2016 - Review of the Year

2016 - Review of the Year


60 Years of Corgi and our ‘Ultimate’ model search

We would like to extend a very warm and festive welcome to this 21st edition of our Corgi Die-cast Diaries blog, where we bring you all of the latest news and information from the world of Corgi. We hope you have all had an enjoyable Christmas holiday and that Santa helped to increase your model collection a little over the past few days. As we find ourselves on the brink of a New Year, this latest edition will look back at what proved to be a special year for us at Corgi, featuring items which appeared in the previous eleven Die-cast Diaries blogs posted over the past twelve months. We will be looking at some of the many modelling highlights, as well as looking forward to bringing you another year of all the latest developments in what promises to be another significant year for Corgi. Before we begin, may we take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very happy and prosperous New Year from everyone on the Die-cast Diaries team.




As we look forward to the new year, we are humbled to say that we continue to attract new readers from all over the world with each new blog posting (Die-cast Diaries has had nearly 80,000 views in 2016!) and we are extremely grateful for your continued and extremely loyal support. We would like to extend special thanks to those readers who have helped in the production of our blogs, by sending us pictures of their collections and allowing us to share them with your fellow Corgi collectors – these always prove extremely popular, so please do keep them coming. We are also interested to receive your Die-cast Diaries feedback and any suggestions on what you would like to see featured in future editions of our blog. We already know that new tooling announcements are very much top of the tree as far as the collector is concerned, but there can only be so many of these in any one year and the model collecting hobby is about so much more than that. If there is anything you would like to see covered in future editions, please do let us know and we will certainly consider every suggestion – our main e-mail address at diecastdiaries@corgi.co.uk is always available, as are all our usual social medial channels.


A significant year for Corgi

There is no doubting that 2016 was always going to be a significant year for Corgi, as it marked our 60th Anniversary of die-cast modelling excellence. With such a proud heritage to celebrate and many millions of our models displayed in cabinets all over the world, this was an opportunity to not only talk about the current models in our range, but also some of the classics from the past – we will look at this in more detail a little later.



We got our first look at the new Messerschmitt Bf 109E in our first blog of 2016


We began 2016 in the best way possible, with the announcement of two brand new toolings in our ever popular Aviation Archive range. Both produced in 1/72nd scale, the first model marked one of the most famous fighter aircraft of all time and historically, the most heavily produced fighter aircraft in the history of flight – the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The second announcement presented collectors with an early example of the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, which must be regarded as one of the most distinctive aircraft of WWII and one which regularly features in enthusiast new tooling request polls. Let’s take a closer look at both of these new models.

As one of the initial 1/72nd scale Corgi toolings to be released, the original Messerschmitt Bf 109E has been in the Aviation Archive range since 2000 and has always proved popular with collectors. As the most recognisable Luftwaffe fighter aircraft of the Second World War, the Bf 109 was the mount of many of the world’s most successful fighter aces and was in production throughout the entire war – with more than 35,500 machines built, the Bf 109 series must be considered as one of the most significant aircraft. As many of the other original 1/72nd scale tools had already been upgraded to reflect the very latest developments in die-cast manufacturing (Spitfire, Hurricane and Mustang), the Messerschmitt was very much next in line and was announced in our first blog of 2016.



The Curtiss P-40B Warhawk is a popular addition to the Aviation Archive range


Flying in die-cast formation with the new Bf 109, our first blog of 2016 also included the exclusive announcement that the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk (early versions) would also be added to the Aviation Archive line-up. Later versions of the P-40 had been represented in the Corgi range since 2005, but collectors were keen to see the highly distinctive earlier machines added to the range, as they marked one of the most important Allied aircraft of the war. At the time of the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor, the P-40 Warhawk was the most capable US fighter stationed in Hawaii and was already fighting with the British Commonwealth squadrons of the Desert Air Force. It proved to be one of the most important US manufactured aircraft of the entire war and a superb addition to the Aviation Archive range.


From Vulcans to Vauxhalls

Die-cast model collecting undoubtedly brings pleasure to a great many people, but as is the case with most things in life, we will all have our own particular favourites from within any given range. With another successful year of releases behind us, it is difficult to select a handful of models to feature in a review, but here are just a few that are certainly worthy of note.



Some of the most popular Corgi model releases of 2016


Over the years, our TV and Film related releases have always proved to be extremely popular with collectors and 2016 served only to continue this trend. With Thunderbirds making a welcome return with two newly tooled models and James Bond continuing to keep us shaken, not stirred, this range provided some of the best selling models of the year - even Harry Potter got in on the act, with his Warner Brothers Studio Shuttle Bus magically disappearing almost as soon as it was released.

One of the most appealing Hauliers of Renown releases of the year featured a FreshLinc DAF 105 and fridge trailer and the impressive artwork of Alisha Miller. With her work adorning several FreshLinc trailers, this particular one featured the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane over the control tower at RAF Holbeach, celebrating this company’s links to the county. We were lucky enough to speak to Alisha about this fantastic project and our miniature version of her work - our report is still available to read in edition fifteen of Die-cast Diaries.

2016 proved to be another significant year for the Aviation Archive range, as aircraft continue to be amongst our most popular models. With many die-cast aircraft unique to this range, such as the awesome 1/72nd scale Avro Vulcan and stunning Short Sunderland, the 2016 range also marked the 25th Anniversary of Operation Granby and the 75th Anniversary of the infamous Pearl Harbor raid. One of the most successful releases of the year came in the shape of Handley Page Halifax B.VII ‘Vicky The Vicious Virgin’, which included some of the most elaborate artwork to be found on any Bomber Command aircraft serving during the Second World War. This limited edition release of just 1400 models certainly captured the imagination of the Aviation Archive collector, with each one finding a new home in just a matter of days.


Corgi’s 60th Anniversary model collection



Throughout our 60th Anniversary year, the Corgi range has included a special collection of Limited Edition model releases intended to mark our birthday in some die-cast style. Each model is presented in distinctive 60th anniversary packaging and comes complete with a limited edition certificate and commemorative pin badge – significantly, these models were all made available at extremely attractive prices, allowing as many collectors as possible to share in our celebrations. With models taken from the Aviation Archive, Vanguards, Hauliers of Renown and Original Omnibus ranges, there was something for everyone in our 60th Anniversary Collection, including classic and newly tooled models.



A flying visit for our 60th Anniversary Red Arrows Hawk at Farnborough in July


One of the most appealing features of the 60th Anniversary model collection is the attractive retro packaging, which was designed to emulate the classic Corgi Toys releases of years past and certainly makes this range stand out from the crowd. Collectors of a certain vintage will have fond memories of the delightful Corgi models of their youth, which came in the distinctive blue and yellow boxes and were some of our most prized possessions in those carefree days. For anyone who has ever collected Corgi models, our 60th Anniversary models will bring back very happy memories and are a fine way to commemorate this significant die-cast collecting landmark. They are also sure to become highly sought after models in the years to come.


Our quest to find Corgi’s ‘Ultimate’ model



Over the past few months, Corgi model collectors all over the world have been helping us to end this 60th Anniversary year with a die-cast bang! We were looking to find the ‘Ultimate Corgi Model’ from the past 60 years of releases, but rather than give you a list of models to choose from, we wanted the search to be as open and fair as possible, with the eventual winner being chosen by the most important people in our history - our collectors. With every Corgi model having the same opportunity to win, Noddy in his car had just as much chance as Lady Penelope in her FAB1 of taking this modelling crown and the search was on!

To launch our search, Die-cast Diaries readers, Corgi forum members and social media followers were invited to nominate their favourite Corgi models, which they did in their thousands. We were also fascinated to read the many collector stories that accompanied the voting, which very much helped to highlight how important these models are to a great many people and how many happy memories they bring back. Rather than being dominated by current collectors keen to promote the most valuable models in their collections, many of our respondents told of the excitement they felt at receiving their latest Corgi model as a Christmas present when they were younger and the many happy hours they spent playing with their models. Many people described how their models would benefit from an impromptu paint job, once the years of happy playing had started to take a toll.

Eventually, after weeks of open nominations, votes were counted and a definitive list of the 20 most popular models was compiled. With hundreds of models voted for, the margins were extremely tight at the lower end of the list and a few additional votes for several models would have transformed the list significantly. As it was, the top 20 models as voted for by Corgi collectors was published in the last edition of Die-cast Diaries and a dedicated web page added to the Corgi site to list the models and capture your final vote. We would like to sincerely thank everyone who voted in our poll, nearly 4,000 of you, making our search for the ‘Ultimate Corgi Model’ such a resounding success – you really have helped to make our 60th Anniversary year a very special one.



The Corgi models voted in positions 10 through to 4


Without further ado and to bring our 60th Anniversary year to an exciting close, here are the final results in reverse order. In tenth place, polling 3% of the overall votes was the rather distinctive Beatles Yellow Submarine. In joint seventh place, each polling 4% of the votes cast were the Ford Holmes Wrecker, Lady Penelope’s FAB1 and the 1/72nd scale Short Sunderland Mk.III. In joint fifth place, with 5% of the votes were the magnificent 1/32nd scale De Havilland Mosquito and the American LaFrance Aerial Rescue Truck. Coming in at number four was the 1/72nd scale Avro Lancaster ‘S for Sugar’ which proved to be the most popular Aviation Archive model in our poll. The top three are as follows:

In THIRD PLACE with 9% of the overall votes:


The ever popular Chitty Chitty Bang Bang flies in to third place in our poll


In SECOND PLACE, attracting an impressive 16% of the votes:


Gotham City’s most famous vehicle proved to be our second most popular model


Fanfare Time … in FIRST PLACE and destroying the competition with a massive 25% of the overall votes cast:


By some margin, James Bond’s stylish Aston Martin DB5 is the ‘Ultimate Corgi Model’


At the outset of our search for the ‘Ultimate Corgi Model’, many collectors would probably have suggested this incredibly successful model as the most likely winner, particularly as it has been released many times over the past 60 years. What was surprising however was the margin of victory and despite changing trends and new models joining the Corgi line-up, this classic model still trounced the competition and displayed its die-cast credentials. For a famous British hobby company, it is quite fitting that the winning model oozes style and class and is quintessentially British. Inextricably linked with Britain’s most famous Secret Service agent, your Ultimate Corgi model is James Bond’s classic Aston Martin DB5 – a model that most definitely has a licence to thrill. Thank you very much to the thousands of Corgi collectors from all over the world who voted in our poll – you all helped to make it a resounding success.

You can view all of the results below.



Exclusive 2017 Model Announcements

From the die-cast model collector’s perspective, there can surely be no finer way to end one year and begin a new one than with exclusive news of a new model and who are we to disappoint. In fact, we are going to bring you TWO future release exclusives, both of which will be appearing in the new Corgi January to June 2017 range, which is due to be launched in the first week of January - make sure that you're signed up to receive our email newsletter (at the bottom of the page) or keep an eye on our social media channels for details of the launch.



North American B-25B Mitchell AA35313 commemorates one of the famous ‘Doolittle Raiders’


Although this first model is new to Die-cast Diaries, it was actually featured in the January edition of Die-cast Collector magazine, which has been available to subscribers and in stores for a couple of weeks now. AA35313 is a 1/72nd scale North American B-25 Mitchell which took part in the famous Doolittle raid on the Japanese mainland in the months following the Pearl Harbor attack. Mitchell 40-2249 ‘Hari Kari-er’ was the eleventh of sixteen B-25 bombers to lift off the relatively short deck of USS Hornet on 18th April 1942 and set course for Japan – this would be the first time that any of these airmen had taken off from the deck of an aircraft carrier at sea. Flying at extremely low level, the raiders had a six-hour flight ahead of them before reaching their targets, almost certain that they would be intercepted by enemy fighters. If they managed to complete their mission, they would then fly on to China, but it would be very much a case of every man for himself.




The crew of ‘Hari Kari-er’ were assigned to bomb targets in Yokohama, but on reaching the Japanese mainland, the bomber inadvertently flew over an active enemy air base and almost immediately came under attack. Whilst pilot Ross Greening prepared for his bombing run, his gunner shot down one enemy fighter and damaged a second, before firing on any targets of opportunity he could see. With the bombs dropped on a large oil refinery and storage area, the aircraft set course for China, fearful of further enemy attack. Unable to locate their assigned airfield, the crew bailed out of their aircraft some 200 miles inland of the coast and despite sustaining a few minor injuries, all landed safely – ‘Hari Kari-er’ flew on for a while, before crashing in to mountains. This iconic limited edition ‘Doolittle Raider’ (AA35313) is currently scheduled for an April 2017 release, but please keep checking the Corgi website for the latest details.

Our second model announcement is most definitely exclusive to Die-cast Diaries and will be of great interest to Aviation Archive collectors with a passion for Battle of Britain subject matter, or aircraft flown by air aces of the Second World War. AA28003 is a Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 ‘White 14’ flown by Hans Joachim Marseille, who despite an indifferent start to his Luftwaffe career, went on to be described as the most gifted fighter pilot of WWII, an accolade bestowed on him by many of his fellow fighter pilots.



Profile artwork for the new AA28003 Marseille Messerschmitt ‘White 14’


As one of the most successful fighter aircraft of all time, the diminutive Messerschmitt Bf 109 saw service throughout the Second World War and was the mount of more air combat ‘aces’ than any other aircraft in history. This particular ‘Emil’ (W.Nr.3579) was responsible for launching the combat career of one of the most celebrated fighter pilots of all time, Hans Joachim Marseille – the famous ‘Star of Africa’. Despite his well-publicised flying achievements, Marseille’s introduction to air combat was less than spectacular and he quickly earned a reputation for ill-discipline, both on the ground and in the air. Initially, it seemed the only thing Marseille excelled at was living up to his growing playboy reputation. Despite claiming 7 air combat victories during the Battle of Britain, Marseille was himself shot down four times, including a soaking in the English Channel from which he was lucky to escape with his life.

Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 W,Nr.3579 ‘White 14’ is thought to have been the aircraft in which Marseille scored his first aerial victory – an RAF Spitfire. Although he was able to shoot down the British fighter, ‘’White 14’ sustained damage during the dogfight - Marseille was able to nurse the fighter back to Calais-Marck airfield, where he made a successful crash landing. Initially thought to be beyond repair, the Messerschmitt was later sent back to Germany for rebuild and upgrade, before going on to serve for a further two years with a number of Luftwaffe pilots on the Eastern Front. In August 1942, the aircraft was shot down by a pair of Soviet Air Force Hurricanes, crashing on marshland in the vast, unforgiving landscape of rural Russia.



Catalogue image for Marseille’s Battle of Britain Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4


Remarkably, the wreckage of the aircraft was discovered in the early 1990s and salvaged for a US Warbird collector. Following an extensive period of restoration in the UK, this genuine combat veteran Bf 109 made its first post restoration flight in California in September 1999, in the hands of experienced Warbird pilot Charlie Brown. Finished in the famous ‘White 14’ scheme worn by the aircraft as flown by Hans Joachim Marseille during the Battle of Britain, this historic fighter is one of only two genuine Daimler-Benz powered airworthy Bf 109Es in the world. After spending many years on the North American Airshow circuit, ‘White 14’ currently resides with the aircraft collection at the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar – UK enthusiasts will be hoping to see this rare and historic aircraft flying during 2017.


And finally...

If you were following the Corgi Advent Calendar on the website, you might have spotted the competition where we were giving away a truly unique prize - a pre-production sample of the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Shuttle Bus (OM46511) with the stereo sample which was produced during the model's development.




We are happy to announce that the lucky winner is Malien Mudalige! Congratulations Malien, your prize is in the post.


What a fine way to bring this review edition of Die-cast Diaries to a close and indeed our blogs for 2016. It has been a pleasure bringing you all the latest information from Corgi over the past twelve months and we thank you so much for you fantastic support throughout the year. From the entire Corgi team, may we take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very happy and prosperous New Year. We will be here with all the latest Corgi model information throughout 2017.

As always, we are keen to hear your views on Die-cast Diaries and any ideas you may have for future blog content.  There are a number of ways you can get a message to us - as well as our dedicated Diecastdiaries@corgi.co.uk e-mail address, we also have our Die-Cast Diaries forum and our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter using #CorgiDiecastDiaries.  Please do join in the discussions, or why not start your own Corgi related thread?

All that remains now is to thank you one final time for your support in 2016 and look forward to bringing you more Corgi die-cast delights in the New Year.

Sincere best wishes

The Corgi Team


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