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From Cars to Other Vehicles: A History of Diecast Models

Over the years many toys have risen and fallen in popularity, but a few continue to appeal to children generation after generation. Think Lego blocks, Play-Doh, and Frisbees. One of the most popular line of toys that continues year after year to be a good seller and appeal to all ages young and old, are diecast replicas which have been around for decades. These miniature versions of vehicles have been a popular toy and collectible choice for both children and adults with interest from everything from cars to tractors.

Over the years diecast models have changed from child's play things to collectors' items that can cost a few hundred dollars or more. Here's some more information about diecast toys and their history.

Model Vehicles

Toy vehicles have been around almost as long as their real counterparts. Aside from horse and cart, sailing was an early form of vehicular transportation, and the earliest toy boats date back almost 1,000 years. In fact, the oldest toy boat ever found was a model Viking ship in Norway that was carbon-dated to the year 1045.

When cars and planes were first invented, model toys of these vehicles followed soon after. Most model vehicles started as toys for wealthy children. Just like their real counterparts, the industry for model vehicles would expand as time went on and costs would come down. Now, model vehicles are sold at different price ranges so that any child can have a toy model of a plane, car, or boat.

The Advent of Diecast Models

The earliest known examples of diecast vehicle replicas or models came into being in the early 1920's. Diecasting is the method for forcing liquid metal into a mold to create different shapes. initially it was Iron but now Zinc is used. After World War I, toy manufacturers used the new technique to create sleeker, more detailed versions of toy cars. The first diecast model cars came into being. Toy companies would extend their products to diecast model planes, cars and trucks, and other vehicles.

The Heyday of Diecast Toys

Diecast toys wouldn't reach the peak of their popularity until a few decades later. After WWII, as economies strengthened during the 50s and 60s, the global toy market saw a boom. Among the toys that helped that boom were diecast model vehicles.

Several companies made their name through diecast toys. Dinky Toys and Corgi Toys were the pioneers of the industry.

Dinky Toys favored recreations of vehicles with notable popularity. One of their most successful model cars was a 1930s era racecar that broke the land speed record.

Corgi Toys became the big name in diecast model cars with one simple feature: glazed plastic windows. Before this, model cars didn't have anything to simulate glass windows. This feature proved so popular that it propelled Corgi Toys to the top of the model car market.

Other toy car makers would come along after this with more popular model cars. Lesney Products released a line of toy cars under the name Matchbox. The cars were cheap and small enough to fit into matchbox sized boxes.

In the late 60s, Mattel released their Hot Wheels line. Hot Wheels out of California focused more on flashy, cool looking Hot Rods - the kind every young boy wished he drove. The line of vehicles the company produces continues to have a cult following to this day, with many adults in addition to kids now purchasing vintage and new releases.

Providing a Place for Diecast Vehicle Collectors

Diecast models will always be a popular line of collectible toys for kids and adults alike. These toys are timeless and can provide a source of fun and interest whether for play or simply collectibility.

If you're looking for a wide variety of diecast model options, look no further than Awesome Diecast. We have limited editon diecast vehicles, including planes, cars, buses, and tons of other vehicles in a wide variety of scale sizes and price points. Visit our store to find the perfect addition to your collection. 

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