Dinky Aircraft – Introduction

Compact & Charming

Dinky Aircraft

The first aircraft models were released by Dinky in 1934, and the range continued, with a break during World War 2, up to 1965. As with their contemporary range of military vehicles, there were two main periods of production: the first models were created during the 1930s, and then a new set of models replaced them in the 1950s. During both periods, separate but complementary selections of models were produced by the UK company in Liverpool and by the French factory in Bobigny.

The Dinky Toys name as it appears on a typical box
For Dinky, the aircraft were simply a part of their diecast range which also included their military vehicles.

The subject matter was contemporary British & French military and civil aircraft, with additionally a few US subjects. The scale of these often diminutive metal models varied, especially in the early years, but most were roughly 1:200. The pre-war models are somewhat naïve compared to their post-war cousins, but they all have a charm in their own way, and some interesting subjects were modelled.

A selection of post-war models advertised in Meccano Magazine
A small selection of the models available as advertised in Meccano Magazine, August 1961.

To begin our exploration of this range, let’s turn to an aircraft we have already encountered in these pages, the Hawker Hunter.

The 736 Hawker Hunter

A photograph of a Hawker Hunter coming in to land
A Hunter in standard camouflage as depicted on the Dinky model.

The Hunter was a hugely successful British fighter and ground attack aircraft of the 1950s and 1960s, entering RAF service in 1954 and being widely exported thereafter. You can read more about the Hunter in my review of the Matchbox 1:72 plastic kit of the same aircraft, but the important thing to note here is that when the Dinky model was released in 1955, the Hunter was a new and exciting aircraft.

The announcement of the model in Meccano Magazine
The new model is announced in the July 1955 issue of Meccano Magazine.

Dinky 736 Hawker Hunter

Year first produced:1955

The Dinky Hunter model.

L71xW53xH22, Metal 24g, Scale 1:195, Features: 1

The model is a single casting made from hard mazak (an alloy of zinc) metal. At roughly 1:195 scale, the model is quite small and of necessity has limited detail. Nevertheless, the shape of the Hunter is nicely captured, the cockpit and main control surfaces (ailerons, elevators and rudder) are picked out, and the exhaust is hollowed out.

The undercarriage is represented by three wheels mounted on axles fixed to pylons projecting from the underside of the casting. For the main wheels under the wings, these pylons could be taken for the undercarriage doors, but the nose wheel looks a little clunky. All of the wheels roll freely.

The underside of the Dinky model.
The underside of the model. Note the ejection pin marks just inboard of the wheels.

Marked on the underside are a set of standard Dinky identifying marks:


The model is painted in RAF camouflage and finished with roundels on the upper wings (positioned within circles raised on the casting, no doubt to aid placement) and fin flashes. The cockpit is picked out in silver.

The post-war Dinky aircraft were sold in the same yellow, illustrated boxes as their sister military vehicle range.

The Dinky model and its box.
The model with its box.

In this example, the box carries some interesting marks. On the back is a stamp identifying the shop where it was purchased: Bycrofts Emporium in Lincoln. This has long gone (although the building remains). On one end flap of the box is pencilled “1/9”, signifying the sale price of 1 shilling and 9 pence. This is a reduction from the price of 2 shillings shown in the 1955 launch advertisement above, but confirmed in a pricelist from 1958 – do you remember a time when prices could drop in this way?


Other post-war jet warplanes made by Dinky include 735 Gloster Javelin, 738 De Havilland 110 Sea Vixen and from the French range, 60a Dassault Mystere IV A.

Author: hexeres

Amateur photographer, military toy enthusiast, footslogger, dog lover, history buff and ebay trader to mention just a few...

3 thoughts on “Dinky Aircraft – Introduction”

  1. Great post, it’s like reliving my childhood all over again!
    I know I had a few Dinky aircraft passed down to me, but I can’t remember what they were. I do remember that some had the wheels missing, but hey, they were meant for flying not being pushed around, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are tough little models, and the wheels are often the only ‘detachable’ part (propellers are also vulnerable), so they tend to survive quite well. As for actually flying, well stay tuned for a future story as Dinky had that covered too!

      Liked by 2 people

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