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.

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Classic Streetcars from Reader’s Digest

Mike Pigott looks at a set of classic American trams which was a premium offered with a book subscription.

streetcars 2Most people would be familiar with Reader’s Digest, a long-running pocket-sized magazine containing a wide range of stories and features. In addition to its monthly flagship title, Reader’s Digest also publishes a large number of books; these can be one-off publications such as atlases or instructional handbooks, or serial publication like encyclopaedias or ‘condensed books’ (volumes containing a number of abridged novels). Most of its products are sold via mail-order, and to entice customers to buy new titles – or continue subscribing to existing ones – free gifts have often been offered. These are often cheap items such as pens or clocks, but at times there have been diecast models. Sets of eight models were sent out with issues of ongoing publications; these have included fire engines, vintage cars, classic American cars and trains. At other times, boxed sets of two or four models have been included with large books such as DIY manuals or gardening handbooks. These have included vintage cars, classic vans, WW1 aircraft and the subject of this post…streetcars.

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