Tri-ang MINIC Push and Go

Colin Penn's Specials

Colin says: it should be noted that I have collected these vehicles for close on fifty years as they play an important part of the railways story as many of them were used to illustrate catalogues and box lids, as well as being used as wagon loads in both the UK, Canada, and New Zealand. The series I am referring to is known as the OOO series, and this would suggest, to some, a smaller gauge, but they are in fact closer to OO/HO. The use of plastics by Tri-ang for the Minic ranges dates to 1948 but the OOO series seems to have first come onto the scene in 1954. The range at that time was about fourteen vehicles which consisted of a double decker London bus a coach and a forward control 4-wheel lorry with twelve different body styles. All the lorries had a red cab/chassis, and the body styles were in contrasting colours (most being various shades of blue, green, yellow, cream and grey). All vehicles initially had a small metal hub with separate rubber tyres. Actual dates are difficult to establish, but my estimate is that minor changes to the mouldings were made over a number of years. The first change around 1955 appears to be the removal of the metal hub and all lorry wheels now have a solid rubber wheel, though for some unknown reason the bus and coach retained the metal hubs throughout their production. I believe that around 1956, the four saloon cars, and the articulated mechanical horse and its various trailers appeared together with the tank, armoured car, bulldozer, and crane. These all have solid plastic front wheels/axels, and I have never seen any with the metal hubs however the solid rubber tyres were used on the axel for the Push & Go motor, which they retained throughout their production. On or around 1957 six trailers were made for six of the lorries and this required the fitting of a towing eye on the rear of the lorry chassis. This required modifications to the body casting of both the fire engine and dustcart as they overhung the rear of the chassis. I believe that at the same time the front wheels on the lorries were changed for the plastic version as these are now a push fit, rather than having a separate metal axel. Also, around this time the three presentation sets are produced, and this gives us a new addition to the civilian lorries being the radar dish in red with a yellow control cabin. Also, in the RAF and Army Presentation Sets the coach now has four solid rubber wheels. There are also a couple of models that are very seldom seen, these are the log trailer to go with the bulldozer and the crane with excavator bucket. There are also a couple of promotional models for Seven-Up and toothpaste. Most vehicles were individually boxed and some small sets containing six or eight vehicles, however many were also sold loose from counter packs containing twelve or more models of the same type.
Three pictures show the progression from metal hubs to plastic front wheels together with the modifications for the wheels and towing eye. I am not able to explain why some of the later models with plastic front wheels do not have the towing eye, other than, perhaps, there was more than one shot in the mould and only one shot was modified with the towing eye. The other two pictures show the modifications to the rear of the fire engine.
Please click on images for full size photo

Colin says: At one of last year’s train shows I picked up what may be a Spanish version of the Tri-ang Twin Train Set, It has no markings so presume the Tri-ang logos were removed from the moulds and this set was produced after some of the moulds (mainly Big-Big) were sold to NOVA. Sadly there was no lid to the box, so I could not gain more information, however it can be seen that the box style is identical to the Tri-ang version, but in a much cheaper card and even the artwork on the inner tray is very similar. The main difference is that the American style locomotive has been replaced with a European style locomotive, the construction and rubber wheels used is very much in the Tri-ang style, if anybody can shed further light on this set please do.