Toys of Yesterday and Today

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Scales: Trains to Cars

traincarscaleToys come in a variety of sizes from small, i.e.,, micro to very large, i.e., ‘model’ trains that are for the outdoors.   Therefore, when looking to buy a toy consider the age of the child you are buying for and the intended purpose.  Is the gift going to be meant as a plaything or to be set on a shelf as a collectible?

If the child is very young, look for toys that they cannot put into their mouths and does not have small parts that might be broken off.  If the child is older, some of the highly collectible items, such as Hot Wheels, NASCAR and train sets can offer both play time, collectability and come in a variety of scales.  When talking about scale, we are talking about the measure of the size of the  toy item vs. the size of the original it is based on.  You may remember from math class this can also be the ratio.


Various train sizes range from those large enough to be ridden to those that you often see set up as models. Often times, in addition to an elaborate track layout, you’ll find landscaping, cars, people and animals included.  Train scale is measured not so much by the size of the train itself (engine, cars, etc.) but rather by the size of the track or gauge.  Some of the most popular gauge or scale measurements are:  [1]


  • G – often referred to as ‘Garden Scale’ as it is large.  Scale can range from 1:22.5 to 1:29.  A typical 40′  box car would be 17.25″ L  x 4.50″ W x 6.50″ H.
  • O – most common and what we typicall think of; like Lionel.  Scale is 1:48.  A typical 40′ box car would be  10.50″ L x 2.50″ W x 3.75″ H.
  • HO  –  most popular.  Scale is 1:87.1.  A typical 40′ box car would be 5.75″ L x 1.50″ W x 2.00″ H.

Other scales used for model trains are S (1:64), TT (1:120), N (1:160), Z (1:220),  OO (1:76.2), 1 Scale (1:32), and T (1:450).[2]


To see a selection of train sets on Amazon, visit this link.

Die Cast

The size for these cars is based on the size of the actual car, truck or other vehicle.  The most popular size used by Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightening is the 1:64 scale.  A good rule-of-thumb for determining the difference in the sizes is:  [3]

  • 1:12 scale = 14″ – 16 ” in length –  Highly detailed, often featuring motorcycles.
  • 1:18 scale = 8″ – 11″ in length  –  Detailed model targeting the adult collector market.
  • 1:24 scale = 5″ – 8″ in length  –  Favored scale for model kits; also used by Franklin Mint.
  • 1:43 scale = 3″ – 5″ in length  – Most popular around the world and used by Dinky.

Other popular scale sizes are:

  • 1:32  – used by Ertl and Britians
  • 1:64 – used by Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightening.
  • 1:87 – used by Herps, popular due to their compatibility with HO trains.

To see a selection of diecast cars on Amazon, visit this link.


Slot Cars

Seemingly a cross between die-cast and trains by making use of a track are slot cars.   These scaled down cars make use of actual car bodies that have been tailored for racing.[4]  Raced on a ‘slotted track’ these cars are controlled by a hand-held controller.  Might add that new digital technology now has it where these cars can not only change lanes but share lanes.  Similar to other scales, you’ll find slot cars in the following:

  • 1: 24 – larger size so they are typically run on commercial or club tracks.
  • 1:32 – most common home ‘friendly’ size; also popular at clubs and hobby shops.
  • HO (1:87 – 1:64) – originally designed for train layouts; size may vary due to need for larger motor.

These cars have also been produced in 1:48 (1960’s)  as well as 1:43 scale (2007 – today) although it would appear there is little ‘organized’ racing.

Scale can be used to fine a toy, based on individual desire or purpose.  However, shopping for a gift  should simply  be based on the person it is intended for and if it is to be played with or collected.

To see a selection of slot cars on Amazon, visit this link.

Happy Shopping!





[1] http://www.trainsetsonly.com/page/TSO/CTGY/Scales

[2]  https://support.modeltrainstuff.com/hc/en-us/articles/202970203-What-are-the-different-Gauges-and-Scales-What-do-they-mean-

[3]  http://www.mintmodels.com/scalesize.aspx

[4]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slot_car


Posted 2 years, 2 months ago at 8:50 pm.

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Corgi Chipperfields – International Circus Crane Truck



Some of my favorite toys are the pieces included in the circus set manufactured by Corgi in the 1960’s.  The Chipperfields Circus  crane truck pictured here is only one  piece of the set and what I’ll cover today.  Other pieces (which I wish I had) include : 

1.  Circus animal cage with animals

2.  Platform trailer with elephant cage and elephant

3.   Bedford tractor unit (truck with cargo case), animal cage with lion

4.  Articulated truck and trailer with horse box and horses

5.   Scammell Highwayman crane truck

Our truck today is described as having a chassis-cab with the rear body resting on a base that extends off the bottom of the cab.  The rear body section contains a working crane with a yellow base.  The crane actually works by way of manual crank.

Other features of this truck are clear windows, silver grill, headlights, case wheels (rubber with light blue metal hubs), ‘silver’ sheet metal boom, raised lettering on either side (Chipperfields Circus).  The truck also came with a die cast hook attached to the cord on the crane, however, it is missing off this truck. 

The bottom of this toy is marked:  International, 6 x 6 Truck, Corgi Major Toys, Made in GT Britain.  According to my reference book – The Unauthorized Encyclopedia, Corgi Toys – this particular style of truck has the designation 1121 A1…. meaning the wheels are free on the axle. 

Overall length (including crane) is 8-1/2″; truck length is 5-1/2″.





Posted 5 years, 10 months ago at 6:53 pm.

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The Corgi ‘Superman’ Supermobile

The Corgi Supermobile was introduced in the late 1970s. There were two (2) different variations of this ‘two-fisted’ Superman model produced. These models were

1.  Supermobile Junior

2. Supermobile 1/36 scale

In an attempt to compete with Hot Wheels and Matchbox- the most popular car being manufactured at this time – Corgi quickly dropped the ‘Junior’ from the Supermobile Junior name to make the car more appealing to collectors. This effort – along with some other marketing efforts – did increase their sales; however, Corgi was never able to achieve the mass market appeal of Hot Wheels and Matchbox.

The Superman Junior pictured above has the following characteristics:

  • Blue diecast body
  • Red plastic interior
  • Red ‘two-fisted’ sluggers (button activated)
  • Superman logo on front of car
  • Diecast skids (no wheels)
  • Clear plastic cockpit (fixed)
  • Made in Great Britain embossed on bottom
  • DC Comics embossed on bottom
  • Corgi Supermobile embossed on the bottom
  • Length: 3 inches

The Superman Supermobile was one of Corgi’s more popular cars – both the Junior and the 1/36 scale. However, because the company was in transition to the 1/36 scale models and made many package changes to compete in the diecast market – it should be noted that the larger version of this car, i.e., the 1/36 scale model which was identical to the Junior – was the most popular and as such was more valued.

One final thought, the Superman Supermobile is a unique diecast toy in that it has a button mechanism. This button mechanism – located on the rear of the car– when pushed would cause the ‘two-fists’ to deploy. This novel action was a great attraction to the market – young and old – making it a fun toy.




Posted 7 years, 6 months ago at 3:19 pm.

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