Royal Navy Flagship Corgi style
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.
Are you ready for your latest selection of exclusive Corgi model development images? We certainly hope you are, because we have lot’s to tell you about in this edition. Our headline feature is a blog exclusive, where we focus on an exciting new tooling project first announced with the launch of the current range back in January, but as yet (for a number of reasons) has not been covered in the blog. What is more, it marks a model type which until now has yet to feature in an edition of Diecast Diaries - a new warship model. We are delighted to now be in a position to share an exclusive series of images showing CAD screenshot details, AND the first prototype development model shots of our scale representation of Britain’s latest naval flagship, the magnificent HMS Queen Elizabeth class carriers.
Not content with bringing you one new model tooling feature, we will also be looking at the early development stages of a new Vanguards model which will immortalise one of the most attractive British sports cars ever produced in 1/43rd scale diecast metal, one which is already being welcomed as an extremely popular addition to the Vanguards model range - the handsome and rather purposeful looking Triumph TR6. In addition to this, we have a trio of fascinating Aviation Archive related features for your enjoyment, including one which is linked to the contentious issue of ‘weathering’ our beloved models, one which features a scale version of the first fighter mount of the world’s most famous flying ‘ace’ and an exclusive ‘first look’ at a pre-production sample from a new 1/48th scale tooling project which is getting everyone a little excited. Benefitting from a host of exclusive development images, we are confident that this 71st edition of our blog will be one you will definitely not want to miss. Let’s weight the diecast anchor and select 'full ahead' on our latest Corgi model update.
Pride of the nation
Early artwork file produced in support of the new Corgi 1/1250th scale Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier tooling
Throughout five years of producing our Diecast Diaries blog and bringing readers all the very latest model development and release information available, we have never previously been able to include details of a diecast ship model in the Corgi range. Thankfully, that all changed earlier this year, as we announced our intention to produce an all new 1/1250 scale model of Britain’s latest and most impressive warships, the gargantuan Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. With the construction and launch of these impressive ships receiving widespread media coverage over recent years, both the HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) and HMS Prince of Wales (R09) are now familiar to millions of people, arguably becoming the most recognised British weapons in recent memory.
Britain has been without a purpose built aircraft carrier since the rather hasty retirement and decommissioning of HMS Ark Royal in 2011, a move which not only diminished the influence of the Royal Navy, but also Britain’s international standing as a global power. All that now seems to be just a dim and distant memory, as the sight of our two impressive new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers fills us all with feelings of awe and pride and has re-engaged the nation with the Senior Service in an extremely high-profile manner.
Diecast Diaries readers will now be familiar with the CAD screengrabs we ask our Development Manager to supply in support of these review features, but will never have previously seen ones featuring a new ship model. Feast your eyes on this scale Corgi representation of one of the world’s most powerful warships
The largest ships ever to enter Royal Navy service, the new aircraft carriers will significantly enhance Britain’s naval standing and provide them with one of the most powerful autonomous international offensive capabilities in the world. Equipped with the latest fifth generation Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II multi-role jets, these mighty ships would make tempting targets for any adversary in times of conflict and despite the fact that they are bristling with electronic wizardry and defensive weapons, they will also be protected by a dedicated force of high-tech Destroyers, each one equipped with missiles designed to protect the carrier from air and missile attack. Destined to remain in service for possibly the next half century, Britain’s new super carriers are a highly visible representation of Britain’s naval prowess.
As two of the most impressive feats of military engineering in British history, it was clear that the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers were going to be of great interest to model manufacturing companies and Corgi are no exception. As a high profile symbol of British technological excellence and the very embodiment of the professionalism of our armed forces, we are proud to have started work on introducing these awesome ships to the world of diecast collectables as soon as we could and are pleased to be in a position to bring you a project update now. Taking accurate references from technical drawings and having built up a huge photographic research file for these magnificent ships, our design and development team started work on this new model many months ago and have kindly allowed us to include a development overview in this latest blog. Please remember that all the images we are featuring here represent the early development stages of this exciting new model and as such, may still be subject to significant change before it can be released for production. Nevertheless, for the diecast model collector, they are absolutely fascinating and we knew you would love to see them.
An absolutely fascinating insight into the design of this new diecast representation of the country’s most famous ship, these next two images show the fully designed model, but split into its component parts, each having been designed separately, but all coming together to make this incredibly appealing new model
This next exclusive series of images show the prototype SLA ‘Stereo’ model produced by a specialist company, using the design files from this new tooling project. A crucial stage in the development of any new model tooling, these images are being shown for illustrative purposes only, but still clearly show how impressive this new model is going to be
The powerful CAD software used to produce these files may well be of great interest to us as model collectors, but are absolutely essential to our Product Designers when working on any new model tooling and not only allow each individual component to be accurately represented, but also ensure the designer has ultimate flexibility in preparing the files for the next stage of this process. The component files will be used to produce the tooling blocks which will ultimately be used to manufacture thousands of diecast aircraft carriers, collectable models which will grace display cabinets, shelves and mantlepieces in the years to come.
As you can see from the images above the software allows the designer to view the model from any angle and to isolate individual sections or components as desired during the design process. As we were requesting a small selection of images to illustrate this feature, we also asked if the software would allow the individual components to be exploded, to give some impression of how the model will eventually come together. As you can see, we were kindly obliged and the resultant CAD images make for a fascinating record of the development of this exciting new model.
Once the designer is happy with the model’s CAD design files, it’s time for the next stage in this process – the production of a one of a kind stereolithography prototype model. A rapid prototyping technology process, the resultant model is basically a 3D printed version of the CAD data files produced and allows the designer to assess every aspect of the model’s design before it progresses any further. In some cases, even though these models still represent a relatively early stage in the development of a new tooling project, they may need to be used for marketing purposes, much to the dismay of the Corgi Development Manager - he is usually only happy to show product images once all the design alterations have been incorporated into a new tooling’s design. His stress is definitely our gain, as most collectors love to see the various stages of a new model’s development, as it allows us a fascinating insight into this process, warts and all!
This one off ‘Stereo’ model is a crucial component in the production of a new model tooling and allows the designer check dimensions, scale thicknesses and all areas of the model’s construction, bearing in mind that this will be subject to the diecast manufacturing process once released for production. If you look closely at the pictures featured above, you can clearly see how this prototype model has been produced on a high quality 3D printer and that even the individual cured layers of the media used can be seen. Clearly, this would not happen when the model was produced in diecast and even at this stage, it would be true to say that if it had been produced in metal, the model would be more accurate than this, but we still have many checks to complete before we can get to that stage. Having said that, you can see why the Development Manager is always a little sceptical when it comes to showing these early stage design images.
Already looking impressive, the Stereo model is used to check many aspects of the new model’s design, even though the nature of its production is not as refined as the diecast version will be. Whilst this model is being produced by a specialist prototype modelling company, work on producing the supporting artwork files can carry on apace
As this work is progressing, other aspects of the development process are also taking place, such as the production of product artwork and marketing materials. The artwork itself is really quite important and can potentially go through several different iterations before the DM is happy with it. These crucial files have to be accurate in every respect, as they are followed to the letter by the manufacturing plant during production, so there is absolutely no room for error in their creation. The ideal situation is that these artwork files are so accurate that the receipt of pre-production models is just a final check of colours used and detail placement, rather than a requirement to insist on wholesale changes.
As regular readers of the blog will be fully aware, all the images featured above may still be subject to alteration and improvement and are used for design and illustrative purposes only at this stage. We are allowed to show them in Diecast Diaries because we are particularly good at begging, whilst at the same time reassuring the Development Manager that our readers love to see them and that they know they are not the finished article. The next stage with these beautiful new aircraft carrier models is to see the first metal shots and the first fully decorated sample models and we very much look forward to bringing you these details in a future edition. For now though, we hope you have enjoyed this exclusive glimpse behind the scenes of our new diecast aircraft carrier models and how we are ‘laying them down’.
A British sports car of distinction
An exclusive first look at a CAD development screengrab image produced in support of the new 1/43rd scale Vanguards Triumph TR6 model tooling
The popular Vanguards model vehicle range has received quite an investment boost over the past couple of years, with several new model tooling projects joining the range, covering quite a wide spectrum of motoring subjects. If classic British sports cars are your thing, you will have been delighted to see that a vehicle which has been described as 'the most masculine British sports car ever produced' was one of these new projects, the stunningly handsome Triumph TR6. We are pleased to be in a position to bring readers a comprehensive update from this new tooling project, including a selection of images covering early CAD, completed ‘First Shot’ model and first pre-production sample model - we will even include some model concept photography. Strap yourself in for some spectacular scale Triumph goodness.
The classic styling of early Triumph TR sports cars proved difficult to resist for many people, with their high set headlights and distinctive grilles giving these small sports cars real personality and making their front profile look almost like a face. Continually developed from their original market launch in 1953, the cars would benefit from many internal upgrades over the next eight years, however their external appearance remained largely the same, with just cosmetic changes retaining the charm and integrity of these attractive cars. The launch of the new TR4 in 1961 saw the introduction of a new and even more appealing body design, created by Italian Giovanni Michelotti and making this already attractive vehicle look absolutely irresistible - it also resulted in the creation of a classic post war small sports cars.
The popularity of the range ensured that when the car was due for its latest re-style, the same designers were obviously approached to do the work, however, existing project commitments dictated that they were unable to take on the job and had to turn it down. Triumph were forced to approach the German coachbuilder Karmann with the task and sent a pristine example of a TR4A to their design facility, to act as a development template. What they eventually produced was a true classic - the Triumph TR6. Retaining the basic centre section of the TR4A, the new car had restyled front and rear sections, which give the new vehicle a very different, more angular and purposeful appearance - some might say the styling was a little more conservative than the earlier Italian designed models, however, it really did work for this stunning sports car.
This next selection of images feature development screengrabs, including an exploded parts view, a first look at the metal pre-production sample model and this model displayed next to the first decorated pre-production sample
The Triumph TR6 may have a different appearance to that of its predecessors, but it is undoubtedly one of the most attractive small sports cars ever produced and simply oozes style from every body panel. The perfect synergy of British class and German functionality, the TR6 was beautiful to look at and the one small sports car millions of people would love to own. These extremely appealing cars have since become highly prized amongst classic car collectors and to this day, the sight of a pristine TR6 will put most contemporary designs very much in the motoring shade.
For a sports car which possesses such pedigree as this, the announcement that the Triumph TR6 would be taking its place in the Vanguards range came as a pleasant surprise for many collectors and pre ordering activity has been brisk, despite the fact that we have only shown a rendered image of the model to this point - things have come a long way since then. Regular blog readers will now be familiar with the various development stages a new Vanguards model has to go through before it gets to our display cabinets, so we will not go over this same ground again in this review. Should you wish to reacquaint yourself with the process, all 70 previous editions of the blog can be accesses via the Diecast Diaries homepage and the information you need can be found there.
We are delighted to inform anyone who is looking forward to adding this beautiful new model to their collections that they will not have to wait too long now. Much of the development work in relation to the TR6 has now been completed and although this update includes exclusive images right from the early design stages, we are actually currently looking forward to receiving the signed sample example of the first release, the final stage before a new model arrives in our warehouse.
You will see from the images used that our Development Manager has supplied three design CAD screenshots of this new model, which not only show how detailed and accurate the new Triumph TR6 tooling will be, but also the split of components from a manufacturing perspective, how the model will be constructed and some of the design options which the tooling incorporates. This is particularly interesting, as it allows the collector to see which TR6 model options could be incorporated into future releases.
More Vanguards Triumph TR6 exclusives, this time featuring the first pre-production sample model from this impressive new TR6 tooling project
Other images show a fully constructed ‘First Shots’ model from the new tooling, the very first painted pre-production sample model of release VA14700, both of these models pictured together and a concept image of the model on a diorama scene. We would be extremely interested to hear your views on our use of Vanguards diorama images - is this something you would like to see more of in the blog, on social media and indeed on the product web pages? We would be grateful if you would let us have your opinions via our usual e-mail address and will publish our findings in a future edition.
It won’t be too long now before this beautiful new model is released for production, so if you are looking forward to adding the new Vanguards Triumph TR6 to your collection, now might be a good time to check your pre order is in place. VA14700 is still currently scheduled for a winter 20/21 release, but we will provide a definitive release update as soon as we have it.
Museum standard or operational aircraft?
Perhaps a more accurate title for this next feature would have been ‘Would you dare weather one of your Corgi models?’, because that is exactly what we are going to be discussing here. Readers may recall that on Day 1 of Corgi week back in May, we ran a feature where we used a 1/50th scale Sherman Tank which had been expertly weathered by our talented photographer/retoucher Michael Collins, to ask if any of our readers would or had ever, taken the radical decision to ‘weather’ one of their collectable models. We were surprised at the popularity of this blog and were fortunate to have a great many responses to our request for feedback.
It was clear from the e-mails we received that whilst many collectors had certainly considered weathering one of their models, few had actually done so, but those who had were really pleased with the results. The vast majority of people were concerned that taking paint and weathering powders to a limited edition collectable model may affect its long term value, but having seen the feature we ran in the blog, did intend digging out one of their older models (perhaps one they were less attached to in the first instance) to have a go themselves. For those readers who took this brave step, we would very much like to hear about your experience and to see the weathering fruits of your labours - please do drop us a line.
For our part, we did say that we would be revisiting the subject, this time using an Aviation Archive model as our subject and we are pleased to share that project with you now. When thinking about British WWII aircraft types which would most definitely have had a well used, weathered appearance to them, we couldn’t think of a finer subject than the Bristol Beaufighter, a rugged and well armed strike fighter which was tasked to perform some of the most demanding missions of the Second World War. Taking a standard production version of Beaufighter TF.X AA28601, Michael set about making it look a little more war weary.
AA28601 – Bristol Beaufighter TF.X NE829/PL-J, RAF No.144 Squadron, Banff Strike Wing, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, October 1944
This exclusive series of images show how Michael transformed his standard Bristol Beaufighter model into one which reflects the demanding environment in which these magnificent aircraft operated during WWII. Would you be brave enough to take paint and weathering powders to one of your Aviation Archive models?
As one of the most capable twin engined aircraft of WWII, the Bristol Beaufighter was originally developed as a heavy fighter variant of the company’s Beaufort bomber, already in service with the Royal Air Force. The first examples were pressed into service as nightfighters and whilst the aircraft proved to be a significant improvement over existing types, there was more to come from the mighty beau. As the aircraft received successive upgrades to make it more powerful and capable of carrying a greater array of offensive weaponry, the Beaufighter became a successful multi-role aircraft, with a particular flair for mounting hard hitting anti-shipping strikes into the North Sea, preventing Axis shipping from moving supplies back to Germany.
It was during one of these missions that Banff based Flying Officer Maurice Exton was awarded a DFC for outstanding flying skill and determination in the face of the enemy. Flying Beaufighter NE829 on 9th October 1944, Exton and his squadron attacked a large convoy of enemy vessels off the coast of Norway, but his aircraft was hit by heavy flak from the ships. Damaging the aircraft’s flight controls, causing it to almost flip onto its back, Exton wrestled with the Beaufighter’s control column, bringing it back straight and level, before immediately pressing home his attack. He then nursed the damaged aircraft back to Banff, where he managed to land safely. Inflicting heavy damage on the enemy convoy they attacked, this incident says as much about the determination of the airmen of Coastal Command as it does about the resilience of the Bristol Beaufighter.
Perhaps the definitive variant of the Beaufighter and certainly the most heavily produced was the TF.X, a two seat torpedo fighter, which was known colloquially as the Torbeau. With a combination of rockets, cannon and 18 inch mark XII torpedo, these rugged aircraft would attack shipping at high speed and at low level, often with rocket firing Beaufighters drawing the anti-aircraft fire of the vessels, allowing the torpedo equipped aircraft to make their attack runs more effectively. Often attacking with large numbers of aircraft, these savage attacks began to take a heavy toll of Axis shipping and should Luftwaffe fighters join the action in an attempt to protect the convoy, they would find the heavily armed Beaufighter more than capable of looking after itself.
Three different images which feature a standard Corgi Beaufighter TF.X model (AA28601) displayed next to the weathered example produced by our photographer/retoucher Michael Collins. Which representation do you prefer?
These highly effective coastal strike operations, launched from the exposed northern coast of Aberdeenshire, made a significant contribution to the Allied war effort in the final few months of the Second World War and increased the pressure on Germany’s ability to keep fighting. Knowing that Germany had to transport iron ore and other commodities of war through the North Sea to German held ports, the work of the Banff Strike Wing was of significant strategic importance, effectively starving the German war machine into submission. Operating in extremely harsh conditions and spending many hours flying over open water, pilots must have certainly appreciated the rugged reliability of the Beaufighters and Mosquitos which flew from Banff and the committed ground crews who kept their aircraft serviceable.
As you can see from the image selection above, Michael has done a fine job in making his Beaufighter look much more warlike, without detracting from the overall aesthetic appeal of this beautiful model. Indeed, many readers might actually prefer the way his interpretation looks - on which side of the weathering fence do you sit? The final selection of images feature a standard production version of the model next to the weathered example, allowing a direct comparison between the two. Without doubt, both look pretty spectacular, but does the appeal of the weathered Beaufighter have enough to make you want to have a go yourself? We look forward to seeing all your efforts with no little excitement. Our sincere thanks have to go out to Michael for giving up many hours of his free time in support of this fascinating project - your Beaufighter really does look awesome.
Before the legend of the Red Baron
Collectors of our 1/48th scale First World War aircraft range have really been spoilt over the past few months, with arguably some of the most appealing models in the 22 year history of Aviation Archive taking their places in our display cabinets during this time. The range will soon benefit from yet another spectacular addition, as the second release from our new Fokker Eindecker tooling presents the aircraft flown by a young German pilot who would go on to become perhaps the most famous fighting airman in history. Even a man as infamous as Manfred von Richthofen has to start his incredible story somewhere and the Red Baron’s fledgling fighting career began behind the controls of a new Fokker Eindecker fighter.
The images included in this section of the blog feature the signed sample model of this fantastic release and alert us all to the fact that this new model will be with us before we know it. For anyone interested in world history, or for Aviation Archive collectors who have any previous von Richthofen models in their collection, this is an absolute must addition and with very few models remaining unallocated, this could be your final opportunity to ensure one will be heading in your direction.
AA28702 – Fokker E.III, Manfred von Richthofen, Kasta 8, Eastern Front, June 1916
An aircraft which introduced a young and relatively inexperienced Manfred von Richthofen to the art of air superiority fighting, this 1/48th scale representation of his Fokker Eindecker has even attempted to recreate the castor oil staining to the inside of the aircraft’s fabric. This was such a distinctive feature of these early fighting aeroplanes and has been effectively represented on this signed sample model
For a man who stands as arguably the most famous fighter ace of all time, Manfred von Richthofen would begin WW1 as a cavalry reconnaissance officer, however, the advent of trench warfare soon had him searching for a more appropriate challenge. Attracted by the thrill of flying, he applied to join the Imperial German Army Air Service, initially as an aerial observer, but only because the training was shorter than that of a pilot, so he could get into the action more quickly. As an armed observer, von Richthofen shot down two Allied aircraft, but neither were credited as both came down behind enemy lines and could not be verified.
A chance meeting with the influential airman Oswald Boelcke on a train journey across France inspired von Richthofen to apply for pilot training almost immediately and on passing his final examinations on Christmas Day 1915, he was assigned to Kasta 8 on the Eastern Front. Honing his undoubted flying skills whilst conducting reconnaissance flights over the trenches, von Richthofen would meet Boelcke once more during the summer of 1916, where he was invited to become one of the first dedicated fighter pilots of the Luftstreitkräfte and a member of the specialist Jasta 2 hunting squadron.
Another fantastic image of this new Fokker Eindecker model release and how this formed the basis of the distinctive box artwork presentation, which will soon be appearing on the shelves of our favourite model stores
With influential airmen such as Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke championing the use of the aeroplane as an offensive weapon during WW1, the arrival of the Fokker Eindecker at front line units would prove significant in the history of aviation. The world’s first true dedicated fighter aircraft, the Eindecker introduced an effective interrupter gear system, which allowed the pilot to fire through the arc of the propeller and in his line of sight, making targeting of an enemy aircraft much easier. Its introduction led to a devastating period of aerial supremacy for the Luftstreitkräfte which became known as the ‘Fokker Scourge’, however, despite the horrendous toll the Eindecker took of Allied aircraft, its destructive impact could have been so much worse.
Initially, the German High Command would not allow their new aircraft to be flown near Allied lines, for fear the secrets of their new fighter would be discovered and resulted in many simply being used in ones or twos to chaperone reconnaissance aircraft. Also, the handling characteristics of the Eindecker could prove extremely challenging for the pilot, with its flight control systems having changed little from those employed by the Wright Brothers during their famous first flight of 1903 – it required a pilot’s undivided attention all the time. A relatively fragile aeroplane, it would not be long before more robust and manoeuvrable aircraft ended the dominance of the Fokker Eindecker.
An Aviation Archive classic in waiting
How many image exclusives can we include in a single blog? Aviation Archive collectors will be delighted to see this first pre-production sample model from the new 1/48th scale Bristol F2B Fighter tooling - it is quite stunning!
We end this latest blog with a huge treat for Aviation Archive collectors and a scoop of such magnitude that we literally had to prise this model from the protective grasp of our Development Manager. This latest image exclusive serves as just a taste of what we have to come in the next edition of Diecast Diaries, as we will be featuring a full project review from the eagerly anticipated new Bristol F2B Fighter tooling. In our previous edition, we brought readers images of the first metal test shots from this new tooling and whilst these were impressive enough, we have gone one significant step further since then. Only arriving in our offices at the beginning of this week, we now have the first decorated sample from the Bristol Fighter tooling and doesn’t it look magnificent!
Still very much in its development stages and still subject to change before it can finally be released for production, we are absolutely delighted with what we have seen so far and for a model which has been long requested by Aviation Archive collectors, we think you are going to be pleased too. For now though, we hope you enjoy this exclusive preview image of our new Bristol F2B Fighter and we look forward to bringing you further details in the next edition of our blog.
We are afraid that’s all we have for you in this latest edition of Diecast Diaries, however, you can be sure we will be back with more updates and exclusive Corgi content in four weeks’ time. In the meantime, we are always interested to hear from our readers, especially if you would like to suggest a subject for future inclusion in our blog. Better still, if you would like to send us pictures of your own model collection, or details of a Corgi model release which is special to you, you may even find yourself featuring in a future edition of Diecast Diaries. As always, we would be grateful if you would address all correspondence to our usual firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
If you can’t wait for the next edition of our blog, there is always plenty of Corgi model related news, views and conversation taking place on our official Facebook and Twitter social media pages, which welcome your contributions. We look forward to reading about all the latest Corgi collecting discussions and pictures of your favourite models over the coming few weeks.
Finally, we would like to thank all our readers for their continued support. We look forward to bringing you much more Corgi related news, features and updates in future editions of our blog. The next edition of Diecast Diaries is scheduled to be published on Friday 6th November.
The Corgi Die-cast Diaries Team
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