09 May 2011
A magnifying glass may be needed as Brian Salter looks at small-scale diecast models. ...
For an ordinary passenger car model in the UK, anything smaller than OO scale or 1/76 is, or at least was, fairly unusual. Early Matchbox 1-75 Series commercials were often much smaller, but only a few cars managed to creep under the 1/76 rule and then only just. It had to happen eventually with the expanding popularity of N gauge, 1/160 and the equally expanding abilities of companies like Oxford Diecast. But, decades ago there was precious little smaller.
Now, therefore, is the time to introduce a couple of unrelated toys that for play, and perhaps scale purposes, fit nicely together. Both were unknown to the writer until quite recently, and an opportunity to bring them together was not to be missed.
The trademark name of Gilco, used by the Birmingham firm of Giltoy, is well-known in connection with a comprehensive set of early post-war British road signs, not that dissimilar to the Dinky Toys ones. Imagine the fascination of being shown a garage set complete with two vehicles contained within a carton that can be likened to a shortened matchbox. Given the small size and the fact that Giltoy seems to have operated only for a short time in the early 1950s, complete sets are not going to be overly plentiful.
The ultra tiny Gilco Pocket Money Toy consists of five separate parts, presumably all cast together with only three being painted. Our illustrations show the general scheme of things and it is immediately obvious that the two cars are completely different despite being only about 20mm long. Ignoring the enclosed front wheels, a lot of trouble has been taken with their styling. They are probably generic, maybe not, but either way the original patternmaker has studied form and shape quite seriously.
PICTURED: Good try, but scale-wise the bridge and car are not that good a match. Taylor and Barrett’s 12in export Tower Bridge is a masterpiece.