2 different Camberwick Green Harbutt Plasticine sets.
Around 1900,William Harbutt invented a formula to make modelling clay easier to work and slower to dry out,and called it "plasticine".He set up a factory just outside Bath,and the company produced all manner of variations there until it finally closed in the early 80's.And here are 2 tv spin-off sets they did for Camberwick.
This first example was produced in 1967.
The box is about 13.75" long x 6.5" wide and just 0.5" thick.
ie. long,narrow and slim,because it simply contains 7 long strips of different coloured plasticine,wrapped in cellophane and placed on a piece of corrugated card.
And whilst we all know what plasticine looks like,I've included a pic of it,just in case you want to know what this particular set should look like,as opposed to one that's had its plasticine replaced. pic here
And slightly mundane it is too after the box artwork promises so much.
The inclusion of wire supports was clearly meant to mirror the way the original models were put together to some extent.Although they were made from foam and wire of course,with ping pong balls for the heads.But let's not nit-pick.
The 1st pic isn't actually a lid as such,but a cardboard sleeve that slides over the box from the side.And it's the back of this that has the picture-to-colour printed on it -which can be seen if you click on it.
There was also a little leaflet (below),showing you what to aim for,with some fairly basic instructions about how to get there on the reverse side (click on it to see the instructions)
None of which was any use to someone like me sadly,as I could never sit still long enough to do any more than roll it into a ball,decorate it with cocktail sticks and call it a hedgehog !
Although even most adults would struggle to reproduce things like the level of detail on Mrs.Honeyman's hat without some watch repairer's tools and a magnifying glass.So I can't beat myself up too badly when I see that sort of level of expectation for pre-schooler's !
You're either a Nick Park or you're not I suppose.But even he had to start somewhere.And in these days of virtual reality it's getting increasingly difficult persuading kids to actually use their hands to create something real.
And I hope there'll always be a place for these kind of "dirty hands" creative toys. Because I speak as someone who still likes to believe that those Merit chemistry sets of the 1960's and 70's actually inspired people to pursue a career in science.
And,no,I wasn't one of them. And,yes,I am a whistful old romantic.
The back of the box also reveals that it was sold abroad too,as the small block of english text is replicated in 3 other languages -French,Spanish and possibly Danish (?)
I've never been able to establish how widely the 3 series were shown overseas,but they clearly made it to Western Europe at least.Although quite what they made of it all is anyone's guess.
And it's also rather odd that just one of the Scandinavian countries is mentioned (Sweden and Norway ?)
The other,earlier,Plasticine set . . . . .
The set above is quite hard to find in any condition, nevermind completely untouched.
But this next one is even more of a challenge. And about as rare as a change of underwear for Windy.
Which is slightly puzzling,as it only came out a year earlier,in 1966.
It's definitely a different set though,rather than just the same set with different packaging.Because,in addition to the coloured plasticine,it also came with modelling tools and wire supports.
And they even threw in a picture to colour-in,and the crayons to do it with -presumably as some kind of booby prize for all of us too cack-handed to make anything with the plasticine !