The Farmyard Animals Gift sets were produced pre-war and post-war. The primary visual difference was that the painting was much less detailed in the post war version.
Above is shown my post-war version, I do not own a pre-war set although I do own a number of individual animals and I intend to look at some of these in more detail later.
I am sorry but for some reason, only known to itself the site will not allow me to upload the photograph of the gift set.
Here are two of the 2a Post-war horses.
Note the significant difference in weight between the two. I only noticed this today when I was rearranging the cabinet.
I suspect the darker one is made from lead and the lighter coloured one is made from mazac.
Your set must be an early post-war one because the hoofs of the cows and horses are painted black. Later on they were not.
What about some pictures of the animal's bellies ?
The pre-war animals were marked "HORNBY SERIES" until the war. The drawing for the jobs 5351, 5352, 5353 and 5354 was altered in May 52 before this set was re-issued to change the marking to "MADE IN ENGLAND". So far, I do not have any evidence about the different markings else than a copy of the drawing.
This is the early 1934 set. Note that the animals on the lid are the French ones. Does this mean that the dies for the French and the English sets have been made in England and that the wrong set of dies has been shipped to Paris ?
The same box was used from late 1934 until the production of toys stoped in 1941 but the marking "MODELLED MINIATURES HORNBY SERIES" WAs changed to "DINKY TOYS MANUFACTURED BY MECCANO LTD. ENGLAND"
Here are the undersides.
There is evidence of lettering using a magnifying glass but the paint is so thick it is totally undecipherable. This is not unusual with post-war animals.
They definitely are Dinky, this was verified by Peter Golden.
A copy of the comment by Dinkycollect of Wed, 08/20/2014 - 13:33#1:
Thank you for these interesting pictures.
The marking (or rather the lack of marking) of your heavy lead horse seem to indicate that it was made after 1952.
And my own contribution, showing the final appearance of this set, with a minimum of added detail in the picture below.
Kind regards, Jan