors, so I was encouraged to use model paints, and I discovered the Humbrol Enamel paints. I am sure you remember :) How I hated the smell of the White Spirit
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And other minis got painted too: Atlantic gladiators
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Years later, I began to use acrylic paints, but without shades and lights: Airfix Robin Hood's men
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Many more years passed before I tried other techniques, and you can see the actual style on this blog.
A picture to compare the different steps: Atlantic Egyptians: Playmobil color / Humbrol / acrylic with shades
Image


I hope you like them all, even the old ones. Do you have a similar experience ?
You can see more at the blog: http://philotepsfigures.blogspot.fr

Thank you for reading this far.
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PhilC  France
 
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Posted by Bluefalchion on 06 Feb 2017, 22:09

VERY similar. :D
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Posted by PhilC on 06 Feb 2017, 22:20

You makes me curious, how similar ? Any pictures ? :-)
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Posted by Bluefalchion on 06 Feb 2017, 23:00

I still have some of that stuff. I'll see what I can dig up.
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Posted by PhilC on 06 Feb 2017, 23:07

Excellent ! I feel like an archelogist :-D
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Posted by Susofrick on 07 Feb 2017, 08:57

Too old for playmobil, but I do love this thread!
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Posted by Kekso on 07 Feb 2017, 09:52

Now that brings my childhood memories. I had Playmobil figures (without pens) but they were in colors. Man, I really enjoyed them.
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 07 Feb 2017, 11:19

PhilC we must be born in the same year! 1970?

I am from the first Playmobil generation, in 1974 I bought my first playmobil: the road workers and construction workers with orange colored and grey tools. Those days they were boxed in translucent plastic with a paperboard back, it was before the well known blue boxes appeared.
Around 1979 I think the white ones appeared in our village toy shop and I got the pencil set of six colors right away with it (because unlike you I understood right away what was the meaning of those white men :mrgreen:) Though my first selfpaint set was a collection of Playmobil table ware of which part was translucent. My daddy liked the self painting Playmobiles much more than the pre-colored plastic ones, because this stimulated my creativity, he said. As soon as possible I bought the 12 colored set and I think all in all I used 5 different pencil sets to get all my toys colored. I had the prince&princess, huge Lansknechts set with wagon, 18th and 19th century soldiers a bit like you showed us above, Indians and cowboys and the motorgang, all of them painted with pencils.

Immidiately (unlike you :mrgreen: ) my big brother and I understood these pencils were useful for painting our Atlantic Egyptians, Romans and Airfix Cowboys. And a huge advantage was: our female friends :love: who were not interested in soldiers and weapons, did love to paint the Atlantic Egyptians with those Playmobil pencils. You know, females always love ancient Egyptians. For the Atlantic Westerns it was a problem, because the brown plastic was too dark. But at least brown is acceptable for clothing, human skin tone and animals. So those brown figures were not the worst. The Airfix Waterloo sets were the real disaster: All those Waterloo guys wore soo much white in the uniform.
The day I realized white color can never be achieved with such pencils, I cursed the whole Airfix Company for producing their Waterloo figures in yellow in stead of white. It should have been white! it should have been white!
Atlantics ancients flesh color made much more sense: we only had to paint the hair and cloths, although white turned out the most important color for the Egyptians as well. I still have all those Playmobiles and some of the Atlantics in their original Playmobilpencil colors.

They look EXACTLY like yours :-D

It all changed of course when my brother bought his first green enamel to camouflage his complete collection of planes and tanks, all with that single dark, glossy color :P But it took me a year to discover there were other colors available too. Like MATT WHITE: the most usefull and beautifull color of them all.

Looking back, it is interesting to realize a child does not recognize white as a color. Most of us are raised by using white paper to write and draw upon, and to paint on white paper or canvas. So white was always there, we never needed a white color. Until those colored plastics appeared in our lives. That confused many of us I think.
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Posted by MABO on 07 Feb 2017, 11:31

Image

Those figures are painted with Playmobil Colors as well. I was born in 1969, so I was the first Playmobil Generation as well. And the success was founded in the Netherlands. Because the first big order was placed from a trader there. :yeah:

Have a look here at this topic as well:
http://bennosfiguresforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=19860&p=216009#p216009
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 07 Feb 2017, 11:55

Thanks for posting MABO!
I missed that nostalgia post of yours completely.

MABO wrote:the success was founded in the Netherlands. Because the first big order was placed from a trader there.


I did not know this. As a child I thought Playmobil was British because of its name. Why not Spielbeweglich? It must have been for international marketing reasons.

And your ancient Atlantics look great (speaking in nostalgic terms)
A real pity we did not know each other already those days. I think I would have begged my parents over and over again to bring me to Bonn to play with that German boy having such a nice collection.
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Posted by sberry on 07 Feb 2017, 16:54

I never had any Playmobil figures (and have no experience with their paints); I used the competing product called Play-Big. You could move each leg separately – clearly an improvement over the coupled legs of Playmobil. You could even move the feet in different directions! (No idea what this should be good for).
And it is really pleasant to see those old Atlantic sets again; I had a lot of them. They are long gone, but some of them I have bought again as re-issues. The Egyptian and Greek civilian sets are really nice and IMHO still useful today.
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 07 Feb 2017, 18:20

sberry wrote: I used the competing product called Play-Big.

Though very uncommon in the Netherlands, some of us boys had Play-Big and they were another 'race' so natural enemies to our Playmobil. Remember the Play-Big horse?: the men did not fit the huge but realistic back of that animal. A part of the horseback had to be removed to mount a man, like a butcher had taken the best parts of the meat away while the horse was still running around.

PhilC wrote:You makes me curious, how similar ? Any pictures ?

I found mine, Phil:

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These are all 1/72 scale.
Look at the flesh membrane. Its still there after 40 years. In those days I must have just ignored it:

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I can only see one reason why so much of the color has faded: because we played so much with these around 1979. We made temples and pyramids with mummies in the burial chambers.

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Most of them Egyptians ended up chopped up for conversions in my ancient Persian army around 1986. Thats why only some poses of these sets are left.

And here are some enamel painted ones from around 1980: much of this paint has crumbled and fallen off again:

Image
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Posted by PhilC on 07 Feb 2017, 21:03

Good evening all of you (evening in Europe) !

I am very happy with all your comments, these childhood memories are precious, funny to read similarities in our experiences.

Let's begin with this:
Mr Cryns wrote:
PhilC we must be born in the same year! 1970?


You're almost right, Mr Cryns! I was born in 1968 in Orléans, France. In my memories, we (my family and I) discovered Playmobils at the end of the 70s, I would say 1977 or 1978... but 1/72 minis earlier :-D

MABO, I love the picture you posted, and thanks for the links, I missed it, sorry. I recognize some of the Atlantic Trojans, I still have mine but they were painted (over pencil) years ago - I should take photos and post them one of these days.

Mr Cryns, yes, your minis are very close to mine, even the faded colors are similar. My brother and I played a lot with with minis. In the best games we could have, we built fortresses, or even small cities with Lego bricks. One of us had to defend the city, while the other had to attack... we developed catapults with legos and elastics to breach the wall (which never happened) or at least put the defenders down.

sberry wrote:
I used the competing product called Play-Big.


Yes, I know them too, had a dozen ACW men with their big horses, and I clearly remember the way to mount them :-D They were technically advanced, but not as cute as Playmobil maybe.

All your pictures are great, thank you very much. Bluefalchion, I can't wait for yours !!

And last (but not least), I must say, Mr Xryns, that your analysis of our perception (as children) of the white color is very interesting ( though I understand that my brain was not as fast as yours :mrgreen: ).

Just one element you missed: the white men are the male nurses, they were sent to bring you back to the hospital !! :mrgreen:
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Posted by MABO on 08 Feb 2017, 20:52

Mr. Cryns wrote:A real pity we did not know each other already those days. I think I would have begged my parents over and over again to bring me to Bonn to play with that German boy having such a nice collection.


Today my son had the opportunity to play with your wargame figures, that is the smile of history... :-D

My plan is to paint all my old 1/32 Atlantic figures. But that is one of the projects I will realise after I am retired.

I had Play Big as well and I still have their Wiking -Range. But my mother had given the rest away without asking me - not funny.

I did not like them as much as Playmobil, but I used them together. And with Playmobil figures I have made my first movie in stop motion with 8mm film 35 years ago...
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Posted by PhilC on 08 Feb 2017, 21:11

My children and I child achieved a (very short) film of that sort more than 10 years ago - indian playmobils with a snake - we recorded the voices too :-D
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Posted by MABO on 08 Feb 2017, 21:20

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Posted by sberry on 09 Feb 2017, 09:24

Mr. Cryns wrote:Though very uncommon in the Netherlands, some of us boys had Play-Big and they were another 'race' so natural enemies to our Playmobil.


Play Big was nowhere really popular, it seems, and so the stuff became extinct after some years.
And for me personally, it also came too late: I had already been infected with a preference for more realistic figures when I got my first Play Big set. Years before, around the age of five, I got some cowboys and Indians from the range of Jean Höfler figures (which is, ironically, the same company that later produced Play Big). Jean Höfler knights came next, and then Timpo Toys and finally Airfix and Atlantic. And it was Airfix that made me add a 1/72 range to the 1/32 scale figures that I had used until then – I guess, this sounds familiar to other people here …
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Posted by Mr. Cryns on 09 Feb 2017, 11:51

Thank you all so much for some more nostalgia :-D

PhilC wrote:I understand that my brain was not as fast as yours

To be honest.... :oops: I think it was my big brothers brain that helped me through the difficult parts ;-) He was reading books all the time and told me all about it and then I started to build what he told me. I only looked at the illustrations in those books.

MABO wrote:My plan is to paint all my old 1/32 Atlantic figures. But that is one of the projects I will realise after I am retired.
Only 17 years to go MABO!
I must say:
Image
Your painted 1/32 Atlantics look like a real treasure to me. A bit like an Italian shop selling first class dolls for the Catholic nativity scene.

And MABO thank you so much for your teenage film site. You look like someone trying to look like a director: a suit coat and moccasin shoes on the outdoor filmset. You don't look like that today anymore. So many memories of my own teenage filming came back when reading and watching your site.

I watched your Playmobilmovie twice. There are some real good animated shots. Like men moving to the back of a truck, opening it, going inside. And nurses with patients coming out of a door and then in the foreground a tv camera is moving in and out without a cameraman handling it. Great! :yeah: :-D

It is fascinating to see all over Europe and probably US and the Common Wealth Countries in the 1980's boys made similar movies. I remember a Norwegian man showing me his teenage Lego-Starwars episode. For lasergun shots he used red plastic wire that were only for some frames between the gun and the victim. He added voices to it too.

This is my favorite quote: Viele Menschen kommen, nach der Pause sind nur noch wenige da, die bis zum Schluß bleiben. Ernüchterung macht sich breit und eine Blase ist geplatzt.
(many people came to see the movie but after the break there is few of them left who stayed until the end)
Sound familiar to my early days. Very familiar :mrgreen:

sberry wrote:Play Big was nowhere really popular, it seems, and so the stuff became extinct after some years.

Their proportions were more realistic as the Playmobiles. But children don't seem to care about proportions at all (some adults still don't seem to care about proportions at all :mrgreen: ) But what we did not like about them was their emotional expressions on the faces: some were smiling, some were angry and some were crying. Even when they were having a party they were still crying. That disturbed us. To the contrary, Playmobiles going into battle with a big smile did not disturb us at all. :eh:
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Posted by huib on 10 Feb 2017, 22:11

This is an extremely sentimental thread. Wonderful!

I have completely similar experiences as Phil, Mr. Cryns and Mabo. And I also used Playmobil felt tips to colour my 1/72 figures. Today I still have many of my figures from this period, thanks to my brother, who kept them for me for many years and only recently returned them to me.

Image
This is a picture I just took especially for this thread of a selection of 1/72 Airfix Afrika Korps figures. The webbing, skin, boots and weapons are coloured with Playmobil felt tips, but heavily faded over the years. I must have coloured these in the late '70's. And look at the flash, which seemingly didn't bother me then.

Very nostalgic!
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Posted by MABO on 10 Feb 2017, 22:27

And look at the flash, which seemingly didn't bother me then.


:-D

And today we are all button counters. ;-)
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