Corgi Week Day 3 - A midweek model release update
Welcome to this latest edition of our Diecast Diaries blog – we are now half way through ‘Corgi Week’ and how are you enjoying things so far? Have you all been getting your competition entries in?
In the two blogs posted previously this week, we have attempted to encourage discussion as to whether collectors would ever consider manually ‘weathering’ one of their beloved models and how the Corgi model range caters for collectors of all ages and tastes. We also gave readers the opportunity to meet our new Assistant Brand Manager Meg and to welcome her to her new position.
In today’s blog, we will be providing updates on some of the model projects which have been receiving attention in Diecast Diaries over the previous few editions, whilst at the same time including one or two which have so far slipped through the blog net. Significantly, we will be including a number of models which will be gracing model display shelves in just a few short weeks time, giving us all something a little bit collectable to look forward to.
The midweek blog of ‘Corgi Week’ is available for your inspection now and includes details of our latest competition, with an as yet unreleased blog related model awaiting our lucky winner.
Fantastic new models are on the way
An exclusive first look at the ‘Signed Sample’ model of the soon to be released Pierre Marinovitch SPA 94 Spad fighter
For the entire Corgi team, the launch of each new Corgi range is a time of great excitement and always comes at the end of a particularly feverish period of activity. Our intention is always to include products in every range which will potentially appeal to a wide audience, from the committed collector who has been with us for many years, to the more casual gift buyer, but with orders flooding in from almost the first minute a new range is made ‘live’, it is usually quite easy to see which models have had an instant impact on the model collecting world.
Now a firmly established feature of the Corgi website, our Diecast Diaries blog allows us to regularly update readers on all the latest developments taking place within the Corgi brand and to provide updates on some of the projects which are proving of greatest interest to our collectors. Information relating to new tooling projects is always going to be the headline attraction in any blog in which it appears, however, the vast majority of any model range consists of re-liveries of existing toolings, but as these benefit from the same levels of research and development care, they are undoubtedly still of similar interest.
Unfortunately, one thing we have certainly found is that no matter how large we make our blogs, there are still going to be occasions where certain projects don’t receive the exposure they deserve, so in this third blog of ‘Corgi Week’, we will attempt to address this situation in a small way. Looking at some of the models which have so far escaped our attentions, we will be looking at a selection of models which have just been released, or are about to come into stock over the next few weeks. In addition to this, we will also be giving readers a ‘low availability’ warning on a particularly impressive model, one which is about to be consigned to our ever growing list of sold out previous releases. We begin though, by heading to the skies above the Western Front in 1918 and the flying exploits of the youngest French air ace of the Great War.
AA37909 – Spad XIII ‘White 3’, Sous-Lieutenant Pierre Marinovitch, Escadrille Spa 94 ‘The Reapers’, Western Front, Late 1918 – Youngest French Air Ace of WWI
This magnificent model is the latest release in our incredibly popular 1/48th scale WWI aviation series and depicts an aircraft which was used to great effect by one of the most notable airmen of the latter stages of the Great War and one who earned the distinction of being the youngest French air ace of the conflict. Aviation Archive collectors will have noticed that we have tried to ‘link’ several releases over recent model ranges and this is one such release – the Spad fighter flown by this young airman was used in combat against the Albatros of Martin Mallmann, one of the ‘Les Tangos’ of Jasta 19 (AA37810). This companion model is scheduled to be released later in the year and will tell an interesting story when the two models are displayed side by side.
With the emergence of the aeroplane as an essential weapon of war during the savage fighting of the Great War, many of the world’s early aviators chose to embellish their aircraft with flamboyant paint schemes and distinctive markings, which seemed rather appropriate for these knights of the air. Many of these emblems may have had their origins in the heraldic symbols of the past, or simply represent an individual pilot’s desire to stand out from the crowd, however, they quickly became an invaluable recognition aid for fellow pilots during the melee of a swirling dogfight. More readily associated with airmen of the Central Powers, one of the most distinctive markings adopted by an Allied unit during WWI was the ‘Grim Reaper’ carried by the fighters of Escadrille Spa 94 of the French Air Service, a particularly sinister sight in the skies above the trenches.
This certainly proved to be the case during the last year of the war, as the excellent Spad fighters flown by French and American airmen began to take a heavy toll of Luftstreitkrafte aircraft. Young French airman Pierre Marinovitch gained his ‘Ace’ status on 19th January 1918, with the shared destruction of Jasta 19 Albatros D.V 2111/17, flown by Martin Mallmann, north of Manre-Beine – interestingly, he shared the victory with American volunteer pilot Austen Ballard Crehore, Marinovitch’s best friend and regular flying partner.
This next selection of images are again being published for the first time and feature the ‘signed sample’ of this magnificent new model and signify the impending release if our latest 1/48th scale Great War classic
Only sixteen years of age at the start of WWII, Pierre Marinovitch made no secret of his desire to do his duty and fight for his country. Still only seventeen, he enlisted in the 27e Régiment de Dragoons, only to quickly change his mind and apply for pilot training, successfully gaining his wings in the spring of 1917. Following a period of illness, he was assigned to Escadrille Spa 94 ‘The Reapers’ and by the end of 1917 already had three aerial victories to his name. Known as ‘Marino’ to his squadron mates, his flying style was not liked by all, with some questioning his flying ability and simply describing him as a good shot, however, nobody could doubt his bravery and aggression in the air.
As his victory tally continued to rise, he also aroused the attention of the French press, desperate to find heroes with which to inspire a population scarred by war and who proclaimed Marinovitch to be ‘The youngest ace’, by virtue of his tender years. Throughout the rest of 1918, ‘Marino’s’ victory tally would continue to rise and by the end of hostilities, he had at least 21 aerial victories to his name, the highest scoring ace in his squadron and the 12th ranking French ace of the war. Continuing to fly after the war, Marinovitch was tragically killed in a flying accident on 2nd October 1919, only weeks after celebrating his 21st birthday.
The Vanguards range of high quality 1/43rd scale motor vehicles has long been a collectable stalwart of respective Corgi ranges and the 2020 range is about to benefit from the arrival of two cracking new models. Scheduled for release over the coming few weeks, both Triumph Stag VA10112 and Ford Escort Mk.I VA09525 have attracted significant pre-release sales orders and if you are in need of a little collectable lockdown pick-me-up, these could be the models for you.
VA10112 - Triumph Stag Mk2 - Sapphire Blue
The Stag modelled was purchased from BL Dealers F.W. Warwick and Son, Petersfield, Hampshire, on June 12th 1974, by David Ford, from Hayling Island. It cost £3146.56, including a £41.45 laminated windscreen and a whopping £292.98 for a Radio-Mobile 108SR cartridge 8-track player. The owner had major engine repairs carried out on the car in 1980, which resulted in a court case with the garage concerned; correspondence in which Ford stated "car worse than before" has remained with the car ever since. Stag specialist Clive Tate did a full engine rebuild in 1990, after it had blown up while Ford was holidaying in Wales.
He obviously loved the car though, as he kept it until July 2011. David Ford had the body restored in 1994 at a cost of £4300, and second owner, Peter Harper, carried out more restoration work including having the seats retrimmed in the original shadow blue Ambla vinyl, a new blue hood, and new stainless steel bumpers. However, he only kept it 18 months before current custodians, Cambridgeshire-based David Currington and Helen Field, purchased it in December 2012. It's now covered just over 90,000 miles and, having been well looked after, is a very good but usable example. David and Helen have had the hard-top resprayed and the manual-overdrive gearbox rebuilt after reverse gear sheared off. They are enthusiastic members of the Stag Owners Club, attending events regularly, and enjoy using the car all year round.
VA09525 - Ford Escort Mk1 1300E - Sahara Beige
The 1300E modelled is one of the later Series 2 cars, built entirely at Halewood on Merseyside, and is considered one of the most original and best preserved examples in the UK. It was initially sold on June 19th 1974 by Ford dealer G. W. Johns, Chiswick, West London, to Mrs D.L. Hawkins of East Ewell, Surrey, who specified one extra, a Motorola AM radio costing £45. Her family retained the car until June 1984, at which time it had covered only 21,603 miles and was still wearing its original tyres! Second owner Robert Watt, from Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, used it sparingly and looked after it for 27 years before selling it in 2011.
When third owner, Keith Bennett, purchased it the odometer was still showing only 36,241 miles and the car was still in very good condition. However, as one of the co-founders of the Escort 1300E Owners' Club, he had it resprayed in the original colour to make it perfect for exhibiting at shows, and it became well known among Escort aficionados. Current owner, Dorset-based Barry Connolly, an Escort enthusiast and collector, bought it in June 2017 from a dealer, Appreciating Classics of Norfolk, and is delighted with the car, which complements the 4-door Sahara Beige Mk1 Escort XL he also owns. The car has still covered less than 43,000 miles, remains in excellent condition and is totally original except, thankfully, for some new tyres.
CS90642 - MiM - King Tiger - sSSPzAbt 501, France 1944
In yesterday’s blog, our new Assistant Brand Manager Meg Atkinson-Chance looked at some of the Corgi ranges which have been produced with the younger collector in mind, whilst at the same time maintaining the diecast production quality Corgi is famous for. One range which did not feature in the article, but is very much aimed at that target audience, our Military Legends in Miniature is a collection of iconic military vehicles predominantly from the WWII era and when these models have finished a busy day of play on the front room carpet, they look great as the basis of a fledgling collection on the display shelf.
With twelve models now available in this series, the final model to arrive in stock is an example of a real battlefield heavyweight and one of the most fearsome fighting vehicles in the history of warfare. Germany’s heaviest operational tank of the Second World War, the mighty Tiger II or King Tiger weighed in at an astonishing 68 tons, even though it was still powered by the same 12 cylinder Maybach engine which powered the significantly lighter but equally infamous Tiger I.
Built around a new long barrelled 88mm anti-tank gun, the Tiger II was perhaps the ultimate development of the tank during WWII and was superior to any Allied tank in service. Introduced just weeks after D-Day, these fearsome machines were never available in enough numbers to make a difference on the battlefield and for the cost of one King Tiger, the Allies could produce nine M4 Shermans.
Much anticipated new tooling arrival
The Aviation Archive range is about to benefit from a new tooling addition to its Great War aviation ranks, in the iconic shape of the world’s first dedicated ‘hunting aeroplane’, the Fokker Eindecker. This beautiful new model has been in development for some time now, as this delicate and rather primitive aircraft posed quite a number of challenges to the Corgi team, both during the design and later manufacturing stages. Thankfully, these final signed sample images are a clear indication that our wait is almost over and that this magnificent new model will be gracing display shelves all over the world in the coming few weeks.
Few aeroplanes have had such a dramatic impact on the history of aerial warfare as the Fokker Eindecker series of monoplanes, aircraft which are regarded as the first true fighter aircraft in the history of aviation. It was not that these single-wing aircraft were such advanced aeronautical designs, as many of the world’s successful early aircraft were monoplanes (such as the Bleriot XI which crossed the English Channel in 1909), however, they did make use of a particularly sinister innovation. The introduction of interrupter gear synchronised the aircraft’s machine-gun to fire through the arc of the propeller, only allowing it to operate once the blade was clear and crucially, in the pilot’s direct line of sight. For the first time, an aeroplane had been specifically introduced to hunt and destroy other aircraft – the day of the fighter aeroplane had arrived.
Representing a real triumph for the Corgi design and development team, the new Fokker Eindecker will be a valuable and popular addition to the Aviation Archive range
Despite having a dramatic impact on the Western Front, the Eindecker was still a relatively primitive aircraft and required an immense amount of skill in order to be flown well. This was illustrated by eager young Luftstreitkräfte pilot Baron Kurt von Crailsheim, who on being posted to FFA 53 in the summer of 1915, had his and the unit’s first aerial victory by 22nd September. Just a few days later, he crashed the twitchy Eindecker whilst attempting a landing at Monthois airfield, which resulted in his fighter being written off. He later received a new replacement aircraft, which he once again painted in his personal colours, but was to be the machine which claimed his life. Suffering a similar landing accident on 30th December 1915, his injuries would prove so severe that he died in hospital five days later.
This beautiful new model is now due for imminent release. Collectors who have pre-ordered this model, please keep an eye out for your payment reminders over the next few days and for those who have orders in place with your usual model supplier, prepare to give them a gentle reminder about dispatching your model soon.
Last of the mighty Vulcans
We bring this look at impending Corgi releases to a close by taking a slightly retrospective look back at a release from earlier in the year, but one which proves the old adage that ‘Big is definitely Beautiful’, especially where diecast model collecting is concerned. The Avro Vulcan B.2 tooling in 1/72nd scale is one of the most impressive models in the Aviation Archive range and at the time it was first released back in September 2014, it was arguably the most advanced tooling design project ever undertaken in the diecast model production industry.
These beautiful models have only been released on four occasions, with each one going on to become the much loved centrepiece of many a model collection. As each previous release has sold out, it has left the range without an example of this magnificent model and as the next release rarely appears in the next catalogue, we are usually forced to wait many months before a new Vulcan model is available to add to our collections. The latest release in this series AA27204 only arrived in our warehouse earlier this year, but as this latest blog goes to publication, we are now down to the last few remaining examples. With collector sales activity receiving a significant boost over the past few weeks, this could be your final opportunity to secure this fine 1/72nd scale example of Britain’s most famous jet bomber.
Win one of the new Marinovitch Spads
We are really spoiling you in ‘Corgi Week’ as far as competition prizes are concerned. Day THREE and we have an absolute beauty for you – our 1/48th scale Great War aviation range are amongst our most popular models and regularly sell out only days after they are released. This latest release in the series is a representation of the Spad fighter flown by young French Ace Pierre Marinovitch and was reviewed earlier in this blog – a linked release with Albatross AA37810, we are giving one lucky reader the opportunity to win one of these models which are surely destined to sell out in no time at all.
To be in with a chance of winning one of these beautiful models once they are released, simply head for the Corgi Competitions page where you will find all the information you will need and a Great War aviation 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.
Can you believe that we are already at day THREE of ‘Corgi Week’? Please don't worry though, as we still have plenty more Corgi model goodness to come this week. In tomorrow’s blog, our Vanguards range takes centre stage, as we feature a host of exclusive imagery to announce the imminent arrival of the first newly tooled model(s) to grace this range for several years. The blog will be posted as usual 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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