Polistil -formerly known as Politoys- was an Italian diecast firm which produced a series of diecast and plastic vehicles (including tanks) in the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's. The tanks were designated as the "CA" series, and six types of tanks were manufactured (see table below). The tanks have not been reissued, and Polistil was acquired by Tonka in 1988 and later Bburago.
The scale is 1:50. The overall quality is good, with fair to good detail The treads, although not highly realistic, are metal.
The early issued boxes are white, with gray scale graphics, and the Polistil logo in read. On the exterior of the box is 'hand writing", as if written by a tanker of that era, in the language of the country the tank represents. The later releases featured a red box with a cellulose covered window.
Most, but not all, of Polistil's lines were prefaced with letters: CE, RJ, S, MS, etc., but the company did not start at the beginning of the alphabet. With Politoys' diecast 1:43 scale M-Series of the late 1960s, the company arguably became one of the three or four most respected European names of the decade in quality diecast vehicles along with French Solido, fellow Italian Mebetoys and perhaps German Schuco. Corgi and Dinky were also respectable competitors, but Polistil never had their success in the United States.
During the 1960s, each diecast model company had a unique approach and a unique market. Politoys' M-Series at first offered 37 vehicles and competed with Solido's unique wheel styles for each model by having all parts move on all models; hoods, doors, and trunks opened -most vehicles had tilting seats- (Politoys 1968). The M-Series' generic wire wheels were not unique to each vehicle, but were quite attractive and realistic. Similar to Corgi, Dinky, and Mebetoys, however, Politoys M used jewels for headlights, while Solido chose more realistic clear plastic lenses.
Later 1:43 scale series were the E and EL. Body details were often very good with clever features, such as the Alfa Romeo Alfasud with complete ski equipment on the roof. Generic chrome plastic wheel designs, however, were pretty ugly in the late 1970s. The EL-Series was much better than the E in this regard. One interesting model in the EL line was an AMC Gremlin (Sinclair's 1977). It was unique enough to see any American cars in European diecast, much less an AMC model! HE Series No 36 Alfa Romeo Alfasud Weekend from the early 1980s. Note the complete ski equipment mounted on roof. At the same time, Politoys also offered its 1:66 scale Penny series to compete with smaller Matchbox and Majorette, but the new series never gained their popularity.
In the late 1970s a variety of previous Polistil castings were shipped to Mexico and sold as the McGregor brand (Force 1992, 208). McGregor sold both plastic and diecast versions of Polistil toys.
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