Corgi - 60 Years of Die-cast Excellence
Welcome to the latest edition of our Die-cast Diaries blog, where we give the die-cast enthusiast an insight into everything that is going on behind the scenes at Corgi. It will probably not have escaped your attention that 2016 is a big year for Corgi, as the brand celebrates its 60th Anniversary – over the years, Corgi have produced models that have been played with or collected by millions of people and we like to think that some of these models hold extremely fond memories for many of our readers. In an exciting development for Die-cast Diaries, this latest edition will feature the first of our ‘Collector Stories’, as we use our 60th Anniversary to look at some of the Corgi models you hold most dear. In a feature-packed edition, we also have exclusive news and images from an exciting new tooling project in the Aviation Archive range and a competition with a fantastic pre-production model up for grabs. We end with our popular ‘What’s on the Desk’ feature and a look at the new models we can expect to be arriving in the shops over the next few weeks – there is a lot to fit in to this latest instalment of Die-cast Diaries, so we had better make a start.
Classic Corgi for our 60th Anniversary
Die-cast collectors who have recently browsed the Corgi website, or flicked through the latest January/June catalogue will have noticed the inclusion of a range of models in a specific Corgi 60th Anniversary section, which have been produced specifically to mark this significant occasion. The range includes cars, buses, a truck and a number of aircraft that have all appeared in Corgi catalogues over the years and represent some of the most famous vehicle liveries from either in the air, or on the roads. Importantly, these are Limited Edition premium models, which were intended to appeal to all Corgi collectors and not simply to benefit from being presented in the special 60th Anniversary presentation packaging – each one of these fantastic models is a collector release in its own right. Finished to the same exacting standards as all the other models in the current Corgi catalogue, the 60th Anniversary model range will be appealing keepsakes for all Corgi collectors and are equally appealing as an addition to any existing collection of die-cast models. With iconic subjects such as the quintessentially British Classic London Routemaster bus, along with the unmistakable Supermarine Spitfire, this range of models is very much a celebration of Corgi die-cast model production over the past 60 years.
The striking presentation packaging used on the 60th Anniversary model collection
One area that seems to have caused an unexpected amount of collector comment is around the price of these models and we will try to clear up any confusion. At the outset of this project, Corgi set out to mark their 60th Anniversary in some style, as the history of our company and the affection in which it is held is something that we are rightly proud of. Rather than simply divert products from the main range, or produce cheaper models and give them attractive new boxes, it was decided that the 60th Anniversary range would be something a bit special that would not only appeal to Corgi collectors of some years standing, but also to the casual collector who was just after a great model. As for the pricing, this was again something that had long been in the planning and was simply an opportunity for our loyal collectors to have access to some great 60th Anniversary models, at really attractive prices.
So what will the 60th Anniversary model range offer the Corgi Collector? As we have already confirmed these models will be certificated Limited Edition releases, each being supplied in the attractive yellow and blue 60th Anniversary packaging designed specifically for this occasion. To further enhance the appeal of these highly collectable models, each one will be supplied in a sturdy lid and tray box for protection and will also come complete with a commemorative 60 years of Corgi pin badge. An example of the attractive new packaging design can be seen in the Red Arrows Hawk picture above, which certainly grabs your attention. This really is a distinctive and highly collectable range of models and will help to make 2016 a very special year for Corgi and all our loyal collectors.
Looking more closely at the 60th Anniversary range, there is a fine selection of classic Corgi models and iconic liveries, which have been produced to appeal to a wide range of Corgi collectors – let’s take a look at a few of the models on offer:
The Hawker Hurricane is arguably the most important aircraft in the history of the Royal Air Force, specifically as it heralded the development of the modern, monoplane fighter. It combined the finest construction techniques already in place with the best biplane aircraft and was relatively easy to manufacture - the Hurricane was certainly the right aeroplane at the right time and in Britain’s hour of need, proved to be absolutely crucial. During the savage dogfights of the Battle of Britain, the Hurricane accounted for more Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed, than all other British aircraft combined. A magnificent gun platform, the Hurricane could also absorb significant battle damage and still bring its pilot home – this was critical in Britain’s eventual success and was rather reassuring for the Hurricane pilot.
The exploits of the glorious ‘Few’ during the Battle of Britain are the stuff of legend and standing right at the head of this illustrious group of men was James ‘Ginger’ Lacey, Hurricane pilot and proud son of Yorkshire. Flying throughout the Battle of Britain, Lacey was credited with 18 aerial victories, making him the second highest scoring British fighter ace of the Battle – every one of these victories were gained whilst flying the trusty Hawker Hurricane. As one of the most celebrated British pilots of the Battle of Britain, it is surprising that Lacey and his Hurricane have not already appeared in the Aviation Archive range, but this situation will be rectified with the release of this magnificent model. Making full use of the new Hurricane Mk.I tooling, this 60th Anniversary release marks one of the most significant pilot celebrities of the Battle of Britain and will be an essential addition to collection of aviation models.
It is difficult to imagine anything more quintessentially British than the classic red Routemaster buses that have transported millions of tourists around the streets of London over the years and as such, makes a fantastic subject for one of Corgi’s 60th Anniversary models. The Routemaster was designed and built in London by AEC and Park Royal Vehicles specifically for London Transport use. Although conventional in appearance, the design was technically sophisticated, featuring innovative construction techniques, braking systems and semi-automatic transmission. Featured on tourist souvenirs all around the Capital, the traditional red Routemaster is perhaps one of the most famous images of London with many examples of this iconic vehicle still in existence all over the world. As far as iconic British vehicles go, the Routemaster bus has to be one of the most enduring and this magnificent model pays homage to this classic design.
The history of motoring is littered with significant and ground-breaking vehicles, but as far as the British motoring industry is concerned, few can boast the history of the distinctively shaped Morris Minor. In December 1960, the Morris Minor became the first British car to sell more than 1 million units, placing it at the head of an extremely illustrious group of vehicles.
The Morris Minor was launched at the 1948 London Motor Show, Britain's first since the cessation of hostilities, alongside another legend the Jaguar XK120. In its original form it used a 918cc side-valve engine and its headlights were mounted low in the grille. Foreign market legislation forced the lights up into pods on the wings in 1951 and then, when Morris Motors merged with Austin in 1952 to create BMC, the Minor received the Austin-designed 803cc A-Series engine. This was updated to create the 'single screen' Minor 1000 in 1956. The Minor was Alec Issigonis' first complete car design and possessed extremely surefooted handling which was many years ahead of its competitors.
The Corgi 60th Anniversary models are scheduled for release during June and July, but we will keep you updated on any changes in future editions of Die-cast Diaries. Alternatively, you could check the Coming Soon section of the Corgi website, which is regularly updated with the latest release information.
Over the past few editions of Die-cast Diaries, we have been asking our readers to let us have their personal Corgi stories and to share with us the models that have been special to them over the years. In a series supporting our 60th Anniversary, we are pleased to be posting the first of our ‘My Corgi’ collector stories today and will include others in each subsequent edition of Die-cast Diaries for the remainder of 2016. If you would like to see your Corgi collectors story on our website, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, including any pictures of your beloved models. Although we clearly will not be able to use every story we receive, we will certainly read every one you send in and a selection will appear in Die-cast Diaries. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been kind enough to send in their stories so far and kick off this series with a story we received all the way from the good old US of A – over to Ned Hastings.
Greetings from Georgia, USA!
I see that you are inviting people to share their Corgi stories in honor of your company’s anniversary. I am thrilled that Corgi is turning 60 - I myself am turning 50 this year. I’m not sure how special my collection is, but I certainly have one.
Corgi Classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang model 05301
My earliest Corgi, though I didn’t know it was a Corgi at the time, was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. This was one of the very first toys that I remember playing with. My brother and I each had one. They both somehow got lost when we moved houses, and I’ve never quite gotten over it. I surely would still have that car today, had it not gotten misplaced somehow.
Most of my Corgis were bought in the 70s and are in the 1:45/1:50 scale, or ‘Corgi-sized’ as I’ve always called them. That is my favorite scale for toy cars. I do have some 1:64 scale Corgi Juniors; notably, for me at least, is the Whizzwheels Pininfarina Modulo. I think my oldest Corgi is one of the 1:50 scale Whizzwheels that came out in 1970. It’s the white Alfa Romeo Pininfarina with the gold airfoil. That same Christmas my brother got the amazing Chevrolet Astro 1 concept car that had figures of a man and a woman in formal attire. I appropriated it from his toys at some point and still have it. I also got the Porsche Targa 911 Police car from that same collection for my birthday one year.
My most prized Corgis were and are still my Bond cars — the Aston Martin and the Lotus Esprit — and my Moonraker space shuttle, as well as the 70s Batmobile/Batboat/Batcopter. I’ve used these as the bases for a fairly extensive toy Batmobile and Bond car collection. In recent years, I’ve availed myself of the extensive issues of comics-inspired Batmobiles, including several in the larger scales and also have quite a lot of the James Bond vehicles that were issued or re-issued in the last decade or so. I keep most of these on display in my office.
I have other licensed vehicles like the Kojak Buick and the Starsky and Hutch Gran Torino. I have a fairly extensive set of Police vehicles, including a Range Rover ambulance and a Range Rover emergency vehicle with traffic cones and signs. And of course I have some everyday street cars. Long after I stopped playing with toys I was still picking up Corgis here and there, simply because they’re so beautiful. In all, I’d say I have upwards of 100+ Corgi vehicles of various sizes and ages. At one point I had the terrific Corgi 1977 catalogue.
Thank you so much for your amazing products. They brought me much joy and fun as a kid and still bring beauty and nostalgia to my adult life. Here’s to another 60 years!
Thanks for sending in your story Ned – it’s great to think that Corgi models brought pleasure to youngsters and adult collectors all over the world. I don’t think that this will be the last time that TV and Film models will appear in this section. We will have another ‘My CORGI’ collector’s story in the next edition of Die-cast Diaries.
Corgi’s new Augsburg Eagle
Fascinating CAD screenshot from the Corgi Messerschmitt Bf 109E Project
Aviation Archive collectors would have been delighted to learn that Corgi are producing a totally new version of the Messerschmitt Bf 109E in 1/72nd scale and we are pleased to be in a position to update you on this exciting project now. As usual, we have to stress that the images used to illustrate this report are of the ‘First Shots’ pre-production sample model and even though there may be some areas that will require alteration before the model goes into production, we felt that you would be interested to see this fascinating stage of the production process.
As the main Luftwaffe fighter aircraft during the early years of the Second World War, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 earned a fearsome reputation in combat and was synonymous with the ruthless effectiveness of the Wehrmacht. It was also the mount of many of the worlds most accomplished air aces and proved to be one of the most reliable and adaptable fighter aircraft ever produced. Perhaps the most significant statistics connected to the Messerschmitt Bf 109 series is that the aircraft served throughout the entirety of WWII in its various incarnations and went on to be the most heavily produced fighter aircraft in history, with 33,984 machines built. Proving to be a highly adaptable fighting machine, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 has to be considered as one of the most significant aircraft in the history of powered flight.
‘First Shots’ Messerschmitt Bf 109E models on the Corgi design desk
From a die-cast collectors’ perspective, the Messerschmitt has always been an extremely popular subject and can be seen chasing Corgi Spitfires and Hurricanes in display cabinets all over the world. Since it was first introduced into the Aviation Archive range in 2000, the Bf 109 has always been amongst the most popular models produced and has included many significant releases, including Adolf Galland’s Bf 109E (49202) in the Flying Aces series and Franz von Werra’s machine (49205), which was supplied with Pilot's Notes. As the Spitfire, Hurricane and Mustang models had all benefited from new tooling upgrades over recent years, it seemed that the ever popular Messerschmitt must surely follow suit and Aviation Archive collectors waited patiently. Thankfully, edition nine of Die-cast Diaries carried the exclusive confirmation that the Corgi engineers were indeed working on a totally new version of the Messerschmitt Bf 109E tooling, which would incorporate all the latest technological advances in die-cast production and would sit alongside the Messerschmitt Bf 109G series tooling (AA2710*) which was released at the end of 2013.
Montage of ‘First Shots’ images from the new 1/72nd scale Messerschmitt Bf 109E tooling
The release of these ‘First Shots’ images of the new Messerschmitt Bf 109E confirms that the project is advancing nicely and collectors will hope to see the first release from this new tooling announced in the next Corgi catalogue. The arrival of these first shots will result in a busy period of activity for the Corgi team, as they assess every aspect of this model, from the accuracy of the metal casting, to the fit of the additional parts, before completing a detailed review of their findings. Any issues, or alterations the team require will have to be incorporated at this stage, which will include the ability to change the tooling mold itself, should this be required. The team will have to be completely satisfied with the new model casting, before the tooling mold itself can be signed off and ready to start producing the model we are all very much looking forward to.
You can clearly see from the attached images that the new Bf 109E tooling includes a number of additional features that will be welcomed by Aviation Archive collectors. In addition to the extremely clean and detailed casting, there are a host of alternative parts available to the design team, which will allow some magnificent schemes to be produced in the future. The new model also benefits from alternate flap position options, with new plug-in parts allowing the model to be displayed in this striking configuration. As one of the most significant aircraft to operate during the early years of WWII, we can definitely look forward to some magnificent Messerschmitt releases in the future, as Corgi produce their 1/72nd scale version of the most heavily produced fighter aircraft in the history of aviation.
The ‘First Shots’ Messerschmitt tooling shows some of the new features incorporated into this fantastic model
We hope that you enjoy viewing these latest images from the Bf 109E project, but please do remember that they are still pre-production models and not the finished article yet. They do show how well this exciting model is progressing and will have many collectors hoping for some classic Messerschmitt releases in the months and years to come. We are also very much looking forward to bringing you news of the first scheme to be applied to the new Bf 109E tooling in a future edition of Die-cast Diaries, but I am afraid that you will have to wait a little while for this. For now though, these images of the ‘First Shots’ model confirm that the project is advancing nicely and that this little Messerschmitt model will be very much worth waiting for.
Further details of the AA28001 Messerschmitt Bf109E will be announced at the launch of the July-December 2016 Range.
Corgi Competition Time
As we are launching the first of our ‘My CORGI’ collectors’ stories in this edition of Die-cast Diaries, we thought that it was only right and proper to also include a competition for our readers, with a unique piece of Corgi memorabilia up for grabs for the winning entrant. As one of the ten 60th Anniversary models featured in the current Corgi January – June 2016 catalogue, London Routemaster Bus OM46310 is likely to be one of the most popular models of the summer and certainly commemorates one of the most famous vehicles to ever travel the streets of our capital city. The fantastic prize available to our winning entrant is the pre-production model of this anniversary model, which will be supplied complete with a certificate of authenticity, which will confirm this as a unique and highly collectable piece of die-cast memorabilia. I am sure this model will be of interest to a great many collectors, so we had better tell you how you can stand a chance of winning it.
Simply visit the Corgi competition page, where you will be able to enter your answer to the question – ‘On what date did we publish the very first edition of Corgi Die-cast Diaries?’.
Competition prize pre-production OM46310 will be fully authenticated by the Corgi team
The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 15th May 2016 and any entries received after the closing date cannot be accepted. The lucky winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received and announced in the next edition of Die-cast Diaries - this fabulous prize will be winging its way to them shortly afterwards. Good luck to you all!
What’s on the desk?
This popular feature of our Die-cast Diaries blog allows us the opportunity to scour the design desks at Corgi HQ, looking for pictures of any interesting models that we can show you. As usual, we have to include the important caveat that these are pre-production samples and may well include inaccuracies that have already been spotted by the design team and will be rectified before the model is released for production – after all, that is the intended purpose of a pre-production model! So, here is what we have for you in this latest edition.
CC16001 New Tooling Volvo FH, H.D Ricketts Limited 1/50th Scale
Corgi is proud to present a brand new Hauliers of Renown tooling – the new Volvo FH. Since being established in 1964, H. D. Ricketts has strived to be the largest supplier of gravel and sand in the West Midlands. With a fleet of thirty-three tippers and ten curtain-sided trailers, it supplies some of the biggest names in the building industry and participates in some of the country’s biggest construction projects such as the M6 Toll road. The Company’s vehicles, with their unique logo and eye-catching liveries can be seen all across the West Midlands.
This magnificent newly tooled model, Volvo FH, H. D. Ricketts (CC16001) is due to arrive in mid-June.
VA11113 – Land Rover Series 1 80”, 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment, 29th Infantry Brigade, ‘The Glorious Glosters’, Battle of the Imjin River, April 1951. 1/43rd Scale
Together with seven other British combat units and a Belgian Battalion, the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment formed 29 Independent Infantry Brigade Group fighting in the Korean War from December 1950 under the command of the United Nations; Land Rovers were used in support roles. By April 1951, 29 Brigade, including the Glosters, were deployed north of Seoul along the undulating southern bank of the Imjin River; historically, the key to capturing the capital city.
Land Rover Series 1 80", 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment (VA11113) is due to arrive in early August.
OM41417A – Daimler ROE, Glasgow Corporation, dual destination. 1/76th Scale
Back in 1924, the first Glasgow Corporation Tramways (GCT) motorbuses were ordered to cover services in Coatbridge and Airdrie while road maintenance was being carried out to the tramway service. Soon after, motorbuses became a regular sight in Glasgow with the first double decker buses being ordered by the GCT in 1928. The livery was the same as the single deckers but with the addition of apple green for the panels between the upper and lower deck windows, however in 1959 this was simplified to aid spray painting. Shown here in the updated yellow and green livery the model also features well known adverts for Bell’s Scotch Whiskey and Swan Matches.
Daimler ROE, Glasgow Corporation, Rouken Glen (OM41417A) and Daimler ROE, Glasgow Corporation, Priesthill (OM41417B) are both due to arrive in early August.
OM46615B – New Routemaster, Arriva, 137, dual destination. 1/76th Scale
With its roots in a second hand motorcycle shop in Sunderland, opened by the Cowie family back in 1938, Arriva is now one of the leading transport operators in Europe. It operates routes all over the UK from the North East to the South East and in London, where in 2014 it was announced that Route 137 would be served entirely by Arriva’s New Routemasters. Originally referred to as the New Bus for London, The New Routemaster is a hybrid diesel-electric bus designed by Thomas Heatherwick and Wrightbus. The New Routemaster features a ‘hop-on hop-off’ rear platform, updated to meet the requirements for modern use.
New Routemaster, Arriva, 137 Streatham Hill (OM46615A) and New Routemaster, Arriva, 137 Oxford Circus (OM46615B) are both due to arrive mid-August.
VA06519 – Rover P6 3500 VIP, Brasilia. 1/43rd Scale
In October 1963 Rover announced their compact 2000 model, often known colloquially by its codename P6. It was an all-new design featuring a unit-construction base skeleton covered by bolt-on body panels, independent front suspension using horizontal coil springs, de Dion rear suspension and four-wheel disc brakes, giving it class-leading dynamics. Its radical exterior and interior styling was by David Bache and its pioneering passenger safety-cell contributed to it becoming the first ever 'European Car of the Year' in 1964. Rover's General-Motors derived all-aluminium V8 was offered as a more powerful option in April 1968, finally giving the P6 the power its chassis had always warranted. Production of the P6 ceased in 1977.
Names on a Plane
We're proud to announce that Airix and Corgi are sponsors of the Royal Air Force Museum's 'Names on a Plane' campaign, which offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get your name written on a Red Arrow!
For details of how to get involved, head over to the Corgi website for the full story.
Latest Lancaster on Finals
Corgi Avro Lancaster B.III AA32624 ‘Mike Squared’ due for early May release
We end this latest edition with some important news for Aviation Archive collectors – two extremely heavily pre-ordered models are on finals and due for release early next month.
The 1/72nd scale Corgi Avro Lancaster is arguably one of the most significant die-cast aviation models in the history of the hobby and its popularity shows absolutely no sign of waning. This latest release in the Lancaster series marks one of the most successful Bomber Command Lancasters of WWII and not only marks the achievement of this incredible aircraft, but also the brave crews that flew them throughout WWII.
The aircrew of Bomber Command made a significant contribution to the war effort in WWII and were to pay a heavy price for their devotion to duty. One specific RAF aircraft that highlights the contribution of Bomber Command aircrews is Avro Lancaster ED888 PM-M2 ‘Mike Squared’ - this magnificent aircraft completed an astonishing 140 bombing missions over enemy territory, the most flown by any Lancaster during the Second World War. Known as ‘The Mother of Them All’, this Lancaster managed to survive the war, shooting down two Luftwaffe fighters in the process. Avro Lancaster ED888 was the most prolific of the ‘Ton-up’ Lancasters and is a fitting way to mark the 75th anniversary of the first flight of Avro’s most famous bomber and the men who flew them.
Operation Granby Westland Lynx will arrive in the 25th Anniversary year of the Gulf War
Also due to arrive with the new Lancaster is this much anticipated Operation Granby Westland Lynx (AA39006). This particular model is being released a little later than was originally intended, however it will make a fine addition to the other Gulf War models which were included in the current January - June 2016 Corgi catalogue. Now fittingly arriving during the 25th Anniversary year of Operation Granby, this fantastic new model marks the contribution of rotary aircraft to air operations during the Gulf War conflict.
Both of these fantastic models are due to be with your usual model supplier in early May.
Desktop Wallpaper Winner
You may have seen last month that we ran a competition to using our Customer Images feature, which allows you to upload your own model photos to the website, with one lucky winner's photograph being used for the May Desktop Calendar Wallpaper.
The competition was intense, we sifted through hundreds of entries but the final winner was Mr Robert Allen. Congratulations Robert, your fantastic photo of the Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a, C1149/W ‘Schweinhund’, Capt. Grinnell-Milne is now featured on May's Desktop Calendar Wallpaper.
We were so overwhelmed with your photos that we have decided to feature a customer's photo on the monthly calendar again soon. So if you have already uploaded images they could still make it onto a calendar, and if you haven't then start uploading your images at the bottom of the relevant product page now!
As mentioned in our ‘My Corgi’ section, we are keen to hear your Corgi collecting stories and intend to feature some of them in future editions of Die-cast Diaries. We would be grateful if you would let us know which Corgi models have a special place in your heart, or which ones started you off with the collecting bug – you never know, you may just find your story featured on the Corgi website. Please send your stories and pictures to our dedicated email@example.com e-mail address.
As always, we are keen to hear your views on our Die-cast Diaries blog and any ideas you may have for future subject matter – you may even want to offer us an article to feature in a future edition. As well as our new e-mail address, we also have our dedicated Die-Cast Diaries forum, or you may prefer to contact us through Facebook or Twitter using #CorgiDiecastDiaries.
Until the next edition of Die-cast Diaries, enjoy your collecting and don’t forget to have a go at our competition!
The Corgi Team
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