The word ‘playset’ is defined in online dictionaries as “A themed collection of similar toys designed to work together to enact some action or event”. In the context of military figures, this usually means a package of opposing sets of contemporary figures, plus terrain pieces to suit. Such sets are great presents: they create a convenient and immediate play environment for owners, and if produced with a care for historical accuracy, can be educational.
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Aircraft generally spend less time flying than on the ground, and this was especially true in the early years when flying at night was difficult. Most of the time they were parked at airports, either in the open or within a hangar. It’s not surprising then that Skybirds were quick off the mark to produce a range of airport buildings to complement their aircraft kits. Unlike the kits, these were finished models.
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Many figure manufacturers also produce some form of small scenic accessories. These are useful as dressing for dioramas, or during play as things for the soldiers to hide behind, and they are easy to produce using the same methods as figures. Naturally, they are often included in playsets (see forthcoming story).
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Ships spend a lot of time docked in harbours loading and unloading, and a dockside diorama is a great way to display a collection, so it’s only natural that Wiking should have produced a range of harbours. As we have already seen in Fighting Toy Stories, Minic did the same and took the opportunity of presenting their harbours with modular components, that could be assembled and reassembled in various configurations. How did Wiking, some 20 years earlier, approach the subject?
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All the Fun of the Seaside!
The Development of Piers
For today’s story we go down to the seaside. Put on your sun-hat and tuck into that candy floss, while we go for a stroll along the Tri-ang Minic pier!
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It’s All in the Packaging!
Toy manufacturers often group items from their ranges together and sell them in sets. Minic was no exception and immediately the range was launched, began producing a number of boxed bundles. So, what is it about sets that would tempt the prospective buyer? Several reasons suggest themselves. Perhaps there will be a cost saving; a set might contain something unique that cannot be purchased separately; or maybe the boxed presentation is just more convenient and attractive in some way.
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The Construction Principle
Construction toys have always been popular. Some of the great toy brands have been construction toys. Think Meccano, Bayko, Lego.
Building structures from component parts can be an absorbing activity. When those parts are modular and can be combined in different ways to make different structures, then you have the freedom to exercise your imagination and build what you will. Furthermore, if the parts are reusable, then the activity can be repeated at will. If you don’t like what you’ve built or it has served its purpose, then break it down and reassemble it into a new structure!
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