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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
So you never heard of Merlin diecast, no?, neither had I until a week ago, the little information I have, the company that produced them only produced two vehicles, a Jeep and a race car. Both are single-cast alloy with metal wheels. The race car has a rubber band geardrive motor and there is a jeep version with the drive too. Merlin Toys are identified by the name, description and model number inside the casting.
1947 Maserati Style Racing Car A200
1944 Willys Civilian Jeep Willys A100
The Merlin diecasts were made in north London by TAL Developments, one of a number of diecast companies that appeared in that area in the late 1940s.
I now have two of the Merlin Jeeps A100
They measure a shade over 82mm, so puts them about 1:43.
The colours would of been green on one, and likely to of been red on the other, is hard to tell as it is covered in what looks like cement, the only other picture I could find on the internet is of a blue one.
The axles will all need replacing and one axle carrier on the green one will need repair other than that, all seems good.
They will get restored and I will be starting with the red one covered in cement.
To see how the restoration went Click Here
They are quite rare in any condition and found it even harder to find a picture of the Maserati Style Racing Car but finally found some, you can see the pictures here as well as some nice pictures of the jeep.
To see my other Jeeps in the collection Click Here
The Jeep is well known across the world, as an army workhorse and in civilian use.
Matchbox released their first jeep in 1966 as a civilian version in bright yellow, this was No72 in the 1-75 range, in 1970 it received the Superfast wheels and finally retired two years later in 1972.
This yellow and red seat combination was the only colour version ever made.
An interesting page on this jeep Click Here
In the ’70′s hot rod were all the rage so Matchbox came up with the Jeep hot rod No2 and released in 1972 to replace the previous jeep, this was a complete new casting which some parts of was to run for years to come.
The next two are somewhat confusing and although I knew what the models should be, they have in fact reversed baseplates!
The casting is very similar to the Jeep hot rod but now has the bonnet in place, the seat setup looks the same moulding in black and the screen now has a notch to carry the gun, this should be Jeep No38 and released about 1978, the box would of said ‘Armoured Military Jeep No38, but this one has the base plate of No11 Sleet N Snow.
To confirm this I checked a second one I have and it has No38 on the base but indentical in every other respect to this one.
The next one has the common set up with the notched windscreen but no hole in the casting for the gun so in theory this is No11, but no this one has the number 38 on the base plate!
I did find one listed on Ebay with it’s box and says in the description the base plate has No11 sleet n snow while the box clearly show it’s the Armoured Military Jeep No38, so this is not a one off.
After much head scratching and research I still don’t really know why but the variations on this casting run to dozens, they are both probably No38.
I found this website which helps explain some of them, especially the No38 Jeep 1976-1979.
Next is the Matchbox CJ8 Jeeps, this is No53 and produced from around 1977
Matchbox brought out others in between but my next one jumps to 2009 and and number MB96, issued mainly in tan or olive green with different tampo designs, this one was made in Thailand, the tampo on mine is ‘Double Black circular lines and White “22875-JC” stencil on the bonnet, Black “784″ stencil on white square over 4 vertical Black stripes at sides’
Majorette also released a Jeep No268, this one has been seen in many colours, this is listed as 1:56 scale and based on the CJ-5
This little Jeep is a Tuf Tots casting from Lone Star and scaled at 1:85, the trailer is part of the set and is No608.
To give a comparison on size here is the Tuf Tots Jeep next to the Matchbox Jeep.
To see more Jeep articles Click Here
The real vehicles
A very interesting website if you like Jeeps Jeep-CJ.com
The original trademark brand-name application was filed in February 1943 by Willys-Overland. It is also used as a generic term with a lowercase (jeep) for vehicles inspired by the Jeep that are suitable for use on rough terrain.
As the only company that continually produced Jeep vehicles after the war, in June 1950 Willys-Overland was granted the privilege of owning the name “Jeep” as a registered trademark.
For more on the history of the jeep Click Here