There’s a brand new TV programme on the Yesterday TV channel (UK) called Scouting for Toys. The 10-part series is set behind the scenes at internationally renowned Vectis Toys Auctioneers in Teesside, where buyers and sellers from all over the world come to trade every toy imaginable.
You can see the programmes live on Thursdays at 9pm on the Yesterday channel (Sky, Virgin, Freeview and more) or via the UKTV app for repeats.
It’s an amazing and entertaining production with amazing characters from both Vectis and the Buyers and Sellers and features great toys as well as a cameo from Yours Truly in the Gerry Anderson programme.
Five Star Five was a Gerry Anderson movie project which was begun in 1977, immediately after Space: 1999. The story was described as The Magnificent Seven in space. Five characters- including a talking chimp and a robot – must destroy an alien asteroid fortress that threatens a planet. Sadly in 1979, just before the production was about to start the funding was cancelled and the project abandoned.
So what is the connection to Dinky Toys? During the preproduction phase a number of spaceships were designed and initial drawings created, one of which looks as though it could have been a design inspiration for the 362 Trident Starfighter . Note also that the bad guys in this movie were called the Zargons, so could this also be linked to the Dinky Zygon fleet? An unproduced Gerry Anderson project, The Investigator, provided the templates for the 602 Armoured Command Car and the 674 Coastguard Amphibious Missile Launch so it seems possible that the creative links between Gerry and Dinky may still have been strong enough to see further collaboration.
Five Star Five is now available as a book and an audiobook. Details HERE
Currently available on eBay are facsimile pre-production design drawings for the 353 Shado 2 and the 351 Shado Interceptor. The Shado 2 drawing is particularly interesting as it shows a variant that was not put into commercial production.
The auction ends on the 4th March and more details can be found HERE
VECTIS AUCTIONS Thursday 21st January:Dinky 362 Trident Starfighter RARE VARIATION – finished in gold, black missiles – condition appears to be generally Near Mint in a Good Plus to Excellent window box with “This Dinky Toy model has been produced specially to commemorate the Airfix Group Dinner Dance at the London Hilton on the 18th September 1979.
There’s more Gerry Anderson Dinkys also up for auction at the same time as well.
A while back QDT, the diecast specialist, sold a range of Gerry Anderson models curated by an unnamed collector. However the collector wrote a blog about his love of this models and why he amassed such a comprehensive and high quality collection. For those who have not seen it, I thought it was worth highlighting it again. Click HERE if you can’t see the blog below.
Andy Thomas a regular visitor and contributor to this site has approached me asking for support for his Lego build proposal for an Eagle Transporter from the TV Series Space 1999
Why do I want you to hit the blue Support button? This is a set aimed at two generations. Did you ever have a toy that lasted forever, and was your go-to toy for adventuring? For me, that was my die cast Dinky Eagle. In fact, I had two! Commander Koenig and his crew are probably largely responsible for my love of realistic science fiction and coincidentally their TV series first aired in the year I was born – it just celebrated its 45th anniversary! Other Eagle projects here have shown there’s still a lot of love for the show.
If you like the idea of a building your own Eagle then you’ll need to VOTE HERE
(Added originally to Updates page and copied here)
A new version, possibly a prototype or maybe a one-off special of the 353 Shado 2 Mobile has come to light. This version has a radar dish instead of the rocket. Both share the same base and this version can also flip round into the body and be angled like the rocket. More details on the 353 Shado 2 page.
The comments section on the 353 Shado 2 page is describing this as the ‘Holy Grail’!
Some detective work required please! Fellow collector Andrew has these three SPV 104s in his collection. They are believed to be all original including the aerials, of which there appear to be three types.
The most common version is on the left, the other two appear to be rarer. If you look at the roof top plungers, they are bare metal which indicates all three SPVs are very early editions.
Does anybody have further examples of the less common aerials? Or who can shed a little more light this?
GA expert Martin Gainsford has provided images from the Christie’s Auction catalogue of 11th July 2002 . It features a stunning set of pre-production models and prototypes of four models, 106 Thunderbird 2, 104 SPV, 351 Interceptor and the 353 Shado 2 .
He says: “I was fortunate at the time to have been involved with FANDERSON and requested by Christie’s to act as one of their advisors for the Anderson related items so had the chance to handle and see up close all the pieces for sale.”
The catalogue does not have an image of the 353 Shado 2s but Martin photographed them a year or two prior to this auction at an exhibition.
Until 1966 the famous Rolls Royce ‘FAB1’ was a model starring in many of the Thunderbirds TV programmes and in both the films. A full-sized replica of FAB 1 was built to transport writers-producers Gerry and Sylvia Anderson to the premiere of the second movie ‘Thunderbird 6’ * in London. It was constructed by the company Toby Baxter Contracts under Sylvia’s supervision and not by Brains or Rolls Royce.
* In the linked article below, it incorrectly says that the premiere was the first movie ‘Thunderbirds are Go’. (see comments)
Back in October 2018 two original props from Gerry Anderson’s The Investigator TV series were sold at auction (see news story below) and now they are back up for sale at Vectis Auctions on September 26th.
These props were used in ‘The Investigator’ which was produced in 1973 as a pilot episode for a new series mixing live action and puppetry techniques, similar in approach to ‘The Secret Service.’ No further episodes were produced.
A matt green variant of the first version, with a riveted base, of the 101 Thunderbird 2 has been sold on eBay for £549 ($670). According to the seller it was purchased new in 1967 and then stored carefully until its sale on August 31st 2019. There is an FAO Schwarz (a well known New York toy store) price sticker for $18.69 on the box.
A change of paint finish for a model on its first production run is unusual especially as the riveted base version was only sold for a year before the rivets were replaced with screws to enable easier repairs of the thin yellow legs that were very prone to breaking under normal play use.
Has anybody out there got a similar variant? Would love to hear from you and see some pictures.
OK not strictly Dinky Toys but its always interesting to see the original props and models that the Binns Road designers worked from to produce the toys that then sold in their millions.
Gerry Anderson TV is the official YouTube account of Anderson Entertainment & the Gerry Anderson Estate and has a raft of short background videos looking at different aspects of the GA productions including the vehicles and series featured on this site.
You can either go direct via the link above or via this site’s series and vehicles pages
The first is a gunmetal base version, possibly an export version or even a factory error, whatever the origin, its certainly a strange colour combination.
The second newly identified variant is the omission of the on/off switch labelling, next to the double headed arrow and possibly a tooling issue. A short lived change as the very first versions had the text labelling as did later and the last versions of the 102.
JK Auctions recently sold a resin prototype of the never commercially released 113 John Steed’s Jaguar from the 1970’s New Avengers UK TV series. The prototype was originally part of the Parodi family collection who had exclusive import rights to Dinky Toys for Italy.
There’s an interesting version of the 355 Lunar Rover on eBay at present (Buy It Now listing ends 28th April 2019). It’s the ‘Tioxide Paints’ version and priced at £225 – not cheap but they are pretty rare.
But it was not just the Lunar Rover or even Dinky that only caught the marketing people at Tioxide Paints’ eye. A Corgi Concorde and a Spot-On Land Rover were also branded with Tioxide. I am led to understand that all three toy companies provided unpainted models to the firm who then coated them with a Tioxide based paint (the Tioxide bit is a whitening chemical and still used today) and stickers, and this done was around 1967/68.
There were only a few models produced for senior managers and favoured clients.
Just a few weeks before Dinky’s factory at Binns Road, Liverpool closed, Airfix, who owned Dinky, held their annual dinner dance at the London Hilton. Today I suppose it would be unthinkable to hold such an event as the company spiralled into bankruptcy but in 1979 it apparently wasn’t.
The guests were all given a memento of the occasion, a specially commissioned gold painted 362 Trident Starfighter, only commercially available in black during its limited production run.
The model comes from Dr Edward Force’s collection, who has written a series of excellent reference books so it has an interesting provenance.
The box label is sadly missing the hand written signature of Ray McNiece, Meccanos’ last Managing Director who had only been in post since May of 1979 but the toy is otherwise a poignant memory of the end of a great brand.
Update: Sold for £120
Disclaimer: I have no connection to Vectis Auctions or to the item and as with all auctions please check the details carefully before you bid.
The listing is unfortunately timed as it ends on January 7th but I suppose if one cancels Xmas and invests the money [c£215 plus postage from the U.S.!] then 2019 would be a very good year for one collector.
The auction is for a late version 104, with stickers and a black bumper, but also with a brown rather than red seat. I have one in my collection and it can be viewed here.
These two models were based on props to be used in a Gerry Anderson series ‘The Investigator’, which made it to a pilot but nowhere else. Dinky had jumped the gun on this one and got in early but were then left with two models that would be redundant before they were even released. The Dinky design boffins remodelled both and came out with two modified designs, the Armoured Command car and the Coastguard Boat which were then released a stand alone toys. The former model claiming it was ‘designed by Gerry Anderson.’
The original props are up for auction on 10th October 2018 at the toy museum based in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex where they are currently on display.
THE INVESTIGATOR CAR:
An original film prop for the ‘The Investigator’ a six-wheeled car, designed by Reg Hill for Gerry Anderson pilot series in 1973 and manufactured by Space Models of Feltham, fitted with a Honda 50cc engine and radio controlled, 221cm long,together with a copy of the Meccano blueprint design, for the ‘Investigator’ Car
THE INVESTIGATOR BOAT:
An original film prop for the ‘The Investigator’, a speed boat, designed by Reg Hill for Gerry Anderson pilot series in 1973 and manufactured by Space Models of Feltham, fitted with a swivel cannon, this would have been towed for the live action sequences,250cm long, together with a copy of the Meccano blueprint design,
for the ‘Investigator’ Boat.
The 602 is not hard to find and can be purchased in good condition with a box for around £50
Vectis Auctions recently sold a prototype, made in 1975, for this model. The key differences are the colour scheme and it has cast metal wheels rather than the plastic ones on the original model. Not in very good condition but it still went for £130
The all plastic yellow version below is also a prototype, It was not a prototype for the metal model which went into production but for a range of all plastic versions of existing Dinky models that the company believed would be much cheaper to produce. The range never went ahead. The last version Vectis sold went for £600.
In 1965 Dinky released its second ‘Special’ the 486 Dinky Beats Morris Oxford Bull Nose Morris . At the time the Beatles were riding high in the charts so the timing was right but the licensing costs probably prohibitive – hence a model that generically reflected the beat groups of the day. And for the avoidance of legal doubt there were only three members of this fictitious group.
But why choose a Bull Nose Morris? Well they already had a model that could be adapted, the 476 Morris Oxford Bull Nose, and also the Beatles first manager Allan Williams owned a Morris Oxford Bull Nose which he’d bought in 1959.
Williams owned The Jacaranda and Blue Angel music venues and hired the future music superstars to perform in his clubs.
He rented a van and drove the group to its first Hamburg concert on August 16, 1960, so “it takes little to imagine Mr. Williams ferrying John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best around Liverpool — if not further afield — aboard the Oxford Morris Bullnose” (say H&H Auctions).
And if you want to buy this car its up for sale:
The 1926 Morris Oxford “Bullnose” owned by The Beatles’ first manager “and most likely used by him to ferry the lads around” will be up for auction at the H&H Classics sale at The Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, UK, on July 18 2018.
Dinky Toys first Shado 2 Mobile was produced in 1971 just after the the TV release of U.F.O. hit the viewing public. As usual for a Gerry Anderson production the shows were full of fantastic yet believable machines helping Earth defend itself from dastardly aliens.
Some of the most popular vehicles were the Shado mobiles, tank like tracked vehicles that were the first line of defence when the critters landed on Earth. Dinky’s first version was strangely issued in olive green which made it look more like a tank but sadly was somewhat inaccurate as the vehicles should have been painted a light grey-blue.
One assumes that the powers that be thought that the military colour would help sales long after the series finished and they were probably right.
But in 1978 there was a change of heart or a lack of matt-green paint and the Shado 2 was produced in a dark metallic blue.
By now the Dinky factory was in steep decline and the model lasted only a year or two and thus are quite rare. By the very end of the run even the stickers had run out as had the dark metallic blue paint so there are a few models out there with a lighter metallic blue colour and no stickers. These are probably the rarest version. This model also has a green base and black wheels which is another unusual combination.
And what might have been? I leave you with a Code 3 model of the Dinky 353 that would probably have made the shelves if sold today…
The most detailed website for the information, facts, history and variations of Dinky Toy’s TV, Film, Space and Specials Models. Including all the Gerry Anderson toys as well as many prototypes, pre-production and colour trials.