Years ago, I had never heard much about pre-war Dinky Toys, much less owned any. Then, I finally took the plunge and bought a couple of pre-war items, and it was then I discovered the charm and allure of these long ago toys. Many items, materials, and techniques did not survive WWII; some models did, but in many cases, changes were made. Pre-war toys typically involved lots of hand work, typically extra detailed paint work, obviously done by those ladies armed with tiny brushes.
The October issue of Meccano Magazine announced two new sets of models, later to be joined by a third. For want of a better description, I tend to call these "service sets", as all three involved items to serve the 1930's English motorist. For some reason, Meccano numbered the last set issued, The Police Hut, Motor Cycle Patrol and Policemen #42, even though it was not announced until June of 1936. So I will address that set first, with the other two following in order. All of these sets consist of a "hut" or small building, that often contained a phone and miscellaneous items to add in traffic or accident situations. In this case, the hut is actually the Police call box, and I believe the real ones were made of wood. These pre-war boxes or huts are painted a very dark blue, in contrast with the post-war versions, which are a lighter shade, and as opposed to the RAC and AA Huts, this one is diecast. Also included is 42b, the Police Motor Cycle Patrol. This motorcycle is also the only one of the three that has a passenger in the sidecar. As is typical with these pre-war motorcycyles, they came with white tires, and the two pollicemen have hand painted features......buttons, badges, had brims, gloves, eyes and mouth, and chin straps for their helmets. Pre-war motorcycles also have silver painted cylinder heads, exhaust pipe, and muffler. There are two Point Duty Policemen included: one wearing a white coat (42c), and the other in the typical blue uniform (42d).
The other special item in some pre-war sets is the wonderfully illustrated display box included. The scenes are illlustrated on a thin cardboard insert, which fits neatly inside the box. The back of the scene has cutouts, to accommodate holding the various pieces in place. These scenes lend a nice touch to the display, and evoke times gone by.
The general descirptions of each set are very similar, so I will not repeat all of the detail shown here. I will also not show closeups of the invdividual pieces here, but in their own category. All of these sets were discontinued in 1940, when Meccano ceased manufacturing toys. The only item from these sets re-issued after WWII werer the three motorcycles, so they remain treasures to covet from long ago.....enjoy!
Best regards, Terry
Indeed these are very nice sets and will be a highligth in every collection. Most of the sets are made from blue glossy paper and represent a luxury box. These boxes had never datecodes printed at the side.
There is a second type box, almost the same as the glossy blue. The set also was made with a box from standard blue paper as was used on most of the later boxes, (dull blue). These boxes had a date code printed at the long side. Mine has BW 48 5M 6-38, is 5000 made June 1938. I presume the glossy boxes came first, later replaced by the standard blue. The insert is the same for the two boxes. Printing of the front is different. Dimesions of the two boxes are the same. See pictures.
John....Thanks for your added comments and information about the boxes. I remember receiving these, and expecting to see a date on the box, but found none. I believe mine are the earlier style, as two of them refer to "over 200 varieties", the other to "over 250 varieties". I can't remember when those milestones occurred, but think it might have been 1936 or so....
Best regards, Terry
Does anyone have an example of the sidecar passenger from the Police Motorcycle Patrol Set that they could inspect? I found, amongst the many models that I bought recently, a seated figure, apparently a policeman, and this set is the only one from which I can imagine it coming.
It has a detailed uniform and painted hair and eyes. There is also a nub on the underside to locate the figure. Is this what I think it is?
If it IS what I think it is, all I need now is motorcycle, sidecar, and rider.
As you can see on this picture the police men on the ref. 42 b Motor cycle combination are not detachable.
If you had posted a photo of your figure, members here could perhaps help you.
Thank you, Jacques. I see my mistake. I've taken some (rather poor) photos that, I hope, will be sufficiently useful in identifying the figure. It is about 3.5 cms long.
This is not a Dinky Toys. I do not know what it is. I have launched a research and will come back toy ou if I get a result.
Thank you again, Jacques.