During the 1930s the British Army approached the British motor industry with requirements for a lightweight truck. By 1935 Commer had produced 2 prototypes and after a very short Army trial an order for nearly 500 vehicles was placed for a vehicle that became known as the Beetle, a light weight Army work horse conceived long before the Land Rover was invented. It took Britains a further five years to produce their own version of the model, which they made both pre & post war making a big difference to the model value, below are the subtle differences:
Pre war version
Khaki matt paint finish
White solid rubber tyres
Cabin tilt & door screens in lighter khaki paint shade to simulate canvas
No windscreen or side windows
No tow hook
Hood/tilt with 2 removable rectangular rear viewing slits
Moulded leather style front seats
Driver wearing shrapnel helmet
4 spoke steering wheel in unpainted lead
Vertical radiator with 2 silver painted headlights
Front bumper only, painted cream
2 bench seats moulded into the rear
Underside modelling includes exhaust pipe & transmission
Post war version
Darker gloss green paint finish
Black plastic tyres
Rear moulded floor looks simulating timber
Post war it continued with the reference no.1877 but was incorporated into Set no. 2048 along with a Trailer (no. 2041) and 25 Pounder Gun (no. 2026)
The picture shows the rare Herald Polar Exploration set
The term Herald plastic figures is synonymous with the word quality in miniature. First released in 1955, with a range of plastic farm animals the success of the range was in the quality of the detail of each figure and this is attributed to Roy Selwyn Smith, who started his career in 1947 moulding and sculpting plastic at Modern Packages a company owned by Myer Zang. Zang spotted the talent of Selwyn-Smith and left to his own devises produced a range of highly detailed plastic figures. In 1949 Selwyn Smith left Zang to join a company who made metal hollow cast moulds for the Timpo range of metal figures and models.
Spurred on by the success both companies had enjoyed through his endeavours, he sought funding to set up his own venture and in 1951 he established Selwyn Miniatures. Money was always tight on the venture considering it was only 6 years after WW2 and sadly Otto Gottstein, one of his main backers committed suicide leaving the business financially bereft. This lead to the moulds being sold to W. Britain Ltd and Selwyn-Smith rejoining Zang (in 1953), where he developed the Herald Miniatures range using Britains as a distributor.
The lower cost of polythene and moulding in brass moulds allowed plastic figures to have greater flexibility and quality over metal figures, and all this was starting to impact on the Britains range of hollowcast figures and in 1959 the Herald trademark was purchased by Britains from Zang.
Early figures are easily identified by a ‘trumpeter’ logo on the base; this logo exists on figures produced between 1955-1959. The 1959 Britains catalogue showed, for the first time, both ranges within the same catalogue and this was the start of a 5 year merger bringing the figures under the Britains catalogue numbering system and over the period replacing the Herald ‘trumpeter’ logo with ‘Britains Ltd. England’ on the base.
More information can be found in our Britains Price Guide 2nd edition