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Jan Oldenhuis's picture
Jan Oldenhuis
DTCA MemberNetherlands

--27n and 301 Field Marshall Tractor (1953-66) and the process of renumbering.

I have 2 versions of this tractor about which I searched some information. In my search I came across some interesting details about this model and his base plate in the process of renumbering. This aroused my interest in the process of renumbering and went to investigate when this process in practice started and ended, which result I also show in my contribution.

The Field-Marshall tractor was introduced in October 1953 in Meccano Magazine with sales number 27n.

Introduction Field-Marshall tractor 27N and Gift Set No. 4 in MM October 1953.

Introduction Field-Marshall tractor series 3a by the Toyman in MM November 1953.

The Field Marshall was always issued in orange colour en had 3 versions:

  1. metal wheels, silver hubs, orange exhaust and tan cast driver.
  2. metal wheels, green hubs, black exhaust and tan cast driver.
  3. black rubber tyres, green plastic hubs, black exhaust and blue plastic driver.

My Field-Marshall tractor 1st version.

My 2 main versions Field-Marshall tractor: left 1st version – right 2nd version.

2 main versions Field-Marshall tractor.

Base plate Field-Marshall with sales number 301. Partly engraved and partly embossed. Note the not fully embossed 0 in the number.

Dinky Toys Field-Marshall 2nd version base plate with fully embossed number 301.

Dinky Toys price list UK 1st October 1953 with 27n Field-Marshall tractor.

Nostalgic Dinky Boy on Price list October 1953.

When the Field-Marshall tractor were issued in October 1953, the upcoming renumbering was already taken into account. According drawing details in the list on page 178 GBDT shown below, the assembly drawing dates 25.11.52 and the drawing of the base dates 22.10.52. According the announcement in MM October 1953 was the intention to give sales number 27n to the Field-Marshall tracor in line of the other 27 series farm models. This changed during the preparation of this model on 16.6.53 on the drawing of the base Job No. 13857 where is stated: 16-6-53 sales now 301.

Details drawing Field-Marshall tractor Job no. 13857 in GBDT that stated: 16.6.53 sales now 301.

Classification list of embossed Dinky Toys bases p 218 GBDT.

It’s interesting to know that there perhaps might have been something special with the base plate of the Field-Marshall tractor considering the above classification list of embossed Dinky Toy bases dated 15-11-51, but the Field-Marshall was issued after that date.

The Massey-Harris farm tractor is classified C which means: Bases with lettering limited in size by the space available. That’s why the base of the Massey-Harris could not get a sales number because of too little space for it. The base of the Massey-Harris has front 9 mm and back 23 mm, but the base of the Field-Marshall has front 14 mm and 27 mm on the back as space for the number. So, the Field-Marshall had, as shown below, enough space for the number 301 in the base.

Outside that is the base plate very peculiar as it is partly engraved and partly embossed. This means that the base plate is also printed twice (separately?) That is also the case with the Massey-Harris tractor and I know examples of the Bedford Articulated Lorry which I own. May be Jacques Dujardin can explain that.

Base plate Massey-Harris tractor without sales number. Base 9 mm front and 23 mm back.

Base plate Field-Marshall tractor with sales number 301. Base 14 mm front and 27 mm back.

Process of renumbering:

To solve problems with the old numerical + alphabetical numbering system of Dinky Toys sales numbering, they decided, somewhere in the early 50's, to start a process of renumbering according a classification list below with a new system of numbering.

The new numbering did away with alphabet characters completely, and was based on the allocation of blocks of 50 or 100 numbers to the different types of models, and in some cases mini-blocks of 10 or 20 numbers within a main block to further sub-divide the type of model. (DT & MM).

Classification list with the renumbering system p 296 Dinky Toys & Modelled Miniatures.

But when did the renumbering actually start in practice and when did it ended? I try to show it in chronological order.

I researched all new models issued from 1953 till 1956 in MM. It turned out that:

1) the 23k Talbot-Lago racing car in September 1953 was the last issue produced with the old numerical + alphabetical number 23k and base plate 23k

Introduction 23k Talbot-Lago racing car in MM September 1953. Last issue of the old numbering system.

23k Talbot-Lago racing car introduced in September 1953. Last issue with old number in the base plate. Photo Ebay.

23k Talbot-Lago racing car. Last issue of the old numbering system that also got a dual numbered box. Photo Ebay.

As to see on drawing list p 174 GBDT above, the 23k and all post-war 23 series racing cars were 8.11.54 renumbered.

Renumber 230 in base plate and box Talbot-Lago racing car on 8-11-54 according drawing list. Photo Ebay.

 2) the Field-Marshall was the first issue that received a new number 301 on the base instead of the intended 27N as announced in MM October 1953. In fact the Field-Marshall was the 1st issue of the renumbering which also got a dual numbered box 301-27n.

Drawing detail base Field-Marshall tractor: 16.6.53 sales now 301.

It turned out that from October 1953 onwards all new models received a number according to the classification list of renumbering and therefore it can be assumed that from October 1953 onwards the renumbering was fully implemented from that time.

GBDT states for the year 1953: Introduction of renumbering from figures plus letter suffix to all figure numbers. These are most railway accessoiries shown below and also to find on page 168 in 15th Ramsay catalogue.

Renumbering miniature figures in DT catalogue UK 1954

For the sake of completeness it has to be noticed that in 1953 the process of renumbering already partly had started with the issue of 2 new models according to the new numbering system: 752 Goods Yard Crane (February) and 771 International Road Signs (August). The rest of all new models in 1953 issued till October (ca. 11 models) all got an old number.

The 752 Goods Yard Crane was first classified as a Dinky Toys (Railway) accessoire (750-799 range), but was in March 1955 with 17 other models re-classified as Dinky Supertoy and got renumber 973 (see announcement in MM March 1955 below). 

Remarkable is that of these 17 models were 12 models already marked as Dinky Super Toys in the base and 5 models were for that marked as Dinky Toys in the base, namely:

555 Fire Engine with Extending Ladder; 752 Goods Yard Crane; 582 Pullmore Car Transporter; 591 A.E.C. Tanker and 702 D.H. Comet Airliner.

MM March 1955. 17 Dinky Toys re-classified as Dinky Supertoys.

The latest date of renumbering according drawing lists in GBDT I could find was 1 September 1955 of the 14c Coventry Climax Fork Lift Truck when it got renumber 401.

Cecil Gibson shows a re-numbering table of which 9 models were twice renumbered: first in 1954 and second in 1956. These are:

511 Guy 4-ton lorry: 1954 to 911 and 1956 to 431

512 Guy flat truck: 1954 to 912 and 1956 to 432

513 Guy flat truck with tail-board: 1954 to 913 and 1956 to 433

521 Bedford articulated lorry: 1954 to 921 and 1956 to 409

522 Big Bedford lorry: 1954 to 922 and 1956 to 408

531 Leyland Comet lorry: 1954 to 931 and 1956 to 417

532 Leyland Comet lorry with hinged tailboard: 1954 to 932 and 1956 to 418

533 Leyland cement wagon: 1954 to 933 and 1956 to 419

551 Trailer: 1954 to 951 and 1956 to 428

All these 9 models changed in 1956 from classification Dinky Supertoys name on base and box to Dinky Toys name on base and box. They changed from the 900 Supertoy range numbers to the 400 Commercial Vehicles range numbers.

So, I may assume that the renumbering ended in 1956.

Below an overview of the first new models issued from October 1953 onwards in MM according the classification list of renumbering.

Note: In December 1953, January and Februari 1954 were no new models issued: "The demand for the Dinky Toys that are already in production is still so enormous that it has been quite impossible as yet to squeeze any new ones in." stated MM January 1954. 

MM November 1953 with announcement new model, Scout Car with number 673 according renumbering list.

MM March 1954 with announcement of 2 new models with the numbers 157 and 623 according the renumbering system.

1st advertisement and introduction of renumbering in MM March 1954.

Note: What strikes is that the 555 Fire Engine was already announced in MM March 1954 with renumber 955, while the date of change on the drawing list of the base, first stated 14.1.55, when it also changed from Dinky Toys to Dinky Supertoys.

Drawing list 555 Fire Engine with details about the base.

1st Dual numbered Meccano price list UK 1st April 1954 with 301-27n Field-Marshall tractor.

Nostalgic Dinky Boy on price list April 1954.

Dinky Toys 301 in Dinky Toys catalogue UK July 1954. Note that the green hubs have changed from silver to green after such a short time. 

Dual numbered picture box Field-Marshall tractor. Photo Ebay.

Dual numbered dealers trade box of three Field-Marshall tractor. Photo Vectis.

In the transit period of the renumbering were for the Field-Marshall tractor a yellow dual numbered picture box and a grey/brown? dual numbered cardboard trade box of three issued with the numbers 301 and 27N. Regarding the picture of the trade box it looks like that the trade box contained 3 boxed tractors? I could not find any further information about this trade box.

301 in Dutch Dinky Toys catalogue 1962 with wrong tan cast driver. 3rd version.

On the image above in Dutch DT catalogue 1962 is the 301 shown with black rubber tyres, green plastic hubs, black exhaust and tan cast driver. This is the existing 3rd version, but I have never seen this model with a tan cast driver. It is a mistake in the image because this model is according the list on page 40 GBDT below, since 1962 issued with a blue plastic driver as pictured below. Vectis also shows this model only with a blue plastic driver. This error in the image remained in all catalogues till 1965.

List with details 27n (301) p 40 GBDT.

3rd version Dinky Toys 301 with blue plastic driver. Photo the Saleroom.

Drawing Field-Marshall tractor in Ramsay 15th edition.

There is a small unreadable factory drawing of the Field-Marshall tractor printed in Ramsay 15th edition catalogue. It is a pity that it is apparently not in the hands of the DTCA and included in the PDF library for information to DTCA members.

Below I show pictures of the real Field-Marshall series 3a produced in 1953.

Jan Oldenhuis 5 november 2018

janwerner's picture
DTCA MemberNetherlands

Perhaps the drawing pictures below will be of help to you, Jan. The first one demonstrates the long-time knock-on-effect of the renumbering operations in the mid-1950s. It is sheet 6 of a long 19 sheets Index to Dinky Toy Job Lists, redrawn on 13 September 1961 and still includes references to the old catalogue numbers which were discontinued many years before.

The second is a better picture of the assy shown by you and referred to in sheet 6 as job no. 13855. This drawing was included in the October 2000 auction catalogue by Christie's South Kensington of the Richardson Collection. I cut it into two pieces and manipulated the visibility a little bit in order to present optimal data information. They overlap slightly so you might even consider to re-stitch them. Kind regards, Jan   

Jan Oldenhuis's picture
Jan Oldenhuis
DTCA MemberNetherlands

Jan, amazing. What a wonderful additional information. Very valuable if you can collect this kind of information through auction catalogues. I do not follow auctions like that, but it does produce very valuable information. I focus more on DT catalogues.

I hoped for a readable drawing of the Field-Marshall and that has now been added by you. Many thanks for that.

I hoped to be able to see changes to the Driver Job No 12907 from cast to plastic driver. But I do not see that. I see mentioned Wheel Job No 60001 + 60686 and Tyre job No 60687 + 60689 (14-11 ?? - 61), not clearly readable, that probably refers to the change from metal wheels to plastic hubs and rubber tires. Axle Job 12945 was Job 12946 at 28 -8-5 ?? (date also difficult to read). If it was 28-8-53, it was before introduction in October 1953. I do not see directly difference in axles between my version 1 and 2. I must confess that I am a beginner in reading and explaining this kind of drawings.

The index to Dinky Toy Job Lists is also very special. Very valuable information. I count 53 consecutive numbers on sheet 6 x 19 sheets = a total of 1007 consecutive numbers which could filled in with a new model. Funny to see number 272 Motor Cycle Patrol - Netherlands is the ANWB Motor Cycle Patrol which was introduced in 1959 and deleted in 1962. All very valuable information and nice to have. It also shows that the process of renumbering was accurately administered. It is a pity that the list does not show the date of the renumbering per sales number. That would help me to more accurately reflect the renumbering process.

Do you know if Meccano Liverpool for the Dinky Toys also made separate Paint Job Lists for the colours that have to applied to the models? That would make it easier to determine existing colour variations or combinations in the models.

Kind regards, Jan O.

micromodels's picture
DTCA Member

Hi Jan,  Thought you might like to see the Field Marshall tractor with rubber tyres (etc) but fitted with a metal driver.  I assume it was to use up the metal drivers until the plastic ones came on line.   The same applies to 300 Massey-Harris as both the tinplate seat version with rubber tyres and pillar seat version can be fitted with a metal driver.

Ron F

Jan Oldenhuis's picture
Jan Oldenhuis
DTCA MemberNetherlands

Hi Ron and Jan. Ron, Many thanks for your comment with photo.

Your statement seems very plausible to me. It is also not to be found on the assembly drawing list and I have also found out that dates from changes by Meccano Liverpool should not always be taken strictly.

Jan, about my question about the existence of Paint Job Lists I have now found an answer on page 216 GBDT. I had completely overlooked this.

Kind regards, Jan O

dinkycollect's picture
DTCA MemberFrance

Jan O,

An interesting thread.

The drawing which is for the variation with tyres  mentions : "words "spin seat spigots" deleted" and date 16 06 65 certainly relates to the change from metal to platic driver. Job No 12907 is the plastic driver. I have not yet found the job N° for the metal driver.

60 001 is for front plastic hub
60 686 is for rear plastic hub

"Job 60 687 & 30 389 added" relates to the change of metal to rubber tyres. Sorry, I can not read the date, probably 14 2 61.


                                                                                      Picture by courtesy of Vectis Auctions.

I have found on Vectis this rare early 301 yellow box which might help and complete your research.

The renumbering was probably done during only one or two days when the list of new numbers was added to the existing alpha numerical list. From that day the new boxes were printed when needed with the dual references over a period of perhaps a year. You will never find a list of the dates when new boxes have been printed and made available on the market.



An interesting picture of the rare Field Marshall with tyres and metal driver. Unfortunately, the framing of the picture is bad. Would you have a picture showing the entire model ?

Jan Oldenhuis's picture
Jan Oldenhuis
DTCA MemberNetherlands

Jacques, thank you very much for your highly appreciated and very instructive addition.

Your findings are exactly in line with the implementation of the blue plastic driver on the 300 Massey-Harris/Massey Ferguson that logically also took place in the same period. I therefore also show the details of 27a / 300 on page 38 GBDT.

Jan O.