Unknown French diecast pre-war plane

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Re: Unknown French diecast pre-war plane

Postby Flyingtiger10 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:44 am

Dear 24C:
Welcome to the MAC Forum.
Many thanks for your information update.

Best regards,

Jose.
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Re: Unknown French diecast pre-war plane

Postby 24C » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:45 pm

BUT, Sue Richardson knew her toy planes and I am hesitant to disagree with her, except as you pointed out, it is a MB 210.


With all due respect to Mike and Sue Richardson, their knowledge of French toy aircraft is quite limited, as they misidentified quite a few over the years.
Of course it is not always too easy, since to this day, many cast-aluminum or lead airplanes have not been identified even by the best French specialists.
Talking about this, does anyone here have a clue of the manufacturer of this unidentified Morane, shown here next to an identified SR (Simon & Rivollet) similar example?

Image

The SR is the one on the right of the picture, the one by an unknown maker is to the left.

Image

Some have advanced that this is by CBG (Mignot) but it appears too small to fit the general format by that well-known company.
Any thoughts?
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Re: Unknown French diecast pre-war plane

Postby grwebster » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:59 pm

Philippe, Only the older French collectors and toy dealers I knew in Paris 25+ years ago {50% have passed on by now- probably more I fear}, knew all the makers, or most of them. I should have written it all down but back then I was so delighted to find any airplane toy at Vanves or San Quen or the other markets that I never immediately cataloged them.

I have had some of those Morane-Saulnier type N toys in my collection and was told it was AR by those old-timer experts. A few of mine were dark metal, others in gold type finish, and some all red. The same maker, whom ever it was, did a wonderful 1920s biplane transport in the same metal, a Farman Goliath F-60, a remarkable little toy. The Farman was like the Moranes in a type of metal, and not lead as you know. The Farman I had was in chrome like polished finish. I have had a few SR Morane-Saulnier toys {lead and tin wings}, including a period camouflaged one.

You may know AR as the maker of a good Spirit of St Louis type, some even had clockwork motors. They also did some vehicles that are well identified and the solid metal wheels on those are identical to the aircraft.
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Re: Unknown French diecast pre-war plane

Postby 24C » Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:07 pm

Hi,
I am an avid A.R. collector, and I can tell you for certain that this little bird is not by them. In fact I just finished writing the "definitive" (until next discovery! :mrgreen: ) history of A.R., Autajon & Roustan, and the sole known aircraft products are simply their Spirit of St Louis produced from 1938 (in no less than 5 versions I have found so far) and the rather scarce autogyro produced in 1939 and derived from the fuselage of that very aircraft. Actually I just obtained what I think is the hardest example of the Ryan NYP to find, the one with the key holes for the windup motor:

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The tail also is different from earlier versions! Here is a pic of the autogyro:

Image

Here is part of my collection of A.R., CD and DC & Cie toy cars, all molded in lead:

Image

It is quite often that unknown French toys are attributed to A.R., but in many cases, the information is simply not accurate:
A.R. was incorporated and began manufacturing lead-cast toys in 1927. That Morane I am searching is from much earlier, possibly 1920-1921... and much smaller than any A.R. toy. Unlike the larger SR model made of a lead casting with tin wings likely placed in the mold so that they are effectively stuck in that fuselage, that other is cast in metal with high ferrous content (there is some rust to prove it) and was originally zinc-chromate plated in gold tone to protect from oxidation. Definitely not A.R. technology, since A.R. molded its toys all in lead, and the only plated A.R. model is their nickel plated copy of the Tootsietoy "Yellow Cab".
Hence, the mystery remains at this time... :geek:

PS: Also beware of the special issues of "l'Argus de la Miniature" published in 2000: while there is lot of great information, there are also quite a few errors, one of them being to attribute the SR Morane to... CBG Mignot!
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Re: Unknown French diecast pre-war plane

Postby grwebster » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:01 am

well, there you are. Glad to know that it was some other maker than AR that did the Morane Sauliner N and the Farman.

I enjoyed seeing photos of your collection, and well displayed.

I should post the photos of the trays I have of unidentified aircraft toys from presumably France that I found over the years.

I have seen that article in Argus, too. It is not easy to identify the old French toys. The Dinky Toys specialists were able to piece together some of the very obscure history of that mark by referring to found wholesale price lists and magazine ads. May be some of those will turn up.

You may know of the long debate on who produced the first Bleriot and who copied the other. Or, even if there were actually copied at all. As far as I know that was never decided, but I am hoping Tootsietoy was the original one. They were vicious pursuers in the international courts of others who copied their later toys

Regarding the civil war in Spain, It appeared the fascist allies threw every aircraft they had into the war, and for the Germans it offered an op to fine tune of their early 109s, the He 111, and the JU-52 Stukas and others of the Condor Legion before the invasions of Poland et al.

The Italians did the same thing with their soon-to-be outmoded biplane CR-32s and the SM. 81.

Other than the Russians, I believe, no other country officially supported the Republicans and their limited air force had to make do with whatever they could find.

The Spanish built 109s were not available until the mid 1940s, The ones used in the Civil War were the Me-109 B made in Germany powered by the smaller and much less powerful Jumo engine
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Re: Unknown French diecast pre-war plane

Postby 24C » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:50 pm

I remember fondly walking though the aisles of the St Ouen flea market in Paris. Indeed most of the older dealers there, are no longer with us and many died early from various maladies that can be so easily be dealt with today, but they were from a generation that feared technological progress...
I was not a toy airplane collector then, but I was working for a company making them as plastic kits, so I learned a thing or two on the way. The Dinky Toys experts such as JM Roulet who now works for Atlas, are virtually ignorant about the old French toy makers of the 1900 through 1955 years, when things settled and the large toy companies simply obliterated the ones left through aggressive marketing techniques. In those days, such toys as those tiny aircraft were sold not in toy stores (few such stores even existed) but through the typical French "librairies" (newspapers/magazine stores, that also sold tobacco products and novelties) or "merceries", stores where one could buy sewing material and home-made clothing. I remember buying my first Solido aircraft in the 1950s in such stores. The true issue today is that the French collectors were not then, interested in documenting their knowledge of old toys, they were rather (and still are!) hiding from an oppressive taxation system that applies a yearly tax on known collections, that are appraised by local IRS ("les impots") experts.
So, fairly few collectors were willing to talk. Fortunately on the miniature cars side, there is now a lot of information but only about French postwar 1/43-scale die-cast miniatures by their favorite makers: Dinky, Solido, CIJ, JRD and Norev. For aircraft, it is a lot harder because there were fewer people interested and the advent of the plastic model kit in the late 1950s (by Brifaut, Solivac, then Heller) replaced the Lindberg kits that had made it from the USA, at twice the dollar price. This is when the old aircraft toys went straight to the attic or the bin!

You may know of the long debate on who produced the first Bleriot and who copied the other. Or, even if there were actually copied at all. As far as I know that was never decided, but I am hoping Tootsietoy was the original one. They were vicious pursuers in the international courts of others who copied their later toys.


For me, it is quite easy to figure it out. SR made copies of the Dowst (it was not yet called "Tootsietoy" until 1924) Ford Model T and of the Bleriot pretty much at the same time, and that would be at the EARLIEST... in 1922, because of the war and the slow recovery of the French toy industry or actually, what was left of it. One has to look at the "clincher" wheels to be sure, and those did not appear until after WW1. Since the Model T appeared in the Dowst catalog in 1913, the French had to have the time to produce molds for their copy and the war broke out. If the copy had been made before the beginning of hostilities, it would have had spoke wheels like the Dowst car, and Dowst put those wheels on their "T" models only in 1922.

SR however made a nicer model of each, the Bleriot and the "T", than did Dowst. The casting is a lot more precise as can be seen here on this picture, that I publish here courtesy of my friend Dominique in France:

Image

And this brings us back to that Morane-Saulnier Type N, the mystery remains. ;)
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Re: Unknown French diecast pre-war plane

Postby grwebster » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:45 pm

I wonder if the your dates for the AR Spirit of St Louis are right, as 1938 is more than 10 years after Lindbergh's flight, no? I could understand using the production tooling for many years after the first introduction and even offering its minor adaptation to create the autogiro {first flown in 1923}, but as most aircraft toys of that period relied on the newspaper accounts and Movietone/Gaumont/Pathe movie news' coverage to generate excitement for the toys, it would have been logical for them to make that toy as soon after Lindbergh's Le Bourget landing as possible, no?

I know it is sometimes a mystery as to how, when and why toy makers produce certain toys but in this case the Spirit of St Louis is a very special design, and no other period aircraft really comes close to it - No front cockpit windows. It would be a stretch to think that AR used that design for a new toy in 1938.

What do you say?

I noted with amazement your mention of Dinky Toys author, the Frenchman JM Roulet. Apparently, his book is riddled with errors and is a frequent subject of ridicule and attack by the vehicle collectors on the Dinky Toys forum at talkmodeltoys.com. He wrote little about the aircraft and as I only collect aircraft toys, his work was of no interest to me. I also realize, as you pointed out, that Mike and Sue's works had errors and omissions but at least they tried. Many times.

I wrote my own 2 books on aviation toys and it was an enormous task, but thankfully knowing lots of collectors willing to help with information and background and many weeks of research I was able to offer a {somewhat} respectable effort!

I even dedicated the Dinky Toys aircraft book to Sue. Mike wrote the introduction and encouraged me in this effort and to feel free to use anything I needed from their early works and to add newer information and corrections. Of course, I wrote it with the help of John Beugels and Sir George Cox who added a lot. {I have done several editions of the book since the first edition mostly correcting typos but also adding new info as it came in. The final edition will probably never be finished as I, from time to time, uncover new details.}
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Re: Unknown French diecast pre-war plane

Postby 24C » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:47 pm

Hi,
The 1938 date is not mine at this time, but that of several French experts such as Bertrand Azema, who published much of what we know about AR, and of "l'Argus de la Miniature".
Since I am a lot more knowledgeable about toy cars than toy aircraft, I have at this time to take their word for it, but as you do, I personally believe that the plane must have come a lot earlier (and closer to Lindbergh flight time), and the autogyro came as a way to recycle some of the parts and because it has rubber tires on its lead wheels, 1938 makes sense since these wheels did not exist at AR until at least 6 years after Lindbergh flew to Paris. This, we are sure of.
But it makes sense that the fist issue must have been produced shortly after the flight and shortly after Tootsietoy "Aero Dawn", especially knowing the casting variations on all five versions of the AR plane that I have identified so far from pictures and the examples I have... so I am with you on that.

JM Roulet may be ridiculed by some but his 3 books on French DT have less errors that the corresponding British DT publications in the corresponding times in my opinion and all I hear from all English-speaking sides is praise for the Richardsons. I have no issue with that, they did a tremendous job. I have all those books and all have some minor errors. In fact not a single collector on the planet can know everything. I am currently writing my second book on American slot racing cars of the 1960s and I still find wrong info DAILY through research. It is not an easy task to reconstruct the history and product of not only one company, but in my case, HUNDREDS!
Unraveling those little mysteries is a bit tougher than sitting on the fence and taking jabs at the result, as some are doing online about Mr. Roulet's books...
Mr. Roulet is a very kind, gentle and stylish gentleman and maybe too many on the other side of the channel and the Atlantic cannot refrain from a certain amount of literary jealousy? Who knows?

Which brings us back to trying to figure out what manufacturer made that Morane-Saulnier! :mrgreen:
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Re: Unknown French diecast pre-war plane

Postby grwebster » Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:02 pm

You realize of course that the Channel dividing France and England was the result of divine intervention!
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Re: Unknown French diecast pre-war plane

Postby 24C » Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:08 pm

I would say, "thanks God for that", but I also have learned a thing or two about tectonic plates... :mrgreen:
I have ancestors on both sides, that apparently fought the cr*p out of each other for centuries!
I like your toys, look like you have quite a lot of them. My collection of aircraft toys is limited to whatever I can find made of lead and looking good from the 1900 through 1955, and the kits I designed for the Heller company of WW2 French aircraft. I am particularly fond of the Liore-Olivier LeO 45 and 450, as it was the first kit I designed, and I incorporated lots of unique features inside including landing-gear doors that were naturally "hinged" (a first in the kit industry) as well as detailed dashboards with decals to represent the instruments, and that was another first in 1968. I still have test injections of some of my babies, without rivet detail and other engraving that was done later after the molds had been tested.
Those were the days... ;)
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