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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Custom Camaro: 1968 Hot Wheel vs. 2013 Chevrolet Camaro


Ever thought you’d have the opportunity to drive a ‘real’ Hot Wheel? You’ll have your chance next year when for the first time the maker of Hot Wheels and Chevrolet have combined efforts to produce a real, life-sized Hot Wheel.

This effort will be a limited edition (Hot Wheels Camaro) available as a trim package for $6,995. It’s been stated that this car will only be built during the first quarter of 2013 with no specific number set to be sold. This package option will be available on both the V-6 and V-8 powered Camaro cars. Some of the features for this life-sized Hot Wheel car will be:

Black center stripe

Red-line trimmed 5-spoke rims

Blue flame decals on rear fenders

Red Hot Wheels logo inside and out

Camaro ZL1-style grille and spoiler

Black lower bodywork extensions


Wondering why they’re doing something like this? Answer: 2013 is the 45th anniversary of the launch of the very popular Hot Wheels. The first sixteen cars produced back in 1968 – often referred to as the ‘Sweet sixteen’ are still highly sought after by collectors today.

The two cars pictured above are part of this 1968 original legendary group. They are the Custom Mustang and the Custom Camaro.

Both of these two classic Hot Wheels feature the following characteristics:


Metal bases with plastic interior

Came in assorted colors (Camaro- Metallic Green; Mustang – Metallic Blue)

Had a lift hood and plastic interior

Redline wheels

There were a couple of variations to these original cars. First variation was to the scoops where the raised, molded scoops on the hood came in two styles. In the first style, the scoop was solid – no true opening. In the second, the scoop actually had open holes. Second variation was to the back window on the Mustang. One version had the back window smooth ‘glass’, the other had a ‘louvered’ window.

Some other variations to look for when buying are those you will find in the Hong Kong versions of these models. Certain Hong Kong cars had a flat dashboard and a large black steering wheel, while the US version had a raised dashboard and a small steering wheel.

With so many variations and colors, you’ll also find there is a wide range of values assigned to the different cars.

The complete list of the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ 1968 Hot Wheels are:

Beatnik Bandit

Custom Barracuda

Custom Camaro

Custom Corvette

Custom Cougar

Custom Eldorado

Custom Firebird

Custom Fleetside

Custom Mustang

Custom T-Bird

Custom Volkswagen


Ford J_Car

Hot Heap



The best reference I’ve found so far for Hot Wheels is Tomart’s Price Guide to Hot Wheels: Volume 1: 1968 – 1996.  To purchase this price guide, click on the highlighted name.



Posted 5 years, 3 months ago at 10:32 pm.

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The Classic ’57 T-Bird RedLine



The 1957 T-Bird convertible with redlines tires (pictured) was produced in 14 various colors. And, not only did this car come in a variety of exterior colors but also the plastic interiors came in a variety of colors. If you’re specifically collecting ’57 T-Birds, this means there are a lot of combinations out there to be found. Also, interestingly, all of these cars were made in the USA – in 1969.


The T-Bird pictured above has the following features:

Metal chassis

Aqua in color

Red line tires (RSW)

Clear plastic windshield

Dark Gray interiors

Lift up hood

Metal engine

Plastic ’57 Bird ™ embossed on the bottom

1968 Mattel Inc., USA embossed on the bottom

US & Foreign Pat. Pend embossed

Hot Wheels embossed on the bottom


Another interesting note when collecting this car, while you’ll find it referred to as ‘T-Bird’ in most reference and price guide books, the bottom of the car doesn’t have the embossed T, but rather just ‘Bird’.

If you find collecting T-Birds designed by Hot Wheels interesting, just collecting the colors of the ’57 Bird would be a major challenge – not to mention a special prize if you were able to find all fourteen (14) colors.

Happy hunting!



Posted 6 years, 5 months ago at 8:44 pm.

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