Fun Ho! History

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Painting Midget Zinc Die Cast Toys

The Midget range of die-cast toys, made of a zinc alloy, were first etched by rolling around in a concrete mixer, with a little sand and water, and or dipped into a large tank of acidic etching chemicals.

To be painted , the body castings would be spaced out regularly on a steel network about 500 x 500mm square. These squares had a short hollow piece of tube welded in the middle and placed over a spindle, allowed the square to be spun around like a spinning jenny. Whilst they were spinning slowly, the paint spray gun was fired over them from every direction, ensuring good coverage.

A number of these trays of midgets were then placed in racks in a stationary oven, and stoved for a period, before being removed to have the bases riveted into place. There could be a percentage of rejects caused by chipping during further processing.

The bases were generally zinc plated in the plating shop before attachment.

Later, when some midgets were being produced for the Toy Museum, very light trays were made with poultry netting, stretched over a light frame. These toy bodies were then carefully spaced out on these trays and powder coated. Special hooks were used to hang them up in the overhead oven for heating.

Although it was hard to break them away from the wire, these castings turned out quite satisfactorily, with the advantage of the powder coating being harder and therefore fewer rejects made during further processing.

Too much thickness of paint or powder could be sufficient to prevent the two parts, body and base, from fitting together, and both parts would then become rejects.

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