There is something special about renovating inspiration, when collecting well played with and thus loved to death toys.   A person can bring back to life these antiquated relics from the past.   Although repaints, are never as good as the actual mint condition Matchbox or Dinky toys, that may be purchased at very high prices, against  those paint chipped and often broken toys that  do hold something special within the restorer mind.  Thus the question, can I bring this truck  back into reasonable condition without actually destroying the truck or car altogether lingers in ones mind.

I had picked up two Fodens combined with other well loved to death Matchbox trucks on eBay for this purpose in mind.   Actually, I find Restoration and Customising to be very relaxing in spirit by just fiddling to my hearts content as the day flows by.

I have something special planned for the second one without the tail gate that is awaiting that special moment in time when I start on it.

So the game begins with a complete strip down, including the lifting hydraulics rams and other holding pins.   The tires and plastic windscreen need some cleaning using car wash and polish, which was rubbed in undiluted and left for some time before being washed off.   This enables any scratches on the windscreen to by buffed off by hand, Also one can  put some life back into the well scuffed plastic tires  with some petroleum jelly.   Axles and pivoting rods cleaned of rust.  Then the general stripping off the paint followed by de-oxidation of the metal surface and etched primed, followed by base priming. Finally 3 coats of enamel spray, the spay can rattle and roll types.  Probably made in China paint.  Nothing special used on this restoration.

Fitting of springs onto a plastic plug, replacing the broken plastic suspension small parts that fit into the little square box in line with the rear axle and front that can be seen in the picture below.

 Wheel hubs and tipping gear and body fixed.  Burr off or planish the ends of the axles, so as the wheel hubs don't fall off.   Now that the truck is just about finished, decals come next.

Finished assembly and home made decals applied.   I made the decals in Microsoft Paint then down loaded into Word and printed off.  I usually add other decals as well so as to get as much usage out of the decal paper. I would love to know if there is a better program for this that doesn't cost a arm and a leg.

I fixed the base plate with a rivet customised for this purpose.  When drilling out the die-cast holding rivet in the disassemble process,  I drilled a small hole into the support structure before painting.  Tight fit is needed and some metal super glue holds it in place.

I know the wording for the Hoveringham decal is not the same, as it should be larger as to take up the hole rectangle but it does me. I forgot to do a test run on plain paper first.

Thanks for looking.

AFV Tanks and their variants.

by GunnerJim

Tanks, a mounted gun on tracks and will travel and this is my collection so far.

Above Centurions made by Dinky, Matchbox,  Corgi all UK,  WT 306 Tin Toys Hong Kong,   Zelmax T 410 Hong Kong,   Benbros UK,   Kemlows UK,  Uniborn  402, MT 1003 Larami Co Hong Kong, are just some of the tanks above with a couple of Made in China generic ones like Army Force, Military Machines that could have been made by Yat Ming generics,  

I have always liked the look of the British Centurion Tank, ever since I laid eyes on them when a small child at a car show in Melbourne Exhibition Buildings, so so long ago in the 1950's.  This huge steel monster captured my mind and the collection started with a Matchbox Centurion complete with the Mighty Antar tank transporter and the Dinky in the early 1960's.  So many toy manufactures have copied the Dinky design of the Centurion in plastic/die-cast over the years because of its popularity. Just like the plastic one on the top LH side of the picture.  The M60 would be a close photo finish in this particular toy popularity.

British Chieftain main battle tank or MBT's from the LH top Dinky, Corgi,  Imex, Matchbox,  Motor Force Hong Kong and two other generics from China and last on the bottom LH side Tin Toys WT in the small scale.

From LH, British Scorpion by Crescent and Dinky's Scorpion and Alvis, striker.

From LH Lepard by Siku made in Germany.  Next is Larami Co  MT 1002 Hong Kong version of the king Tiger followed by a Matchbox look alike. Imex Panza and King Tiger, Uniborn Hong Kong. 

German Leopard 1 by Dinky and the other is by Imex.

LH top Russian made tank destroyer  SU-100, Corgi, Uniborn SU-100, and the blue one in-front is a Mandico made in Singapore. No T-707 Charrusse.

Top LH this is probably made in China and is a plastic pull back type. Corgi Tiger 1, Tin Toys No WT 308 PZKPFW 111 Hong Kong,  Dinky/Matchbox Panzer IV FI, Tin Toys  Tiger 1 No WT 227 smaller scale,  Imex Panzer IV No 3110.

Matchbox Abrams, Yatming on the bottom LH side while the two on the bottom RH side are plastic have no names and are made in China.

 Shermans rear all matcboxes. Two on the left front are Yat Mings under the banner of Road Toughs and the last is a Zylmax.

Yatming M36 Jackson No 1101 and Army Force on blister pack made in China.

Uniborn M60,  two  China look alike Army Force on blister pack,  Zylmax Patton T412,  Imex M60, Hot Wheels look alike, Motor Force M48 Patton, and another Uniborn M60.

Imex No 3103 T-10 JS III, Imex No 3112 T-51 Medium Tank , MT 1004 Larami Co T-10 JS III made in Hong Kong.

Imex No 3105 AMX 30 Napoleon, Matchbox Bradley, Zylmax Churchill.

Macro Galoob and a Majorette sonic blasters. Two pencil sharpeners could be M-24 Chaffee, and the other look alike Sherman both made in Hong Kong. 

Three Victory Tanks made in Australia..

Dinky 155 mm Self Propelled Gun (SPG) and three Matchbox Battle Kings 155 mm SPG.

Matcbox SPG self propel guns at the rear and LH front is the new Yat Ming Road Toughs Gepard Anti Aircraft gun also WOW Toyz used the same die. No 1505 which is the same body under the Abrams of the same brand name Road Toughs. Next to it is just another Made in China no name. The little tank is the Sheridan by WT 551 made in Hong Kong.  Unknown snow plow been repainted in cam colours. Last is the Hot Wheels APC.

Corgi AMX 30D Recovery tank and the other is the Dinky Leopard Recovery tank. Up the RAEME.

Imex Sheridan and Matchbox. Oops someone shot off the commander's head.

Two Corgi Fighting Machines LH Churchill and the other M48-A3 Patton Vietnam era. The Australian First Armored had their Centurions there as well.
The lead WW1 tank is one of those two dimensional types with a new coat of paint.

Elephant tanks; Cando Maus and E100, although these two tanks never made it to battle before wars end. The Allies stated that they would have never made it to the front line, while  the Elephant Sd.Kfz.184 in the front did make it to the Eastern Front only to sink into the mud by being far to slow and heavy.

T 308 Buddy L , Middle anyone's guess. Nasta (New York) made in Hong Kong.

Two made in China Challenger and another Tiger.

Maisto Abrams and Bradely look alikes. Centurion China although in a Street Machine box so it could have been made by Yat Ming.  Merkava MK 1 Street Machines.

In this picture some of the plastic tanks that are popular with the war gamers. The littlest tank is made in Hong Kong while the rest are made in China, being Chieftan,  T-10, Merkava, and M-60.

Remote control Abrams with electronic sounds although still runs has been sitting out in the workshop collecting dust.

Motorised plastic Sherman and runs on batters.

Yes I nearly forgot about the Matchbox Battle Kings M 48 A2 in two different colours.  If anyone is interested I have a blog on Tank Transporters on Toy Collector so just do a search and you will find it.

If the reader has surfed in from the Net and anyone wants to have a comment, then it is easy to join Toy Collectors and start telling us what you have and your interests in Toy Collecting. It is so so easy. Collecting is healthy so enjoy.

Thank you for reading.

1953 Mack B-61 Code 3.

by GunnerJim

I bought this heap of junk on eBay and I must have been suffering hallucinations of some kind.

Actually it was these two red dropside long trays that captured my imagination for replacement on some spare Super Kings container semi trailers. The postage costs was ridicules to say the least. Twice the postal cost with some packaging added on making postal costs of $28 bucks Australian. The postage sticker was in-fact $13.50.  The hole lot came to $53 bucks Australian. Why I bother with eBay Australia when I can get better quality for the dollar in UK or US and not get ripped off on postage costs from here. Anyway we live and learn I suppose.

So into the scape box and find something that I can make a rear chassis for the Mack which in reality was in perfect condition apart from the rear end being ripped off. Not cut accurately but twisted off and broken that way. Don't worry the Kenworth is only made in China and dime a dozen at car boot sales.

You see what I mean about the Matchbox Super King trailer. In this picture you can also see the difference in scale when the hole chassis from the China chop up looks against one of its sisters. I wanted a tight fit and only way for me was my favorite Super Glue to affix the two together.

The recovery or breakdown rig sits on while I am debating to put a tail-shaft and diff in as well. Probably from a some kit if I can find something to fit.   Another is I might get some plastic card or polystyrene and fill in underneath to make it a bit tidy and finish off painting where someone could have used a 6 inch brush on the side of the tray. Probably house paint again of some light brown and it might just wash off. We will see.

Couple of Hot Wheels with flat rigid tray and the side view of the Mack B-61.

Well it beats watching TV I suppose.  Do have some Chrome duels  which would look better only they are not as shinny as the front. I suppose they will do.

Chocolate or Clay Cars

by GunnerJim

I read with interest about the Chocolate Cars featured on Toy Collector. Fortunately, I had the pleasure of working around these prototype development, design and styling within the motor car industry for a little while.  The Ford Research and Design Center which is at the back of the Main Head Quarters for Ford Australia at Broadmeadows, is where ideas blossom into prospective.  If my memory takes me back to about 1974 or there abouts, while I was working at Geelong Ford Motor Company in the Pre-Tooling Division in the plastic and plaster section, a new world opened up for me out side of my fibrous plastering trade.  This is where I also got a glimpse into the design section of the Ford Motor Company in 1969 when I first worked for Fords.  Originally the Design Division was based in Geelong at the Product Engineering Division, before they built the new ultra-modern office and studio design at Broadmeadows. (Melbourne Plant)  So we didn't have to travel far in those early days until they moved the Studio to Melbourne, then it became a three hour trip, there and back if we were needed to work for them.

In the Pre-Tooling Plastic Section we made fiberglass and plaster Calla aids for the tooling machines, that cut the surface for the stamping dies on the programmed Calla Cutter Machines.  These machines have a needle type mechanism that flows over the surface of the tooling aid and below a cutter gradually cuts the surface to the finish shape depth on the die surface that is used to reproduce the sheet metal part for the car.  Then these aids were used in the spotting surface press, where marking paint was put on the surface of the aid then lowered onto the surface of the steel die, to find the high spots that have to be ground down to the finish surface. This is a very slow process with those pneumatic air operating grinding tools.

We also used to make tooling gauges for testing the accuracy of the panels during their different production transformation, until the parts were put together in the finished process.  Like if we take a door for instance, there is an inner and outer skin and all the bits that make up a door.  So each finished stamped out part, is gauged for accuracy and trim.  Then they are spot welded together and the door is assembled and checked in another  gauge.  Now that has tested my memory of so so long ago now. Feeler and Flush check.

While working in this department which was attached to the Patten Shop, where models of parts surfaces are carved out of wood. These models are checked thoroughly for accuracy on surface tables with vernier gauges for the intended part against the architectural prints.  They are built on a base which have body lines for its intended location within the design of the vehical prints. Those models are then used in the plastic tooling section to reproduce the tooling aids so the dies can be cut to shape.  Also in the Patten Shop they played sand castle building the intended dies out of poly styrene.  Before this they made them out of wood and were pieced and screwed together  with one keying block so they can dismantle the structure. These poly styrene replicas of the intended die are taken to the foundry where they are encased in moulding sand so that when the hot metal is poured in, the styrene melts away and when cooled the steel die is ready for the next stage of the tooling process.  Ground flat on their bases with tooling cutters so the steel die can slide into a press is the first step.  The next step is the shaping and cutting of the tooling surface of the part with the Calla where they use the tooling aids made in the pre-tooling plastic shop. Most dies have multiple pieces that are welded together with some having been made so that they can slide up and down in the actual stamping stage of production.

Big nobs inspecting the progress

Apply the Die-knocking to the clay surface for protection and visual enhancement.

Styling up the dashboard in clay.

 The plastering of the piece mould.

The above is usually where I used to hang out in the fabrication section cleaning up the mould and reproducing the fiberglass Cube mould which is still being parted from the plaster mould.

This fiberglass shell is sitting on a real chassis. The doors and all ended working like a real car. I was on it for months. Pictured was our crew leader Eddy.

A few of us were selected to work at the Design Center, doing all sorts of skills within our field of employment. Mainly making prototype fiberglass car trims and parts for mock-ups.  The other was the main feature where we took plaster piece moulds off the Chocolate Cars and reproduced what is referred to as the Cube Model and is sent to America, where they have this great big testing machine.  This operation is like a needle that goes all over the surface and computerises this and checks it against the initial drawings, thus checking to see if the modellers in Australia had reproduced from the drawings the accurate detail of the cars surface area. Well something like that anyway.

So how do they build up these clay mock cars.  A wooden frame is made of the base of the design car.  They then put shovel fulls of clay all over it to the desired shape.  Like being a plaster by trade they even got me to trowel it on for them. Hell what a job that was. Mainly they would make sheet slabs of clay heated in an oven to soften the clay and they glue it on the wooden frame.  Lots of pushing and shoving to get it to stick on.  This process is very important as no lifting of the clay from the surface is allowed under the strict tolerances the modellers have to work in.  They then start the long process of scrapping and shaving very thin slivers of clay off until they get it right.  If not they just put some more hot clay on the surface and start all over again.  I am not sure but I think this clay comes from Mexico anyway I always called it Mexican Clay.

When the hole surface of the car is finished and is tested for accuracy through the gallows and vernier gauges.  They then get us plaster and fiber-glasses pattern workers to reproduce the Cube Model and other mock-ups for the visual inspection on what the car is going to look like in reality.

From the plaster piece moulds we either make fiberglass or vacuum formed parts to build mock-ups and these mock-ups are then used for showings. Fun job if you like getting dirty.

The finished mock-up looks real doesn't it.

That's all I can remember some of the pictures are from The history of the Ford Motor Company in Australia by Geoff Easdown.  Another book under the same name although by Norm Darwin is a good book too. Then there is another book "Ford 1903 to 1984 which is also of good value based on the American Parent company. We were not allowed to take any pictures but then again one must have fell on the floor. The group photo was given to us as a keep sake and that now you have read all of the above I am in the back row with the mop of hair and orange T-shirt on under my work dress.

I often come across the Scammell Snow Plough No 16 without its snow blade or even the rear tipper is missing as well around the Traps.  (Flea Markets)   So what can be done with the Scammell Mountaineer Snow Plough without its operational tipper body or blade, has lingered for sometime in my mind.  In most cases, if the tipper is intact it stays a dump truck.  So I had this spare Major Mobil Gas Tanker less its tractor lying around.   So why not just go a step further and turn the 4x4 Snow Plough with just about everything missing into a articulated combination with the oil tanker.   Or whatever we may call the tanker.

First up is the fifth wheel and wheel mudguards, wheel housing or arches take your pick on this metaphor.   There was something in my scrap box from another conversion I had done, by turning a Mercedes trailer into a single wheel semi-trailer to fit on a Thames Trader, which has been done a few times.  Yes I had one and the draw bar was broken off and only the turn plate and wheel arches had stood the test of time.  With some grinding and yes it will fit on top of the rear wheels of the Scammell.  So far so good.  The next thing was, does it really match the Mobil tanker and it did.   Like sometimes I might hack into something and it really doesn't suit, so I have to find something else that will really look cute as the saying goes.

I then cleaned off all the paint from the parts and super glued and body filled the fifth wheel and mudguards onto the rear of the chassis on the Scammell.  With a final clean up and painting both, the now 4x4 tractor and articulated tanker in red was nearly complete.  Then the designing of the decals in vintage Mobil style for the finish product was the next adventure.Actually, Scammell had three types of these similar looking long nose cab vehicles.  One being the Constructor which was a 6x4 drive and the 4x4 drive Mountaineer, also the Highwayman 4x2.  I don't know if anyone had converted one of the Mountaineer's into a articulated tractor or not, but anything is possible with the logging industry back in those are off days of yesterday.

I know the decal ink bleed in this first experiment.  So I will have to try some other type of clear gloss sealant and I might have to order some from where I had bought the decal paper on-line.   Just for a little note; I just used a clear gloss enamel spray can paint which bled a little.   I often like to experiment.  Like I am only learning and you are never to old to learn as the old saying goes.

That's it folks happy hunting around the traps for those unbelievable bargains in Toy Collecting.

Unfortunately the dreaded moisture corrosion had started to make its mark on this nice looking Bedford. The front RH mudguard started to eat away.  There was also evidence on the outside of the RH side of the trailer that showed evidence of that salted look on the surface.  The eBay seller advised on the condition before purchasing this item.  Or should I say winning the item on eBay.  After dismantling the top part from the lower bed of the trailer the infection was rampart as well.  So I looked up some information from one of Noblco blogs on repaints, which I may say came in handy for the job I was endeavouring to take onboard.

Although the paint work was in really good condition for its age and the lithographed writing was intact.   I knew, that once this cancer becomes evident then there is no return for the die-cast until it is fixed.

As this picture shows just how far the corrosion has eaten into the die-cast metal. The next thing was to do was to see how far it was wide spread. So I dismantled the bottom bed from the top. Drilling out the riveted nuggets was no real drama and allowing enough for re-assembling,  although parting took some time to achieve I managed without damaging anything.

Just make sure the flatten rivet is center punched before starting to drill out the nugget. Actually I used a one 64/th twist drill first then followed with the 3 mm drill bit. OK one eight then and left some of the nugget inside the hole.

A bit of heat to soften the die-cast so as to prise it apart.  I used a strong thin bladed knife for this and then used a slotted screw driver in popping the lower bed of the trailer from the top half.

When fully stripped of paint and metal finish the damaged area after chemically treating the corrosion. Painting and drying  took place over some time, followed by resembling the trailer together. Unfortunately I changed my mind on leaving the nuggets which should have stayed.

As one can see the rivets just visible on the RH side of the lower trailer bed. I had all intentions of leaving them on with just a little bit of clean up with a file so as they will pop back into place.  The front of the upper body was really bad and pitted from corrosion.  As I plan to hang onto this Bedford for a very long time, I think my efforts are justified on cleaning up the corrosion.

The base plate was also attacked by rust, so I pickled it in my blacksmiths solution that my father had shown me when I was real young on the farm.

You can see how clean the base came up in this solution of vinegar, lemon, sugar of soap and water. The latter is my idea.

All painted and awaiting assembly.

Don't ask me why I ended up using small pop rivets, for I nearly done some damage to the inside where the reinforcement bridge for the fixed rivet lay hidden. Fortunately I manage not to put too much stress on the casting, thus not breaking the outside surface. Thank my lucky stars for that one I think.

All I have to do now is to make some decals based on the original signage.

Just some of my experiments in decal making. Well I think I am getting there.

So that's all folks and happy hunting for those mystery collectibles that lay just around the corner.