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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Hot Wheels Chevy Nomad



The 1970-71 redline version of the Chevy Nomad manufactured by Hot Wheels was based on the 1955 Chevrolet Nomad station wagon which was produced – off and on – between 1955 to 1972. [1]   Interestingly, the full-size car was produced with only two-doors – and, as you can see Hot Wheels carried this design feature through to their production. What made the ‘real’ 1955 Chevrolet Nomad more appealing was the fact that the design had more features of a hard-top sedan than a station wagon.

The Hot Wheels Nomad #6404 featured here was manufactured in 1970 in the USA. It came in twelve (12) different colors:

  • Metallic Aqua
  • Metallic Blue
  • Metallic Gold
  • Metallic Green
  • Metallic Light Green
  • Metallic Magenta
  • Metallic Olive
  • Metallic Orange
  • Metallic Pink
  • Metallic Purple
  • Metallic Red
  • Metallic Yellow

The Hot Wheels car featured here has the following:

  • Metallic purple in color
  • Opening hood
  • Metal engine
  • Metal chassis
  • Red striped wheels
  • Clear plastic windows & sun roof
  • White plastic interior

The popularity of this car resulted in Mattel re-cycling the casting for similar cars including :

#6968 Alive ’55 in 1973  (Note: Came in 11 different colors; all enamel paint)

#5743 Classic Nomad in 1993 (Note: A variety of different colors and paint styles)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Nomad


Posted 2 years, 5 months ago at 3:26 pm.

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So You Want To Sell Your HOT WHEELS?

I’ve recently been getting a lot of emails and phone calls from people asking how to sell their Hot Wheels.  Some have a few specialized cars, others have whole collections containing hundreds or thousands of cars.  My answer to each person is the same and contains the following suggestions:

1)  Realize the economy is not what it was a few years ago and you are most likely not to get what you would like to get – or possibly even what you originally paid for your cars.

2)  Know the value you want for your car or collection and have a good, itemized list of the cars.   A potential buyer will want to know what they are buying and for how much.

3)  If you don’t want to or can’t sell on Ebay, then try to locate buyers through one of the many Hot Wheel clubs across the country.   There are also Hot Wheel  clubs located in other countries if you don’t mind selling/shipping internationally . . .

  • Canada
  • Indonesia
  • The Netherlands
  • Argentina
  • Hungary
  • Germany
  • Puerto Rico
  • Singapore

Find these clubs and get  information about them on a site called – Hot Wheels Collectors.  Here you’ll find a database of Hot Wheel clubs for each state and country as well as a Forum and other helpful links.    To see the clubs listed for each state or country, simply select the location from the offered list.


Unless you simply need the cash, consider holding on to your collection.  Hopefully the economy will turn around and Hot Wheels will once again enjoy the demand they did a few years back.




Posted 2 years, 8 months ago at 8:47 pm.

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