Monday, April 26, 2010


David Jefferis reports
To the average tourist, the half-timbered town of Stratford-upon-Avon is famed for just one thing - it’s the home of the Immortal Bard, William  Shakespeare.

But for the model and toy fan, Stratford is a magnet for another reason - it’s the base for the splendid model emporium Much Ado About Toys (MAAT). Housed opposite a delightfully beflowered traffic island, MAAT is a treasure trove of miniature delights that range from plastic kits to tinplate collectibles.

So far as tinplate is concerned, Schylling’s products are well represented here. They are modern takes on nostalgic and retro themes, and very affordable too - for example, the palm-sized ‘King Jet’ is a bargain £8.99 GBP ($13.80 USD), and comes in several marking alternatives, including a splendid ‘Pulse Car’ which is just the sort of thing I’d like parked in my garage!

Somewhat pricier are the CIC diecasts from France. However, their attractive retro lines make them a fascinating addition to a collection, with offerings that range from Renault Camionettes, to a one-off Watermans Ink mobile promotion vehicle that was used in the 1950s.

There’s a wealth of plastic kittery in MAAT too - the Revell 1:48 SH-60B Seahawk had cover art that caught my eye, and it assembles into a nice model too. Most of the bigger kit-makers are on the shelves, though don’t expect to find much in the way of rare imports or garage-manufacturer items, or my own special-interest, sci-fi and fantasy collectibles, especially those from Japan.

Still, no one store can stock the lot, and Much Ado About Toys is well worth a visit if you’re in Stratford, as there’s plenty on the shelves to whet your appetit. And if Stratford’s not on your go-to list this year, then you can visit MAAT’s website here.

Revell kits are also available here and Schylling tinplate items here.

The pictures show, top to bottom:
1  MAAT’s street front, beyond the municipal flower display.
2  Tinplate from Schylling.
3  Store display, topped by a beautiful 1930s-era speed racer plane.
4  CIC Renault Camionette diecasts.
5  Revell 1:48 scale SH-60B helicopter kit.