Farming in Miniature covers
British-made toy tractors, implements and horse-drawn farm vehicles up
to 1980. This is a lavishly-produced hardback book in two
volumes. Volume 1 covers manufacturers alphabetically from Airfix
to Denzil Skinner, and was published in October 2013, while Volume 2,
covering the remainder of the alphabet (Dinky to Wend-al), was released
2014. The book is 11"x12". Volume 1 contains 360 pages and
970 photos, while Volume 2 has 432 pages and is just as lavishly
Farming in Miniature is
the result of five years research, writing and photography by the
authors. Farm toy vehicles in all materials are included, from
wood and tinplate to lead, zinc and aluminium cast models, to
plastics. For each manufacturer there is a company history,
followed by a detailed description of the farm vehicles produced,
cross-referenced to the photos. We have attempted to illustrate
all major variations of colour and packaging.
if you do not specifically collect farm toys, the company
histories are fascinating, as they range more widely than just
discussing farm items, and the farm models are set in the context of
model toys generally.
1 inevitably has a large number of pages devoted to Britains,
our most prolific farm toy manufacturer, but other highlights of this
volume are the extensive farm ranges made by Benbros, Chad Valley,
Charbens, Corgi and Crescent. Highlights of Volume 2 include
chapters on Dinky, Kayron, Johillco, Lipkin, Matchbox, Maylow, Mettoy
and Timpo. There is also an Addenda to Volume 1.
This page from the
Benbros chapter shows some of the superb photography
in the book, with detailed captions.
this review in Collectors
Gazette, and this one on the Small
Scale World blog.
to buy Farming in Miniature
best option currently is to buy from Amazon - click on the links for Volume
1 or Volume
gave each volume a highly enthusiastic review, reproduced below.
Review of Volume 1 - from Model Farmer September/October 2013
was with great anticipation that Old Pond Publishing sent an e-mail
earlier this month informing us that our review copy of Farming in Miniature was in the
must confess that although I take great interest in the most modern
of farm model and toy releases, it is those models from the 'past' that
provide the most interesting characteristics of this hobby. In my
opinion of course! I guess it's the scarcity factor driven by
playability, knowing that toys from before I was born in 1984 were
played with. Of course, models were collected back then and sat
on shelves, but it is the notion, for example, that amongst the
thousands of Britains MF595s that were produced, only a handful
probably remain in pristine condition because the majority were
destroyed by 'play' all those years ago. The interest then leads
on to the 'hunt'. The search for these toys decades on, to try
and source a 'mint' example, or as close to mint as we can get, knowing
it's almost impossible to find anything from the past in this
condition. Looking on the internet through eBay listings and
various auction house catalogues. Even scouring further afield
such as America for old farm toy relics. It's what I do because
the satisfaction of finding something on that rare occasion is
incredibly rewarding. Not that it happens very often, but it does
happen. A few of my 'finds' are even in this book, which I guess
provides evidence that if you look hard enough, you'll sometimes find
what you're after. Such searches are typically spurred on by
variations. To find something that differs from the norm,
something that few people will have, sometimes because you have the
only one! Again, I have been lucky to find such items and it is a
nice feeling to have such things in a collection. The financial
implications of such items are obviously sometimes a burden, but
generally you shouldn't have much to worry about if you have one of
only a handful in the world!
A page of
"There are numerous
ways of collecting and many will disagree with the way I collect, but
I'd like to think that those who do have similar habits will share the
same avid interest in this book, Farming
in Miniature, that I have.
"The main reason is
it collates just about everything we search for
when trying to find farming miniatures of the past into one hugely
this first volume include Airfix, Britains, Crescent,
Charbens, Denzil Skinner and some others some of you may have not known
even existed. There is a comprehensive dialogue of the history
and manufacturing habits of each toy and model producer. I was
interested in history at school, so I found such sections very
interesting. Particularly when information I thought to be true
turns out to be false!
|"There are some
particularly fascinating facts in the Airfix chapter. In
addition, the history of
manufacturers such as Benbros also appealed to me since I knew
little about this brand before reading the book. It's such a
concept which occurred for me on the majority of pages, to be
honest. I know quite a lot about farming miniatures before 1980,
but there's so much more I didn't know. The book provides a great
lesson and I have learnt far more in the space of three hours reading
than I have done in 10 years of being interested in the hobby and
grasping for facts on the internet. It really is that
informative. Those fans of horse drawn farming equipment will
also be pleased about the book. There is plenty of coverage, and
in volume one, Britains and Charbens are significantly covered.
Some very scarce variations are seen too. There are of course
many pieces of information that many readers will already know, but
even then, the way the book presents such topics makes it thoroughly
interesting to read. I was of course keen to find out things I
didn't know and I am confident that there will be few readers, aside
from the authors, who will have seen every model in this
The Chad Valley Fordson E27N
|"Such an example for
me were the Crescent implements and sets. I had good knowledge of
the tractors, but some of the implements were a complete surprise to
me. The hayloader was one item I had never
seen before. Variations in older toys is something I enjoy
looking at, and it is this analysis from the authors that really
delivers an exceptional resource for the collector and
enthusiast. Not only variations by colour, those by tyre choice
or material make for very interesting reading. For me, this part
of the book provides the most enjoyment. Again, seeing things you
didn't know existed. I'd go as far as saying the book had a 'wow'
effect for me. Turning over page after page and seeing things you
just would not expect. For me, the biggest surprise was the
Charbens Large Tractor variations. An unfortunate thing of all of
this though, is it vastly extends your collection wishlist if you like
to collect older farming miniatures. Chapters on Benbros and
Crescent again show some extremely scarce model tractor
variations. The Fordson Dexta in different colours and the
Crescent Ferguson are just two examples. I was lucky to find a
red Crescent Fordson Dexta at the Spalding Tractor Show a few years ago
and I was pleased to see it included in the book. I had also not
previously seen the chrome Denzil Skinner Nuffield, nor the trailer
that this manufacturer had produced. Now that I do know, I'm keen
to try and find examples in the vast buyer's market out there, but
chances are slim of ever seeing one! Which again is why this book
is so exceptional. Pictures are generally of excellent quality
and the authors have worked hard to provide even the oldest of
resources in pictures if a known example exists. Notably old
magazine cuttings and catalogues. It's human nature to be drawn
towards the pictures, but please pay attention to the text when going
through the book. The authors again have listed each item and
described the miniature in some detail. It's here as well that
you learn about concepts of rarity and the types of things to look out
for if, for example, the only difference is a steering column or tyre
print. You'll also see that the book has plenty of tables listing
each chapter's contents and references to future reading. You'll
be glued to this book for quite some time though. Of course, we
do not want to spoil it for you, but hopefully our positive endorsement
will be enough to make you go out and buy a copy. I certainly
look forward to volume two due next year."
A double-page spread
of Charbens Farm Wagons in different colours.
Review of Volume 2 - from Model Farmer September/October 2014
was one of our opinions used in the review of Farming in Miniature Volume 1.
The book was found to be such an incredible resource that it was deemed
a must-have if you had any interest at all in obsolete farming replicas
from pre-1980. A collecting bible essentially, that page by page
assists you in determining either what you may not have in your
collection, or perhaps a clarification of what you do have.
Either way, the book holds incredible value to this hobby and will do
so for years to come.
"Such was the
comprehensiveness of the authors involved in Farming in Miniature that two
volumes have been required. Volume 2 has now arrived, which
completes the publication, covering Dinky through to Wend-al.
Volume 2 also includes an Addenda to Volume 1.
"I have a knowledge
of farming miniatures, as outlined in my previous review, but this is a
mere fraction in terms of what really is out there in the world of
replica farm toys and models, as revealed in these books. In most
collections around the country, I suspect many simply delve into the
surface, not knowing the true potential of miniatures much deeper
within the hobby.
"Variations being one factor of this analogy - I found myself once
again repeatedly thinking 'I didn't know about that' as I moved through
the pages and chapters contained in Volume 2. Even Dinky had a
few surprises for me such as the Leyland 384 prototype in bronze.
"From a personal point of view, I enjoy finding variations, but the
most subtle such as slight wheel tweaks or steering wheel positions
(for example) don't normally find their way on to my model buying
checklist. Those that do note such small adaptations of these
miniatures will be pleased to know the book covers them in some
depth. For me, colours are most interesting, and once again
Volume 2 springs surprises for my own interests, such as those in
Maylow and Matchbox models.
"Similarly, I was most astounded to read the vast chapter on Kayron
(& co.) models. Whilst there is an abundance of horse-drawn
farming miniatures in both volumes, the chapter on this (to me
previously unheard-of) manufacturer is vast. There are several
lesser-known model makers in Volume 2. Dragon Toys, Fairchild,
Kleeware, Leeway, Primus, Sontaw... the list goes on. I wonder
how many of you reading the book have these in your collection?
If you don't, you'll enjoy, like I did, finding out about them.
"I enjoyed reading about Mettoy. These colourful tinplate toys
were extremely popular 'back in the day'. Likewise the chapter on
Mills possibly stands as my favourite. Rarity interests me, and
to see three more variations of Mills-made models in the book really
stood out. The famous Ferguson Demonstration Model by Mills is of
course covered, and to see a Dearborn tractor example in the same
format was astounding - something that most of us will never see in the
flesh. Indeed the majority of models will highly probably be in
only a handful of collections in the world, which leads me on to my
conclusion. The vast majority of content in this book will never
be seen in the flesh. It's why the publication is so important to
the hobby. It represents a history of the hobby that we won't get
back. Most miniatures produced are either destroyed or playworn
to the point of unrecognisability.
"The next best thing, though, is a high quality resource with fantastic
images and in-depth research. This is why you must buy Farming in Miniature, both Volume 1
and now Volume 2."