Category Archives: Tomica

The Scooter in Miniature – Other Makes

By Dave Turner

Photographs and illustrations of some of the models discussed in this article taken by the Author may be found at the end of the article. 

Ducati

Ducati began producing radio parts in 1922 followed by cameras and electric razors. After the Second World War Ducati acquired Siata to produce clip-on motors for cycles and in 1952 launched the Cruiser scooter. Years before its time it featured a 175cc ohv four stroke motor with a 12 volt electric starter, automatic transmission and styling by Ghia. Far too sophisticated for the period it died after just two years but another attempt came with the totally basic Brio 48 in 1964 with a 94cc 2 stroke motor followed by the Brio 50 and 100/25 between 1968/9.

A very nice model of the Cruiser is available sold as Altaya but made by Ixo no doubt in conjunction with a part-work. Of mainly diecast construction it features plastic side panels and working steering.

Heinkel

Makers of German aircraft since 1922 Heinkel were limited to three and two wheeled vehicle production after the Second World War. Their 150cc Tourist 101 was made from 1953-54 and featured a four stroke engine. This model was replaced by the 175cc 102 in 1954 while a Mk11 version with more streamlined rear bodywork was made from 1962-67. A smaller two stroke machine, the 112 featured a 125cc engine in 1960 but was enlarged to 150 in 1961 for continued production until 1967.

Schuco produced some superb 1:10 scale diecast models of the Mk11 Tourist in a variety of versions as well as smaller versions in their Piccolo range.

Jawa

The Czech firm of Janacek made the German Wanderer motor cycle under licence and when they merged with the Czech Arms Works who had made motor cycles since 1932, the name Jawa was created. Their distinctive 501 scooter made from 1957-64 featured a pointed nose that accommodated the fuel tank and the headlamp. A subsequent model the 502 had more power with a 175 engine and the headlight was later moved onto the apron being replaced in the nose by the horn. In 2017 an electric powered scooter, the 507, featured the same styling and is to be built in limited numbers in China.

A smaller engined and less eye-catching scooter, the Manet appeared in 1958 and featured a 98cc motor and became the Tatran with 125 motor in 1965.

A flywheel powered plastic toy Cezeta captured the recognisable styling very well and carries the CH logo as its only means of identification.

MBK

The French Motobecane company made motor cycles from 1923, the post war Mobylette being among their most popular products. In 1984 the Japanese Yamaha company became its parent company and the name became MBK. Among the contemporary Japanese parent companies products was the Zuma scooter and MBK gave it the name Booster and the French factory have produced these in large numbers in 50 and 125cc versions.

Appropriately Majorette, possibly in conjunction with Hatchette, have produced a model of the French version of this machine, said to be a 1995 50cc example.

Malaguti

This Italian company began in 1930 producing pedal cycles but like many moved into mopeds and scooters in the post war period. A myriad of different scooters were produced but the Phantom F12 appeared in 1997. The F12 Phantom had a 50cc motor and was water cooled, production lasting until 2003.

Maisto produced a 1:18 scale diecast model of the F12 Phantom and it comes complete with “liquid cooled” stickers that are barely legible.

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi began as a shipping company in 1870 and from 1881 developed into a huge conglomerate embracing first coal mining, then steel producing, shipbuilding, insurance and eventually producing anything and everything imaginable. From 1921 aircraft were produced and in common with some other Japanese operations they enforced slave labour during the Second World War. Motor scooter production began in 1946 with the 112cc C10 Silver Pigeon while at least seventeen further developments of the Silver Pigeon scooter were made up to the early 1960s, taking 45% of the Japanese scooter market.

The C110 Silver Pigeon was a 175cc 4 stroke machine with automatic transmission made between 1960/61 and some tinplate toys of which were made by both Marusan and Bandai.

Simson

The German Simson brothers got into the gun and gun barrel producing business in 1856 and by 1896 were making bicycles. Although firearms continued to be their principle products cars were made from 1907 to 1934 – with the inevitable wartime gap. As the Simson family were Jewish, the German Third Reich seized their factory in 1936 renaming the operation BSW. Following the Second World War the factory ended up in the German Democratic Republic and began producing 4 stroke motor cycles in 1949. In 1955 the Simson name was restored and the production of two stroke mopeds began developing into the KR51 Simson Schwalbe (Swallow) scooter in 1964. This featured a 50cc motor and large 16” wheels and with an increase in power output became the KR51/1 in 1968. The subsequent KR 51/2 remained in production until 1986 and the Schwalbe has become quite collectable in Germany.

A 1:10 diecast Simson KR 51/1 Schwalbe was produced by Schuco in 2006 while a much smaller 1:87 model of the same subject has been made by Herpa.

Suzuki

This Japanese company began by producing loom machines in 1909 but was trying to expand its product base by experimenting with a prototype light car prior to the Second World War. Following the hostilities production of 36cc powered cycles began in 1952, motor cycles in 1954 and cars a year later. In the early 1980s their first scooters appeared with the CS50, 80 and 125, called Gemma in Asia, Roadie in the UK and Puch Lido in Europe.

A 1:28 scale diecast Gemma 50 was made by Tomy, a slightly larger 1:24 scale diecast of the same subject from Tamiya and kits in 1:12 scale from Aoshima/Imai.

Yamaha

Yamaha began producing pianos and reed organs in 1887 and ultimately became the largest manufacturers of musical instruments in the world. They first produced motor cycles is 1954 with their 125cc two stroke Dragonfly, that was based on the German DKW RT 125, as was the BSA Bantam. Their first of many scooters came in 1981 with the 50cc Salient and 80cc Beluga, Riva in the US and Hercules in Europe. In 1985 a 125cc version was added. The Zuma scooter came in 1989 and this was also made in France by MBK. In an effort to modernise their range of scooters Yamaha produced the YJ 50 Vino in 2001 which continued until updated into the XC50 in 2006. Production of this continues today while the 125cc version lasted from 2004-10. The Yamaha Majesty was a large machine appearing in 2001 and was produced in 125, 250 and 400cc sizes.

In model form Yamaha scooters have been produced in various sizes and materials. Plastic kits for the Beluga came from Aoshima/Imai in 1:12 scale and Otaki in 1:16 scale, while a diecast 1:24 scale version came from Tomica. A diecast/plastic 1:18 scale Vino YJ50R came from Welly, a diecast 1:6 scale version of the same was done by New Ray while the big Majesty DX 400 also came in 1:18 scale from Welly.

Zundapp

This German company began by producing detonators in 1917 but as the demand for weapons parts declined after the war motor cycle manufacture began in 1921. Following the Second World War microcar, moped and scooter production was undertaken and inspired by the Parilia Greyhound, the Zundapp Bella scooter appeared in 1953. These became generally regarded as among the best scooters in the world at the time and through various updates continued in both 150 and 200 versions until 1964. An attempt to get into the small scooter market was launched in 1964 with the Roller 50 that was based on the contemporary Lambretta Slimline. The company closed in 1985 and the factory and stock were moved to China.

At least three very different miniature Bellas have been made. Tinplate toys came from Technofix while a variety of 1:10 scale diecast models of the 1957-59 R204 came from Schuco in 2004. The latter included solo examples, some with “Deutsche Bundespost” boxes mounted on the rear as well as machines with sidecars. There has also been some 1:43 scale models of the same R204 Bella from Premium Classix, in this case those with a rear box are marked “Ginos Pizza”

Unknown

As a final section there has been a few toys of scooters that so far have not been identified, in fact they are probably not meant to depict any particular example.

A quite imaginatively styled plastic battery driven toy called Chalmy Rider came from WS in Hong Kong and carries the number 6623 under its base. The seat tips revealing space that accommodates a couple of AA batteries, the fitting of which drives the twin rear wheels and illuminated an orange headlight.

An extremely slim plastic toy scooter that vaguely resembles something like the Triumph Tina carries no markings at all and probably came as an accessory to a Barbie type toy.

An all wood crafted toy has a suggestion of machine made parts that have been glued together but carries a barcode under its base.

Model list

Ducati Cruiser 175cc 1952-54 Altaya/Ixo 70mm 1:25 diecast/plastic
Heinkel Tourist 103A2 175cc 1960-65 Schuco 1:10 diecast kit
Heinkel Tourist 103A2 175cc 1960-65 Schuco Piccolo diecast
Jawa Cezeta 501 175cc 1957-64 CH 164mm plastic flywheel
MBK Booster Rocket 50cc 1984 Majorette 99mm 1:18 diecast/plastic
Malaguti Phantom F12 50cc 1997-03 Maisto 102mm 1:18 diecast/plastic
Mitsubishi C110 Silver Pigeon 175cc 1960-61 Marusan tinplate
Mitsubishi C110 Silver Pigeon 175cc 1960-61 Bandai tinplate
Simson KR 51/1 Schwalbe 50cc 1968-71 Schuco 1:10
Suzuki Gemma 50 50cc 1982-88 Aoshima/Imai 1:12 plastic kit
Suzuki Gemma 50 50cc 1982-88 Tamiya 80mm 1:24 diecast
Suzuki Gemma 50 50cc 1982-88 Tomy 58mm 1:28 diecast
Yamaha Beluga 80cc 1981-87 Aoshima/Imai 144 mm 1:12 plastic kit
Yamaha Beluga 80cc 1981-87 Otaki 1:16 plastic kit
Yamaha Beluga 80cc 1981-87 Tomica 80mm 1:24 diecast
Yamaha Vino VJ50R 50cc 2001-05 Welly 102mm 1:18 diecast/plastic
Yamaha Vino  VJ50R 50cc 2001-05 New Ray 1:6
Yamaha Majesty DX 400 400cc 2005-09 Welly 117mm 1:18 diecast/plastic
Zundapp Bella 200cc 1953-62 Technofix tin
Zundapp Bella R204 200cc 1957-59 Schuco 1:10 diecast kit
Zundapp Bella R204 200cc 1957-59 Premium Classix 1:43 resin

 

Ilustrations

Altaya/Ixo 1:25 diecast/plastic from China : 1952 Ducati Cruiser

Schuco 1:10 diecast kit : 06537, 1960 Heinkel 103 A2 Tourist.

Schuco Piccolo diecast : 05701, 1960 Heinkel 103 A2 Tourist.

CH plastic flywheel driven : 1957 Jawa Cezeta 501.

Majorette 1:18 diecast/plastic from Thailand: 1984 MBK Booster Rocket

Maisto 1:18 diecast/plastic from China : 1987 Malaguti Phantom F12.

Marusan tinplate from Japan : 1960 Mitsubishi Silver Pigeon C110.

 

Bandai tinplate from Japan: 1960 Mitsubishi Silver Pigeon C110.

Schuco 1:10 diecast kit : 06640, 1968 Simson KR 51/1 Schwalbe.

Aoshima 1:12 plastic kit from Japan: 1982 Suzuki Gemma 50

Tamiya 1:24 diecast from Japan: 1982 Suzuki Gemma 50

Tomy 1:28 diecast from Japan: 49, 1982 Suzuki Gemma 50.

 

 Aoshima 1:12 plastic kit from Japan: 1981 Yamaha Beluga.

Tomica 1:24 diecast from Japan: 1981 Yamaha Beluga.

Welly 1:18 diecast/plastic from China: 2001 Yamaha Vino YJ50R.

New Ray 1:6 from China: 2001 Yamaha Vino YJ50R.

Welly 1:18 diecast/plastic from China: 2005 Yamaha Majesty DX 400.

Technofix tin from Japan: 1953 Zundapp Bella.

Schuco 1:10 diecast kit: 06590, 1958 Zundapp Bella R204.

Schuco 1:10 diecast kit: 06593 1958 Zundapp Bella r204 with Deutsche Bundespost box.

Premium Classix 1:43 : 1957 Zundapp Bella R204.
Premium Classix 1:43: 1957 Zundapp Bella R204 with Ginos Pizza box.
WS plastic battery driven from Hong Kong: Chalmy Rider toy.

Anonymous slim plastic scooter.

Anonymous wood scooter.

 

Readers who have enjoyed this series of articles may find the two Auto Review publications written by Dave Turner about real Scooters of interest:

  • “Scooters”
  • “More Scooters” 

For more information go to zeteo.com.


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Tomica Limited Vintage – Isuzu Hillman Minx

By Maz Woolley

 

Surprise from British car makers at the success of Japanese exports in the 1960s was strange given that Japanese car makers had had relationships with British producers since the 1920s when a Wolseley A9 was one of the first cars made in Japan by the shipbuilding firm which was to create Isuzu later. By the 1930s Nissan were making the Austin 7 under licence.

In 1952 Austin entered into another agreement with Nissan and they exported 2,000 Austins as partially assembled sets and these were sold in Japan under the Austin trademark. The agreement called for Nissan to make all Austin parts locally within three years, a goal Nissan met. Nissan produced and marketed Austins for seven years.  By 1955, the Austin A50 – completely built by Nissan and featuring a slightly larger body with 1489 cc engine – was on the market in Japan. Nissan produced 20,855 Austins between 1953 and 1959.


Rootes made great efforts in the post war period to export cars to Japan and create their own sales chain. However their sales model was not allowed by the protectionist practices of the period that discouraged imports and foreign owned sales organisations and only allowed foreign firms to carry out local production if partnered by a Japanese firm and with an aim of at least 90% local content in the vehicle. Rootes eventually struck a deal which met the Governments tight controls with Isuzu which was part of Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Ltd. Isuzu was granted sole rights to import Rootes vehicles particularly Hillman Minx Cars and Commer vans and to develop domestic production of these vehicles. There was an up front payment which Rootes reinvested in the sales and service network in Japan.  Each car carried a £25 royalty payment to Rootes which was about the only money Rootes seems to have been able to re-patriate.

The first Isuzu built Hillman Minx rolled off the assembly line late in 1953. The PH10 was basically a Mk VI Hillman Minx with its 1265 cc side-valve motor, and column shift manual gearbox. These were assembled from Knock-down kits. The Isuzu Hillman Minx was sold through the Japanese Yamato Motor Company. Isuzu followed the annual updates Rootes introduced on the Phase Minx and in the early years their brochures seem based on the contemporary Rootes advertising.

By 1957 Isuzu has reached 100% local content of all the vehicles they built.

The Audax Series Minx arrived in 1956 and was released as the PH100 by Isuzu. In 1958 Isuzu introduced a new model, the “Super Deluxe” which was sold alongside a cheaper but more basic “Standard” model . Later in 1958 the range was face-lifted to resemble the Series II Hillman Minx and rated to carry six passengers rather than  five.

In October 1959 the Isuzu Minx was face-lifted to resemble the UK Series III Hillman Minx and fitted with the new 1494cc engine. model designation PH300).  They were face-lifted again in October 1960 (model PH 400) to resemble the Minx Series IIIa – except that the Japanese models retained the smaller windscreen from the earlier Minx. There were further minor revisions in October 1961 and October 1962 and Isuzu phased out the Hillman Minx in June 1964, at which time 57,729 Isuzu Hillmans had been made, replacing it with the Isuzu Bellet.

The Tomica model featured in this posting is based upon the final  Super Deluxe model. These were better equipped than their UK Minx counterparts featuring items only seen on the Minx derivatives like the Gazelle and Rapier in the UK. This included extra instruments such as an ammeter, oil pressure gauge, clock and a radio as standard. A lockable glovebox was added and features like handbrake warning light and reversing lights which would not be seen on the UK Hillman Minx even as options.

LV-25 Tomica Limited Vintage Isuzu Hillman Minx

This model has been released in four editions so far.

  • LV-25a – Red upper and white lower with red and white upholstery (Shown)
  • LV25b – White upper and blue lower with blue and white upholstery (Shown)
  • LV25c – White upper and green lower with blue and white upholstery (Not Shown)
  • LV25d – Black with blue and white interior (Shown)

This model is made to 1:64 scale and is beautifully detailed and constructed. The detail and quality is better than many 1:43 models and it is better than the Corgi 1:43 model of the Series III Minx in some respects despite its diminutive size.

The grille and wheels are lovely items and all the badging is printed very well even though it needs a magnifying glass to properly appreciate it. The rear lights and chrome are all printed but are very neatly done.

Inside not only are their duotone seats but the instruments are picked out on the dashboard and a white steering wheel is included.

Sadly none of the Austins made by Nissan have yet featured in the Limited Vintage range as they would make nice models too.


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Thunderbirds are 50!

By Robin Godwin

Thunderbirds offical Anniversary Poster

The first episode of Thunderbirds was shown on British Television on 30th September 1965. Given the number of times it appears on television even today it is amazing that only 32 episodes were made. Three classic style episodes are being developed for the anniversary year, though sadly Gerry Anderson is no longer with us to share this anniversary.

To celebrate the anniversary various models are planned. Perhaps the most interesting are from DeAgostini Japan which has launched a partwork which looks like it will feature vehicles to a constant 1:144 scale including quite a few of the special vehicles like the “Mole”. Promotional artwork for this series is shown below. It will be interesting to see what these models are like when the series gets under way and we start seeing them on the secondary market. (Editor: If any reader is collecting these models we would love to see pictures of them)

DeAgostini Thunderbirds Japan

First thoughts were that Tomica might be making this series for DeAgostini but this is probably not the case since Tomica has launched its own Thunderbirds models all in “fit to box” format so they are not to a constant scale. Promotional artwork for these models is shown below with FAB1 presumably being the version in the recent animated series:

 

Tomica THunderbirds Range

Finally Corgi are re-issuing their Thunderbirds models for the Anniversary too as shown in the Corgi artwork below:

Corgi Thunderbirds 1 and 3 Corgi Thunderbirds 2 and 4 Corgi FAB1

So on their 50th Aniversary Thunderbirds are definitely GO!


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