Category Archives: Politoys

More about Plastic Military Models from Politoys

By Robin Godwin

 

My quest to acquire all the Politoys plastic military range has resulted in new information, for me at least. I recently purchased #18, Auto Anfibio (DUKW) from a Mexican vendor. Well actually it’s made by McGregor, that unlikely sounding Mexican company that received many of the old Politoys dies. I’ve never seen a full listing of McGregor production and, until this listing, did not know that the early plastic military dies had also gone to Mexico (even Paolo Rampini does not list them). I don’t have the Politoys version to compare, but the wheels are obviously McGregor originals, and not from Politoys tooling. This is a real shame, as it transforms a reasonably accurate model into a very toylike version, sitting way too high. Usually McGregor added their name to the base and replaced “Made in Italy” with “Hecho en Mexico” but this model has merely had the die ground out a bit to obscure “… in Italy”. It appears also that the die was changed to remove the separately attached spare wheel/tire that was carried on the rear deck of the Politoy. Perhaps the very wide McGregor wheels were unsuitable for this application.

One of the original points in this ongoing series of articles on plastic military vehicles (that started 20 years ago in MAR 109, March 1997) was to compare the Politoys models with the originals from which they were apparently copied. In the very first article, I admitted that I did not know from which original this DUKW had been copied, even though I owned the superb French Dinky #825. A couple of subsequent letters to the editor led to the consensus that it was indeed copied from the French Dinky. But a side-by-side comparison shows that everything about the two models is different (see photos), so I believe this model was not copied from the Dinky, even though release dates are compatible. It should be noted that all the Politoys copies have some subtle differences from the originals (including scale), but these two DUKWs simply do not look to be related. Since these Politoys date from the early 1960s, I’ll have to redouble my search for a contemporary model that may have provided the inspiration.

 

2769 McGregor top, and Dinky bottom. The Politoys spare wheel/tire would have sat at the top rear – another difference from the Dinky

2770 McGregor top, with missing prop at rear. Note die modification to obscure “… in Italy”

2772 French Dinky #825 from 1963. Not, in my opinion, the inspiration for the Politoy

2771 The McGregor. Not sure when this actually dates from, but the Politoy original is thought to have been issued in 1964, as #18 in a series of only 19 vehicles

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Another Model of the Oak Ridge Quad

By Robin Godwin

Harvey Goranson’s great post on the real Quad Tractor, Trailer and 25-Pounder Gun, with his reference to the Dinky #697 set, reminded me that I recently acquired the plastic Politoys copy of the Dinky model. The Politoys is derived from the Dinky, and appears to be to the exact same scale (Dinky used 1:59 for military vehicles, but Politoys calls these plastic vehicles 1:41 scale, clearly inaccurate). Some modifications are evident in the Politoys versions, most likely concessions with the use of plastic, such as pin and hole/hole couplings (with separate pins that can get lost, or broken, like one of mine) to attach the three pieces together. The pin is actually a friction fit into the “top hole” (see pictures). Dinky used a steel “tongue” and die cast metal hole couplings, which would not have had sufficient strength in plastic. Politoys added some detail, such as bolt head/rivet fasteners on the gun chassis. For some reason other than just using plastic, they also made the Quad Tractor front windows considerably larger, which effectively lowered the hood (bonnet) line. My Politoys Quad has two square metal slugs attached to the inside base of the model, which gives it some heft; they definitely look factory installed, but I don’t know for sure.

My Dinky vehicles are separates; the #688 Quad is a later version than Harvey’s, with interior windows and plastic wheels. The #687 25-Pounder is also a later issue with plastic wheels. The Politoys also comes with wheel variations – a patterned wheel and smooth disc wheels, but I’m not sure which came first. While Dinky sold theirs as a set alongside separate models, the Politoys was only ever sold as a set, #6 in their Veicoli Militari form the early ’60s.

Image 1#1 Same 1:59 Dinky scale evident

Image 2#2 Plastic pins are press fit into top holes, and hook through bottom holes. Note patterned wheels

Image 3#3 Larger windows and lower bonnet line on the Politoys

Image 4#4 Coupling details for the Politoys. The pin for the trailer is broken at the 90 degree point. Previous owner of this model added some black paint to the gun for detail, which I’m a bit afraid to try and remove

Image 5#5 Additional detail in the Politoys casting

Image 6#6 Metal weights visible in wheel arches

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Politoys Military Models

By Robin Godwin

Back in the old days of print, MAR 109 (March 1997) to be exact, I reviewed the long-obsolete Politoys range of 1:41 scale (as stated by the manufacturer) plastic military models. The 19 models in this series were mostly copied from other mainstream diecast manufacturers such as Dinky (UK and France), Matchbox, Corgi, FJ (France Jouets) and Solido. Where I had the original and the Politoys copy, a photograph was provided for comparison in the original article. As I added to my Politoys collection, updates were provided to MAR, in issues 120, 123, 145 and 198.

I have finally acquired the the elusive #11, Campagnola Rover Raf con Missile Thunderbird (to quote the box), after 20-plus years on my wants list. This model is a copy of the original Corgi Land Rover #351 and Thunderbird Guided Missile #350, or I suppose more correctly, Gift Set number 3 which included both models. MAR 148 and 149 had a two-part article on Surface-to-Air Missiles, which discussed the British-designed and built Thunderbird, so I won’t go into any real detail here.

The Politoys Land Rover (or Campagnola) is a simpler model than the Corgi, without windows or bonnet spare tyre, but it is an exact scale match (the Corgi is 1:46 scale, according to the Great Book of Corgi). Similarly, the Politoys missile itself is an exact scale match, except that the nose is hard plastic, and thus it is not susceptible to the melting or drooping typical of the Corgi model (see photograph). Neither company chose to model a launcher or to include the four booster rockets on the basic missile body. In fact, a ready-to-fire English Electric Thunderbird looked very similar to the other surface-to-air missile modelled by Corgi, the Bristol Bloodhound. A real discrepancy is the Assembly Trolley, where the Politoys model is made to a much larger scale and significantly simplified. Perhaps this was to give extra robustness to the all-plastic structure. Where the Corgi has two wire missile retainers on the trolley, the Politoys retainers are made of separate plastic pieces, pin mounted to the frame, which can easily go missing. The Corgi features two-axle, four wheel steering, via a wire link between the axles, whereas only the Politoys front axle steers. Neither company replicates the Assembly Trolley very well, judging by internet reference photographs.

All in all, the Politoys model is difficult to find in mint condition, so even though it is somewhat inaccurate it is a superb model to add to a military collection and to display alongside the Corgi original. I should add that these early Politoys plastic models are of a very stable compound, and are highly resistant to warping, so eBayers can have a reasonably high level of confidence in bidding (I bought mine from eBay in Italy).


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