Britains Deetail – Accuracy

Figures of Fact or Fantasy?

Knights

Knights are a popular subject for the makers of toy soldiers, and Britains made several sets of them over the years. When the first figures in the Deetail range were released in 1971, it was only a couple of years before sets of foot and mounted knights were added to the range. In line with normal Deetail practice, the new figures were provided with some opponents to fight, in the form of sets of foot and mounted ‘Turkish’ warriors.

Continue reading “Britains Deetail – Accuracy”

Dinky Military – History Lessons

Understanding the Context

History

Toys, like most objects, reflect the times they are made in. They can do this in many ways, but perhaps the most obvious is through the choice of subject to be modelled. When I see a model, I like to be able to identify the subject and understand why it might have been made. Researching this can open the door to some fascinating history, and teach us a little about the past.

Continue reading “Dinky Military – History Lessons”

Britains Deetail – Poses and Finishes

Looking Good?

Quality Finish

It almost goes without saying that toymakers want their products to look good. Britains made great efforts in this respect, claiming in their 1978 catalogue that “The Deetail range are superbly modelled figures…each one individually hand-painted and authentically detailed”. Well, that’s a bold claim, so let’s pause a while and take a closer look at just how good they are.

Continue reading “Britains Deetail – Poses and Finishes”

Matchbox Aircraft Kits – Introduction

Innovation and Colour

Matchbox Kits

In 1973, Matchbox, until that time known chiefly for their range of diminutive diecast vehicles, entered the plastic kit market. Their most numerous products were 1:72 scale aircraft, of which they produced about 120 up to the end of production in 1989. A variety of warplanes and civil aircraft were modelled, including both classic warbirds and some unusual subjects. The range was notable for containing parts moulded in 2 or more bright colours. Many of the moulds were subsequently acquired by Revell, who continue to release some of them to this day.

The warbird par excellence is, of course, the Spitfire, and it is unsurprising that this iconic aircraft was one of the first releases made by Matchbox. It’s a great starting place for examining the Matchbox range.

Continue reading “Matchbox Aircraft Kits – Introduction”

Minic Ships – Revivals

Recreating a Vintage Brand

New Edition

Usually, when a classic toy range ceases production, it has gone for good. Occasionally however a range is revived, and in the case of Minic this happened not once, but twice! The 1970s Rovex Hornby revival mainly involved reuse of the 1960s moulds, with only a handful of new items. The revival was not a success, and most observers would no doubt have assumed that this was the last we would see of Minic Ships.

It was something of a surprise therefore, when the range was revived again in the first years of this century by Charles Shave, a private owner based in Hong Kong (though production took place in mainland China). The audience this time round most certainly includes adult collectors, people who are excited at the nostalgic thought of once again acquiring some of the toys of their childhood.

Continue reading “Minic Ships – Revivals”