Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Those Dinky Days! (Part One)

It's time to pay homage to the Dinky toy.

Dinky 165 Humber Hawk

Dinky 180 Rover 3500

Dinky 289 Routemaster Bus

Dinky Toys are die cast miniature model cars and trucks. They appeared in early 1934 when Meccano Ltd of Liverpool, England introduced a line of "Modelled Miniatures" under the trade mark "Meccano Dinky Toys". The announcement was made in the April 1934 issue of Meccano Magazine.

In 1931 Meccano issued a series of railway and trackside accessories to complement their O scale Hornby Model train sets. Six model cars were produced alongside model track workers, passengers, station staff and other trackside accessories. The cars were basic representations rather that identifiable marques and had die-cast metal bodies, tin plate bases and wheels with rubber tyres. By 1934 Frank Hornby, who owned Meccano Ltd, had expanded the range to include die-cast model ships and aeroplanes, and the range was christened 'Meccano Dinky Toys'. It has been said that the name came from a friend of one of Frank Hornby's daughters, and was likely derived from the Scottish word "dink".

The first set of 'Dinky Cars' being released in 1934. The set of vehicles was designated No. 22, comprising six 1:43 scale models (i.e. O scale) and retailed at 4 shillings:

22a Sports Car

22b Sports Coupe

22c Motor Truck

22d Delivery Van (with same chassis and cab as 22c)

22e Tractor

22f Tank

Dinky 191 Dodge Royal Sedan

Some pre-war Dinky Toys were cast from an impure alloy and today suffer from Zinc pest, making good condition survivors rare today. Some early castings have survived in numbers, whilst it is difficult to find others such as the 28 Series vans that do not have some form of damage. It is believed that lead from Hornby Train production, as well as lead ties from sacks in the factory found their way into the metal, and corrupted it. The first model car available individually was numbered 23a which was a sports car based on an early MG, and by December 1935 there were around 200 different products in the Dinky range even including dolls house furniture. The first model cars were generic representations of vehicle types and were available individually from trade packs of 6. Models would not be available in individual boxes until 1952. In 1935 a new series was introduced which featured accurate likenesses of specific vehicles.

Series 30 included:

30a Chrysler Airflow Saloon

30b Rolls-Royce

30c Daimler

30d Vauxhall

File:Clipper III flying boat (Dinky Toys 60w).jpg

A scale model of the Pan American Airways flying boat "Clipper III" that took part in the transatlantic experimental flights between Botwood, Newfoundland and Foynes, Eire in the summer of 1937. The flights were carried out in co-operation with Imperial Airways. The "Clipper III" is a Sikorsky S-42-B flying boat of all-metal construction. It is fitted with four Pratt and Whitney Hornett air-cooled engines, and is capable of a top speed of 188 mph. The normal range of the S-42-B is 1,200 miles, and therfore extra fuel tanks were installed in the "Clipper III" for her Atlantic flights.
Damage to the tail and crazing to the nose of the model is due to Zinc Pest, a particular problem with the Dinky aircraft of this age.

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