Shaken, not stirred at the London Classic Car Show
Welcome to the latest edition of Corgi Die-cast Diaries and all the very latest news and release updates from the world of Corgi model collecting. The start of any new year is a busy time for the Corgi team, with several trade shows and exhibitions to be attended, as well as fitting in all the usual day to day tasks. In this latest edition, we will bring you some exclusive images from our attendance at the recent London Classic Car Show, including how we caught up with one of the iconic British cars we featured in our Vanguards range. We have the very latest information from the much anticipated new 1/48th scale English Electric Lightning F.6 project and showcase some new box artwork that will grace the release of what will surely become a future Aviation Archive classic. In support of this year’s Vanguards 21st birthday, we also have a couple of reader supplied features, one looking at the story behind a model collection and the other illustrating a creative way of displaying models, both of which will be of interest to collectors of this popular range. Finally, we end this latest edition with a competition and the chance to win some extremely desirable Corgi goodies. With much to squeeze in this month, we had better make a start.
Even though most of us are still coming to terms with the fact that we are in 2017, the Corgi marketing and events team have already been out and about displaying our latest range of models at a number of shows. Their latest destination was the London Classic Car Show at London’s Excel exhibition centre, the capital’s largest classic car show and a gathering place for some of the most expensive vehicles in the world. Despite the best efforts of Storm Doris, thousands of motoring enthusiasts from all over the world headed for Excel, lured by themes such as a Ferrari Tribute Collection, The Jacky Ickx Icon Racing Car Collection and of course the Corgi stand, which boasted its own display of iconic prestige cars – Die-cast Diaries went along to sample the atmosphere.
Last year’s London Classic Car Show was the launch event for Corgi’s 60th Anniversary celebrations and to mark the occasion, the Corgi stand was dominated by a suitably liveried classic London Routemaster bus, which was an extremely distinctive attraction at the show and ensured plenty of visitors over the weekend of the show. After a start like that, the question was how on earth would the marketing team emulate this success for this year’s show? The answer was simple and involved just two words – James Bond, or perhaps more accurately Aston Martin. If there were not reason enough to visit the Corgi stand at Excel this year, our marketing team had arranged for two iconic Aston Martin supercars to be present on the stand, both of which had been used in the filming of James Bond movies. To mark the launch of our current range of specially presented James Bond inspired models, our stand was flanked by an Aston Martin DB10 which had stared in the film ‘Spectre’ and a DBS which graced the screens in ‘Casino Royale’. Obviously, the Corgi events team manning the stand were the real celebrities at the show, but these magnificent cars and their iconic film heritage certainly ran them a very close second.
Images from the Corgi stand at this year’s London Classic Car Show
The enigmatic mix of classic British luxury sports cars and arguably the most famous spy in the world ensured that the Corgi stand was busy for the duration of the show, with many visitors keen to have their pictures taken with these celebrity vehicles. They were also invited to take part in our show competition, which offered a prize that was irresistible to any motoring enthusiast – the chance to win a spectacular Aston Martin driving experience day, worth a cool £1500!
This competition is also open to Die-cast Diaries readers and you still have time to enter – head over to our competitions page, where you will find all the information you need, including the all-important competition question. All entries must be received by 10am GMT on Friday 17th March.
The latest Vanguards display on the Corgi stand came in for some close attention
The Corgi stand also featured an impressive display of the current range of Vanguards 1/43rd scale models, including a number of rare pre-production samples which were on show to the public for the first time. This year is a significant one for the Vanguards range, as we celebrate the 21st birthday of these popular models and have a series of events and features planned throughout 2017 to mark this anniversary. The London Classic Car Show was a great way to start Vanguard's 21st Birthday year and we look forward to bringing you many more features with a classic motor vehicle theme over the coming months. We will also include a full review of the London Classic Car Show in a future edition of Die-cast Diaries.
1/48th scale Lightning storms ahead
A beautiful study of Lightning XR728 kindly supplied by the Lightning Preservation Group
Since the new 1/48th scale English Electric Lightning F.6 tooling (AA28401) was announced with the release of the January – June Corgi model range in early January, there hardly seems to be a day go by without a new request for the latest information, or news of even more pre-order numbers being received. Already looking like being one of the most successful Aviation Archive releases for many a year, the new Lightning is a significant undertaking for the Corgi design team, who are determined to bring this iconic Cold War fighter to the range in some style and bringing collectors the definitive die-cast version of this magnificent aircraft.
Although we released information about the new Lightning project much earlier than would usually be the case, this does give us the opportunity to follow every stage of its development, which is somehow fitting for a model of this die-cast stature. The announcement has also started some interesting debate on various enthusiast and modelling forums, with people discussing the legacy of this famous British Jet Fighter and highlighting some fascinating facts about the aircraft. These range from discussing how the Lightning was absolutely without equal in the world of aviation, in the years following its service introduction and how it reigned supreme as a point defence interceptor until the arrival of the American F-15 Eagle. Others have suggested that the aircraft was something of a challenge and how some Royal Saudi Air Force pilots were too scared to fly it – sometimes referred to as the ‘Frightening’, the Lightning could certainly be a handful to land in a crosswind and was even likened by some pilots as like being strapped to a rocket! One particularly interesting fact concerned the tyres used on the main undercarriage – these were of a particularly thin design, which was necessary for the units to retract into the slender wing of the Lightning. The tyres were prone to bursting on landing and even if they did not, they were only rated for seven landings at most, before requiring replacement - in a heavy crosswind landing, the tyres could actually need replacing after just one sortie.
Exclusive first showing of the decoration guide for the new 1/48th scale Lightning F.6
One thing that these discussions certainly illustrate is that there is still great affection for this spectacular aircraft which was the first and last, all-British supersonic fighter and occupies a unique place in the history of British aviation. Over the course of the coming year we will have a number of Lightning features in our Die-cast Diaries, Aerodrome and Airfix Workbench blogs, with our good friends at the Lightning Preservation Group helping to guide us through the history and achievements of this truly spectacular aircraft. For now, we are extremely pleased to be able to show our readers the official Corgi decoration guide (above) for the new 1/48th scale Lightning, which shows that this exciting project is advancing nicely. Keep checking Die-cast Diaries for more Lightning exclusives.
The latest product artwork for the forthcoming Me 262 Nightfighter release
As significant as the English Electric Lightning was to the history of British jet aviation, the Messerschmitt Me 262 could arguably claim to be the most important jet aircraft of all time. As the world’s first operational jet powered fighter aircraft, the Me 262 had the potential to provide the Luftwaffe with a huge technological advantage in the air war over Europe, but overwhelming Allied air superiority, a dire logistical situation in Germany and protracted planning indecision dictated that this early jet would only play a small, if fascinating role in the final months of WWII. Despite this, the legacy of the German jet industry would find its way into the design of many of the world’s early jet aircraft and leave many to wonder what would have happened if large numbers of these aircraft had been available just six months earlier.
Always a popular addition to any Aviation Archive range, the latest Messerschmitt Me 262 announcement marks one of the relatively few two seat Nightfighters to see active combat during the latter stages of WWII and features the distinctive FuG 218 radar antennae (stag antlers) on the nose of the aircraft. We are pleased to bring you the latest product artwork for this beautiful model, which has just been released by our talented graphic design team and certainly captures some of the drama of a late war night interception.
AA35709 is a Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a/U1, W.Nr 110635 ‘Red 10’, flown by Kurt Welter of 10/NJG.11, from Burg bei Magdeburg, during April 1945 – ‘Mosquito Hunter’.
3D box artwork image of Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a/U2 AA35709
Oberleutnant Kurt Welter joined the fledgling Luftwaffe in 1934, and after qualifying as a pilot began a long career as a flying instructor - it was not until the summer of 1943 that he transferred to an operational fighter unit and began flying interceptor missions against Allied air forces. An extremely capable pilot, Welter began claiming victories almost as soon as he became operational, although Allied aerial supremacy dictated that there would always be plenty of opportunities to hone his skills.
Welter would become notorious as a hunter of RAF Mosquito night intruders, which began mounting ‘light night’ strike raids against targets around Berlin in an attempt to demoralise the population of the city. As one of the most capable aircraft of the war, the De Havilland Mosquito was fast and manoeuvrable, able to deliver a similar bomb load to that of a USAAF B-17 and posed a serious threat to the Luftwaffe. Determined to halt this Mosquito menace, Welter was given command of a dedicated nightfighter unit, equipped with the new Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter, which was more than capable of catching the elusive British intruders, when serviceable. Welter claimed the first night victory of a jet powered fighter in December 1944 and went on to record a total of 63 combat victories, from just 93 missions flown. Although his victory claims have been challenged by historians over the years, his tally included no less than 33 night intruder Mosquitos.
Die-cast motor vehicles with a history
With a full year of Corgi Vanguards features ahead of us, we thought it would be nice to look at why collectors are so attached to this range and what is the motivation behind starting your collection. In this next section of the blog, we will discover why one Die-cast Diaries reader started a Vanguards model collection, how another has a unique way of displaying his collection and finally, how the desire to bring a classic British car back to its former glory resulted in the release of a very special Vanguards model.
Die-cast Dairies reader and previous blog contributor Michael Gosden has been watching our Vanguards 21 updates with interest over the past couple of editions and was kind enough to send us some pictures and a short description of how he started his own collection of Vanguards models. Having been a die-cast collector for many years, Michael has built up an impressive collection of models from many different ranges and from a number of different manufacturers, but his Vanguards collection began with the simple, rather sentimental intention – to collect models of the cars owned by his father. Indeed, both Michael and his father would collect the models at the same time, meaning that the Gosden family built up a duplicate collection of Vanguards models, which continued to grow as the range expanded and new model toolings introduced cars which had been owned by the family. Pleased with the quality of the models, Michael began to expand his collection, looking at vehicles he himself had owned (or maybe that he would have liked to have owned) and also building up a large collection of Police and Emergency Vehicle models. As with most collectors, Michael describes how he would often sell on some of his less favoured models, in order to fund the purchase of newer releases, but would invariably end up buying the models back again before too long – he was just more attached to them than he realised.
Three of the cars owned by the Gosden family over the years
VA46002 Ford Zephyr 6 Mk.III in Maroon
On display since they were bought, these models have huge sentimental value
The images above show the first three Vanguards models that Michael collected, with each one reminding him of a car his father had previously owned. The models in question are VA05401 Morris Oxford VI in Trafalgar Blue with Snowberry White roof, VA46002 Ford Zephyr 6 Mk.III in Maroon and VA06300 Morris Marina 1800 in Teal Blue. Each one has been displayed, handled and enjoyed since they joined his collection and even though they are now looking a little less than pristine, each one has huge sentimental value and form the the bedrock of his current Vanguards model collection. Thank you for sharing the pictures with us Michael.
Many Die-cast Diaries readers and Corgi model collectors enjoy posting pictures of their latest acquisition, or current favourite model on the Customer Images section of the Corgi website and as we are now in the 21st Birthday year of the Vanguards range, we are expecting many more vehicle pictures over the coming months. Even though we always love to see your model pictures, there are some images that demonstrate real artistic talent and leave the rest of us thinking ‘now why didn’t I think of that?’ One such submission was recently sent in by Adrian Fletcher, who managed to produce some product images that were simply spectacular – we had to include them for your enjoyment.
Displaying some real photographic skill, Adrian had the idea of trying to produce some Vanguards model images that looked a little more lifelike and utilised an old airfield diorama base that he had built back in the 1980s. With a suitable scenery backdrop and some model fencing, he planned to shoot the diorama scene outdoors, where he could use natural light and minimise the potential for colour casting becoming an issue. Despite all these preparations, Adrian described how he still found himself spending quite some time at the computer to achieve the effect he was looking for – he needed to blend the images in Photoshop, so that the Mexico models looked as realistic as they possibly could.
The diorama setup Adrian used to produce his evocative Vanguards images
The collection of images shown above certainly illustrate the success of Adrian’s project, as he has managed to create some beautifully evocative product images. Adrian also kindly sent us a picture of the diorama setup he used, with the overall effect certainly adding another dimension to these already attractive models. The two models used for the main close-up pictures are VA09520 Ford Escort Mk.I Mexico in Daytona Yellow and VA09519 Ford Escort Mk.I Mexico in Diamond White, from the 60th Anniversary Collection. We would like to thank Adrian for sharing his diorama project with us and for uploading these superb images to the Corgi Customer Images pages – they look fantastic.
Capri reunion at LCCS
Our recent trip to the London Classic Car Show not only allowed us the opportunity to see some of the world’s most desirable and expensive classic motor vehicles, but also the chance to spend time with people who are passionate about cars and maintaining them in pristine condition. Very much in this category, Vince Judge is the proud owner of a rare and beautifully restored Ford Capri Mk.I 3000 GXL in Sapphire Blue and for many people at the show, this iconic British sports coupe will have brought back many happy memories of their youth and probably had them dreaming of owning such a beautiful car.
Vince purchased this Capri at a salvage auction in 1992 for the princely sum of £20.00 plus £5.29 administration costs, but it was unfortunately in quite a state - originally registered TUR 894M, this Capri had only covered 56,000 miles when in late 1991, it was involved in an engine fire incident. The previous owner had driven the car without an air filter in place and the resultant carburettor blow-back ignited the front of the car, resulting in significant damage. Vince was looking for a restoration project centred around the more luxurious GXL model, with its distinctive quad headlight arrangement and rear opening quarter-lights and already had the front section of a GXL at home. Despite not being put off by the front-end damage to his bargain purchase, little did he know that he would be embarking on a challenging restoration project that would take the next seventeen years and three house moves to complete.
Vince Judge’s Ford Capri Mk.I 3000 GXL is restored to an exceptionally high standard
Pride and Joy - Vince with both versions of his Capri
‘Making the Great Small’ – The Little and Large show at LCCS 2017
As you can clearly see from the pictures above, the effort that Vince put in to this project resulted in a magnificent example of this cult classic, which has to be regarded as one of the finest examples of this much-loved coupe. His car was one of the stars of the ‘Grand Avenue Parade’, where iconic vehicles are driven the entire length of the exhibition hall at set times during the show, with everyone stopping to catch a glimpse of these motoring classics. Vince kindly managed to arrange for us to enter the vehicle paddock in the parade holding area and spend some quality time with his pride and joy.
Collectors of the Vanguards range will probably recognise the Capri that Vince so spectacularly restored to pristine condition, as it was the subject of a model release in the January to June 2015 range. VA13308 presented Vince’s Capri following the completion of its lengthy restoration process and whilst it has been sold out on the Corgi website for some time now, it is still possible to find an example if you look hard enough. Even though Vince has four models of his pride and joy, we can confirm that he would not be willing to part with any of them.
Vanguards Capri VA13308 is a sell-out 2015 release
The story of Vince Judge and his fascinating restoration of Ford Capri Mk.I 3000 GXL was featured in the Autumn 2015 edition of the Corgi Collector Club magazine (Issue 245) and makes for a very insightful read indeed. We would like to thank Vince for allowing us the opportunity to get close to his beautiful Capri at the London Classic Car Show and for helping us to make his car such a successful addition to the Vanguards range.
Competition Time – two Corgi Club memberships up for grabs!
We end this latest edition of Die-cast Diaries with an opportunity for two lucky readers to win a year’s membership to the Corgi Club and the host of benefits that membership offers die-cast collectors. With two classes of membership available, you can choose to either join as a digital download or postal member, but whichever option you decide to go for you are assured of receiving fascinating articles, competitions, special offers and much more from the world of Corgi model collecting. For full details of all the benefits included with a Corgi Club membership, please head for our Club Page which will have all the information you need.
To be in with a chance of winning one of our Corgi Club membership packages, please head over to our Competitions Page and answer the Die-cast Diaries related question there. We will announce the lucky winners in the next edition of our blog, which is due to be published on Friday 7th April.
That’s all we have for you in this latest edition of Die-cast Diaries, but we hope it included something of interest to you. Please don’t miss out on your final opportunity to enter our fantastic Aston Martin driving experience day competition, which promises to be an extremely memorable day for our lucky winner.
If you have any Vanguards collector stories you would like to share with us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – it also goes without saying that any pictures of your collections, or favorite Vanguards models will also be gratefully received.
As always, we are keen to hear your views on our Die-cast Diaries blog and any ideas you may have for future model related content. There are a number of ways you can get a message to us - as well as our dedicated Diecastdiaries@corgi.co.uk e-mail address, we also have our Die-Cast Diaries forum and our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter using #CorgiDiecastDiaries. Please do join in with all the discussions, better still why not start your own Corgi related thread?
Until the next edition of Die-cast Diaries, thank you very much for reading our latest blog, which we sincerely hope you enjoyed.
The Corgi Team
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