Years ago, I had never heard much about pre-war Dinky Toys, much less owned any. Then, I finally took the plunge and bought a couple of pre-war items, and it was then I discovered the charm and allure of these long ago toys. Many items, materials, and techniques did not survive WWII; some models did, but in many cases, changes were made. Pre-war toys typically involved lots of hand work, typically extra detailed paint work, obviously done by those ladies armed with tiny brushes.
The October issue of Meccano Magazine announced two new sets of models, later to be joined by a third. For want of a better description, I tend to call these "service sets", as all three involved items to serve the 1930's English motorist. For some reason, Meccano numbered the last set issued, The Police Hut, Motor Cycle Patrol and Policemen #42, even though it was not announced until June of 1936. So I will address that set first, with the other two following in order. All of these sets consist of a "hut" or small building, that often contained a phone and miscellaneous items to add in traffic or accident situations. In this case, the hut is actually the Police call box, and I believe the real ones were made of wood. These pre-war boxes or huts are painted a very dark blue, in contrast with the post-war versions, which are a lighter shade, and as opposed to the RAC and AA Huts, this one is diecast. Also included is 42b, the Police Motor Cycle Patrol. This motorcycle is also the only one of the three that has a passenger in the sidecar. As is typical with these pre-war motorcycyles, they came with white tires, and the two pollicemen have hand painted features......buttons, badges, had brims, gloves, eyes and mouth, and chin straps for their helmets. Pre-war motorcycles also have silver painted cylinder heads, exhaust pipe, and muffler. There are two Point Duty Policemen included: one wearing a white coat (42c), and the other in the typical blue uniform (42d).
The other special item in some pre-war sets is the wonderfully illustrated display box included. The scenes are illlustrated on a thin cardboard insert, which fits neatly inside the box. The back of the scene has cutouts, to accommodate holding the various pieces in place. These scenes lend a nice touch to the display, and evoke times gone by.
The general descirptions of each set are very similar, so I will not repeat all of the detail shown here. I will also not show closeups of the invdividual pieces here, but in their own category. All of these sets were discontinued in 1940, when Meccano ceased manufacturing toys. The only item from these sets re-issued after WWII werer the three motorcycles, so they remain treasures to covet from long ago.....enjoy!
Best regards, Terry