Tin to diecast: the Schuco 1936 Mercedes W25 and how tin toys started my diecast journey

1/64 purists stop reading now. Diecast purists stop reading now. What we’re looking at today is a deviation from the Lamley norm. While the manufacturer may be familiar regular readers, the presentation may not be. This is Schuco’s 1936 Mercedes W25.

Yup. It’s a clockwork tin toy. But it’s here because if you were to ask me how I got into collecting diecast cars, and indeed how I got to be writing on the Lamley pages, I would not be able to tell the story without talking about tin toys and the influence my parents have had on my hobby.

Myself and my father at work on the Schuco W25

My Mum had a passion for motorbikes, owning some very cool Yamahas and Hondas, and my Dad has an interest in all things practical and mechanical, but neither had a great interest in cars. My Dad however collects tin toys. Some of my earliest memories are staring up at them in the glass cabinet in the hallway. Among all of the robots, merry-go-rounds and others were tractors and a few cars, of which I was always completely taken with. I don’t know if my interest in cars was born before my exposure to tin toys but there is no doubt at all that they contributed to the journey that led to me gracing the hallowed pages of The Lamley Group. My Dad as a child had also had some tin cars, including a clockwork racing car that he over-wound one day and broke. My Gran had to return it to the shop, never to be seen again.

But recently thanks to Schuco, I’ve been able to give him a bit of a time machine moment, albeit a smaller one than the huge racing car he had when he was a child. And it’s in kit form, part of Schuco’s “Studio” line. And me and my Dad are going to build it. And there’s no fancy photography or dramatic backdrops today. Just me and my Dad sat at the dining table looking confused.

First off the bat it’s got to be said that this is beautifully presented. The box is gorgeous, a replica of the classic packaging of the 1950s. Opening reveals the car and its parts laid out; the wheels, tyres, the metal knock off centre caps and the gorgeous set of miniature tools stamped “SCHUCO”.

Evident immediately to both me and Dad was the quality of the kit; the paint and finish are top notch, even down to the tools, which have a satisfying weight to them. I harp on about Schuco quality all the time, but if you’ve experienced it you’ll know exactly what I’m on about. It’s a feel that permeates the range, from the 1/87 right the way through 1/64 up to the bigger scales. As my Dad quickly commented “they’re not messing around with this are they?” That’s about as good as praise from him gets!

Once we had got to grips with the total lack of instructions (even translating the leaflet into English from German proved rather fruitless) the little thing came together easily.

The kit comes with two sets of tyres (and a tyre removal tool) and there’s even a satisfying little detail on them: the Continental Tyre script stamped on them.

And once all together and complete it looked fantastic. We just wished we had a big enough floor to race it on, it’s got one heck of a kick behind that clockwork motor!

It took me right back to my childhood, and hopefully took my Dad back to his. It was one of those times that makes me happy to he in the hobby I am, happy to be a car person. It’s now sitting pride of place on top of my Dad’s record player along with two other Schuco tin toys, an Opel GT and a Volkswagen T1 van. And considering most of his collection is out of view in a cabinet, that speaks volumes.

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(Find Schuco’s Mercedes W25 at the brand shop and at Ebay)

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