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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
“Lone Star” was the Toy Division of Die Casting Machine Tools Ltd. of Palmers Green, London, N13, England, established in 1939. They were among the world’s leading manufacturers of die cast metal model cap-firing guns, and model vehicles. The range of Western-style pistols and rifles was first introduced in 1949. In 1960, Lone Star Products Ltd. entered the die cast metal car market and, ten years later, their range comprised over 70 different models, the series of which were continually added to until 1988 when the company was sold.
The Tuf Tots were introduced in 1969 by Lone Star. The Tuf-Tots trucks were made in scale 118-1, 16 different models were made, including a bus, a fire truck, and an earth mover.
I have recently aquired a few of the trucks and thought I would share them here.
The first picture show number 601, Esso tanker, This model was most common in blue, but it was also made with a red cab. Later versions had Esso stamped so mine is a later issue, the second in this picture is number 610, construction truck, some earlier one’s had a sticker on the side of the tipper with a blank in the casting, this one shows the ribbing all the way up suggesting this is a later model and never had decals or stickers.
The next picture shows number 611, Freight truck, again this is the later model as the ribs on the sides go all the way up whereas early one’s had a blank in the casting and stickers or decals
As always I tend to reseach the source or the vehicle to the real trucks or cars and in this case my first thought were GMC, I actually believe this is cast using The Ford N-series as the inspiration, Tuf Tots had a far larger range of trucks than this I have made it my misson to track them all down for the website and my collection.
Since this article was written I have acquired more of the trucks for the collection.
The first picture show the three above and are upgrades in better condition
Next, No607 dump truck and No618, waste disposal truck, better known these days as a skip truck in the UK.
The following picture shows No616, milk delivery truck, 615, cement mixer truck and No617 and according to the Lone*Star leaflet, this is a horse box, although more likely a cattle truck.
A few variations
These two tow trucks No606 both have different coloured chassis, this seemed to be quite popular with this range making it harder to list all colour versions that were available.
Next is No609, the flat bed truck, this came with a set of petrol pumps on the back when new, again different coloured chassis and cab, I managed to get hold of the petrol pumps recently these truck are now as they should be.
And last is the Milk delivery truck No616 above but two versions with a different colour on the body, one white and one cream.
For more on Tuf Tots, visit this dedicated website, Click Here
One I don’t have in the brochure is the 626 Circus Truck below, this would of had a white plastic lion with it from new, also 614 City Refuse truck is a hard one to find but have now added both to my ever growing collection of Lone Star Tuf Tots.
Updated 21 December 2013
One that has eluded me for some time was the lowloader, mainly because I couldn’t find one, but now the missing piece of the Tuf Tots Ford truck collection is complete, this is Number 612.
Below are a few of the harder to find Tuf Tots including; number 613 speedboat and trailer, number 625 2 wheeled caravan trailer and the elusive 627 earth mover.
Other Tuf Tots history
In the 1990′s, 18 of the Tuff Tots were re-released by Microlink Industries Ltd, Microlink used the old Lone Star Tuf-Tot dies to produce a range of 18 different vehicles marketed as “Mokes” “Part 5″. There were never any parts / ranges 1-4, presumably this was done just to give the impression that there might have been. The dies were changed so the Lone Star Tuf-Tots name was replaced by the Mokes logo. The Mokes collection were still marked “Made in England” on the base plate despite the factory being in Wales.
They were diecast with plastic truck backs and were available in hundreds of colour combinations and coloured wheels, similar to the Matchbox range ‘My first matchbox’
I was lucky enough to acquire an original Lone Star Tuf Tots, brochure from the 1970′s and have scanned all the pages of the entire Tuf Tots range, these are available on this page at a later date.
The real trucks
The Ford N-series truck, like Tuf Tots seems to of been best part forgotten, I did an article before on the Ford N-Series including some stunning pictures of a fully restored Ford N-series, to see article Click Here
Picture and truck owned by Michelle Cole
There is a book on the Lone Star history available direct from the author, see link below.
The Bumper Book of ‘Lone Star’ Diecast Models and Toys 1948-88: Die-cast Products