Every once in a while toy collecting will surprise you. One can study older toy catalogs, read books, visit shows, and then believe you have a grasp on what was made. Then there is that new find.
Granted, new toy finds for me aren’t necessarily new to others, but this toy didn’t show up in any of my reading. It is a Modern Toys of Japan tin airplane. I haven’t seen a Modern Toys airplane this old for sale before. Maybe it just fell from the collective consciences.
My find came after I visited a seasoned tin collector. He had clean and well lit displays of 99% of his toys, but this was a humble box I didn’t recognize tucked in the bottom shelf of his case. Sepia colored graphics on this Modern Toys “Air Travel” plane number 1425 are humble at first. Then the quality starts to show through. Meticulous decorations are almost watermarked on and MT logos are interlaced. The fabric has a woven quality applied over cardboard.
Inside is a two piece tin toy airplane is the toy separated by tissue paper; yes, flimsy tissue paper. Wings get fastened in place with a rotating wedge. It is mostly of tin design and extremely colorful lithography. Based on research it harkens from the 1930’s and is a purely Japanese paint design.
The plane features a windup motor that runs for about a full minute, and it spins not just the prop, but the tires. The sound of the gears truly are a good simulation of a motor. House cats beware!
One of the most attractive features on the toy is the “Flapper” in the window and her male travel partner. As soon as I saw the passengers I melted. One can imagine that a full tea set is just out of view and there is a full service flight in progress.
Tires and tail sections have the MT or Modern Toys design on it for advertising. Quite a few antique tin toy airplanes have surface by MT; It must have been a prosperous medium.
Kudos to Modern Toys on their inspirational toy! It pegs the elegance of air travel in the 1930 and the beauty in simple windup and over wing plane designs.