Although the Bayko Light Construction system was initially aimed at children when it was first released in 1934 it soon became apparent to Charles Plimpton, the inventor and founder of Bayko, that the world’s finest architectural toy was attracting interest elsewhere.
Architects quickly cottoned on to the Bayko system, originally made in Bakelite and the first commercial, plastic construction toy.
Early catalogues and manuals focused on 1930s suburbia with lots of models of rather middle class buildings and not much more. Architects were able to use the system to construct more impressive models of planned buildings or just to brainstorm ideas.
Some years ago a Belgian enthusiast built a scale model of the Empire State Building which required a van and several pallets for transport and a forklift truck to re-assemble the thirty odd foot skyscraper.
This very model now resides in a museum in Liverpool.
On a more modest scale, local enthusiast Dale Smith has constructed many large buildings but nothing on the scale of the aforementioned skyscraper.
His most impressive efforts are just a few stories high but each required the contents of fourteen of the largest postwar sets with thousands of pieces in each.
At the annual model extravaganza run by Dundee Model Railway Club in the DISC on October 15 and 16 Dale will display a wide selection of Bayko models alongside his vintage and modern tinplate layout.
As Bayko developed over the years there were many colour changes and improvements to the bricks.
The classic Bayko set of the 1940s and 1950s are the commonest in the range with red and white brick panels, green bases and red roofs.
Just as popular, if a little drab, are the various brown and mottled bricks of the 1930s and the brighter styrene sets from the Meccano period of the 1960s.
Although rather garish, Bayko compliments Hornby O-gauge and Dinky Toys rather well and with millions of sets produced over the years it is still quite easy to find in excellent condition.
The number of folk involved in building in Bayko in Scotland is miniscule but contact has just been made with a former collector selling tens of thousands of pieces in one lot much of it in near perfect original boxes. Skyscrapers have just become a little easier.
For more information about the event in Dundee or Bayko in particular, contact Dale Smith any evening on 01575-574128.