At the end of the 1950's Jouef entered into a collaboration with the English firm of Mettoy/Playcraft, famous for its tinplate 'O' gauge toy trains and later for the Corgi Toys range of diecast cars, which Jouef distributed in France. Six Playcraft catalogues were produced between 1961 and 1968.
Made in France for the English
The 1962 Jouef catalogue included a number of the models, which were to form the basis of the British range. The NB diesel shunter D2705, the class 29 Bo-Bo, the BR maroon Mk1 coaches, the operating Royal Mail coach and the BR brake van. With the exception of a few of the accessories the whole of the Playcraft range was made by Jouef. The words "Made in France - Jouef for Playcraft" under each model was a feature until the end of the 1960's.
The only difference between the French and British models was their couplings. Playcraft first used the Tri-ang type (sometimes known as Lanal and originally used by Jouef) and later the Peco (or Simplex) type. Since 1960 Playcraft also marketed a range of plastic building kits from the Canadian firm Aurora, but these were quickly superseded by the range of Pola kits identical to those featured in the contemporary Jouef catalogues.
Although the Playcraft brand was popular it tended to be sold to youngsters as toy trains and the fact that the models were not very accurate didn't seem to be a problem.
For more information about the Playcraft range please see my Playcraft site.
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