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2015 Review: Die-cast Diaries

2015 Review: Die-cast Diaries


For many people, the first few days of a New Year is a time to look forward with some optimism and make some positive changes in your life. It is also a time to reflect on the year that has just passed and with this latest edition of Die-cast Diaries, that is exactly what we intend to do. We will look back at the first six months of this new blog for the Corgi collector and try to give you an idea of what we will be doing during the coming year.

Our Die-cast Diaries blog

As we began planning our new Corgi development blog, we had some very clear ideas on what we wanted to achieve. Specifically, we wanted to create a regular channel for the Corgi development team to give their loyal collectors more information about the models that were in development. As much of this information would not usually reach the collector, or if it does, would appear much later in the development of a die-cast model, we felt that collectors would be interested to see how the models they love to collect actually progress from a proposed product to a fully produced model. It would also be an opportunity for the Corgi team to keep collectors informed on any specific product news related to individual models and to give exclusive access to new model tooling announcements. It also allows readers to delve into the history of the Corgi brand, which will certainly be celebrated throughout 2016 with the 60th anniversary of the company.

From the production team’s perspective, the most important aspect of the Die-cast Diaries blog was that we produced something that would be of interest to the Corgi collector and was something that they looked forward to reading. We sincerely hope that we have managed to achieve that and will be looking to ensure that our blog continues to bring you interesting features, development information and exclusive new model news. We have been extremely grateful for the many supportive messages we have received over the past few months and we certainly consider all of the ideas and comments that we are sent – if you do have any suggestions for future editions of Die-cast Diaries, please do not hesitate in contacting us via the usual social media channels, which are all listed at the end of this blog. Read on to learn how your idea could earn you £100 to spend on the Corgi website!


July 2015 – Die-cast Diaries goes LIVE!


The first Die-cast Diaries announced the release of the Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary Eurofighter Typhoon


As our first edition of Die-cast Diaries went live on the eve of the Royal International Air Tattoo, we knew that it would have some significant impact, as we were announcing a future aviation model release that was not featured in the current Corgi catalogue and was being launched over this Airshow weekend. The model also happened to be a die-cast replica of one of the most interesting aircraft of the year – Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 ZK349, which had been specially painted in a 1940 Hawker Hurricane scheme, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

As the UK marked the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain during the summer of 2015, the Royal Air Force chose to commemorate this important event in Britain’s history by presenting one of its current front-line fighter aircraft in the paint scheme applied to a Hawker Hurricane Mk.I, which was flown during the summer of 1940. Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 (ZK349) of 29(R) Squadron, based at RAF Coningsby made a very distinctive tribute to the only Fighter Command pilot to be awarded the Victoria Cross, during the Battle of Britain – Flt. Lt. Eric James Brindley Nicolson. Typhoon ZK349 was painted in the colours of Flt. Lt. Nicolson’s RAF No. 249 Squadron Hawker Hurricane Mk.I GN-A (P3576), which was involved in combat with Messerschmitt Bf 110s of the Luftwaffe over Southampton, on 16th August 1940. Whilst attempting to bale out of his burning Hurricane, Nicolson saw a Bf 110 pass in front of his aircraft and without thought for his own safety, immediately climbed back into his seat and fired on the German aircraft, causing it to dive away to its destruction. Only then did Nicolson make good his escape, but not before sustaining significant injuries.

Eurofighter Typhoon ZK349 was certainly in great demand throughout 2015 and became one of the most heavily photographed aircraft of the year – as well as a sought after aircraft in any Airshow static display, it also performed a ‘synchro pair’ routine with one of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfires at a small number of UK Airshow events during the summer. The camouflaged Typhoon certainly made a unique and colourful contribution to the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain and helped to make the 2015 Airshow season one of the most memorable of recent years.



The Corgi Development Manager is lucky enough to meet the 2015 RAF Typhoon display pilot Flt. Lt. Jonny Dowen at this year's RIAT show


The popularity of the camouflaged RAF Typhoon dictated that the Corgi version (AA36407) was one of the fastest selling models of the year and we were pleased that our Die-cast Diaries blog was able to announce the availability of this extremely desirable and now highly collectable model. The model is now sold out on the Corgi website but may still be available from your local Corgi stockist.


Other Die-cast Diaries highlights

Over the past six months or so, editions of Die-cast Diaries have covered a number of Corgi subjects intended to bring interesting model information to Corgi collectors. In the ever popular Aviation Archive range, we have included development features on the newly tooled North American P-51D Mustang and Hawker Hurricane Mk.I, showing how these fantastic models make it from the 3D CAD design software of the Corgi engineers, to the first metal shots from the newly developed die-cast tooling. We have also been able to chart the development of the extremely impressive new 1/72nd scale Short Sunderland flying boat, which really does have to be considered as one of the finest models in the entire Aviation Archive range and a triumph for the Corgi design team. The work that has gone into this particular model really does display the attention to detail and determination to produce the most accurate models that Corgi possibly can do and for many people, sets new standards in die-cast model production.



The new Corgi Short Sunderland is one of the finest models in the Aviation Archive range


The third edition of Die-cast Diaries included some exciting information for collectors of the Hauliers of Renown range of 1/50th scale modern trucks, as it announced the production of a brand new model tooling. The Volvo FH Globetrotter XL cab tooling has been developed in close association with the truck manufacturer themselves and will be a faithful representation of this popular load lugger, which is now a common sight on the roads of Britain and the rest of Europe.



A CAD screenshot of the new Volvo FH Globetrotter XL cab


Other editions announced a new range of Thunderbirds models, including newly developed tooling releases for Thunderbird 1 and 3, which will be of great interest to many collectors both young and old. The original TV series is still viewed with great affection and a recent update to these classic programmes has brought the Thunderbird vehicles to a much younger audience. These new models make for an extremely colourful addition to the Corgi catalogue and seem certain to become some of the most popular Corgi models during 2016.

A recent Die-cast Diaries blog looked at some of the invaluable work done by trusted industry professionals, who help the Corgi team with some of their product selection and more detailed research, in support of the Vanguards vehicle range. We looked at how the history of the individual vehicle is researched and how their current owners, if traceable, are more than happy to provide additional details and support the release of these much loved models. We also looked at the changing face of the Corgi catalogue and how it has altered over the years, from the very first issue in 1957, to the latest anniversary release, which marks the 60th anniversary of the Corgi brand. The catalogues are an extremely important part of the collector experience and are now collected in their own right. They showcase the current model ranges and act as an aide-memoire for the collector, who may be looking to grow their die-cast collection, or simply check which models they already have.



The new 2016 catalogue celebrates 60 years of Corgi models


The Corgi range of die-cast models boast a rich heritage, and within the collector community they are held in extremely high regard. The Die-cast Diaries blog is an opportunity for us to delve into the fascinating history of Corgi model collecting and to showcase both new and existing products, in addition to all the latest new tooling developments.



What do we have planned for 2016?

There can be no doubting that 2016 is going to be a significant year for the Corgi brand, as we look forward to celebrating our 60th anniversary and our Die-cast Diaries blog will be an integral part of these celebrations. As well as continuing to bring you all the very latest model release and development information from Corgi, we have some exciting new initiatives to mark sixty years of Corgi die-cast model production. Over the years, many millions of Corgi models have found their way into the homes of British children and have brought many hours of pleasure to their owners. Some of the earlier models will bring back many happy memories for a great many people and it would be great to resurrect these stories and the models that were so important at that time.

As the models produced by Corgi evolved over the years, with a greater emphasis being placed on collectability and production authenticity, a new breed of Corgi collector appeared, who was more concerned with securing a handsome collection of models, as opposed to playing with some appealing and hard wearing toys. It will be interesting to see which models encouraged collectors back to the Corgi brand, or to begin collecting for the first time and we will be looking to uncover some of these interesting collector stories during the coming year.




If you would like to contribute to the 60th anniversary celebrations we'd love to hear from you - perhaps you have a collection that you're especially proud of, or a particularly notable vintage Corgi model, even the well-loved Corgi toys that you played with as a child - send us an email and you may be featured in our Corgi 60th Anniversary features later this year.



In summary, the 2016 Die-cast Diaries blogs will bring you all the model development news from Corgi, including any new tooling announcements as soon as they are confirmed, as well as looking to celebrate the rich heritage of the Corgi brand. We will be looking to feature collector stories from the past sixty years of Corgi model production and to produce interesting articles for the die-cast collector, whether they are current collectors, or have collected in the past. We will also be looking to highlight the Corgi models that have either had the most impact on the hobby, or have proved to be the most popular with collectors and what factors need to come in to play in order to produce a successful model. If you have a story that you feel would be of interest to your fellow collectors, please do get in touch with us and we may well feature you in a future edition of Die-cast Diaries.



The new 2016 Corgi Catalogue


The new January to June Corgi catalogue was launched on 15th December


Since the latest edition of Die-cast Diaries was posted on 4th December, the new January to June 2016 Corgi range has been released and is now available to pre-order on the Corgi website. Always a time of great excitement amongst die-cast collectors, the new catalogue has been produced with something of a retro styling, in order to mark the fact that 2016 will be the 60th anniversary of the Corgi brand. Obviously, we will be looking more closely at the 2016 model line up in forthcoming editions of Die-cast Diaries, but there is surely no finer way to bring this review of our 2015 blog to a close than with a look at some of the model highlights contained within the new 2016 catalogue.


James Bond travelling in style


The new James Bond Aston Martin DB10 from ‘Spectre’


One of the most successful films of 2015 has been the latest James Bond spy spectacular ‘Spectre’ and the new Corgi catalogue includes a brand new model that will delight fans of Britain’s most famous spy and his extremely stylish modes of transport. In ‘Spectre’, which is the 24th James Bond film in the series, a cryptic message from the past sends Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually on to Rome, where his new silver Aston Martin DB10 is involved in a high speed chase with a Jaguar C-X75 through the city’s streets and along the banks of the Tiber.

James Bond first received an Aston Martin car (the classic DB5) in the 1964 film ‘Goldfinger’ and this latest 1:36 scale die-cast replica model of the Aston Martin DB10 celebrates a motoring relationship that has endured for over half a century. CC08001 is a new tooling of this distinctive British super car and is available to order on the Corgi website now.

STOP PRESS the DB10 has now sold out on the website but may still be available from your local Corgi stockist.


Aviation Archive Highlights

Since the Aviation Archive range was launched in 1998, these scale die-cast aircraft models have become some of the most popular Corgi models ever produced. The latest 2016 catalogue range includes twenty new aircraft models, which look set to continue the popularity of this impressive range – all the new models are displayed on the Corgi website, but let’s take a closer look at two of the recently announced models.


AA37208 Handley Page Halifax B.VII, PN230/EQ-V ‘Vicky The Vicious Virgin’, RAF No.408 ‘Goose’ Squadron, No.6 (RCAF) Group, Linton-on-Ouse, 1945


Royal Canadian Air Force Handley Page Halifax B.VII ‘Vicky The Vicious Virgin’


As far as WWII Bomber Command aircraft nose artwork is concerned, Handley Page Halifax VII PN230 ‘Vicky the Vicious Virgin’ has to be considered as one of the most elaborate of the war. The distinctive artwork was created by bomb aimer Bert ‘Scratch’ Evans, when he was posted to No.408 ‘Goose’ (RCAF) Squadron, at Linton-on-Ouse and assigned to Halifax PN230. The name ‘Vicky the Vicious Virgin’ was painted on both sides of the aircraft, with an additional pin-up artwork added to the port side of the fuselage. Each crew station also carried their respective nickname painted on the fuselage, with pilot Ron Craven earning the unfortunate title of ‘The dirty old man’. Despite this light-hearted artistic distraction, this crew went on to complete 21 missions over enemy territory, the last 13 of which were in ‘Vicky’.

The Handley Page Halifax was the second of Britain’s four-engined heavy bombers to enter RAF service and the first to drop bombs on German soil. Often regarded as an inferior aircraft to the more famous Avro Lancaster, there is no doubting that the initial introduction of the Halifax was troublesome and operational loss rates were unacceptably high. Successive upgrades resulted in a much better aircraft, which was to shoulder a significant responsibility in the bomber offensive against Germany and served right through to the end of the war. Operating at lower altitudes than the Lancaster, many crews learned to love their Halifax and over the years, there has been heated debate amongst former aircrew as to which aircraft was the best heavy bomber of WWII. Perhaps we should leave this discussion to the experts - the brave aircrew who flew both the Lancaster and the Halifax operationally. This magnificent new model is due for release at the end of June 2016, but can be pre-ordered on the Corgi website now.


AA35414 SEPECAT Jaguar GR.1a, XZ356/EP ‘Mary Rose’ RAF No.6 Squadron, Operation Granby, 1991

ImageKGulf War SEPECAT Jaguar GR.1a ‘Mary Rose’


Royal Air Force Jaguars from Coltishall were amongst the first British aircraft to arrive in the Gulf, in support of Operation Granby in 1991. Wearing the distinctive desert pink camouflage over-wash, a number of the aircraft also benefited from the addition of individual nose artwork, showcasing the artistic talents of RAF personnel. Jaguar XZ356/N carried the nose artwork ‘Mary Rose’, which included the image of a rather sinister looking sea witch. This aircraft was to see extensive action during her Gulf deployment, completing 33 combat missions against strategic Iraqi military targets. On return to the UK, XZ356 was yet another RAF Gulf War aircraft present at the 1991 Mildenhall Air Fete. 2016 will see the RAF commemorating the 25th anniversary of their contribution to Operation Granby.

Regarded by many as one of the most attractive jet aircraft to enter RAF service, the SEPECAT Jaguar was an Anglo-French collaboration to produce a supersonic training aircraft, as a replacement for both the Folland Gnat and the Hawker Hunter. As is often the case with multi-nation projects, differing requirements led to a very different aircraft being produced – the only pilots the new Jaguar would train, would be Jaguar pilots. The new Jaguar would actually be produced as a low-level, strike aircraft, with a reputation for being rugged and reliable – a fully loaded aircraft was actually operated from the M55 motorway. Although never required, this would have allowed RAF Jaguar aircraft to be dispersed at unusual locations around the UK, in the event of a large scale European conflict.

The new Corgi range features no less than four new models, which mark the 25th anniversary of Operation Granby and the RAF contribution to air operations in the Gulf. All four are expected to be amongst the most popular models in the new catalogue, with the new Jaguar having an expected release date of late March 2016.



Catalogue artwork for the new Gulf War RAF Jaguar


Well, that’s just about it for our 2015 review of our Corgi Die-cast Diaries blog. As a totally new initiative for 2015, this past year was certainly a significant one for us and we hope that you have enjoyed seeing the blog develop over this time and importantly, bring you some exclusive model announcements from Corgi. Over the past six months, we have made some new friends and forged some strong collector relationships, which we will be looking to develop throughout the coming year, but the most important thing is that we hope to continue making Die-cast Diaries an enjoyable read for everyone interested in Corgi model collecting. For Corgi in particular, 2016 is looking like being a special year!

On behalf of the entire Corgi team, may we wish you all a safe and prosperous New Year. We very much look forward to bringing you more Corgi news and collector features throughout 2016.

As we mentioned earlier, we are always keen to hear your views on our Die-cast Diaries blog and any ideas you may have for future subject matter, or greater reader involvement.  Please contact us using the dedicated Die-Cast Diaries Forum, or drop us a line through Facebook or Twitter using #CorgiDiecastDiaries.




To get the New Year off to a great start we are offering £100 to spend on the Corgi website for the best suggested topic or idea for Die-cast Diaries in 2016. Simpy let us know your suggestion via the social links above, or send us an email.  Our crack team of judges will pick their favourite and the winner will receive a £100 giftcard. Entries need to be submitted by 5.00pm GMT Thursday 14th January 2016, and the winner will be announced in the following Die-cast Diaries.

Until the next edition of Die-cast Diaries and more news from the new 2016 Corgi catalogue, enjoy your model collecting!

The Corgi Team


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