Thursday, April 18, 2013

#271 LONE STAR – ROUTEMASTER BUS (LONDON DOUBLE DECK BUS) (Around 1960)



Lone Star is the trademark used by the toy division of Die Cast Machine Tools (DCMT), a british company based in London.

This company was founded in 1939. Among their first products, there are many guns and rifles, which were very popular at the time because of the many films about Indians and Cowboys. It is said, that the name of the toys comes from these products. They also manufactured hand-painted toy soldiers, first in lead, later in plastic. These were mostly soldiers, indian and cowboys although they also had licenses for popular characters like Popeye, el Zorro or James Bond’s Thunderball.


Their most successful products were vehicles, and there were vehicles in several scales made… starting with the classic 1/43 (similar to Corgi’s cars), 1/64 under the Impy series, and also in 1/85 with the Tuf Tots.

The Tuft-Tots were already introduced in this blog in entry #219, this time we will focus on the larger scale models (1:43 for cars, other scales for other vehicles), made to compete against Corgi and Dinky, but also against Matchbox and other companies.

The first cars in this scale were manufactured as early as 1956, in a series called “Road-Master” (also “Road Master”). The first castings, for example the bus in the pictures, were not very well done. The castings are not very detailed. Note that this bus is made in two halves fit together.



The production of Lone Star Road Master series was improved in the following years, with details like plastic windshields, hand-painted head- and taillights.

Not everything improved. The nice aluminium hubcaps with white plastic tyres were by the mid-60s replaced by one-part plastic tyres (those in the pictures).


This bus sold massively, since many tourist that visited London bought it as a souvenir. There were also a London Taxi available in this size. Because of its popularity, this bus was manufactured during decades. This model seems to be made by the early 80s, but I cannot give a precise year, so I will label it as early 60s, when the first bus was released.

The same model was available in 1977 chromed, as a souvenir of the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (1952-1977), and also with different stickers.

This model is one of the oldest toys I can remember, and was probably bought by some relative on a trip to London.



FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: ROUTEMASTER BUS (#1259)
  • Scale: Around 1:120 (?)
  • Year: Around 1960
  • Company: Lone Star (Great Britain)
  • Size: approx. 4,5’’ or  11 cm

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