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‘Play-worn’ Diecast Toys

February 25th, 2010 No comments

Read through any listing for diecast toys on an internet auction site or indeed browse any toy auction catalogue or it may even be when visiting a toy fair but at some point you will inevitably come across the term ‘play-worn’ applied to the condition of a model which does not fall into the category of mint or near mint.

So what exactly is meant by the term ‘play-worn’ ? … I’ve tried various dictionaries and drawn a blank and similarly I’ve tried to ‘google’ it without too much success … but from my experience ‘play-worn’ can often be a term used to cover a multitude of sins and can literally mean anything from minor rubbing of the model to one suffering from major paint loss,  depending of course on who exactly is using the term !

Lets face it toys, by definition, are made to be played with and I can still remember as though it were yesterday calling round at my mates house to play with his Dinky toys. Peter was an only child, which may go some way to explain why he didn’t have the odd one or two Dinkys, he had virtually a whole collection !

So Peter and myself, together with the whole of the 7th Armoured Division, would head off into the expanse of his somewhat large back garden where for the next hour or so our time was spent in meticulously preparing the battle ground. Like Beachmasters and Generals of W.W.II we set about digging out slit trenches and fox-holes amongst the flower beds for our brigades of plastic soldiers .. gun emplacements were prepared in between certain selected shrubs whose lower leaves formed the perfect camouflage conopy for the numerous artillery pieces .. rough roadways were constructed over which supplies could be brought by several columns of support vehicles, 5-10-15 ton trucks and a large compound to the rear hidden away behind some rockery stones where jeeps and ambulances formed up in what was designated the Company H.Q.

Over a glass of Tizer and a packet of Smiths crisps (they were the ones with the little blue salt bag – if you don’t know what I’m talking about, ask your dad) we sat back and admired our mornings handywork. But all too soon the peace was shattered by the first shots in a skirmish which gave little clue to the carnage which was to unfold.

Initially we would try to pick off the odd soldier using our air guns. I had a cheap ‘Black-Gat’ which cost something like 17/- (=85p), Peter naturally had a ‘Diana’ which cost double the price plus a bit. Unfortunately we were no snipers and unlikely to hit the proverbial ‘barn-door’ let alone the minute head of a Lone Star infantryman !

Inevitably it wasn’t long before we would become bored with this aspect of the skirmish and call up the heavy artillery .. launching a barrage of small to medium sized lumps of earth and stones at the enemy emplacements .. and so Peter’s Dinkys became ‘play-worn’ as the barrage began to take its toll.

The gun barrels of the tanks, armoured cars and artillery pieces became chipped and a little bent when taking a direct hit. Similarly the tin tilts of the 10 and 15 ton trucks suffered a small ding whenever a brick found its mark.

After half an hour of this relentless pounding accompanied by our superb and various sound effects a cease fire was called to accept a provisional surrender and asses the damage. Congratulations all around as we surveyed what remained of the 7th, although there was always one or two pockets of resistance left .. failure to accept our terms meant it was time to call up Bomber Command for a final ariel bombardment .. where we would walk over the battlefiel dropping  ever larger lumps of muck with pin-point accuracy on an unsuspecting enemy .. result .. even more bending and chipping of metal and paintwork …. Now thats what you call PlayWorn !

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