Early Post-War Dinky Toys

Clive Unsworth treats us to a look at some of the wonderful early post-war smooth-hubbed Dinky Toys in his own magnificent collection…

 


Smooth hubs and white tyres are not be seen as a guarantee that you are looking at a pre-war Dinky Toy. While white tyres were not produced post-war, thrifty Meccano did use up existing stock and it’s also worth remembering also worth remembering, tyres are easily swapped and some convincing repros have been made. The most reliable way to differentiate between a pre-war model and post-war model is to check the thickness of its axles. On pre-1941 models these were 1.6 mm thick, while post-war noticeably thicker, axles, at 1.98 mm, were introduced.

 

One of the most fascinating eras in the history of Dinky Toys is the early post-World War II period.

During the conflict, Liverpool, because of its strategic importance as a major port (handling the vast majority of the Transatlantic chain of supplies from North America, as well as providing anchorage for naval vessels), endured a heavy and sustained bombing campaign by the Luftwaffe. Indeed, with the exception of London, it was the most heavily blitzed area of the country. During these dark days, a government order prohibiting the manufacture and supply of miscellaneous goods (including toys) saw the Meccano, like those in so many other industries, turning its Binns Road factory over to the far more pressing needs of the war eff ort. Fortunately, despite wave after wave of aerial attack on the city, the factory remained standing.

After a hard won and costly victory, Britain’s rise from the ashes necessitated the country to adopt an ‘export or die’ economic policy and a period of stark austerity on the home front followed. Meccano needed to get back in business again and so, in order to resume production as quickly as possible, dusted off its pre-war moulds. The only new tooling seen prior to 1950 was the No. 152 Jeep.

The great thing about the early post-war (1946-1950) reissues, though, is that, while they were cast from pre-war tooling, the metal alloy used was purer. This means they don't tend to suffer from the zinc pest that now blights so many of their pre-war counterparts, causing them to crack, crumble and in some cases even disintegrate.

Minor modifications, most notably the introduction of thicker axles, were made but for thrift's sake left over stocks of solid steering wheels and the pre-war silver and black baseplates continued to be fitted. And, contrary to popular belief, the old wheel design featuring smooth hubs was also continued for a very short time post-war.

Showcased here are a variety of examples of these Smooth-hubbed post-war reissues from my own collection. This is in no means intended as a definitive guide but rather as a small celebration of how Meccano brought its wonderful Dinky Toys back into play.

 


In the pre-war period, many Dinky Toys were produced as open chassised models and therefore did not feature baseplates, the brand name instead being cast into the body. The 24 and 25 Series models, however, saw the introduction of open mazac chassis, examples of which can still be found fitted to some of the very early post-war issues. Descriptions of the vehicles modelled, as well as the Dinky Toys brand name, began to be included on the variety of different baseplates fitted to the post-war releases.

 

Read the full article in Model Collector October 2017

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