Exclusive new legacy Tornado GR.1 announcement
Welcome to this latest edition of Corgi Diecast Diaries and your regular look at all the news, updates and stories from the fascinating world of Corgi die-cast model collecting.
We are delighted to be bringing you some exclusive Breaking News in this latest edition of our blog, with the announcement of a stunning new addition to the Aviation Archive model range. This weekend would have seen the Corgi events team attending the massive Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, preparing to welcome thousands of visitors to our marquee over the show weekend. Unfortunately, the current situation we all find ourselves in has dictated that RIAT 2020 is just one of many events which has been forced to cancel this year and what should have been our busiest period for attending outdoor events has turned out to be rather different to what we had envisaged.
Not to be deterred, the new model we were intending to announce at RIAT 2020 is still going ahead regardless of the show’s cancellation and the lead feature in this 68th edition of our Corgi blog is devoted to bringing you all the details from this new addition to the 2020 range. We will have product images, details of the scheme and a full description of why we think this new model will make for an eye-catching addition to any Aviation Archive collection.
In this current edition, we also have final signed sample images to show you from a much anticipated new model project which comes in the wake of a fascinating media story from last year and one man’s determination to continue honouring the sacrifice of a brave WWII bomber crew. We have a further series of new model pictures, this time featuring a Vanguards ‘Scooby’ and mark the impending release of a new Great War fighter aircraft by confirming the first use of new parts, which make this an extremely noteworthy release. In what is already shaping up to be a mammoth edition, we end with a little musical flourish and a trio of FAB little models which will delight collectors with an interest in pop culture. Settle back for a little quality Corgi time!
Gone but certainly not forgotten
Last year’s Royal International Air Tattoo saw us announce the first two of our extremely popular RAF Tornado GR.4 disbandment models
Last year saw the sad service withdrawal of arguably the most effective strike aircraft to have ever worn the famous roundel of the Royal Air Force, the magnificent Panavia Tornado. With the final serviceable aircraft given the opportunity to mark the significant achievements of this aircraft in some style during the final weeks before the aircraft slipped into the pages of the aviation history books, serving and former RAF personnel were able to express their admiration for the aircraft, whilst at the same time, the British public were given their opportunity to say goodbye to an aircraft which served the nation faithfully for almost forty years.
To commemorate the legacy of the RAF’s Tornado strike variant, Corgi announced the future release of two special 1/72nd scale Tornado models at last year’s Royal International Air Tattoo as a show exclusive, models which have since gone on to attract huge levels of collector interest. Both models represented two of the last RAF Tornados in service, with both featuring scale representations of the specially commissioned paint schemes the RAF applied to mark this iconic aircraft’s withdrawal. AA33619 presented collectors with an example of the jet which featured a representation of the camouflage scheme applied to the first Tornado GR.1 jets to enter RAF service, whilst AA33620 presented collectors with the beautiful RAF No.IX(B) Squadron disbandment jet and its distinctive ‘Green Bats’ tail.
These two beautiful models were joined earlier this year by the announcement of a scale diecast representation of the third aircraft to benefit from special commemorative markings during the Tornados final few months of service, AA33621 the ‘Goldstars’ retirement scheme, which completed a fitting Corgi diecast tribute to the legacy of this important British aircraft.
Our graphics team have produced this beautiful image to support today’s launch of the new 1/72nd scale legacy RAF Tornado GR.1 No.16 Squadron 75th Anniversary scheme model
The incredible popularity of this trio of commemorative models and the general sentiment that enthusiasts are not yet ready to forget the Tornado has encouraged us to add one final model to this striking service withdrawal collection, this time featuring an aircraft from a little earlier in the Tornados RAF service history. A perennial Airshow favourite over the past forty years, in the eyes of anyone who was lucky enough to see it, the Tornado has never looked so good as when RAF No.16 Squadron sent GR.1 ZA591 into the paint shop to receive a smart all-over black scheme to mark the occasion of their 75th Anniversary year. Replicating this stunning scheme will be quite a challenge for our development team, however, we all feel that this will make for one of the most attractive Tornado models we have ever introduced into the Aviation Archive range. When this latest model is displayed with the rest of our 1/72nd scale Tornados, it will definitely help to tell the story of this awesome aeroplane, whilst at the same time presenting it in arguably the most distinctive scheme it wore during its extensive Royal Air Force service.
Let’s take a closer look at the research details behind this new Tornado announcement.
AA33622 – Panavia Tornado GR.1 ZA591/FN, RAF No.16 Squadron, 75th Anniversary Scheme, Laarbruch, RAF Germany – As seen at Mildenhall Air Fete, Suffolk, May 1990
With many RAF squadrons able to trace their establishment back to the early air operations of the Great War, the 1990s saw quite a number of them commemorating their 75th anniversaries. As was customary on these occasions, several squadrons would send one of their aircraft into the paint shop to be adorned with special anniversary artwork, much to the delight of aviation enthusiasts across Europe. These aircraft would spend the next few months attending official RAF events, open days and Airshows, where they would become some of the most popular and most photographed aircraft in the world.
Without doubt, one of the most spectacular of the RAF squadron 75th anniversary schemes was the smart all-over black paint finish applied to Panavia Tornado GR.1 ZA591, an aircraft which would represent No.16 Squadron throughout their 75th anniversary year, and in some style. The aircraft itself went on to attract a couple of unofficial titles following its repaint, both of which were christened by RAF personnel. To most, she was simply referred to as ‘The Black Pig’, but following the participation of RAF Tornados in the Gulf War, where the black painted American F-117 Stealth Fighter played such a prominent role, she was also colloquially referred to as the ‘Stealth GR.1’. However you referred to her, No.16 Squadron’s ZA591 was certainly one of the best looking Tornados to ever to see Royal Air Force service.
This Corgi website homepage banner is about to receive plenty of attention over the coming few days, following the launch announcement of this spectacular new legacy Tornado GR.1 model project
Even though the strike/attack variant of the Tornado would go on to post an impressive Royal Air Force service record which spanned almost forty years, No.16 Squadron would only spend a relatively short period operating this magnificent aircraft. Exchanging their Blackburn Buccaneers for the Tornado in 1984, the squadron would only use the aircraft for seven years, but not before they had seen combat operations during the Gulf War and turned out one of the best looking squadron anniversary aircraft in RAF history. On 11th September 1991, the squadron disbanded, but their number was applied in ‘reserve status’ to No.226 SEPECAT Jaguar Operational Conversion Unit, an aircraft it operated until this was withdrawn from service in March 2005.
The squadron originally formed at Saint-Omer, in the Pas-de-Calais region of France in 1915, where they were engaged in flying photographic, reconnaissance and artillery spotting sorties during the earliest days of military flying. Always referred to as ‘The Saints’ in RAF parlance due to their original formation location, the distinctive stick man with halo logo applied to many of the squadron’s post war jets is actually linked to the popular TV spy character of the same name, played by the suave future ‘James Bond’, actor Roger Moore. Usually represented in gold on a black disc background, the ‘gold Saint’ surely never looked better than when he was applied to the large black fin of the squadron’s 75th anniversary Tornado GR.1 jet during 1990.
As you are reading details of this exclusive new model announcement, our on-line team are adding this latest Tornado to the Corgi website and it is now available for pre-order. Even though we weren’t able to attend the Royal International Air Tattoo this year, we are pleased to still be making our RIAT model announcement as planned.
Mi Amigo release a fitting tribute
One of the standout model announcements with the launch of our 2020 range presented Aviation Archive collectors with a stunning 1/72nd scale representation of a wartime aircraft which received worldwide media attention during 2019. As the latest signed sample blog image exclusive, we are pleased to report that this magnificent new model is now scheduled for imminent release and will soon be gracing display cabinets all over the world.
As a young boy in wartime Sheffield, Tony Foulds was playing with his friends in Endcliffe Park when a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress appeared overhead. The boys initially thought the aircraft was giving them an impromptu flypast treat and waived enthusiastically at the crew, who Mr Foulds said, appeared to be waiving back at them. I actual fact, the aircraft had been badly damaged during a bombing mission and the crew were trying to get the boys to run away.
To the boy’s dismay, the aircraft came down in a heavily wooded area of the park just metres away from where they had been playing and whilst local people immediately rushed to the scene, tragically, there was nothing that could be done to save the ten man crew of the bomber. Years later, on the 25th anniversary of the incident, the local council finally erected a memorial to the crew of B-17G Flying Fortress ‘Mi Amigo’ on the site of the fateful crash which occurred on 22nd February 1944, a memorial which Mr Foulds has since made it his duty to regularly tend. The incident which left such an impression on him as a young boy has stayed with him into his senior years.
The chance meeting between Mr Foulds and the BBC presenter rekindled significant media interest in the story, both here in the UK and in America and as the 75th anniversary of the incident approached, Tony’s wish for a flypast to honour the crew of ‘Mi Amigo’ became known and began to gain some momentum. Thanks to the publicity and the assistance of some influential people, Tony Foulds eventually got his wish and on the morning of 22nd February 2019, thousands of people packed into Sheffield’s Endcliffe Park to witness a flypast by aircraft from the RAF and USAF, a modern tribute to the brave US airmen who made the ultimate sacrifice on that small patch of green space in a residential area of Sheffield 75 years earlier.
AA33319 – Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress 42-31322 (WF-V) ‘Mi Amigo’, 364th Bombardment Squadron, 305th Bombardment Group, Chelveston, 22nd February 1944
This series of signed sample images are being shown exclusively for Diecast Diaries readers and highlight the fact that this much anticipated new model is on the verge of being released. This model represents the culmination of the latest research conducted into this famous aircraft and its heroic crew
One of over 12,700 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers built during WWII, 42-31322 would leave the production lines at Boeing Seattle in October 1943 and embark on a tour of several locations across the US, where various additional items of internal equipment could be fitted, prior to its journey to Britain and the European Theatre of Operations. Travelling the hazardous Northern Route, which included stops in Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland and eventually Scotland, the aircraft eventually arrived with the 305th Bombardment Group at Chelveston on 30th January 1944. Once the bomber was assigned to a crew, they gave it the name ‘Mi Amigo’, meaning My Friend in Spanish, suggested by bombardier Lt. Melcher Hernandez, who had Spanish heritage and hoped the name would endow their aircraft with good luck – it met with the approval of the entire ten man crew.
The crew had been assembled from right across America and following completion of their individual training programmes, came together at Geiger Field, Washington, for intensive training as a group, in preparation for posing overseas and war. ‘Mi Amigo’ would take its place in a concerted Allied bombing campaign intended to diminish Germany’s ability to wage war and specifically to prepare the way for the forthcoming Allied invasion of occupied Europe – D-Day.
At the beginning of a year which would mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, a tragic wartime event which occurred at a public park in Sheffield on 22nd February 1944, would receive significant national media coverage and commemorate the sacrifice of the men of the US Eighth Air Force. The crew of B-17G Flying Fortress ‘Mi Amigo’ had just taken part in a bombing raid against the Luftwaffe airfield at Alborg in Northern Denmark and having come under sustained attack by flak and Luftwaffe fighters, fell out of formation and made for home. With several crew members injured and radio/navigational equipment not working, the aircraft struggled to find a relief landing airfield in low cloud and found itself over the city of Sheffield at low altitude and with damaged engines – they needed to put the aircraft down and quickly.
The bomber was heard to circle the area of Endcliffe Park for some time, before a change in engine tone immediately resulted in the aircraft plummeting to the ground, crashing on to a wooded bank at the far end of the park and the tragic loss of all on board. Nobody on the ground was injured in the incident and it has been reported that the crew were waving children playing on the park away from the area, fearful that they may be injured by the stricken bomber. What is certain is that the crew of ‘Mi Amigo’ averted what could have been a catastrophe for the city of Sheffield and paid the ultimate price as a result.
This magnificent new model has been produced after being the subject of exhaustive research, benefitting from the latest information unearthed by several people who have spent many years studying this incident and whilst ultimately highlighting the futility and sacrifice of war, will be a fitting scale tribute to the memory of ‘Mi Amigo’ and her young crew.
A family car with real racing pedigree
The sight of this production sample model indicates that this striking Subaru Impreza model will soon be joining Vanguards model displays all over the country
Described by its manufacturer as a nimble family car, the Subaru Impreza series of vehicles has secured an enviable reputation for style and quality over the years, with the purposeful looks of the vehicle attracting huge worldwide sales as a direct result of the Company’s motorsport pedigree. An impending Vanguards release will present the diecast collector with our latest 1/43rd scale representation of this popular car, one which is instantly recognisable to millions of people the world over. For many people, owning a ‘Scooby’ was like having the opportunity to drive a motorsport heavyweight on normal highways and even though you might have a child seat in the back and shopping in the boot, you were still guaranteed to turn motoring heads wherever you went. Functional, yet possessing the unmistakable link to performance motorsport, it is not difficult to see why the Impreza captivated the attention of anyone who was passionate about cars.
VA12107 - Subaru Impreza WRX Type RA STi V.II 555 Pure Sports Sedan, Sports Blue
The fantastic sales success experienced by the first STi was a surprise to Subaru, although in hindsight it's hard to see why. However, on 22nd August 1995, only sixteen months after the first generation had been announced, they went on to launch the STi Version II to meet this increased demand. Unlike the first model, it was built in Subaru's main production facility at Yajima, solving the volume problems associated with hand building the original in STi's smaller Mitaka plant. The V.II range included the limited edition Impreza 555, of which 500 'Sedans' and 100 'Wagons' would be built, with Sports Blue paint, a central roof-vent (sedan only), gold 16 inch Speedline Electra wheels and an optional dealer-applied sticker package.
The 555 V.II STi was only sold on the Japanese domestic market, or JDM as it's often called, but the example modelled was brought to the UK in 2008. Since 2013 its been owned by Wales-based Subaru enthusiast Dale Webb, who, after thoroughly overhauling it shortly after purchase, was pleased to find it was as original and sound as he'd thought when buying it. He's used it sparingly but regularly ever since, attending events organised through the Subaru forum www.type-ra.com, of which he's an active member, and enjoying its prodigious performance on track when he can. He's added a Prodrive suspension kit and exhaust, but has otherwise kept it original including the shorter final-drive of 4.111:1 that all STi V.II cars used.
This attractive addition to the Vanguards range is due to be released over the next couple of weeks, so please look out for it in your local model store. In keeping with the Subaru’s racing heritage, this one will be gone almost as soon as you clap eyes on it!
Unique Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a is noteworthy addition
The next model release in our hugely successful 1/48th scale Great War aviation range is something really unusual and is therefore certainly worthy of further blog investigation. Although this new model will be the ninth release from our beautiful Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a tooling, it incorporates a couple of features which will make it unique from any pervious release and one which also illustrates the international contribution to RFC and RAF flight operations during WWI.
When most people look at this model for the first time, they will immediately think that the most significant difference between this and previous Corgi SE5a releases is the unusual camouflage scheme which adorns the wings and fuselage of this distinctive aircraft. Even though it is true that the adoption of the camouflage markings we are so familiar with on aircraft operating throughout the Second World War was an unusual sight on Great War aircraft, that isn’t actually the most significant feature on this model. A release which basically qualifies as a modified tooling release, this representation of Major Stanley Dallas’ SE5a is the first model of this aircraft we have released which uses a representation of the Hispano Suiza engine – all previously released SE5a models have featured the direct drive Wolseley Viper engine.
AA37709 - Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a D3511, Major Roderic Stanley Dallas, CO RAF No.40 Squadron, Bruay Aerodrome, France, May 1918, Top Australian air ace of WWI
More exclusive imagery, these pictures of our latest Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a show why this will be such a unique addition to the Aviation Archive range. These all feature the final production sample of the model
Trading the rural tranquillity of Esk, Queensland for the savage airborne battles above the Western Front, Roderic Stanley Dallas worked in a mine in order to earn money to finance passage to England and dreams of becoming an airman. Accepted for training with the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915, Dallas excelled in both the classroom and in the air and on gaining his pilot’s licence, he was posted to No.1 Squadron RNAS, initially flying the Sopwith Pup. His first aerial victory came in May 1916 and from that date, his score began to increase rapidly, as he earned a reputation as a fearless dogfighter, but one who did not take unnecessary risks – he also relished the extremely risky low level missions which many of his fellow pilots avoided and suffered several injuries whilst engaged in such sorties. By the time he was appointed commander of No.40 Squadron RFC in March 1918, Dallas had at least 30 victories to his name and traded his Sopwith fighter for the Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a, an aircraft in which he would go on to score a further nine victories. Unusually, his aircraft was one of a handful of SE5a fighters which were given an experimental camouflage finish, thought to have only been trialled on aircraft engaged in ground strafing operations.
Australian Great War ace ‘Stan’ Dallas was officially credited with 39 aerial victories, which places him as the second most successful Australian ace of WWI, behind the 47 victories of Robert A Little. Post war research later revealed that due to the fact Dallas had a somewhat casual attitude to claiming victories, his actual total may have exceeded 50 victories, which would have seen him earning the title of ‘Australia’s most successful fighter ace’. A careful student of aerial fighting tactics, Dallas also earned a reputation as something of a prankster, a character trait which was clearly illustrated by an incident which is alleged to have taken place in early May 1918. During a lull in the fighting around Flanders, Dallas ‘shot up’ a German aerodrome in the sector, before dropping a pair of boots on the airfield – a message attached to the boots read, ‘if you are not going to come up and fight, your pilots might need these for their ground work’. Circling in the distant mist, he waited until troops came out to inspect the package, before returning to drop a couple of small bombs and to use up the rest of his ammunition. Although the flight was unauthorised, reports of the incident were thought to have caused great amusement amongst the most senior members of Allied military high command.
Highlighting the exploits of one of Australia’s most accomplished air aces and the aircraft he used during low altitude strafing attacks, this latest Great War aviation release is a fascinating addition to the Aviation Archive range and one which incorporates some unique features. Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a AA37709 is due to be released next month and the sight of these latest ‘signed sample’ images let us see what we all have to look forward to in just a few short weeks time.
“Help, I need some buses”
Regular visitors to the Corgi website will have probably noticed an unusual transport addition to the site over the past few days, one which combines a classic public transport stalwart with famous albums recorded by one of the world’s most influential pop groups. A trio of diecast collectables which would make an attractive display for anyone, not just those with an interest in music, this latest addition to our range of Beatles themed products possess real Pop Culture appeal and will ‘Help’ introduce a new audience to the delights of diecast collecting.
Each of the three London buses feature images and colours associated with three of the most famous albums released by the ‘Fab Four’ , ‘St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, ‘Revolver’ and ‘Let it Be’ and would look fantastic on any shelf which supports someone’s record collection. Combining two timeless classics, let’s take a look at each of the Beatles buses individually.
Released on the 26th May 1967, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Clubs Band’ featured on the album of the same name, and introduced the fictional band who’s’ songs feature on the album. The Album, considered as a concept album, featured tracks such as ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ and ‘Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds’, with the albums tracks flowing seamlessly together in the fictional world of the band.
Released in August 1966, ‘Revolver’ was the band’s final album before they announced their retirement from live performances. This decision to step away from live concerts therefore produced arguably the most innovative Beatles album. Recorded and produced whilst utilising ground-breaking technology and technique, ‘Revolver’ introduced the world to the minds, interests and social views behind most popular band of the era.
Released on the 8th May 1970, ‘Let It Be’ was the final album offering from The Beatles. The album, originally produced under the title ‘Get Back’, features beautifully written tracks such as ‘Don’t let me Down’ and ‘The Long and Winding Road’. Sharing its name with the album, the song ‘Let it Be’ acts as a homage to McCartney’s late mother, and is heralded as a song of positivity and perseverance.
These three fantastic Beatles related products are scheduled for release a little later in the year, but they are now available for pre-order on the Corgi website.
We are afraid that’s all we have for you in this latest edition of Diecast Diaries, but you can be sure we will be back as usual with more updates and exclusive Corgi content in four weeks’ time. In the meantime, we are always interested to hear from our readers, especially if you would like to suggest a subject for future inclusion in our blog. Better still, if you would like to send us pictures of your own model collection, or details of a Corgi model release which is special to you, you may even find yourself featuring in a future edition of Diecast Diaries. As always, we would be grateful if you would address all correspondence to our usual firstname.lastname@example.org 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 our official Facebook and Twitter social media pages, which welcome your contributions. We look forward to reading about all the latest Corgi collecting discussions and pictures of your favourite models over the coming few weeks.
Finally, we would like to thank all our readers for their continued support. We look forward to bringing you much more Corgi related news, features and updates in future editions of our blog. The next edition of Diecast Diaries is scheduled to be published on Friday 14th August.
The Corgi Die-cast Diaries Team
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