Third Party Models
Most toy makers have embraced the concept of extending their range by the creation of variations to their basic mouldings. The most common way this is done is simply by finishing the models in different colour schemes. Sometimes, the physical models are varied by the addition or changing of ancillary (and often plastic) parts (see this story for an example of how Solido did this). Both of these approaches keep the costs low and make maximum use of the existing moulds.
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Build and Rebuild
As we’ve already seen elsewhere in this website, a popular category of toys is those that involve using a set of parts to build, breakdown and rebuild models. Solido termed their creations of this type transformables. Amongst the toys they created in their early years, were a classic example of this: the 1936 “Canons a Transformation”, a range of parts from which a bewildering variety of artillery pieces could be assembled.
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Throughout most of the production lifetime of the Solido military range, the main French tank was the AMX-30. Naturally, as soon as it appeared Solido made a model. Over the decades the AMX-30 served with the French army, it spawned many variants, and underwent several evolutions. Toy makers like their offerings – especially flagship models for the home audience – to remain current. So how well did Solido fare?
Continue reading “Solido Military – Development”
When designing a new model, two factors have to be balanced when considering how many components to use. On the one hand, the fewer that are used, the simpler the production process and consequently the lower the costs. A good example of this approach is the Dinky military range. On the other hand, the more components, the more detail can be included, and features added into the model. Solido vehicles are big and chunky, so there is certainly room for lots of parts. To examine the Solido approach, let’s start with a fairly complex machine – a military half-tracked personnel carrier of WW2, the SdKfz 251.
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Ringing the Changes
One way that toy manufacturers can maintain a stream of new releases is by creating new versions of existing models, simply by altering the paint scheme and markings, and possibly changing plastic accessories. This allows them to advertise new products and keep their customers interested, without having to invest in expensive new metal mould-making.
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With military toy ranges, I always want to know how accurate are the models they create? After all, since the models are based on, and represent real-life subjects, most people will assume that they have a reasonable degree of fidelity. But this is always dependent on the quality of the research done, and subject to the constraints of the production process. Many compromises are made in order to reduce costs.
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The ‘Solido’ brand name – suggesting strength and robustness – was first established in France in the 1930s, but it was after World War 2 that Solido became a major producer of diecast model vehicles. In 1961, Solido launched their 200 series, a new range of military vehicles.
Continue reading “Solido Military – Introduction”