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johnnyangel's picture
johnnyangel
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DTCA MemberUSA

Improving Website usage (and membership) ...

It seems that while the DTCA website is perfectly functional, almost no members are now using it. (Without Jacques Dujardin and Jan W. and Jan O. there would be almost nothing here.) Is that because most members are not comfortable using computers -- or do we simply have little to say here?

There is of course also the wider issue of slowly declining membership. This may be inexorable because of demographics and the fact that real DInky Toys have not been made since 1979. But, should we resign ourselves to the situation or is there something that could be done?

It is notable that there are multiple groups on Facebook devoted to Dinky and other diecasts, with ative traffic every day. I wonder how many of the people in these groups even know about the DTCA?

Jan Oldenhuis's picture
Jan Oldenhuis
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DTCA MemberNetherlands

Johnny, thank you very much for the attention to this.

I think Brexit plays a major role in terms of less contributions from DTCA members outside the UK due to reduced purchases from the UK. Although the DTCA board is predominantly UK, I expect that due to Brexit more and more attention will have to be paid to the French Dinky Toys. There is more room for new purchases outside the UK without the hated VAT and import costs. And be honest! The French Dinky Toys are beautiful and worth more attention.

The DTCA editors should also pay more attention to the contributions that are made to the forum. In June I made 2 nice contributions about the French Opel Record berline and taxi and recently I made some nice contributions about the French Peugeot 203 and Citroen 2CV, but I can't find anything about it in the latest DTCA journal, where unnecessary attention is paid to meccano and trains. That really does not stimulate the DTCA members to make a contribution in this way.

I don't use facebook and never will. That's my personal opinion on this.

Kind regards, Jan Oldenhuis 2-12-2022

johnnyangel's picture
johnnyangel
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DTCA MemberUSA

Jan,

Thank you very much for your thoughts! I had hoped to spark a bit more discussion about this, but I suppose the lack of it is symptomatic. Of course as we enter the holidays many members may be thinking of other things than Dinky Toys. (Moi? I think about Dinky Toys every day, but I recognize that I am a warped individual!)

I do think that Brexit has a lot to answer for. In many ways, of course -- but I think the perception that it has somewhat cut off British Dinky Toy collectors from the rest of the world, and vice versa, is accurate. The main issue, however, is the lack of younger collectors, which I suppose is inevitable. I remermber there were some collectors who justified the Atlas replicas by claiming they would bring younger collectors to the hobby, which was ridiculous. They merely became a cuckoo in the nest that marred values of the real thing.

Regarding Facebook, I dislike it too, but can't escape noticing the fact that there are active Dinky groups there with discussion that ought to be here. Of course, many of the users there would never pay for a DTCA membership, since they subscribe to the Internet-born notion that "information wants to be free" -- the same notion that has destroyed newspapers and other media around the world.

I yesterday saw the suggestion by someone on Facebook that a "What's App" group be created for Dinky collectors. I barely know what What's App is, except that it is apparently similar to texting. Ugh.

One thing is clear to me, and I hope I am not being snobbish by noting it: Even among people who enjoy the models and collect them, there is a lot of ignorance about DInky Toys on Facebook and elsewhere. (I fear many do not even realize that the Atlas replicas are not made from original tooling.)  I would like to see the DTCA continue to be the home for people who are, or wish to be, Dinky experts.

In addition to forum contributions by members, I think it would be wonderful if the DTCA website hosted a licensed and regularly updated version of the Dinky Toys Encyclopedia -- Jacques, if you read this what do you think? It is conveniently already written in HTML so putting it on the site would not be too challenging. Of course access to the Encyclopedia would be limited to paid members, just as The Times and other newspapers protect their content.

Regards,

Jonathan

fodenway's picture
fodenway
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DTCA MemberUK

i'm afraid that my view of the future for Dinky collecting is not so bright, for a few reasons.

It's over forty years since the last "true" Dinkies were made, and to be honest, most of the later models were not up to the standards of earlier years. So very few people under about forty five years old will have had them as new toys - that was the dawning of the age of electronic toys, which captured the imagination of those kids, and which is still very much with us today. Any child in the intervening years with an interest in toy vehicles would have had Matchbox, Corgi or Hotwheels - all still around today for those (of any age) who want to collect or play with them. Of course, the demise of toyshops generally, and the rise of online or direct marketing hasn't helped the casual buyer. Those of us who grew up with Dinkies will be "of a certain age", and not getting any younger!  I exhibit models and toys at many model and craft shows, vintage vehicle rallies and museums around the country throughout each year, and always try to take along a supply of DTCA application forms in a bid to attract new members, but I have noticed that most people will pick up a form (because it's attractively coloured?), stuff it in their pocket or bag, take it out later, look at it - and throw it away. So now, I try to explain a little about the Association before handing them a form, but most walk away, uninterested.  Sorry to sound so negative - but that's the way I see it. 

johnnyangel's picture
johnnyangel
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DTCA MemberUSA

Unfortunately I can only agree with everything you say. The situation is even more drastic in the States (where I reside) because the distribution of Dinky Toys was so poor in the 1960s under Lines Brothers. Matchbox, Corgi, and Hot Wheels ruled, and Dinky Toys faded from memory that much sooner.

(It used to be that people in the U.K. would call all model cars "Dinky Toys," the same way they would call vacuums Hoovers or public address speakers Tannoys. Do they still do this, or has that faded away? Dinkys never quite attained that stature on this side of the pond.)

Some have aired the view that the Atlas and De Agostini Dinky Toy replicas would improve the situation by somehow appealing to younger collectors. This was ridiculous: Their appeal -- deliberately replicating models rather than doing anything new for Dinky -- was, by design, to those who remembered the models from their childhood. The Atlas models have accelerated the decline in Dinky Toy values (which of course were going down anyway, because of demographics) and they now pollute eBay and even Vectis auctions.

janwerner's picture
janwerner
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DTCA MemberNetherlands

Hi Jon and Jan, I have deliberately waited for some days with my reaction, in order to see what comments would appear regarding Jonathan's post opening this discussion, and I must agree - what I expected more or less - that the lack of reactions is symptomatic indeed for the issue discussed here. We can try to explain, and both Jan and Jon did, and I generally agree. It would be so nice to exchange our views, experiences, observations etc. etc. here, but I guess not many of the DTCA members have the same drive as we have to do so. It's always difficult for me to understand why quite some collectors seem to spend enormous amounts of money on Vectis and other auctions but apparently do not have any questions or remarks about their new additions and just put them on the shelve, or in a drawer. Or, that collectors who have completed their collections do not have any satisfaction anymore in sharing their experience with other collectors on the forum here. Well, I can go on and on arguing ...

Unfortunately I must disagree with Jan in that more forum contributions should be included as articles in The Journal. It is my experience that the readers whom I know do not like these 'reproductions' of forum contributions in The Journal. In my own opinion forum contributions do not need to have the same level as real articles, especially as language, style and completeness is concerned. They are discussion pieces, proposals, waiting for comments, additions and corrections. A slight overlap is possible of course - if only to refer to the existence of both DTCA media, vice versa. Both media should, however. be complementary and only overlap in some instances. Having to complete a Journal issue with long pieces from the Forum is a weakness in my opinion. Fortunately the October issue contained a lot of 'grown up' articles and no 'second hand' Forum stuff.

As for me, I enjoy delivering contributions to the Forum, but, indeed, sometimes I wonder for whom. Perhaps only for myself, because I cannot help researching, writing, photographing etc about everything related to Dinky Toys. And the Forum is a fine, quick, easy stage to share new additions, discoveries and results. But still, I secretly hope that more individuals than me alone like them and will be inspired to start or continue this lovely hobby, or join in the discussion. Kind regards, Jan  

 

binnsboy650
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DTCA MemberUK

I am also of the opinion that, primarily, the Dinky collector of today was a child of the 40s, 50s, or 60s. I'm a case in point. It's one of the reasons I don't particularly like the later Dinkys. Windows, jewelled headlights, steering, opening doors, bonnets, and boots all destroy the purity of the earlier toys.

If the DTCA is to thrive it needs children to begin playing with Dinkys as we played with them. The trouble is that now children are being inculcated with ideas that personal transport is poisoning the planet and that if something doesn't have batteries it's not green. 

I also feel that cutting and pasting items from the Forum into The Journal is counter-productive. I relish seeing articles on subjects NOT dealt with here.

Sadly, we are a dwindling band. Let's try and make our twilight enjoyable.

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish every member a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

John

johnnyangel's picture
johnnyangel
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DTCA MemberUSA

John,

I heartily agree with you on the subject of sending each member a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year. May your stockings be filled with shiny new Dinky Toys, or at least your dreams filled with thoughts of the same!

I gently disagree about not liking later Dinky Toys, but will not belabor the point. As my collecting friends know, I appreciate *every* Dinky Toy, as long as it was a product of Meccano Ltd. We can disagree with the decisions the company sometimes made -- ironic that Dinkys came full circle, from toys that were slightly fanciful (no exact prototype) back to the same again (Convoy series -- but all real Dinky Toys had integrity in that they were designed to appeal to children (not adults) and they were original, not copies of anything!

Cheers,

Jon

 

johnnyangel's picture
johnnyangel
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DTCA MemberUSA

Thank you for another response, which again I am inclined to agree with. Like you, Jan, I do not understand why some collectors will acquire expensive items and not feel intellectually curious about them or interested in discussing them with others. Yes, we are all eccentric in one way or another, but that does not mean we have to be solitary as well!

I am also in the camp of being disappointed when Forum contributions are reproduced in the Journal. Not so much because Forum contributions are on a different level from actual articles (although that is quite true), but because I have already read  them when they appeared on the Forum (are there that many members who do not use the Internet?). When I receive the much-anticipated Journal I want something new, not a "re-run."

As a retired magazine editor, however, I know that with a planned number of pages to print, one must make do with what one has. If more members would submit articles second-hand Forum stuff would never be required!

Regarding the decline in Dinky collecting and the related decline in DTCA membership, it is possible to become depressed about this and to start thinking that participation is pointless. Looking at it another way, however -- and with apologies if I sound pompous -- we here are veterans. Not veterans of anything as significant and difficult as a war, but veterans nonetheless of a significant and wonderful era in toy-making and collecting. 

Any group of veterans will decline in number as the years pass. But therefore it should be all the more important for those who remain to band together, and remember.

johnnyangel's picture
johnnyangel
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DTCA MemberUSA

On the subject of clubs, and French models, does anyone here know much about the Club Dinky France? There seems to be little awareness of this Club in the English-speaking community, and I for one don't know if this club still exists. It doesn't appear to have a website that I could find, but one must be out there ...

All I know of the CDF is their variety of (mostly rather clever -- if only Atlas had also been original) models based on Dinky designs. Most produced for them by Ian Law, as far as I know. But Club Dinky France magazines are also available from eBay sellers. From what I can see there, they are attractive with nice color photographs, but not very much text to go with it.

 

fodenway's picture
fodenway
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DTCA MemberUK

I'm also fascinated by this Club - I have an example of their Buick stationwagon, a thing of beauty which sits very nicely alongside my Dinky sedan. I haven't been able to find a website as such, but I found an image of a CDF Citroen 2CV van in CDF livery, with what I assume to be an address on the side panels - "Club Dinky France B.P. 5117  14079 Caen  Cedex 5". Maybe this will be of help, or perhaps one of our French members has more information.

Richard's picture
Richard
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DTCA MemberFrance

Hi Kevin and Jonathan.

I was a member of the "Club Dinky France". Unfortunately, two years ago, I forgot to pay my annual subscription and they never wrote me to revive me. And then, later, when I realized that I did not receive the magazine anymore I decided to stop my collaboration with Guy Girod the club's founder. I participated a lot to the magazine, with Meccano stand pictures, with articles on Meccano France, and photos on special colour models and so on ...... I was a little bit desapointed !

Any way, show must go on !!

It was an email address where you could write but I don't know if it still exist : clubdinkyfrance@gmail.com

If you want more informations I will try to answer.

Kind regards

Richard

johnnyangel's picture
johnnyangel
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DTCA MemberUSA

I have a few of the models, such as the 2CV van, the Buick station wagon, and the twin-engined 2CV Sahara. They were not purchased from the club directly, but rather -- in plain white boxes -- from eBay sellers or from Ian Law directly.

Unfortunately my sample of the Buick wagon, which is otherwise a wonderful creation, is badly marred by being painted as if the windscreen were surrounded by wood trim. (I recall years ago complaining about this to Law, but he did not want to know.)

Real car above, unfortunately incorrect model below ....

 

Jan Oldenhuis's picture
Jan Oldenhuis
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DTCA MemberNetherlands

I misinterpreted the format of the DTCA Journal. In the past, several discussions from the forum has been included in the DTCA Journal. I assumed the forum was a regular feature for the editor of the DTCA Journal. Hence my comment on that.

I understand the opposition to that, because members want to read something new and not forum discussions that have already been read. My apologies to the editor of the Journal. There is nothing wrong with the contents of the Journal and I enjoy reading it. I appreciate the effort to find sufficient articles to write each quarter. I would like to emphasize that.

Kind regards, Jan Oldenhuis

fodenway's picture
fodenway
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DTCA MemberUK

As one who often visits this forum, I must admit that I tend to skip most forum items in the Journal, but there may well be a number of members who are not online, and don't have access to the forum, so for them such articles will be new. Another point is that if we all contributed just one article to Mike, there might not be the need to include forum snippets to fill out the magazine. I must also admit that I am guilty myself, having contributed very little over the years of my membership - a situation which I intend to rectify in the future.

Wishing you all a happy Christmas and a New Year full of collecting successes !