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First test flight for new Bristol Fighter

First test flight for new Bristol Fighter

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.

This latest edition comes off the back of our first ever ‘Corgi Week’, five consecutive days of individual blogs, where we covered all the latest available model development information, looking at different collector sectors within the latest Corgi model range. Even though we brought you a plethora of exclusive updates during Corgi Week, we are pleased to inform readers that we have much more where that came from and this latest edition is feature packed once more.

We begin by taking a quick look back at ‘Corgi Week’ and how our fantastic readership helped to make it such a blog success, with one subject in particular causing something of a modelling stir. We continue on with a major update from our new 1/48th scale Bristol F.2B Fighter project, feature a diecast scale representation of one of the most popular restored WWII aircraft on the UK historic aviation scene and have exclusive ‘Signed Sample’ images from a quartet of Vanguards model releases. We bring this latest blog to a close with a section entitled ‘Under new management’ and a further selection of project images which are being published for the very first time. This is looking like it is going to be Corgi Week in a single blog!

That was the ‘Corgi week’ that was

Corgi Military Legends model range weathered US Sherman Tank on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

Our ‘weathered’ Sherman Tank feature was the talk of Corgi week and has stimulated plenty of collector debate over the past few weeks

Keen to try something a little different with our regular Corgi blog format, we are pleased to report that thanks to the support of our loyal readership sharing details amongst their like-minded friends and linking widely across social media, our first ‘Corgi Week’ of blogs was a huge success, with page view numbers which were both encouraging and humbling in equal measure. We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who helped spread the Corgi collecting word and especially to those who took the time to contact us and tell us what they thought of both the format change and the subjects covered. Your views will be discussed by the team and may well influence the future of the blog.

At the beginning of Corgi week, we published an exclusive series of photographs which showed a heavily weathered 1/50th scale Sherman tank and used them to broach the question ‘Would you consider weathering one of your own Corgi models?’ Although this was clearly quite radical subject matter for the average diecast collector to consider, it stimulated significant debate and proved to be the catalyst for more e-mails received than any other subject we have covered in recent times, other than our Corgi Ultimate Top Ten and Aviation Archive ‘Have your say’ initiatives. Interestingly, it seems as if this is a question which many collectors have been asking themselves over the years and one which is still the subject of much debate to this day.

It has to be said that the vast majority of our respondents on this subject were very much in support of weathering models and whilst most expressed the opinion that our Sherman weathering was a little heavy handed for their own liking, they either had several of our previous weathered releases in their collections, or had seriously considered having a go themselves. Several collectors even admitted to manually weathering some of their own models, although in all cases, they used duplicate models from their collection, leaving a pristine example still available, should the exercise prove to be a disappointment. Using existing products and methods associated with the plastic modelling hobby, the benefit of self-applying these weathering techniques is that you can build up the effect to your personal taste, something which is not available with a mass produced representation.

New Corgi Aviation Archive Bristol Beaufighter diecast model on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

A recently released Aviation Archive model is currently receiving the ‘weathering treatment’ and we look forward to bringing you details in a forthcoming edition of the blog

We also received a number of perfectly valid suggestions encouraging us to make both clean and weathered versions of the same model release and allow the buying collector to make the final decision by voting with their wallets. Whilst this may at first seem like being potentially the ideal solution, most collectors will undoubtedly see that this is perhaps not the most appealing solution for us a manufacturing company, however, the incredible level of interest shown in this fascinating subject means that it is certainly worth exploring further. Could we please ask any of our readers who may have weathered one of their Corgi models to send in pictures, so we can feature them in a future edition of the blog. It would be really interesting to see what can be achieved and what collectors perceive as being an accurate representation of scale weathering. Perhaps of even greater interest would be the methods used to achieve the finishes which have the greatest appeal.

From a Corgi perspective, we have commissioned one of our talented in-house modelling enthusiasts (Michael, who created the weathered Sherman) to turn his hand to weathering a recent Aviation Archive new tooling release, a scale representation of a wartime aircraft which flew particularly demanding long range missions. We very much look forward to sharing images of this model with readers in a forthcoming edition and keeping the conversation on this fascinating subject going for a little longer – if you do have some weathered model pictures, please send us a selection at our usual diecastdiaries@corgi.co.uk address.

Important milestone for new Bristol Fighter tooling

New Corgi Bristol F.2B Fighter exclusive first look AA28801 diecast model on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

With the announcement of this year’s Corgi model range at the beginning of January, Aviation Archive collectors would have no doubt been a little disappointed to discover that there was just one new tooling project scheduled for 2020, but delighted to see which model it was going to be – a 1/48th scale Bristol F.2B Fighter. An aircraft which is much larger in scale than the other Great War aviation models in this popular range, the Bristol Fighter was originally intended as a replacement for the much criticised Royal Aircraft Factory B.E 2c, a reconnaissance aircraft which will forever be associated with the dubious colloquialism ‘Fokker Fodder’. Although the combat introduction of the Bristol Fighter proved to be less than impressive, once the aircraft was released to attack enemy aircraft as opposed to simply repelling their attacks, its true potential was quickly realised and it proved to be one of the most effective fighting aeroplanes of WWI.

Despite its size, the rugged and manoeuvrable two seat Bristol Fighter was more than capable of dogfighting with the single seat fighters of the Luftstreitkräfte and with its fixed forward firing Vickers machine gun and either one or two Scarff ring mounted Lewis guns operated by the observer/gunner, enemy aircraft soon began falling to the RFC’s new aircraft. As the most capable aircraft in its class by war’s end, the new Royal Air Force would continue using the Bristol Fighter into the early 1930s, underlining the effectiveness of the design and its prominent position in the history of British aviation.

With impressive credentials such as these, it’s no wonder that the announcement of the Bristol Fighter was met with an overwhelmingly positive reaction from Aviation Archive collectors, especially when considering that this subject has been the most requested new range addition since the first 1/48th scale Great War fighter range was launched in 2007. For all these reasons, we are delighted to be in a position to bring you the latest update from this project and a series of development pictures which have only previously been seen by a handful of people within the company – this is the latest in a long line of image scoops revealed exclusively to Diecast Diaries readers.

Before we show these latest images, it’s important that we include our usual caveat regarding their usage and the position they play in the development of this exciting new model. These images feature the ‘First Shots’ components from the new model tooling and still represent a relatively early stage in the development of the ‘Brisfit’. Despite clearly highlighting extremely impressive levels of casting detail the tooling already possesses, these are still development samples and are subject to change before the tooling is eventually released for production. Having said all that, we think you are going to be rather impressed, because if the truth be told, we are delighted with these First Shot samples - enjoy.

New Corgi Bristol F.2B Fighter exclusive first look AA28801 diecast model on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

This next selection of images are being shown on the blog for the very first time and take us through a fascinating visual journey through the early development of this exciting new 1/48th scale model. The first three images feature raw scan data produced from the LIDAR scanning operation, using the Imperial War Museum’s preserved Bristol Fighter at Duxford. The next two images have been produced by our product designers and use the available scan data as a shape reference from which they can begin designing the individual components of the new model. The final two pictures will probably be of most interest to our readers and show the ‘First Shot’ metal components produced from the new Bristol F.2B tooling. Although still representing an early stage of the project, they do show incredible amounts of detail and leave us wanting to see much more from this hugely popular addition to the Aviation Archive range

New Corgi Bristol F.2B Fighter exclusive first look AA28801 diecast model on Corgi die-cast diaries blog
New Corgi Bristol F.2B Fighter exclusive first look AA28801 diecast model on Corgi die-cast diaries blog
New Corgi Bristol F.2B Fighter exclusive first look AA28801 diecast model on Corgi die-cast diaries blog
New Corgi Bristol F.2B Fighter exclusive first look AA28801 diecast model on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

On to the main event and the first public reveal of images featuring the very first metal shots produced from the new 1/48th scale Bristol F.2B Fighter tooling. Although still an early stage of the development process, the Corgi team are really pleased with what has been achieved so far and are looking forward to significantly advancing this project over the next few weeks

New Corgi Bristol F.2B Fighter exclusive first look AA28801 diecast model on Corgi die-cast diaries blog
New Corgi Bristol F.2B Fighter exclusive first look AA28801 diecast model on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

The new Bristol F.2B Fighter tooling has proved quite a challenge for the Corgi design and development team, despite the fact that they had the benefit of a full sized aircraft scan at the outset of the project. This is a large and relatively complex machine and recreating this famous aircraft as a 1/48th scale diecast model tooling has taken every ounce of design experience the team can call upon, however, the sight of these early ‘First Shots’ images shows just how successful they have been. Inspecting the images closely, you can see how the tooling finesse has managed to capture the fabric stitching detail around the frame of the aircraft.

Although these pictures still represent a relatively early stage in the creation of this magnificent new model, they provide huge encouragement that this new model will be exactly what collectors have been waiting so patiently for and a stunning new addition to the Aviation Archive range. The first release presents an aircraft which possesses real aviation pedigree – one might even say it is a ‘Regal’ release. The pilot of this aircraft was the famous Canadian Great War fighter ace William George ‘Billy’ Barker and his passenger on what turned out to be an infamous flight over the Italian front lines was his friend and heir to the British crown Edward VIII, Prince of Wales. Although this incredibly risky venture incurred the wrath of the King and senior politicians, it did not stop the Prince from pursuing his love of flying and he would later go on to earn his own pilot’s licence.

AA28801 – Bristol F2B Fighter D-8063, RAF No.139 Squadron ‘Royal Flight’, Major William Barker, Villaverla Aerodrome, Italy, September 1918

New Corgi Bristol F.2B Fighter exclusive first look AA28801 diecast model on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

Although the Bristol F2B Fighter would go on to be regarded as one of the finest fighting aeroplanes of the Great War, its combat introduction on the Western Front was inauspicious to say the least. Intended as a replacement for the much maligned Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c, the Bristol Fighter was rushed into service so it could take part in the Second Battle of Arras in April 1917 and demonstrate the advancement in Allied aircraft design. During its first operational sortie on 5th April, six aircraft from No. 48 Squadron RFC, led by famous VC winner William Leefe Robinson, were bounced by Albatros fighters of Jasta 11, led by Manfred von Richthofen.

During the ensuing melee, four of the new fighters, including the one flown by Robinson, were shot down, with another suffering serious damage – VC hero Robinson was initially posted as killed in action, but later discovered to have been taken prisoner. Despite this, once the many qualities of the Bristol Fighter had been appreciated, pilots quickly learned that this large aeroplane could be flown extremely aggressively and was more than capable of taking on the German fighters. With a fixed forward firing Vickers gun for the pilot and Scarff ring mounted Lewis guns for the observer, the Bristol fighter would enable crews to score victory numbers equivalent to those claimed by single seat fighters.

New Corgi Bristol F.2B Fighter exclusive first look AA28801 diecast model on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

The outbreak of the Great War placed a moral burden on the shoulders of a young Edward, Prince of Wales, heir to the British throne. Desperate to do his duty and be seen alongside the thousands of troops heading for France, he was forbidden from joining his Grenadier Guards regiment at the front by Lord Kitchener, who was concerned about the potential damage his loss or capture would have on a nation at war. Nevertheless, over the course of the next four years, the Prince would regularly visit the trenches and was extremely popular amongst the fighting men of Britain.

An early supporter of the aeroplane, the Prince is thought to have made several flights as a passenger whilst in France, however, an incident which reputedly occurred in September 1918 is quite astonishing. Whilst visiting No.139 Squadron in Italy, the Prince was taken on several flights in Bristol F2B Fighter D-8063 by celebrated Canadian ace and friend William Barker and on one such flight, it was reported that the Prince was taken close to the front lines, where he fired the aircraft’s Lewis guns on enemy trenches. On hearing of this unofficial action, the King was said to be furious and chastised his son, telling him ‘never to be so foolish again’.

Our new Bristol F.2B Fighter is already attracting plenty of attention from WWI aviation collectors who have been hoping to see an example of this aircraft join the Aviation Archive range for many years and with this first release marking an aircraft which possesses such historic provenance, this is going to be one popular model. Now with a revised winter 2020/21 release date, your example of this stunning model can be reserved on the Corgi website, or by contacting your usual model supplier. We are really looking forward to welcoming our new Bristol F.2B Fighter into the range.

Duxford favourite has incredible wartime history

Corgi Duxford Sangatte Spitfire Mk.1a diecast model release on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

As committed collectors, we all know that this hobby is both infectious and quite personal – a model which appeals greatly to some may be of absolutely no interest to others. As far as the Aviation Archive range is concerned, this is most certainly true, with many collectors having an interest in WWII subject matter, whilst others prefer modern jets, Great War fighters or helicopters. One area which seems to have a wider, overlapping appeal with collectors, taking in both different scales and eras of flight is that of aircraft which perform on the Airshow circuit or can be admired in the metal at one of the many aviation/military museums across the world. With the wider public having an appreciation for these aircraft, it will come as no surprise that diecast representations of these aircraft are always amongst the most popular releases of any range in which they appear.

A recent ‘Signed Sample’ arrival at Corgi HQ marks the latest example of this collectable phenomenon and the impending release of model which will be of great interest to Duxford regulars and WWII enthusiasts alike. The final stage in the development of any new model, the sight of these exclusive images place us all on notice that this popular new model is destined to arrive in model shops over the next few weeks and that we should now all check our orders to ensure we don’t miss out on what will surely be an extremely popular release.

AA39214 – Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1a N3200 ‘QV’, Squadron Leader Geoffrey Stephenson, RAF No.19 Squadron, Dunkirk evacuation, May 1940

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1a N3200 was constructed at the Vickers Armstrong works at Eastleigh, near Southampton during 1939 and delivered to RAF No.19 Squadron at Duxford in April the following year. Wearing the codes QV and the distinctive black and white underside recognition markings synonymous with RAF fighters of the day, the aircraft embarked on its first operational sortie from Duxford on 27th May 1940, in the hands of Squadron Leader Geoffrey Stephenson, as part of the significant RAF response to the emergency situation at Dunkirk and the evacuation of the stranded British Expeditionary Force. During a day of savage dogfighting, Stephenson managed to down a Luftwaffe Stuka, before his Spitfire sustained damage to its engine, causing it to seize almost immediately. He managed to successfully land his aircraft on a beach at Sangatte, to the west of Calais and was able to exit the downed fighter without sustaining injury but was captured by German forces. The Spitfire lay damaged and partly buried in the sand and became something of an attraction for German troops stationed in the area, with many posing for pictures with the vanquished British fighter. The Spitfire disappeared beneath the shifting sands, but not before she had been stripped of many parts by souvenir hunters.

Corgi Duxford Sangatte Spitfire Mk.1a diecast model release on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

All these ‘Sangatte Spitfire’ images feature the ‘Signed Sample’ model produced in support of this incredibly popular new release. With its release date pending, it won’t be long before this beauty will be gracing our display cabinets

Corgi Duxford Sangatte Spitfire Mk.1a diecast model release on Corgi die-cast diaries blog
Corgi Duxford Sangatte Spitfire Mk.1a diecast model release on Corgi die-cast diaries blog
Corgi Duxford Sangatte Spitfire Mk.1a diecast model release on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

The notoriously shifting sands on the beach at Sangatte held on to their wartime Spitfire secret for many years after the end of WWII, lost from sight and just a distant memory for those who were aware of its story. Following a particularly violent storm in 1986, the parts of the Spitfire wreckage became visible once more, attracting plenty of local interest and resulting in plans being drawn up for a recovery operation. Later that same year, the remains of Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1a N3200 were removed from the beach and displayed in a French military museum, as recovered, where it would remain for the next ten years. Attracted by the provenance of this famous Spitfire and having seen wartime photographs of it lying in a forlorn state on the beach at Sangatte, it was acquired by a UK based group in 2000 and earmarked for restoration. Once returned to the UK, this complex and lengthy restoration would be placed in the capable hands of Historic Flying Limited and in March 2014, marking the end of an ambitious 14 year project, Spitfire N3200 took to the skies once more. To add even more significance to this occasion, her first post restoration flight took place at Duxford airfield, the same airfield it had operated from some 74 years earlier, whilst embarking on its first fateful combat mission.

A scale representation of one of the most historic aircraft in the world today, this latest Spitfire release is due to arrive with retailers early next month.

A Quartet of summer Vanguards

Corgi model releases in the Vanguards model car range on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

Our latest selection of exclusive blog imagery is not restricted to the Aviation Archive range and we are pleased to inform Vanguards collectors that we also have a little model picture treat for you. There is a real cross section of models here, two which are now scheduled for impending release, one which is already available and one which has already sold out on the Corgi website, but may still be available in some model shops. One thing they all have in common is that they are all ‘Signed Sample’ examples of appealing 2020 releases and are being published here for the very first time.

Regular Diecast Diaries readers will now be familiar with many of the terms we use whilst guiding new model projects through the various stages of product development and will be aware that the receipt of ‘Signed Sample models’ is the final stage of this process before the models are released for production. A signed sample model represents the final stage of a model’s production development and is basically an advanced production sample of that particular release. It should be the culmination of many months of work, incorporating all the detail included in the main artwork file and comments made by the development team after assessing the pre-production sample model previously supplied by the factory.

From the collector’s perspective, the sight of these models is usually a final notification that they will be available soon and if you had not already reserved your example, you had better get your skates on! In this case however, this only applies to two of the models, as one is already available and one is already proving hard to find. Let’s take a look at each of the impending Vanguards releases individually, including something of a 1/43rd scale Fordfest!

Land-Rover Series 1 80" - Poppy Red

Corgi model releases in the Vanguards model car range on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

It became clear almost immediately after the Land-Rover's launch in 1948 that it could be used in a far greater number of roles than Rover had initially envisaged. The vehicle modelled is the first Land-Rover built for the fire service, and thus the first to leave the Solihull works painted red instead of green. It was actually the first of a batch of four dispatched in February 1949 to the Derbyshire Fire Service, all of which were handed over to Derbyshire's Divisional Fire officer at the same time.

They were among the last vehicles made using the R86 1948 model-year numbering sequence, before production of the subtly different 1949 model-year vehicles commenced. Other than the red paint, they were all standard vehicles and were used to transport equipment and personnel around Derbyshire, a region where off-road capability is important because of the topography. All four were painted green to be sold off in the mid 1960s and the current owners, North Yorkshire-based Robert and Rachel Sargeant, spotted the vehicle on eBay in 2010. It was by then painted blue and had been off the road for 35 years but, although in very poor condition, it was complete and unmodified. The Sargeants embarked on a total restoration to return it to its original condition and livery that took 570 hours of work but was finished in time for the Series One Club's rally in June 2012.

Ford Escort Mk3 XR3i - Durham Constabulary

Corgi model releases in the Vanguards model car range on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

The XR3i modelled was based at Darlington Police Station from 1983 under the call sign M10D, or more usually 'Mike 10'. It was used by 'Traffic' and was one of two XR3is employed by the Constabulary in this role during that period with the other, A277 BJR, being based at Peterlee; both were later replaced by Astra GTEs. The XR3i was an ideal urban traffic car because it was relatively small and nimble but genuinely fast enough to carry out all the tasks demanded by this role. It was thus a formidable weapon in the fight against car crime although, ironically, XR3is were one of the most commonly stolen cars of that era...

The XR3i was used in this role by Merseyside, Durham, Dorset, and Cambridgeshire, but other forces adopted hot hatches for similar duties. With impressive grip and vice-free front-wheel-drive handling, honed by F1 Champion Jackie Stewart, a 0-60 time of 8.6 seconds and a maximum speed of 116mph it could keep up with far more exotic cars in any real-world situation. It could, however, still carry the equipment that the job by then demanded and have two passengers in the back if needed. The UK police started using small performance saloons in the early 1960s, with the Mini Cooper pioneering this role, although other rally and race-bred saloons quickly followed with the Lotus Cortina, Escort Mexico and Escort RS2000 being popular.

Ford Granada Mk2 2.8i Ghia X Nimbus Grey & Strato Silver

Corgi model releases in the Vanguards model car range on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

The Granada Mk2 range was announced in August 1977 and although it appeared to be an entirely new car it actually used basically the same platform and suspension as the Mk1 which had been in production since 1972. The style, however, was a neat pan-European sharp but understated and elegant design by Filippo Sapino, overseen by Ford of Europe Vice President of Design, Uwe Bahnsen, which had a CD of 0.44. The free-revving 'Cologne' V6 engine was adopted in favour of the Mk1's 'Essex' V6 and fuel injection featured on more expensive versions.

The range was huge from the launch and spanned a basic 65bhp taxi specification version to the luxurious 135bhp Ghia. Although the 4-door saloon was the most popular, the Mk2 was also available as both a 2-door saloon and a very capacious estate. The whole range was substantially updated in 1981 with wraparound bumpers, a body coloured grille, improved suspension, enhanced sound deadening, more comfortable seats and more power. This kept it competitive with newer rivals and 918,969 Mk2s were produced before production ceased in 1985.

The car modelled is a later Ghia X, which featured an electric slide and tilt sunroof, electric boot release, electric seat adjustment, heated seats, a trip computer, electric mirrors, Michelin TRX metric tyres and air conditioning. It was first registered in March 1984 and was substantially restored by owner and enthusiast Ajay Notani in 2012.

Ford Escort Mk2 1600 Sport - Signal Orange

Corgi model releases in the Vanguards model car range on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

The Escort Sport was launched on March 4th 1975 along with the rest of the Mk2 range and was available as a 2 or 4-door saloon, both of which could be specified with an automatic gearbox. It sat above the GL but below the Ghia in the pricing hierarchy and featured a twin-choke Weber carburettor, high-lift camshaft, distinctive graphics, spotlights, sports wheels and a close-ratio gearbox. Although it rode 12mm lower than standard, it used a modified version of the standard suspension rather than the more specialised components used on the RS models.

Power came from the 1.6-litre Kent Crossflow engine that had previously been seen in many Fords, including the Escort Mk1 Mexico. The current owner of the car modelled, Steven Maclean from Aberdeenshire, bought it in 2016 after it had been totally restored by friend, neighbour, and fellow RS Club member Gary Bell in 2009. During this nut and bolt rebuild, Gary modified the car extensively but retained the original 'narrow-arch' factory look, its distinctive 1600 Sport graphics, original paint colour and interior. The modifications included fitting a Vauxhall C20XE engine (a very popular transplant in the Escort world), which is fuelled by throttle bodies, a close-ratio Ford type-9 gearbox, Bilstein suspension, uprated brakes and completely new black trim and carpets. The result is a car which looks standard but packs nearly 200bhp and, because the bodyshell is quite light, has fantastic performance.

Other than Ford Escort Mk.2 VA12617 which may now prove quite difficult to find, the Police Escort XR3i and Nimbus Grey Granada can still be pre-ordered in advance of their impending release and the handsome red Land Rover is available now.

Under new management

New Corgi Military Legends model tank releases on Corgi die-cast diaries blog

The re-launch of our 1/50th scale Military Legends range at the beginning of 2019 will have come as something of a welcome surprise for many Corgi model collectors, but no doubt delighted those who had existing collections of these superb models. Possessing a high metal content and excellent levels of detail, these models were an important part of the range around ten years ago, but appeared to fall out of favour in the period immediately following the company’s acquisition by Hornby Hobbies. Thankfully, these much loved model toolings have been given a new lease of life and these scale icons of the battlefields of WWII are on the march once more.

Even if you would not class yourself as a military expert, names such as Tiger, Panther, Sherman and Churchill probably still conjure up images of the metal behemoths which fought to dominate the world’s battlefields during the Second World War. Most of us have probably also built plastic kits of these mighty machines during our youth and even though they may have been accurate scale representations of the subject tanks, there was always something missing. Knowing that these monsters were made of steel and in some cases weighed more than 50 tons, picking up a plastic kit you had just spent many hours building always seemed like a modelling disappointment, however, that was in the days before Corgi. Being constructed of diecast metal, Corgi’s Military Legends range is reassuringly heavy and when combined with the accuracy of moulding and well researched finishes, it made for an irresistible collector combination.

The current Military Legends range includes the original eight re-launch models (all of which are currently available) and four new models for 2020. Interestingly, of these four new models, three represent tanks which were captured on the battlefields of Europe and North Africa, only to be pressed into service by their new owners. Over the course of the next few blogs, we will be looking individually at the new tank announcements for 2020, starting with a US Sherman which was captured by German troops and returned to Germany for test and evaluation.

CC51032 - M4A1 Sherman ‘Beutepanzer’ (Trophy Tank), US Army, North African Campaign, Captured by l./Pz.Rgt.5, Tunisia, Early 1943, and sent back to Germany for evaluation

CC51032 - M4A1 Sherman ‘Beutepanzer’ (Trophy Tank), US Army, North African Campaign

An exclusive first look at the artwork file produced in support of this captured Sherman project, artwork which will be sent to the production facility to aid in the manufacture of this unique model

Having the opportunity to capture a fully working example of your enemy’s latest battle tank is a situation which was highly prized by all the combatant nations during the Second World War, allowing their capabilities to be assessed and to ascertain the most effective ways of destroying them. This detailed evaluation would usually be carried out by a specialist Military High Command unit well behind the front lines, but getting your war prize back there during the heat of battle could be a challenging process. This particular early Sherman tank was captured by 1st Company, 501st Heavy Tank Battalion in Tunisia, during operations to counter the Anglo-American invasion of French North Africa in late 1942 and must have looked rather conspicuous parked amongst the German Tiger 1 and Panzer III tanks which were heading towards the fighting.

The fascinating hand painted warning on the side of the Sherman is basically warning German troops not to remove any items from the enemy tank, as it has been commandeered by German Military High Command and is destined to be sent back to Germany for test and evaluation. In addition to the rather crudely applied Balkenkreuz markings on the turret of the Sherman, the unit responsible for securing such a significant trophy also ensured their details were included in the hand painted warning on the hull sides of the tank, presumably knowing that the message would be seen by thousands of military personnel during its journey back to Germany and wanting their achievement recognised.

The German Army had first encountered the American built Sherman Tank whilst fighting the British at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942, but at that time, could hardly have envisaged how significant its combat arrival would prove to be. With the first examples falling into their hands and sent for evaluation following the Allied landings in French North Africa just a few weeks later, the Germans could not fail to have been impressed by the quality of a tank which represented the very embodiment of American mass production techniques and ultimately illustrated how the might of US industrial capacity would influence the outcome of the Second World War.

Comparing it against the prowess of their own mighty Tiger Tank, they would have been more than confident that they held the technological advantage, however, the Americans were clever in understanding that their new tank would have to be transported to combat zones all around the world, often to ports and staging depots which had rather basic facilities. Larger tanks would have created an even greater logistical challenge than the significant one they already faced and as their Sherman would be used by all the armies of the Allied nations, the greater availability of M4 tanks would prove crucial in the outcome of the ground war. Eventually, over 50,000 Sherman Tanks of all types would be produced, making this the second most produced tank of the Second World War and an essential war winner.

This fascinating Sherman Beutepanzer (Trophy tank) CC51032 is scheduled for a winter release and we look forward to bringing you further development images in forthcoming editions of the blog. In our next edition, we will take a look at a repurposed Soviet T-34 tank which was eventually turned against its previous owners.

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 diecastdiaries@corgi.co.uk 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 17th July.


The Corgi Die-cast Diaries Team


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