So, I was helping my mom rummage through the storage shed a few weeks ago in preparation for doing the Christmas decorating thing at her house (I'm still not sure if I'm going to bother this year). In the process, I came across a box full of old metal toys, including this crane. It hadn't been used in years, and quite frankly it's in kinda nasty shape (cobwebs inside, dust stuck on etc...). For instance, some of its windows are probably going to need to be replaced.
So why is this toy so cool? Well first of all, we're talking about 10 or so years of fond memories of using this mini-behemoth to wreak havoc in my sandbox. Unlike lot's of modern toys, this crane a) worked, b) is rugged, c) doesn't need batteries... I don't remember how many times I had to fix the string on it, or straighten out something that I bent, but it was always fix-able with a minimal hassle. It has a nifty setup so that the clamshell bucket will either open or close and let you actually dig (in a sandbox at least ;). It also folds up.
Right now it's sifting on my workbench being debugged (literally). In a bit, I plan to give it a good dunking in the bathtub in the hopes of exorcising all the little creepy crawlies that might be living in there. So far it looks like there aren't any left (just lots of cobwebs), but I would rather not find any while I'm peering into it fixing it.
Once that's done, I'm going to clean off all the rust and rather than let it sit there looking all nasty, I'm going to repaint and restore it to like-new conditions. In order to deal with the potential bug/spider problem I took out the old non-transparent windows and I plan to replace both sets with new clear plastic. I know that's not the "correct" thing to do to an old toy like this, but quite frankly, I don't see the value in leaving a toy non-useable and ugly.
In particular, if the toy is in poor, but salvageable shape, I think its silly to put it away in a display case with peeling paint. It's seen many years of use, and I would like to think that it might see many more years of use someday. Perhaps if it was in near mint condition I would put it safely away to appreciate in value, but for something that's cosmetically fair (at best) I think it will be best to restore it and put it somewhere that people can see it an appreciate it (complete with playing with it a bit).
So - yeah, I'll put up more pictures when I make more progress on this....