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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Category: Diecast models
A few recently acquired diecast vehicles come from a company called Fun Ho! and made in New Zealand.
These are ‘Matchbox’ sized and although simple castings have the same appeal as early Matchbox in my opinion.
Firstly two Fun Ho Landliner buses.
Although not the same they have the echo of the Matchbox Greyhound buses about them.
Another I have is the Bedford TK milk tanker, one of a few different liveries.
The chassis length suggests it may of been designed for a rigid truck as it looks to long, although may of been just designed that way.
Text below from Wikipedia
Fun-Ho! Toys were a brand of diecast toy cars and trucks manufactured and distributed by Underwood Engineering Co. Ltd. of Inglewood, New Zealand. Production was started by Jack Underwood about 1935 and continued until 1982.
One interesting aspect in the casting of Fun Ho! toys is that when a changeover from lead was made, the logical industry choice of zamac or similar zinc alloy was passed up and most Fun Ho! toys are made of aluminium.
To read more on this brand visit Wikipedia
Back in 1957 Lone Star started what would become a long running series of military castings that were in production on and off until 1979 in various forms the removable guns and searchlights etc was reused even later until 1986 on their sci-fi range ‘The space commanders‘.
The start of this series was the armoured car, No 1296 and jeep No 1266 in 1957, (armoured car can be seen in the first picture below)
The modern army series seen above had black plastic wheels and was also produced in a sand coloured set called ‘War in the desert’ probably released around the same time although extremely hard to find. The desert set was numbered MFU12.
The truck above I have not come across with the pressed steel cover, an open truck is listed but only seen without the cover so again I assume these are quite hard to find.
The clever design allowed the guns, searchlight and radar dish to be removed, the truck and the trailers all had the same fitting and were all inter-changeable.
These were only shown in production until around 1960 although most of these castings were re-released in the seventies as the ‘Army strike force’ or ‘Army series’ in a matt olive green, the later casting had updated wheels, a form of speed wheels and can be seen below on another variation released in 1974 as ‘International peace force’ and repainted in blue.
The jeep casting is that of the 1957 range although the armour car had a small redesign as the turret was now removable, same fitting as the weapons above, the early armoured cars had a riveted turret, this may well of been re-designed due to the chrome turret.
The truck casting also became the ‘sand truck’ with a bulldozer type blade fitting and repainted orange, and also a breakdown truck, usually yellow.
An artic tractor unit was also produced and used on a limited range of Road Masters.
Some of the trailer fighting units also had operators but again many got lost over the years.
I have seen a second trailer unit, slightly longer and has mudguards over the wheels, at yet I haven’t actually found one for the collection. they were part of a jeep and trailer set the trailer casting above seems far more common.
Recently another Army truck came my way, the missile launcher truck.
I paid a fair bit for this one. more than I usually would as not only was it boxed but also has it’s ever so rare missile, something you wouldn’t be allowed to produced these days.
With many rocket launchers including those fitted to the ‘Space Commanders‘ it is at least good to have at least one missile.
The box artwork.
Due to the rarity of the missiles, I have decided to look at re-creating them in white metal, in due course I will have these available for sale, if you have an interest in these then contact me to register your interest and I will add you to the list when these become available (likely early 2018).
Crescent Toys are probably better known for their older models from the mid sixties and earlier, between 1975 and 1980 a series of diecast trucks based on the French Berliet were produced, little information is available on these or the model range, therefore only what I know as fact has been added to this article.
It all started with the Crescent concrete mixer.
I do like the simplicity of these models, along with Lone Star and Triang of the time, many makers followed a generic route although it has been said these Crescent trucks are based on the French Berliet trucks as already mentioned.
Using the same basic chassis a selection of pickup type trucks were also produced, two of them seen below.
The military cargo truck would of had a moulded plastic canvas cover. and could of been numbered as 1260.
The exhausts are very susceptible to being broken off.
The trucks also have a plastic drop down tailgate, I have seen another coloured version in lime green.
The Recovery crane is the fourth one I have and was also in the military green, this would of has black gas bottles in the recess holes in the back, seen below.
All the number plate are the same CTC 53N making it 1975.
In 1980, Crescent Toys was bought up by DCMT and the name disappeared.
Updated; There was also a tipper although as yet I haven’t found one, a picture of an old Ebay listing has been found on Google (see below).
Another generic truck from the same production period, 1975, is shown below, this is so far the only version I’ve seen, even has the same number plate as the models above.
One of the many ranges produced by Lone Star was the Impy 1:76 scaled range of trucks etc.
Some of these are shown below;
Firstly these two Leyland trucks, based on the prototype Leyland gas turbine truck (see picture further down the page).
Next the Merryweather Fire engine with fully extending ladders and stabilisers, also based on a Leyland/AEC cab and chassis from the late 1960′s
The real Leyland gas turbine truck
The Leyland Gas Turbine Truck project evolved from Leyland’s acquisition of Rover in 1967. Rover had produced a succession of gas-turbine cars in the ‘fifties & ‘sixties and by 1968 gas-turbines had been developed for road transport.
Picture and text from http://ccmv.aecsouthall.co.uk/