Archive for the ‘General Discussion’ Category

British Toy Companies : Dublo Dinky Toys

March 18th, 2019 No comments



In November 1958, Meccano Ltd introduced the Dublo Dinky range of models to run alongside its popular Dinky Toys range. The Dublo series of vehicles was produced in 1:76 / OO scale and was initially designed to be used in line with the Hornby railway system but was also aimed to compete directly in the small-scale toy car market which at that time was dominated by Lesney’s Matchbox. 

The Dublo range was relatively cheap to produce having a one-piece die-cast metal body with a simple metal base plate and either smooth or treaded plastic wheels.

The Dinky Dublo range consisted of just 15 basic models although with upgrades and modifications that figure would increase to something like 42 variations. There were no colour changes throughout the short life of Dublo and all models came boxed.

The Dublo range met with only limited success so much so that the first model was withdrawn in October 1960 having only been on sale for just 18 months ! The writing was on the wall as yet further models were withdrawn over the following three years until finally in November 1963 those models that still remained in the range were also discontinued, a mere six years after the Dinky Dublo line was introduced.

Thus ended the production of Dublo Dinky Toys under Meccano who themselves went into receivership some two years later.




Fawn bodywork finish with silver trim

Grey smooth plastic wheels, tin base plate

Introduced 1958 – Withdrawn 1960




Orange bodywork finish with red interior, silver trim

Grey smooth plastic wheels, no base plate

Introduced 1958 – Withdrawn 1960




Blue bodywork finish with silver trim

Grey smooth plastic wheels, tin base plate

Introduced 1958 – Withdrawn 1960




Green bodywork finish with silver trim

Grey or black smooth plastic wheels

Introduced 1957 – Withdrawn 1962




Red bodywork finish with silver trim

Grey plastic smooth or tread wheels, no base plate

Introduced 1957 – Withdrawn 1960




Grey bodywork finish with silver trim

Grey smooth plastic wheels

Introduced 1959 – Withdrawn 1966




Blue lower body, cream upper body finish with silver trim

Plastic wheels black or grey tread, smooth grey plastic wheels

Introduced 1959 – Withdrawn 1964 



Red bodywork finish with silver trim and royal crest

Grey or black plastic wheels with tread

Introduced 1959 – Withdrawn 1964



  069 Massey Harris Tractor

 Blue bodywork finish, hole for driver, tow   hook

 Grey plastic wheels with tread

 Introduced 1969 – Withdrawn 1964




Green cab with red tank

Black or grey plastic wheels with tread

Introduced 1959 – Withdrawn 1964



071 Volkswagen Delivery Van

Yellow bodywork finish with silver trim, red ‘Hornby Dublo’ lettering

Black or grey plastic wheels with tread

Introduced 1960 – Withdrawn 1964



Yellow cab with red semi-trailer

Smooth grey, grey or black plastic wheels with tread

Introduced 1959 – Withdrawn 19964



Green car with green or orange trailer, tan or white horse

Smooth grey, grey or black plastic wheels with tread

Introduced 1960 – Withdrawn 1964



Intended to be allocated to a separate Land Rover model which was never issued


Intended to be allocated to a separate Horse Box model which was never issued



Maroon tractor/trailer, blue driver/seat

Black plastic wheels smooth or with tread

Introduced 1960 – Withdrawn 1964




Intended to be allocated to an AEC Transporter model which was never issued



Maroon bodywork finish with wire drawbar & tow hook

Black plastic wheels smooth or with tread

Introduced 1960 – Withdrawn 1964

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Glamorgan Toy Products – Glam Toys – G.T.P.

March 5th, 2019 No comments

Glamorgan Toy Products


Glamorgan Toy Products often referred to simply as Glamtoys or the even shorter GTP were based in Hannah Street, Porth, Mid-Glamorgan, South Wales and it goes without saying that the company name was derived from its geographical location.

Glam Toys, which I will refer to in future as GTP, was founded in 1935 by Jacob Beatus who was a pre-war emigre from Nazi Germay and, like his compatriot Phillip Ullman of Mettoy fame, set himself up producing tin plate toys but on a much more modest scale.

The toys produced by GTP were small, basic tin toys, cheap to produce and cheap at the toy counter and it goes without saying that Woolworths were one of GTP’s largest sales outlets. Typical GTP toys included racing and saloon cars, emergency vehicles etc. together with various novelty items such as ‘clicking’ frogs and other animals as well as small railway rolling stock items and the like.

Products were often marked simply ‘Made in England’ or ‘Made in Gt. Britain’, vehicles usually carried a registration plate marked ‘GTP’ followed by a three digit number which can be used in helping to compile a comprehensive list of the GTP vehicle range.

GTP toys came unboxed and as a result it is difficult to find any that come in pristine condition the majority in fact tend to be classed as ‘play-worn’. Post War saw a change in attitudes both from the retailers and the buying public and a more sophisticated market place demanded that toys now be packaged in individual boxes. Reacting to this GTP gave up part of their manufacturing plant and began to produce their own boxes in house. However it soon became clear to the management that they could make greater profits from producing the packaging rather than from the toys they contained. 

By 1935 toy making had been abandoned at GTP and Jacob Beatus now concentrated his efforts in producing cartons under the name Jacob Beatus Ltd.

The Automatic Garage pictured above is part of the GTP product range, numbered GTP 584, the garage features detailed tin-printing in colours, an automatic spring loaded door and is some 15cm. wide.

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Dan Dare Pilot of the Future … yet still more toys !

September 19th, 2018 No comments

Dan Dare Toys … Part 4


Welcome back to yet even more Dan Dare related toys I have managed to locate from the distant reaches of the galaxy ! For those Earthlings who have stumbled across this page by accident you may wish to visit my other Dan Dare pages, nos 1 – 3, to find further examples of Dan Dare toys.


< Dan Dare Space Patrol Aeroplane

British made aircraft of tinplate construction with a Dan Dare theme and dating to the 1950’s, possibly manufactured by either Mettoy or Wells. Aircraft has detailed tin-printing with ‘Space Patrol’ lettering to upper wing surface, predominantly orange with a yellow tailplane. The aircraft features a red propeller and wheels and is fitted with a friction drive. A relatively scarce item some 34cm. in length.



               Corgi Classics Dan Dare Eagle Set >

Corgi Comic Classics, a limited edition collection set ref. 98965, includes VW Camper Van along with the Bedford CA Van. Box size 26cm. x 12cm. x 5cm. (10″ x 4.75″ x 2″). Eagle fully licensed product. 


< Dan Dare Eagle Comic Pop-Up Book

Dan Dare Eagle comic pop-up book. Published by Juvenile Productions Ltd., card backed ring bound book with full colour pages. Entitled ‘Dan Dare Pilot of the Future’ a fully licensed product by Eagle comics. 21cm. x 27cm. ( 8.75″ x 10.75″ ).



                                                                                                                                   Tuck’s Dan Dare Water Transfers >

Raphael Tuck’s ‘Happy Hours’ series book of Dan Dare water transfers dating to 1951. Full colour book cover with 12 inner pages detailing Dan Dare’s career, interleaved with 6 pages of colour water transfers which include Dan Dare, Treen Teleview Plane, The Mekon, Theron, Treen Dog, Demagnetiser and Hank. An Eagle comics fully licensed product which is rare to find.


< Ingersoll Dan Dare Pocket Watch

British made Ingersoll Dan Dare pocket watch dating to the 1950’s. Chrome finish case with pictorial facia. Watch has the Eagle emblem to the rear of the case. Picture shows the hard to find original card box. Dan figure has articulated seconds arm. An Eagle fully licensed product.

                                                                                                       Dan Dare Space Shooting Game >

Glevum Games Dan Dare space shooting game from the 1950’s. Spring loaded ‘gun’ used to fire projectiles at colourful card space ship targets.

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British Toy Companies : Scamold – Scale Models Ltd.

March 2nd, 2018 4 comments

Scale Models Ltd. produced a range of racing cars under the SCAMOLD brand name, the model name being taken direct from the abbreviated company name.

These cars were produced between 1939 and 1950 at the Brooklands Race Track site in Weybridge, part of which was already the site of the Vickers factory. The models themselves were extremely accurate, produced at 1:35 scale, with their original measurements being taken direct from the real racing cars which could often be seen at Brooklands, then the mecca of motor racing in the UK.

The diecast models were as near ‘true-to-scale’ as it was perhaps possible to manufacture. Each model had fine surface detailing and the casting was outstanding with numerous features including removable exhausts, spring suspension, dashboards and steering wheels. In addition the back axle could be exchanged for one containing a clockwork motor which was wound up by a long starting handle.  The wheel axles were crimped and the hubs were either brass (early models) or aluminium (later) with black tread rubber tyres. Each model was clearly marked within the body of the casting both with ‘Scamold’ and ‘Made in England’ along with the manufacturers part number and the name of the model.

The Scamold models produced were inspired by the cars that were regularly showing their paces at Brooklands and were available in a selection of colours.

101 – 1939-50 ERA. (English Racing Automobile) : British racing green, works light green, yellow, royal blue, light blue, black, white.

103 – 1939-50 MASERATI : Maserati red, bright red, dark blue, dark green, mid-green, silver.

105 – 1939-50 ALTA : Light blue, pale sky blue, light green, dark green, silver, white.

Models were supplied in a blue card picture box and although the range was limited to the three models of ERA, Maserati and Alta it was no doubt intended to be larger as the box carried three other logos of Austin, MG and Bugatti. After the War the Brooklands part of the address was dropped from the box.

A small group of Scamold aluminium kits were also briefly available, listed were :

202 – Austin / 204 – MG / 206 – Bugatti / 207 – ERA ‘E’ Type / 208 – Bentley / 209 – Riley

However it is not known if all were actually produced.

After the War the price of the Scamold racing cars was around 8/- (40p) in comparison to a Dinky racing car of the time at 3/- (15p). Production costs weren’t sustainable and in July of 1950 the moulds and jigs etc were put up for sale.

Mr. E.J.D. Tilley, the proprietor of Scale Models, wound up the business in the 1960’s.



Green body with black radiator and steering wheel. Fitted with brass hubs with black rubber tyres.







Red body with silver radiator grill and exhaust. Brass concave hubs with black rubber tyres.






Green bodywork with blue radiator and silver exhaust. Brass hubs with black rubber tyres.

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British Toy Companies : Scalextric

June 23rd, 2017 No comments

Scalextric Race Game

For the purpose of this post I don’t intend to cover the full history of Scalextric in all its forms. To do so would take forever, so I am concentrating my efforts from its inception until around 2000 or so.

My brother and myself had a set given to us as our main Christmas present when I was about 10 or 11 years old, which would have been way back in the early 1960’s or so. The set could be made up into a figure of eight with a bridge under which ran a chicane. The cars were the Jaguar D types, one green and one blue with a head and shoulders driver-in, manufactured from moulded plastic.

My brother and myself plus a couple of mates would spread ourselves on the living room floor, those not actually ‘racing’ were the marshals, it was their job to place the cars back on the circuit if they came off … on average about every other lap !

We both thought it was the best thing since sliced bread ! Not sure if our parents agreed with that especially after about 3 hours of non stop racing ! !

Enough of that … lets look at some of the facts …

Scalextric came out of the ‘Scalex’ racing car models of Minimodels Ltd, which was a clockwork powered race car system that first appeared in 1952. When their inventor, “Freddie” Francis (who sadly died of cancer in 1998), added an electric motor to these models they became Scalex -electric or Scalextric cars. These were first shown at the annual UK- Harrogate Toy Fair in 1957, the first set contained metal models of a blue Maserati and a green Ferrari and were an instant hit with the dealers. In 1958, the brand was sold to Lines Bros., which operated as Tri-ang Toys.

Tri-ang’s subsidiary Rovex, which specialised in plastic, then developed Scalextric for the mass market, converting the metal cars to easier and cheaper to mould plastic versions. The track, which was originally a rubber compound, later became moulded plastic. Production continued at Minimodels in Havant, Hampshire until 1967, when it moved to Rovex’s own site.

When Lines Bros collapsed, its subsidiary Rovex-Triang, which handled Scalextric and the Triang railway brand, was sold off, eventually becoming Hornby Railways. Although Scalextric remains based in the UK, most of the products are now made in China.

The Sets :

Original sets came with pieces of interconnecting track made from rubber and two metal model racing cars.

The cars chosen for the first sets in 1957 were a Ferrari 375 and a Maserati 250F – then driven by big name Grand Prix rivals like Stirling Moss, Juan Fangio and Alberto Ascari.

The tracks and cars were built to a scale of 1:32 – and the cars were capable of a scale speed of 130mph.

The speed of the cars was determined by handheld controllers and to make racing more fun the sets came with two small bottles, one of silicone ‘skid patch fluid’ to create on-track hazards and another of light oil to lubricate the model.

A 1957 set cost five pounds, 17 shillings and six pence ( £5/17/6d ) – the equivalent of around £120 in today’s money.

Scalextric is typically sold as a set containing enough track to make a circuit, the necessary power supply and throttles and two cars. The cars are usually based on real vehicles from Formula 1, A1 Grand Prix, Nascar, rallying, touring, or Le Mans, or simply based on ordinary road going cars.

Most Scalextric models are 1:32 scale, though between 1968 and 1970 Super124 cars and track were manufactured at 1:24 scale. In the late 1990s, Micro Scalextric at 1:64 scale was introduced. Needless to say cars and track are not compatible between scales.

The Track :

Standard track consists of several straights of various lengths and corners of different radii and degree of turn. Special track includes several different styles of chicane, cross-over tracks, crossroad track and humpback bridges.

There are five generations of 1/32 scale Scalextric track. 

  1. Original Scalextric Track (Mk. 1): This was made from rubber with thin, vertical electrical connectors, and held together with separate metal clips. This track had white lines between the lanes.
  2. Original Scalextric Track (Mk. 2): Released in 1962, the material became plastic, electrical connections were through wider, horizontal pins, and the track was held together by two integrated circular, spoon-shaped pins and sockets moulded into each end. Converter pieces were available to link the two types. It is now known as Classic track. Classic track is compatible with another leading brand, SCX’s classic track.
  3. No major track developments until we saw the introduction of the smooth surfaced plastic track, released around 2001 termed the Scalextric Sport. The track connectors were now square and slotted into place and ‘converter’ pieces were now available to allow the link to Classic track.
  4. A leap forward for Scalextric in 2004 with the Scalextric Digital, compatible with Sport it allowed up to 6 cars on a 2 lane track at any one time, with each car fully controllable.
  5. Scalextric Start released in 2010 it was supposedly a basic track for children (funny I thought that was where I started out in the late 1950’s).
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Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School – Book Illustration Errors ?

June 11th, 2017 No comments

Yellow Jacket Book Illustration Mistakes – Back to the Drawing Board !


Now anybody that has followed any of my previous posts will know that the ‘Fat Owl of the Remove’ is a massive hero of mine. There’s nothing I like better when the winds blowing a gale outside and the rain is lashing against the window pane than sitting down in a comfortable armchair with a glass of something strong and one of my Billy Bunter ‘yellow jacket’ books.

However, having read my Cassell and Skilton books many times over, I began to look more closely at the illustrations they contained. The more I looked the more I noticed how many of these illustrations actually contained errors, some only minor some more glaringly different to the text they actually related to.

The illustration that first caught my eye and sent me along this pointless path was the one shown opposite !

Taken from ‘Billy Bunter’s Double’ and illustrated by R.J. Macdonald it depicted Billy Bunter batting in the practice match that had been arranged especially for him. If he proved his quality Bunter was going into the eleven to play Highcliffe.

Vernon Smith, fielding in the slips, was determined to catch Bunter out. His chance came as Bunter’s flashing willow met the leather and the ball whizzed between the slips. The bounder was on it like lightening, perhaps too eagerly, stumbling as his hand went up to meet the ball it cracked on his wrist rather than landing in his eager hand. So severe a crack that it sounded almost like a shot … the ball dropped. Smithy picked  up the ball with his left, he could not use his right.

Now coming from Yorkshire I reckon I know where the slips should stand and its not where Macdonald has drawn Smithy, but I’ll let that go and put it down to artist licence. However, no matter how you look at it, Smithy is definitely holding his injured LEFT wrist ! and not his RIGHT !!

Not only that but it looks to me like Bunter is now batting LEFT HANDED !

In this case was it a drafting error or was it simply a case of the printer reversing the plate by mistake ? BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD METHINKS !                                                                      

Or how about this one taken from ‘Billy Bunter’s Brain-Wave’.

After having had his head smacked by Loder of the Sixth whilst attempting to deliver a message from Wingate, Bunter decides to console himself with a quiet smoke in his study. But when he rolled into No.7 in the remove, he found his study-mates, Peter Todd and Tom Dutton there, making preparations for tea.

Now by my reckoning, Billy Bunter, Peter Todd and Tom Dutton, who together make up the usual occupants of No.7 study in the remove total three chaps. Yet the illustration clearly shows three schoolboys around the table plus Bunter … making four in total.

Not only that but a little further on in the same chapter we are told, ‘Evidently there was nothing for Bunter, in No.7 Study, but bread and marger, and a share in Peter’s sardines. He hoped to make it the lion’s share. But Peter, with the selfishness to which Bunter was sadly accustomed, apportioned the sardines in three equal portions on three plates – a proceeding which Bunter eyed with deep disgust.

So there we have it, the written evidence – the usual Study crowd of Bunter, Dutton and Todd, the three portions divided onto three plates – yet in the illustration we have four chaps around the table ! BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD Mr. Macdonald !

Not quite so obvious to the casual observer is my next offering taken from ‘Billy Bunter of Greyfriars School’.

Bunter, having purloined a jar of plum jam from Smithy, took shelter in Mr. Quelch’s Study, a safe retreat in which to devour his ill gotten gains. Quelch had gone out for a walk in the quad after class, a fact which Harry Wharton had passed on to Bunter, a fact which Bunter had made use of in order to elude the clutches of the wrathful Smithy. Bunter was safe – till Quelch came in and in the meantime there was the jam.

Sitting in Mr. Quelch’s armchair, Bunter opened that pot of jam. Unluckily he had no spoon, but on Mr. Quelch’s table lay a paper-knife which answered the purpose fairly well. With that implement Bunter scooped out jam and conveyed it to a large mouth : and chunk after chunk of delicious plum jam followed the downward path. It was a happy, sticky Bunter that cleaned out the jam-jar with the ivory paper-knife.

There was still a spot of jam at the bottom of the jar, and it was not easy to extract it with a paper-knife.

Unfortunately for Bunter, Mr. Quelch came back in, Bunter bounded out of the armchair, the jam-jar rolled on the hearth-rug. The sticky paper-knife dropped on the carpet.

So according to the text we have a cleaned out jam-jar which had fallen on the hearth rug and an ivory paper-knife which had dropped on the carpet of Mr. Quelch’s Study.

The illustration gives us a contrasting picture of a jam-jar still containing jam with a substantial quantity oozing out onto the floor. Several large spots of jam nearby with what appears to be a spoon. Gone is the hearth rug and I will assume the armchair is somewhere behind the study table.

What can I say Mr. Macdonald but BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD !

And finally for the moment comes this effort taken from ‘Billy Bunter’s Bodyguard’.

The Famous Five were several miles out of school bounds, Harry Wharton and Co. were taking a rest before riding homesitting on a low wall facing the sea and cheerily sharing a bag of dough-nuts. Five bicycles were parked against the wall a few yards away. It was a lonely but very attractive spot. Only one building was in sight – a bungalow far back from the beach, with a garden surrounded by a low brick wall – on which they were sitting in a cheery row.

Suddenly they were confronted by the sight of two figures coming along the beach which reminded them that Greyfriars juniors caught several miles out of school bounds were booked for a spot of trouble. One of the figures was tall and angular, that of Mr. Quelch, master of the Remove. The other was shorter and plumper, easily recognizable as Mr. Prout, master of the Fifth. All five quickly slipped off the wall on the inner side, ducking their heads below the level of the wall and crouching behind the numerous laurel bushes that were growing in the garden between the wall and the bungalow. Unfortunately for the Five, Prout and Quelch did not pass by, but instead stopped at the garden gate. Quelch had once again walked the legs off Prout who had decided he was in need of a rest before continuing and as there was a garden seat in the garden Prout was determined to make use of it for a few minutes. Five breathless juniors, huddled in the laurels under the wall, watched as Quelch walked up the gravel path to the door of the bungalow in order to ask permission to rest on the garden seat. Quelch knocked at the door which was opened by a man known to the masters and Quelch called for Prout to join him.

I need go no further, the scene has been set. The Famous Five hiding behind laurel bushes in the garden of a bungalow. Quelch and Prout standing at the door of the bungalow being greeted by its occupant. Look closely above the head of Quelch and behold what do you see, why nothing less than a first floor window. Someone should have told the artist, Mr. Chapman this time, that it was a bungalow and not a house that was required – BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD !

That is all for the moment but I intend to add to this post as there are many more yet to be included !!

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Chad Valley Games – Escalado Horse Racing Game

February 21st, 2015 6 comments

Chad Valley – Escalado


Let me start with an apology : I said I would try to give some guide as to dating the popular Chad Valley  game of Escalado in response to a request from a visitor to the site. However, like lots of things in life, it is never as straight-forward as you might at first imagine. So I have tried to steer a course through the last 80 something odd years of Escalado and attempted to keep this post somewhat simplistic and give just a superficial guide as to the dating of any edition.


The game has always been sold under the Chad Valley name, although more recently other parent companies or associated companies may have also been printed on the box. ie the Palitoy take over in 1978  / the Chad Valley name acquired by Woolworth in 1988 / and finally the Home Retail Group purchasing the brand in 2009 so that now the Chad Valley name is only available through the Argos catalogue, all these had an impact on the wording to be found on the box.

Many of the editions of the game would also have included a ‘Royal Warrant’ printed on the box which again would give an indication as to date.

Early editions also showed a difference in the horses themselves. Initially having a high lead content meant they were more malleable than their modern day counterparts which resulted in the legs tending to bend as the horse was pressed down in order to ‘seat’ the horse firmly to the course. Horses themselves were heavier due to their composition, initially approx. 100gsm. and cast with finer detail with the jockeys holding whips. Whereas the slightly later editions of the early 1930’s saw the weight of the horses reduced slightly, to around 92gsm., and the jockeys no longer sported their whips. Still with the horses, and early editions had cast into the underside a shortened version of ‘Copyright of the Proprietors’ which reads ‘Copyri of the Propri’. The word ‘England’ could also be found, again in raised letters, to the inside front left leg of the horse. Later editions simply had ‘Chad Valley’ in raised letters to the underside.

By the 1960’s the horses were of a lighter metal alloy manufacture and by the 1990’s were to be found moulded in plastic.

With regards to the Escalado box, before 1938 Chad Valley held no ‘Royal Warrant’ and so boxes pre-1938 carried no ‘By Appointment’ notation or ‘Coats of Arms’ insignia.

1937 saw King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, later the Queen Mother) ascend to the throne and in the following year Chad Valley were approved a ‘British Royal Warrant of Appointment’.

From that date, all Chad Valley toys displayed a label stating ‘Toy-makers to Her Majesty the Queen’, this was until 1953 when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned.

During the war years 1939-1945 toy production throughout the UK was either suspended completely or drastically reduced.

In 1953-‘By appointment to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’ was a newly named Royal Warrant held by Chad Valley which reflected her new title.

The earliest editions of the game used a coated linen race cloth and tension straps, with wooden studs/obstacles, lead horses, and a wooden vibrator box.

Later editions from the late 1960’s then started using plastic vibrator boxes and straps, synthetic linen cloths with plastic studs/obstacles, and metal alloy horses.

The latest editions, from the 1990’s used all plastic track, vibrator boxes, straps and horses.

 < Early 1940’s Edition

 Box lid carries the Royal Crest with the wording ‘By Appointment Toymakers to Her Majesty the  Queen’.




Late 1940’s Edition >

Later 1940’s version again with Royal Crest surrounded by the wording ‘By Appointment Toymakers to Her Majesty the Queen’.




< 1950’s Edition

Same box design as previous but on this the Royal Warrant is by ‘Appointment to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.’



Early 1960’s Edition >

This red box design would date to around the late 1950’s to the early 1960’s.





< 1960’s Edition

1960’s pre decimal edition of the game. Graphic illustration to lid with Escalado wording in perspective.



1960’s – 1970’s Edition >

Barclay Securities edition after their buy out of the company in 1971, this version assumed to date from around 1972 – 1978.


It should be noted that these are by no means the only boxes produced in which the game of Escalado were sold. Indeed Escalado was marketed for export all over the world and from that point alone there was potential for any number of box colours and labels. Although I have stopped at the 1970’s version the game was produced for many years afterwards, indeed right up to and including todays version, but by the late ’70’s the Chad Valley name would feature alongside another on the box, that of its new owner. So it is at that point that I am limiting this look at one of the most iconic table top games there has been.

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Corgi Toys – Corgi Boxes a History 1956 – 1983

February 8th, 2015 4 comments


Corgi Toys from the outset were looking to gain an edge over the competition, in the case of its models it secured that by introducing window glazing, as its advertising boldly stated : Corgi Toys – ‘The Ones with Windows’. Not only did Corgi Toys look to go one better than the competition with its models, but unlike its main competitor Dinky Toys, Corgi made a marketing decision to steal a march on its rivals and supply its models in individual boxes with an illustration of the model inside incorporated into the box design. Dinky Toys initially sold their vehicles in trade packs of six to the retailer, who then in turn sold them on seperately to the customer.

Corgi Toys as we all know, based in Wales, took their name from that breed of Welsh dogs and took the Corgi dog as its logo which was to be found on virtually all of its future packaging.

July 1956Corgi’s original box design, now commonly referred to as the ‘Blue Box’ simply because that’s exactly what it is. An all blue card box with black lettering in the main along with an identifying illustration of the model it contained.

These early ‘blue box’ models also came with a concertina leaflet along with an invitation to join the ‘Corgi Club’ by means of an enrolment form.

The card box had two small end flaps and one large ‘tuck-in’ flap to each end on which was printed both the model and its identifying model number.

January 1959Introduces us to what is now the iconic Corgi Yellow/Blue box design.

This box design was to last right through until 1966 and again kept things simple with the standard card box as before, but now brought bang up to date with a much more eye catching blue and yellow theme, typical of the early sixties. It also kept  with the idea of illustrating the model within by means of a coloured line drawing superimposed over the yellow background yet just pushing into the blue giving the impression of movement. Simple but effective. The artwork was brilliant and was only beaten in my opinion by that of the Airfix models. (No doubt someone will have something to say about that !)

December 1966  – A sad day I have to say as we see the demise of the all card illustrated box as Corgi introduce the first of their ‘Window’ boxes.

The previous blue and yellow box colour scheme was retained but now the model was clearly visible through a plastic ‘window’ incorporated into the box design. Initially limited to just a few models but extended to include the full range by 1968.  These boxes, now often referred to as the ‘slimline’ boxes, still illustrated the model in artwork form to the rear panel of the box.

However in 1970 the blue and yellow window boxes for ‘Whizzwheels’ cars changed to red and yellow.

May 1973Saw a more drastic change to the box design with the introduction of an angled inner card plinth. This had the effect of tilting the model towards the front of the box making the box much taller than its ‘slimline’ predecessor.

The box itself saw a radical change in colour, now a deep blue with three coloured bands around the window which varied from red, orange, yellow, purple or cyan. Sadly gone forever was the glorious Corgi box artwork now replaced on the rear panel with a simple bland photograph of the vehicle contained within.

1981 – Saw yet another revamp with the window box, now changing colour from predominantly blue to yellow, red and black. Black box with broad colour band around the ‘window’, yellow to the front face merging into red to its top face. The box was significantly larger so as to accommodate the model being placed on the skew and mounted on an inner yellow card plinth. For the first time the identifying model number was no longer printed on the outer box, instead the model number and title were printed on the inner plinth. This meant a significant cost saving as the outer box could now be used for several models within the range.

So there you have it … perhaps its my age and I dare say some will disagree with me but to my mind the above represents the gradual decline in the general presentation of the Corgi toy. Not that this is confined just to the Corgi brand in the name of cost saving as most of the major diecast toy companies followed a sad but similar path.

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Dan Dare Pilot of the Future … even more toys continued

January 25th, 2015 2 comments

Dan Dare Toys … Part 3


Welcome back to yet another of my listings covering just some of the amazing number of Dan Dare toys.

Since the early days of my original posts detailing Dan Dare toys, see parts 1 and 2, I have been asked on numerous occasions about other toys bearing the name of the ‘Pilot of the Future’ so here are some more to whet your appetite.


< Dan Dare Magnetic Darts

The Magnetic Darts game, officially licensed by the ‘Eagle’ comic, was produced in England by the Chad Valley toy company in the 1950’s.

Consisted of a full colour tinprinted target on a three legged stand with 3 lightweight magnetic darts.

Dan Dare Atomic Jet Gun >

Produced by Crescent Toys the Atomic Jet Gun (water pistol) was an officially licensed product by ‘Eagle’ comics.

A red and yellow plastic pistol with ‘Dan Dare’ yellow transfer lettering to the top of the barrel and ‘Atomic Jet Gun’ to the sides. Claimed to give 50 shots at one filling of water. Rare item and even harder to find in its illustrated box.

< Dan Dare Spaceship Film Viewer

Fully licensed by the ‘Eagle’ comic this film strip viewer came in the shape of a plastic spaceship. Made in England by J. & L. Randall under their ‘Merit’ toys banner.

Dan Dare Jig-Saw Puzzle >

One of several Dan Dare jigsaw puzzles available. This particular one – ‘Dan Dare and Sondar Capture a Space Ship’ – of unknown manufacture – perhaps by Peter Pan ? measures 13.75″ x 9.75″. Licensed by the ‘Eagle’ comic.

< Dan Dare Space Ship Builder  

Manufactured by A. & M. Bartram this licensed product was a metal construction set which allowed you to build your own space ship.

Metal components came in red, black and silver from which a variety of different space ships could be built.

Another rare item especially boxed.


Dan Dare’s Race in Space >

This fully licensed product this was a board game produced by Chad Valley in the 1950’s. Nothing complicated about this game just a case of starting from Earth, using your plastic rocket counter, its the first to reach planet Mercury whilst avoiding various obstacles on the way.


To be continued ………….. see part 4  Yet Still More Toys !

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British Toy Companies : Mettoy Castoys

December 18th, 2014 16 comments


The Mettoy company, which went on to launch Corgi Toys, was originally founded in 1933 by Phillip Ullmann who had settled in the UK the year before. Ullmann came to the UK from Germany where he had set up the renowned tinplate toy company Tipp & Co., based in Nuremburg. Ullmann was initially given space to work in a subsidiary company of Bassett-Lowke, a company highly respected in engineering model making. He was joined soon afterwards by Arthur Katz, who also had a background with the German toy makers Tipp & Co. The Mettoy name itself was derived from METal TOY, the company being initially involved in producing tin plate toys, from a factory based in Stimpson Avenue, Northampton, employing a workforce of around 50. By 1937 the company had expanded into larger premises 4 miles away in Harleston Road.

1939 and the Second World War saw an end to toy making and Mettoy, like many other toy makers, saw their tin plate production transferred to shell cases and the like for the war effort. Demand for war materials was now so great that once again larger manufacturing premises was essential and by 1944 the Ministry of Supply had earmarked a factory site of 28,000 sq.ft. for Mettoy to lease at Fforestfach, Swansea, for further production of munitions.

1945 and with the end of WWII Mettoy was able to switch production back to toy making as the defence contracts began to dwindle. By 1948 the company had begun to build a massive new modern factory, some 115,000 sq.ft., at Fforestfach to cater for their expansion plans. The factory was officially opened one year later by King George VI and it was during this phase of the company’s history (1948) that Mettoy produced its first cast metal toys, aptly named ‘Castoys’. The ‘Castoys’ range were produced in zinc alloy with clockwork drive motors retained from the earlier tinplate vehicles and made for the retailer Marks & Spencer who particularly wanted a robust, long lasting toy.

The model number allocated to the ‘Castoys’ range of vehicles usually appeared as the registration number thus the 718 Paxton Observation Coach would bear the registration plate MTY 718.

The majority of models produced at this time were between 15cm. -20cm. in length at roughly 1:35 scale.

The ‘CASTOYS’ name would normally be impressed in capitals on the baseplate of the model. Wheels were usually black rubber tyres on cast metal hubs and models generally were fitted with a clockwork drive & brake.

Production of the ‘Castoys’ range ceased in 1959.

‘CASTOY’ Models Included :


Model came in blue upper and gold lower bodywork finish. Red plastic door opens to reveal brown plastic passenger. Fitted with perspex windows and part roof. Reg. No. MTY 718.

Model measures 7.5″/19cm in length.

( Having visited Scarborough many times and driven past the well known coach builder at Eastfield I have often wondered whether the ‘Paxton’ name should not in fact be that of the well known coach builder ‘Plaxton’ ? )

                                                                           <  810  LIMOUSINE

Based on the Jowett Javelin the saloon came in cream, red or green bodywork colour finish with contrasting tinplate interior. Clockwork in operation the vehicle came fitted with solid black rubber wheels. Reg. No. MTY 810.

Model measures 17cm. in length.



    820  STREAMLINE BUS  >

Vehicle came in either cream, red or green colourway finish with red tinplate seating. Fitted with black solid rubber wheels. Reg. No. MTY 820.

Model measures 19cm. in length.



                                                                     <  830  MECHANICAL RACER

Die-cast body with detailed tinprinted green balloon wheels. Racing car with clockwork drive and brake, came in either cream, red or green bodywork finish with silver grille and steerable front wheels.

Model measures 18cm. in length.






Model comes in metallic blue cab, silver grille with grey rear body colourway finish. Fitted with a clockwork motor and lever brake. Reg. No. MTY 840.

Model measures 18cm. in length.


Red body with silver grille and bumpers. Silver ladders mounted to rear. Model fitted with black solid rubber wheels and clockwork motor drive.

Model measures 19cm. in length.

                                                                       <  860  FARM TRACTOR

Unable to find any information on this item apart from this picture of the box the tractor was issued in along with the plastic driver figure.

Model was fitted with a clockwork motor and brake.






Tractor in red and blue colourway finish. Tractor based on the Ferguson TE20.

Trailer in yellow colourway finish with red hubs.

Model came with painted plastic driver figure.


The number 870 was designated to several vans in the ‘CASTOYS’ range. Basically the same model but in different colourways and with different logos to side panels.



Blue or yellow bodywork colour finish with red interior.

‘Express Delivery’ to sides in red, silver grille, headlights and bumpers. Clockwork drive, black solid wheels.    

Model is 15cm. in length.                                                                   



Green bodywork colour finish with red interior. White lettering and Royal crest in gold. Silver grille, bumpers and headlights. Two piece extending ladders to roof. Clockwork motor, black solid wheels.

Model is 15cm. in length.



               ‘ROYAL MAIL’ VAN  >

Morris ‘Z’ Royal Mail van in red colourway finish with silver grille, headlights and bumpers. Black ‘Royal Mail’ lettering to side panels with gold Royal crest.

Opening rear doors.

Clockwork motor, black solid wheels.

Model length 15cm.


                ‘AMBULANCE’ VAN  >

Ambulance in cream bodywork finish, with blue, red and white decals to side panels.

Headlights, grille and bumpers in silver.

Clockwork motor, black solid wheels.

Model is 15cm. in length.




Model in dark blue bodywork finish with blue interior. Silver grille, headlights, bumpers and wheel hubs. ‘Fly by BOAC’ lettering to roof along with ‘BOAC’ logo and lettering to side panels. Black rubber tyres.

15cm. in length.

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