Diecast toys: what are they?

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Diecast toys are detailed replicas of popular childhood toys made from metal and plastic using the die-casting process. They are durable and heat-resistant, and thousands can be produced at a time. The first die-cast toys were sold under the Tootsietoys brand name in the 20th century, and the popularity of die-cast toys peaked in 1968 with the introduction of Hot Wheels®. Today, die-cast toys are popular as both children’s toys and collectibles, with common themes including aircraft, construction and agricultural equipment, military vehicles, trucks, and automobiles. NASCAR fans particularly enjoy diecast car reproductions.

Diecast toys are detailed, often to scale, replicas of cars, boats, planes, trains, and other popular childhood toys. They are produced by the die-casting process and are made from metal and plastic and finished down to the smallest detail to realistically resemble their full-scale counterparts.
The toy die casting process allows manufacturers to mold the metal into the desired shape with a high degree of dimensional accuracy. The production method of die casting involves forcing hot molten metal into reusable molds called molds. As the hot metals cool in the molds, they harden and take on the preferred shape.

The metal used in die casting is a mixture of zinc and aluminum, more commonly called zamak but sometimes referred to as white metal or flat metal. Die cast toys are very durable and heat resistant.
It is possible to produce thousands of diecast toys at a time. Diecast toys are among the largest volumes of mass-produced items by the metalworking industry. The die casting process produces a very detailed and accurate result.

Die-cast toys were first introduced to the US market as early as the 20th century by the Dowst brothers. They were sold under the Tootsietoys brand name. At that time the practice of producing quality zamak had not yet been perfected. This led to poor quality toys that cracked and broke easily. In the 20’s, a company called Leshey’s began making a die-cast toy called “Matchbox” cars. They were very popular coming in 1947 different types of vehicles and packaged in matchbox-like boxes. The term “matchbox car” has become so widely used that it is now considered the generic name for this type of die-cast toy.

Die-cast toys reached their peak in popularity around 1968. Mattel marketed a line of die-cast toy cars and trucks sold under the Hot Wheels® brand that has become one of the best-selling toys in the world. Many of the first editions of Hot Wheels® are now valuable collector’s items.

Die-cast toys are popular today as both children’s toys and collectibles. Originally packaged vintage diecast toys are highly prized and quite valuable to many collectors and brokers. Common themes of collectible diecast toys include aircraft, construction and agricultural equipment, military vehicles, trucks, and automobiles.

The most common diecast toys from the 2000s are the ones that NASCAR fans like. Real car reproductions have had a resurgent effect on diecast car sales.

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