Siku Diecast Trains

Mike Pigott looks at the 1/120 scale diecast railway models made by the German company Siku.

gwOjWgoAIn 2010, the long-established German company Siku added a number of railway items to its popular ‘Super Series’. The Siku Super Series dates back to 1975, and is mostly a Hot Wheels sized range, but with cars to a constant scale of 1/55. Siku models are made to a much higher quality than Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars, with realistic wheels, detailed interiors and opening parts. However, Siku vehicles are usually two or three times the price of other makes.

The train models were not made to the regular 1/55 scale, which would have been too large; they were instead produced to a size that fit the standard blister packs. Fortunately, that size was 1/120 scale, or TT gauge. While TT gauge was something of a fad in Britain and the USA during the 1960s, it was extremely popular in Eastern Europe and has recently enjoyed a huge revival in Germany. Other manufacturers, such as Corgi and Lionel, have also produced diecast locomotives in 1/120 scale. The Siku trains were not intended to be compatible with TT model railway layouts, they were much simpler than the more detailed electric trains, and were aimed at children rather than collectors. However, they were reasonably good replicas, and – unlike the ranges by Lionel and Corgi – there were carriages produced to accompany the locomotives. All the models had rolling wheels and working ball-and-socket couplings.

Continue reading “Siku Diecast Trains”

Jurassic World by Jada

Mike Pigott continues his series on the Jurassic Park franchise as we look at Jada’s small range of models based on the 2015 film Jurassic World.Jeep WranglerJurassic World, the fourth instalment in the Jurassic Park series of films, was released in 2015, 22 years after the original movie. As with the previous episodes, there were diecast toys produced to tie in with the film, although this time the license was given to two different companies. Matchbox produced a large selection of 1/64-ish vehicles which had very little to do with anything actually seen in the film. A small range of larger scale models was made by American company Jada Toys, which were (mostly) more authentic to the film.

Continue reading “Jurassic World by Jada”

Ertl Farm Classics: Implements and Trailers

Mike Pigott concludes his series on Ertl’s 1/43 scale tractors with a look at the towed implements produced in the 1990s as part of the Farm Classics range.

243In 1991, Ertl replaced its tractor sub-series of the 1/43 scale Vintage Vehicles range with a new line of model tractors called Farm Classics. This new range consisted of existing castings which had previously been in the Vintage Vehicles range, plus some additional items which had only been available as exclusive releases at the National Farm Toy Show in Iowa. Some of these Farm Classics tractors were quite heavily modified from the original versions. In addition to these tractors, there were five realistic 1/43 scale towed farm implements that were completely new castings.

Continue reading “Ertl Farm Classics: Implements and Trailers”

Ford Falcon – First Generation by Trax

Mike Pigott looks at models of early 1960s Ford Falcons in 1/43 scale produced by Australian manufacturer Trax.1 (6)The Ford Falcon is one of the iconic Australian cars, and holds the record for the longest continually-used model name of all time, being in production for 57 years. Although the Falcon originated in the USA, it proved most successful in Australia, where it was introduced to compete with the similarly-sized Holden from General Motors. Trax Models, based in Sydney, produced a number of models based on the first generation Falcons of 1960-1966, in a range of body styles.

Continue reading “Ford Falcon – First Generation by Trax”

Evel Knievel by Johnny Lightning

Mike Pigott looks at the small range of diecast models produced by Johnny Lightning based on legendary motorcycle stuntman Evel Knievel.

Skycycle X-2

While the Evel Knievel stunt bikes and diecast miniatures produced by Ideal Toys in the 1970s remain the most well-known toys based on the famous stuntman, they weren’t the only ones. In 1998, American company Playing Mantis produced a new wave of Evel Knievel toys, including a small range of line diecast vehicles in its Johnny Lightning range.

Continue reading “Evel Knievel by Johnny Lightning”

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in diecast

Mike Pigott examines the model vehicles based on the adventures of video game heroine Lara Croft.Lara LR1One of the all-time favourite video game franchises has been the Tomb Raider series, following the exploits of sexy archaeologist and adventurer Lara Croft. The first version, developed by Core Design and released by Eidos Interactive in 1996, allowed players to control the actions of the shapely British treasure hunter as she travelled the globe searching for ancient artefacts. Tomb Raider proved such a hit with PC and PlayStation gamers that it spawned seven sequel videogames, and was spun off into comic books and feature films…and these led to diecast toys!

Continue reading “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in diecast”

Ertl Tractors: Farm Classics and other 1/43 scale tractors

Mike Pigott continues his in-depth history of the Ertl 1/43 tractor range. In this third instalment, he looks at the Farm Classics range, plus some related models.Allis Chalmers 220During the 1980s, Ertl produced a range of 17 diecast 1/43 scale tractors as part of its constant-scale ‘Vintage Vehicles’ series. This line was discontinued in 1990, and a new range of 1/43 tractors and implements was introduced, called ‘Farm Classics’. This new series reissued many of the Vintage Vehicles tractors, plus several other tractor castings that had previously only been sold exclusively at the National Farm Toy Show in Iowa. After the Farm Classics line was discontinued in 1995, Ertl released some of the 1/43 tractors as stand-alone products.

Continue reading “Ertl Tractors: Farm Classics and other 1/43 scale tractors”

Evel Knievel Diecast Miniatures by Ideal Toys

Mike Pigott looks at this legendary range of diecast models made by Ideal Toys in the 1970s, based on the King of the Stuntmen: Evel Knievel.StratocycleLegendary stuntman Evel Knievel was one of the most famous figures of the 1970s, and Ideal’s range of toys based on his exploits are among the most widely sought-after collectibles of the era. However, while the Evel Knievel action figures and powered motorcycles are widely remembered today, a related range of diecast vehicles from Ideal Toys is perhaps not as well-known, despite being excellent miniatures. Ideal produced a range of 13 different Evel-related vehicles, some of which are scarce and valuable today.

Continue reading “Evel Knievel Diecast Miniatures by Ideal Toys”

UFO Commander 7 by Shinsei

Mike Pigott looks at this high-quality but bizarre range from Japan that consisted of futuristic construction vehicles, flying saucers and robots!UFO Commander 7 Packaging view 2An extremely popular entertainment types in Japan is ‘Mecha’, a science fiction genre involving giant robots, and thousands of comics, TV shows and films have been based on their adventures. Many toy companies produced licensed versions of these robots, which were massively popular in Japan during the 1970s and ’80s. Shinsei, a hobby company best known for diecast construction vehicles, jumped on the bandwagon with a line of diecast robots and futuristic construction vehicles that looked like they were based on a licensed property – but weren’t!

Continue reading “UFO Commander 7 by Shinsei”

Batman by Tomica

Mike Pigott looks at the models based on Batman feature films made by the famous Japanese manufacturer Tomica.Camouflage and black 4th BatmobilesTomica is a long-running range of Hot Wheels-sized model cars made by Takara-Tomy of Japan. Tomica first produced a range of five Batman vehicles in 2012, and later added a number of Bat-vehicles to its ‘Dream Tomica’ line of fictitious cars. As with other Japanese manufacturers, Tomica only did models of Batmobiles seen in feature films, and did not bother with vehicles from TV or comic books.

Continue reading “Batman by Tomica”