Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Category: Futuristic/sci-fi

Lone Star show at Whitewebbs museum 2018

Where did the last year go? September 2018 and another exhibition in Enfield for Lone star

As always my small collection was on display.


A few new additions since last year along with the electric rotating turntable in the centre of the picture below, ran all day without issues.


The space commanders, construction and farm section is much the same as last year.


Great show again although did notice a lack of Treblo electric Lone star train layouts, so during the day I decided to build one for next year, to that end I bought my first lot of track and rolling stock for Lone Star Treblo electric.


This project will be quite secretive as I want the unveiling next September and I know certain people may otherwise see what I’m up to before then, although some updates will be posted.

Marx Smash Martian

by Peter
Categories: Clockwork toys, Futuristic/sci-fi, Marx Toys, Robots & Aliens
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TV adverts have been with us as long as TV itself and many icons have stayed with us, the Smash martian will be remembered by many from the 1970′s.

Smash Martian 1

Mr. Smash is all plastic with clockwork motor and removable antennae. It hobbles slightly as it moves forward. Simultaneously the arms move back in forth in opposite directions while the upper head and mouth move up and down. The little brown object held in Mr. Smash’s right claw is actually a plastic potato! Best of all it works great!

Mr. Smash was actually a commercial advertising figure used to promote the sale of Cadbury’s Smash# brand of instant mashed potatoes. The “For Mash get Smash” sticker logo on the robot’s chest refers to the potato product. It became a well known European phrase in the early to mid-1970′s. The commercial shows a family of Martians marvelling at the curious potato eating habits of “primitive” Earthlings. It was such a big hit that Cadbury’s contracted the Marx company to produce a plastic robot toy based on the commercial.

Smash Martian 2

More on Marx Toys

Lesney Products Corp, Moonachie NJ

by Peter
Categories: Concept Vehicles, Futuristic/sci-fi, Matchbox, Plastic
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Today something a bit different, this plastic vehicle came up on Ebay a little while back, and I was intrigued by it being a Matchbox release, the listing told me it was made in 1976 and ended up picking this up for a few pounds.


The base tells me it was made in 1976 by Lesney Products Corp, based in Moonachie New Jersey USA, but made in Hong Kong.

I did some research but found little on these toys, it seems much of the Lesney products were registered in NJ including a range of toy dolls.

But these vehicles have remained a bit of a mystery.


It would of had ski’s on the roof and figures that went with it, the few pictures and little information I have found on the internet is below.

The first picture shows others in the range although as an old Ebay listing no details are available.


This picture however, shows my vehicle in different colours and complete with another larger vehicle, it looks like the smaller vehicle would fit in the back of the larger one, this picture also came from a selling website and listed as; Matchbox 1976 Lesney MAC Mobile Action Command Vehicle and still for sale at $103 if your interested Click Here


I bought my one with the sole intention of converting it for my ‘Survival Wars’ series I am working on, although as they seem to be hard to find and dare I say possibly rare, will I feel guilty converted it, no I doubt it.

Here is my one again with one of the Airfix Robogear drivers.


With a bit of adaption this could work well with my Robogear vehicles

This website shows the whole range from the Matchbox Lesney Mobile Action Command series, thanks to Mark Warden  for the link.

Matchbox Mobile Action Command 



Tonka Toys

When you mention the words Tonka Toys to almost anyone, the image of big yellow metal trucks falling from cliffs and quietly rusting away in the back yard comes to just about all of us, but there was far more to Tonka toys over the years but still to this day the big yellow truck is synonymous to Tonka.

As yet I don’t have many and what I do have is a small random collection of Tonka made steel toys and as always as I acquire more this article will be updated.

My first offering is a classic Tonka loader from the late 1950′s, early sixties, this is an earlier version because of the metal wheel type, these early one’s were never yellow and were  plated pressed steel, they quickly rusted with living outside.

Later they were changed to plastic wheels and a later version had a cab added.


This was numbered 1087 by Tonka and an interesting fact is the steering wheel was rubber which is no doubt why it has lasted so long, at just under 10 inches long this is classed as a big loader, all of the earlier Tonka toys was made in the USA.

Another common Tonka vehicle is the tractor and trailer, seen also with various colour schemes including John Deere green and yellow.


The next one is as common as the loader and also from the 1960′s and this is the Tonka Dune Buggy.


Much smaller than the normal Tonka trucks and again as the loader is fitted with a rubber steering wheel, later versions had a plastic canopy fitted, the only number I can find associated with this toy is 55340, so may well be the Tonka number.

The next one was made by the Tonka Corparation, Mexico and came in more colour variations than you can shake a stick at, although mainly a plastic body the cab is pressed steel.


Dated around 1978 and called Pick-up truck, I have not yet found the Tonka number.

My last entry today is from Tonka in Japan and again issued in the seventies, this is one of the futuristic set of vehicles made for Tonka.


This is one of three from a series called the Scorchers and I must admit I love it, but then I like all futuristic models, this one was called the Rover truck and numbered WTO-760 and sits at  six and a half inches long.

For more on these toys and others see the website link below, this shows the others in this series.

Tonka Turbine power

Related articles; Tonka Pepsi bottle truck