New Year range launch for Corgi
We are pleased to be bringing you this latest edition of Die-cast Diaries and your regular look at the fascinating world of Corgi model collecting. Following rather quickly from the publication of our 2017 review special, this first traditional Die-cast Diaries blog sees our schedule back on track after some late year shenanigans and we intend to maintain our usual publication frequency throughout 2018. Before we begin, on behalf of everyone at Corgi, may we take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2018 and hope we are all meeting back here having enjoyed a pleasant Christmas holiday. As a team, we are very much looking forward to bringing you another year of interesting Corgi related content and plenty of collector associated exclusives.
By now, many of our readers will already be aware that the latest Corgi January – June 2018 model range was announced at 10am last Monday and you will have no doubt spent some time on the Corgi website looking at the latest collection of die-cast delights. In this latest edition of our blog, we are going to deviate slightly from the usual format and concentrate on this new range announcement, looking at some of the developments we can look forward to during the coming year and at several of the models announced in the latest range. We will also discuss a significant anniversary for the Aviation Archive range and how these popular models will be commemorating both this and the Centenary of the Royal Air Force in 2018. We have much to tell you about, so without further ado, let’s dive straight in.
Fantastic new Corgi Lightning turns on to ‘finals’
Production sample model of the magnificent new 1/48th scale Lightning, which is due for release next month
We begin this first blog of 2018 with some fantastic news for Aviation Archive collectors and one of the most heavily pre-ordered models for many a year – the new 1/48th scale English Electric Lightning F.6 has turned onto finals and is only a few weeks away. This spectacular new model was announced in the January – June 2017 model range and came as a great surprise to many, as there had been no prior rumours about the existence of this project, which is a significant shift in direction for the Aviation Archive range. Presenting this iconic Cold War British jet interceptor in a scale which had previously been the domain of a series of Great War aircraft and a small number of Bell Helicopters (mainly carrying US codes) was great news for collectors and held the promise of many more new tooling announcements in this larger scale to come. We have followed this project closely throughout 2017 and Die-cast Diaries has brought you several updates as this model advanced through the various development stages and we are excited to bring you one final update before this model graces die-cast collections all over the world – exclusive pictures of the production sample model.
We had hoped to bring you these images as an exclusive for our 2017 review edition of Die-cast Diaries, however the world of die-cast model production can be a frustrating one for many reasons and an unforeseen delay resulted in this not being possible in the end. Nevertheless, the review edition’s loss is certainly our gain and there can be no finer way to start 2018 than by showcasing these exclusive images of our beautiful new Lightning. Once again, we are indebted to our beloved Hornby photographer David M, for interrupting his busy schedule to work on these Lightning images, allowing us to include them in this latest edition of our blog – what would we do without him? The following series of images show an advance production example of the Lightning and prove that this fantastic new model is fast approaching release, ensuring many of us will be frantically checking the status of our pre-orders – enjoy!
A further selection of production sample Lightning images, to whet the appetite of Aviation Archive collectors
Our wait for this magnificent new model is almost over. The sight of these production sample images illustrates that the re-scheduled release date of February is almost upon us and we can begin to get a little excited. Before we leave the subject of the Lightning, we thought you might like to see the following selection of images which show some of the work that has been going on in our design department regarding the box artwork which will be used to support this particular release. For the Aviation Archive range, our talented graphic design team will usually produce box artwork to accompany each model release, using either pre-production sample images or computer renders to produce the image files that eventually find their way onto the box. In the case of the new 1/48th scale Lightning, the pre-production sample models were so impressive that the team had little trouble in producing an image worthy of gracing such a high profile release, not only announcing the arrival of this impressive addition to the Aviation Archive range, but also portraying the power and majesty of one of Britain’s most famous aircraft.
The trio of images displayed below are of great interest to the Corgi collector and help to tell the story of our new Lightning project. The first image shows an impressive product shot featuring one of the final production sample models, angled specifically for maximum impact and showing off the distinctive profile of this mighty Cold War hunter. Obtaining this kind of image is not as easy as simply pressing the camera shutter release and can be made up of several images taken with different focal points – these images are then stitched together using Photoshop, ensuring that the entire model remains in focus. This is quite a common process in product photography, but one which requires some careful planning and significantly more work for the photographer.
This image was produced by our design team from one of the final production sample model images
The team then placed the image on a suitably dramatic Lightning inspired background
For a release of this magnitude, it was decided that the Lightning should benefit from a piece of Adam Tooby magic
The second image in this series takes the carefully posed product image and adds it to a suitably impressive background, as befits a model release of this magnitude. Showing the Lightning in its usual place of work, high above the English countryside, searching for the latest airspace intruder who needs reminding of our defensive resolve, this evocative image would usually be the one to adorn the box of the Lightning release and even though it was decided to use a different image in this case, it is noteworthy nonetheless. As we now know, the new Lightning has proved to be such a high profile addition to the Aviation Archive range, that a decision to use specially commissioned artwork to mark its release was taken some months ago, which is quite a significant development. Although Airfix enthusiasts are well used to the talents of Adam Tooby gracing the boxes of new kit releases, this was the first time his fantastic artwork had been used in conjunction with an Aviation Archive release. There is no indication that use of this artwork signifies a change of direction for the range moving forwards, but there is no doubt that Adam has managed to capture the enigma that was the English Electric Lightning and why enthusiasts continue to have an enduring fascination with this historic British aeroplane, which was all about power and speed. This evocative sight is due to appear in model stores and on display shelves the world over in just a few short weeks’ time, as our new English Electric Lightning F.6 makes its highly anticipated arrival.
New Corgi range launch for 2018
The launch of any new Corgi model range is always a time of great excitement amongst die-cast enthusiasts and last Monday saw the latest collection of models unveiled to an expectant collector world. As you may expect, with such a significant year for aviation, with the centenary commemorations of the Royal Air Force and our Aviation Archive range marking its 20th birthday, there is an impressive new collection of aircraft models to admire. As our popular Vanguards range enters its 23rd year, we also see another strong showing in this range, with eleven newly presented models taking their place in this first half-year catalogue. With new models also appearing in the Original Omnibus and James Bond ranges, along with the welcome return of some old die-cast collecting favourites, let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights from the new Corgi January to June 2018 range.
The new RAF Centenary Collection will benefit from distinctive anniversary packaging and certificate presentation
2018 promises to be a significant year of the Aviation Archive range. We have already seen how the impending new 1/48th scale English Electric Lightning F.6 is a momentous new addition to this incredibly popular range, but we can also look forward to a specially presented range of models produced to mark this year’s Centenary commemorations of the Royal Air Force. The Aviation Archive range has long been associated with aircraft of the RAF, from the early biplane fighters of the Great War, right through to the latest Eurofighter Typhoon’s which currently protect Britain’s airspace from unauthorised incursion and this association will be celebrated throughout 2018. With a large number of RAF related subjects covered throughout the year, each one will be presented in specially designed commemorative packaging and matching certificates, all marking an important RAF aircraft from the past 100 years of Royal Air Force aviation heritage. The picture above shows the packaging design for the latest Eurofighter Typhoon announcement (AA36409), which will take its place as the second model in our series of RAF Centenary Collection releases and will make for a distinctive sight on retailer displays in model shops all over the world, as collectors look to make their own die-cast commemoration of this significant anniversary.
One of the Centenary Collection models already proving to be a hit with collectors and seemingly destined to become one of the highlights of this latest range launch is Boeing Chinook HC.4 ZA683 RAF No.27 Squadron, ‘Special Centenary Scheme’, RAF Odiham, Hampshire, 2016 (AA34214). The Chinook is undoubtedly one of the most impressive aircraft in current RAF inventory, with this particular helicopter being all the more distinctive by virtue of the unique artwork applied to commemorate the centenary of its operating squadron.
Boeing Chinook HC.4 is already looking like one of the highlights of the new range
As one of the world’s most impressive heavy lift helicopters, the mighty Chinook has become one of the most important aircraft of the modern era and is never too far away from the action, delivering troops and supplies or providing casualty evacuation support. As the largest Chinook operator outside the US, the home of Britain’s Chinook force is RAF Odiham in Hampshire but as their aircraft are always in high demand, many of the based Chinooks can be deployed on operations at any time. RAF No.27 Squadron have been associated with the Chinook since 1993, but the unit can trace their history back to 1915 and the first aircraft they operated, the Martinsyde G.100 ‘Elephant’. This rather large and cumbersome aircraft was used by the squadron for bombing and reconnaissance operations during the Great War, with an elephant also being used as the centrepiece of the No. 27 Squadron badge. To mark the centenary commemorations of the squadron, Chinook HC.4 ZA683 was given a special paint scheme, which featured an elephants head on the tail rotor housing and a profile of the Martinsyde G.100 in a commemorative badge on the fuselage. This was certainly one of the most dramatic centenary schemes applied to an RAF aircraft to date.
Entering RAF service in late 1980, the Boeing Chinook has become one of the most important air assets available to British military forces. As the nature of warfare continues to evolve, the ability to deploy, supply and extract troops in all terrains and environments has taken on critical importance and the mighty Chinook is the most effective aircraft for this task. For this reason, the RAF’s Chinook force are amongst the most active aircraft in their current inventory and in great demand wherever UK forces are deployed throughout the world. For these reasons, the fact that Chinook HC.4 ZA683 was able to wear its special Centenary scheme throughout 2016 is a story in itself and one which must have required significant effort by members of No.27 Squadron. The logistics of planning, designing and gaining official authorisation for the project in a relatively short space of time must have been quite a challenge, let alone ensuring that the aircraft was available to spend time in the paint shops to benefit from the application of this attractive commemorative scheme. Their efforts resulted in a unique appearance for an RAF Chinook, which was a source of pride for squadron members and a highly prized catch for aviation enthusiasts – unfortunately, it proved to be a short-lived splash of colour, as the aircraft was repainted back into its standard operational scheme at the end of 2016.
The latest 1/72nd scale C-27A Skytrain release commemorates the birth of the Aviation Archive range
Taking place in the same year as the Centenary of the Royal Air Force, our popular Aviation Archive range boasts a commemoration of its own and marks the 20th anniversary of the first release in this popular series. Back in 1998, aviation enthusiasts were intrigued by the announcement of a new range of 1/144th scale die-cast metal aircraft models from Corgi, which presented the collector with a number of iconic aircraft types from the world of military and civilian aviation. Many thought that these would be more like toys than high quality collectable models, but were presently surprised when inspecting the range for the first time – they were extremely impressive. Produced to scale and featuring high quality tampo printed details, these little models allowed aviation enthusiasts to simply take the aircraft out of its box and enjoy it, whilst also possessing the reassuring weight and resilience of die-cast metal construction. The new models proved to be an instant success and quickly established themselves as a popular range within the Corgi portfolio, possessing plenty of scope for future development.
Chronologically, the first release in the Aviation Archive series was model number 47101, a Douglas C-47A Skytrain named the ‘Fassberg Flyer’, released to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift and marking one of the most famous aircraft to take part in ‘Operation Vittles’. To mark the 20th Anniversary of the Aviation Archive range, we are proud to announce the inclusion of AA38209, Douglas C-47A Skytrain 315208 ‘Fassberg Flyer’, US Air Force, Berlin Airlift, 1948 in the range, which presents the collector with a magnificent new 1/72nds scale representation of the very first model in this series.
The packaging used on this fantastic new C-47A takes inspiration from the very first releases in the Aviation Archive series
There are few aircraft in the history of aviation that can boast the importance and reputation enjoyed by that of the Douglas DC-3/C-47 series. This revolutionary aircraft was responsible for establishing comfortable and reliable passenger air travel throughout America in the 1930s, as well as attracting significant interest from the US Army. As America watched Europe and the Far East plunged into conflict, they needed an effective aircraft to potentially transport troops into combat areas and resupply their forces wherever they may be operating and a military version of the rugged and reliable DC-3 was the ideal solution. The Douglas C-47 Skytrain proved to be one of the most significant aircraft of the Second World War, keeping Allied forces on the move and the enemy on the back foot. In the years following the end of WWII, war weary C-47s were called upon once more, this time in a historic attempt to keep the city of Berlin supplied by air, following the imposition of a Soviet blockade. The ‘Fassberg Flyer’ was one of the aircraft involved in this operation, flying coal into the former Luftwaffe airfield at Fassberg. The Berlin Airlift is considered as one of the most significant events in the history of aviation.
The Skytrain little and large show – AA38209 pictured next to the original 47101 Berlin Airlift release
June 2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of one of the most significant periods in modern European history, the Berlin Airlift. Following the end of WWII, the victorious Allied powers had divided Germany into occupation zones, but within the Soviet sector lay the capital Berlin, which itself was divided into four sectors, each administered by one of the Allied powers. The Soviets had granted that each of these sectors could be accessed by a 20-mile wide air corridor, although no such guarantee had been given for road or rail connections. A thawing in East-West relations resulted in the Soviets imposing a land blockade of Berlin, leaving around 2 million German people potentially without food, coal and general supplies. The only way to bring in goods was by air and as the Allies still had access to many former WWII transport aircraft, it was decided that an air bridge would be opened and the incredibly difficult task of attempting to supply a major city solely by air began. At first, the brave transport pilots were unable to bring in enough supplies for a starving Berlin, but slowly, the operation gathered momentum and greater numbers of fully laden aircraft made their way to Berlin, past crowds of excitedly waving children on the airport boundary. Colloquially referred to as ‘Operation Vittles’, by virtue of the cargo many of the aircraft were carrying, the Berlin Airlift relied heavily on the Douglas C-47 Skytrain and Dakotas of the Allied air forces, as these effective transport aircraft were still available in some numbers. They helped to prove that the city could be supplied by air and seeing the failure of their blockade, the Soviets finally relaxed their access restrictions.
Vanguards comes of age
Over the past few months within our Die-cast Diaries blog, it has been an absolute pleasure to feature these delightful little 1/43rd scale vehicles and bring you a series of features charting their development history. With so much information still to bring you, this series will be running throughout the coming year, but for this edition, we are going to feature two of the latest models to be announced in this ever growing range.
It seems as if the die-cast collecting world has an insatiable desire for anything classic Ford related and this latest Ford Escort Mk2 1.6 Harrier, in Strato Silver (VA12611) will only serve to fuel this passion.
The Escort won the RAC Rally eight times consecutively from 1972 to 1979 and Ford clinched their first Manufacturers' World Rally Championship in 1979. The limited edition Escort Harrier was built to celebrate this and was advertised heavily on TV with Escort rally footage morphing into the road car jumping a crest while a voice-over asked, "wouldn't you like to take off in a Harrier?" conflating the bird living on the rally's route with the RAF's jump-jet. Only 1500 were produced, 1000 white and 500 of the optional silver (£35.83 extra). It was based on the 'Kent' engined 1600 Sport but featured unique graphics, black Beta-cloth 'fishnet' Recaro seats and RS 4-spoke alloy-wheels.
The Harrier modelled here was first registered in Chester on 1st March 1980, costing the princely sum of £4492. It was modified later in its life and had 13 owners before being purchased by County Durham-based stonemason and Ford enthusiast, Stuart Fooks, in June 2016. He has commenced an extensive restoration, working with local Ford specialist Kevin Smith, and the pair have found many problems, mainly the result of poor quality repairs to serious corrosion, which included the fitment of replacement front wings over the original factory units! He is restoring the car back to factory specification, visually, and has already refurbished a set of the correct alloy wheels but intends to leave the limited slip differential and tuned engine running twin Weber 40 DCOE carburettors in place.
One of the more unusual models included in the recently announced January – June 2018 Vanguards collection is this Morris 1800 Mk2, 'The Beauty Box', which took part in the 1970 World Cup Rally (VA08913).
The Mk2 'Landcrab' was launched in 1968 and this, the sixth produced, is the oldest known survivor. It was initially used for publicity work and tested at 100mph by John Bolster for Autosport magazine before being 'purchased' by BMC/BL champion rally and racing driver Jean Denton. It was one of five 'Super-Landcrabs' prepared by Basil Wales' Leyland Special Tuning at Abingdon as private entries for the World Cup Rally to back up BL's official Triumphs, Maxis and a solitary Mini. NOB 284F was sponsored by 'Motorwoman', the motoring section of Woman Magazine and, because of the female crew, was christened 'The Beauty Box' by the magazine's editor Barbara Buss during a pre-event champagne launch.
Entering a Motorwoman car was motoring editor Jean Barrett's idea but after Denton and Wright took her on a tough recce in Yugoslavia she withdrew! Regular rally competitor Liz Crellin joined and the experienced girls avoided the problems that beset others although, even with oxygen, they suffered altitude sickness in South America; remedied with coca leaves. The most serious mechanical problem, a cracked sump in Lima, was solved with Araldite and otherwise the car needed only a new starter motor. The team covered over 16,000 miles in 39 days driving and finished 18th of 23 finishers from 106 starters. Restored by Ian Feirn in 2008, 'The Beauty Box' is now owned by David Scothorn who regularly uses it for historic rally events and shows.
We will be looking more closely at several of the other recently announced future Vanguards models in a forthcoming edition of Die-cast Diaries, but for now, please head for the Vanguards Section of the Corgi website to view all the Jan – June 2018 models.
All aboard for Original Omnibus
It is no wonder classic buses continue to enjoy such wide collector appeal
There can be no doubt that many of Britain’s classic buses are amongst the most iconic vehicles to ever appear on our roads and as many of our readers will have fond memories of riding on these buses in their youth, or seeing beautifully restored examples at vehicle rallies up and down the country, it is no wonder that our Original Omnibus range continues to be so popular. This latest handsome Bristol Lodekka FS6B (OM40821A) in the cream and maroon livery of the Wilts & Dorset Motor Services Ltd is a special dual destination release and has been included in the catalogue in profile artwork form as we await the first sample models, however, we are very much looking forward to bringing you development updates in forthcoming blog editions.
Established in Salisbury in 1915, Wilts & Dorset Motor Services Ltd operated regular services throughout South Wiltshire, East Dorset and North Hampshire, operating a diverse fleet of vehicles. Surviving ownership under the Tilling and British Automobile Traction (T&BAT) Group, Southern Railway and Nationalisation in 1948, in 1969 the company was absorbed into Hants & Dorset under the National Bus Company. In 1972 the Wilts & Dorset name disappeared, but was revived in 1983. In January 1966, Bristol Lodekka 646, registration 684 AAM, was painting into a unique cream and maroon livery for operation on the Salisbury to Bournemouth limited stop service, retaining it until May 1969. The limited stop 38A route between Salisbury and Bournemouth ran via Fordingbridge, Ringwood and Ferndown (the Bournemouth Spur Road from Ashley Heath to Cooper Dean having not yet been built), and did the journey in 78 minutes. There were two journeys in each direction on weekdays, with timings suitable for people commuting to Bournemouth, or making day visits to Salisbury.
A car fit for Britain’s most celebrated spy
When it comes to motoring, you do not want to get in the way of one of James Bond’s rides!
As some of the most popular models in the history of the Corgi brand, Film and TV subject matter continues to attract collectors new and old, as these scale representations of iconic vehicles commemorate some of the most interesting vehicles to appear on screens both large and small. As Britain’s most famous fictional super spy, James Bond has always had access to a bewildering selection of incredible weapons and gadgets, many of which transported him from one hair-raising encounter to the next. CC04809 presents the collector with a 1/36th scale representation of Bond’s Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante, which he used during his escapades in ‘The Living Daylights’ movie – during the film, this super car proved its worth to Bond (played by super suave Timothy Dalton) during a chase across a frozen lake, as it was able to deploy of a pair of outrigger skis as part of its special winter package. It could also boast missiles, lasers and a rocket motor, for those must get away quickly moments.
The return of some old favourites
The launch of the new January to June 2018 Corgi range has also seen the return of some old favourites to the printed catalogue, in the form of the Hauliers of Renown range and the attractive Rail Legends series. Although these are currently only showcasing previously released models which are still available from stock, they do draw attention to some truly spectacular models and may help to stimulate renewed interest in these ranges, possibly encouraging some future range development, if we are lucky. If you are a collector of these models, we are looking for your help in 2018 – we want to know about your collections and what these models mean to you. You may find your collection, or particular collector story featured in a future edition of Die-cast Diaries. For now though, please visit the Corgi website to view the latest range announcement and to see which will be your favourites from the Jan – June 2018 range.
Unique Vanguard begins to take shape
The unique nature of our Vanguards 21 prize has seen plenty of activity on the competitions page
We end this latest bumper edition of our Corgi blog with the latest look at a very special model, which is causing quite a stir amongst Vanguards collectors. Announced in Edition 33 of our blog, this unique representation of a 1977 Ford Escort Mk.2 Mexico has already seen several hundred collectors heading to our Corgi competitions page, in an attempt to ensure they are in the running to win this magnificent and highly collectable model. Due to the unprecedented levels of interest shown in this project and the fact that we still have so much information to bring you regarding its creation, we have decided to extend the competition deadline slightly, allowing more people to hear about the project and register their entry, which will surely see this as one of the most popular competitions ever launched on a Hornby website. We will bring you full details of this, along with the latest project update in the next edition of Die-cast Diaries, but for now, please enjoy this model component image, which will form the basis of Mark’s stunning Vanguards creation.
Mark has already started his work on creating this Vanguards masterpiece
That brings this first 2018 bumper edition of Die-cast Diaries to a close, but we hope we have managed to produce an interesting review of current Corgi developments for you. As usual, if you have any comments about our blog and any suggestions for subjects you would like to see covered during 2018, do drop us a line. Please send your ideas and/or pictures of your own Corgi model collection, to our usual firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address, where we would be only too pleased to hear from you.
If social media is more your style, all the latest Corgi model discussions are taking place over on our Die-Cast Diaries forum along with the news, photographs and collecting banter on our ever popular Facebook and Twitter accounts – could we please ask that you use the #CorgiDiecastDiaries when posting. We look forward to enjoying all your latest Corgi collecting discussions.
Finally, thank you for your continued support of our blog and we look forward to bringing you plenty of Corgi related information and updates in the months to come. The next edition of Die-cast Diaries will be published on Friday 9th February.
The Corgi Die-cast Diaries Team
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