Desert island diecast

David Busfield reveals his ‘Robinson Crusoe’ choices…

My ideal desert island location would be somewhere in the Caribbean, but my ‘Message in a Bottle’ die-cast choices – all of which have a specific meaning or memory for me – instantly transport me back to my childhood and a very different world to the one we live in today. There were no computers, microwave ovens, mobile phones, PlayStations, etc; life was simple and wonderfully uncomplicated.

We made our own entertainment in those days and I firmly believe this was far better for our development; imaginations blossomed organically rather than ideas being ‘spoon fed’ to us by videos, computer games or social media. Indeed, I believe being one of the ‘less is more’ generation would help me cope far better with life as a cast-away than most millennials would. Time, then, for me to take five…


This Dinky Supertoys No. 934 Leyland Octopus was released in 1956, priced at a daunting 8 shillings (40p), and I really wanted one! During the summer holidays that year my father would, during the day, take me with him to the Nuvic Cinema in Settle, Yorkshire, where he worked as the chief projectionist. The cinema cleaners were lovely and when I helped them they gave me any coins which had dropped onto the fl oor – which was fantastic as my father had promised that if I could save up half the money for this much-desired Dinky he would give me the rest. I think I shocked him by how quickly I earned that 4 shillings, but, true to his word, he matched it. I remember being so happy as I headed for the toy shop; a red-letter day indeed and one to refl ect on, perhaps, while grilling some actual octopus over the camp fire!

I have always been a keen fan of the superb and varied Dinky 1950’s military range and I remember the No. 674 Austin Champ being introduced in 1954. I immediately fell in love with its purposeful shape and very sturdy appearance. It’s a passion that still exits to this day. In fact, I now own a full-size version, which was also manufactured in 1954, and it always attracts a lot of attention at historic vehicle shows. As a cast-away, I would miss this, but I hope I would prove as much of a survivor as the robust little Dinky Toys Austin Champ included in my take five selection!

Read the full article, including the rest of David’s picks, in Model Collector September 2017

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