Saturday, 25 March 2017

The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men ...

Gang aft agley
This homespun philsophy comes from Robert Burns in a poem "To a Mouse". The verse continues:-

An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

How true.

Long before fbb settled in sunny Seaton and long before he actually started building his minimalist model railway in the back yard, he had an idea. Always a source of potential grief!

Instead of aspiring to a fully operational model, why not build a cameo of, say, a transport museum with a collection of buses, commercial vehicles and even a train or two but on static display. And, as if they heard his thoughts out loud, the computers in a far of sales and marketing department chose that very moment to send the gullible old man a mailing/
An RTW for only £1.99.  Now your ancient blogger knew the deal; get hooked by the first bus on offer and then shell out £14 each for the series. Cleverly At;as Editions did not tell their customer how many buses would pop through his letter box. Would it be ten or a hundred. Comforted by the knowledge that he "could cancel at any time", he let them roll in.

At 1:76 scale (equivalent o an OO train) they were just right for his "museum" project and the mix was eclectic enough to make an interesting display.
But there they still are, all untouched in their boxes and on a shelf in the loft/third bedroom/office/junk hole in fbb mansions.

The model railway has become a much bigger project and there isn't room for the bus museum bit. A modified idea is to display some of them on a removable base as part of a model heritage weekend at the Peterville Quarry Railway but realistically the whole shebang was a waste of money.

Atlas Edition have a bast range of these schemes. From Eddie Stobart lorries (1:76, i.e. OO gauge) ...
... via classic tractors (1:32) ...
... to repro Dinky Toys of various sizes and scales.

You can also get aircraft, ships and delightful statuettes of our fluffy feathered fiends.
How sweet. Or is "yuk" a better response.

Because fbb succumbed to the hook of the RTW, he now received regular offers from the company, but now by emails. This one was of academic interest.
Frank Hornby first used the "Dinky" name for accessories for his "O" gauge tinplate model trains and then branched out into model cars and other non-railway products.
Here is a 1930s model ...
... of the record-breaking "Speed of the Wind" car. As a model it was crude and inaccurate ...
... but the cachet of the craze for world speed attempts made it a popular "must-have".

It was post WW2 that the range developed into the desirable toys that we all remember. Competition from the dreaded (and better modelled) Corgi combined with the decline in the toy market generally brought about the demise of the marque in 1971.

So what of Atlas Models toy number 197?

Originally produced in cream ...
... and later in green, the model lasted from 1961 until closure in 1971.
Latterly a version in dayglo green was also available; but bear in mind that dayglo paints do not photograph well.
Some on-line authorities also record a version in dayglo pink.

The Atlas Editions version is an accurate copy of the ordinary green original and is made (guess!) in China. Frank Hornby will be turning in his grave! Also be warned; Atlas has also produced blue and red versions, never part of the original Hornby oeuvre.
Of course there are Dinky collectors and, as you would expect, some of these demand the very best versions of their models in perfect boxes. Just for his amusement, you author took a look on EBay (etc.) to see what was on offer and at what price.

It was frightening. 

You could buy an Atlas repro for £25 ...
... plus £3.95 post and packing - OR - exactly the same model ...
... for £9.99 and free postage and packing.

Caveat emptor! But the fun really starts when you are looking for original models.
These are from specialist auctioneers "Vectis", 
Lot 3413 The Powys Collection - July 29th, 2008 Dinky No.197 Morris Mini Traveller - dark green body, pale yellow interior, spun hubs - Excellent Plus in Good Plus box. Very hard to find colour. Estimate: £200-£250 Bidding is now closed on this item. Price Realised: £240.
Lot 1502 Dinky Toys - February 13th, 2007 Dinky - No.197 Morris Mini Traveller - scarce colour variation is cream, with yellow interior - Mint in Good card box (tape mark to one end flap). Estimate: £200-£300 Bidding is now closed on this item. Price Realised: £280.


But, of course, you could get one for £1.99 from Atlas Editions and then immediately cancel your order. But you didn't read that idea here. fbb doesn't want to be the first offer in a "Models of Beaten Up Old Men" collection.

Amazingly, you can buy a pre-war racing car as above for much less than you think.
At the other end of the "ouch" scale is this:-
Or in extremely good condition:-
Out pours the oft recorded wail ...

"If only I had kept mine, never played with them and never opened the boxes I would be a very wealthy man." Actually not. Whilst fbb does have a few dilapidated Dinkies in the toy box, NONE of them is of any significant value.


 Next weekend blog : Sunday 26th March 

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