Happy Birthday Die-cast Diaries!
We would like to welcome all our readers to the latest edition of Die-cast Diaries, where we give you an insight into everything that is happening behind the scenes in the world of Corgi Die-cast. This latest edition proudly marks the First Birthday of our Corgi blog and we have something special planned for you, with exclusive announcements, regular features and a great anniversary competition.
Before we begin, we would just like to thank everyone who has been good enough to contact us with their collector stories and model photographs over the past year – including this type of feature within the blog really does enhance Die-cast Diaries and is a great way for fellow collectors to share their passion for the subject. As we continue to mark our 60th Anniversary year, please do keep sending us your stories, which we certainly enjoy reading and may just see you featured in a future edition of Die-cast Diaries. We have had a great response to these requests and are running a little bit behind with processing your collector stories – if you have not heard back from us yet, please bear with us and we will be in touch soon. It really has been great to see that Corgi models have meant so much to so many people over the years.
From a blog perspective, we have to send our sincere thanks to the committed and highly motivated members of the Corgi development team, who are absolutely central to everything we do, and without their steadfast support Die-cast Diaries simply would not be possible – thank you very much for your help ladies and gentlemen.
So what do we have for you in this special First Anniversary edition of Die-cast Diaries? We begin by looking at some of the significant blog highlights from over the past year, before moving on to a fantastic Birthday Competition, which has a prize that will delight any Corgi model collector. We then move on to some of our regular features, including some exclusive box artwork reveals from the recently announced July – December 2016 model range, a ‘My Corgi’ collector story update and a look back at a successful model range that commemorated the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. We end in time honoured fashion with our popular ‘What’s on the Desk’ feature and a look at the latest pre-production models to arrive on the development desk at Corgi HQ. Without further ado, let’s get cracking with our First Birthday edition.
A Year of Corgi Die-cast Diaries Highlights
At the very outset of our Die-cast Diaries project, we wanted to provide model collectors with something that they had not had access to previously – behind-the-scenes information and exclusive updates direct from the Corgi development team. In the past, Corgi model collectors would usually obtain their model information through the bi-annual release of the model catalogues, or via monthly modelling publications and various forums. What we were looking to achieve with our Die-cast Diaries blog was to provide model collectors with release information and project updates much earlier than they would usually have access to and importantly, target this information at the people who are most interested – die-cast collectors all over the world.
The Corgi Development Manager shows the Corgi Typhoon to Flight Lieutenant Jonny Dowen at RIAT 2015
The first edition of Die-cast Diaries was published on the Corgi website on Thursday 16th July 2015, as the Corgi and Airfix teams prepared their stand at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford. After introducing our new blog and explaining what we were looking to achieve over the coming months, we had an exclusive announcement for Aviation Archive collectors all over the world – news of a brand new model announcement that had not previously appeared in any Corgi catalogue. The aircraft in question proved to be one of the aviation highlights of the year, both for Airshow enthusiasts and for die-cast aviation collectors, who were keen to secure an example of this attractive model. The first edition of Die-cast Diaries included exclusive launch details of Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 ZK349 (AA36407) which had been specially painted to mark 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 commemorated this important event in British 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.
Profile artwork of the Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary Typhoon that proved so successful
Carrying the codes GN-A on the side of her fuselage, Typhoon ZK349 was referred to as ‘GINA’ amongst aviation enthusiasts and quickly became one of the most popular RAF aircraft in recent history. At a time when most modern combat aircraft are finished in various shades of grey, GINA proved to be an attractive break with convention and was a public relations coup for the Royal Air Force. Her popularity also dictated that our 1/72nd scale die-cast version of the aircraft was one of the fastest selling Corgi models for some considerable time.
This CAD screenshot of the new Volvo FH Globetrotter XL was great news for our Modern Truck collectors
During the course of the past twelve months, Die-cast Diaries has brought our readers exclusive information regarding the launch of new tooling projects, such as the 1/50th scale Volvo FH Globetrotter XL cab, which will have been of great interest to our modern truck collectors. This information was released much earlier in the development process of a new model than collectors would usually have access to and allowed them to see details of the new model straight from the electronic drawing board, so to speak. As our blogs continued throughout the year, we were able to follow these projects closely and provide fascinating updates as the new models progressed through the various development stages. Eventually, Die-cast Diaries will allow collectors to see models progress from their first announcement and very early CAD screenshot files, to the finished models that are about to arrive in our local model stores. For the first time in our hobby, Die-cast Diaries allowed Corgi collectors to have a much greater level of access to information regarding the production of the models we all love to collect.
Shaken not stirred - the new Corgi Aston Martin DB10 was a stylish addition to the TV and Film range
Amongst the most popular models in the Corgi range, TV and Film related releases have given Die-cast Diaries the opportunity to feature some spectacular new models, which have gone on to become some of the best-selling models of recent years. The release of any new James Bond film is always a time of great excitement and reinvigorates the proud tradition that Corgi has earned in producing models of vehicles that have appeared in these classic action films over the years. The release of ‘Spectre’ saw the production of a newly tooled 1/36th scale version of the beautifully sleek Aston Martin DB10 in the Corgi range (CC08001) and the return of a much loved classic, as the original Corgi DB5 was re-released in both silver and gold editions, to the delight of James Bond fans everywhere.
The unmistakable lines of Thunderbird 1 has brought back happy memories for many collectors
For collectors of a certain vintage, the unmistakable colours and profiles of the vehicles that appeared in the Thunderbirds series bring back many fond memories of our youth and Die-cast Diaries was proud to be able to exclusively announce the production of two completely newly tooled Thunderbirds models to our TV and Film range. Arguably, the most spectacular of the classic Thunderbirds craft were the rocket-like Thunderbirds 1 and 3 and the fourth edition of our blog included exclusive CAD screenshot details of two completely new models, which would be released as a two-part set (CC00901), along with the re-release of Thunderbird 2 and 4, and Lady Penelope’s distinctive FAB 1. These beautiful models are the latest in a long line of Corgi TV and Film releases that have been cherished as play things and collectable items over the years and are very much part of our heritage.
It already looks as if 2016 is going to be remembered as a significant year in the history of the United Kingdom, but one of the undoubted highlights so far has been the celebrations to mark the 90th birthday of our beloved Queen. As Britain’s longest serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II is loved all around the world and throughout her reign, the phenomenon of collecting royal memorabilia has become firmly established. With a seemingly limitless demand for royal related products over the years, the Corgi range has featured many successful commemorative releases during this time, many of which are now highly prized amongst royal memorabilia collectors.
Royal memorabilia remains popular with tourists and collectors alike
To mark this year’s 90th Birthday celebrations of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Corgi produced a pair of specially presented souvenir model releases, which proved to be an extremely popular way to commemorate this important occasion. Selecting two iconic British vehicles as subject matter, collectors were able to choose from either a classic London Routemaster bus, or the unmistakable Austin Mini, with both models finished in a distinctive and extremely regal looking purple and gold livery. Happy Birthday Your Majesty.
60 years of Corgi
Without doubt, one of the most important milestones during the first year of Die-cast Diaries has been the 60th Anniversary of Corgi and looking back a some of the significant models that have been produced over this time. With a series of articles intended to highlight the unique link we have between model production and die-cast collectors all over the world, it has been fascinating to hear which of our models became your favourites and how playing turned to collecting over the years. It is clearly evident that our collectors are passionate and knowledgeable about the subject of die-cast collecting and it has been a privilege to speak with so many people about what collecting our models means to them.
As part of our 60th Anniversary celebrations, we have been running our series of ‘My Corgi’ collector stories and have been fortunate enough to be invited into the homes of a number of Corgi collectors to view their collections and discuss the models that have been important to them. It has been fascinating to see that whilst most collectors certainly have a favourite theme to their collections, there are often examples from all of the ranges on their display shelves. These stories have proved to be an incredibly popular feature within Die-cast Diaries and we will be looking to include many more in the editions to come.
The new Corgi 60th Anniversary Red Arrows Hawk with the Blues team at Farnborough
We began this review by looking at a special Aviation Archive model that helped to launch our Die-cast Diaries blog and how we were lucky enough to have our model pictured with the real aircraft at RAF Fairford. We would like to end this review with a similar image that was taken last Sunday at the Farnborough international Airshow. When we were planning a range of models to commemorate our 60th Anniversary, we were clearly looking to include some of the most popular releases from the past 60 years and from an aviation perspective, what could be more iconic than the red Hawk T.1 aircraft of the world famous Red Arrows Aerobatic Display Team. With grateful thanks to the ‘Blues’, who are the Red Arrows trusted support team, without whom no Red Arrows display can take place, we were able to obtain this fantastic image of our 60th Anniversary Red Arrows Hawk (AA36012) on the wing of one of the display aircraft at Farnborough. What a fantastic way to mark the first birthday of Die-cast Diaries and the 60th Anniversary of Corgi!
As we move into our second year, one of the most important features of Die-cast Diaries is that the blog commands its own section on the Corgi website. This means that readers know exactly where to go to find the latest edition, so wherever they are in the world and whatever they may be doing, as long as they have access to the internet, they can find out all the latest modelling news from Corgi. With an ever growing readership, the fact that all previous editions remain on the website is also a significant benefit, as people who have only just discovered our blog can catch up on all the earlier publications. We have lots of ideas for future editions, but are always interested to hear what you think – if you have any comments regarding the first year of Die-cast Diaries, or subjects you would like to see covered in a future edition, please do drop us a line at email@example.com. Similarly, if you would like to send us your own Corgi collector story, please use the same contact address.
Die-cast Diaries Birthday Competition
A unique die-cast collection awaits the winner of our Birthday competition
As we are celebrating the first birthday of our Corgi blog, we felt that it was only right to offer our readers the opportunity to win some unique die-cast models to mark the occasion. Over the previous twelve months, our ‘What’s on the Desk’ feature has become one of the most popular features of our blog and has allowed us to showcase the latest pre-production sample models that have arrived at Corgi HQ. These models are used by the Corgi development team to thoroughly check the accuracy of a future model release before it goes into production and are a critical stage in the development process of any model. Usually, these models would not be seen outside the Corgi offices, but Die-cast Diaries has been allowed access to these fascinating models, which we then shared with our readers. These are often unique pieces of die-cast memorabilia, which tell an important story in the life of any new model project and we have no less than THREE of these fantastic pre-production models available to our competition winner. The very first ‘What’s on the Desk’ feature included both the 1/76th scale Routemaster Remembrance Sunday bus (OM46612) and the 1/50th scale Joe Sharp Scania R Topline tractor unit (CC13772) and the Corgi development team have kindly donated both of these beautiful pre-production models as competition prizes. Not content with this, we bring things right up to date and also include the pre-production sample of the 60th Anniversary Spitfire Mk.I (AA39211) in the colours of Squadron Leader Rupert ‘Lucky’ Leigh, creating a truly unique prize package. Each model will be authenticated by the good people at Corgi, making this prize a fascinating addition to any collection of Corgi models. To be in with a chance of winning these prizes, simply head over to our competitions page, where you will find a Die-cast Diaries related question to answer. Good luck to one and all!
My Corgi - 60th Anniversary Collector Story … The Update
We are in trouble (sort of). You may recall a recent collector story we published in Die-cast Diaries, where we were fortunate enough to be allowed into the home of Mr and Mrs Gosden, from Greater Manchester to view and discuss their fantastic collection of die-cast models. Mr Gosden has been a collector for many years and is extremely knowledgeable about the subject of die-cast collecting and it was an absolute pleasure spending time with him to compile this feature. We did, however, omit to include the fact that his wife Jane is also an avid collector, with a handsome collection of models of her own. She has been in touch recently to say how much she enjoyed the feature, but also to chastise us (in an extremely tongue in cheek manner) about failing to feature her collection in the review. As she backed this up by saying that no models are bought in the Gosden household without her say so, we thought that we had better put the matter straight (for Michael’s sake).
Jane has an impressive collection of Corgi Red Arrows Hawk models
During our meeting, Mike was keen to stress that he was not the only collector in the house and he arranged a selection of models on the table that his wife Jane was extremely attached to and is keen to increase at every available opportunity. The family enjoy regularly attending Airshows across the country and are big supporters of the Red Arrows, with Jane being particularly fond of the team. She has managed to amass a large collection of Red Arrows memorabilia which features their distinctive British Aerospace Hawk T.1 jets, most of which is on display in their home. Central to this collection is a display of 1/72nd scale Aviation Archive Red Arrows Hawks, which includes every Corgi Red Arrows release in the Aviation Archive range and grows with each new release. Indeed, bringing this story right up to date, Jane confirmed that the recently released 60th Anniversary Hawk is now proudly sitting in her collection, which she hopes will continue to expand in the years to come. She was also keen to point out that these were her models and Mike was not allowed to mess with them, unless specifically authorised. We hope that we have now managed to set the record straight and crucially, protected Mike’s future model collecting prospects.
Thanks again to Mike and Jane for their hospitality and our extremely enjoyable conversations over the past few weeks.
Exclusive Pearl Harbor Box Artwork Reveals
Two of the new Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary releases
The previous edition of Die-cast Diaries was proud to announce the launch of the July – December 2016 Corgi model range. Amongst this fantastic array of die-cast delights, collectors will have noticed a trio of models that have been produced to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the infamous Japanese raid against Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, which saw America enter the Second World War. All three of the models to be produced mark aircraft that were in service at the time of the attack and will surely be popular additions to the Aviation Archive range as this Anniversary approaches. Die-cast Diaries is pleased to be bringing you the news that all three of these models will benefit from specially produced commemorative box artwork, which will certainly further enhance these beautiful models and give them a distinctive appearance. We are still working on some of the details relating to the Curtiss P-40B release, so for this edition, we will concentrate on the Zero and Catalina, with the P-40 to follow.
As one of the most advanced and capable aircraft in the early years of the Second World War, the Mitsubishi Zero proved to be the ideal carrier-based fighter aircraft to support Japanese naval actions in the Pacific region. Possessing exceptional levels of speed and manoeuvrability, the Zero was capable of operating over long distances and during early combat operations, Zero pilots were to enjoy spectacular successes over their adversaries. Posting an almost unbelievable kill ratio of 12:1, the diminutive Mitsubishi Zero proved to be the ultimate dogfighter during the early months of WWII, but this dominance was to be short lived, as America entered the war and pilots learned how best to tackle Japan's best fighter.
New Corgi Zero AA33108 will come in distinctive Pearl Harbor 75 packaging
As the Zero fighters from Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft Carrier Akagi took off on the morning of 7th December 1941, their mission instructions were clear – protect the strike aircraft from enemy fighters and destroy as many American aircraft on the ground as possible. As the Pearl Harbor attack was taking place in advance of any formal declaration of war, the US fighter units based at Hawaii were not expecting an attack and many aircraft were parked in neat rows on their home airfields. As Takashi Hirano approached Hickam Field in Mitsubishi Zero AI-I54, the lines of American aircraft made for easy targets and he raked them with machine gun bullets. Appearing to become disorientated at this extremely low altitude, Hirano’s Zero struck the ground, ripping the belly tank from beneath the fuselage and causing the tips of the propeller to become damaged - struggling to gain height his damaged aircraft began to vibrate violently.
Unable to regain control, Hirano’s Zero struck a tree and cartwheeled into buildings at Fort Kamehameha, killing him instantly, along with a group of men on the ground, who were unable to escape the impact. Hirano’s aircraft was the first Japanese Mitsubishi Zero fighter to be brought down during the Pearl Harbor raid, even though it was by his own hand.
As one of the most distinctive aircraft of WWII, the Consolidated PBY Catalina may appear somewhat ungainly at first view, but actually proved to be one of the most effective maritime patrol, rescue and attack aircraft of the Second World War. With the ability to conduct maritime patrols deep into the ocean, Catalina crews would search for enemy shipping and either relay their position to nearby naval units, or attack the vessels themselves, using an array of bombs, depth charges and torpedoes. Able to land in all but the heaviest seas, the Catalina proved to be the saviour of many a downed airman, as this incredibly versatile aircraft provided the US Navy and other operators with an effective Search & Rescue capability, in tandem with its many offensive capabilities. Used extensively by the Royal Air Force, many Catalinas survived to see service long after the end of WWII.
Exclusive view of the Pearl Harbor Catalina box artwork AA36110
On the morning of 7th December 1941, Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina 14-P-2 was undertaking a patrol off the coast of Hawaii, when Ensign Otto F Meyer Jr and his crew became aware of the Japanese attack against the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. At around 10am a formation of nine enemy aircraft passed directly in front of his aircraft, before turning in to attack. In the ensuing melee, Meyer skilfully flew his large flying boat to evade each enemy attack, whilst his gunners returned fire, inflicting damage on a number of the enemy aircraft. Running low on fuel and ammunition, the Japanese aircraft flew off in the direction of their carriers, leaving the bullet ridden Catalina to search for the Japanese Task Force.
Back at the Catalina’s home base at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, the Japanese attack had left a scene of absolute devastation, with many aircraft destroyed, or seriously damaged. Of the sixty-one Catalinas available on the island of Oahu that fateful morning, all but eleven aircraft were destroyed or severely damaged by the Japanese attack – all remaining serviceable Catalinas were ordered into the air to search for the Japanese Fleet.
These magnificent Pearl Harbor models already look like being some of the most popular releases of the year and we look forward to bringing you regular updates in Die-cast Diaries as they progress towards release.
A Mini Conundrum
Any visit to the magnificent Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden in Bedfordshire is an absolute treat for aviation and automotive enthusiasts, but their annual programme of Airshow events attracts visitors from far and wide. This delightful grass aerodrome houses one of the finest collections of pre-war aircraft in the world and the relaxed, intimate nature of these events ensures that once you have been to a Shuttleworth show, you will be counting the days until your next visit.
The beautiful mystery Mini spotted at a recent Shuttleworth Airshow
At one of the recent Airshow events, there was a significant distraction from the plethora of aviation delights dotted around the airfield and it obviously belonged to one of the enthusiasts who had come along to enjoy the day. Parked amongst the Jaguars, Mercedes and BMWs was this beautiful Mini, which attracted more than its fair share of admiring glances during the day and could hold its own against any of the motoring classics on display. The picture above shows this beautiful machine, but try as we might, we have not been able to find out any information about its history – if you can help us out, or if you actually own this beautiful machine, please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us have some more details. It would be really interesting to find out more about this Mini that caused so much interest at the Shuttleworth show.
What’s on the desk?
A busy time for pre-production model arrivals at Corgi HQ
We end this bumper First Birthday edition of Die-cast Diaries by looking at the latest pre-production models to have arrived on the development desk at Corgi HQ. As you can see from the image above, it has been a busy time since our previous edition and there is a lot to get through, so rather than include a full description for each model included in this section, we will just display the image, model number and short description, to make viewing easier. For more details on each of the models illustrated, please head for the Corgi website, where you will find all the information you need.
As usual, it is important to re-affirm that the models we include in our ‘What’s on the desk’ feature are pre-production sample models only and are not the finished model that will be released to collectors, but you know that already – just checking!
CC14124 – DAF 105 Cab, Slough International Freight & Packing Ltd, Battle of Britain Livery
CC13780 – Scania R Topline Cab, John Hulston Haulage
OM46511 - Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Bus, Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour Shuttle Bus
OM41913A/B – Leyland PD3 ‘Queen Mary’ Open Top Bus, Southdown Motor Services, dual destination release
OM46509A/B – Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Bus, Green Line Coaches Limited, dual destination release
VA10816 – Ford Capri 2.8i Special, Rosso Red
AA34213 – Boeing Vertol Chinook HC.3, ZH904, RAF No.18 Squadron, Odiham, 2012
As you can see from the images above, there has been a lot of model activity at Corgi HQ over the past few weeks, which hopefully means that collectors can look forward to some fantastic new releases in the very near future. As usual, for all the very latest information regarding forthcoming model releases, keep checking the Corgi website, which is updated regularly with all the very latest details.
That’s it for this special First Birthday edition of Die-cast Diaries. There was a lot to pack in and we hope that we managed to include something that was of interest to you. Please do continue to send us your ‘My Corgi’ collectors stories, which are really important to us and will feature extensively in the forthcoming editions of Die-cast Diaries. Our e-mail address at email@example.com is always available and there is every chance that you could find your story included in a future edition of our blog.
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 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 start your own Corgi related thread.
Until the next edition of Die-cast Diaries, thank you very much for reading our latest blog and don’t forget to enter our First Birthday competition.
The Corgi Team
© Hornby Hobbies Ltd. All rights reserved.