Many of the Toy Aeroplanes were just that, a toy for children to play with and perhaps make a collection of.

The model company Dinky Toys made both civilian and military aircraft and the model of the Spitfire was sold in a special presentation box between 1939 and 1941, as part of The Spitfire Fund, to raise money for the supply of a real Spitfire to the Royal Air Force.

Some models were clearly identified, whereas others re-issued in 1945 had generic names such as Heavy Bomber (66a) and Two-Seater Fighter (66c). The reason for that is not clear, but it may have been that they were not true representations of particular aircraft types. However, there were rumours that some models of aircraft and ships were disguised so that enemy agents would not be able to recognise allied aircraft and shipping from the Dinky Toys models.

Dinky Toys was the brand name for a range of die cast zamac zinc alloy miniature vehicles and aircraft produced by  Meccano Ltd. They were made in England from 1934 to 1979, at a factory in Liverpool. Dinky Toys were among the most popular diecast vehicles ever made – pre-dating other popular diecast marques, including Corgi, Matchbox and Mattel’s Hot Wheels.

However, some Aeroplanes were models of actual Aeroplanes, built to scale and with accurate detail. A model aircraft is classed as a small unmanned aircraft or, in the case of a Scale model, a replica of an existing aircraft. Model aircraft are divided into two basic groups: flying and non-flying. Non-flying models are also termed static, display, or shelf models.

Flying models range from simple Gliders made of balsa wood, card stock or foam polystyrene to powered  scale models made from materials such as balsa wood, bamboo, plastic, styrofoam, carbon fibre, or fibre glass and are sometimes skinned with tissue paper or mylar covering. Some can be exceptionally large, especially when used to research the flight properties of a proposed full-scale design.

Static models range from mass-produced toys in white metal or plastic to highly accurate and detailed models produced for museum display and requiring thousands of hours of work. Many models are available in kit form, typically made of injection-moulded polystyrene.

Production of model aircraft resumed after the war with a mixture of re-issues of pre-war models, along with models of new civilian airliners and recently introduced jet-powered aircraft. Production of Dinky planes tailed off in 1968 but was resurgent in 1971 with a range of World War II types complete with battery-powered propellers, as well as modern jet fighters, and even a Sea King helicopter.


Key theme(s):


More information:

Date 1940s, 1950s, 1960s
Material(s) Metal
Item number MBPO255

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • Did you have a collection of toy planes or other vehicles?
  • Did you make the models from a kit?

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