Arresting new Vanguard and Beaufighter exclusives
Welcome to this latest edition of Corgi Diecast Diaries and your regular look at all the news, updates and stories from the fascinating world of Corgi die-cast model collecting.
We are pleased to say that we have something of a Vanguardsfest for you in this 59th edition of our Corgi blog and include a host of fascinating images which are being made available for the first time. We have an update from the Jaguar XJ6(12)/Daimler Sovereign new tooling project and include a first look at the initial sample models produced from the mould – we also include a feature which looks at how a new Vanguards model makes it from an initial research suggestion, to the latest collectable added to our display cabinets.
In anticipation of the impending first release from the new Bristol Beaufighter tooling, we have a selection of images featuring the final ‘signed sample’ model, as well as confirming the box presentation which will accompany its triumphant release. In what is turning out to be yet another edition of exclusives, we also have final sample images from a rather topical 2019 helicopter release and show how different a final model release can be from the initial hand decorated sample we receive. Are you ready for your latest instalment of Corgi die-cast delights?
50 years of Jaguar style
With the launch of the latest Corgi model range at the beginning of the year, collectors of the popular Vanguards 1/43rd scale vehicle models will have been delighted to see that one of the undoubted highlights was the announcement of a new model tooling for the range. This was quite a significant development for the range, as it had been some time since Vanguards collectors had been presented with a new model tooling to look forward to and from a blog perspective, would be the first time we were in a position to include a Vanguards tooling development feature.
The subject choice for this first new tooling project for some time was something of a British motoring icon and one which offered the exciting prospect of several vehicle derivatives from the same tooling – the distinctive Jaguar XJ6(Series 2)/Daimler Sovereign. For over 50 years, the Jaguar XJ series has come to represent the pinnacle of British motoring style, combining stunning good looks with luxury interiors and impressive performance.
This first pre-production sample model from the new Daimler Sovereign tooling has a number of inaccuracies which caused the development team a little angst, but is already on the way to being rectified. It is important to stress that all three of the pre-production images we are showing within this feature are subject to alteration and are being published for illustrative purposes only.
Representing pure motoring opulence, the Daimler Sovereign versions of these vehicles utilised the same Jaguar bodyshell and gave this already luxurious car a sumptuous style overhaul. Producing a range of cars which everyone admired, but few could hope to own, as far as motoring enthusiasts are concerned, the Daimler Sovereign Vanden Plas is the very embodiment of luxurious motoring and is widely regarded as only slightly below a Rolls Royce in the motoring pecking order of prestige ranking.
We are delighted to be in a position to bring you a significant update from this much-anticipated project, including a first look at all three pre-production sample models, product artwork and catalogue/certificate imagery to be used in support of the initial releases. As you might expect, getting a new diecast model to market is a lengthy and challenging process and requires every ounce of experience from our research and developments teams – sometimes, the first pre-production sample models we receive require a significant amount of improvement and alteration, before they can advance towards production. Clearly, the development team will have reservations about allowing images which show incorrect versions of models to be published and in years past, they would never usually be seen outside the business, for perfectly valid reasons.
Thankfully, the popularity of the Diecast Diaries blog and the fact that we know collectors are interested to see pictures featuring the development of models ‘warts and all’ means that they do allow us to show them, but only if we continue to reaffirm the fact that you are seeing pre-production samples which are still subject to change and only represent one stage in the ongoing development of a new model project. For the collector, however, it does give us some idea of the effort which goes into producing our beloved models and affords us an understanding of some of the frustrations the Corgi team must overcome in ensuring the production facility in the Far East manufacture exactly what they have specified.
Already attracting significant pre-ordering activity, is this the most stylish police vehicle you have ever seen? Another pre-production image, this model is also subject to significant change before it eventually hits model stores.
With three separate model releases from the new tooling project to look forward to, we are pleased to show you exclusive updates from all three, including product artwork files, sight of the first pre-production models and the latest approved product images which will be used for catalogue, website and certificate illustration. We have previously featured the initial development stages of this project within our blog, which is still available for viewing on the Corgi website, but this fascinating selection of images represent the latest update from what is already proving to be an extremely popular addition to our model inventory.
The individual product pages for each of these new models include full descriptions of the vehicle to be replicated, however, they currently do not feature the images we are including here. Although not intending to replicate the text for each model here, we will look at this third Jaguar XJ12 Series 2 LWB (VA13902) in Juniper Green in a little more detail. The XJ12 modelled here was a well-known Jaguar Public Relations car, which featured in the 1977 Series 2 V12 brochure where it was shown with a raffish roll-neck wearing owner in front of a hot air balloon. The brochure states, 'You have a taste for excitement in life. Yet with a subtlety and refinement you appreciate through experience. We believe we can offer you a car which comes closer to your lifestyle than you ever thought possible'. It goes on to proclaim it 'the pinnacle of luxury' and that is confirmed by contemporary car magazine group tests, which the XJ12 continued to win with ease, even when competing with cars costing twice as much.
Replicating a specific Jaguar colour in scale can pose the manufacturing facility particular problems, as illustrated by this pre-production model image, but thankfully, our Vanguards researcher knows exactly what he is looking for.
The XJ series' unmatched refinement, superb ride and sophisticated road manners were the result of careful development work by unsung Jaguar design genius Bob Knight. When this was paired with the mellifluous V12 designed by former Coventry Climax man Wally Hassan, which is still one of the smoothest engines ever produced, the result was, without question, the best car in the world. The Series 2 was launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show on September 13th, 1973 and continued in production until 1979. It was a great sales success, with well over a 120,000 examples being produced and prevented Jaguar being drawn into the maelstrom of parent company British Leyland. It featured a more modern dashboard layout, improved air conditioning and revised styling.
As these magnificent new models advance towards their release date, we look forward to bringing you further updates from this fascinating project.
A new Vanguard is born
If our Vanguards expert is lucky, he will have access to a selection of unused model components when producing the next range of hand decorated samples.
As our main blog feature is showcasing the latest new tooling additions to the Vanguards model range, we thought it might be interesting to look a little more closely at the process behind selecting the vast majority of the model suggestions and how a new model begins its production life. Using supporting images kindly supplied by our Vanguards expert Mark Pinnigar, over the course of the next two editions of our blog, we will attempt to show you how he and the Corgi Development Team begin work on producing a new Vanguards model range and just how manual this process can be.
With the ever increasing cost of new tooling projects placing a huge strain on a brand which is vying for annual development budget with several other famous hobby brands within the Hornby Hobbies portfolio, collectors are used to the fact that all Corgi catalogues mainly consist of new and appealing liveries for models from within the existing tooling bank. This is where the expert knowledge of our researchers comes to the fore, knowing what tooling flexibility they have within each individual set of tooling blocks and suggesting models which can be produced without requiring further tooling investment, even though it is not beyond the realms of fantasy to have slight tooling modification work authorised.
In most cases, for a Vanguards re-livery project, Mark will be forced to source the exact version of the model he intends to produce from either one of his trusted suppliers, or by scouring the internet.
Every new Vanguards model release begins life as an exhaustively researched suggestion on a Powerpoint file sent to the Corgi Development/Marketing Teams by our Vanguards expert. This file may typically contain between 60 and 90 individual suggestions, from which the team will select a much smaller core range around parameters which may include current collector trends and popular lines, licencing considerations and stocks of existing product. The proposed range list is then sent back to our expert, where the hard work really begins. Responsible for much of the work in these early stages, he has to produce hand decorated samples for each of the models selected, models which will be used to illustrate the catalogue and website pages, as well as promoting the models at preview and toy fair events. This stage of the process certainly poses him one or two challenges.
A rather messy, yet necessary job. All the sourced models have to be taken apart and have all the paint removed, returning them back to their bare metal state.
For each one of the future Vanguards subjects selected, the correct version of that model has to be secured, so this latest representation can be produced by hand. In just a handful of instances, Mark may have access to a complete set of unused components, both metal and plastic, which is a great help and allows him to get started straight away, but in most cases however, he has to source the correct version of the model from either his own collection, or by scouring the internet and particularly a popular on-line auction site.
Once he has secured the models he needs, he has to carefully de-construct models which are not intended to be taken apart, a procedure which sometimes results in some of the more delicate parts suffering damage during the process and a swift return to the auction sites. Once reduced to its component parts, Mark has what he needs to start his work and can get on with the dirtiest stage of the process – paint removal from the main diecast components. Using a powerful paint remover, the painted metal components are placed in a suitable container and left to soak in the solution, moving them around periodically and applying the solution to any stubborn spots of remaining paint.
Now with all the pain removed, the metal components have to undergo a thorough cleaning, before they can proceed to the next stage of the process.
Once the models are completely down to bare metal, they are removed from the now contaminated solution and placed in a different container for cleaning, where all traces of the paint stripper will be washed away – the dirty solution is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. Now the serious business of preparing the sample models can begin in earnest, bringing the next years Vanguards range to life. In the next instalment of this feature, we will look at how Mark prepares the component parts for painting, produces the supporting artwork files and produced each of these one-of-a-kind models, which go on to play such an important part in the production of new Vanguards model releases.
Striking across the sea
We are delighted to report that this latest edition of our blog marks the impending release of the magnificent new 1/72nd scale Bristol Beaufighter TF.X and the arrival of one of the most heavily requested new tooling projects in the history of the Aviation Archive range. Launched back in 1998 and quickly establishing itself as a significant new collector’s range of high quality diecast models, it was not long before consumers began to voice their opinions as to which new models they would like to see included in future ranges. This situation only gathered momentum following release of the first 1/72nd scale models, particularly when such classics as the Mosquito and Lancaster were added to the range.
As the Aviation Archive range continued to grow, these models were regarded by many as the definitive collectors range of diecast aviation collectables and the one other manufacturers viewed with envy. Significantly, there were particular areas of aviation which were regarded as definite ‘Corgi territory’ and included WW1 aviation, the Second World War and Cold War British air power, subjects which competitor companies tended to avoid in the main. Indeed, even though other companies did sometime go ahead and produce models which fell onto one of the categories mentioned above, many collectors elected to wait for the Corgi version to be produced, hoping that its introduction would not be too far away.
This exclusive series of images features the final signed sample model from what is one of the most eagerly anticipated new models in the history of the Aviation Archive range
One aircraft type which can claim to be amongst the most heavily requested new tooling suggestions since the launch of 1/72nd scale Aviation Archive model range is the Bristol Beaufighter, a rugged, hard hitting twin engined aircraft which had a distinctive appearance and possessed a significant wartime reputation. In a development which has only taken 19 years to come to fruition, Aviation Archive collectors are looking forward to the impending arrival of the latest new tooling project in the 1/72nd scale model range and a stunning representation of the maritime strike variant of the mighty Bristol Beaufighter.
To mark this occasion, we are pleased to bring our readers this exclusive selection of images from the Beaufighter project, which feature the final ‘signed sample’ model of this most heavily produced version of this famous fighting aeroplane and the box presentation which will soon be gracing the shelves of good model stores everywhere.
AA28601 – Bristol Beaufighter TF.X NE829/PL-J, RAF No.144 Squadron, Banff Strike Wing, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, October 1944.
Perhaps the definitive variant of the Beaufighter and certainly the most heavily produced was the TF.X, a two seat torpedo fighter, which was known colloquially as the Torbeau. With a combination of rockets, cannon and 18 inch mark XII torpedo, these rugged aircraft would attack shipping at high speed and at low level, often with rocket firing Beaufighters drawing the anti-aircraft fire of the vessels, allowing the torpedo equipped aircraft to make their attack runs more effectively. Often attacking with large numbers of aircraft, these savage attacks began to take a heavy toll of Axis shipping and should Luftwaffe fighters join the action in an attempt to protect the convoy, they would find the heavily armed Beaufighter more than capable of looking after itself.
These highly effective coastal strike operations, launched from the exposed northern coast of Aberdeenshire, made a significant contribution to the Allied war effort in the final few months of the Second World War and increased the pressure on Germany’s ability to keep fighting. Knowing that Germany had to transport iron ore and other commodities of war through the North Sea to German held ports, the work of the Banff Strike Wing was of significant strategic importance, effectively starving the German war machine into submission. Operating in extremely harsh conditions and spending many hours flying over open water, pilots must have certainly appreciated the rugged reliability of the Beaufighters and Mosquitos which flew from Banff and the committed ground crews who kept their aircraft serviceable.
The release of this magnificent new model fills an important gap in the Aviation Archive range and many of our readers will be looking forward to adding one to their collections – they won’t have to wait long now. The fantastic new Beaufighter is now due for imminent release.
Splashdown for space recovery Sikorski
The evocative box artwork is a testament to the abilities of our photographers and retouchers, who had to produce this image using the hand decorated sample model which displayed a number of glaring inaccuracies, all of which had to be rectified on the computer
We end this latest edition of our blog with a further selection of exclusive Corgi model images, which this time feature a future release which seems rather appropriate in this 50th anniversary year of the Apollo 11 lunar mission. They say that every picture tells a story and that is certainly the case with these latest ‘signed sample’ images from the Sikorski SH-3A ‘White 63’, Bu.No. 152134, HS-3 ‘Tridents’ US Navy, USS Guadalcanal, July 21st 1965, Gemini X Spacecraft recovery project (AA33422). Looking absolutely resplendent in this distinctive US Navy scheme, the sight of these images does not convey the amount of work our photographer and retouchers had to undertake on this particular model.
As the re-livery of an existing model tooling, as usual, a hand decorated sample of this attractive SH-3A was produced for catalogue and website illustrative purposes, however, on receipt of the model, it was found to have a number of glaring inaccuracies. This was less than ideal, as there was now not enough time to have a new model produced, due to the tight catalogue deadlines and it was down to our talented photographers to rescue the situation. Photographing the model from the most appealing angle and hiding as many of the inaccuracies as possible, they were forced to use their Photoshop skills to make the image look as close to the intended finished model as possible – we think you will agree, they did a fine job.
Looking much more like it, these ‘signed sample’ images show why this beautiful SH-3A has attracted plenty of pre-ordering activity over the past few months.
This latest selection of pictures feature the final signed sample images from this project and show what we all have to look forward to with the release of this extremely attractive model, one which is both a fine example of a US Navy helicopter from the mid 1960s and one which also played a historic role in the space race which captivated the world. It will also make a rather poignant Aviation Archive tribute in this 50th anniversary year of the Apollo 11 moon landing, missions which were all conducted under the gaze of all humanity.
Sikorski SH-3A (AA33422) is scheduled for a Winter 2019/20 release.
That’s all we have for you in this latest edition of Corgi Diecast Diaries, but you can be sure we will be back as usual with more updates and exclusive Corgi content in four weeks’ time. In the meantime, we are always interested to hear from our readers, especially if you would like to suggest a subject for future inclusion in our blog. Better still, if you would like to send us pictures of your own model collection, or details of a Corgi model release which is special to you, you may even find yourself featuring in a future edition of Diecast Diaries. As always, we would be grateful if you would address all correspondence to our usual firstname.lastname@example.org link for all correspondence.
If you can’t wait for the next edition of our blog, there is always plenty of Corgi model related news, views and conversation taking place on our official Facebook and Twitter social media pages, which welcome your contributions. We look forward to reading about all the latest Corgi collecting discussions and pictures of your favourite models over the coming few weeks.
Finally, we would like to thank all our readers for their continued support. We look forward to bringing you much more Corgi related news, features and updates in future editions of our blog. The next edition of Diecast Diaries is scheduled to be published on Friday 29th November.
The Corgi Die-cast Diaries Team
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