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Corgi Armourfest and the bomber which claimed to snack on flak

Corgi Armourfest and the bomber which claimed to snack on flak

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. It is difficult to believe that we already find ourselves more than half way through the year and from a Corgi models perspective, we still have so much to inform our readers about – that being said, this 55th edition of our blog is packed full of exclusive pictures and project updates, as we bring you the latest details from some of the most eagerly anticipated diecast models in the hobby. The main focus of our attentions will centre around the return of our 1/50th scale Military Vehicle range and will include details of a model subject change, a host of pictures which are being published for the first time, confirmation of the new packaging design and some diorama pictures which really do bring these impressive models to life. As our outdoor events team make their final arrangements for attendance at the massive Royal International Air Tattoo, we also include a selection of final signed sample production model images from three impending model releases, two of which are already close to being fully allocated, even before they hit the model stores. We will also see how a recent Aviation Archive release went to meet the actual aircraft on which it was based and how its current custodians were rather taken with this scale die-cast tribute. We have quite a lot to get through, so let’s make a start straight away.

Into the teeth of battle

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress AA33318 Flak Eater US 8th Air Force on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

The impressive history of the Aviation Archive range includes quite a number of aircraft model toolings which diecast collectors would describe as ‘classics’ for the hobby as a whole, along with many aircraft types which are very much regarded as ‘Corgi territory’. One such aircraft model is the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, arguably America’s most famous bomber of all time and the aircraft which took on the enormous task of attacking German targets by day during the Second World War. Since it was first released back in 2002, the 1/72nd scale Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Aviation Archive tooling blocks have produced many iconic model releases and helped to prove that diecast model aircraft collecting was not simply going to be about 1/144th scale airliners and 1/72nd scale single engined fighters. Along with the Avro Lancaster which was released the previous year, Corgi designers at that time really did push the boundaries of what could be achieved in quality diecast scale representations and effectively heralded the start of the model collecting hobby we know today. This determination for diecast excellence continues apace, with the new 1/48th scale English Electric Lightning and British Phantom releases incorporating even greater levels of detail and production finesse, to a point where these magnificent display models are almost indistinguishable from a professionally built and painted scale plastic kit.

Now with around twenty separate releases from this impressive tooling behind it, we are pleased to announce that the latest 1/72nd scale Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress model (AA33318) is on the verge of being released and we have an exclusive selection of images to show you, each one featuring the production signed sample of this heavily pre-ordered addition to the Aviation Archive range.

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress AA33318 Flak Eater US 8th Air Force on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

This was the original image of the first hand decorated ‘Flak Eater’, which was used in both the 2019 Corgi catalogue and on the website. As you can see from the picture at the beginning of this feature, it was also used as the main image when laying out the box artwork, which is destined to become so familiar over the coming few weeks

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress AA33318 Flak Eater US 8th Air Force on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

A classic view of the Flying Fortress, which was undoubtedly one of the most famous aircraft of the Second World War. This is an image of the latest production signed sample model and is being published on the Corgi website for the first time

AA33318 – Boeing B-17G-40-DL Flying Fortress 44-6009/WF-J ‘Flak Eater’, 364th BS, 305th BG, US Eighth Air Force, Chelveston, August 1944.

Without doubt, one of the most famous fighting aeroplanes of all time, the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress possessed the range and bomb load to inflict significant damage on any strategic target against which it was sent, however its initial use in the European theatre resulted in heavy losses. Initially, it was thought that the impressive defensive armament possessed by these aircraft would allow carefully arranged box formations of bombers to effectively defend themselves against enemy air attack however, the ferocity of the Luftwaffe fighter defence they faced proved this theory to be flawed. These early combat experiences and constant development saw successive upgrades to the B-17 improve its effectiveness and when combined with the greater range of Allied fighters to protect the bombers, survivability rates began to increase dramatically. The definitive version of the Flying Fortress was the ‘G’ model, which incorporated a host of improvements and became the most heavily produced variant of the bomber, with 8680 aircraft eventually being produced. The B-17 earned the distinction of dropping more bombs on Axis targets than any other aircraft in WWII and stood to represent the industrial might and fighting resolve of America, as they streaked towards their targets during daylight hours, day after day. It is interesting to note that whilst many of the thousands of Allied aircraft taking part in D-Day operations were painted with black and white identification markings, the four engined heavy bombers of the USAAF and Bomber Command were not, unless the aircraft were involved in glider towing or paratrooper delivery. This is because the lack of an effective German heavy bomber meant that misidentification of these Allied ‘Heavies’ was highly unlikely and therefore unnecessary.

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress AA33318 Flak Eater US 8th Air Force on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

A further selection of images featuring the production signed sample of the latest B-17G model release. ‘Flak Eater’ benefits from particularly impressive nose artwork and represents one of the later war B-17s which went to war wearing only their natural metal factory finish and without the extra weight of the green camouflage finish applied to earlier aircraft

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress AA33318 Flak Eater US 8th Air Force on Corgi die-cast diaries blog
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress AA33318 Flak Eater US 8th Air Force on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

This magnificent new aircraft will be gracing display cabinets all over the world in the very near future

From the perspective of a Luftwaffe fighter pilot, the sight of hundreds of American Flying Fortresses in formation and heading towards them must have been magnificent and terrifying in equal measure. As the Allies pressed home their increasing aerial supremacy throughout 1944, not only would the Luftwaffe have to contend with a wall of defensive fire from the tightly packed bomber formations, they also knew that their protective fighter cover would be on them both before and after they made their almost suicidal attack run. The latest and definitive ‘G’ variant of the B-17 introduced the electrically operated Bendix chin turret, which had been developed to combat the frontal attacks preferred by Luftwaffe fighter pilots against earlier models and further increased the defensive firepower of these heavily armed bombers. Chelveston based B-17G ‘Flak Eater’ of the USAAF 364th Bombardment Squadron certainly wanted any attacking fighter to know that she was equipped with the new nose armament and sported distinctive ‘shark mouth’ artwork to act as a visual deterrent to any enemy pilot looking for a potential target. Despite the frantic nature of the European air war around the time of D-Day, the decision to apply the turret teeth was vindicated, as they helped ‘Flak Eater’ through at least 28 combat missions and to survive the war relatively unscathed. The bomber returned to the US in June 1945, where she was later scrapped at Kingman Army Airfield in Arizona, a fate which awaited the majority of aircraft which had fought so valiantly during WWII.

A spectacular addition to the Aviation Archive range, ‘Flak Eater’ has proved to be one of the most popular models in the 2019 range and many Diecast Diaries readers will be looking forward to getting their hands on this one. Not long to wait now, as AA33318 is due for imminent release.

Infamous link for an aviation classic

Junkers Ju52 Iron Annie Hitler's transport AA36909 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

Even though there continues to be an enduring fascination with German airpower of the WWII and post war period, there are definitely some aircraft types which could easily be described as being difficult subject matter for model manufacturers to attempt to cover, not because of the complexity of the actual tooling or difficulties in corroborating historic research details, but by association with the people who used them. It is a well known fact that all of the most successful air ‘Aces’ of the Second World War were Luftwaffe pilots, many of whom were credited with the destruction of over 100 aircraft each and whilst modellers and historians have no particular problems when scale representations of the aircraft used by these airmen are produced, things are a little different when the subject aircraft was the personal transport of the most infamous man of the 20th century.

The elegant Junkers Ju 52 made its first flight in late 1930, but in its original configuration of a single engined civilian transport – it would be a further eighteen months before the more familiar low-wing ‘trimotor’ variant would grace the skies. Distinctive by its huge double-wing trailing edge and corrugated finish, which helped to make this an incredibly strong aeroplane, the Ju 52 earned a reputation for reliability in a passenger transport role, which would eventually see almost 3,000 aircraft flying in the markings of the Luftwaffe during WWII. It would go on to be referred to as ‘Tante Ju’ (Aunt Ju) by aircraft and passengers alike, who all learned to appreciate the steady handling characteristics and exceptional reliability of an aircraft which was considered extremely advanced at the time of its introduction. During the political turmoil in Germany during the 1930s, an increasingly influential Adolf Hitler decided to use air transport to get around the country, rather than rely on the rail network and the comfortable Tante Ju was his aircraft of choice. Somewhat tarnishing the reputation of this magnificent aircraft with this association, historically, Junkers Ju 52 D-2600 ‘Immelmann II’ has to be considered one of the most famous individual aircraft of the pre-war period and a 1/72nd scale representation of it is just about to join the ranks of the Aviation Archive range. Indeed, despite its association with Hitler, AA36909 almost immediately showed itself to be the most popular model announced within the 2019 Corgi range and may prove incredibly challenging to obtain an example, if you haven’t managed to secure one prior to release.

Junkers Ju52 Iron Annie Hitler's transport AA36909 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

This exclusive selection of images showcase the production signed sample of this incredibly distinctive model, a 1/72nd scale representation of one of the most famous aeroplanes of the 1930s

Junkers Ju52 Iron Annie Hitler's transport AA36909 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

With its three engines and corrugated construction, the Junkers Ju 52 may have been classed as obsolete by the start of WWII, but almost 3,000 of these aircraft would go on to see Luftwaffe service

AA36909 – Junkers Ju52/3m D-2600 ‘Immelmann II’, Adolf Hitler’s personal transport aircraft, Berlin Tempelhof Airport, circa 1936.

Undoubtedly one of the most distinctive aircraft of the Second World War, the tri-motor Junkers Ju52 can trace its origins back to a first flight in October 1930 and even though it was obsolete at the start of the conflict, it would go on to see extensive use and be produced throughout the war. From the early days of his political career, Adolf Hitler was one of the first major world figures to use aircraft as his preferred mode of transport and on becoming Chancellor of Germany, he began to establish his own private air fleet, which was based at Berlin Tempelhof Airport. Preferring to use the roomy and reliable Junkers Ju52, his aircraft were named after famous German airmen of the Great War, such as Immelmann, Richthofen and Boelcke, with his personal pilot Hans Baur overseeing the internal fittings of the aircraft to ensure Hitler’s comfort. Ju52 3/m D-2600 ‘Immelmann II’ was one of the famous aircraft operated as a ‘Fuhrermaschine’, usually serving as the lead aircraft (and Hitler’s preferred aircraft) but backed up by several other Ju52s to ensure constant availability. The aircraft were also available for use by other high ranking officials and in order to ensure Hitler’s safety, a number of aircraft were often operated at the same time, to minimise the risk of attack. At the insistence of Hans Baur, Hitler upgraded his main transport aircraft to the new four engined Focke Wulf Fw 200 Condor in 1939, however, he retained links to his trusty Junkers by naming the new aircraft ‘Immelmann III’ and transferring the registration D-2600 – it appears Hitler was rather superstitious.

Junkers Ju52 Iron Annie Hitler's transport AA36909 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

Featuring main undercarriage wheel spats and the large ‘Immelmann II’ name on either side of its fuselage, this is a fine representation of the aircraft which carried Hitler and his staff around Germany during the mid 1930s

Junkers Ju52 Iron Annie Hitler's transport AA36909 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

One of Corgi’s most popular aviation toolings, this striking addition to the Aviation Archive range is destined to be incredibly hard to find in the years to come

When looking at the size of the three engined Junkers Ju52, it is difficult to imagine that the original aircraft in this series were actually powered by a single, centrally mounted engine, even though the aircraft’s dimensions were almost identical. Indeed, when looking at the variant descriptions, the Ju52/1m identifies the aircraft as a 1 motor (single engine) and the 3m is the more usual three engined machine. Unusual in its adoption of a distinctive corrugated duralumin construction, the Ju52 may have looked a little cumbersome, but it was an extremely strong and highly versatile aircraft, which saw widespread service during WWII. Used mainly as a troop transport and supply aircraft, the Ju52 would also be pressed into service as an airborne ambulance, paratrooper transporter, glider tug and most radically, a large floatplane. Highly specialised aircraft were also pressed into service as a minesweeper and featured a large metal ring under the fuselage, which produced a magnetic field used to detonate the enemy naval mines it flew over. Despite being extremely vulnerable to enemy fighter attack, the venerable old Junkers Ju52 was forced to continue performing its valuable roles well into 1944, even though the aircraft was considered basically obsolete at the start of the war. When production finally ceased in August 1944, it is thought that around 100 aircraft were still in Luftwaffe service on the battlefields of Europe.

Another classic Aviation Archive model scheduled for imminent release, if you haven’t already reserved your example of AA36909 Hitler’s personal Junkers Ju 52, this may well be your final opportunity, as very few unallocated models remain. Please head for the Corgi website or speak to your usual model supplier to ensure one of these handsome models is destined for your collection.

Military Legends unleashed

New Corgi Military Legends British Churchill Tank CC60112 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

The new 1/50th scale Military Legends range will be presented in this striking new box design, featuring a diorama representation of the limited edition model contained within

The January announcement of the 2019 Corgi model range included a rather interesting development for collector’s with a liking for armoured fighting vehicles and tanks of the Second World War – the long overdue return of our 1/50th scale Military Vehicle range. This beautifully produced series of models was originally called the ‘World War II Collection’ and made their debut at the beginning of 2003, in a separately produced catalogue which contained eighteen future release announcements from eight different model tooling’s, including German Panther, British Churchill and American Sherman tanks. Described as a historically accurate collection of diecast military vehicles, the range proved incredibly popular from the outset, as the weight of these impressive models really did lend itself to the appeal of scale tank collecting, particularly as the machines they were replicating were some of the heaviest to appear on the world’s battlefields. Boasting high run numbers and an expanding range of subject vehicles, these popular models seemed set to become an established series of models for many years to come, but rather surprisingly appeared to fall out of favour around ten years ago and have never been in a Corgi model range since. With these exquisite tooling molds simply left to languish in a Far Eastern storage facility, only accessed to check and lubricate the blocks periodically to prevent them from deteriorating, model collectors have called for their return many times over the years, as there is clearly still an appetite for these models. Thankfully, investigative work recently confirmed that most of the tooling was available and in good condition and we are pleased to report that they are all set for a new lease of life.

New Corgi Military Legends British Cromwell Tank CC60613 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

Destined to become a familiar sight in all good model shops, the Military Legends range will feature some of the most famous tanks, AFVs and support vehicles from the land battles of the Second World War

Although the current Corgi team are fully aware of the history of these military models, nobody who was originally involved in bringing them to the diecast collector market remain with the company and the current custodians are determined to set their own standards regarding quality and accuracy. The range will also benefit from a new title, with each one of these limited edition releases taking their place in a range which will be called ‘Military Legends’ and will also feature new artwork and smart new box presentation. Significantly, accuracy and authenticity will be an important feature of this range going forward, a fact which is underlined by a recent change to the originally announced model line-up of eight vehicles. Diecast Diaries regulars will no doubt recall that the 50th edition of our blog included details of the famous German Panther tank which was scheduled to join the range later in the year, a tank which was captured by troops of the 4th Battalion, 6th Coldstream Guards Tank Brigade and later put into action against its former owners. Given the name ‘Cuckoo’, this tank would be in British service almost continuously throughout a three month period at the end of 1944, where it acquitted itself particularly well in the harsh winter conditions which faced Allied troops as they advanced towards the German border. Unfortunately, as our product designers assessed the Panther tooling, they discovered that it was not possible to produce this variant of the Panther from existing tooling inventory and as authenticity is to be a key attribute of this range in the future, the decision was taken to change the first re-release subject of this tank, but to one which possessed an equally fascinating history. 

CC60215 – Panzerkampfwagen V Panther (Ausf D), Training Tank assigned to unknown unit, Bamberg, Northern Bavaria, April 1945, Defence of the Reich.

New Corgi Military Legends German Defence of the Reich Panther Tank CC60215 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

As dramatic an image it is possible to get from a hand decorated, pre-production sample model of our new 1/50th scale Panther tank. Our photographer and graphic design team have really excelled themselves

As Allied forces advanced deeper into German territory during the spring of 1945 and inexorably towards the heart of the Third Reich, their overwhelming numerical superiority was gradually wearing down remaining pockets of resistance. The Wehrmacht counter-attacks which took place in the weeks and months following D-Day had left armoured units hugely depleted and with the net of war closing around them, there was little hope of replenishing even a fraction of these losses. As Allied armoured units approached the town of Bamberg in Northern Bavaria, they would face a hastily assembled collection of German armour and assault guns from various units, including several early Panther tanks taken from nearby Training and Reserve Tank Divisions. Used to train crews destined for the heavy tank battalions, these units operated some of the first Panthers to enter service, often inheriting them after they had been sent back from front-line units for maintenance or upgrade. Indeed, at this stage of the war, it was common to find the latest tank deliveries utilising components from much earlier variants of the same vehicles, such was the pressure on German manufacturing at that time. This fascinating Panther, which served during the Battle for Bamberg, is sporting a replacement barrel for its 75mm gun and has hastily applied camouflage to its turret and gun only. The prominent placement of the Balkenkreuz at the front of the turret served to identify the tank to other local Wehrmacht units, presumably as some may have been relatively inexperienced in combat – it would have also clearly marked it as a target for the approaching US and Russian forces. Despite being one of the oldest Panther tanks still in operational service, these fearsome weapons were still capable of taking a heavy toll of Allied armour and their swift destruction would have been a priority.

New Corgi Military Legends German Defence of the Reich Panther Tank CC60215 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

Yet another blog exclusive, prior to its diorama photoshoot, we had the opportunity to grab a couple of pictures of the only hand decorated, pre-production sample model of the new Defence of the Reich training school Panther in existence. This model will be used both for marketing purposes and as a reference for the manufacturing facility

New Corgi Military Legends German Defence of the Reich Panther Tank CC60215 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

A different angle of the hand decorated sample model. As usual, we have to reiterate that this model is simply for illustrative purposes and is still subject to change

New Corgi Military Legends German Defence of the Reich Panther Tank CC60215 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

An exclusive first look at the new box artwork presentation which will accompany the release of the first Panther tank in the Limited Edition Military Legends range

Widely regarded as the finest German tank of the Second World War, the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther was a formidable combination of speed, manoeuvrability, armour protection and firepower, making this a feared battlefield adversary. Built in response to combat experiences on the Eastern Front and the impressive performance of the latest Soviet tanks, Russia would also see the combat introduction of the new Panther, during the battle of Kursk in the summer 1943. Although classed by the German’s as a medium tank, the Panther weighed in at an impressive 45 tons, but proved to be significantly more mobile than its size suggests and after overcoming initial service introduction issues, the Panther began to show its destructive potential. One criticism of the larger German tank designs was that they tended to be over-engineered and whilst they were undoubtedly impressive fighting machines, there simply were not enough of them with front line units. By the time of D-Day, the Panther was fighting a losing battle and if superior numbers of Allied tanks didn’t get them, rocket firing Hawker Typhoons undoubtedly would.

Underlining a commitment to produce the most accurate models possible, the future of this impressive tank and military vehicle range appears to be in good hands and it is to be hoped that their successful re-introduction will result in several new tooling projects being considered for range expansion in the very near future. The first few models in this series are scheduled to be released in the next few weeks, with the Defence of the Reich Panther following a little later in the year and we very much look forward to charting the progress of these appealing models in future editions of Diecast Diaries.

A tale of two Phantoms

New Corgi Fleet Air Arm Phantom FG.1 AA27901 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

Diecast homage – our new 1/48th scale British Phantom sits on the wing of the actual aircraft it depicts, at the Ulster Aviation Museum, in Northern Ireland

Since the publication of our previous blog, the diecast aviation collector world has benefitted from the addition of another Corgi 1/48th scale classic British jet and the second new tooling in this popular series – it’s Phantom time! Viewed as the ideal follow up tooling for our beautiful English Electric Lightning F.6 model, the Phantom has to be regarded as one of the most important aircraft of the Cold War era and one which flew with both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force during the late 1960s for the next thirty years. Indeed, Phantoms in British service would eventually fall into two distinct categories, those which had been Anglicised and were powered by Rolls Royce Spey engines and those which were purchased directly from the US Navy, which retained their original General Electric J79 engines. The Phantom was a rugged and effective aircraft, which could not only perform the air defence duties for which it was originally intended, but also turn its hand to strike and reconnaissance missions, sharing the workload between its two man pilot/navigator crew. The variant of Phantom we have selected to join the Aviation Archive range is the Rolls Royce Spey powered FG.1/FGR.2 and our first release could not be a more spectacular representation of this Cold War warrior, a Fleet Air Arm Phantom, which operated from the deck of HMS Ark Royal.

In the two weeks since the new Phantom has been available, it seems as if our decision to follow the Lightning with a Phantom has proved particularly popular with collectors and the new model has been flying out of our warehouse as if it had afterburners engaged. Indeed, the Corgi website was forced to suspend orders for a while, having completely sold out of its allocation and was in need of an additional supply of models. As the Corgi team are scheduled to attend the massive Airshow at Fairford next weekend and we will have examples of our new Phantom available for inspection, we fully expect this model to be sold out in the very near future, as it is destined to grace diecast model displays all over the world from this point on.

New Corgi Fleet Air Arm Phantom FG.1 AA27901 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

Earning a valued diecast seal of approval, Ulster Aviation Society Chairman Ray Burrows holds our new Phantom model in front of the aircraft he worked so hard to secure for their Maze Long Kesh museum

One group of people who were particularly keen to get their hands on one of our new Phantoms were our friends at the Ulster Aviation Society, who are the proud owners of the actual aircraft on which our model representation is based. Although we have presented Phantom FG.1 XT864/007R as she appeared whilst representing No.892 Naval Air Squadron on board HMS Ark Royal in November 1978, the aircraft would go on to see service with the Royal Air Force until 1989, when she was retired to begin a new career as the Gate Guardian at RAF Leuchars. As the airfield was later scheduled for closure, the Phantom was put up for sale and the enthusiasts at the Ulster Aviation Society were successful with their bid to secure her – all they had to do now was to dismantle the aircraft at Leuchars and transport it by road and ferry to their museum site at Maze Long Kesh, Northern Ireland. Once back at their museum, the team set about returning XT864 to her iconic Fleet Air Arm colours, including Silver Jubilee markings on her nose and in a high profile unveiling ceremony on 28th April 2018, this magnificent aircraft was unleashed on the historic aviation world. As the prized possession of the society, many members were keen to secure an example of our new 1/48th scale Phantom, particularly as it was a representation of their magnificent aircraft – the scene was set for a rather unique photocall. With one of our XT864 Phantom models placed on the real aircraft itself, we are delighted to report that UAS members have described the model as ‘Phabulous’ and a fine representation of their beloved aircraft. We would like to thank UAS member and regular DCD contributor Tony Osborne for kindly sending us these pictures and allowing us to share them with our readers. This magnificent new model is currently available for pre-order on the Corgi website (as we attempt to secure an additional supply), or you should be able to pick one up via your usual model supplier – yet another model surely destined for Aviation Archive ‘Classic’ status.

‘One small step for a man’

Corgi mark the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

Apollo 11 anniversary model releases. These mock-up packaging examples of the two moon landing 50th anniversary space craft models help to commemorate this great step for mankind

As we fast approach the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, it is difficult to imagine a more historic event for mankind than the one which took place on 21st July 1969 – a human being walking on the surface of the moon. The culmination of a space race which had transfixed the world for many years, the summer of 1969 saw the entire planet huddled around TV sets or listening to radios, as NASA broadcast the achievements of the Apollo programme across the globe, including the first iconic words spoken from the surface of the moon. It is interesting to note that as we prepare to commemorate this astonishing lunar achievement, arguably the most famous quote by a human being may have actually been subsequently misquoted. As the world watched in awe as astronaut Neil Armstrong set foot on the surface of the moon, he delivered a statement which stands as one of the most famous in human history – “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Although this is the line which is often quoted when recounting this historic first lunar step, does this actually make sense? In the years after the mission and certainly following interviews with Neil Armstrong himself, what he maintains he actually said is, “That’s one small step for A man, one giant leap for mankind”, which is much more appropriate and altogether more profound a statement. Just one of many discussions and opinions which still surround the moon landings, it seems rather insignificant to discuss an erroneous ‘A’ when considering the incredible achievements of the Apollo programme, however, it does just serves to illustrates how the Space Race continues to captivate millions of people to this day.

Making our own small diecast tribute to the monumental events of July 1969, we are soon to release two classic spacecraft models, both of which are connected to Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the intrepid crew of Apollo 11 – the Command Module and the famous Lunar Lander itself. For those who are familiar with the space race and even those who are discovering this fascinating subject for the first time, these attractive models will make for a fantastic die-cast keepsake of this year’s 50th anniversary commemorations and will surely become sought-after items in the years to come. They will also undoubtedly rekindle an interest in the fascinating subject of space exploration and the brave men and fascinating technological achievements behind it.

A classic for the helicopter collector

New Corgi Royal Air Force Westland Wessex HC.2 AA37611 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

A handsome addition to the Aviation Archive range, this image features the production signed sample of the impending Wessex HC.2 in classic RAF colours

The Aviation Archive range has earned an enviable reputation for the quality of 1/72nd scale helicopter models it has produced over the years and not wanting to leave our army of rotary collectors out of this latest blog’s plethora of image exclusives, we have a selection of pictures featuring the latest addition to this impressive series for your viewing pleasure. Representing the production signed sample of our latest Westland Wessex HC.2 release, this selection of images will be of great interest to helicopter fans and marks a particularly striking example of this famous and extremely hard working British built machine.

AA37611 – Westland Wessex HC.2 XR500/A, No.78 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Sharjah Air Base, Trucial States, 1970.

The Westland Wessex HC.2 was a licence built turbine powered development of the classic American Sikorski S-58 helicopter, one of the world’s first truly capable helicopters and one which finally established these aircraft as amongst the most useful for both military and civilian applications. XR500 was one of a batch or 4 HC.2 helicopters delivered in advance of the type’s acceptance into RAF service and was used by the Wessex Intensive Flying Trials Unit at RAF Odiham, in preparation for its squadron introduction. It was later one of the founding aircraft of the re-forming No.18 Squadron, the first operational unit to receive the Wessex HC.2, in January 1964. It would later join No.78 Squadron and from 1967, operate from the vital overseas base at Sharjah in the Trucial States (now part of the United Arab Emirates) where, in conjunction with other RAF units, it would help to ensure the ongoing stability of the region. Wearing this particularly attractive scheme, these hard working helicopters would transport troops and supplies around the region, whilst also being on hand to provide flexible airborne support whenever called upon. XR500 was written off in April 1979 when it crashed into Hong Kong harbour, whilst undertaking a winching exercise in poor weather – thankfully, the crew all survived the experience.

New Corgi Royal Air Force Westland Wessex HC.2 AA37611 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

A final pair of blog exclusive images for DCD readers. Once more, both of these images feature the production signed sample of a model which is scheduled for imminent release and a handsome addition to our range of helicopter models

New Corgi Royal Air Force Westland Wessex HC.2 AA37611 on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

In the years following the end of the Second World War, the airborne flexibility offered by rotary powered flight saw significant development take place, most noticeably by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in America. With a clear vision of the potential offered by reliable helicopter technology, Sikorski were instrumental in producing not only some of the most famous helicopters in aviation history, but also establishing them as aircraft which were essential on the modern battlefield. The helicopter would go on the play a crucial role in supporting troops on the ground, from delivering them to all but the most inaccessible of locations, to keeping them re-armed and re-supplied. Should the need for casualty evacuation arise, the helicopter would be there once more and when the troops needed immediate extraction, it would be the helicopter that would come to their aid once more. Also providing Search and Rescue support in both military and civilian environments, the helicopter has become an indispensable aviation asset and throughout the history of its impressive development, the names Sikorsky and Westland have become inextricably linked with some of the world’s classic helicopters.

As with the other two production signed sample models which featured earlier in this blog, Westland Wessex HC.2 XR500/A (AA37611) is due for imminent release and should be in model shops in the very near future.

Stop Press - Corgi will be at RIAT

New Corgi Aviation Archive models to be announced at the 2019 Royal International Air Tattoo

We end this latest edition of our blog with some exciting Airshow news for later this month – Corgi will be attending the massive Royal International Air Tattoo between 19th and 21st July. With a large Hornby team manning our stand, we will be offering visitors the opportunity to indulge in a little Airfix make & paint, as well as having impressive displays of many of our latest model releases, from both Corgi and Airfix, including both the new Phantom and the Airfix 1/24th scale Hellcat. Significantly for Corgi collectors, we will also be announcing two new Corgi Aviation Archive models at the show, neither of which are currently featured in the 2019 range. Development hand decorated sample examples of the models will be exclusively available for visitors to come and see and we will support the launch with social media support via all of our usual channels, with a follow-up report included in the next edition of Diecast Diaries. If you have your tickets for RIAT, please do come down to the Hornby marquee and see the new models ‘in the metal’, as well as meeting our friendly and knowledgeable team, however, if you have other things planned, keep an eye on the Corgi website and our social media channels for all the breaking model news.

That’s all we have for you in this latest edition of Corgi Diecast Diaries, however, 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 could use this 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 Die-cast Diaries is scheduled to be published on Friday 9th August.


The Corgi Die-cast Diaries Team


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