Original Lesney Sky-Busters

For toys made before 1980. Up to and including Aero Minis and the last of the Dinky Toy aircraft.

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Original Lesney Sky-Busters

Postby Tone » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:55 pm

Twenty years after Lesney initiated its Matchbox series (1953) of small-scale die cast metal vehicles, the firm finally introduced a companion line of planes called Sky-Busters. They were solid, two-piece castings with contrasting paint finish. Early Sky-Busters featured wire landing gear struts with small plastic wheels. In the mid-70s a sturdier plastic strut replaced this arrangement. Before tampo printing, these early models had paper labels for decoration.

I got these toys "New" in 1973. Mom bought them for me when they first came out. I collected all the Matchbox series back then and I still have 'em.

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Modern Sky-Busters are the same size but have changed considerably in composition and decoration. Nevertheless, beautiful toy models, such as an American Airlines 737-800, still appear among the fantasy products.
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Re: Original Lesney Sky-Busters

Postby angelreader » Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:00 pm

Hello Tone,I have been gathering my own Matchbox contempories together recently and hoping to have a designated display of them soon,over the years the colours and variations have been prolific,the somewhat haphazard distribution in the UK in recent years has been flustrating fuelled by the manufacturers requirements of huge minimum orders for them,sometimes this is well outside the buying potential of smaller distributors let alone shops.
Barry.
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Original Lesney Sky-Busters

Postby Tone » Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:03 am

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While not in the original 1973 line, the #SB-12 Pitts Special, above, is a vintage Lesney England model introduced in 1978. It features a white plastic pilot figure, black two-blade prop and tampo printed decoration on the upper wing. The wingspan is four inches.
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Re: Original Lesney Sky-Busters

Postby fliegerii » Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:45 pm

These models were also part of my childhood, say the English made...

From collector's point of view, the bodies are OK, but the gears are too "playish".
In reality, they do not run well straight. Flying is better than running...

I had the chance to buy severals of the first issues on a flew market for 1,- Euro per piece in mint condition.
Some I got boxed on Ebay for 5,- Euro.

But at least the boxed ones are now starting to climb up in value.

Regards,
Christian
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Original Lesney Sky-Busters catalogues

Postby Tone » Sun Apr 12, 2015 1:20 am

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1973. This has to be the most interesting of all catalogs. Sky-busters appeared after the Lesney factory had suffered a fire. Some of the colors do not match those of the actual toy planes that were available in stores, hence the toy models shown are experimental and were never sold. The series was available that spring.

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1974

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1975. The 747 changes from BOAC to British airways colors.

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1976. Two fictional racing planes appear: the SB-17 Ram Rod and the SB-18 Wild Wind. The latter is based on a 1930s Polish design (PZL P.11C).

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1978. Wheel struts are no longer made of wire; they are now thicker (this innovation might have been introduced the previous year). New castings introduced: the SB-19 Piper "Commanche" (misspelled), the SB-20 Helicopter (three color schemes), the SB-21 English Electric Lightning, the SB-22 Panavia Tornado MRCA, and the SB-23 Concorde, which is actually called such (not "Supersonic Airliner"). The SB-3 A-300Bs have tampo-printed details: the Air France plane has acquired a cheat line, and is joined by a Lufthansa version. Different liveries are available on the DC-10s and 747s also; note the last mentioned is available with dark blue or silver wings in the same model year.

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1979-1980 featured a single catalog for two years. The Sky-busters underwent some color changes: the F4U Corsair is now orange; the F-104 has an orange-red fuselage; the Stuka is now camouflage; the SB-25 Helicopter in yellow has skids and a two-blade rotor; and the Lightning is silver. The Singapore Airlines Concorde is a great addition. SB-24 F-16 Fighting Falcon is one of many toys of this popular subject, in a color scheme similar to the larger Tootsietoy of the same time era. The Pitts Special makes its first appearance. I don't think any other firm bothered to make a diecast toy of this very interesting plane. Note that it has no number yet, as does the subject at the other extreme, the Space Shuttle.
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