Founded in 1882, Nuremberg, Germany by Georg Adam MAngold. Gama was known for producing a variety of metal playthings. Through GAMA, the company and name Trix was established in 1938, but was previously known as Vereinigte Spielwarenfabrike Andreas Fortner back to 1925. Gama also is widely known for distribution of other makers toys and in 1971, established, TRIX-Mangold (GAMA). According to Edward Force, Gama is the acronym for Georg Adam MAngold, who started the company in 1882 making tinplate mechanical toys. Most toy production up through World War II and up until the late 1950s was lithographed tinplate.
In the early 1940s, tanks were popular and offered in various sizes including 3.5 and 7 inches in length. World War II certainly disrupted production as with other makers such as Marklin and Schuco. In the late 1940s production was started again under the auspices of the U.S. which controlled this portion of the country. Gama made tinplate or pressed steel trucks of various sizes (8 and 14 inch sizes were common), and they were stamped with Made in U.S. Zone Germany.
Gama also made tin friction and plastic cars from the late 1950s through the early 1960s. Trucks and motorcycles were also made and these were usually around 10 inches long, but many were smaller. One example made around 1950 was a 6 inch long motorcycle ridden by a chimp in a circus suit. Many of these were wind-up/clockwork operation. Other more traditional toys, like a donkey ridden by a clown, or more fantastical, like spaceships, were also produced.
Like Schuco, remote control models were common, both cars and trucks, and some were made even as large as 1:12 scale. In the 1960s and 1970s several slot cars were made called 'Gama Rallye'. These were unique in that they could do a 180° spin and drive on in opposite direction. They were not interchangeable with other slot car tracks, and featured a special hook that would keep them affixed to the track. Scales of the slot cars were 1:24, 1:32, and 1:40. Cars in the Gama Rallye series were the Opel GT, Porsche C6, Porsche 910, Porsche Carrera RSR, Ferrari GTO, McClaren CanAm, Matra and other Formula One selections.
During the 1960s, to distinguish the smaller diecasts from larger slot cars and remote control vehicles, Gama named it's main line of diecast "Mini Mods" (Mini Models). These were very Corgi-like with plain aluminum wheels and rubber tires. While bodies were diecast, chassis were often plastic, something that would be common throughout most diecast company lines by the 1980s. Other details were odd, like the flat chrome 'rivet' headlights on the VW Transporter van. The company, however, did not stick firmly to 1:43 scale and some 1:25 scale vehicles were produced and even a Matchbox sized Minette series, which did not last very long.
In the late 1970s, Gama introduced its diecast old car series and attached the 'Mini Mods' name to it. These were in brightly colored box style that hinted of the 1920s or 1930s. These were very much like Matchbox Models of Yesteryear in detail, precision and size, but focused more on classic cars of the European mainland. Though Gamas are usually as detailed and finely rendered as Schucos or Marklins, they don't seem carry the same respect from collectors. Perhaps this sentiment comes from the diecast seconds sold to other countries and brand 'inter-breeding' which makes identification of true Gamas difficult at times.
Gama made in Bulgaria: www.bulgariancollection.com
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