A Corgi Lancaster is born
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. With our previous blog showcasing the new models recently announced in the July-December 2018 model range, it has been an interesting few weeks looking to see which of these new models have found favour with both collectors and retailers and which ones seem destined to become the next sell-out releases in the Corgi range. With the UK Airshow season now in full swing, we have also had the opportunity to take some of the sample models out on the road over recent weeks, allowing collectors so see a selection of the new models in the metal, so to speak. With large crowds attending both the Cosford and Fairford (RIAT) shows and our display stand proving to be a popular attraction at both events, the new range has definitely got off to something of a flying start.
In this latest edition of Die-cast Diaries, we wanted to support the recent release of our 1/72nd scale Dambusters Lancaster by bringing you the first instalment in a Corgi Lancaster production feature, where we take a look behind the scenes at a Chinese factory during the manufacture of a previous version of the model. Unfortunately, we have encountered something of a problem – the latest Lancaster model has already sold out, well at least on the Corgi website. Not to be deterred, we still think it makes for an interesting feature, so we will go ahead anyway, starting with a look at the tooling blocks themselves, the material used in the production of the model and the early stages of manufacture. We can also promise you a fascinating collection of exclusive Corgi images covering many of the ranges in the current catalogue, as we continue to bring you updates from some of the most eagerly anticipated projects in die-cast collectibles and we also unleash a spectacular RAF 100 competition on our readers, which has a truly unique dual prize offering awaiting the lucky winner.
Lancaster production – Corgi style
The Corgi Aviation Archive 1/72nd scale Avro Lancaster is one of the most significant models in the history of die-cast aircraft model collecting
Have you ever wondered how the Aviation Archive models we all love to collect are actually manufactured and the many man hours and different processes involved in the production of each and every model? Some people still think that these models are produced by a big machine, where a large press comes down on a metal tooling block and when it lifts, there is a pristine die-cast scale example of your favourite aircraft sitting there, just waiting to take its place in your display cabinet – if only it were that simple. Over the course of the next few editions of Die-cast Diaries, we are going to give you an ‘in factory’ manufacturing insight into the production of a Corgi Lancaster, from the tooling block being lifted into place, to the finished model being placed in its distinctive box and prepared for shipping, but before we do, there are a number of important article caveats we need to inform you about first. Although we have used the box artwork from the latest Dambusters Lancaster to illustrate this feature, these manufacturing details are in no way linked to the production of this model and represent both a factory and processes from several years ago, which may now be significantly different. Indeed, the factory we visited back in 2003 is probably not currently used for the production of Corgi models and due to changes in the Far East, may have even gone out of business – these details are simply for illustrative purposes only and for the enjoyment of Die-cast Diaries readers.
Hong Kong is such an exciting place to visit and the gateway to the manufacturing powerhouse I that is China
For anyone interested in die-cast model collecting and specifically the production of Aviation Archive models, the opportunity to visit a Far Eastern manufacturing facility is something of a dream come true and allowed a fascinating insight into how complex and manual this process actually is. At the time of the visit and probably still the case now, the region could be described as the manufacturing centre of the world, yet despite the number of international buyers travelling to China to have products made or sourced, it was still quite a secretive place to visit and you had to obtain authorisation if you intended to travel to the country. Hong Kong would be both our flight destination and hotel base for the visit, however passports would need to be surrendered to authorities almost as soon as you arrived and an official visa issued if the pre-arranged trip into China was going to take place. With visa in hand, a fast catamaran trip up the Pearl River saw us arriving in Guangdong province just a couple of hours later, where we were met by representatives of the factory we were visiting, who then drove us to the facility. On arrival, it was clear that jobs in these facilities were highly sought after, as there was a crowd of hopeful people gathered outside the gates all looking for work – the factories house, feed and clothe their workers, who are clearly happy to be granted such an employment opportunity.
Just a collection of metal blocks, or an important investment in a growing die-cast model tooling bank?
Back-breaking work. These heavy tooling blocks are moved using heavy machinery, by a specialist team charged with handling these expensive pieces of precision engineering
The opened tooling block reveals the beautifully produced inner workings which identify this block as part of the 1/72nd scale Corgi Lancaster tooling
The purpose of the visit at that time was to accompany a quality manager on one of his regular inspection calls at the factory and for us to view whatever was going down the production lines at that time. Thankfully, this happened to be 1/72nd scale Avro Lancaster Mk.III (Special) AA32608 ‘Dambusters’ and the factory owners were only too happy to indulge our curiosity. Without doubt, one of the most dramatic sights at the factory was the impressive collection of model tooling blocks, which really did take up a huge amount of space in one of the outlying warehouses and looked like hundreds of solid metal cubes, which could clearly be seen to come apart and had been produced with the inclusion of several access holes. Each one had been labelled with yellow identification marks to denote which model it would produce and a dedicated team of young men were charged with maintaining and handling these extremely heavy items. As we were allowed to inspect one of the blocks used in the production of a Corgi 1/72nd scale Lancaster model, the tooling team swung into action using a heavy block and tackle, robust trolley and plenty of muscle to place the tooling block in front of us. Once opened, the rusting exterior of the tooling block revealed its fascinating inner secrets, with the highly detailed and precision milled stainless steel workings inside clearly identifying this as a tool used in the production of a Corgi Lancaster. Looking closely at the inner workings of the tooling, you can definitely make out the tail unit and bomb bay of the Lancaster, made all the more interesting by the fact that this is just one of several tooling blocks used in the production of a 1/72nd scale Corgi Lancaster model.
A constant supply of Mazak ingots will be required for the latest Corgi model project
The raw material used in the production of die-cast models is Mazak (or Zamak), which is supplied to the factory in the form of pure ingots, before being melted down and injected through the tooling blocks. This zinc alloy contains small quantities of aluminium and copper and is very much suited to the die-cast model production process, being stable, but relatively easy to work with. The molten metal is injected through the tooling block under pressure and as it cools, it produces a frame of metal components which display all the fine detail which is etched into the tooling work itself and will be used in conjunction with many other parts in metal, plastic and rubber which are all needed to produce the final model. The Lancaster tooling block image shown above was actually used in the production of plastic components for the model, although the manufacturing process for plastic and metal parts is almost identical. The metal part frames will now require splitting into their individual pieces and cleaning up, work which is usually done by a large number of people working on long benches and always with lots of metal component frames to get through – each piece will have to be trimmed, filed and polished before it can advance to the next stage of the process.
The cooled die-casting produces a metal frame of components, which need to be separated and prepared before it can advance to the next stage. Excess metal will be re-melted and used again
These ladies are cleaning a model bus body shell and clearly illustrate how much human input is involved in the production of most die-cast collectable models
Although we all have a passion for collecting die-cast models, this trimming and filing of the raw die-cast components in the factory did seem to be the most laborious and least appealing job in the entire process, even if it did underline just how labour intensive the industry actually is. The factory staff are extremely hard working and show great dexterity in getting through hundreds of component castings, each one requiring their attention. Each worker had their own collection of files and bespoke wooden battens, which are used to take off any sharp areas they come across, keeping the component steady whilst they work on it – although quite dirty and laborious work, this still requires a delicate touch and any mistakes at this stage would certainly be magnified as the model proceeds through the manufacturing process.
This is where we will leave our Corgi Lancaster production feature for this instalment. Next, we will see how the components receive their first coat of paint and how the application of markings is yet another opportunity to marvel at the dexterity and ingenuity of the factory workers.
Aviation Archive – Our readers have spoken!
Suggestions received so far have indicated that Aviation Archive collectors would be happy to see a Handley Page Hampden added to the range in both 1/72nd and 1/48th scales
Following on from the first part of our Corgi Lancaster production feature, this seems the ideal opportunity to bring you an update on our reader initiative to find out which are the most popular model suggestions for future inclusion in the Aviation Archive range. You may recall that we recently invited Aviation Archive collectors everywhere to send in your 'no holds barred' suggestions for the models you would most like to see joining this popular aircraft model range as a future new tooling project, as we searched for the most requested aircraft in this significant 20th anniversary year for the range. We might have known that our fantastic readers would support this request in fine style, but we could have hardly imagined the sheer volume of responses and well-reasoned suggestions which quite literally swamped our in-box … they came in their thousands!
With hundreds of unopened e-mails still to be logged, could we please ask everyone to finally stop sending in their suggestions, as we now have a really clear picture of what everyone would like to see added to the range in the future - we just need time to collate all this information and rank the most popular suggestions before we can move to the next stage of the process. The exercise has proved that the Aviation Archive range is still as popular as ever and that our collectors are extremely knowledgeable on matters aviation – they are also clearly hopeful that some gaps in the range may potentially be filled in the years to come. We now need to rank the most popular suggestions and produce a definitive list for your inspection, although we suspect that most of you will be able to name several of the most popular aircraft types that will feature on this list. We previously reported that a 1/72nd scale Boeing B-29 Superfortress had been proving to be a popular suggestion since receiving the very first e-mails and there is no doubting that this would be a magnificent and hugely impressive addition to the range, however, other popular suggestions have been the Handley Page Hampden in both 1/72nd and 1/48th scale, along with that perennial aviation favourite Concorde, receiving nominations in both 1/144th and 1/72nd scales. Receiving much less attention, but clearly illustrating the breadth of subject matter available to aviation collectors, the diminutive Fairey Flycatcher will not be making our list of most popular suggestions, neither will the massive Messerschmitt Me 323 'Gigant', which is at the opposite end of the aviation size scale and has also been the recipient of several votes.
Although it would undoubtedly make a fine die-cast model, the Fairey Flycatcher did not receive enough votes to advance to the next stage of our aviation poll
This has been a most enjoyable feature to work with and we are grateful to each and every one of you who has taken the time to send in your suggestions. The Corgi development team are being kept fully informed on how the poll is progressing and they will be just as interested as our readers to see the final list of suggestions and which aircraft emerge as the most requested future new tooling projects. We will be publishing the definitive poll details in a forthcoming edition of our Corgi blog, as we bring this Aviation Archive 20th anniversary year to a close in some style.
Anniversary Hawk stars in RAF 100 collection
The RAF Centenary Collection Hawk T.1 pre-production model was a popular addition to our Corgi display at RIAT
In what is already proving to be a significant year for British Airshows, the current centenary commemorations of the Royal Air Force and the exceptionally good weather we have been enjoying has seen huge numbers of people attending aviation related events over the past few months and bringing the subject of aviation and aeroplanes to a much wider audience. With the huge events at Cosford and the Royal International Air Tattoo witnessing record crowds and arranging superb display programmes to commemorate this historic occasion, the general public have re-engaged with Airshows again, which will hopefully see many remaining as regular attendees in the years to come.
The Corgi events team attended both the Cosford and RIAT shows recently and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to show a selection of our latest models to the people who matter most, our collectors. Although we always attempt to bring our collectors as much information as possible through the Corgi website, our Die-cast Diaries blog and the production of our bi-annual catalogue, there is something particularly rewarding about allowing people to see our models displayed out of their boxes in all their die-cast glory, the way they are supposed to be enjoyed. It has also been rewarding to speak to our customers face to face, listening to their views and sharing our opinions on the current state of the hobby. One of the models scheduled for impending release which certainly attracted lots of attention during our Airshow weekends was BAe Hawk T.1 AA36013 which is finished in a striking RAF No.100 Squadron 95th Anniversary scheme, which has proved to be quite a challenge for the Corgi design team. The model we had on display was actually a pre-production sample model, but as it is fast approaching its release date and as we have this sample to hand, we thought we would bring you a series of exclusive pictures featuring this handsome RAF jet.
A montage of pre-production anniversary Hawk images, including the distinctive undersides skull & crossbones which proved to be a challenge for the development team
The centenary commemorations of the Royal Air Force has resulted in a number of current front line aircraft being specially presented at Airshow in the distinctive red RAF 100 logo created for this occasion, differing somewhat from the more traditional situation of individual squadrons commemorating their own anniversaries by presenting one of their aircraft in attractive special markings. Always popular with aircrew and enthusiasts alike, these anniversary aircraft have become some of the most popular and photogenic aircraft to see RAF service, whilst also helping to raise awareness in both the air force and the history of individual squadrons. As one of the oldest Squadrons in the RAF, No.100 Squadron are rightly proud of their significant heritage and to mark the occasion of their 95th Anniversary in 2012, they presented one of their BAe Hawk T.1 aircraft in a striking Bomber Command scheme. Avro Lancaster EE139 ‘Phantom of the Ruhr’ represented the squadron for the first 29 of its operational missions, before going on to amass an impressive tally of 121 total missions during WWII and was used as the inspiration for this Hawk scheme. Applied to the Commanding Officer’s aircraft, Hawk XX246 instantly became one of the most popular aircraft in the Royal Air Force and a fitting tribute to both the history of 100 Squadron and the men and women who have served over the years.
Studio shot of the pre-production model next to the distinctive packaging which will accompany this release
Established in 1917 as the first RFC Squadron to specifically perform night bombing missions, No.100 Squadron can boast a long and proud heritage of service in the Royal Air Force. Its distinctive Squadron badge features a sinister ‘skull and crossbones’ which dates back to the Great War and is fiercely guarded by current members of the squadron, who apply it to the tail of their Hawk T.1 jets. Based at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire, No.100 Squadron are engaged in performing vital training and front-line support roles and are currently the UK’s only aggressor Squadron, allowing other RAF units the ability to simulate the interception of hostile aircraft. Operating the capable British Aerospace Hawk T.1(A) jet which has now been in service with the RAF for over forty years, the Squadron’s aircraft could be used as short-range point defence fighters in the event of conflict, to further bolster Britain’s airborne defences. Although the black Hawks of No.100 Squadron are distinctive in their own right, the most famous operators of the BAe Hawk are undoubtedly the RAF aerobatic team The Red Arrows, who are recognised the world over for their flying expertise, thrilling displays and aviation professionalism.
This handsome RAF No.100 Squadron 95th anniversary Hawk AA36013 is now on short finals and is scheduled for release in August – it is still currently available for pre-order on the Corgi website, or via your usual Corgi model supplier.
‘You’re not thinking that ….. I sure am boy!’
As Britain’s most famous fictional MI6 agent, James Bond is familiar to almost everyone and whether it is watching a regular film re-run at Christmas, or enjoying the latest blockbuster at the cinema, the exciting exploits of Bond have captivated audiences since the first film was aired back in 1962. We all have our favourite Bond actor, who will probably be the one we remember most from when we were younger and watched the films as they were released at the cinema, but if length of service is the criteria, then Roger Moore will qualify as the most popular Bond – during his 12 years of filming, Moore appeared in seven films and played the character with style, flair and quite a bit of cheek.
The distinctive AMC Hornet used by Roger Moore in ‘The man with the golden gun’ will add a welcome splash of colour to any Bond vehicle collection
As well as being the most detailed version of this iconic car, it also features bespoke packaging to make this a must for any James Bond collector
The classic vehicles used by Bond throughout his many dangerous adventures are almost as famous as the leading actors themselves and have become popular collectable items in the world of die-cast – Corgi’s Bond vehicle association can trace its heritage back to the Aston Martin DB5 and 1965, a product which earned the company the coveted ‘Toy of the year’ accolade. Since then, Bond vehicle models have appeared regularly in various ranges, each one having something a little different about them, maintaining the collectability of previous releases and making the new models extremely desirable in their own right. The latest model range introduced two new releases for James Bond fans to look forward to, including an American muscle car which brings a welcome splash of colour to the usual Bond vehicle line up. The 1974 film ‘The Man with the golden gun’ saw Roger Moore on the trail of international assassin Francisco Scaramanga, played by the magnificent Christopher Lee. As he trailed his adversary across the Far East, he appropriated a new AMC Hornet from a showroom, complete with a prospective purchaser who was sat in the passenger seat and hoping for a test drive – he got a little more than he bargained for. In the film’s most iconic scene, the Hornet was driven at speed towards a broken and twisted wooden bridge, where it performed a barrel-roll over the river, landing safely on the other side (with his passenger in the back seat). This stunt was actually performed for the film, when stunt drivers really earned their money and CGI was still the stuff of dreams.
The second new Bond vehicle release is the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante used by actor Timothy Dalton in the film ‘The Living Daylights’. This was a real beast of a vehicle and saw Bond filmmakers returning to Aston Martin after a short sabbatical with Lotus and their submarine car – they could not have come back to a more iconic vehicle. This was a true British supercar and still exudes style and power to this day, almost earning the same iconic status as the classic DB5. In the film, Bond’s V8 Vantage was not the standard issue vehicle which most of us would have been perfectly satisfied with, his had to have an array of gadgets and features to help him through his latest scrapes. Winterised by Q-Branch, this vehicle had lasers, rockets, a rocket motor and some outrigger skis, which helped Bond to escape across a frozen lake when pursued by a veritable army. Sadly, the vehicle was ‘self-destructed’ by Bond at the end of this chase, but not before it had become the supercar of choice for a generation of Bond fanatics.
The awesome Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante is a true British super car and a mode of transport befitting of Britain’s most celebrated secret agent.
This release also features the bespoke box artwork produced to grace this series of collectables
Both of these latest Bond vehicle releases have been produced paying special attention to the detail on the models, making these the most accurate versions of both models we have ever produced. Also featuring specially designed retro packaging, these are a must for Bond fanatics everywhere and will serve to increase our anticipation of the new Bond blockbuster movie. Both the AMC Hornet and Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante are available now.
Latest Vanguards models 'in detail'
The original catalogue image featuring VA08913 shows the model without the front bull bars attached
We have been fortunate to gain access to a series of images recently, which really do show the lengths that our Corgi design team will go to in order to ensure that their Vanguards models are as accurate as they can be - we thought you might be interested to see them. They feature one of the most challenging models announced in the January to June 2018 model range from a development point of view, but one which the Corgi team were determined to replicate as accurately as possible. This distinctive Morris 1800 Mk.2 appeared in the 1970 World Cup Rally and was suggested for inclusion in the range by our now famous Vanguards motoring guru Mark Pinnigar – Mark prepared a hand decorated sample concept of the model, which was sent to the Corgi development team and used to illustrate this future release on both the Corgi website and in the new catalogue. As a graphic designer of some repute, Mark still has access to some specialist equipment he used back in his Lledo factory days and will often still use this trusted technology to produce the fine graphics and logo details used on his hand produced sample models – as you can see from this rally Morris 1800, he certainly had his work cut out on this model.
An exclusive first look at the decoration guide produced to support the development of this distinctive Vanguards release
For this particular release (VA08913), Mark not only had to accurately represent the large number of scale graphics applied to this car, but he also hand made the distinctive bull bars which were attached to the vehicle during its rally appearance. This did create something of a problem for the design team, who would be challenged to replicate this on the production model, needing to achieve this without the additional part looking too cumbersome and out of scale. Indeed, at one point, it looked as if it would not be possible to add this feature to the model and as you can see from the website and catalogue image used at the beginning of this section, it was originally shown without the bull bars attached to the front of the model.
Thankfully, our development team are always up for a challenge and where their honest endeavours and vast industry experience can have a positive impact on the accuracy of any model release, they will always ensure that they do everything possible to make that happen, whilst having to accept that manufacturing in this scale does have certain constraints and limitations. The following images show the pre-production sample model of the rally Morris VA08913 and illustrate the impressive work that has been done by Mark P, our designers and the manufacturing facility in the Far East. Accepting the usual caveats with regard to our showing of pre-production sample models, this is already looking like being a particularly impressive release and is yet another example of the detail levels incorporated in this popular range of vehicle models.
A selection of exclusive pre-production model images showing this heavily decorated racing car complete with its front mounted bull bar – a beautiful future release
The catalogue and certificate descriptions for rally Morris 1800 Mk.2 (VA08913) is as follows:
The Mk2 'Landcrab' was launched in 1968 and this, the sixth produced, is the oldest known survivor. It was initially used for publicity work and tested at 100mph by John Bolster for Autosport magazine before being 'purchased' by BMC/BL champion rally and racing driver Jean Denton. It was one of five 'Super-Landcrabs' prepared by Basil Wales' Leyland Special Tuning at Abingdon as private entries for the World Cup Rally to back up BL's official Triumphs, Maxis and a solitary Mini. NOB 284F was sponsored by 'Motorwoman', the motoring section of Woman Magazine and, because of the female crew, was christened 'The Beauty Box' by the magazine's editor Barbara Buss during a pre-event champagne launch.
Entering a Motorwoman car was motoring editor Jean Barrett's idea but after Denton and Wright took her on a tough recce in Yugoslavia she withdrew! Regular rally competitor Liz Crellin joined and the experienced girls avoided the problems that beset others although, even with oxygen, they suffered altitude sickness in South America; remedied with coca leaves. The most serious mechanical problem, a cracked sump in Lima, was solved with Araldite and otherwise the car needed only a new starter motor. The team covered over 16,000 miles in 39 days driving and finished 18th of 23 finishers from 106 starters. Restored by Ian Feirn in 2008, 'The Beauty Box' is now owned by David Scothorn who regularly uses it for historic rally events and shows.
This fantastic future release is just one of the new models announced in the popular Vanguards range of classic 1/43rd scale cars, which are all available for inspection on the Corgi website.
RAF 100 competition time
This anniversary Chinook is one of the most distinctive models in our RAF Centenary Collection
As 2018 is proving to be not just a significant year for the Royal Air Force, but also in the history of our own Aviation Archive range, we could not let the year progress any further without launching the first in a series of competitions intended to mark our dual anniversaries. As we are currently celebrating 20th years of our Aviation Archive range, we thought we would offer a truly unique aviation related prize to our readers, one which will be of interest to die-cast modellers the world over and one which helps to tell the story of how these magnificent models are produced. Without question, one of the most distinctive models presented in our 100 years of the RAF range is Boeing Chinook HC.4 ZA683, an example of the RAF’s impressive heavy lift helicopter which has become such a popular aircraft type since it entered British service in 1980. With its distinctive rear rotor stack artwork, this model was the first release in our Royal Air Force Centenary Collection and has been a popular addition to the Aviation Archive range since launch. The lucky winner of our competition will not only receive one of these beautiful models, but will also be getting the pre-production sample model used during the development of this release, making this a unique Corgi prize duo. This model has been used to illustrate the Corgi website and catalogue and was also taken to preview events around the UK and in Nuremberg to promote the 2018 range – this famous and well travelled model will be supplied as rescued from the Corgi storeroom at Head Office recently and simply wrapped in bubble-wrap for transportation protection. By its nature, this model may have suffered a little damage during its busy year and could also differ slightly from the production model in several ways – after all, that is the purpose of these pre-production models, which make them a fascinating stage in the development of any model release. The model will be fully authenticated on official Corgi paper, ensuring that this is a prize very much worth winning and a real conversation starter in any Aviation Archive collection.
The mighty Chinook has become one of the most important aircraft in RAF inventory during almost forty years of faithful service
For the chance to win this spectacular prize, please head over to the Corgi Competitions Page, where you will find an RAF Chinook related question to answer – should you need any help with the answer, the RAF 100 Chinook product page on the Corgi website contains all the information you might need. As usual, there will be three possible answers for you to select from, with just one being the correct answer – all you have to do is choose the right one to be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize. Our lucky winner will be selected at random and their name published in the next edition of Die-cast Diaries, which is scheduled to go live on Friday 24th August. The competition itself will remain open until midnight on Sunday 19th August, but please make sure you have your entry in well before that date, as we would not want you to miss out. Good luck to all who enter our RAF Chinook competition!
What’s on the desk?
We end this latest bumper edition of Die-cast Diaries with the return of our popular ‘What’s on the desk’ feature, where we ask the Corgi design team and our hard working company photographer to grab a selection of the latest pre-production sample models to arrive on the development desk at Head Office and allow us to show them to our readers. Please remember that these pictures are of models still at the pre-production stage and are still being worked on in most cases. Having said they, they really do help to illustrate the production journey of a die-cast model through to its eventual release and as such are of great interest to collectors.
OM46515A/B – Wright Eclipse Gemini 2, Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company, Pride Bus dual destination release.
Exclusive pre-production image showing the ‘A’ release of this attractive bus, working the No.29 route to Tunbridge Wells
Up to this point, the only image available to illustrate this release has been the profile artwork used in the Corgi website and in the 2018 catalogues
The ‘B’ release of this model presents the bus working No.21 route to Brighton Marina & Queens Park
We begin by bringing you exclusive first pictures of this attractive dual destination Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bus, which has only previously been seen in concept profile form and is therefore yet another first for DCD readers. An extremely colourful addition to the Original Omnibus range, this model will be released in 'A' and 'B' versions, with each one finished as serving a different route in the Brighton & Hove area.
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.
AA39213 Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIa P7823/TM-F ‘Down – Belfast Telegraph Spitfire Fund’, 100 years of the RAF series.
This pre-production Spitfire has suffered a little from its time on the road recently, but puts us all on standby for its impending release
We have featured this magnificent model in a previous edition of Die-cast Diaries, but as we have pictures of the pre-production model and it is fast approaching its August release date, we thought you might like to receive this final update. One of the most fascinating aspects of aerial conflict during the Second World War was the subject of ‘Presentation Spitfires’. Although other aircraft were certainly procured in this manner, the Spitfire was seen as being the fighter of the moment and the one which would bring the Commonwealth deliverance against their enemies. Desperate to do their bit and support the war effort, communities throughout Britain and the entire Commonwealth put aside the hardships of their wartime existence and enthusiastically gave what they could to their local Spitfire fund.
The people of Belfast are still proud of the effort their relatives made in support of Britain’s war effort during WWII
Taking great pride in the knowledge that their community could finance and put their name to a new Spitfire that would go on to represent them in the battles raging in the skies above Europe, these aircraft helped to galvanise the nation in our time of greatest need. The aircraft themselves were simply taken from the existing production lines, but were allowed to bear the names of the individuals, companies and communities who had bought them, whilst being careful not to compromise the standard RAF camouflage scheme applied to all wartime aircraft.
AA27304 – Hawker Fury Mk.I K2065, RAF No.1 Squadron, ‘C’ Flight Leaders aircraft, 100 years of the RAF series.
Although this attractive model has now been released, this is the first time we have featured this pre-production sample model on our Die-cast Diaries blog
This model has slipped through our ‘What’s on the desk’ net somewhat over recent weeks and despite the fact that the pre-production model accompanied the Corgi team to both Cosford and RIAT Airshows, it has recently been released and is now available in good model shops everywhere. Nevertheless, as we have the beautifully prepared images of the pre-production model to hand, it does seem a shame not to show them, so here they are in all their glory.
Representing something of a golden era for British aviation, the 1930s saw a rapid expansion of the Royal Air Force and the service introduction of several aircraft types that could claim to be the ultimate biplane fighter. At the head of this group, the beautiful Hawker Fury came at the end of a long line of successful Hawker biplane designs and when it entered RAF service with No.43 Squadron in the summer of 1931, it became the fastest fighter aircraft in their history.
A final selection of pre-production images featuring this colourful addition to the Aviation Archive range and 8th release in our RAF Centenary Collection
Viewed as a thoroughbred fighter, only the best pilots of the RAF’s elite squadrons were selected to fly the capable Hawker Fury, which was seen to represent the effectiveness and professionalism of the modern Royal Air Force. No.1 Squadron began receiving their Hawker Furys in February 1932 and this early example is presented with the larger pre-1934 roundels and rudder stripes, as well as having the individual flight’s colours painted on the top fuselage decking. As the ‘C’ Flight Commander’s aircraft, it also carries the flight’s yellow colour on the fin, spinner and wheel covers giving this handsome aircraft an even more striking appearance. This beautiful model is the 8th release in our RAF Centenary Collection and commemorates a particularly colourful period in Royal Air Force history – this limited edition model is available now, whilst stocks last.
That’s it for yet another edition of Corgi Die-cast Diaries, which we hope included some exclusive model news which was of interest to you. As you know, we are always keen to hear from readers who may like to suggest a Corgi feature or topic they would like to see covered in a future edition of Die-cast Diaries, or even just to send us pictures of their own model collection – we are also interested to find out if there are any Corgi models which have a particular meaning to our readers and why. If you would like to tell your model collecting story in a future edition of our blog, please let us have your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org, where we very much look forward to hearing from you. We could be sharing your collector story with thousands of fellow enthusiasts.
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 channels. We look forward to reading all your latest Corgi collecting discussions and seeing pictures of your favourite Corgi 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 24th August.
The Corgi Die-cast Diaries Team
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