Features! We Want Features!
Now, the thing about toys is that they are meant to be played with. It follows therefore that a good toy is likely to be one that encourages play, or as I shall put it, has high ‘play value’.
What sort of play? The youthful, imaginative, physical type. Whether that means the more sedate pastimes of thoughtfully arranging dioramas, or rougher forays into imagined battle amongst the garden shrubbery, the important thing is that it is children we are talking about. After all, adults are perfectly content to collect and admire toys, but don’t tend to play with them. Yes, I know there are exceptions, but honestly, when was the last time you pushed a model tank along the floor with a “brrrrum”? Don’t answer that! I’m also not considering here the use of toys in wargaming, because although this is a type of play, the model is being used not as a toy, but as a game token.
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Toy ranges often include items that work best in combination with others. Sometimes this combination is essential – without one item, a second has no purpose. For example, what use is a tank transporter without a tank to transport? At other times, items have a more generic role and can work well with many other models. A bridge-layer, for example, lays a bridge that a whole convoy can cross over, and a recovery tractor may pull a variety of wayward vehicles out of ditches or bogs, and tow them to a repair depot.
These combinations provide great play scenarios, and manufacturers like them as they encourage sales and provide natural subjects for sets. Dinky made many. Let’s take a look at one of the most well-known of these, the 25-pounder gun, limber and tractor.
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Classic Simplicity in Green
Dinky Military Toys
Dinky Toys is a legendary brand in the history of British toys. It was created in the mid-1930s by Meccano Ltd as a name for their newly-introduced range of dinky (charmingly small) diecast model vehicles. Meccano, founded at the turn of the century by Frank Hornby, was already a highly successful toy manufacturer, with well-established ranges of construction toys (Meccano) and trains (Hornby Trains). Dinky was immediately successful, and by 1938 the range boasted of almost 300 items including vehicles, aircraft and ships.
After a hiatus during the Second World War, production picked up again and perhaps the 1950s was the golden decade for Dinky. Competition gradually grew, however. In 1964 the range was taken over by Tri-ang Ltd, and in 1971 with the demise of Tri-ang, Dinky passed to Airfix. A decade of frantic innovation to update the Dinky range came to an end in 1979, when manufacturing in the UK ceased.
Continue reading “Dinky Military – Introduction”