Harry Potter meets the Red Baron
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. The opportunity to inform our readers about all the latest Corgi announcements and product updates is a privilege the Diecast Diaries team holds dear, but from time to time, even we have to take a short break from our blog duties and this latest edition reflects the fact that several members of the team are either on holiday or just returning from one. Rather than miss our regular blog slot, we have decided to publish a slightly abridged edition this month but without compromising on the quality of the exclusive content we are bringing you, just less words and more pictures. The title of this latest blog provides a less than subtle hint as to the subject of two of our model updates, however, we will also be including an exclusive first look at an exciting new addition to the popular Showcase range and a diecast representation of arguably the world’s most impressive multi-role aircraft and one which has become the latest acquisition for the Royal Air Force. With a host of diecast delights awaiting your inspection, our first appointment is with a famous flying car, but one which accomplished its Wingardium Leviosa without the need for wings.
New Harry Potter range gets the Corgi Muggle treatment
Flying inspiration – this Harry Potter prop was spotted by our photographer whilst enjoying a trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and provided inspiration for the latest flying Anglia release
As some of the most popular books and feature films of recent years, the adventures of the boy Wizard Harry Potter and his friends are familiar to millions of people all over the world and went on to establish a memorabilia industry which continues to thrive to this day. Almost everything which appeared in these stories was considered worthy of manufacture from a collectability and memorabilia perspective and not just in the shape of wands, creatures and clothing, as several iconic vehicles also appeared in the various film releases. Corgi were pleased to announce a new licencing agreement with Warner Brothers last year, which meant for the first time since the company had come under the ownership of the Hornby Group of brands, they were in a position to develop a range of models commemorating some of the modes of transport used by Harry and his wizarding associates. Significantly, it was the first opportunity the current custodians of the Corgi brand had to bring their own skills to bear on such models and they were determined to make their mark – using the existing tooling they inherited, the team set about making this trio of models the most accurate and film faithful they had ever been, knowing that an army of Potter fans would be watching their efforts with interest.
Throughout the history of the Corgi model range, there have always been multiple releases from the same model tooling during the past 63 years and from the collector’s perspective, it is fascinating to see how these releases differ from one another. These differences could be down to the factory which manufactured the different releases, been a reflection of the financial state of the company at any given time, or simply down to the levels of knowledge and interest possessed by the development personnel working on the project. With this latest range of Harry Potter models, the current development team did have previous model releases to refer to, however, none of the people who had been involved in bringing them to market were still with the company and they were to all intents and purposes, flying solo. Thankfully, we have several extremely knowledgeable film enthusiasts in our team, not to mention some incredibly talented designers and researchers and they were all determined that this latest group of Harry Potter releases would be something they could be proud of, more accurate and film faithful than anything that had gone before.
This series of images features one of the original Corgi Harry Potter flying Anglia releases and the latest incarnation of this famous car
Three different interpretations of the same subject, with the bottom model being the most accurate and the one collectors can look forward to in the very near future
Imagine if you will, missing the Hogwarts Express and not being old enough to legally ‘apparate’ to school! This disastrous scenario befell Harry Potter and Ron Weasley at the very start of their second year at Hogwarts, but thankfully the pair were able to ‘borrow’ Mr Weasley’s enchanted Ford Anglia. Bestowed with the ability of flight, as well a personality all of its own, Harry and Ron’s trip in the car came to a sudden end when they accidentally crash landed into the Whomping Willow in the Hogwarts grounds. Annoyed at this mistreatment, the Anglia disappeared into the Forbidden Forest, much to the despair of Ron’s parents.
Using one of Britain’s most popular early family cars as the choice for Ron and Harry’s unusual trip to school was something of a masterstroke and made this distinctive looking car instantly recognisable to a much younger audience than the ones who remember seeing these classics in towns and cities all over the country. From a Corgi perspective, we had a beautifully tooled example of the Ford Anglia in our popular Vanguards range and this was used as the basis for this incredibly popular TV and Film model release. From the pictures we have included above, you can clearly see the differences between the original Corgi release and the sample model of the latest incarnation and how strikingly different the two Ford Anglias are.
The website image for this fantastic impending model release will have Harry Potter fans eagerly awaiting this models arrival
Our company photographer David is something of a Harry Potter aficionado and as he had seen an example of the of the car hanging from the ceiling at the Harry Potter Studios site at Leavesden, he knew that the colour was much lighter than the one used on the previous Corgi release and set about thoroughly researching the subject. Surely, the car would be finished in a standard Ford colour, even though the grading process of modern film-making may alter the appearance of the colour slightly. In conjunction with other members of the Corgi development team, they contacted Ford, obtained the paint references and had their findings approved by Warner Brothers – what they have achieved is a highly accurate representation of this iconic vehicle and one which Harry and Ron would be more than happy to climb into. The picture which features three Anglia models above, shows the samples in this order:
Top - The original Corgi Harry Potter model release.
Middle – A hand painted sample model produced for catalogue and the original target colour.
Bottom – Following the receipt of additional information, this is as close to the actual colour of the film car they could get and the most accurate representation of this rather famous flying car.
With the new models also benefitting from newly designed packaging, Harry Potter fans of all ages will be keen to add these to their collections, especially after hearing the lengths the current Corgi team have gone to in ensuring their authenticity. Flying Ford Anglia CC99725 represents great value for money, as it utilises the successful 1/43rd scale Vanguards tooling and is accompanied by painted figures of both Harry and Ron, wands in hand, even though Ron’s was broken during the car’s rather heavy landing.
Even more iconic than Harry and Ron’s flying Ford Anglia, the Hogwarts Express locomotive is the only way to travel to your first day at school
On this project, the Corgi team benefitted from work completed by their Hornby colleagues and were able to obtain an accurate colour match for their new model
A mode of transport which is arguably even more iconic that the flying Ford Anglia is the magnificent Hogwarts Express locomotive, which is seen speeding through beautiful countryside, with its cargo of talented, but as yet untrained witches and wizards. If you had received your letter to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, then there was only one destination for you - Platform 9 3/4s at King’s Cross Railway Station on September 1 at precisely 11 o’clock in the morning. That is when the magnificent Hogwarts Express pulls out of the station on the first day of term, transporting its occupants to a world full of wonder and adventure – this first journey would also be an opportunity for future friends (and adversaries) to meet for the first time and capture the imaginations of millions of people the world over.
Even though the Corgi team were equally determined to make this new model release as accurate as possible, they were fortunate to be able to call on the assistance of their Hornby colleagues, who had just been working on a beautiful new Harry Potter project of their own. The locomotive used in the film was GWR 4900 Class 5972 Olton Hall, a 4-6-0 steam locomotive which was specially ‘Hogwarted’ for use in the film. The Hornby team had gone to great lengths in ensuring the colour used for the locomotive was as film accurate as possible and were only too happy to supply colour references to the Corgi team for their Hogwarts Express project, a model which was based on a previous 1/100th scale Herry Potter related release.
Placing the original Corgi model next to the new production sample due for release in the next few weeks, it is clear to see how the two differ in colour
As can be seen in the pictures above, there had also been a previous release of this model and the team had an example of the 1/120th scale Corgi Hogwarts Express to inspect at the start of the project. Basing this latest model on the research and information they had only recently gathered, the difference between the two models is quite dramatic and makes an interesting story in itself – any collector who displays both of these models next to each other will hopefully have quite a diecast tale to tell. Looking resplendent in its deeper red livery, this beautiful model is enough to make anyone want to take up a life in witchcraft and wizardry.
The flying Ford Anglia and Hogwarts Express are also joined by the very strange looking triple decker Knight Bus - Lost far from home or need to escape an approaching moment of great peril? Thankfully, the Knight Bus is available for Wizards in need. Coming to Harry Potter’s rescue before he began his third year at Hogwarts, the distinctive triple decker bus is magically enchanted to speed through the streets, squeeze through any gap, and brake in an instant, enabling it to reach any destination (except those underwater). While Harry is a passenger, the three levels of the bus are furnished with beds for an overnight stay on long trips, as well as a chandelier to bring a touch of class to the interior.
This next group of images features the new box artwork which will accompany the release of this trio of Harry Potter related models
These appealing, film accurate new models are all scheduled for an Autumn release and are sure to attract the attentions of Harry Potter fans everywhere. Available to pre-order on the Corgi website now, or ordered through your usual model supplier, it will make a really interesting Potter display to have these latest incarnations displayed next to the original Corgi releases from yesteryear.
Feared Albatros of the Red Baron
In the world of aviation, it seems somehow fitting that the man who is generally regarded as the most famous fighter pilot the world has ever seen should have the impressive title Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, the Great War’s ‘ace of aces’ and a man whose achievements were admired across the world, at a time when chaos and destruction reigned. Joining one of the German Air Services first dedicated fighter squadrons in October 1916, von Richthofen would create an aviation legend in the space of eighteen months of savage air fighting, a period which would see the aeroplane rise to prominence as a major weapon of war and mastery of the skies became a battlefield priority. Despite his fame and notoriety, the Red Baron would not survive the war, killed whilst inexplicably chasing an inexperienced Canadian pilot across Allied lines, just eleven days before his 26th birthday and the day before he was due to go on leave.
With an aviation reputation unrivalled by any other aviators, you might think that the Corgi Aviation Archive range would have included a great many Red Baron related releases during its 21 year history, however, there have been comparatively few and only one featuring the aircraft he flew whist gaining the majority of his victories, the handsome Albatros fighter. Thankfully, that situation has been addressed over recent months and a current release marks one of von Richtofen’s last Albatros fighters before converting to the Fokker triplane.
AA37809 – Albatros DV 2059/17, Manfred von Richthofen, Jagdgeschwader 1, Marckebeke airfield, Belgium, Late August 1917.
As the most famous fighter pilot in the history of military aviation, the name Manfred von Richthofen is familiar to many people and despite the Great War claiming his life more than 100 years ago, the exploits of the Bloody Red Baron continue to be a source of fascination to this day. Originally joining the Luftstreitkräfte as an aerial observer, his fighting ambitions would lead von Richthofen to be selected for fighter training, where he would later become a legend of the air, being credited with more aerial victories than any other pilot of the Great War. He is inextricably linked with the red Fokker Triplane fighter in which he scored his final victories and indeed met his death, however, it would be the famous Albatros series of fighters which would bring him the majority of his victories. During April 1917, in a period referred to by Allied airmen as ‘Bloody April’, von Richthofen and his fellow Luftstreitkräfte pilots would take a heavy toll of British aircraft, with his personal tally standing at an impressive 21 victories. Von Richthofen sustained a significant head wound which almost cost his life whilst engaged in combat with the RFC on 6th July 1917 and although it is reported he was never quite the same person following recuperation and his return to duty, he would go on to score a further 23 victories. One of the aircraft used after his return to combat and before converting to the Fokker Triplane was Albatros DV 2059/17, which he used to claim his 58th and 59th victories. As his unit were converting to the new Triplane and this Albatros was damaged at around this same time, it is thought that this particular machine was repaired and sent for museum display in Germany, the prized aircraft of the world’s greatest fighter pilot.
This next series of images features the final pre-production sample model prior to release and whilst it required a couple of small modifications, it is more or less as the model will look in our display cabinets when it arrives in the next few days
The fearsome reputation earned by Manfred von Richthofen in the skies over the Western Front made him a national hero back in Germany and a respected adversary amongst Allied airmen. Stories of his combat prowess were so widely known amongst his enemies that the mere sight of any red coloured German aircraft in contested skies would spread panic amongst Allied units, as they became convinced that the Red Baron and his squadron were about to pounce upon them at any moment. Even though every Allied airman would have been proud to be known as the man who shot down the Red Baron, his reputation was such that most would also have been honoured to shake his hand, should he fall into captivity. His Flying Circus came about as von Richthofen was given command of a new kind of fighting unit, intended to overcome greater numbers of enemy aircraft appearing at that time and combining four squadrons into a large fighting group. These would be sent to specific problem areas on the Western Front, clearing the skies of Allied aircraft, before moving on to the next combat hotspot – something of a travelling aviation troubleshooting unit. Von Richthofen reputedly painted his aircraft red so his pilots could quickly check his position during the melee of combat, but as the reputation of the group began to grow, other members of the circus began to paint their aircraft in a similarly garish manner. The brightly coloured aircraft and the fact that the unit would travel from one Western Front combat hotspot to the next, quickly earned the unit the now famous name ‘von Richthofen’s Flying Circus’, however, despite this rather jocular title, these airmen were playing a deadly game of aerial combat and the stakes could not be higher.
STOP PRESS – As we were in the process of compiling this latest blog, we were informed that this latest Red Baron Albatros release has already sold out, underlining the popularity of these 1/48th scale Great War fighters and anything linked to Manfred von Richthofen. As this is still a fascinating story, we decided to keep it in the blog, which we hope meets with your approval.
Lightning strike for the Showcase range
Catalogue image used to announce the production of the new Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II model for the Showcase range
The impressive Showcase range of models has been inspiring younger model collectors for many years and has probably been responsible for starting a great many people off on a diecast model collecting journey. The range currently includes a selection of aircraft, military vehicles and space exploration craft, but over the years, quite a number of different models have been introduced, rested and re-introduced once more, as these high quality models continue to sell in vast quantities. There is nothing quite like being at an Airshow with a couple of fully stocked Showcase display bins available and seeing how quickly they empty, as people rummage through them looking for either an instant diecast model collection, or trying to find that particular model which is missing from someone’s existing Showcase collection.
Although initially intended for our younger collectors, this fantastic range of models possess the same legendary diecast quality Corgi are famous for and as such, have found their way into the hands of many an older collector. They are equally at home being played with on the front room carpet, as they are lying resplendent in a display cabinet and whilst not produced to a specific scale, are certainly attractive representations of some of the world’s most iconic aircraft and military vehicles.
It has been some time since the Showcase range had benefited from the addition of a new model tooling, but the announcement of the 2019 model range addressed that situation and included details of our impressive new Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II tooling and we are pleased to bring you the first exclusive images of a model which is destined to become one of our most popular lines in the years to come. It could be argued that by the nature of these models, the pressure is slightly off the Corgi development team when producing a new Showcase design, even though these popular little models sell in numbers which put all other lines to shame. As they are not manufactured to a specific scale and are more of a ‘fit the box’ product, they are still representations of famous machines and are developed as accurately as possible, within the constraints of size and tooling cost. Illustrating this perfectly, the pictures featured above show the current status of the F-35s development and how the team turned it from a series of computer file, to the latest Showcase model.
A fascinating image showing all the individual diecast and plastic components from the new F-35 Lightning II tooling
The model which is furthest away of the three pictured is actually a 3D printed prototype model, which was sprayed and painted once it was received back from the manufacturers. This model was produced by a company which specialises in this type of prototype model production work and is the same one that Airfix have used on a number of their previous projects. Once this model is in the hands of the product designers, they can check it for accuracy, fit and finish, as well as assessing if the detail levels have been replicated as intended. For the new F-35, the team elected to go for slightly raised detail, as opposed to printing these details on the model.
The second (middle) model is the first metal shot from the new tooling and has been assembled complete with all the metal and plastic parts and whilst this is still subject to some alteration, it is very much how the new model will look once it is available. The third model is another one of the assembled first shot models, this time having been sprayed grey to allow the development team to inspect the surface detail more effectively, ensuring all the work undertaken during development appears as they had intended. As the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is destined for widespread use by a number of the world’s air forces in the years to come, as well as a significant aircraft for the Royal Air Force, this little model is bound to be a popular addition to the range and will be coming into the possession of many thousands of youngsters and model collectors. Scheduled for a winter 2019/20 release, the new Showcase F-35 (CS90629) will certainly be available in time for the 2020 Airshow season and will be a high profile addition to this impressive range of models.
A final look at the pre-production sample casting from the new F-35 tooling, which shows a surprisingly high level of cockpit detail for a model of this size
That’s all we have for you in this latest edition of Corgi Diecast Diaries, however, 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 could use this firstname.lastname@example.org link for all correspondence.
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 Die-cast Diaries is scheduled to be published on Friday 4th October.
The Corgi Die-cast Diaries Team
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