When I look back at some of my most memorable childhood toys, they all seem so simple next to today’s many gadgets. Here’s a quick little doodlewash of a tin toy train I had back then that was super cool! Not only was it powered and could move around on its own, it made steam engine sounds, occasionally blowing its horn. The lights actually lit up and the front part sort of jiggled making it seem like it was truly letting off steam. It didn’t have to sync up with a phone or iPad to be entertaining, it was just fun on its own. Toys like I had back then are now all labeled vintage, which makes me feel really old. But I think I heard someone referring to early 90’s toys as vintage so perhaps mine have already moved on the category of antiques. But looking back at many of them now, they still really impress me. These vintage toys had lots of intricate details that get skipped over these days in the race to make something quickly and in the cheapest way possible. And those wonderful details still manage to charm me.

Many toys that I had back then are still available today, but the updated versions all look like cheap knock-offs. As a child in the late 70’s, Star Wars was my absolute favorite movie and I collected all the action figures. After they released the last Star Wars film the little kid in me wanted to rush to buy an action figure, for old time’s sake. Rushing to the toy aisle in Target, I was immediately disappointed. The droids were no longer glistening in a shiny metallic finish, but were hanging there lifeless in a poorly painted, dull plastic. I rushed home to dig out my original action figures, instead. They were all so much better made than what’s available today, and suddenly I felt rather privileged to be older. I marveled at all the detail that had been lost over time and felt happy again.

As Christmas grows near, I may not be a kid anymore, but I still have my childlike excitement. I no longer have this particular toy train as it was lost over the years, but I can remember it like it was yesterday. I cherish my beloved vintage toys that made such happy memories for me so many years ago and it’s fun to sit and try to recall my favorites. I hope that all of you are enjoying the moments and memories that make you happiest this season. I personally love this season because it’s a wonderful excuse to be a kid again. Filled with wonder and waiting to see what toys will appear under the tree this weekend. Brand new memories to be made that I can happily look back on. And brand new shiny gifts that I can look back on years from now, and think just how much better things are when they’re vintage.

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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Sennelier Red, Quinacridone Gold, Phthalo. Green Light, Ultramarine Deep, and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.
 Day 23 - Toy Train Western Special Locomotive Tin metal christmas

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16 thoughts on “Vintage Toys

  1. Aaaah yes. Those vintage toys hold such great memories. Perhaps one reason our toys were so special is because we only got one or two things for Christmas vs. the toy overload that seems so prevalent today.

  2. Another charming painting and post. I definitely think toys become regarded as vintage much sooner than other items do. That said, I’ve seen items from my childhood (not just toys) in a museum and I was only born in 1975. My kids play with all my husband’s Star Wars figures and ships (my parents regrettably didn’t keep mine) and treasure them. As much as my kids do love their gadgets and screen time, they do play a great deal still with the SW figures and lego and things like that. In fact my younger ones probably count cardboard boxes and duct tape among their most favourite toys. Kids today haven’t totally given up on simple things.

    1. Thanks, Laura! 😃💕 Yeah… I do see kids playing with Lego and the like still and it makes me happy. That said… I still wish they had the cooler more intricate versions of toys we had. hehe… the remakes just aren’t as awesome as the originals! (in museums now, no less! Yikes! lol)

  3. Trains are endlessly enchanting – imagining all the places a train can take you, all the mechanical wonders of how it works. seeing the world roll by.

    We spent a few days last week with our younger son and his family, and the highlight was a short train ride a few stations down the line. Our three-year-old grandson had a wonderful time leaning against the window, calling out all the stops. He didn’t miss one and he never grew bored. I can still hear him calling, “All aboar-r-r-rd!”

    Thanks for this adorable painting of your special toy train – love it.

  4. Gorgeous! You can’t beat ‘vintage’ toys. We were at an antiques centre the other day, and one stall was set out like a living room, and I swear I had most of the items in the room just a few years earlier! But it was probably closer to fifty years…… where does the time go?

  5. I had a train very much like the one you’ve painted. It, too, moved, lit up made engine sounds and whistled. I was only 3 or 4 years old, and was spooked by it. That was in the early 60’s. I hadn’t thought about it in years. Thanks for the memory. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas

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