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​Die-cast: A Brief Introduction

Dec 14th 2016

Meaning: Die cast refers to the method of turning molten metal into a particular shape, by pouring the liquid metal into a mold to produce predefined shape.

A clarification: Despite its widespread use in the collectors world, the phrase ‘diecast’ needs to either be ‘die cast’ or ‘die-cast.' In acknowledgment of commonly used styles of expression, this discussion will adopt diecast, die cast, and die-cast at different times in this article.

Trains and Toy Soldiers loves die cast collectibles. In an effort to spread that love to other we present to you a brief introduction and history of die cast toys. After your done make sure you check out our selection of die cast collectibles from industry leaders such as ERTL, First Gear, and Lionel.

Setting up die casting process is costly to begin with. However, it enables mass production of products at a cheaper cost per piece. The tooling or forms as known in the industry are complex and regularly represents the most substantial cost to produce any model or type of toy. The superiority if metal texture and the accuracy of the die, together can create a particular bit of product as needed. The die cast materials is a combination zinc and aluminum known in the toy industry as ‘zamac’; different from steel or iron. Plastic parts are often part of toy and model die-cast.

Other types of mostly metal alloy toys exist that a layperson may mistake for die-cast. At the beginning and mid-1900, cast iron was the older technology mostly used by toy makers, and this includes all forms of toys. There are avid collectors of these older cast iron toys, but Trains and Toy Soldiers currently does not have any available. Compare to what is obtainable today; toys produced with casting iron rather look rough, and it finds its best application when creating toys that look primitive or older in nature. Companies like Hubley, Kenton, Arcade, Vindex, and Wilkins make cast iron toys.

Companies making metal toy usually used stamped metals. The stamped metal means a sheet of steel is decorated by a form to give the defined pattern. The post-war era saw the prevalence of stamped metal toys and some are still available today on store shelves. Among companies making stamped steel toys are BuddyL, Nylint, Tonka, and ERTL.

Trains and Toy Soldiers hope you have enjoyed this little introduction. Please call us at 1-800-786-1888 if we can help you find any die cast collectible. Even if we don’t currently have a particular item in stock, we would be happy to order it for you if available.