One of the joys of this time of year is that it's when all the new partwork magazines are introduced. Partwork magazines, in case you're not familiar with the term, are those magazines where each issue builds up into a collection of some sort. It's an old formula. My dad inherited a multi-volume science encyclopaedia from my his aunt, consisting of hundreds of issues of the magazine, all bound up into neat folders.
Partworks can cover just about anything. From toy kitchen utensils to bits of the Flying Scotsman to Lord of the Rings chess pieces to minerals and gemstones. They cater for every niche interest possible.
It doesn't take much maths to work out that partworks can be a bit of a con. By the time you've bought each issue needed to complete the collection (which can sometimes be extended and extended), it ends up costing hundreds of pounds. If my great auntie had have just gone out and bought a big hardback science encycolopedia, it probably would have worked out a lot cheaper.
The joy of partworks, though, is the thrill of 'collecting', which I'm sure is some deep-rooted evolutionary instinct around hoarding berries or something. Plus there's a something nice about receiving things through the post.
Whilst I like the idea of partworks, I've never actually subscribed to one. They just seem a bit too expensive.
This year though, I've been inspired by Russell Davies's Lyddle End 2050 project and Matt Webb's Cattle Drive to embark upon a partwork folly. I'm not going to subscribe to a magazine though - that'd be boring. Instead, I want to take advantage of the fact that the 'Issue 1' of partworks is always heavily discounted to reel people in.
So here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to collect things from the first issue of as many partworks as possible. It'll be a sort of meta-collection.
The first thing to enter the colleciton is a Ferguson TE-20 (1947) tractor, from the rather delightful 'Tractors and the World of Farming' partwork. It's been advertised widely on TV (the ones that appear waaay down the EPG), and I've even heard it ridiculed by a radio DJ, so it seemed like a good place to start.
Unfortunately, I don't walk past a WH Smith all that often, and tracking down partworks in newsagents seems to be harder than you'd imagine. So I'm going to ask you to help me out by keeping an eye out for new partwork Issue 1s. If you see one I haven't got, buy it, send me the model, and I'll pay you back via Paypal (including the postage). As a bonus, you get to keep the magazine, and learn all about whatever weird and wonderful topic it covers!
The models will be added to the I heart partworks Flickr group as they arrive. If you've found one to send me, send it to Frankie Roberto, The Innovation Centre, 217 Portobello, Sheffield, S1 4DP. Be sure to include a note with your e-mail address and how much it cost so that I can refund you. I'll be happy to receive models from other countries too (do they have partworks in other countries? I have no idea).
And if you have any ideas about what I should do with the collection once it's assembled, let me know!