Road Master Impy Series
To keep up with competitors such as Corgi and Dinky, Lone Star began producing Corgi-sized diecast toy vehicles in 1956 with its Road-Master series (later spelled without the hyphen, see Ragan 2000, p. 34, also Johnson 1998, p. 118). Castings on the earlier vehicles, though handsome, were a bit cruder than the competition. For example the double-deck bus shown above has its casting line, for its two halves, right down the centre of the roof. Also, most earlier Lone Stars have simpler bumper, grille and body detail than Corgi or Dinky. The later Impy series, however, outdid Matchbox by a long shot. Earlier 1960s models commonly had orange tinted plastic transparent windows, but no interior detail. Head and tail lights were emphasised with silver or red paint. Tyres started as rubber, then later in the mid-1960s, switched to hard ribbed black plastic which were advertised as "non-scratch". Perhaps this was supposed to appeal to parents who were afraid junior would mar the furniture with the toys. Wheels were simple aluminium with regular 'squeaky' axle hubs. Lone Star moved fairly quickly in an expanding ranges including the exceptional OO scale (1/76th) vehicles, and, later, the "Lone Star Impy" vehicles, which were uniformly about three and a half inches long (varying between 1:43 and 1:50 scales). Thus like Matchbox, vehicle sizes seemed to adhere more to a particular size than to a particular scale. Series of aeroplanes and military vehicles were also offered.