Corgi Week 2020 Day 1 – Military Legends go to war
Welcome to this latest edition of Diecast Diaries and something a little bit different for the Corgi blog – ‘Corgi Week’.
In the first ever change to our traditional four weekly production schedule, over the course of the next five days, we will be bringing you five different blogs, with each one taking its subject inspiration form a different product category from within the Corgi range. Being slightly shorter than usual, we are hoping that ‘Corgi Week’ will have something of interest for every collector and will certainly bring you a little closer to some of the models in the current 2020 range.
One of the main features of ‘Corgi week’ is that each blog will contain a competition for our readers to pit their wits against, with some fabulous Corgi prizes up for grabs, so please make sure to check the Corgi website every day this week to ensure you don’t miss out. We hope this altered format proves to be a pleasant change for Diecast Diaries readers and would be interested to hear your views on the format – if you would be good enough to drop us a line at our usual email@example.com email address, we would really appreciate it.
We begin the week by focusing on our Military Legends range and posing collectors of all models with a military subject leaning a particularly challenging question – would you ever consider weathering one of your models?
It has now been a few months since the first of our 1/50th scale Military Vehicles arrived in model stores all over the world, the first time in almost ten years that these fantastic collectables have been in a Corgi range and the first time they have been released whilst the company has been under Hornby ownership. These beautiful models are some of the finest military models ever produced in diecast metal and the current Corgi development team have moved heaven and earth to ensure their relaunch has been a success. The finish and presentation on these latest models is better than has ever been achieved in this range before, however, their reappearance has not been without its problems.
Over the past ten years, the Corgi brand has gone through quite a number of changes and the Military Vehicles range proved to be something of a collectable casualty. Models which were once an extremely popular part of the range were left languishing in the darkest recesses of a Far Eastern production factory’s storage facility and if they were going to take their place in the range once more, the tooling blocks would have to be located, assessed and in some cases renovated. Taking a little longer than we had initially anticipated, the models are now back on the Corgi radar and will hopefully be a part of forthcoming ranges for many years to come.
In the world of Corgi diecast collecting, there is always an interesting story behind each and every model release. For his weathering project, Michael used the hand decorated sample model (the one on the left) which was initially produced for use in the catalogue and on-line. During the model’s development, additional research revealed that we would need to make some important changes to the model and by the time the pre-production sample model arrived from the Far East (on the right), it looked vary different
As committed model collectors, many Diecast Diaries readers will probably have built up handsome collections over the years and in some cases, this may number several hundred individual pieces. Even though many will be displayed in cabinets, most collectors will have stored all the original packaging away, as it is important to keep these highly collectable items as pristine and complete a condition as possible. With that being the accepted norm, what we are going to ask you now may lead you to stare with incredulity at your computer screen and wonder if we have finally lost our modelling marbles – ‘Would you ever consider weathering one of your diecast models?’
Some of the most popular model collecting subjects are scale representations of aircraft and military vehicles which were either used in two world wars, or have seen military service during times of relative peace. One thing the majority of these machines have in common is that they were all used in operational environments and as such, were probably at one time or another seen in a less than pristine condition. With regard to military vehicles, once they had been delivered to their parent units, the standard of their presentation was probably not a priority and even less so when they were involved in combat. For that reason, plastic modellers will often go to great lengths to ‘weather’ their latest build projects to give them a more realistic and operationally accurate appearance. For some reason, that approach has never really translated to the world of diecast, but why not?
Thanks to the modelling prowess of Michael Collins, one of our photographer/retouchers at the company, a weathering idea which was discussed at one of the Corgi development meetings earlier this year has now come to fruition and we are pleased to share pictures of the project with our readers now. Using a spare hand decorated sample of the Clervaux Castle Sherman Tank release CC51031, Michael set about making the model look much more like a weapon of war, one which appeared to be ‘combat realistic’. Using a combination of Humbrol paints, weathering powders and even a little mud from his garden, he applied quite a heavy amount of weathering to the model, transforming its appearance from something of a scale representation of a museum piece, to that of a war machine. The results are particularly impressive and it is difficult to see how this started as a Military Legends model.
Weathering beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what do you think? Michael has made the original hand decorated Sherman look like it has been involved in quite heavy fighting and could definitely not be described as pristine
Despite the fact that few collectors will probably have attempted anything quite as radical as this with one of their own models, it is surely something many will have considered over the years and how they wished the models they love to collect didn’t look quite so aesthetically pleasing. As fighting machines, they would have only ever looked this good on the day they were rolled out of the factory, but the problem is that weathering beauty is very much in the eye of the collecting beholder. A ‘distressed’ finish which one collector might think looks fantastically realistic could cause real distress to another, which clearly poses some significant problems for us as the product manufacturer. Attempting to apply an ‘operational appearance’ to a tank or aeroplane at the production stage can be fraught with many dangers and is the reason why this has only been attempted in a handful of cases over the years.
Still by far and away the most popular development and production method across the entire diecast collector hobby is for models to be produced ‘factory fresh’, in the condition they were when first arriving with their parent units, or having just undergone restoration to museum presentation standard. Clearly, we all retain the ability to manually weather our models to taste, but how many of us are brave enough to take this radical step? Despite the fact that it would undoubtedly produce a more accurate finish on the models we all love to collect, it would also mean that the model itself would be a unique example of whatever the production run of this model actually was. And then there is the effect it might have on the perceived residual value of the model - would a bit of effectively applied weathering enhance or reduce its value to other collectors?
Michael’s ‘weathered’ Sherman Tank has been given the full catalogue treatment by our company photographer David, but if this image appeared in the catalogue as a future release notification, would you be rushing to place your pre-order, or running a mile? Would the release of a ‘Corgi weathering pack’ be of interest to you, if we were to give you the tools to make your own, slightly less drastic weathering modifications? Please do let us know
Using this exclusive series of ‘weathering’ images as an illustration of what is possible, is this something any of our readers would feel comfortable doing to one of their models? Although it is likely that many will have considered doing such a thing, few will have actually taken the plunge – if you have, we would love to hear from you and to see the results of your modelling skills. If you are still at the thinking stage, it would be interesting to hear what your views on the subject are and if we receive enough responses, we could even make this a major topic for the Diecast Diaries blog in a future edition. Please drop us a quick line at our usual e-mail address.
For now though, we hope you enjoy seeing these fantastic pictures of Michael’s war weary Sherman tank and we hope this unusual blog feature has not caused you too much collecting stress.
Battle of the Bulge Sherman up for grabs
Day one of our ‘Corgi Week’ of blogs and we already have our first competition for you. As the Sherman tank has been front and centre in this first feature, we wanted to give one lucky reader the opportunity to win the first 1/50th scale Sherman release to grace the Corgi range for almost ten years.
The first tank battle of the major German Ardennes offensive, which would go on to be referred to as the ‘Battle of the Bulge’, proved to be something of a disaster for Allied forces. Taken almost completely by surprise, outnumbered American units attempted to hold back attacking elements of the German 2nd Panzer Division and prevent them from speeding towards their ultimate objective, the port of Antwerp and effectively splitting American and British/Canadian forces in the process. With most of the other US Sherman tanks involved in this savage fighting either being destroyed or disabled, Sherman USA-30100145-S took up an ambush position next to a medieval building in the grounds of Clervaux Castle, moving forward periodically to fire on the German armoured column advancing up the approach road to the castle grounds, before concealing itself once more.
Holding up the advance for several hours, the Sherman was eventually disabled by three incoming rounds from German StuG III tank destroyers and was abandoned by its crew, where it remained in the same position until 1956, when a recovery team from the Luxembourg Army dragged the tank inside the castle grounds. A restoration project was undertaken many years later and the tank is now preserved and accessible to the public in the courtyard of Clervaux Castle, where it serves as a memorial to the men who took part in D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. It is thought that this historic vehicle is one of only two original tanks still in existence, which took part in the Ardennes Offensive.
To be in with a chance of winning this superb model, simply head for the Corgi Competitions page where you will find all the information you will need and a relatively simple Sherman tank related question for you to answer. As usual, there will be three possible answers for you to select from, but only one will be correct. Our lucky winner will be selected at random from the list of correct answers and we will contact them directly with news of their success after the closing date. There will be more competitions to enter throughout ‘Corgi Week’, so please keep checking back.
That’s it for Day 1 of ‘Corgi Week’. In tomorrow’s blog, our new Assistant Brand Manager Meg will be giving everyone an interesting look at the fun side of Corgi and some of the fantastic products we have for the younger collector and fans of pop culture. The blog will be posted at midday tomorrow.
As usual, Corgi fans can continue their collector discussions on our official Facebook and Twitter social media pages, where your contributions are always welcome. Thank you for your continued support and we hope you enjoy the rest of ‘Corgi Week’.
The Corgi Die-cast Diaries Team
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