04 January 2011
Mike Pigott takes a look at small-scale diecast models based on TV police dramas. ...
You're nicked: Cops in miniature
Given the number of police dramas appearing on television over the past 50 years, it’s inevitable that some of them would turn up in toy form sooner or later.
Cop shows have been one of the real staples of TV since the early days, with a wide range of different shows produced. Probably the most realistic type of cop show is the ‘police procedural’ which attempts to portray police work as accurately as possible. These can focus on individual officers or pairs of officers, such as ‘Dragnet’, ‘Kojak’ or ‘The Sweeney’. Alternatively, they can be ensemble programmes featuring an entire squad or police station (‘Z-Cars’, ‘The Bill’ or ‘Hill Street Blues’).
In the 1970s there were several ‘gimmicky’ shows about cops with a particular quirk (‘Ironside’, ‘Columbo’ and ‘Mod Squad’).
Always popular, particularly in the USA, is the ‘buddy cop’ show, which explores the relationship between a pair of partnered officers in and out of work, such as ‘Starsky & Hutch’, ‘Cagney & Lacey’ or ‘CHiPs’.
Of course, some shows are more realistic than others ranging from the often shocking ‘Law and Order’ franchise, through to the rather ridiculous ‘Miami Vice’.
This time around we’re concentrating strictly on serving police officers, both in uniform and plain clothes, so no private eyes, spies or vigilantes. We’re looking at small-scale models in approximately 1/64 scale; that is Matchbox or Hot Wheels size.
The oldest TV cop models I am aware of are the Ford Zephyr from ‘Z-Cars’, by Tri-ang Spot-On, and French detective Maigret’s Citroen Traction Avant, produced by Minialuxe. However, these are to a larger scale and outside the scope of this article.
All the models listed are based on American and British shows. I couldn’t find any models based on European programmes in this scale and there are no Australian ones either. While I’m certain that Bandai Charawheels or Aoshima make some vehicles based on bizarre Japanese cop shows, let’s just stick to the English language.
- 'Starsky & Hutch'
- 'The Professionals'
- 'Dempsey and Makepeace'
- 'Miami Vice'
LJN Road Stars:
- 'The Rookies'
- 'Starsky & Hutch'
- 'Nash Bridges'
- 'Walker - Texas Ranger'
- 'Mod Squad'
- 'Life on Mars'
*This is an excerpt of the article 'You're nicked: Cops in miniature' first published in Diecast Collector's February issue. To see which issues of Diecast Collector are available to buy online, click here.
*Diecast Collector is a monthly magazine which focuses on all types of diecast models from Dinky Toys to Oxford Diecast.