BAYKO Product Details - 1946 to 1949

This was a very difficult time. The war was over, but its legacy of shortages, Government planning and rationing meant that BAYKO experienced a staggered (staggering?) restart after the war.
Nothing, perhaps, epitomises this better than the short- lived post-war 'New Series' production immediately following the war, in 1945 and, probably, early 1946
A post-war BAYKO model Bungalow on translucent pale green Bases
Raw material scarcity and the giant wartime strides in plastic technology fuelled improvisation if not outright experimentation. E.g. some bricks, and even some Roofs, produced during this period have an almost translucent appearance, and you certainly can see light through them.
The twin drivers of innovation and post-war shortages were probably similarly responsible for the production of Bases in a strange pale blue colour [also a similar pale green] which have both the appearance of, and even the feel of, a large slab of soap!!!

A consequence of the post-war material shortages, coupled with improvisation during 1946 / 1947, was inconsistency of the colour of many BAYKO parts produced during this period…

Slip, included in early sets, offering to swap Bases for ones of a matching colour
…not just when compared to those immediately pre-war, but even compared to the previous weeks product!
Plimpton saw the importance of this to post-war BAYKO modellers, particularly in the case of conversion sets, and many early post-war conversion sets included an information slip [right, upper] offering to swap any parts, or Bases [right, lower], where the colour didn't match your existing collection…
…thanks to Bob Burgess for these.
It's, perhaps, worth re-emphasising that this was not driven by any desire to play with new colours, though, of course, this did in fact happen, but was driven entirely by the material supply issues of the day. However, we shouldn't complain too much - “the rarities, the rarities”, as Quasimodo, an avid BAYKO collector, never said!
There's debate in some BAYKO circles as to why the post-war BAYKO set structure changed so significantly from the pre-war equivalent…
Several pre-war parts were not made available after the war : -
Wall Capping - discontinued or not?
Platforms, Left and Right Steps.
These parts were superseded by the 'New Series' parts
Full Corner Bricks.
Wall Capping and 1-Brick Pillars.
Large Bases.
'Oak' + White and Orange colour schemes.
n.b. White Curved, Large and standard Windows did briefly emerge unofficially.
Only two new parts were introduced in the sets of this period : -
'Diamond' pattern Flat Roof
Flat Roofs…
…for the first year[-ish] these were in the 'Diamond' pattern [right].
Roof Ends…
…needed to use the Flat Roofs for a 3-D roof [right].
The Flat Roofs could, of course, also be used alone as a flat roof!!!
The ornamental roofing (Turrets, Domes, Pinnacle Roofs and Pinnacle Platforms) were relaunched during this period, though exactly when is unclear…
Red and grey BAYKO Straight Steps
2 post-war dark grey steps bracketting the standard colour
There is a little confusion over the colour of the Straight Steps which were produced in this early post-war period : -
A 1945 post card price list says that they were produced in red…
A 1945 BAYKO Delivery Note states that red steps were dispatched…
Despite this, I am as certain as I can be that, by the time the first post-war #2 BAYKO sets [the smallest sets which contain steps] were produced, the standard had already been changed to grey…
…certainly nobody I know has seen a post-war set with a red one…
For the record, Plimpton did briefly experiment with Straight Steps in a darker grey [left] before returning to the standard grey - this happened in either 1947 or 1948
…it really did take Plimpton a long time to shake off the post-war 'greys'!
The overall colour scheme was the same as pre-war except that Doors and Windows were initially a yellowish green [right] before changing to the familiar mid-green.
BAYKO model Bungalow with post-war Grey bases and Bay Window Covers
There are also rare examples of Windows mottled with dark green [similar to equally rare pre-war ones] but in this case based on the early post-war yellow green…
…were these produced by accident or design?
By the end of this immediate post-war period, the 1950s colour scheme, sets and range of parts, so familiar to many, had largely been established.
Grey Bases, both light and dark, were briefly flirted with during this period though BAYKO soon standardised on green.
2 post-war grey bases
They soon retooled Bases to strengthen them, no doubt in response to complaints…
…to spot the difference between the two types, look at the part number, [1] moulded on the underside - it is reversed on earlier examples - can you spot the other differences?].
Later in the period, probably the second half of 1947 or 1948, they had a second brief flirtation with grey, this time as as the colour for Bay Window Covers and Canopies. You would have thought that the post-war rejection of colourless utilitarianism would have taught them - but no.
There was clearly an element of whim about this as I have seen sets with both grey Bay Window Covers and Canopies and some sets with one of them in grey but the other red - both ways.
Curved Brick with un-reinforced cylinder to the rear
Still, let's not complain too loudly, it's always nice to add to the list of rarities!
Earlier there was also a short-lived experiment with Curved Brick mouldings.
The original type accommodated the second Rod hole with flat extension plates - a few of these were made post-war.
The first new design [right] used a hollow cylinder, but proved a bit fragile…
…still, once the cylinder was reinforced, it became the standard design for the next dozen years.
'Diamond' pattern Flat Roof pices
The key new parts introduced during this era were Flat Roofs and Roof Ends, which were included in the second BAYKO patent #613,767.
The original diamond patterned Flat Roof style [left] was soon replaced, probably in less than twelve months, by the more familiar 'tiled' design.
Less excitingly, ½-Brick Rods were also introduced immediately after the war.
By the end of the period the plastic used for the bricks and windows had been changed to the type so familiar in the 1950s.
1946 leaflet which supplements the early post-war manual - model requirements list
The exact timing of the launch of the different sets is a little uncertain…
1946 leaflet which supplements the early post-war manual - set range and set contents list
…but follows a simple enough sequence.
Sets #0 and #1 emerged in 1946.
I should, perhaps comment on the new, entry level, set #0. It followed [preceded?] what became the standard post-war concept of adding an extra Roof as you progress through the range. Set #0 used the new Flat Roofs in this context and helped get BAYKO up and running in this austerity period.
BAYKO included the double-sided leaflet [left & right] with the earliest post-war sets, filling a gap in the early, 8 and 16 page versions of the instruction manual.
The leaflet [left] details parts lists required for several models in the manual…
…and [right] the contents of sets #0 and #1 and details of the intended range of BAYKO sets - including sets #4X and #5!
143 mm x 224 mm = 5.65 x 8.8 inches
Set #2 emerged in late 1946 or early 1947, probably along with the 20 page version of the manual.
1948 Set #2 contents leaflet with set #2X hint
Set #3 was introduced some time during mid 1948.
As part of this process, the small, single sided leaflet [left] was added to the supplies of BAYKO set #2 to ensure [in red capital letters no less!] that the children who bought or, more likely, received, a set #2 were fully aware that they would be able to extend their new set and : -
By purchasing a set no. 2 “x” set, you will convert this set into a no. 3 set. This will enable you to build more than double the number of models a no. 2 set builds and greatly increases their size and design.
To help save your eyesight, I have not reproduced the original capital letter format! Set no. 2 “x” - interesting!
101 mm x 153 mm = 4 x 6 inches
The new set #3 was supported by a new set #3 manual in addition to the sets #0 to #2 manual…
This was the last set to be introduced for three years, when set #3X then set #4 was introduced…
…though early post-war literature mentioned a set #5…
The BAYKO sets #0 to #3, throughout this immediate post-war period, had ten models drawn on the lid. [right] This is one of the details which distinguishes this period.
2 versions of post-war BAYKO set 0, 1 blue and 1 red
They appeared in both Red and Blue boxes…
…I don't know whether this was Marketing indecision or, more mundanely, cardboard or paper availability.
The earliest post-war sets had typical austerity packaging with no internal cardboard partitions…
…but this was changed during 1947.
A sample of the early post-war BAYKO conversion sets
Conversion sets #0X to #2X [left] were generally in blue boxes, though red was also used more rarely, [left, bottom left hand set] with line drawings of models, parts, etc. on the lid.
Initially the drawings were single coloured, [left, top left hand set] but later in a more colourful style [left, top right hand set].
I don't know the exact date when the standard yellow label emerged, [left, bottom right hand set] but it went on to be the norm up to, and beyond, the MECCANO takeover.
Later, even after they had standardised on the more familiar all-yellow label, there were further flirtations with Red boxes before settling consistently on Blue. Dating these changes exactly isn't easy, as conversion sets don't contain manuals (which are usually date coded).
If you accept that marketing of conversion sets - which is clearly preaching to the converted!!! - was less significant than marketing complete sets, then it's easier to see the red / blue box situation as being driven by material availability.
Another issue immediately after the war was the availability of metal for rods.
Briefly during this period BAYKO often used aluminium for the rods…
There was also a brief flirtation with hollow rods…
Right at the end of this period there was a flurry of activity as the range of BAYKO parts was significantly increased.
I don't have exact dates for their launch, but they are mentioned in documents I have which are dated May and August, 1949 - the 20th May flier details the following parts as a : -
“List of BAYKO Supplementary Parts (not contained in standard sets No's. 0, 1, 2 and 3)”.
Another document I have proclaims that : -
“Supplementary parts will not be available before January, 1949”.
Well that certainly narrows it down, even if it doesn't give us an exact date.
The new parts included : -
New parts introduced early in 1949
  Balustrades and Wall Bricks - Plimpton's first venture into 'fencing'.
Corner Bricks - originally only available in White, presumably seen by Plimpton, as a third 'fencing' component.
  Click here to see the evidence.
Spans and 2-Brick Pillars.
Crazy Paving - the only post-war bi-coloured parts.
Gable Roofs and Long Roof Ends.
The reintroduction of the pre-war ornamental roofing : -
The ornamental roofing pieces - Dome, Pinnacle Roof and Platform and all 4 styles of Turrets
Pinnacle Roofs.
Pinnacle Platforms.
Turrets [all 4 types].
I understand this reintroduction was somewhat intermittent, initially.
Curved Bricks and Curved Windows were now standard in BAYKO sets, and so it may be during this period that Plimpton included a slip with each set, warning children to use them properly…
The early post-war period was almost littered with manuals, there were so many variants in such a short period of time…
…in fact there were no less than ten different documents in the three years or so covered by this period…

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Latest update - August 11, 2022
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