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Corgi models by land, air and sea

Corgi models by land, air and sea

Welcome to this latest edition of Corgi Die-cast Diaries and your regular look at all the news, updates and stories from the fascinating world of Corgi die-cast model collecting. There seems to be so much going on at Corgi HQ at the moment, that our blogs are struggling to fit all the latest information in and have been getting progressively longer as a consequence. We are always keen to hear your views regarding Die-cast Diaries and its content and this may be the ideal opportunity to voice your opinion on how we should take this Corgi blog forward into 2019 and beyond – we would be grateful if you would let us have your thoughts in a short e-mail to our usual email address please. You may be helping to shape the future of our Corgi blog and your comments may well appear in a future edition, so please don’t be shy – we are all die-cast collecting friends together here.

So what do we have waiting for you in this latest Diecast Diaries blog? In yet another feature packed edition, we will be looking at machines which were built for land, sea and air, mainly scale diecast representations of the craft, but with one notable and rather historic exception. We have the latest instalment in our Corgi manufacturing plant review, which has been proving so popular with our readers and another fascinating collection of exclusive images included for your enjoyment. We announce the lucky winner of our spectacular RAF 100 competition and end with the latest selection of pre-production sample model arrivals in our regular ‘What’s on the desk’ feature. As you can see, we have quite a lot to get through, so let’s get straight back to Guangdong Province and see how that Corgi Lancaster of ours is doing.

Painting a Lancaster the Corgi way

Corgi Aviation Archive factory Lancaster production feature on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

What everyone was trying to achieve. This pre-production Lancaster was on display in the factory for everyone to refer to

We are really pleased that our factory review articles have been proving so popular with die-cast collectors and would like to thank readers who have placed links to the features on various collector and enthusiast websites. Before we begin this latest instalment, we do have to remind readers that the details you will be reading about here are from a visit to a manufacturing plant back in 2003 and processes may have changed significantly since that time. We will not repeat the caveats included in the previous two instalments, but if you would like to re-look at these features, then please click on either of these Part 1 and Part 2 links to be taken straight to them. In this latest review, the Aviation Archive Lancaster is proceeding down the production line and having already been given its black base coat, will be receiving its camouflaged top surfaces and national insignia, undergoing what it possibly the most fascinating stage of the entire production process – tampography or pad printing.

In the previous two instalments of this review, we looked at the initial stages in the production of die-cast models, from the inspection of the tooling blocks and the injection of molten Mazak into them, to the cleaning up of the die-cast component frames and preparing them for painting – what could be described as the dirtier stages of the manufacturing process. We could have also used the term labour intensive to describe these early stages, as they certainly require plenty of muscle and physical exertion, however the entire manufacturing process involves the input from hundreds of people, so this doesn’t really seem to be an accurate way to describe any isolated stage. The next stage we are going to feature involves the paint finishing of the model and requires much more finesse, a steady hand and some good old fashioned human ingenuity to produce a scale representation of a famous Second World War bomber, one that many of the workers in the factory would never have seen before. With the beautifully produced die-cast components now cleaned and ready to begin the painting process, the Lancaster would actually prove to be one of the easier Aviation Archive models to paint, by virtue of its relatively simple RAF Bomber Command scheme. In the first instance, almost every component was sprayed black, which was the overall scheme of the under-surfaces and fuselage sides and would act as an effective undercoat for areas which would require other colours to be applied. The upper-surfaces of the aircraft would first require the application of camouflage – this would initially involve painting the top of the wings and a top section of the fuselage with a further layer of dark green and something a little more ingenious required for the remaining dark earth camouflage pattern overlay.

How a Corgi Avro Lancaster is produced on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

These ingeniously produced brass paint masks allow the dark earth paint camouflage to be applied to the top of the Lancaster’s wing

How a Corgi Avro Lancaster is produced on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

Illustrating how the outer wing sections received their camouflage top coat, these images are obviously for illustrative purposes, as this wing already has its RAF roundel applied

The manufacture of mass produced die-cast collectable aircraft models really is like a scaled down version of real aircraft during the Second World War. Both require significant effort from a large and talented workforce and it could easily be argued that despite the use of jigs and templates to aid in production, no two aircraft (or models) could be described as being exactly the same. Whilst it is not difficult to accept this with regard to wartime Lancaster production, it is slightly more of a challenging to think of die-cast models in the same way, however, the opportunity to view the factory production process highlights that this statement is equally appropriate. Each model is prepared and has its paint detail applied by hand, often involving several separate complex processes, with each one carried out by a number of different people. In addition to this, all the models are assembled by hand, including all the internal detail and fitting of individual components, to a point where if you sat two random samples of the same model side by side, you would probably be able to spot several slight differences, just like a wartime Lancaster. Accepting this fact, it really does mean that each model in our collection could easily be described as unique, which underlines the fascinating nature of their production and goes some way to explaining the enduring popularity of these appealing scale models.

How a Corgi Avro Lancaster is produced on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

Showing how the Lancaster wing receives its camouflage markings

How a Corgi Avro Lancaster is produced on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

A complete set of the brass camouflage paint masks for the Corgi Lancaster

The pictures featured above show how the standard RAF dark green and dark earth camouflage markings are applied to the top of the Lancaster’s wing, with the model still in its unassembled state. Once more underlining the largely manual and always ingenious nature of this process, technicians produce several sets of brass paint masks, which include the desired camouflage pattern areas exposed to allow the application of paint using a spray gun, in what again would be a largely manual process. The brass templates are perfectly formed to fit over a specific section of the wing, so the top camouflage colour can be applied in the same position on every new Lancaster model. Obviously, the images we were lucky enough to obtain during our visit were taken slightly out of sequence for illustrative purposes and simply feature a de-constructed Lancaster model with the paint masks placed over the top. At this stage in the production process, the RAF roundel seen in the pictures would not have been applied and is done so using an entirely different process altogether.

The application of fine marking detail to a die-cast model is something that can either make or break a particular release in the eyes of the collector, yet can pose a significant challenge for both the development and manufacturing teams. Clearly, the factory are dealing with scale versions of real machines (aircraft in this case) and many of the surfaces which need to accept this detail are not flat, or include panel lines and construction joints. At the time our Lancaster was making its way down the production line, several other companies decided the use of waterslide decals to decorate their models was the most appropriate solution, which in most cases was a less challenging and more cost effective way to apply detail to a model. Indeed, in some cases, this is actually the only way to achieve the desired effect on certain models and may still be used to this day, however, there is another, much more interesting way in which to achieve this. Of all the processes we were lucky enough to witness during our factory visit, the application of the fine painted detail was without doubt the most fascinating and left us with an even greater appreciation of the models we all love to collect.

Tampo printing of a Corgi Avro Lancaster model on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

A pad printing machine is used to apply additional detail to the Lancaster model, including RAF roundel and squadron codes

Tampo printing of a Corgi Avro Lancaster model on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

In this picture, you can see the shaped resin support which keeps the Lancaster fuselage in place, ensuring each one receives the paint pad ‘hit’ in exactly the same place

The tampo, or tampography printing process allows model designers to apply fine printed detail to most surfaces using paint as opposed to decals and utilises a printing pad (usually made of silicone), a steel mask, a paint reservoir and a specialist machine. The hardness of the pad dictates how effective it is at following the contours of the item to be printed and after picking up a prescribed amount of paint from the reservoir, it applies it to the exact area of the model you need it to appear. This is achieved by ensuring each component is presented to the machine in exactly the same position for each and every model, if they are all to have the markings applied in the same place. As you can see form the attached images, this was achieved on our subject Lancaster by the producing a resin template over which the cast model fuselage can be placed, ensuring that the pad ‘hit’ is in the correct place every time. You can also see that the black base colour and green/brown camouflage have already been applied before the tampo detail process is undertaken and is in this case applying starboard fuselage roundel detail and the AJ-G codes to the model. Applying detail in this manner may require multiple pad ‘hits’ in a similar position to achieve the desired effect, with different colours being layered on top of previous applications once they are dry, usually with the lighter colours being applied first.

Tampo printing of a Corgi Avro Lancaster model on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

Building up the marking. This picture shows a later pad paint hit, showing how the darker blue of the roundel is applied on top of the earlier white circle

Tampo printing of a Corgi Avro Lancaster model on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

A labour intensive process, this is just one of the banks of pad printing machines needed in the preparation of a Corgi Lancaster model

With the tampo printing machines resembling something like the drill stands many readers will remember from their school metalwork classes, it is interesting to note that most of them had paint drips from the reservoir all over their casing and were anything but pristine, yet the model components they were decorating looked perfect – absolutely fascinating. Using this process, some of the individual model paint markings may require over fifty separate pad painting ‘hits’ to build up the marking to the desired level and really does illustrate just how ingenious this entire process is – indeed, this collection of images allows us all a greater appreciation of how some of the most famous models in the Aviation Archive range were actually produced and if you have a Corgi Lancaster in your collection, you may now just love it that little bit more.

This is where we are going to leave the production process for this instalment. Next time, we will see how all these painted sections are finally brought together and how a complete 1/72nd scale Corgi Lancaster finally starts its journey to Aviation Archive display cabinets all over the world.

In the land of Submarines

Exclusive new Corgi Beatles Yellow Submarine CC05401 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

An exclusive first look at the latest pre-production sample model of the forthcoming Beatles Yellow Submarine

The announcement of the latest Corgi model range at the end of June included the addition of a colourful pair of Beatles models, which whilst appealing to committed Beatles memorabilia enthusiasts, have also been attracting plenty of attention from a wider die-cast audience. As these handsome models continue to advance through the production process, you can often find interesting little model collecting stories on the desks of the Corgi design engineers and we are never ones to pass up an opportunity to share these with our readers. As one of the most instantly recognisable vessels from the past 50 years, the yellow submarine is the distinctive mode of transport used by Britain’s most famous band in their 1968 animated musical fantasy film of the same name and has been made all the more famous by several popular collectable model releases in die-cast metal over the years. This latest incarnation has been produced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Yellow Submarine film release and features two opening hatches, under which figures of John, Paul, George and Ringo are residing – also included is a rotating periscope which moves as the model is pushed along.

Released on July 17 1968, ‘Yellow Submarine’ came at both the height of The Beatles’ studio years popularity and the apex of the swirling psychedelia that has come to define the decade. Bright, trippy, riotous and oddly melancholic, the film is a stark visual contrast to the lush animation work created by Hollywood studios at the time, creating an instantly recognisable art style that remains a landmark of the British animation industry.

Exclusive new Corgi Beatles Yellow Submarine CC05401 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

The rubberised plastic Beatles figures straight from the tooling block and still on the production sprue

Exclusive new Corgi Beatles Yellow Submarine CC05401 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

The same figures positioned in the model and having benefitted from being hand painted in the Far East

The Beatles themselves appear in live action footage at the end of the film, but don’t provide the vocals of their animated counterparts in the film, with voice actors filling in instead - a superb piece of trivia from the DVD release reveals that the original (and uncredited) voice actor for George Harrison was a deserter from the British Army and was arrested during recording, requiring ‘Ringo’ to pull double duty! As a showcase for the band’s music, the film is powered by several already released hits as well as four then previously unreleased songs, all acting as the driver of the film’s narrative of The Beatles saving the undersea Pepperland from the villainous music hating Blue Meanies. The film went on to receive critical acclaim and an enduring popularity, a testament to the music and ideology of The Beatles that has seen it re-released many times, including this year in cinemas in a fully hand restored and digitally remastered version.

Buoyed by the popularity of the film, in 1969 Corgi released a die-cast incarnation of the titular submarine. It is in itself an iconic toy in the vintage Corgi range, packing in a range of ingenious yet simple action features designed to create play appeal. Most obviously it features the fabulous foursome popping out of two switch activated doors on the hull fore and aft of the coning tower, along with rotating periscopes driven by a tricycle wheel arrangement in the lower hull, and a rotating propeller.

Exclusive new Corgi Beatles Yellow Submarine CC05401 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

A previous release of the Corgi Beatles Yellow Submarine

Exclusive new Corgi Beatles Yellow Submarine CC05401 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

Benefitting from a rather nautical background, this latest pre-production sample models shows some of the decoration changes applied to this distinctive model

The toy has been released several times in the past five decades, but the majority of these have never actually been totally accurate to the screen animation of the Yellow Submarine. Famously, the doors The Beatles pop out of have largely been coloured red in many releases, but other inaccuracies have been featured on the toy in terms of the paintwork, with all but very small run of the very first release displaying screen accurate red striping bisecting the yellow and white paint on the hull. An image of this version adorned the back of the original packaging, even when the product contained inside did not match it. The exact numbers produced in this rarest of versions remain lost to conjecture, but with the fiftieth anniversary of the film approaching the Corgi development team have set out to finally release the best and most screen accurate version of this classic toy yet produced.

The tooling of this product remains a classic and so will remain unchanged. Instead, like the ongoing Corgi James Bond car collection, the aim is to take that tool and improve the decoration to the point of closest possible accuracy. With this new Yellow Submarine, that’s going beyond adding that long awaited red striping and making the opening doors the correct colour depending on their location on the hull. The new model will also be presented in new bespoke packaging, the design of which has been inspired by the striking visual style of the film itself and will make a striking addition to any collection of Beatles memorabilia. Respectful of both Beatles heritage and the history of this famous Corgi model, this submersible sensation (CC05401) is scheduled for a December release and will make an ideal gift for anyone who has an interest in either music or classic die-cast models.

Well travelled Whirlwind

Corgi Westland Whirlwind HAR.1 HMS Protector AA39105 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

Many Aviation Archive collectors will have noticed a fantastic recent addition to our growing range of historic helicopter releases, with the arrival of striking Westland Whirlwind HAR.1, XA868 (AA39105) which operated from on board Ice Patrol vessel HMS Protector during 1963. One of our more colourful rotary releases, this model led to one Die-cast Diaries reader sending us a magnificent image from his personal collection, which showed the aircraft as he had seen it during his service career – before we showcase this magnificent image, let’s look at the catalogue and website descriptions which support this particular model release.

The pace of fixed wing aviation development throughout the Second World War was quite simply breath-taking and clearly illustrated the importance aeroplanes would have during this and any future conflict, but as these aircraft became faster and larger, a new type of aircraft was also beginning to finally show its true potential. The US Sikorski R-4 was the world’s first massed produced helicopter and the only Allied aircraft of its kind to see service during WWII - it also proved how flexible the helicopter was in a number of applications. The race was now on to develop a larger design which possessed the power and range to deliver both troops and supplies, with the 1949 Sikorski H-19 Chickasaw proving to be the breakthrough design the helicopter world had been looking for. Stable and powerful, this significant aircraft became the US Army’s first true transport helicopter and the envy of the aviation world, with Britain being a particularly keen admirer. Having evaluated a number of aircraft, a licence agreement was duly signed to allow Westland Aircraft to produce the helicopter for the British military – known as the Whirlwind, the first British build prototype flew in August 1953.

Corgi Westland Whirlwind HAR.1 HMS Protector AA39105 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

The latest Corgi Whirlwind is one of the most distinctive Aviation Archive helicopter releases

The first Westland built Whirlwind HAR.1 helicopters entered service with the Royal Navy in July 1954, although Fleet Air Arm pilots were already experienced in operating American built versions of the aircraft. Joining No.848 Naval Air Squadron in the Search & Rescue and utility roles, these capable helicopters operated from land based stations and on amphibious operations at sea, providing the Navy with a highly capable new aircraft. Royal Navy Whirlwind HAR.1s also served aboard Ice Patrol Ship HMS Protector (A146) during her long ranging Antarctic patrols from 1955, which required them to fly above some of the most inhospitable seas in the world. The re-fitted vessel was capable of carrying two Whirlwind helicopters and operating them from rather basic hangar and flight deck facilities, but providing the ship with invaluable airborne support. Whirlwinds that served on board HMS Protector during these important patrols were adorned with an attractive penguin motif on each side of the helicopters nose, in recognition of this period of their service careers.

Corgi Westland Whirlwind HAR.1 HMS Protector AA39105 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

We are grateful to Joe Barr for kindly sending us this historic photograph of Whirlwind XA868 in Falkland Sound during 1963

In response to our recent blog feature celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Aviation Archive range and allowing readers to ‘have their say’ on which new models they would like to see added to the tooling line-up, we received an extremely interesting submission from Mr Joe Barr. Joe’s primary suggestion was for a Westland Dragonfly in 1/72nd scale, preferably in Royal Navy markings, to go with the other naval helicopters already in his collection – his ‘anything goes’ suggestion was for a Lockheed Twin, probably the Lodestar and whilst his suggestions were interesting enough, it was his photographic footnote which really caught our attention. He went on to add that he noted with some interest that our latest Westland Whirlwind HAR1 release was in HMS Protector flight colours and that we might like to see a picture from his personal collection. It featured the very same helicopter that he managed to photograph whilst he was serving with the unit in 1963, supporting the survey of Falkland Sound – the picture was taken at their base on Speedwell Island. This magnificent and extremely historic picture was an unexpected bonus of our ‘Have your say’ feature and a fortuitous support image for the release of this appealing new model. We would like to sincerely thank Joe for his Aviation Archive suggestions and for allowing us to show this fantastic picture of a famous British helicopter – a real rotary treat.

Flying Hollywood Hero

Corgi Consolidated B24 Liberator Male Call Jimmy Stewart AA34018 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

An exclusive first look at the latest pre-production sample of this already popular B-24 Liberator

One of three successful American four engined bombers used during the Second World War, the Consolidated B-24 Liberator entered production after the war began and was ordered by France and Britain straight off the drawing board. Often overshadowed by both the B-17 Flying Fortress and later B-29 Superfortress, the distinctive B-24 Liberator went on to serve in every theatre of operation, form the backbone of the Allied daylight bombing offensive against Germany and became the most heavily produced four-engined bomber in aviation history. With its shoulder mounted, highly efficient wing, deep fuselage and H-shaped tail unit, the long range of the Liberator helped to close the Atlantic gap in the vital battle against German U-boats, which threatened Britain’s ability to remain in the war. Like so many other of the 18,500 B-24s produced during WWII, Liberator 42-52154 ‘Male Call’ was an extremely hard working machine, surviving the war having completed an impressive 95 bombing missions – she is thought to have been the only survivor of the original 61 aircraft assigned to the 453rd Bombardment Group, which arrived at RAF Old Buckenham airfield on 21st January 1944. The aircraft was one of the Liberators flown by celebrated Hollywood actor James ‘Jimmy’ Stewart during his time as Group Operations Officer with the 453rd BG at the Norfolk airfield.

Corgi Consolidated B24 Liberator Male Call Jimmy Stewart AA34018 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

An exclusive first look at the latest pre-production sample of this already popular B-24 Liberator

By the time Hollywood actor James Stewart arrived at RAF Tibenham, Norfolk in November 1943, having led a flight of twenty-four B-24H Liberators from America via the Southern Route (Florida, Brazil, Senegal, Morocco, England), he was already a celebrated Academy Award winner. Although his fame had already been exploited in the making of several recruitment and War Bond purchasing films, the actor was determined that his military career would not be spent flying a desk and despite obvious official misgivings, his arrival in England confirmed his position as a serving combat pilot with the USAAF Eighth Air Force. Following a period of training, Stewart flew his assigned B-24 Liberator on his first operational mission, targeting German U-boat facilities at Kiel on 13th December 1943. These early missions were flown without effective fighter protection, with the bombers relying on the training of their crews and hundreds of combined machine guns for mutual protection. Despite his fame, Stewart did not select easy missions to take part in and joined his crews on raids against some of the most heavily defended targets in occupied Europe, including several deep into German territory. Credited with at least twenty official combat missions during his time in England, James ‘Jimmy’ Stewart was not only a celebrated Hollywood actor, but also a genuine decorated war hero who chose to serve his country rather than live a privileged lifestyle back in the safety of his homeland.

The early bombing missions for the USAAF flying from bases in England were extremely hazardous for their crews. Although they could rely on effective fighter escort at the beginning of their missions and for the final part of their return flight, their gunners were left to battle the Luftwaffe for the majority of each bombing sortie. Aircraft losses when attacking targets deeper into Europe proved so devastating that they actually placed the future of daylight raids in jeopardy, but a change in tactics and the introduction of light-weight drop tanks giving Allied fighters greater range, slowly began to turn the tide and the bombs continued to fall.

Corgi Consolidated B24 Liberator Male Call Jimmy Stewart AA34018 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

If you saw this view through the open bomb bay of your aircraft, the bomber below had slipped from its position in the tightly controlled formation

Having already flown twelve demanding combat missions with the 703rd Bomb Squadron, 445th Bombardment Group from Tibenham airfield in Norfolk, successful Hollywood actor James ‘Jimmy’ Stewart had proved himself to be a capable pilot and proficient leader of men - these qualities, combined with his celebrity status would soon require him to take up another significant challenge. At the end of March 1944, Stewart was assigned to the position of Group Operations Officer of the 453rd Bombardment Group at nearby Old Buckenham airfield, a new B-24 Liberator unit which had just lost its previous Operations and Commanding Officers. Hoping to rebuild the morale of the men under his command, Stewart once again refused to stay on the ground and flew as command pilot on several important missions, a number of which were directed at targets deep into Germany. One of several Consolidated B-25H Liberators he flew whilst at Old Buckenham was 42-52154 ‘Male Call’, a particularly successful bomber, with many missions behind it – the aircraft was also featured in a number of famous publicity photographs which included Stewart and the rest of the crew posing underneath the aircraft’s distinctive artwork.

It is interesting to note that rather than being a benefit to Stewart, his celebrity status during his time in England was something of a hinderance and dictated that he rarely ventured away from the immediate area surrounding the base at which he was stationed. Initially thought of as a publicity appointment, his fellow airmen quickly learned that Stewart was actually an extremely accomplished pilot and his sense of honour and commitment to his duty earned him the respect of crews under his command, particularly as he would never ask any airman to do something he wasn’t prepared to do himself. Whilst most crews enjoyed their free time in Norwich, Cambridge or London, Stewart stayed on base, fearing that his fame would see him mobbed wherever he went, possibly attracting the attentions of less salubrious characters, both male and female. For this reason, Jimmy Stewart would usually be found either entertaining his comrades in the Officers Mess, or writing letters to the families of airmen lost during the Group’s latest bombing mission.

Corgi Consolidated B24 Liberator Male Call Jimmy Stewart AA34018 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

Marking a famous Eighth Air Force bomber flown by a famous Hollywood pilot, Liberator ‘Male Call’ has been attracting lots of attention from Aviation Archive collectors

When not assigned to flying operations, Stewart would accompany his crews to their aircraft and be waiting for them when they came back. His final ‘Official’ combat mission tally during WWII was twenty, but this does not include the numerous sorties which were aborted for any reason. It also does not take account of the many unofficial missions he flew, often with pathfinder units, where the safety of his men was his only consideration and his pervious life as a famous Hollywood actor was of no consequence to him. During his WWII combat flying career, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm – rather than acting his way into the history books, James ‘Jimmy’ Stewart was an actual wartime hero of some distinction, who chose honour and duty above his already secured Hollywood fame and fortune.

With many Aviation Archive collectors already calling this the most impressive release from our 1/72nd scale B-24 Liberator tooling to date, these latest pre-production sample images featuring AA34018 ‘Male Call’ will certainly be of interest and serve to highlight this future release as a fine example of a US Eighth Air Force Liberator and one which could claim to have a rather famous pilot at her controls for a number of missions. AA34018 is currently scheduled for release later this month.

First look at the Transdev Wright Eclipse II

Transdev Wright Eclipse II Single Deck OM46713 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

An exclusive first look at the pre-production sample model of the latest Wright Eclipse II announced in the Original Omnibus range

As Die-cast Diaries reviewed the latest July – December 2018 Corgi model range in the 41st edition of our blog, we featured the rather attractive Transdev ‘Yorkshire Shuttle’ as one of the highlights of the range and a handsome addition to the Original Omnibus model series. This particular release had made it in to the catalogue despite only being included in artwork profile form, which can happen from time to time as the Corgi team work feverishly on preparing the latest models in the lead up to any new range launch. As the project has advanced significantly since then, we thought you might like to see the first pre-production decorated samples of this dual destination release, as the latest exclusive for our readers.

The sixteen Wright Eclipse II single decker’s of the Keighley Bus Company were all upgraded by their in-house engineering team and each given names relating to famous space craft, including Apollo, Atlantis, Explorer, Galileo and Pioneer. ‘The SHUTTLE’ runs directly along the Aire Valley, between Keighley, Riddlesden, Bingley and Saltaire, taking the route of the old main road before then turning south-east, to run between Saltaire, Frizinghall and Bradford, entering the City Centre along Manningham Lane and Westgate. Vehicle SNZ 801 carries Fleet No. 1801 in the Keighley Bus Company fleet and is named ‘Enterprise’. The newly refurbished 1801 was unveiled to the public at the joint depot open day with Keighley Bus Museum on April 6, 2015 and is now the third different version of 'the SHUTTLE' route branding to be worn by this particular Wright Eclipse Urban bodied Volvo B7RLE. This attractive dual destination release is scheduled for a December release and is available for pre-order now.

RAF 100 competition winner

Boeing Chinook RAF 100 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to enter our recent RAF 100 competition, which benefitted from more entries than any other competition we have launched on our Corgi blog – thank you for helping to make this such a success. The unique prize on offer was a production example of the recent sell out RAF Chinook release AA34214, along with the authenticated pre-production sample of the same model. This makes for a fascinating die-cast aviation duo and one which would grace any collection of Aviation Archive models. We are pleased to announce that the lucky winner of our Chinook pair is Derek Dalmon and we would like to extend our congratulations to him - your models should be with you in the next few days. Thank you to everyone who entered the competition and for making it such a success. We will have more interesting Corgi goodies for you to win in future editions of our blog.

What’s on the desk?

This latest edition of our blog has once again turned into something of a die-cast behemoth, but we could not end without bringing you the latest selection of pre-production sample models to arrive at Corgi HQ for inspection. The usual caveats apply with regard to the showing of these models, but as we know you all like to see them, we hope that you enjoy this latest selection – prepare yourself for die-cast bus and coach heaven.

CC42418 – The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour bus.

The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour bus CC42418 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog
The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour bus CC42418 on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

The Beatles released the 'Magical Mystery Tour' album in 1967 to accompany the film of the same name which was first shown in the UK on Boxing Day. The record proved a huge success, it had multiple weeks at number one in the charts in multiple countries and was nominated for 'Album of the Year' at the 1968 Grammy Awards. The re-release of this replica of the Bedford VAL used in the film is meticulously detailed and will appeal to both die-cast and Beatles collectors alike. Destined to be an extremely popular release, the Beatles bus is due to be released this coming October.

OM40821A/B – Bristol Lodekka FS6B, Wilts and Dorset dual destination release.

OM40821A Bristol Lodekka FS6B Wilts and Dorset dual destination release on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog
OM40821A Bristol Lodekka FS6B Wilts and Dorset dual destination release on Corgi Diecast Diaries Blog

Established in Salisbury in 1915, Wilts & Dorset Motor Services Ltd operated regular services throughout South Wiltshire, East Dorset and North Hampshire, operating a diverse fleet of vehicles. Surviving ownership under the Tilling and British Automobile Traction (T&BAT) Group, Southern Railway and Nationalisation in 1948, in 1969 the company was absorbed into Hants & Dorset under the National Bus Company. In 1972 the Wilts & Dorset name disappeared, but was revived in 1983. In January 1966, Bristol Lodekka 646, registration 684 AAM, was painting into a unique cream and maroon livery for operation on the Salisbury to Bournemouth limited stop service, retaining it until May 1969. The limited stop 38A route between Salisbury and Bournemouth ran via Fordingbridge, Ringwood and Ferndown (the Bournemouth Spur Road from Ashley Heath to Cooper Dean having not yet been built), and did the journey in 78 minutes. There were two journeys in each direction on weekdays, with timings suitable for people commuting to Bournemouth, or making day visits to Salisbury. This classic model is also scheduled for an October release.

OM46515A/B – Wright Eclipse Gemini 2, Brighton and Hove Bus Company, dual destination release.

OM46515A Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Brighton and Hove Bus Company dual destination release on Corgi Diecast Diaries blog
OM46515A Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Brighton and Hove Bus Company dual destination release on Corgi Diecast Diaries blog

It was in 1884 that the Brighton, Hove & Preston United bus company was formed, a consequence of the amalgamation of a number of smaller horse bus companies and it soon became the main transport operator for the area, the forerunner to today’s Go Ahead Group owned Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company. The company has invested heavily in vehicles from Wrightbus, with seventy-seven second generation Wright Eclipse Gemini II vehicles on Volvo B9TL chassis being in the fleet, as of June 2017, all of which carry the names of people that have made a significant contribution towards the life of the local area during their lifetime. Bus No. 439, BF12 KXS, has carried the name of Phil Starr since July 2015, when it was transferred from Bus No.401 (latterly 919). Phil Starr, who died aged 72 in 2005 shortly after his last show, performed on stages across the world as a Drag Queen for more than 50 years and raised thousands of pounds for charity, including an orphanage in Thailand.

This colourful dual destination release is scheduled for a December launch, which seems so much closer now, following the end of our unexpectedly glorious summer.

We are afraid that’s yet another feature packed edition of Corgi Die-cast Diaries done and dusted, however we will be back as usual with more scoops and exclusive Corgi model information in four weeks time. In the meantime, we would like to hear your views about our blog and if there is anything you would like us to feature in a forthcoming edition, please do get in touch. Also, if you would like to share pictures of your own collection with fellow readers, please do send these to, along with details of how, when and why you started collecting to our usual email address.

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 both our official Facebook  and Twitter  social media accounts. We look forward to reading all your latest Corgi collecting discussions and pictures of your favourite models over the coming weeks.

Finally, we would like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support of our blog and we look forward to bringing you plenty of Corgi related news, features and updates in the months to come. The next edition of Die-cast Diaries will be published on Friday 19th October.


The Corgi Die-cast Diaries Team


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