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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Matchbox ‘Washington Post’ 1930 Model A Van

The Washington Post Delivery Van was produced by Matchbox as one of the die cast cars in their “Power of the Press Series’ in 1993.

Having been made overseas, this 1:43 scale die cast model is a very good representation of the actual van. The attention paid to details by the manufacturer is quite impressive with the business address being displayed on both doors and the hood showing ‘pin-striping’. The grill and front bumper are plastic. The wheels appear to be rubber with plastic chrome spokes – and there is a spare tire side mounted on the driver’s side.

Listed below are some of the features of this Matchbox Ford Van:

Blue in color – including the chassis

Monument tampos on both sides of the cargo area

Rubber tires with chrome spokes

Light gray interior

License plates on front and read (36-311 MISS 1930)

Chrome body mounted head lights

Chrome front bumper and grill

1:43 Scale in size

Clear plastic windows and windshield 

The underside is embossed with: 

Y-21 / Y-22


Matchbox, Made in China

1930 Model A Ford Van

Copyright 1993   3


The complete series included eight (8) vehicles. The pictures below shows you the other vehicles in this series.








Posted 5 years, 4 months ago at 8:41 pm.

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Oldies but Goodies Dinky 1953 Buick Skylark



All toy cars are not toys. Some like this Oldies but Goodies offered circa 1996 by Matchbox Collectibles (Dinky) is intended for the adult collector. Part of a series based on actual cars, this 1953 Buick Skylark is a die cast replica crafted in full detail to a scale of 1:43.

These collector cars came with a Certificate of Authenticity where on the reverse, the details and history of the actual car were given. Right down to the purchase price.

For example, the 1953 Buick Skylark was built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Buick. At a selling price of $5,000 it was considered expensive for the day and came with:


Convertible (only)

Full leather upholstery

Tinted glass

Electric antenna

Selectronic radio

Power everything

V-8 engine (a 322 cubic inch power plant that enabled the car to cruise at 100 mph)

Automatic transmission

With lots of  other options

You’ll note that this convertible model features many of the above details. It is even painted in actual colors – Osage Cream body with Saddle Brown interior. It also has rubber white wall tires and a clear plastic wind shield.

The bottom of this model is marked:




Buick Skylark 1953


With there being 70 cars in this series, you’ll have your work cut out trying to collect them all.


Posted 5 years, 6 months ago at 7:30 pm.

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