Meccano Factory Drawings
-465 Morris Van 'Capstan' (1957-59)
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--38e Triumph Dolomite Roadster (not issued)
You wait ages for one bus to come and then four come altogether!!
And four different types of box.
Dave--"All good things in due time" seems apt here....very nice to get even one, and to get four of them all at once.....very nice! Are there more variations, or is that the whole range? Like Jan, that is somewhat out of my personal collecting range, so I am not very familiar with them at all. But nice score!
Best regards, Terry
There are at least 15 variations. They are also after I had stopped collecting as a young lad and these four were very cheap and I was curious. They are really well made and I am very pleased with them.
They ran from 1964 to 1978 and these are fairly early ones, I don't think I will be getting any more - I definitely won't be getting the version with Speedwheels.
I will add a bit more next week
There are three variations of the standard bus plus the transfers variations plus at least 14 promotionnals.
The variations are : the ventilators bars have been deleted (David your Madame Tussaud seem to be missing one of these bars.
The clippie has been deleted
The change to Speedwheels
I know about the window bars, the paint is totally complete around the frame so this is a casting fault. This is present only on the left hand side, the right hand side is complete with three bars.
Later ones are correct so the die must have been repaired at some time.
This model deserves some more attention, because it is actually a follow-up to the pre-war production of the double decker bus 29c and was continued after the war till after the closure of Binns Road Liverpool in 1979.
Routemaster bus (RM 1962 in service from July 1964) by evening on Westminster Bridge with Big Ben and Parliament Buildings in the background.
Recently I received the 1st issue of the 289 Routemaster London Bus “Tern shirts” in the beautiful red London Transport livery. It is larger in scale than the 29c/290 Double Deck Bus and also weighs more. The 290 weighs 144 grams and the 289 weighs 240 grams. It is a beautiful model with complete detailed interior, such as seats, stairs and ventilation windows and is equipped with driver and conductress in London Transport uniform. It has beautiful advertising transfers all around, of which the slogan “Read the Meccano Magazine monthly” on the back appeals to me the most. It has the nice spun hubs instead of the later speedwheels that are less attractive to me personally.
This Dinky Toys miniature got a more beautiful modern look, of which 3 regular issues have been issued, namely:
*1). Tern Shirts (1964-1965);
*2). Schweppes (1965-1969) and
*3). Esso Safety Grip Tyres (1969-1980),
the last of which, according to the Meccano Ltd and Airfix Ltd order form below, was issued at least until April 1980. A total production timeline of 42 years of this legendary London Bus !! and is still a nice souvenir of London.
The early editions has a nice picture box, on which the technical details of the bus are mentioned: “This deservedly popular London Bus is the result of many years of operating experience, and has been designed and developed jointly by London Transport, A.E.C Ltd., and Park Royal Vehicles Ltd. It is equipped with an A.E.C. 9636 cc engine with fully automatic transmission, actuated by a five-position gear selector lever and has the capacity of 64 seated passengers”.
Apart from the regular issues, various promotional Routemaster buses have been issued, which are mentioned in Patrick Trench's Dinky Toy Compendium:
*4). Festival of London Stores in red (1968-1968)
*5). Meccano/Dinky Toys in gold (1974-1974)
*6). Madame Tussaud's in red (1977-1980)
*7). Silver Jubilee in silver (1977-1977)
*8). Thollenbeek's 1929-1979 (Belgian) in gold (1979?-1979?)
Jacques Dujardin's encyclopedia and Roger Bailey's book contains all photos of promotionals and variants. If you also look on Ebay you will find a few.
I find this model with its glossy red London Transport livery very attractive and is a nice addition to my 290 double deck bus Dunlop. This British icon has been reproduced very accurately and attractively. I only find it a pity that the fog lamp is not painted silver and the fenders are not painted black, like on the MM introduction drawing and like the real Routemaster Bus. This undoubtedly has to do with cost savings.
Details about the preserved 1960 AEC Routemaster Bus RM 254 pictured below:
From the photographer Mike McDermott, Freelance Bus Conductor Routemaster 4 Hire and Accredited Guide London Transport Museum which I contacted about this photo, I received the following very interesting information:
“RM 254 was built in 1960 and it was the first of the Routemasters to be built with the opening ventilators on the front windows on the upper deck as RM 1 to RM 253 were originally built with plain glass on their upstairs front windows. RM 254 was withdrawn from service with London Transport in August 1985 when route 71 had its Routemasters replaced by modern driver only-operated buses”.
“The light on the front of a Routemaster on the nearside (the right) was indeed a fog light as they were fitted as standard to all the Routemasters built between 1959 and 1968. By the 1980s the Routemasters had these fog lights removed as they were not used or needed as the main headlights were strong enough to see in fog or in poor visibility. Many preserved Routemasters have the fog lamp back on them just to authenticate and complete the true '1960s' look to the vehicle.
The air cooling grilles on the front wings of the Routemaster were fitted to the batches of Routemasters built from 1959 to 1962 as the Routemasters built from 1963 onwards were fitted with wings without these air cooling grilles as it was deemed that there was enough ventilation for the brakes to be cooled when the bus was moving. Also the radiator grille on the Routemasters built between 1959 and 1962 had the continuous vertical line in the middle of the framing with the London Transport roundel fixed to the engine cover. On the Routemasters built from 1963 onwards the radiator grille frame had the space for the blue triangular LT badge (or the green triangular badge on the RMCs and RCLs) as well as having the front registration/license plate being placed separately from the frame instead of being part of the bottom side of the frame as was the case on the earlier batch of RMs.”
I always try to figure out the prototype of the model. Given this very detailed information about the construction of the Routemaster bus, I conclude that the prototype of Dinky Toys model 289 must have been built between 1960 and 1962 and that’s why it could perhaps be this preserved 1960 AEC Routemaster bus RM 254 pictured below. In any case, it must have been this type of bus without any doubt.
Much information about London Transport Buses can be found on http://www.countrybus.org/ and in Roger Bailey’s book “The English Dinky Bus & Coach”, which I recently received. This book contains also a Meccano assembly drawing Job No. 50289 dated 12-3-63 of the last issue of the Routemaster Bus “Esso Safety Grip tires” without ventilation bars in windows, which were omitted in the latest issues.
A few notes stand out to me on the drawing on page 53 of Roger’s book: 1*) Sub-Assembles Note 7: Re-Drawn 12-10-71 (concerns it this new drawing??) 2*) Note 13: MS (=Mask Spray) of rear & headlamps deleted 19-5-76. Some notes are hard to read but it is a very interesting and informative document.
Jan Oldenhuis 30 September 2021
An other excellent write up by Jan O. It raises a few questions :
• No Dinky could be available until April 1980 as the factory closed on November 30, 1979. Of course, some order forms or other printed documents could be printed already. A question which has not yet been discussed is : what hapened to all the models which had just been made, those in the stock room and those on the loading bay. Did anything leave the factory after this sad November day ? Did some one buy all the stock ? Did ...... ?
• The Dinky Routemaster has had a long life of fiveteen years and very many were made, either alone (ref. 289) or in the set 300 London scene. The question is : were there two moulds, the first one with the ventilation bars and the clipie, the second one without ? This would explain why the drawing was re-drawn in March 1963 and October 1971.
It is known via pictures and film of the Meccano factory after it had closed, during the worker occupation, that there were large quantities of Dinky Toys and Meccano sets present. In fact for a short period workers continued to produce Dinky Toys even though they were not being paid, in hopes this would help influence Airfix to keep the factory open.
The Liverpool-manufactured DInky Toys certainly were available until April 1980 and beyond, as Airfix had a large quantity of models in its London warehouse. Probably stocks had been kept down South even in the normal course of business, though they may also have been secretly built up in the months before the factory closure.
While I have no first-hand information on this, I also believe that after the factory occupation ended, Airfix was able to retrieve the additional stock of toys that remained at Binns Road. There may have been some pilferage, but I do not think it was widespread.
The greater, enduring mystery is what happened to the tooling for Dinky Toys and Meccano. I recently completed an interview with Vic Mumby for a forthcoming issue of the Journal, and he confirmed that there would have been several thousand diecast and plastic injection moulds on the shelves when the factory closed.
Thank you for this yet unknown information, I am waiting for the next issue of the Journal to read more about it.
Never thought Esso actually made tyres, but here's the proof with a March 1969 advertisement.
Jan Oldenhuis, 1 October 2021
A new promotional, found on Ebay Netherlands. "GEC SCHREIBER The complete fitted kitchen" right side and "SCHREIBER now make kitchen units" on the left side. Not seen in book Roger Bailey and Jacques's encyclopedia. It looks like genuine.
Schreiber is a brand of fitted kitchen and furniture operating in the United Kingdom (Wikipedia).
Jan Oldenhuis, 2 October 2021
Jan, I do not mean to question your expertise, but I am skeptical of this model for three reasons. First, for all Londton Transport versions of this bus, Meccano never varied from using Route 221 to Kings Cross. It would be very unlike them to have substituted a different route number and destination for this special order, and the decals look a bit too tall for the space on the model in any case.
Second, the additional advertising at the rear for the British School of Motoring and the other firm whose name I cannot make out is not the kind of detail Meccano added, and would have been extraneous if this was a promotional ordered by Schreiber. Third, it is very common for British bus enthusiasts to create large fleets, with their own original route numbers and advertising on the base of a common model. I'm sure you have seen such fleets being sold off en masse at Vectis and other auction houses.
In short, I think the original decals (probably Tern Shirts or Schweppes) were removed by the model's owner and replaced. Whatever the truth, this toy definitely had a meticulous British owner -- I recognize the 101 number spot on the base as having come from sets that were sold in the photo department of Boots the Chemist shops in the 1970s. At the time, I purchased three or four packs, with numbers 1-799, for organizing a collection of compact cassette tapes.
Regardless, it is also worth mentioning in this thread that eBay sellers are now selling decals (pictured below) with adverts including Fordath, Blackpool Zoo, Dinky Toys, and Thollenbeek. The obvious purpose of these is to make counterfeit Routemaster promotionals -- so buyer beware!
I have collected most of the Routemasters but still want the gold Meccano/Dinky Toys one that was given to members of the press to celebrate Meccano advertising on a full-size Routemaster. However, I would now be loath to purchase one: I recently encountered an eBay seller who had created and sold two very convincing replicas of this version that included packaging and copies of the special typed label it originally came with. (Below is a picture of one of the fakes.) He acknowledged in his listing that they were fakes, but once these models are sold on to another owner, no one would be the wiser.
Jonathan, thank you for your much appreciated and very valuable response.
You have explained well why this cannot be a real promotional and that clarifies a lot. That's why I also added photos from all sides to be able to properly assess the model. Indeed, it is noticeable that route 221 on model 289 is the usual London route designation through Meccano Liverpool, with the exception of 21B at Visit Blackpool Zoo, but that obviously applies to a Blackpool Transport route in Blackpool and not London Transport.
There are indeed all kinds of decals in circulation with which a code 3 can easily be made. You are right to warn to pay attention to this when purchasing. I am attaching a photo of a Routemaster Bus with Dinky Toys advertisement, which I found on Planetdiecast. Unfortunately never issued by Meccano Liverpool as a model.
Jan -- all well said, and by the way, the Blackpool Zoo stickers were not applied at Binns Road; Meccano just supplied the cream-coloured Routemaster, and the stickers were to be affixed by the purchaser.
Here are some more picures of the promotional Routemaster, as well as a genuine -- or so Vectis had claimed -- version of the model made to commemorate it. As you say, it's too bad Dinky didn't make a more accurate copy of the real thing.
The Meccano Routemaster has been made as a code 3 on an original Dinky Toys casting. It is a great job of professionnal quality.