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Shite in Miniature II

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You can get paint off the windows with brake fluid or purple methylated spirits.  Both require the part to be soaked for a few hours, usually, and the paint should come off.  If not, you can sand it back with wet and dry paper and patience and then polish with any sort of polishing compound, Autosol is better than toothpaste as it's a bit more abrasive, Brasso will also work.

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My camera is unfortunately a bit rubbish at small things so I was disappointed that the only shot I could get of  the Mercury's passengers out of the car is this blurry one.  It gives some idea of how surprisingly nicely detailed these figures are.  They look for all the world like suburban middle class mom and her teenage daughter in the latest fashion for the mid-fifties.

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I'll get some better pictures in better light when there is some.  The other minor disappointment was my first attempt at casting a new rear light which I attempted in model filler rather than epoxy as I thought it might work.  Unfortunately, the filler was too brittle to release from the mould without breaking into lots of tiny pieces so the Mercury is still without rear lights for now.  Everything else is completed and I'm delighted with the end result, especially considering where this little project began.

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The bonnet and roof can be removed so that you get to enjoy all the small interior details.  I haven't yet made the glazing for the front and rear because I'm still looking for a decent quality plastic sheet to make it from that isn't streaky.

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The other kit I completed today is the Dodge high school hot rod.  I bought myself some weathering powder which is very effective and also more invasive than glitter.  Annoyingly, after painting the door mirrors I dropped one trying to fit it and it's pinged off into the room somewhere and I can't find it.

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The rake is less than I would have liked ideally, final fit leveled things out more than expected.  That said, it does look about right for what I was going for, so overall I'm very happy with this especially since it has so many firsts when it comes to paint and texture techniques.

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I'm looking forward to getting better pictures of this and the Mercury.  The only kit I've got left to finish building now is the custom Thunderbird which still needs an engine and gearbox from somewhere.

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On ‎6‎/‎15‎/‎2019 at 2:08 PM, Jon said:

If I'm right in thinking, code 2 is promotional (official), whilst code 3 is home grown? Not so up on the 'code' system. Anyway, I had an unopened one of these back in my toy Transit collecting days; I remember the LWB Transit (with ace wheel trims) featured on the packaging, which presumably had the 'high speed' blur applied, to try and mask that it was a LWB one, not a SWB as the Matchbox model is.

matchbox-ford-transit-unichem-164-D_NQ_N

I'm guessing these were sold in Unichem pharmacies only, judging by the wording on the packaging and it not coming in a standard MB box.

Yup, you're quite correct - by my understanding, a Code 1 is a standard factory issue model, the kind that appears in catalogues and on retail shelves - while a Code 2 is a variation produced or authorised by the factory, generally made as a promotional model for a company or event, and may come in special or plain packaging, or even loose. Code 3, meanwhile, is a model wearing a livery that's been applied outside the factory, and is often a home-made attempt (of varying quality) to replicate a particular livery that's otherwise unobtainable.

Making toy vehicles for promotional reasons went back to the very start, though. The majority of early toy vehicles were either crude tinplate or even cruder slush-mould castings, with only some very expensive German manufacturers like Bub and Marklin producing detailed scale models of premium Daimler and Hispano-Suiza products - and those weren't made for kids!

In 1922 André Citroen contracted French toymaking outfit CIJ to build some rather lovely 1/20 scale models of his 5CV and B14 models, in both metal and wood. These were sold exclusively through the Citroen dealer network - again, as ornaments for the wealthy, not as children's toys. These are probably the first-ever Code 2 models - cars commissioned by, and retailed through, a non-toy company - and with the branding of the actual manufacturer not readily made clear (in fact, this particular contract banned CIJ from advertising their co-operation with Citroen).

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The first modern diecast toy cars as we would recognise them were also Code 2s, made by Dowst Manufacturing Co. in the early 1930s for US luxury car manufacturer Graham-Paige. 

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Dowst made a range of metal toys under the Tootsietoy brand, including assorted vehicles, but these handsome little 4" long cars were unique to Graham-Paige - at first, anyway. They were designed to be given away in their showrooms to the young sons of Graham-Paige's wealthy customers, and featured an innovative standardised diecast base and wings, to which different diecast body styles could be riveted, to match whatever Daddy was looking at  (towncar, roadster, coupé). This not only kept overall tooling costs down, but constructed a much sturdier toy than any which had gone before.

It was one of these models that fell into Frank Hornby's hands via his US importer, and which inspired 'Hornby Modelled Miniatures' - soon renamed Dinky Toys.

As part of the early Dinky line-up (initially marketed as 0-Gauge model railway accessories), panel vans featuring real-life, recognisable household brands appeared. The Meccano Company soon realised that their little vans were unexpectedly popular, and not just with model railway enthusiasts. Boys seemed to be buying up one of each version to collect, and the more liveries Dinky added to the range, the more they sold. So it made good business sense to make more.

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The more obscure Palethorpe's van is especially sought-after these days - but these were all Code 1 models, designed and manufactured at Meccano's Binns Rd factory in Liverpool. Buses and tankers also carried real-life logos, too, such as Marmite and Castrol.

However, some smaller businesses liked the idea of having a personalised model to give away to their customers as a novelty item. Higher-end department stores seemed especially keen on representing their fleet of delivery vans in miniature, and it appears that a small number of Dinky items were used as promotional items in this way.

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A tiny number of these very rare pre-war Dinky models survive, often in perilously fragile condition due to their zinc-alloy instability, although information is patchy on their production. It's not clear whether these were factory-produced in small quantities, or if they were specially supplied by the factory as plain vehicles for the stores to decorate in-house (either way, a Code 2), or whether they were simply unauthorised repaints of regular stock items (Code 3).

 

Toy manufacturing fell off colossally during WW2, with all available materials funnelled into the war effort and civilian manufacturing taking second place to defence and munitions contracts. Just like their real-life counterparts, the manufacture of toy passenger and commercial vehicles dried up. The few wartime toys produced tended towards wooden construction, and home-made items.

However, Dinky Toys slowly re-started production again in the late 1940s, using their 1930s product line - including vans and buses. Their postwar Code 1 double-deckers carried miniature versions of contemporary ads for Exide Batteries and Dunlop Tyres. 

When petrol rationing came to an end in May 1950, oil companies such as Esso and Anglo-Shell started giving away toys as a cheap and appealing way to reward customers (and their children) and help build brand loyalty again after years of nationalised 'Pool' petrol. Some plastic, tinplate and diecast cars and trucks were included in these giveaways, though these tended to be cheap novelties more akin to something you'd find in a cracker, bulk-bought and given away loose by the petrol company.

Dinky Toys, still the major British manufacturer of diecast models despite the newcomers, took no part in these promotions - not only were their toys too expensive for such giveaways, but Meccano maintained a tight hold on their distribution network. Dinky dealers were almost always dedicated toyshops or department stores, who undertook to provide prominent displays of new models and signage as part of their distribution agreement.

However, problems arose again between 1950 and 1953, when the Korean War caused a severe shortage of zinc, and diecast toy production once again dropped off considerably.

By 1953, when zinc became freely available, a number of other manufacturers saw the potential in meeting the demand for small diecast toys, no doubt inspired by the success of the Dinky Toys line. Die-Cast Metal Tooling Ltd (DCMT) launched its Lone Star brand, Crescent Toys emerged, Benbros launched their 'TV Stars' range and - of course - Lesney Products arrived on the toy scene in a big way.

Lesney originally consisted of two de-mobbed soldiers, Leslie Smith and Rodney Smith (no relation) who had bought some war surplus diecast machines and set up business in the basement of a former pub, and who started making various diecast toys as a way to keep going between contracts for hinges and engineering parts...  and so, in 1953 Lesney's 'Matchbox Range' was born.

However, Rodney Smith soon left to set up his own foundry company, and was replaced by Jack Odell who keenly developed the toy side of Lesney. The company quickly grew from strength to strength on the back of their cheap yet high-quality 'Matchbox' range of tiny vehicles, which unlike Dinky and their rather snooty insistence on 'quality' retailers, were sold cheaply through newsagents, railway kiosks and corner shops. Matchbox's exclusive distributor, MoKo (a contraction of the business founder's name - Moses Kohnstahm), ensured total market penetration. The little vehicles were wildly successful, quickly expanding to a dedicated factory in Enfield which at its peak turned out an utterly astounding six million toy vehicles a day. 

Yet it was Rodney Smith who returned with an almost identical line of vehicles, when he teamed up with Sam Morris of Morris & Stone to form Morestone Toys.

In 1956 Morestone signed an agreement with Esso to produce a range of Matcxhbox-sized die-cast toys, which were sold in Esso branded boxes vaguely resembling petrol pumps (when placed upright) as the 'Petrol Pump Series'.

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As an additional encouragement, the flap of each box counted as a token. If the young enthusiast returned ten of these box flaps to Morestone, they'd receive a free Esso garage. As the Morestone range grew, Smith and Morris developed larger, Dinky-sized models - which they marketed as Budgie Toys. A second promotion involved collecting fifteen tokens and exchanging them for a half-price Budgie tanker.

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Although handsome little models and uniquely Esso branded on the box, I don't think these really count as Code 2 promo models. They were sold, not given away, and it seems they were available from a wide variety of retailers - not just Esso garages. Curiously, none of the models themselves featured any Esso branding.

Even more curiously, despite the roaring success of these miniatures, Morestone pulled the entire Esso range in 1959 and then repackaged some of them in blister packs as Budgie Miniatures. However, within a few years the business hit the buffers, although it restructured and limped along until 1970.

Matchbox continued to do well, however. Jack Odell introduced the Lesney Models of Yesteryear range in 1956, involving a London E-series tram (with News of the World advertising) and a Chalmers Motor-Bus (Dewar's Whiskey), but their Matchbox toys were slower to pick up on 'real' ads. Their original 5A and 5B London Bus carried a generic advertisement to 'Buy Matchbox Series', although later toys did carry more realistic ads.

The No.5c Routemaster and No.56 Trolley Bus came interchangeably with ads for Players Cigarettes and Peardrax sparkling perry (mmm, booze and cigs - get 'em young, hey?) while later versions of both models carried ads for Esso and BP. Although there is one curiosity - The Baron of Beef.

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The now-forgotten Baron of Beef was one of several restaurant chains owned by the then-ubiquitous Mecca Leisure Group, who contracted Lesney to produce a specific promotional model for them in the mid-1960s. This consisted of applying a custom decal to standard castings, which then went into standard boxes for distribution. It's quite possible these were given away to children dining at the restaurants, or used as small prizes at Mecca's amusement arcades and bingo halls. But they don't seem to have ever been available through normal retail channels or listed in a consumer catalogue, and so although they were a Lesney factory product, they were a very definite Code 2.

The 1970s version of this toy, MB 17 'The Londoner' pushed new boundaries. It initially appeared in the 1971  Matchbox catalogue wearing 'Swinging London - Carnaby Street' decals, and - possibly mindful of the commercial potential of the Mecca contract - Matchbox soon started offering a Code 2 'blank' version of the model through their trade catalogue for promotional use, in a range of colours.  As with its predecessor, its flat sides made it very easy to apply different rectangular stickers as side-advertising boards.

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Some of these were designed to be sold as souvenirs, others given away as novelties to staff or customers. 

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Some were used to promote new or revised services to the public...

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And even a few Matchbox Kingsize Code 2s were produced.

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This wasn't unique to Matchbox - Corgi, another company that had arrived in 1956 as Mettoy's brand of diecast vehicles, were doing the same, of course with largely the same bus.

Lesney also allowed special versions of some of their vans to be produced back in the early 1960s, such as the Pickfords Removals Van finished in mustard yellow with 'Beales-Bealesons' decals given away by that chain of department stores.

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There seems to be a bit of debate about whether this well-known variant is a Code 2 or Code 3 - it seems that a bare 3,000 examples of this van were made. Lesney's Jack Odell stated in an interview that the Lesney factory was so busy at the time that they wouldn't have considered a separate production run for anything less than a million units. The Baron of Beef Routemasters were produced in limited quantity compared to the normal (huge) Matchbox output, but had simply required production line staff to stick a different transfer onto standard MB5c buses for an hour or two, and then transfer them to a specific bin once boxed up. Painting a run of castings a unique colour and packing them in a retailer-branded box was a different thing altogether.

Instead, the story goes that Beales bought 3,000 unpainted castings of the MB Pickfords Removal Van which they then painted themselves and finished with waterslide transfers, before putting them in plain white boxes with the chain's slogan pasted on. Since they were apparently done with the knowledge and blessing of Lesney - though Odell maintained he'd never seen one - they fall into the Code 2 category (just about).

More recently, anything with a flat surface has been fair game as a Code 2, with Matchbox using the Dodge Commando box van, Mk3 Transit and (especially) the Ford Model A van as the basis for promotional models.

Nevertheless, manufacturer logos on toys have been great for collectors, both in Code 1 and Code 2 formats. If you want to waste about twelve hours of your life, click on the below link, I dare you...

http://www.cerealoffers.com/Weetabix_Ltd/Promotional_items/Vehicles/vehicles.html

 

Code 2s really came into their own in the 1980s. While earlier efforts involved selling unpainted or plain-bodied toys for the receiving company to decorate themselves, the rise of cheap on-body tampo print techniques enabled even very small runs of factory-made promotional models to be profitable. 

Lledo, run by former Lesney top brass Jack Odell from part of the former Matchbox factory in Enfield and initially consisting of early Models of Yesteryear castings, were quick to set up a separate 'Promotionals' range - making both 'nostalgic' classic vehicles (sometimes showcasing a company's heritage very nicely, and at other times with distressingly anachronistic liveries) as well as more modern vans and trucks like the Leyland T45 Roadtrain and Ford Transit Mk3.

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Matchbox followed suit with Code 2 variants of their slightly better detailed Models of Yesteryear...

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And Corgi also jumped firmly onto the bandwagon with their Corgi Classics range of commercials - the C835 Thorneycroft wagon (with plenty of room on the side for printing) appeared in over fifty different liveries, from the historically accurate...

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...to the banal...

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...to the wildly incorrect.

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As previously discussed, these were very popular 'instant collectables' among a certain demographic, but have rather fallen from favour these days. It has to be said that even at the time, quite a few enthusiasts sneered about 'collecting paint' rather than models.

But it's important to remember that many cash-strapped toymakers in the mid 1980s grasped the strong financial advantages of producing these Code 2 promotional vehicles - it was ready cash, business to business, and rather less risky than designing and making a whole range of toys and then hoping they would appeal to notoriously fickle children through retail channels. Matchbox and Corgi had both experienced bankruptcies driven in part through heavy investment in toy lines that simply failed to sell.

 

My own interest in Code 2s stems from a Matchbox Model A van (obtained by collecting tokens from Kellogg's cereal)…

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(I think literally hundreds, if not thousands, of Code 2 variants exist on this single casting. I may look through my Charlie Mack book later...)

I also bagged this Lledo Model T van (ditto, from Tetley Tea)

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In fact, cereal manufacturers were the ones I remember most of all - usually  in exchange for the invariable 'six tokens plus 20p taped to a piece of card, for postage'. Both Matchbox and Corgi produced special 'Tiger Stripe' cars for Kellogg's Frosties,

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...while Corn Flakes offered models from the Corgi Cameo range, and the Lledo Brooklands Racers range (complete with cardboard cut-out banked track, which was disappointingly flimsy as I recall).

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I'd be interested to know whether folks would consider the Lledo Brooklands range to be Code 2 models, out of interest - as I believe they were exclusive to Kelloggs, and the castings of 1920s racers not available elsewhere? To my mind, a Code 2 is a factory-authorised variant of a standard catalogue item, made for someone else... hmm. If it never appeared in a consumer retail catalogue, is it a pure promotional model?

Even some Majorette monster trucks were offered from Rice Krispies (with Snap, Crackle and Pop stickers to decorate them).

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Seriously though, seeing one of those tiny, plain cardboard boxes drop through the door was like the best thing ever to me.

 

Aside from cereal box giveaways, I recall a huge number of promotional Majorettes available in the 1980s and 1990s, usually sold as souvenirs in tourist traps like Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole - coaches, lorries and vans. This was one I picked up in Penrith c.1989:

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I also seem to remember quite a lot of giveaway models packaged up as freebies, especially around Easter and Christmas - Yorkie Easter eggs often came with two Corgi Juniors, and although these weren't always obviously Code 2 models (no branding or logos) they may have been an unusual colour not otherwise available - I had a white Ferrari 308GTB and navy blue Aston DB6 which came with an Easter egg, neither of which I've seen again in those colours. Plenty of Lledo and Corgi models in unusual colours were packaged up with Cadbury's chocolate eggs, too. But maybe these were more like free gifts, rather than a promotional model per se.

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Cadburys also gave Majorette a fair bit of their custom, too. I seem to remember huge amounts of these Cadbury's Collection models kicking around chemists shops in a variety of styles and colours. Does anyone else tend to think of Majorette as something to be found in a chemist, rather than a toy shop?

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Probably the most familiar Code 2 vehicles are the small-scale Corgi models given away by BP in the mid-1980s, many of which (but not all) had BP-related brand graphics on them, such as the Duckhams QXR Land Rover, BP Visco-Nova, BP Renault 5 Turbo, and BP Service Ford Transit Wrecker Truck. This nationwide deal was a major marketing coup for the newly-reorganised Corgi company, and proved important in its survival. BP however were insistent that the toys had a 'quality' feel, and Corgi were forced to re-tool several of them with metal, rather than their original plastic, bases. The Nova is one; the Rover SD1 police car and Ford Escort in Duckhams QXR rally livery were two others.

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Mobil also cut a deal with Corgi to produce larger-scale (1/35) models for their own promotions, featuring some existing castings in different colourways and some unique ones (like the Volvo Racing Truck and the slightly clunky Vauxhall Astra Mk2 Rally, which I don't believe Corgi ever sold on the shelves).

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Shell meanwhile teamed up with Maisto for its own 1/43-ish 'Classics' and 'Supercar' collections, which made up for their relative cheapness by having pull-back motors. I'm not sure whether these are true Code 2s either, if they were available elsewhere in the same colours... but they were everywhere, and I always associate them with Shell whenever I see one.

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Since all these models were given away in their millions, oftentimes simply put at the back of a cupboard by adults without even being opened, they're still widely available and moderately priced even in mint/boxed condition, and can make quite nice little collections to track down. The Mobil range particularly interest me, as there were no Mobil garages in Northern Ireland so I never knew about them until recently.

But yes. Anyway...

Getting back to the point, that Unichem Transit (with that fantastically shit-looking blister pack, compete with 'artful' blurring to disguise the wrong type of van) appears to fall into the Code 2 camp. Unichem pharmacies also aren't familiar to me in NI, so who knows how it made its way over here... thank you for that!

(I know this isn't even scratching the surface of Code 2 models, but this is what happens when you start to poke around on the internet... it's a dangerous game!)

Anyone with any other knowledge/interesting variations, please let me know! Though, be assured, I've no intention of ending up like this...

2118429546_MB17TheLondoner-Manymanymany.jpg.3094649d12867c9efe47d0e8e587b76e.jpg

MB5 Routemaster - Baron of Beef.jpg

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Another interesting and informative post.  Thanks for taking the time.

I have about 80% of the Mobil offerings, all MIB.  I also have a couple of ERTL 'lockable' moneybox models which were available in Total filling stations in the USA for a discount price in the 1990s. 

Edit: The Ertls may have been in a Texaco filling station.  It was a while ago.

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I've the full set of 12 mobil vehicles Inc a card that you stuck the tokens too in 89-90 I was the firm's van driver & had to fuel up every week the F reg 1.3 ohv  MK4 escort van & the pair of 1.6 Ghia car's plus a barrel of diesel for forklift so got loads of tokens plus the ones people would leave on the counter.

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Good heavens Tim that was a cracking post. I think you've covered off elsewherr that full-time writing isn't for you but your posts such at these are what keeps me logging onto here.

You've brought back one memory in particular that has laid dormant for decades and thats the plastic card with the holographic snowflakes that accompanied the free Matchbox Transam. That hung around my bedroom for years as I was fascinated by it.

The BP promotional Corgis are what I recall best. You got a tax-disc shaped token every rime you filled up and you needed 4 for a 1/55 scale model. I recall my dad getting wet feet a few times so I could get the 4th token. 

I also recall the Weetabix Corgis although I didn't collect those as we didn't eat that product in my house at the time. I wanted the 'XR3i' as it was the first time I had seen that variation. I have one now, somewhere.

Does anyone remember the Siku Jeep with the black and orange tiger pattern? Was that just a coincidence or was it also a free offer.

My Cousin Kenny also loved square crisps and happily ate his way through enough for my auntie to get me the Dodge Commando which I still have.

Wonderful memories!

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13 hours ago, Split_Pin said:

Good heavens Tim that was a cracking post. I think you've covered off elsewherr that full-time writing isn't for you but your posts such at these are what keeps me logging onto here.

You've brought back one memory in particular that has laid dormant for decades and thats the plastic card with the holographic snowflakes that accompanied the free Matchbox Transam. That hung around my bedroom for years as I was fascinated by it.

The BP promotional Corgis are what I recall best. You got a tax-disc shaped token every rime you filled up and you needed 4 for a 1/55 scale model. I recall my dad getting wet feet a few times so I could get the 4th token. 

I also recall the Weetabix Corgis although I didn't collect those as we didn't eat that product in my house at the time. I wanted the 'XR3i' as it was the first time I had seen that variation. I have one now, somewhere.

Does anyone remember the Siku Jeep with the black and orange tiger pattern? Was that just a coincidence or was it also a free offer.

My Cousin Kenny also loved square crisps and happily ate his way through enough for my auntie to get me the Dodge Commando which I still have.

Wonderful memories!

Hey, glad you enjoyed! A bit rambling and unfocused, it's true - mebbe I should have narrowed it down to just Matchbox promos or just petrol station giveaways... I'd genuinely only meant to type about three lines, but got a bit carried away the more I clicked around the 'net...

I've very strong memories of those BP Corgi promos too - Floods Garage at the end of our street sold BP, and it was an absolute highlight for me to receive one of those little red or blue cardboard boxes with a car inside. Were there two separate runs made, each with different models? I never had the whole lot, but I ended up with quite a few duplicates - several Transit wreckers, rally Novas, police Rovers and R5 Turbos - yet I never had the Duckhams Escort. Could have been that they just weren't on the shelf when we called in. I must try to find out more about the whole promotion, it's really bringing back some strong memories too.

I'd forgotten about that Siku Jeep with the Frosties 'Tony the Tiger' design!

526600574_SikuJeep-Frosties.jpg.0b2972d6f7acf2d0225e89c7a6e63924.jpg

I don't ever remember the actual promotion, but the model was a common enough find at jumble sales and charity shops, even now. Siku were pretty uncommon finds, but this one seemed to crop up quite often. I don't see it on that website showing breakfast cereal-related items, but then they don't have any info on the Corgi models produced for Frosties either - and I know they offered at least three; the white Ferrari shown above, a silver Jaguar XJS, and a black targa-top Porsche 911. I had the Jaguar...

1898489702_IMG_20170418_102038(2).thumb.jpg.1bfef5549b242d4a9a664d7203242eb0.jpg

Surprisingly little info online about those. There's more to discover, clearly!

I don't seem to recall the Corgi Weetabix promotional models - was this the range?

1976710817_CorgiWeetabixPromotionals-range.thumb.jpg.494162e4e90ff73e026daef611e62aba.jpg

I do remember seeing quite a few Leyland Terrier box vans with Weetabix stickers over the years - I'll have a flick through my catalogues later and see if this was a mainline or not.

735400686_CorgiLeylandTerrier-Weetabix.jpg.2da6c0970a3aeedb23ce9ba61374f375.jpg

 

13 hours ago, sierraman said:

Yeah I remember the Siku jeep, no idea it was a promo item though.

What about the Duckhams Porsche 944s by Matchbox? 

I don't remember seeing the Duckhams Porsche at the time, but a quick squizz online shows plenty of people who do...

1728861321_MatchboxMB59Porsche944-Duckhams.jpg.562d4809cd5b4b9b04a7546e69a864ac.jpg

I don't really remember Duckhams oils being sold in any local motor factors, though - so maybe this was a GB-only promo. Nice wee model, anyway! Take it you have one?

Castrol clipped a Lledo Vanguards Morris Z Van to their 5-litre oils in 1999 to celebrate their centenary. I was working in Halfords at the time and we ended up with dozens of the buggers kicking around for years, as they tended to fall out of their packaging while being dragged on and off the shelves in the back storeroom.

2038780594_LledoVanguardsMorrisZVan-CastrolCentenary1999.jpg.ba95d8d7a2ee01764055f13fec25124e.jpg

 

13 hours ago, sheffcortinacentre said:

I've the full set of 12 mobil vehicles Inc a card that you stuck the tokens too in 89-90 I was the firm's van driver & had to fuel up every week the F reg 1.3 ohv  MK4 escort van & the pair of 1.6 Ghia car's plus a barrel of diesel for forklift so got loads of tokens plus the ones people would leave on the counter.

That's fantastic! I can well imagine anyone who was clocking up serious miles must have ended up with more toy cars than they knew what to do with... wasn't it in the early 90s that BP and the like changed to a voucher system instead, so you could save up and order things out of a catalogue? I seem to remember there was everything from a stupid novelty fuzzy gonk thing (for, like, 5 vouchers) all the way up to portable TVs for about 10,000 vouchers... probably worked a bit better for professional drivers than bunging them toys. My dad ended up with a Blackadder VHS and an Annie Lennox CD and from that promo; only he didn't have a CD player, so I had to copy it onto tape it for him...

Aren't BP bringing something like that back, now that they've sacked off Nectar points?

 

17 hours ago, Amishtat said:

Thanks for an interesting read! I had that Kelloggs Model A too, and even remember it coming in a box identical to that. Back when anything less than 28 days' wait was a bonus.. 

No worries! Had a look last night, and the Charlie Mack book lists 472 variants of the Matchbox Model A van, that are known of anyway... yow.

28 days was an eternity when you were 7...

 

19 hours ago, RayMK said:

Another interesting and informative post.  Thanks for taking the time.

I have about 80% of the Mobil offerings, all MIB.  I also have a couple of ERTL 'lockable' moneybox models which were available in Total filling stations in the USA for a discount price in the 1990s. 

Edit: The Ertls may have been in a Texaco filling station.  It was a while ago.

Glad you enjoyed! I've never heard of that ERTL range - a quick online search throws up this sort of thing, does that look about right?

 1502396675_ERTLDodgeAirflowLockingCoinBank-Texaco.thumb.jpg.30c3e96717a953d8cf6547cbf85e35e2.jpg

Nice looking model, anyway!

 

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Yes I’ve got a Duckhams one. Could be wrong but I think it’s an on pack offer, I don’t believe it’s part of the regular line up. The amount of variations of the MB38 Model A Van is staggering, some of them surprisingly valuable like the Ben Franklin one. 

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The Weetabix promo I remember jad a Police Sierra, XR3i, a yellow Aston Martin and possibly an XJS. The artwork on the packet had the Weetabix personified characters dressed in the stereotypical suede fur-collared coats, acting as used car dealers.

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I think there must have been at least two runs of promotional Weetabix items.  Not being a Weetabix eater I only remember the late 90s effort.

Weetabix.jpg.1612462bc4716cdbd6abfe6d49c197eb.jpg

Volvo FH, a six-wheel Cargo and the little Leyland.  Predictably, I have the set, all boxed.  I also have many of the Mobil Corgi Juniors, also boxed, although one or two of the boxes are not the best.  That set does include the articulated transporter, which I think was a Volvo F10.  I wasn't planning to put any of them into my diecast sale but I suppose if anyone wants them enough to make a daft offer...

 

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11 hours ago, Datsuncog said:

..............(Re: the ERTL Texaco Tanker)

Glad you enjoyed! I've never heard of that ERTL range - a quick online search throws up this sort of thing, does that look about right?

 

Nice looking model, anyway!

 

That one was not available during my two fuel stops with a Dodge Intrepid when in the Seattle area in the 1990s.  I settled for the much older style of tanker and a 4 seat open tourer. I'll take a photo soon. The vehicles are in a display cabinet upstairs and I still have the boxes somewhere.

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22 hours ago, Split_Pin said:

The Weetabix promo I remember jad a Police Sierra, XR3i, a yellow Aston Martin and possibly an XJS. The artwork on the packet had the Weetabix personified characters dressed in the stereotypical suede fur-collared coats, acting as used car dealers.

Full set on ebay, complete with little white carbdoard boxes for £15 posted. 

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F223473656162

That's brilliant - good to see! Nice little set for the money, definitely...

782480734_CorgiPromotionals-Weetabixcollection1980s.thumb.jpg.e7dc28e048d0ae3fbd82eb4dd490dad1.jpg

The 'Arthur Daley' Weetabix characters are dimly familiar, now you mention it... I had at least two FX4 taxis and a whole heap of those (awfully wide) XJSs, so maybe I did manage to get a couple of cars from that particular promotion. The Kelloggs Model A van is still the cereal promotion that really sticks in my mind, for some reason!

I notice that one of the other Weetabix promo sets had the yellow Aston DB6, so quite likely there was a bit of overlap!

12 hours ago, sheffcortinacentre said:

The Weetabix corgi juniors Leyland you sent off tokens for there was also a cardboard cutout lorry on the box ( mum used to have Weetabix) so had about a doz of the cardboard ones think I've still got the corgi one.

Blimey, that's brought back a bit of a memory - for reasons still unclear, we used to have a carboard cutout Weetabix van as part of our Christmas decorations. It must have been the same one, though how it managed to become part of the festivities - usually hidden deep in the tree branches - I still don't know... yep, it was my favourite 'Christmas decoration'.

In my mind, it was a Leyland Terrier like the diecast Corgi Juniors version - but a quick online search seems to indicate it was actually a Commer RG 12  (aka Dodge 100 Commando) - assuming they didn't do a cut-out Terrier too, at a different point?

1395468827_WeetabixCardboardPromo-DodgeCommando.jpg.54ac9c26aad1539970948e694cf6b2c7.jpg

I can only assume it either fell to bits after a few years, or we forgot to retrieve it one year... cheers for that!

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17 hours ago, flat4alfa said:

Another

R&L Diecast

s-l1600 (1).jpg

Amazing how many different versions of the Mk1 Range Rover are out there!

I also find it interesting how some cars are modelled by pretty much all the main manufacturers, while others just aren't... and it's seemingly little to do with the popularity of the real thing.

Waaaay back upthread I think there was a similar discussion a year or two back, where it was pointed out how many toy versions of the Volvo 740 saloon were made (Matchbox, Corgi, Siku, Majorette, and no doubt others),

VOLVO_760_(1989_ROW).thumb.jpg.b578ed352994dbe63dee3b98c7bef0b2.jpg

846329654_Volvo760GLECorgi.thumb.jpg.b1189baae6670536c8724ba362bd06a2.jpg

1535949007_volvo760GLESiku.thumb.jpg.ab2e5ab17fb2da737c3ff3aa5baef868.jpg

61525572_Volvo_760_GLE_-_Majorette_-_Bleu_clair_mtal_B_3S2.thumb.jpg.4ef68ad5121f19acb9f0f7766315264c.jpg

… but none as the more popular estate version.

Equally, the longrunning Volvo 245/265 estate was modelled in small-scale by Corgi and Majorette...

579320801_Volvo245DLCorgi.thumb.jpg.6cf1c28b8442c7bcb4fa9c9856308168.jpg

Volvo_245_DL_Majorette.jpg.bd070f1c9a33da14cf686cbe29f004ce.jpg

and in large-scale by Dinky and Matchbox Superkings…

44595570_Volvo265DLDinkyorange.thumb.jpg.7dab64cf9d94820074872841c6091376.jpg

538879783_MatchboxSuperkingsK-74Volvo244.thumb.jpg.60f624291a11baf7b4f2662e52fe6fd9.jpg

Yet saloon versions seem to be much less common (I had this pretty crude Volvo 164 by Summer Toys)

154420998_SummerToysVolvo164E.jpg.99ed1ab26405bbeadf2445400f895542.jpg

From searching, it seems Yatming, Playart and Norev Jet did do saloon versions of the 244/264, though I've never seen any of them in real life.

2137295553_NorevVolvo264.jpg.ffc9522378942feea493c84b858011c5.jpg

925925747_PlayartVolvo244.jpg.325944909392da5ca8ef03ac6826d17f.jpg

Interestingly, Playart seem to have been the only toy company to ever model a Volvo 340...

983273327_PlayartVolvo343.jpg.e3507cdfb2147f333fb31b6b0ce7d09f.jpg

They're a manufacturer I'd like to find out more about.

I appreciate that Polistil etc made larger 1/25 models of the 740 estate; but I'm thinking more of the pocket-money end...

 

You'd think that, say, the Mk2 Cavalier/Opel Ascona C might have made a nice model for Matchbox or Corgi in the early 80s, but surprisingly not (and even the Mk3 Cav/Vectra A didn't survive as a Matchbox 1-75 for all that long).

(I think Schabak and/or Gama may have done a 1/43 Ascona at the time, but they were always a bit pricey to be called toys, and not very common here. )

But toy versions of the Sierra were produced by nearly all the main manufacturers; just not their main rival from GM. While working in the model shop in the mid/late 90s, I seem to recall people often coming in looking for Vauxhall models and there simply weren't any out there... if you wanted a model Nova, a BP promo one from ten years earlier was the best you could hope for.

Ditto the Matra Rancho - everyone seems to have modelled that in multiple sizes (often alongside a Range Rover, too) yet their real-life counterparts were not terribly popular. Corgi had theirs in the line-up for years - well into the mid-90s, by which time nearly all the real ones had turned to dust and blown away in the wind.

Anyway... just more pointless musings here.

 

Maybe one day I'll try to muster these thoughts into something coherent!

There is a certain irony that I've only been able to think about the subject of diecasts more clearly after getting rid of nearly all of my collection...

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9 minutes ago, bramz7 said:

Mebetoys/Hot Wheels did a Volvo 343 in 1/43. 

Crikey Moses, so they did.

1174300194_HotWheelsVolvo3431-43Mebetoys.thumb.jpg.5c07480876aae5bf69e66075982a13fa.jpg

And one in 1/25, too.

1531137463_HotWheelsVolvo343Turbo-1-25.png.b9937477e461486fbdf80371089df761.png

This is all fantastic info, thanks!

Seems that Mattel did some cracking Italian-built 1/25 scale stuff, which I'm really not familiar with compared to the Polistil and Martoys/Bburago offerings.

810062681_HotWheels1-43Catalogue-Italy.gif.5ea8189b505c1989502a5cd9bc439b3d.gif

I had a 1/25 Fiat Uno 55 in brown back in the early '80s, but I believe this was brought back from Spain by a family member as a gift - were these ever sold in the UK?

2000692229_HotWheels1-24FiatUno55S.thumb.jpg.fc2b988a9817985ae0f5c7cde9e3020f.jpg

Once again, the AS hivemind proves invaluable!

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