Wiking is a brand that is oriented mostly for adult collectors. They are not very popular among children and as a result, it is difficult to find them in the places where I usually buy these things (flea markets, die-cast lots...), and if they appear, the prices are mostly high. Wiking models are made of plastic, so they are also fragile and in H0 (or 1:87) scale, not very popular scale for toys.
I own exactly three Wiking models that I will present at the end of this entry.
In recent years, there was a book published with the history of the company Wiking-Modellbau GmbH & Co. KG.
Currently, Wiking is owned by the Sieper Group (also owners of Siku) since 1984, so the book was edited in the same style than this one. Glad that Sieper is putting so much care in the documentation and publication of information about their most renowned companies. Unfortunately, I do not own this Wiking book yet, but there are lots of information available in the Wikipedia and other dedicated websites.
Therefore, it doesn´t make much sense to repeat everything here, but still I would like to comment on the evolution of Wiking models in 1:87 scale, although Wiking also produced models in other scales.
The first models were hollow, with flaps were the axles were attached (similar to some Tootsietoys, but with non-rolling axles), but even less detailed: windows were just engraved. These were in around 1:100 scale.
Starting in 1952, models started carrying base plates and rolling axles with fixed wheels, and the size increased slightly up to 1:90 scale, while the casting quality increased and the plastic thickness decreased.
Windows came first in 1957, initially dark, then in 1966 transparent, as the models came with interior. Scale was corrected to 1:87, but they were still being sold as toys, not collector or hobby items, despite the increasing quality and the H0 scale correction, now compatible to train models (except trucks and busses, that would be adapted much later -1985- to the exact 1:87 scale).
In 1970 the trend changed and the new models saw some simplifications in their construction and their finishing (tampographies, simpler interiors...) and in 1978 they got their first serious competitor with Herpa, that made extremely detailed models at 1:87 scale.
In 1990, Wiking bought the already closed company Roskopf, that offered models from the early 20th century. Models from Roskopf were sold in Wiking packages and later the casts were adapted to be marked Wiking. Some of these models have been available ever since. Many other Wiking classic models have been in catalogue for decades, maybe because the railway and train modelling (that requires the vehicles to be from the same years than the trains, scenery and so on).
Far from losing importance, Wiking has since the 90s grown a lot, providing licensed models for many car brands. And classic cars for which they do not need a license. They also have a series of agricultural vehicles, and innovated in 2008 with series like Wiking Control 87, that were remotely controlled cars in 1:87 scale.
Wiking also produced many accesories, like buildings, figures, traffic signs and roads from the early years on.
Wiking models today are sought after collectables, and the name Wiking remains as one of the most notable classic German toy manufacturers.
And now here are my three Wikings, ordered chronologically after their release date.
BERLINER DOPPELDECK BUS (BÜSSING D2U?) (Ref 72d) - 1970?
There are two versions of this one. I recognise them easily because the rear door is open in this model with a metal pole in the middle, while the other version, that seems to be newer, has closed doors.
MERCEDES BENZ L 608 "FRISCHDIENST" - 1984-1985
The truck was done in several versions. It was used as a promotional item by many companies. This one in blue is quite nice, and the casting is beautiful, including the body and the base.
ROLLS ROYCE 1951 (SILVER WRAITH) (Ref 14838) - 1978-1982
This one is a very nice model. It is small and cute, beautifully casted.
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: DOUBLE DECKER BUS, ROLLS ROYCE 1951 and MERCEDES "FRISCHDIENST"
- Scale: 1:87
- Year: 1970, 1978 and 1984
- Company: Wiking (Germany)
- Size: approx. 6 to 8 cm