About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Friday, September 16, 2016

M is for Most Marvellous Model Marx Made!

I posted a 'Best Toy Ever' article quite soon after the Blog began (Triang Battle Game), then a few years later I tripped myself-up by posting 'Best Toy Ever' again! The Britains Land-Rover long-wheelbase 'technical' on that latter occasion, the other day I suggested something was 'Best Something Ever', and have already forgotten what, while ". . . too cool for school!" has become a common trope here; so it's obvious that 'Best' is subjective and depends on a number of variables, of which - how you're feeling that day is as important as any other reason!

Today's post limits the criteria to one maker, so you have to believe the claim of the author, and therefore, without further ado I give you a guest post; in his own words, Brian Berke's . . .
Most Brilliant Marx Toy Ever!

In 1971 I owned a real 1960 Austin FX4 taxi (YYX 790) it had a 2.2 diesel engine coupled to a Borg Warner 35 automatic transmission.

The vehicle was incredibly slow and loud. It was purchased as a transition vehicle between an Austin FX3 taxi and a hoped for Beardmore taxi that was still licensed and wouldn't be available for another year. Life didn't turn out that way.

I bought this toy taxi and it wasn't until I opened the box and tried it with a battery that I appreciated how brilliant it was.

As the leaflet explained, use one battery with the metal plate and the cab crawled along making as much noise as the real thing. No other toy was ever as realistic in operation as the real thing. Usually anything battery powered shoots off at a scale speed of 200 mph

The detail of the model from hood ornament to chrome hub caps was accurate; the colour plastic is all that let it down. It was about the same size as the Tri-ang version which was unpowered.

Brian also included the instruction sheet, which is useful as I have definitely seen that tin plate in dealers junk-trays in the past, now I know what it is.

And I would add that I'm sure at lest one company had metallic mauve taxis when we went to London as kids in the late-1960's/early-1970's, they were mostly black, but one company had white ones, there were the Evening Standard striped ones (orange, black and white chevrons, like the delivery vans), and the odd 'British Racing Green' one, but I'm sure there were some in this colour? As far as the toy goes, I saw a battered one in bright red at Sandown the other day.

It is pretty lovely isn't it? The Crescent berserker says 1:24th'ish? So - what's your favourite 'Best', and would you like to share it here, with a few pictures and a bit of blurb?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this Hugh. The cabs you saw were probably Maroon in colour and were owned by York Motors based near Kings Cross station. Their fleet was one of the best maintained and the owner would inspect the cabs at the beginning of their shift wearing a white glove. If he rubbed the body of a clean cab and discovered dirt on the glove he was very upset with the cleaners.

This toy came in this color plastic so it is not faded from red or another colour. The TRi-ANG version was more accurate in detail but only black plastic, which warped.

Regards, Brian Berke

Hugh Walter said...

Thanks for the additional info Brian! It's funny, but we used to spot them at Kings Cross waiting for the train to Retford (four hours in a squidgy seat!), so you're probably right, false memeory is all too easy!