Friday, 20 October 2017

101st Birthday!

Sylvia Howells 101st Birthday Party
Jane Saunders (Manager), Cllr Phyllis Roberts (Mayor of Blaenavon), Sylvia Howells (Birthday Girl!), Me.

On October 19th I attended a really special occasion - the 101st birthday of Blaenavon born and bred Sylvia Howells. Mrs Howells is a resident at Arthur Jenkins Care Home which hosted a lovely birthday party, complete with singer to serenade her!

The South Wales Argus covered the story on October 24th:

A special party was held at a Blaenavon residential home to celebrate the birthday of one of its oldest residents. Sylvia Howells turned 101 on Thursday, October 19 and was joined by her family and friends as well as two mayors and staff from the Arthur Jenkins Care Home for her party. Blaenavon-born and bred, Mrs Howells has lived at the home since 2009 and she shared her secret of longevity. 

“I think it’s keeping busy and doing plenty of exercise,” said Mrs Howells. The 101-year-old was delighted that the Hafod Care staff threw her a party, which included a special cake baked by the centre cook and entertainment from singer Dean Sharpe. “I have always been happy here and nothing is too much trouble for the staff,” said Mrs Howells. 

Her guests included daughter Veronica Grey and son-in-law Alan, as well as Cllr Jessica Powell and Cllr Phyllis Roberts, the 93-year-old Blaenavon mayor. 

Born at the Waun Tavern public house, Mrs Howells was one of six siblings - four girls and two boys. She grew up in the area and at the age of 16 started working as a housekeeper in Harley Street in London. She returned home when the war broke out and held various jobs in north Wales, Bristol and Weston-super-Mare until she married at the age of 26. 

Mrs Howells met her husband Glyn through a mutual friend at her church in Blaenavon. The couple were married for 60 years prior to Mr Howells’s death 15 years ago. The Howells had one daughter, one granddaughter and two great-granddaughters. 

Jane Saunders, the care home manager for more than 14 years, said: “Sylvia is an amazing lady. She was registered blind a few years ago, but she has not let this affect her and she is still able to carry out most of her daily tasks independently. It’s always lovely to celebrate a special birthday and we are delighted that Sylvia’s family and friends were able to join us and enjoy the party. We pride ourselves on providing the best levels of care and encouraging our residents to remain active members of our local community. There’s always lots going on and we have a very happy home.” 

Arthur Jenkins Care Home provides residential accommodation for 29 people including a specialist unit caring for those living with dementia. To find out more call 01495 790319 or visit

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Thursday, 19 October 2017

S H Figuarts

SH Figuarts 12th scale bodies

S.H. Figuarts make a huge range of highly articulated 1/12 scale action figures. Aside from the base bodies, the figures have sculpted plastic clothing and hair. Most of them are based on anime or cartoon properties - Dragonball Z, Naruto, Sailor Moon, etc, etc - but there are also lots of celebrity likeness sculpts from characters in films and TV shows. The figures are generally true to scale, hovering about the 6" mark.

DC Universe

Alongside various permanently cowled Batmen and other masked characters, Figuarts offer Suicide Squad Harley Quinn and Joker, The Dark Knight Joker, Deadshot, Wonder Woman, and Superman.

Figuarts Suicide Squad Harley QuinnSH Figuarts Suicide Squad Joker
Figuarts Heath Ledger Joker in 12th ScaleFiguarts 12th scale Deadshot
Figuarts 12th scale Wonder WomanFiguarts Superman


A lot of their Marvel characters are permanently masked, but there are still plenty with heads ripe for the picking... Thor, Dr. Strange, Tony Stark 'Iron Man', Hawkeye, Star-Lord,

Figuarts 12th scale ThorFiguarts 12th scale Dr Strange
Figuarts Tony Stark in 12th ScaleFiguarts 12th scale Hawkeye
Figuarts Guaridan of the GalaxyFiguarts

Star Wars

☆ Prequel Movies: Qui Gon Jinn, Padawan Obi Wan Kenobi, Padawan Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Obi Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, Darth Maul, Queen Amidala, Jedi Anakin Skywalker, Count Dooku, Pilot Droid, Security Droid, C-3PO, Clone Trooper Phase 1 Lieutenant, Clone Trooper Phase 1 Sergeant, Clone Trooper Phase 1 Commander, Clone Trooper Phase 1 Captain, etc.

☆ Original Movies: Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia, Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Chewbacca, etc.

☆ Sequel Movies: Han Solo, Finn, TLJ Rey, BB-4, Praetorian Guard, Droid C2-B5, Droid R4-P17, Droid R2-B1, Droid R2-A6, Droid R2-C4, and Droid R2-M5, etc.

Figuarts Qui Gon JinnFiguarts Young Obi Wan Kenobi
Figuarts Anakin SkywalkerFiguarts Obi Wan Kenobi
Figuarts Mace WinduFiguarts Queen Amidala
Figuarts Luke Skywalker from A New HopeFiguarts New Hope Obi Wan Kenobi


Bruce Lee (and a yellow tracksuit version), Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, and Captain Jack Sparrow.

Figuarts Bruce LeeFiguarts Michael Jackson
Figuarts 12th scale Freddie MercuryFiguarts Captain Jack Sparrow

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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Storm Collectibles

Storm Collectibles produce a range of sports and video game action figures in roughly 1/12 scale - they're actually about 7" tall so a little oversized, but not outrageously so. They're typical action figures in that all the clothing is sculpted plastic

So far they've done the Mortal Kombat figures Scorpion, Sub Zero, Reptile, and Shao Khan, as well as Heihachi Mishima from Tekken 7. Their biggest line is Street Fighter V with M. Bison, Ryu, Zangief, Alex, Ken, Chun-Li, and Gouki.

My favourite is the upcoming Mike Tyson figure. He even has fabric shorts!

Storm Collectibles 12th Scale Mike Tyson

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Thursday, 12 October 2017

Heidi Ott 12th Scale Dolls

Heidi Ott Young Woman

When I started getting into the hobby Heidi Ott was pretty much it as far as more affordable articulated 1/12 scale dolls went. They came in 4 basic designs: young and older woman, and young and older man (the Caucasian types came with blue or brown painted eyes, and there was a Black version of the younger models). Sometimes the male dolls have flocked hair and / or facial hair, while the women come bald or with tiny little wigs.

As the dolls become harder to find the prices only increase - you'll be lucky to find a basic undressed figure for less than £30, and the dressed ones will set you back at least £50+. In an age when you can get a Figma type doll for £4, as cute and well designed as these are, you'll probably only want to pick them up if you happen across them going cheaply.

Heidi Ott Undressed Dolls

Heidi Ott also made smaller dolls in 1/12 scale meant to be teenagers, kids and babies - they have cloth bodies and plastic limbs:

Heidi Ott Children Dolls

There were lots of dressed dolls released, primarily Victorian era but also a fair range of more modern looks. Check out the catalogue pages for dressed babies (one, two), toddlers, children, teenagers, and adults:

Heidi Ott Dressed DollsHeidi Ott Miniature Dolls
Heidi Ott Modern DollsHeidi Ott 12th Scale Dolls
Heidi Ott Scale DollsHeidi Ott Doll Shoes

In addition to the shoes and sundries shown above - and cute little necklaces - you could also buy clothing separately:

Heidi Ott Doll Clothes

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

DAM Toys Pocket Elite

DAM Toys are best known for their 1/6 scale military figures, but for 2018 they have announced a new 1/12 scale line called Pocket Elite. Two figures have been announced so far, both based on British SAS:


Damt Toys 12th scale SAS Assaulter


Dam Toys SAS CRW Breacher

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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Utopia Hair, Nails and Beauty

Utopia Hair, Nails and Beauty

I was really honoured to be asked to officially open a gorgeous beauty salon in Pontypool on October 5th. Marianna helped me cut the ribbon - and helped everyone else eat the nibbles!

If you're in Pontypool, pop in and check the place out. It really is a beautiful salon. Find out more on their website - - or take a look at their Facebook Page.

The South Wales Argus covered the story on October 10th:

A new beauty salon has opened its doors in Pontypool, citing the community spirit as a drawing point to the town centre location. Utopia Hair, Nails and Beauty employs seven members of staff and offers a wide range of beauty treatments. 

It was officially opened by the mayor of Torfaen, councillor Jessica Powell, on Thursday, October 5 and is offering new customers 10 per cent off their first visit. 

Utopia Pontypool

Sarah Young, who runs the business with her partner Dean Jenkins, said: “We want to create a place where people feel welcome, comfortable and at home. We love the community spirit in Pontypool and from the minute we opened our doors the support from the public has been fantastic. We have also had fantastic business support from Torfaen council who have helped us along the way and continue to stay in touch and support us.” 

Cllr Alan Jones, executive member with responsibility for business, said: “It is fantastic to see a new business opening their doors in Pontypool town centre and I wish Sarah and Dean every success for the future. We can offer new businesses a huge range of support, from finding a premises to accessing funding, and I would urge anyone looking for some support to contact us to find out how we may be able to help.” 

For business advice and support contact 01633 648371 or

Utopia Hair, Nails and Beauty Opening

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Saturday, 7 October 2017

Mezco One:12 Collective

Mezco Ghostbusters

Mezco Toyz do a line of figures under the One:12 Collective label that may be relevant to the 1/12 scale doll collector's interests. The 6.5" figures tend to have fabric clothing rather than the dreaded plastic and some nice realistic head sculpts. For more on what the bodies look like, check out The Fwoosh blog. First up, there are the Star Trek offerings of SuluKirk (plus Trouble with Tribbles variant), and everybody's favourite Vulcan - the latter also comes in his outfit from The Cage as a special edition, and as his evil self from the Mirror universe. MWCToys also has a review of a Toy Fair preview exclusive figure - click HERE.

Mezco SuluMezco 12th scale Kirk
Mezco Spock FigureSpock Mezco The Cage Figure

Then there's Space Ghost and Judge Dredd - their faces are stylized and masked - and film properties A Clockwork Orange and Halloween. They also have plans for Popeye and figures from the Evil Dead franchise: Plaid Shirt Zombie, Fly Boy Zombie, and Ash.

Mezco A Clockwork Orange FigureMezco Halloween Doll

Next up is the obligatory Marvel Universe figures - some of them aren't human / have [half] masked faces like Red Skull, Ragnarok Hulk, Deadpool / X-Men Deadpool, Daredevil (and a Shadowland special edition for NYCC 2016) and Iron Man. Others are of more interest - Wolverine (the initial release only had masked heads but the 2017 Fall Exclusive has an unmasked head) and Old Man Logan, Black Panther, Dr Strange (there's also a Marvel Defenders version on its way), Thor, Captain America (there's also a deluxe version with a different uniform - see HERE), and Punisher (Collective and Classic). Then there are a whole bunch of Spidermen: Homecoming, Collective, Miles Morales, and the recently announced Homecoming home made suit Spidey which promises a new body sculpt and an unmasked head sculpt...

Mezco Fall Exclusive WolverineMezco Old Man Logan
Mezco Black PantherMezco 12th Scale Dr StrangeMezco Thormezco Captain America
Mezco Classic PunisherMezco Spiderman

The equally obligatory DC Universe range also has some interesting figures: Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad Harley Quinn, Joker (basic and deluxe), Aquaman, Deathstroke, Black Adam and Shazam. Other DC figures include Mutant Leader, Darkseid, Flash, Reverse Flash, Green Arrow, Arsenal, and, of course, endless iterations of Batman: Tactical Suit, Knightmare (includes unmasked Bruce Wayne head), Ascending Knight (includes Bruce Wayne head, and also available in black variant pictured below). For those who prefer the light to the dark there's a new Superman, classic Superman, and Red Son Superman.

Mezco 12th scale Wonder WomanMezco 12th scale Harley Quinn
Mezco 12th scale JokerMezco 12th scale Aquaman
Mezco 12th scale DeathstrokeMezco 12th scale Shazam
Mezco 12th scale Ascending Knight BatmanMezco Superman
Mezco 12th scale classic SupermanMezco 12th scale Red Son Superman

Even with all this realism and doll house potential, my absolute favourite Mezco offering is the Universal Monsters line. Just check out this amazing 1/12 scale Frankenstein's Monster! (He also comes in a more green version for those newfangled techincolor fans.)

Mezco 12th scale Frankenstein

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