The Vespa in Miniature – Part Four “Small Frames”

By Dave Turner

A table listing all known models and photographs of some by the Author can be seen after the article.

These budget level machines were briefly mentioned in an earlier article. They were conceived in order take advantage of the absence of regulation for 50cc motor cycles in Italy and a few other countries. Previously the realm of mopeds Piaggio created these diminutive but similarly ‘Vespa-styled’ scooters to grab a bit of the market. They became known by the term ‘smallframes’ to distinguish them from the established ‘full-size’ Vespas and from their initial introduction in 1962 became big sellers and lasted into the 1990s, by which time over 4 million had been sold around the world.
In 1964 two variants of the 50 were produced, the 50N and the 50S, the latter boasting 4 speeds, and in 1972 it was still going strong with four versions selling well.  The Special and Elestart had square headlights while the 50N and Sprinter retained the traditional circular pattern.

Models of the smallest engined Vespa have come in all sizes from 1:43 to 1:12, the smallest being the little plastic item from Vitesse that often accompanied a 1:43 Fiat 500 although the example here came in its own box marked ‘1955’ for some reason. A tad larger are the 1:32 examples of the 50SS from CLM while slightly bigger again at 1:24 is the 50 Elestart from Mercury and the 50s from Tamiya, the latter forming part of a plastic collection called ‘Campus Friends’ comprising five figures and a kit to build the Vespa.
Maisto/Edicola are the principle makers of little Vespas and they have provided 1:18 scale 50s in regular; 50L Luxury: 50 special and Elestart versions.

A 1:13 diecast 50R found by the Author has no makers mark visible, the box must have been mislaid, and the make regrettably forgotten. A fraction larger at 1:12 are the Minichamps 50R and 50 Special, while these weren’t inexpensive, at least £25, they do offer removable both engine cover and spare wheel behind the apron.
IN 1964 the 90cc version arrived, the larger engine in the small light frame providing much livelier performance. Spanish built versions of the 90 were imported into the UK, the little 50cc not being sold here until 1968. A 90SS Super Sport version arrived in 1965 and provided a performance that could match 200cc engined machines. They featured narrower legshields while the spare wheel was located between the riders knees, topped off by a dummy fuel tank that doubled as a toolbox.

Models of the sporty 90SS in 1:32 came from both New Ray and Hi Tech while in the larger 1:18 size Maisto/Edicola have produced the 90 Sella Lunga as well as the 90SS.

An even bigger engine was put into the smallframe Vespa in 1966 when the 125 version arrived. This was called the Primevera and developed into the 125 ET3 – indication electronic ignition and a third port in the engine layout, and eventually the ET3 Vintage.
Starting with the smallest, New Ray did a 1:32 scale ET3 while the inevitable Maisto/Edicola operation offered the 125 in both Primevera and ET3 forms.

The many models of these ‘smallframe’ Vespas reflect the number of variants in the series. Even though there is very little significant visual difference between many of the models it is interesting to see that what small changes took place are reflected in the various models. For example, the shape of the speedometer, the design of tail light and location of toolbox are all depicted – if you know what to look for.

Model LIsting
Vitesse Portugal 50 1:43 plastic
Edicola China AC046 50 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC017 90 Sella Lunga 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 39540 90 Sella Lunga 1:18 diecast
New Ray China 2014 90SS 1:32 diecast
Maisto China 3187 90SS 1:18 diecast
CLM HiTech 024 50SS 1:32
CLM HiTech 016 90SS 1:32
Edicola China AC013 50L 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 4333 50L 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 4274 125 Primevera 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC009 125 Primevera 1:18 diecast
New Ray China 57553 125 Primevera 1:12 diecast
Edicola China AC012 50 Special 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC003 90SS 1:18 diecast
Edicola China AC043 50 Elestart 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 4277 50 Special 1:18 diecast
Mercury 553 50 Elestart 1:24 diecast
Minichamps China 122129600 50R 1:12 diecast
Minichamps China 122129620 50 Special 1:12 diecast
Minichamps China 122129660 125 Primevera 1:12 diecast
Tamiya Japan 2434-500 50S 1:24 plastic kit
Unknown 50R 1:13 diecast
Edicola China AC007 125 Primevera ET3 1:18 diecast
Maisto China 4276 125 Primevera ET3 1:18 diecast
New Ray China 6047 125 Primevera ET3 1:32 diecast



Vitesse 1:43 plastic from Portugal: 1963 Vespa 50

Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 4333, 1966 50L

Unknown make 1:13 diecast: 1972 50R

Minichamps 1:12 diecast from China: 122129600, 1972 50R

Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 4274, 1968 125 Primevera.

Maisto 1:18 diecast from China: 4276, 1976 125 Primevera ET3.

Tamiya 1:24 plastic kit from Japan: 2434-500, 1972 50s

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The Ford Car in Miniature – 1941 and 1942

By Dave Turner

A detailed model listing and photographs taken by the Author of some of the models described may be found at the end of the written article.

Fords for 1941 received a new body that at first glance looked very similar to the 1940 but came on a two inch longer wheelbase and they were no less than seven inches wider inside than the preceding cars. That it looked familiar was no doubt due to the fact that it was shared with the contemporary Mercury, removing the need for two separate production lines.

Three Ford levels for 1941 were the top spec Super De Luxe, the De luxe and the new low spec ‘Special’.  A new in-line six of 225 cubic inches replaced the previous small V8 as a second choice to the long running larger V8 and this new unit came as standard in the new “Special” or as a $15 delete option on the Super De Luxe and De luxe models. Top level cars can be identified by having all three grilles plated, heavier bumpers and fine plated trim on the fenders.

Body choices were a Coupe in three, four or six seat layout, Tudor and Fordor Sedans, Convertible and Station Wagon. The latter were produced at Fords Iron Mountain plant while the Convertibles were made in the Lincoln factory. The 29 Millionth Ford was a 1941 Station Wagon that was donated by Edsel Ford to the American Red Cross. One milestone in 1941 was a Ford car with a body made of fibrous formaldehyde plastic, the first plastic bodied car in the US. Another was the first of many Ford produced Jeeps, although initially the bodies had to be made at the old Auburn factory due to a lack of space.

Models of the 1941s are few and far between for some reason but starting off with the AMT 1:25 plastic kit for a Station Wagon, despite it being labelled as “Custom’, box art provides a hope that it may be able to be built stock. For those of us with the desire to keep the collection free of police vehicles, the one benefit of having such models made is that the basic subject is often later made available in its ‘civilian’ form. This is the case with the White Rose range of police vehicles, their very nice 1941 Tudor in Pennsylvania Motor Police livery (MAR 184) subsequently made an appearance in civilian guise under the Fleer label (MAR 186) and yet again in the American Heritage range, so the model in non-police form has been readily available.

Around ten years earlier, Durham Classics in Canada added a 1941 Coupe to their range of 1:43 scale metal models. Initially this was a special issue of 350 in black for the 1994 Toronto Toy show while the later standard issue was in beige. A further limited edition of 250 were produced in maroon. These Coupes featured correct fluted bumpers for the Super De Luxe version together with appropriate plating on central and side grilles as well as the optional rear fender skirts. A bench type rear seat suggests that it depicts the six seat Sedan Coupe. Three years later an open Convertible version was added, the dark green version limited to 250 while just 50 of a special issue in metallic blue followed. Naturally a closed version was also produced, 250 were made in black.

No attempt has been made to create a catalogue of models of Ford built Jeeps, but in acknowledgement a representative example has been included and it came from the Gems and Cobwebs range of metal models. This depicts the Ford GPW that was the equivalent of the Willys MB wartime Jeep. A further Jeep marked as a Ford came from Minimac of Brazil and this depicts the Brazilian made Jeep CJ5, the production of which was carried out by Ford between 1967 and 1983. This represents the post war civilian version that began in 1945 as the Willys CJ2A and continued being developed until the CJ5 arrived in 1954. The model provides an interesting comparison with the GPW model.

More substantial changes came with the 1942 cars, but it was probably not realised just how short the 1942 production period was going to last. The future for the US was changed on December 7th 1941 when the Japanese joined the Germans in a bid to destroy the world by attempting to wipe out Pearl Harbour. These new for 1942 cars were an inch lower by the use of a lower frame and springs while the body sides were now almost full width having no real running boards. Rubber stone guards were fixed to the leading edge of the rear fenders that were now in danger of being peppered with objects that the running boards would have previously deflected. One-piece fenders were quicker to fabricate than the previous multi-piece items while the demand to reduce material content because of military requirements resulted in a new pressed rather than cast grille, small parking lights inboard of the headlights and the gradual elimination of all bright parts by December 19th. The manufacture of white wall tyres had already been stopped during August.

The inevitable happened on February 10th 1942 when production of all vehicles for private use was stopped and the production lines turned over to Jeep manufacture. It was to be July 3rd 1945 before some form of normality returned.

Apart from models of Jeeps the only miniature of a non-commercial 1942 Ford found so far comes from a predictable military plastic kit but rather ironically from Tamiya as No 59 in their 1:48 Military Miniature Series. Including a diecast base it is a quite complex and intricate looking kit but should enable a perfectly acceptable civilian Fordor Sedan to be produced.

Model Listing
AMT USA 1999 30052 Station Wagon 1:25 plastic kit
American Heritage China 202 Tudor Sedan Super De luxe 115mm 1:43 metal
Fleer China 2004 6336 Tudor Sedan Super De Luxe 115mm 1:43 metal
Durham Classics Canada 1994 15 Sedan Coupe 113mm 1:43 metal
Durham Classics Canada 1997 20 Convertible open 113mm 1:43 metal
Durham Classics Canada 1997 21 Convertible closed 113mm 1:43 metal
Gems & Cobwebs UK 70 GPW  Jeep 75mm 1:43 metal
Minimac Brazil A1 CJ5 Jeep 76mm 1:43 metal
Tamiya Japan 2008 32559 Fordor Sedan 110mm 1:48 metal/plastic kit
Illustrations: Ford 1941/2

Durham Classics 1:43 metal from Canada: 20, Super De Luxe Convertible.

Fleer 1:43 metal from China: 2004, Super De Luxe Tudor Sedan.

American Heritage 1:43 metal from China: 202, Super De Luxe Tudor Sedan – civilian version of White Rose police models.

Durham Classics 1:43 metal from Canada: 15, Super De Luxe Sedan Coupe.

Gems & Cobwebs 1:43 metal from UK: 70, GPW.

Minimac 1:43 metal from Brazil: A1, CJ5 civilian version of Jeep.

Tamiya 1:48 metal and plastic kit from Japan: 32559 Fordor Sedan.

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Atlas Dinky Trucks 917 Guy Van Spratts

By Maz Woolley


A second outing for the Guy van but in this case it is as 917 and not 514 which has previously been seen bearing Lyons Livery. The Spratts livery was introduced on 514 in 1953  and this appears to be the only livery carried forward in 1954 renumbered as 917. Some adverse collector comments have been posted elsewhere as all the Atlas paperwork and your account details on the websites states that this should be  a Guy Vixen Roberston’s Golden Shred Lorry which would have been a popular choice.

The replica has been produced to the same standard as the Lyons model and is very nice. Although on inspection the cab appears to be twisted at the bottom of the driver’s door area behind the fornt wheel and it seem to me that this can only have happened when the casting was removed still warm.

The rear doors operate as the originals would have done. The Spratt’s logo and text are printed crisply and it gives the van a very period feel.

At present Atlas expect this range to run to 30 releases so there is scope for the Robertson’s to appear yet!

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Find them on

Editorial April 2017

This is the time of year when many model collectors’ clubs have their Annual General Meetings and look forward to a new year of meetings and events. Many of them also support local charities and attend events to publicise model collecting. As Editor of MAR Online, I am sent courtesy copies of magazines produced by clubs in the UK and North America and they are always full of interesting articles as well as pictures of “show and tell” sessions with some really lovely models.

There are other clubs which focus only on one brand of model such as the Brooklin Collectors Club which has members worldwide, and where the magazine is their main means of communication. In the case of the bigger model producers, these clubs are often run by the manufacturer, which often seems to limit what can be said in terms of constructive criticism . Brooklin is currently the only brand-based collectors club on our collectors club page. We are also missing any clubs formed out of interest in one theme or car marque, such as Agricultural machinery, Ferraris, Volkswagens etc but we know they are out there. We would also be happy to publicise details of any club for collectors of vehicles, ships or aircraft. including those dealing with one brand, collecting theme, or scale.

Oxford Diecast has an interesting approach to their collectors. There are very active Oxford Diecast Facebook pages covering both their models and wishes for new models, but they are not owned by Oxford. They are independent pages moderated by collectors themselves. Oxford announce new models on the Facebook group just ahead of their public announcement to show appreciation to their loyal collectors, and will occasionally comment on issues like delays to releases. I am sure that they also keep an eye on collectors’ views. Oxford themselves produce a monthly magazine which is available to everyone on their website to show their new models and to give an insight into Oxford’s activities.

Many manufacturers have a Website and Facebook page which seem to be run by their marketing department and which do not really engage with their collectors. These websites or social media links seem to be an afterthought which contain a stream of marketing information and sometimes even that only updated occasionally. This is a missed opportunity to engage with potential and existing customers and to know what they think. Other manufacturers and distributors actively use email to keep everyone up to date with some, like Autocult, providing a lot of detail about their forthcoming releases.

The internet also allows manufacturers and retailers to send regular emails to collectors. These vary from factual descriptions and pictures of forthcoming releases to more chatty blog-style emails. In other cases manufacturers have a blog built into their website. The Brooklin Diary is a good example of this which is followed keenly by Brooklin collectors. It offers insights into the development and production of models and not just computer- based impressions.

In addition to gathering on Facebook and on manufacturers’ websites, collectors can get together at face-to-face events. As previously mentioned, clubs might have annual meetings, but MAR Online’s US Editor notes that there are not many clubs in the US where collectors can meet up in person. Hot Wheels and, to a lesser extent, Matchbox are very popular, however. There are several national conventions for Hot Wheels; last year, the 16th Annual Hot Wheels Nationals was held in the US Editor’s hometown of Indianapolis. These events have a lot of associated merchandise. The other large Hot Wheels convention, the 30th Hot Wheels Annual Collectors Convention, was held in Los Angeles in 2016. These two are run by the same organisers as east coast and west coast events.

Matchbox has one major US convention held every year held in Albuquerque, New Mexico: the Matchbox Gathering of Friends Convention. Local clubs exist in a few large cities as well, such as the Illinois Matchbox Collectors Club in Chicago.

Because the USA is so spread out, no other large face-to-face meetings for other scales and other manufacturers are known to the US Editor. However, there is one exception for a small select group of 1:43 scale collectors. In March of every year since 2010 a group of 1:43 scale model car collectors gets together in Chicago. Chicago is in the middle of the USA, so it is convenient for many people. Most participants come from the eastern USA, however, and some travel 500 miles or more. Activities include a Ferrari memorabilia show at a local Maserati dealership or a trip to a local model car shop. The main events are the Route 66 ‘new release party’ and the Countryside Toy Show where many of the tables are for 1:43 scale collectors. Additional activities include lots of food and drink, diecast versus resin debates, discussion of the latest releases etc! The 20 or so folk who attend the event all communicate with each other via Forum 43; no one wants to miss Chicago Pizza night at Giordano’s! One of the attendees posted photos here.

So with all the different avenues to communicate with fellow collectors and manufacturers, collecting need not be a solitary pursuit. Why not join a club, follow a Facebook page, or participate on a bulletin board if you don’t do so at the moment? You will find that you learn a lot from others which enhances your enjoyment of collecting.

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