Morestone & Budgie Noddy Toys
Morestone began making Noddy toys in 1956. They were based on the illustrations to Enid Blyton's popular children's books about the adventures of a wooden toy called Noddy and his friend Big Ears. The instantly recognisable drawings were done by a Dutch artist called Harmsen van der Beek.
The range of Noddy diecast toys was small at first and centred around Noddy in his car and Big Ears on his bicycle. Each toy had its own colourful Morestone box but they carried no numbers. The figures of Noddy and Big Ears were hollow-cast metal at first but gradually these were replaced by plastic versions.
Two rare Sets in the Noddy collection were produced, the first a Morestone Series Garage containing Noddy in his car and four models from the Morestone 'Esso' Series. The box of this opened out to form a parking-type garage.
The second boxed Set was 'Noddy's Gift Box' containing three items including a specially made plastic figure of 'Mr Plod' the policeman.
When Morestone ended and Budgie Toys started in 1959, the Noddy range was given revised boxes and a numbering system from 301 to 333 (although most were not used) but the upgrade was short-lived.
Already the large model of Big Ears on his bicycle had ceased production and in 1960 the Sets were discontinued. Finally in 1961 the entire range was withdrawn.
Noddy & His Car (large version)
The first Noddy model appeared in 1956. It was quite large (98mm long) and made up of several componants including a plastic windscreen. Hollow-cast metal figures of Noddy & Big Ears were included, but Big Ears was soon discontinued and later Noddy was switched to a plastic figure.
The body of the car was a single casting with separate unpainted headlights and a rubber spare wheel on the back fixed by a long pin passing inside through a hole in the plastic sceen to secure it.
Painted yellow with red mudguards, the car had a folded hood painted black. Silver trim was added to the grille and the rear bumper.
The silver-painted base included the front bumper and the lettering 'Noddy and His Car', ' Morestone Series', and 'Made in England' cast underneath. The wheels were black rubber.
The figures of Noddy, and Big Ears when included, were painted in the colours of the book illustrations, not forgetting Noddy's blue hat with the bell on it.
As with all the Noddy toys, the box was unique to this model and coloured bright red. It carried no number even when re-issued by Budgie, the only change being the addittion of 'A Budgie Toy' beneath the illustrations.
Budgie gave numbers to the Noddy Toys and this one was No.301 although there was no upgrade to the model to include it and it did not appear on the box.
Noddy & His Car (large) was withdrawn in 1961.
Big Ears Riding his Bicycle
This was rather a clunky toy which issued in 1957 for just a year, perhaps because the casting was complicated.
The figure and cycle were two castings joined by a third comprising the handlebars and Big Ears' arms. Separate legs were fixed to the front pedals but loose inside the figure so that when the model was pushed they moved. Rubber tyres on metal wheels and white plastic stabilisers completed the toy.
Big Ears was sold in a Morestone box and did not get a Budgie upgrade. It was replaced by a smaller version in 1958.
Noddy & His Car (small version)
In 1958 a small version of Noddy & His Car was developed with simpler casting. It included a smaller Noddy figure of painted metal but this was soon replaced with a plastic one. It measured 52mm long.
The car body was cast as one piece to include headlights and spare wheel at the back. Two little pillars represented the screen. The wheels were metal and painted red with the base which included the front bumper.
Pale yellow with silver trim on the grille, headlights and rear bumper, early models had the folded hood and spare tyre coloured red (above). Later this was switched to black (below).
Two boxes were used, both bright red with coloured illustrations. The first was a 'Morestone' box, the second very similar issued in 1960 with 'No.331' added. There was no mention of 'Budgie' and no number added to the base of the model.
This small version of Noddy's Car was withdrawn in 1961.
Big Ears Riding His Bicycle
In 1958 the early version of Big Ears Riding His Bicycle was replaced by this neat little model with a painted plastic figure and white plastic wheels. It measured 48mm.
The bicycle was a one-piece casting painted red with fixed pedals and a central stand. The figure of Big Ears was held in place by the hands fitting onto the handlebars.
The 'Morestone' box was a small version of the one used for the larger model. When Budgie was launched, Big Ears Riding His Bicycle was given 'No.333'.
It was withdrawn in 1961.
Noddy & His Train with Big Ears
Noddy & His Train was the first model in the Noddy collection to have 'A Budgie Toy' included on the base. It was listed as 'No.307' in a catalogue but this did not appear on the model or the box.
The Locomotive was cast in two parts with a base and small metal wheels, all painted pale yellow except for the separate red cab (which was rivetted on) and black trim on the coal.
'A Budgie Toy' and 'Noddy & His Train' were on the base and 'Made in England' on the inside of the cab.
The red wagon being towed was a simple casting with similar small painted metal wheels. 'Noddy & His Train with Big Ears' was cast underneath.
Both figures - Noddy on the loco and Big Ears on the wagon - were painted plastic.
The Budgie box was the only one used for this model before it was withdrawn in 1961.
Issued in 1958, Noddy's Garage was a boxed set comprising four models from the Morestone Esso Petrol Pump Series and the small version of Noddy & His Car.
The illustrated card box folded out into a garage with the lid depicting a garage frontage. The front side of the box could be lowered for access to the cars. On the tuck-in flap of the lid 'A "Morestone" Series Model' was printed.
Inside using an internal packing piece, there were spaces for the cars and two for the figures of Noddy and Big Ears (although possibly only the figure of Noddy was included in the Set). The figures were painted metal at first but were quickly changed to plastic.
The Esso Series models were No.7 Mercedes-Benz Racing Car, No.13 Austin Taxi, No.16 Austin-Healey, and No.20 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible. More details of these models can be found on the Esso Petrol Pump Series pages.
The first version of Noddy's small Car was used for the Garage with a red folded hood and red spare tyre.
Noddy's Garage was on sale for only a short time and is now rare. It was replaced in 1959 by Noddy's Gift Box.
Noddy's Gift Box
Smart and up-to-date when it appeared in 1959, Noddy's Gift Box was special in several ways.
First, the maker's name was given as 'Morris & Stone (London) Ltd.' and not the usual 'A Morestone Series Model'. Perhaps this was because its issue coincided with Morestone being replaced by Budgie Toys. The old 'Morestone' name was out-of-date, the new 'Budgie' name had not yet been launched.
Second, the box saw the first use of clear plastic for a box lid which made the item eye-catching but not particularly strong.
Third, the Gift Box included a plastic figure of Mr Plod the Policeman which was not otherwise available in the Noddy collection.
Inside the Box on an illustrated card the three models were held in place by elasticated string. These were Mr Plod, Noddy & His Car (small version with black hood), and Big Ears Riding His Bicycle (small version).
The lid of the box was hinged on the upper edge keeping it attached when open. On the outside, characters from the Noddy stories were depicted. The base was plain.
Noddy's Gift Box did not have a Budgie upgrade but it was included in a catalogue as 'No.305'. There was no number on the box.
Because of its rather flimsy nature and the risk of damage to the plastic lid, Noddy's Gift Box in complete condition is now a very rare item.
Noddy and His Trailer
By creating one new casting and using pieces from previous models, Budgie devised, in 1960, this charming little model of Noddy and His Trailer.
The bicycle was the same as the small model used for Big Ears Riding His Bicycle, this time painted deep yellow with a touch of silver trim on the lamp at the front. It had fixed pedals, a central stand, and white plastic wheels.
The red trailer was a new casting and was attached to the cycle by the rear axle. Its red metal wheels were the same as those used for Noddy's Train. Inside the Trailer 'Noddy and His Trailer' was cast and underneath 'A Budgie Toy' and 'Made in England' were added.
A new plastic Noddy figure was made for this model with hollow hands which fitted onto the handlebars.
The colourful box had 'A Budgie Toy' on the picture face but no number although 'No.311' had been assigned to it.
Along with all the Noddy toys, Budgie discontinued Noddy and His Trailer in 1961. Because it had a short life and is a bit fragile, this is a scarce toy and the box is rare.
Noddy and His Engine
The last model in the Noddy collection was issued in 1961 just before the range was withdrawn.
The model used was the engine from Noddy & His Train which was simply re-boxed under a different name.
The colours of the model and the plastic Noddy figure were as previously with 'Noddy & His Train' cast underneath. The wheels were painted metal.
With this model, a yellow box was used with a new illustration. 'A Budgie Toy' was included on the picture face.
Because it was a duplicate of an earlier toy, Noddy's Engine is not uncommon but the box, which was on sale for only a few months, is rare.
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