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50 Shades Of Dinky Toys

One of the attractions of collecting Dinky toys and the like is the wide range of colours they came in.

Most manufacturers seem to offer models in 2 or 3 different colours but Dinky often used a very broad range of colours and sometimes a range of shades as well.

Generally makers tend to launch a model in 1 or 2 colours then later on as an easy and cheap way to keep their range looking fresh they change or add new colours, Dinky however didn’t seem to follow that logic if any at all because their De Tomaso Mangusta was in production for nine years in just the one hue and yet the Jaguar XK120 was produced for eight years but came in fifteen known variations, and the older models like the Jag also had painted cast wheel hubs that could match the bodywork or come in a contrasting shade.

To further complicate matters some models such as the VW Beetle and Porsche 356A come in a baffling range of shades as well.

I recently purchased a red Porsche 356A and found on close inspection that it had silver painted steel disc wheels which is a version I was not aware of before. I had thought that there was only one red one and that it only came with spun hubs but when I consulted the collectors bible it lists five variations of ‘the red one’ and how are you supposed to tell the difference between red, deep pink and cerise unless you have all three in front of you to compare? At least the painted silver wheels model is only listed as ‘red’ so there is no confusion, there right? Until I compared it with another red model I have with the more common spun hubs and that one is noticeably brighter red than the ‘red’ one but it’s definitely not deep pink or cerise, or is it?

And what about the Beetle which is listed with seven non-too helpful definitions of blue; light, pale, greyish, dark, RAF, very dark and metallic. How are you supposed to differentiate between some of those, I mean is light blue lighter than pale blue?

Defining a colour can be a minefield anyway as one person’s blue is another person’s green and when does red turn into brown? One of the twelve hues listed for Corgi’s Jaguar Mk10 is called sea green. Have you ever described the sea as green?

Tri-ang’s Spot-On range also seemed to have an unusual approach in that they had a very big range of colours and most of the models seem to have been available in most of the colours which makes collecting a full range quite a challenge. Has anyone got a full rainbow of models? Please send us a picture if you have.

One of my favourite Spot-On’s is the Fiat Multipla and I have found that in addition to the wide range of body colours they were also made with four different interior colours combined seemingly at random. I just did a quick internet image check and counted eighteen different combinations.

This got me looking more closely at some other models and seeing that their Friskysport models can have either a light grey or a black roof as well as the many body and interior combinations so you’re going to need a big display cabinet and a lot of patience if you want to collect all those variations. 

On reflection I’ve decided that I’m just going to buy whatever looks good and not worry about trying to determine if it’s really sea green, sky yellow or strawberry black.

Happy hunting!

What do you think about variations in diecast colours? Do you collect every variant? Let us know what you think – we’d love to hear from you? Please send us your comments using the reply box below.


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