Have your say on Aviation Archive
We are delighted to be bringing you this latest edition of Die-cast Diaries and your regular look at all the news, updates and stories from the fascinating world of Corgi die-cast model collecting. You may find the title of our latest blog a little intriguing, but for anyone who has even the slightest interest in our Aviation Archive range, this is definitely one edition you will not want to miss. As we currently find ourselves in the 20th Anniversary year of this hugely successful range of quality scale model aircraft, we think it is only right that Aviation Archive collectors have the opportunity to potentially influence the future development of these popular models - we will have more on this exciting opportunity a little later. Staying with the Aviation Archive theme, we will also be marking the triumphant arrival of the newly tooled 1/48th scale English Electric Lightning F.6, before moving on to take a closer look at the model project which is intended to mark the significant 20th Anniversary for these much loved aviation models.
If classic British motor vehicles are more your thing, we will also be taking a look at the story behind a model included in the latest Corgi range, which is the latest incarnation of a die-cast classic and one of the most famous cars from the world of TV comedy - if you have ever attempted to get dressed whilst driving to work, you will know exactly which vehicle we are talking about. Finally, we take one final look back at the festive period just passed and showcase some of the really imaginative images sent in to our latest Corgi Christmas Photo Competition, particularly as snow seems to be giving us all one final reminder of winter at this current moment in time. Due to the annual adverse effects of Chinese New Year on the production of die-cast models, we will not be ending with our traditional 'What's on the Desk' review of the latest sample models to arrive at Corgi HQ this time, but you can certainly look forward to a bumper offering in the next edition of our blog. Without any further delay, let's make a start on this 38th edition of Die-cast Diaries.
'Skytrain' to the rescue
The pre-production sample model of 1/72nd scale Douglas C-47A Skytrain AA38209 is a beautiful example of this famous aircraft and a fitting way to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Aviation Archive range
In what is already shaping up to be a significant year for Aviation Archive collectors, 2018 will not only bring us a range of models intended as a die-cast tribute to mark the Centenary commemoration of the establishment of the Royal Air Force, but we are also marking the 20th Anniversary of the launch of these ever popular die-cast aircraft models. With the RAF Centenary clearly destined to receive significant attention over the coming months, it is perhaps fitting that the main focus of our latest January to June model range should be aircraft which have seen RAF service over the past 100 years - having said that, we also wanted to commemorate a significant anniversary for the Aviation Archive range and to mark this occasion in some style. In the eyes of many collectors, the Aviation Archive range was responsible for bringing high quality, well detailed scale die-cast model aircraft collecting to the mass market for the first time and proved to be extremely popular from the moment the first models were announced. Allowing aviation enthusiasts to collect an ever growing range of interesting and iconic aircraft, the Aviation Archive range offered two major benefits to the die-cast collector and aviation enthusiast, both of which were significant in establishing the popularity of this new range. Firstly, not every aviation enthusiast has the time, skill or opportunity to build plastic kits of their favourite aircraft and even if they did, would probably not manage to do so to a level they were content with - these new Corgi aeroplane models removed this barrier, as they were supplied pre-finished and ready to take out of their box and enjoy. Secondly, as these models were made from die-cast metal, they had a weight to them which many found extremely appealing and certainly gave an impression of robustness and quality - after all, the real aircraft are certainly heavy machines. If anyone had seen the early models and retained an interest but reserved judgement, they will have been instantly smitten when handling the first 1/72nd scale Avro Lancaster release … it was a real beast and a significant model in the history of Aviation Archive. Over the past twenty years, the range has become a major section in any new Corgi catalogue and has seen the announcement of a great many new model toolings, the introduction of different scales and some interesting die-cast modelling innovation, some of which proved extremely beneficial to the range (fully wired rigging on biplane models), whilst other developments failed to capture the imagination of the collector (Sights and Sounds). As it continues to bring unique and interesting die-cast aircraft models to the collector market, this significant anniversary is certainly one worth celebrating, as we look forward with some optimism to the next twenty years of Aviation Archive.
Released to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, 1/144th scale C-47A Skytrain 47101 heralded the arrival of a new range of high quality, die-cast collectors aircraft models
Since the announcement of our special 20th Anniversary model release at the beginning of January, we have seen a huge increase in forum and social media discussions regarding the heritage of the Aviation Archive range, including some comments questioning the selection of the Douglas C-47A 'Skytrain' as our anniversary release. Although we fully understand that our collectors will have their own particular model favourites from throughout the past 20 years, our intention was to specifically mark the heritage of the range, bringing early Aviation Archive releases right up to date whilst also acknowledging the achievements of these very first models. Even though 1998 saw the announcement of several new models in this exciting new aviation range, chronologically, the first release in the Aviation Archive series was model number 47101, a 1/144th scale Douglas C-47A Skytrain named the 'Fassberg Flyer'. This model was released ahead of others in the new range to specifically commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift in 1998, whilst also presenting collectors with one of the most famous aircraft to take part in 'Operation Vittles'. Although the Aviation Archive range has clearly moved on since the release of this first model, we now find ourselves in the 70th Anniversary year of the Berlin Airlift AND we have an impressive new C-47 tooling in 1/72nd scale - in truth, there really could have only been one model release to commemorate our 20th birthday.
AA38209 - Douglas C-47A Skytrain 315208 'Fassberg Flyer', US Air Force, Berlin Airlift, 1948 is a fitting way to mark 20 years of Aviation Archive and presents the collector with an impressive and extremely authentic representation of one of aviation history's most effective aircraft. As the aircraft most closely associated with leading the D-Day invasion force, the C-47 was without doubt one of the most important aircraft of the Second World War, with large numbers of these impressive load luggers remaining in service long after the end of hostilities. Clearly, with many of these aircraft still in military service by the time of the 1948 Berlin Airlift, these war weary trains of the sky were pressed into action once more and made a significant contribution in quite literally keeping over 2 million people in Berlin supplied from the air. The logistics of this achievement are quite staggering, but at a time when the world was once again teetering on the brink of war, this magnificent aircraft which was instrumental in ending the previous war, also played a role in ensuring we did not have to endure another one so soon after it.
These images showing the original Fassberg Flyer with the latest 1/72nd scale pre-production model illustrate both the scheme differences and the impressive size of the new model
Looking at the two models side by side and almost 20 years apart, you can see a significant difference between the appearance of both, even though they are commemorating the same aircraft and it is interesting to look at why this should be. The Corgi research department go to great lengths to ensure the historical accuracy of every new model which joins the Aviation Archive range and whilst we must accept the manufacturing limitations of the die-cast production process, they have managed to produce some absolutely stunning models over the years. The original research conducted on the 'Fassberg Flyer' took reference from some famous photographs of the aircraft which show it as having a light coloured fuselage, some darker patches where maintenance work has been done and a replacement rudder. Their interpretation of these images resulted in the scheme applied to the first 1/144th scale release, however further research highlighted that the fuselage colour was actually a significantly faded shade of olive drab, with darker patches of more recently applied olive drab in places and replacement control surfaces in doped aluminium. The aircraft also featured recently replaced natural metal engine cowlings, which all go to enhance the overall appearance of this hard working aircraft - all this research has been incorporated into this beautiful Anniversary release, which also benefits from a retro box presentation, taking its inspiration from the very first Aviation Archive release back in 1998. Our new 1/72nd scale 'Fassberg Flyer' AA38209 is about to make Aviation Archive history of its own and is scheduled for imminent release.
STOP PRESS ADDITION
Our ultra hard working Company Photographer has come up trumps again and provided us with a selection of additional 'Fassberg Flyer' images in the hours leading up to the publication of our latest blog. They feature an advanced production sample of the model, which we simply had to share with you - a sort of Breaking News edition of 'What's on the desk'. The model fantastic and is an impressive way for us to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Aviation Archive range. It will surely be of interest to the many collectors who can trace their involvement with these aviation models back to the early days of the first 1/144th scale releases and the original Corgi 'Fassberg Flyer'. We are pleased to bring you these very latest images of our 20th Anniversary model AA38209.
These latest production sample images clearly show why Douglas C-47A Skytrain AA38209 is both an impressive addition to the range, whilst also being a fitting way to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Aviation Archive range
Aviation Archive - What would you like to see?
The success of the Aviation Archive range is very much down to the way the die-cast collector has taken these models to their heart and we do not want to let this Anniversary year pass without giving collectors the opportunity to have their say on which aircraft they would like to see join the range in the future. In an exciting first for Die-cast Diaries readers, this really is your opportunity to potentially influence the future development of the Aviation Archive range and let us know which aircraft you feel deserve to be immortalised in die-cast metal. We are looking for the new tooling suggestions you would most like to see added to the Aviation Archive range, which can include any aircraft and in any scale. We will collate all the suggestions we receive over the next couple of months, before producing a definitive list of the most popular suggestions and announcing the aircraft which came out on top in a special edition of Die-cast Diaries later in the year. Although we can't promise that the winning suggestion, or indeed any of the models suggested will definitely find their way into the range in the near future, the Corgi Development Team will be extremely interested in seeing how this project progresses and the aircraft which prove to be the most popular.
Classic British bombers from the Second World War have always been popular subjects with Aviation Archive collectors
So, what are we asking readers to do? In the first instance, please let us have your suggestions of the aircraft model you would like to see join the Aviation Archive range by sending an e-mail to our usual email@example.com address. Clearly, the scale of the model is going to be an important consideration in this poll, so ideally, we would like you to let us have THREE specific suggestions, which will certainly make things interesting when it comes to reviewing the results. Please suggest the aircraft you would most like to see join the Aviation Archive range in:
1. 1/72nd scale
2. 1/48th scale
3. Anything goes - any aircraft, any scale (you could even double up on one of your previous suggestions).
If you prefer to only send in one suggestion, that is absolutely fine, however sending all three will really allow us to obtain a clear picture of how the range is currently positioned. This open suggestion format will remain available until Thursday 31st May, when all entries received will be collated and a definitive list compiled - this is a really fair way to run the poll and ensures that any suggestion has the chance to gain enough support to emerge as the winner. If the winner is a 1:1 scale Boeing 747, we are afraid there is little chance of it becoming a future new tooling announcement, no matter how impressive it might look in our collections.
With any aircraft available for consideration, could something like the Westland Wapiti be in with a chance of appearing high on the suggestions list?
No later than the June edition of Die-cast Diaries, we will include a blog poll of the top ten suggestions received and invite readers to choose just one aircraft from this list as the model they would most like to see join the Aviation Archive range and ultimately take its place on the display shelves of collectors all over the world. The August edition of our blog will have the honour of announcing the most popular suggestions and in order to keep everyone guessing just a while longer, we will announce the aircraft which came out on top in each of the three original voting categories (1/72nd, 1/48th and Anything goes), before announcing the aircraft which emerged victorious in our poll. We will also come up with a selection of unique Aviation Archive related prizes in support of this initiative, although we have yet to finalise these. The intention will be to select several e-mail respondents at random to benefit from these prizes, but we will bring you further details in a forthcoming blog - rest assured, they will be well worth winning.
This will be the first time we have ever included a poll of this kind within Die-cast Diaries and we really do hope that you will take this opportunity to have your say on the future of the Aviation Archive range. Please send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and see how many of your fellow collectors share your aircraft opinion. The entire Corgi team will be watching proceedings with great interest, as you tell us what you would like to see produced in future years.
The Return of Mr Bean
The pre-production sample model featuring CC82110, one of the most iconic vehicles from the world of British TV comedy
In something of a rhetorical question, 'what vehicle would you expect a child in a grown man's body to drive?' - surely there can only be one answer, a British Leyland Mini of course. There can be few British comedic actors who are as instantly recognisable as Rowan Atkinson, with his seemingly endless repertoire of facial contortions and ability to switch from blundering buffoon to oppressed Captain in the British Army with consummate ease. The star of several spectacularly successful TV series, one of his best loved creations was the hapless, yet endearing and always hilarious Mr Bean, a man who seems to have remained in the blissful innocence of his childhood years despite living in an adult world. Rarely speaking and relying on facial expressions to transport him from one hilariously cringe worthy situation to the next, Mr Bean had two steadfast companions throughout his many adventures, his teddy and his trusty British Leyland Mini, which manages to get into just as many scrapes as its owner.
Fans of the Mr Bean series will be aware that he actually used six different Minis during the making of his adventures, starting with an orange 1969 BMC Mini Mk.II appearing in a single episode and several similar looking cars for the majority of the time. Although all the later Minis were extremely similar in presentation, being painted in Austin Citron Green, with a matte black bonnet, closer inspection will show that the vehicles had different registration numbers. One thing they all has in common however, was a selection of unusual security features which could only be a product of Mr Bean's mind. Desperate not to have his beloved car stolen and not trusting the manufacturers own vehicle security arrangements, Mr Bean augmented the door lock with the addition of a slip bolt and padlock (strangely on the driver's door only) and always removed the steering wheel when leaving the car. Clearly highly unusual, these measures would usually only mean more trouble for our beloved Mr Bean.
This latest release Mr Bean Mini release includes a number of additional features which make this the best and most accurate version of the car produced by Corgi
Many readers may not be aware that Rowan Atkinson is actually an extremely passionate motoring enthusiast and accomplished racing driver in his own right and the selection of the Mini as Mr Bean's preferred mode of transport was very much down to him. The particular version of this famous Mini presented by this latest release CC82110 marks the second (and third) of these distinctive vehicles (Registration Number SLW 287R) operated by the hapless Bean and featured in the episode where he changed parking spaces with a similar looking Mini, only to have his car crushed by an army tank demonstration - the only salvageable part left after the incident was the door padlock. The same car reappeared two episodes later, leading us all to believe that he had somehow got his hands on the other Mini, adopted it as his own and replaced the number plates. Fans of the show may be able to confirm if the devious Mr Bean simply exchanged the plates following the tank incident and took the other car as replacement for the loss of his own.
The Mr Bean Mini has always been (no pun intended) a popular addition to any Corgi model range and the last time it appeared in a catalogue was way back in 2001. Collectors will be pleased to learn that this latest incarnation will be the most accurate and detailed presentation of this famous car yet, benefitting from such features as much cleaner door representation (they do not open on this new model), more accurate wheels and trims, as well as greater detail on the Bean inspired additional door lock. Also featuring a newly designed presentation box, this new Mr Bean Mini is certainly a model for TV and Film collectors to consider, as well as Bean fans young and old, who never tire of watching the hilarious antics of this extremely strange, but lovable character. The new Mr Bean Mini CC82110 is scheduled for a May release and is available for pre-order now.
The two images above illustrate some of the work our graphic designers have to do in advance of the publication of each new Corgi model range. They show an earlier incarnation of this much loved model and how they prepare it for use on the website and in the Corgi catalogue. They are interesting when compared to the pre-production for this latest release, which incorporates many improvements and is a fine representation of this famous Mini.
Interestingly, we have decided to include the original product image of an older release of the Mr Bean Mini above, which was shot to enable an illustration of the release to be included in the latest January to June 2018 catalogue. This shows just how much work our graphic designers have to do in order to prepare these images for the catalogue, which are always much cleaner and can often require many hours spent at the computer. Perhaps of most interest to the die-cast model collector, you can see just how much the the catalogue image differs from the pre-production model images wheich we used at the begining of this feature. There is much more to the production of a die-cast model than meets the eye, you know.
A selection of Christmas Crackers
There is nothing quite the Festive Season to bring out the creative side of Corgi die-cast collectors all over the world and the recent Christmas pictures competition on the Customer Images section of our website certainly resulted in some fantastically imaginative entries. It is always interesting to see how our collectors choose to display their models, whether this simply be in a cabinet, or as part of a more ambitious diorama display. Everyone will certainly have their own opinion on how best to display the models they love to collect, but let's take a look at some of the seasonal offerings which appeared high on the judges list of memorable entries for 2017.
Judged to be the overall winner of the competition, Martin Staaks sent in this festive scene featuring an Eddie Stobart Scammell Contractor Wrecker, hauling a seasonal load.
The following four images were described as being high on the judges list, only missing out on the main prize by a whisker. Darren Wooding pulled a real cracker here and ended up with the now extremely rare Boeing B-17G 'Little Miss Mischief'
Javier Sanguesa Aguerri produced this idyllic family Christmas scene, with dad seemingly treating himself to this suitably coloured Ford Escort Mexico
Ir Usher served up this impressive line up of buses waiting to whisk everyone away to their Christmas party and helping to prove the old adage that you wait until Christmas for a bus, then they all turn up at once!
Clearly an Aviation Archive collector of some repute, Darren Wooding managed to obtain two honourable mentions, including this impressive collection of aircraft which would have been welcome under any Christmas tree
This now popular festive tradition resulted in hundreds of pictures being sent to the Customer Images section of the Corgi website, just for a little bit of light-hearted die-cast fun, but also with the chance of scooping a prize of £100 to spend on the Corgi website, which is a really pleasant way to see in the New Year. If you have yet to do so, please take a look on the Customer Images section of the Corgi website, where you are always sure to find some really interesting and rather imaginative Corgi die-cast model images and maybe a little inspiration for your own collection.
A bolt of die-cast Lightning
The unmistakable profile of the magnificent English Electric Lightning F.6 has now been introduced the Corgi Aviation Archive range in 1/48th scale
One of the major benefits of producing a regular blog featuring the latest developments from the world of Corgi model collecting is the opportunity to bring you updates from some of the most eagerly anticipated new model projects. From an editorial perspective, it is always rewarding when a model you have reported on a number of times is finally released to market and is met with overwhelmingly positive collector reaction. That has certainly been the case with the recent release of the long anticipated 1/48th scale English Electric Lightning F.6, which represented an exciting new direction for the Aviation Archive range and if the truth be told, something of a gamble for the development team. Taking on such an iconic British aircraft and introducing a new tooling in a scale not usually associated with this type of model, it was clear that the new Lightning would be coming in for some close attention throughout its development, but with each passing update we posted, the excitement began to mount and the pre-orders began to flood in.
In what has undoubtedly been the highest profile new tooling development we have ever reported on, we are proud to say that the new 1/48th scale Lightning has now been released and has been receiving rave reviews from collectors lucky enough to have reserved one. The Corgi Development Team should be rightly proud of their achievement, further enhancing the reputation of the Aviation Archive brand and producing a model which appears to have been judged a resounding success by the only critics that matter, the model buying public. With Lightning AA28401 already marked as a sell out release, those lucky enough to have one in their collection will hopefully be extremely pleased with their latest die-cast acquisition and perhaps even leaving a little room in their cabinet for the next 1/48th scale Lightning announcement. We are certainly looking forward to bringing you this news of the next model in this series in a future edition of Die-cast Diaries.
The Corgi team have managed to produce something really special with their new Lightning and we are already looking forward to the next release from this impressive tooling
That's all we have for you in this latest edition of Die-cast Diaries but hope we have managed to include some features which were of interest to you. As usual, we are always interested to hear from readers who may like to suggest a subject they would like to see covered in a future edition of Die-cast Diaries, or those who might like to send in pictures of their own model collection. If you would like the chance of playing a starring role in a future edition of our blog, please let us have your ideas using our usual email@example.com e-mail address, where we very much look forward to hearing from you.
If you can’t wait for the next edition of our blog, there are plenty of Corgi model discussions taking place over on our Die-Cast Diaries forum along with the news, photographs and collecting banter on our ever popular Facebook and Twitter social media accounts – could we please ask that you use the #CorgiDiecastDiaries when posting, as this helps direct new collectors to our blog pages. We look forward to reading all your latest Corgi collecting discussions and pictures of your favourite models over the next few 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 6th April.
The Corgi Die-cast Diaries Team
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