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Review of Replacement parts & decals (and sources)

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Review of Replacement parts & decals (and sources)

Postby Tinman » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:26 pm

When it comes to reproduction replacement parts and decals, there are several options. I’m sitting here at my desk which is currently covered over with hundreds of dollars worth of Reproduction parts for vintage 1-75's, Majors & Kings. All these parts have started me thinking about the whole reproduction parts business. In the beginning there was only one and the market place grew to five web based sources. Today there are only three web based dealers. You can make that four if you’re just looking for reproduction decals.

Here are the questions I always hear, “who makes the best stuff” and “which guy has the best prices?” In some ways it’s like comparing oranges to apples, in other ways they compare item for item. The sources are:
Modelcarparts.com (Netherlands): http://www.modelcarparts.com/

Model-Supplies Co. UK (England): http://www.model-supplies.co.uk/

Recovertoy.com/ (Australia): http://www.recovertoy.com/index.php

And for decals only: Toydecals.com. (USA): http://toydecals.com/

All have a website with an online catalog and ease of online ordering ranges from simple email to a built in check out system. Many of the parts available are made by Modelcarparts.com and/or Model-Supplies. So, the quality will not vary too much (however, see notes below about casting quality). RecoverToy also makes custom decals and they make the finest reproduction boxes I’ve ever seen. Recovertoy's boxes blow away most of the competition.

I want to talk about decals first and then move on to talking about parts next. Toydecals.com (AKA. Ricks Toy Box:http://toydecals.com/ ) only does decals. They began with a small Matchbox inventory and have been adding more and more all the time. They first caught my eye by doing some decals that others didn’t make.

Rick's Toy Box has made several improvements to his decals, since I last reported about them. He continued to expand the Matchbox decal selection and has improved his quality in several ways. The film he is using is superior to the previous material which caused me to all but stop using his products. Even better yet, he switched from computer generated graphics to silk screened decals on die cut film. A huge improvement all the way around. However, over time Rick has dropped some of the decals that didn't sell well and he switched many decals to clear peel & stick plastic. Some die cut silk screened decals are still available but I don't like the plastic peel & stick labels. His website is easy to use and you can go from point-n-click to having the decal on your model in as little as three days. Shipping is usually free and he accepts Paypal (two more reason to like this site).

The decals I’ve used from both ModelCarParts.com and Model-Supplies have been excellent. They are all die cut to fit their exact location and the quality of the film seems to be strong enough to allow placement without any problems. It takes longer to get decals from these last two, but you can combine them with a reproduction parts order. Their decals are silk screened and do not suffer from a dot matrix problems like home made decals.

Let’s move on to parts; treads, tires, plastic and metal cast parts. Remember, the big two often supply others with parts (Model-Supplies & ModelCarParts) which they make on site. When it comes to parts that are out sourced, nearly everyone is still obtaining parts from the same suppliers. When it comes to cast metal parts, ModelCarParts seems to have an advantage. Their parts have far less “flash.” A good example is the wrecker boom for the 13A & B. My last order from Model-Supplies included six booms. Four had so much flash in the webbing, they had to be discarded. MCP’s were much better; this could be due to better quality control or just the culling of unsatisfactory castings prior to sale.

The other cast parts were about the same between the two. However, it seems that MCP must cull out more flawed casting than M-S does. Item vs. item, M-S seemed to have more small imperfections than MCP parts. That can make a difference if you only order one of a specific part and it turns out to be usable or not.

Tires, treads and plastic parts. In this category, the quality seems nearly identical. The treads seem to have gone down in quality over the years but are still acceptable. Replacement tires are really nice! They are made just a tad smaller on the inside diameter resulting in a nice tight fit on the old shrunken hubs. How sweet it is to have tires that fit like they did when the toy was new!

If you do a bunch of resto work, MCP offers a discount on larger purchases (some specific items are not discounted). I don’t know if M-S offers bulk discounts and I may ask on my next order (MCP advertises on their site about bulk discounts).

Here’s my bottom line opinion, and I’ll put it into categories.
Decals: The playing field is about level with minor differences in some decals depending from whom you purchase. Prices vary for the same decal, so price shoppers might want to compare each site for the best deal.

Cast metal parts: M-S seems to have less quality control on what gets selected and goes into your order. MCP has a slight edge on these parts.

Plastic Parts: Molded plastic parts, plastic wheels, tires and treads, etc.: You can shop for price or convenience as they all seem about equal in quality. Prices vary and all offer nearly identical parts.

Reproduction Boxes: RecoverToy is the undisputed leader and way ahead of all the rest.

Update:
Some new things are out there in the way of restoration parts and I thought that some of you may want to know what & where to find it. The decal options are expanding more everyday

Matchbox collector Crazy Dave has started offering some of his custom decals for vintage Matchbox castings. Dave is ready and willing to help out those who like to customize and restore with some of the decals he makes for his own projects. He is asking very reasonable prices and has always been more than fair in my trading and dealings with him. He can make both labels and decals and I was impressed with the high quality of his decals. I had no trouble with any of the sample decals that Dave provided. You do have to trim the decals to correct size and in most cases he has provided ghost lines to use as a cutting guide. Dave also offers very inexpensive "O" ring tires for several models.

Dave Kinne is a real good guy and he's always been generous in helping others who have been bitten with the restoration or custom "bug." Which reminds me, he does excellent decals to reproduce the Don's Hobby Shop "Herbie the Love Bug" model. Look him up and drop him an email, he may be able to help you with the decals for your custom project.
June 2015 update: Dave has been very quiet on the forum and I've not seen any ebay offerings from him for some time. He might be busy or taking a break from the hobby.

Andy McCoy ("admc") has done something that I've wanted to do for some time now (and just never found the time to do). He is making resin cast reproduction parts of the M9 Majorpack bogie (dolly or connector set) for the trailers. He makes a Ready-To-Roll unit for the "not so handy" which is complete and ready for hookup and display. He casts the bogie in blue resin then installs the axles and wheels so it can go right on your trailer and into the display cabinet. You can purchase the finished unit or the following parts: Just the bogie, one piece dual wheels, matching front wheels for the tractor unit and he even produces some excellent reproduction doors for the trailers. At this time, Andy has an exclusive on these bogie parts and he is the only source for these most wanted items. A big thanks to Andy for making these and offering them at a very reasonable price. He's a real nice guy (and an excellent craftsman), look him up and drop him an email if you need any of these parts.

There was a USA dealer for many diecast replacement parts and decals: RegularWheels.com ( regularwheels.com). It's owner Karl Franklin has closed the Regular Wheels dot com website. A couple years later, he reopened as Toyresto.com. That site is now closed as well.

Bill Zimerman offered a wonderful selection of replacement parts and supplies for vintage British diecast models. Bill was located in Canada. He was low tech and only issued a printed catalog. If you still have one of his catalogs, please be aware that Bill died suddenly of a heart attack on April 28, 2011. His wife has asked for people to stop sending requests and orders for parts.

A brief word to those who are considering purchasing cast metal parts for the first time. These items don’t exactly come ready to roll, so to speak. They need to be filed and or sanded and often specific areas need to be fine tuned in order to work. Unless you have experience in modeling, you will likely find them resting in the original shipping box a year from now.

My apologies to Tony Howden of Recovertoy. Due to the higher cost of shipping (from OZ to the USA) I have not used any of his reproduction parts or decals. Thus the omission of Recovertoy in comparisons. I do love Tony's reproduction boxes and they are the finest I've seen.
June 2015 update: After a lengthy down time, the Recover Toy web iste is back up and running. Tony has revamped the site and it has a fresh new look.

If you buy your tracks/treads via auction sites, you are paying a huge mark-up in price. Model Car Parts will give any buyer a discount for any tire or tread bought in large quantities (bulk discount). You need to check with the other sites as they may be able to offer bulk discounts on some items.

Update:
Good news for those who need replacement windows for their vintage restoration projects. Steve Flowers (http://www.model-supplies.co.uk/ ) has added eleven more windows (plastic window inserts) to his list of 1-75 replacement parts. The additions are as follows:

7B Ford Anglia green tinted plastic window unit
22B Vauxhall Cresta PA transparent blue plastic window unit
25B VW Saloon transparent blue plastic window unit
27D Mercedes Benz 230SL clear plastic screen
29B Austin Cambridge green tinted plastic window unit
34B VW green version, camper green tinted plastic window unit
41C Ford GT clear plastic window unit
44A Vauxhall Victor green tinted plastic window unit
57B Chevy Impala transparent blue plastic window unit
70B Atkinson grit spreader green tinted plastic window unit
75A Ford Thunderbird transparent blue plastic window unit

Please notice one unit in particular has been in high demand and that is (of course) the 27D Mercedes convertible windscreen. Now, if we could only get Steve to make the 39B Pontiac plastic screen in green, then life would be good! By the way, windscreens can be tinted using dye and Future polish.

These new “windows” join the other window inserts he was already offering:

8E Ford Mustang clear plastic window unit
27C Cadillac sixty special clear plastic window unit
28C Jaguar Mk10 clear plastic window unit
32B Jaguar E Type clear plastic window unit
39B Pontiac plastic screen
45B Ford Corsair clear plastic window unit
47B Commer Ice Cream Van clear plastic window unit
53C Ford Zodiac IV clear plastic window unit
64B MG 1100 clear plastic window unit

Also now offered are several windows for the Kings. A unit which may interest a few is the Race Car Transporter window insert. That has to be one of the most common broken windows (along with the Horse Trailer window). Steve continues to add to the list of available replacement parts and has always been a welcome source for those who wish to restore, customize or simply add a missing tire, driver or part.

June 2015 update: Many of the plastic accessories are now available for the newer 1960's models. Examples:
Dog & hunter for the Lark wagon.
Dogs for the Kennel truck.
The boat and roof rack for the Corsair.
Girders for the girder truck.
Bed covers for the Mercedes truck & trailer as well as for the DAF tipper.
I may have missed one or two so check out their latest online catalog offerings.

There are often individuals selling parts, decals, tires, treads, etc. on ebay and other auction sites. I do not include these as they are considered "unreliable sources" (in other words, they come and go at whim and only offer limited selections. Most such sellers are simply buying from the two major dealers and putting a huge mark up on the items. Treads (or tracks) and decals are often marked up over 200%. The only exception to the rule is Rick's ToyBox . He sells his normal offering of decals on ebay and only marks them up just enough to cover the ebay fee. However it's faster, easier, cheaper to buy directly off his web site than from ebay.
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Re: Review of Replacement parts & decals (and sources)

Postby nickjones » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:11 pm

Very interesting Joe, Thank you.
Do you know if anyone is making reproduction roofs or roof supports for the early large scale road roller?.
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Re: Review of Replacement parts & decals (and sources)

Postby motorman » Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:53 pm

Bloody hell Joe!!! You better go and lie down after that mammoth post Image Thanks for spending some time on this subject and providing some valuable info and links!! Image
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Re: Review of Replacement parts & decals (and sources)

Postby fixer » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:17 pm

What a fantastic insight into restoration parts can this be a sticky to keep it at the top
reg
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Re: Review of Replacement parts & decals (and sources)

Postby GHOSTHUNTER » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:46 pm

I'll second that, please make Joe's post a 'Sticky'.

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Re: Review of Replacement parts & decals (and sources)

Postby Tinman » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:19 pm

nickjones wrote:Very interesting Joe, Thank you.
Do you know if anyone is making reproduction roofs or roof supports for the early large scale road roller?.


The only person I knew of was/is the same person that Made some replacements for MoyBoy (Mick Flack). The last information I received from Mick was that he was unable to get in touch with the man.

For those that get into resin casting, it should be possible to cast your own roofs and supports (provided you have a complete model to use as a template).
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Re: Review of Replacement parts & decals (and sources)

Postby johnboy » Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:37 pm

John
There's nothing regular about wheels
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