Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Japanese Tin Toy Vehicles, Part 2

I've been spending the last few months researching the subject of postwar Japanese tin toy vehicles for a talk my father volunteered me for. I've documented some of my research adventures in the Collecting -- and Collecting Information series.

I gave my presentation before the Capital Miniature Auto Collectors Club. The talk provided a background for the toys, made between 1949 and 1963, along with examples from my surviving childhood toys. Also on display was the Straco Express layout, which showcased smaller Japanese toy cars from the period.

Part 1 features the final version of the talk in written form, subsequent parts include galleries of the toys actually discussed.

The Golden Age of Japanese Tin Toy Vehicles 1949-1963
A Presentation for the Capital Miniature Auto Collectors Club, Washington, DC

The major companies (for which we have examples) 

Two examples from Bandai's "Automobiles of the World"
series. These 8" long vehicles had friction drive.
Bandai was founded in 1950 and is still in business today. During the period we're discussing (1949-1963)  they produced a series of 8" models entitled “Automobiles of the World.” There were over 100 models in the series, including the Mercedes Benz and Nash Rambler I owned as a child. (click on images to enlarge)

Originally this Mercedes Benz had a soft plastic hood ornament. Otherwise,
this early 1960's toy is intact and in good condition.
Note the construction details on this Bandai Rambler. All the metal
parts are held in place by hand-bent metal tabs -- including
the luggage rack.

Three of the 6" Model A Ford series by Bandai.
These were originally purchased at Montgomery
Wards in Northern VA in the 1960's.
Bandai also made a series of Model A’s. We have three examples from that series here. A common practice was to use most of the same parts and make a variant of the model – which was cheaper than making an entirely new car. As you can see, in the case of these Model A’s, a truck body was swapped out for a car body, or a convertible up top was substituted for a convertible down top. Careful examination of these models will reveal the parts common to all three.

The Bandai Model A convertible pickup. Because the toy was made up
of many different parts, it was easy to substitute a few and
create a new toy. The tabs holding the folded down roof are same ones
used to hold the extended roof in the model below.

The Bandai Model A convertible pickup. By changing just one part and
the color, Bandai created a new toy.
The Bandai Model A four-door convertible. There is a version of this with
police markings. Bandai also made a version with the top down. And
used the same chassis for a panel van version as well.

Part 1: The Golden Age of Japanese Tin Toy Vehicles 1949-1963

Part 3: Haji and Masudaya

Part 4:  Cragstan and Shioji

Part 5: Line Mar and Marx
Part 6: Nomura and others (Marusan, Yonezawa, Alps, Ichico, ATC)

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