Charmerz (Hong Kong)
Charmerz is one of those brands that if you don't have the box, you'd never know it WAS a Charmerz. I have a Lancia Fulvia 1600HF that is very toy-like. It's vastly out of proportion, with HUGE wheel wells holding tiny go-fast wheels. On the bottom it says "Playart, made in Hong Kong." It seems that the cars were made for a distribution company owned by Charles C. Merzbach in New York. I know he was the owner, because if you put "Super Scale Models, Ltd." into Google, the first half-dozen entries will be for a lawsuit against him and his company in the early 90s.
The cars have opening hoods, doors and trunks, and my model is yellow "jeweled" plastic headlights (four of them).
Charmerz box showing model list
Bet you didn’t
know you could have a car from Colombia? Well, truck, actually. These
were trucks from the Danish, then Dutch, company Tekno. They are an odd
combination of high-quality (the plastic bits, other than the interior)
and decidedly low quality (the metal bits). My Volvo truck is, in fact,
disintegrating before my very eyes.
On the bottom it says “Chico Toys, Made in Colombia.” It
has an interesting suspension – a bar of metal that goes from the
front to the rear, with a spring in the middle.
Written on the box (in Spanish, of course) is a note that the model is
produced for Metalurgicas Von Arnim. It also says "El carrito para
jugar... y coleccionar!" which is translated by Google as "The
cart to play... and to collect!" I assume it actually means something
more like "truck" than "cart."
for Metalurgicas Von Arnim)
Toys Volvo Titan
CIJ stands for Compagnie Industrielle du Jouet (if my high school French
serves me, simply Toy Manufacturing Company). C.I.J. provides a turning
point in miniature cars. Early on, toys were generic – they could
have been any old car. But C.I.J. manufactured miniatures in the 30s for
Citroen. C.I.J. started making 1:43 models in mazac in 1954.
I have not seen the book, so I don’t know if it is only in French,
but I’ve heard good things about “Les jouets CIJ en zamac,
automobiles et utilitaires (“The Diecast Toys of CIJ, Automobiles
and Trucks”), by Thierry Redempt and Pierre Ferrer.
Fegate and Prairie
CKO Kellermann (Western Germany)
Oh, here I go again.
Only it’s not plastic this time, but tin. But really, these are
great looking models even if they are tin. They are in the 1:35 range.
Founded in 1910 by Georg Kellermann, it appears to have gone defunct in
CKO copies were later made in Czechoslovakia by Kovap, and I have read
rumors of copies being made in China.
Please note that I’ve seen “Kellermann” also spelled
as “Kellerman” by reputable sources.
of CKO Passat
Wonder why there’s a key on the bottom of your Cle car? Simple:
“cle” is French for key (but you’d already figured that
out, right?). Cle manufactured finely detailed cars in plastic in 1:43 and 1:64 (these
under both their own name and for the French laundry detergent maker Bonux).
Clover Toys (Korea)
Clover is a Korean company which seems to have manufactured a wide range
of toys. The Clover I have says “Clover Toys Mini Power” on
the bottom, along with “S=1/36, 4418, Hyundai Stellar, Made in Korea.”
This is very much a toy. The headlights, the license, the model script
and the stripes on the car are stickers or decals, and the wheels are
huge in comparison to the car. The doors do open, though… and how
many companies made a model of ANY Hyundai?
(Well, okay, that was true when I first wrote it lo these 4 years ago, but that's changed, of course.)
I haven’t been able to find much about this company, other than
they seemed to specialize in sets with bicyclists and support vehicles.
based on Solidos, much like Verem. But though I do know that Verem has
become part of Solido, I don’t know if Cofradis is/was a separate
company or part of Solido (which is itself part of Majorette these days).
Cofradis models are apparently still being made, though in China. Offered
are classic models as Cofradis Nostalgie.
Here I thought I had discovered an interesting new model...
but of course, Eric at 87th
Scale is ahead of me (way to go, Eric!).
Concentra models were actually Anguplas 1:86 models made in Mexico --
with, believe it or not, metal axles made in Switzerland. Unlike the "Mini
Cars" on Anguplas models, the package of Concentra cars says "Mini
Car," but the "s" is present on the bottom of the
car -- where, in fact, according to Eric, it even still says "Made in Spain."
The package says that the cars are made for Concentra, S.A., and there
is a logo with a Santa Claus and his bag (just a little less creepy than the
Asahi logo), and the name "Calidad."
Following is what (in Spanish) you will find on the front of the package
"Miniatura perfeca. Escala 1/86 HO.
Hecho en Mexico, con tecnica europea.
Ejes metalicos fabricados en Suiza.
Corre soma los de verdad.
Forme su coleccion. Seran mas de 100 modelos
Serie Amarilla Turismo Internacional
The best translation I can get online is:
"Perfect miniature. 1/86 HO scale.
Made in Mexico, with European techniques.
Metal axles made in Switzerland.
Some really run*
Form your collection.
There will be more than 100 models*
Yellow Series International Tourist (?)
*Thanks to Chuan Chai for help on these translations!
Conrad (Western Germany/Germany)
Although Conrad is a well-known marque for lovers of industrial vehicle
models, it’s less well-known in auto model circles. Started in 1956
by Ludwig Conrad, it was known best for model railroads. In 1971 they
took over the diecast manufacturing of GESCHA. The few 1:43 models that
Conrad has offered have been, no surprise, of German makes.
It took me along time of watching on Ebay to get my Conrad (a VW Santana).
They are almost always being sold out of Germany, and Paypal isn’t
accepted. I finally found one being sold by a U.S. seller.
Although Cragstan was an importer of a lot of different toys, I am primary concerned with the diecast cars from Israel
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