The Ultimate Corgi Top Ten
Welcome to the latest edition of Die-cast Diaries, where we give readers a regular insight into everything that is happening behind the scenes in the world of Corgi Die-cast. You may well be intrigued at the title of our latest blog, but in this 60th Anniversary year, it is only right that we focus on some of the magnificent die-cast models Corgi have produced over this period – as proposed and then voted for by you.
In a feature packed edition, we will also be bringing you an exclusive look at a research trip to Duxford, where an extremely rare WWII aircraft came into contact with one of the latest Aviation Archive pre-production sample models and how we were very fortunate to get a little more than we bargained for. We also take an interesting look at a recent Corgi release and what this model looks like when it is stripped down to its component parts, as well as including our ever popular ‘What’s on the desk’ feature. The latest edition of Die-cast Diaries features new model releases, future models and a selection of classic releases that will bring back memories for many of our readers.
With so much to get through, let’s make a start by introducing 'The Ultimate Corgi Top 10', and telling you how anyone who has ever been a Corgi collector can get involved in marking our anniversary.
The ‘Ultimate Corgi Top Ten’ - help us to mark our 60th Anniversary year in style
We are really excited to tell you about a feature we are launching today, which will bring our 60th Anniversary year to a close in some style. Over the next few months Die-cast Diaries, along with our colleagues on our social media platforms are going to be compiling a list of the most popular Corgi models from the past 60 years and we need your help to do it. In actual fact Corgi Collectors will be the only people able to influence which of our models make it into 'The Ultimate Corgi Top Ten’ and which model will be crowned ‘The most popular Corgi model ever produced’. The results of our poll will be published in a special Christmas and New Year edition of Die-cast Diaries, where in true competition style we will announce the ten most popular Corgi models in reverse order, with our winning model taking centre stage at the end of our 60th Anniversary year.
In order to make this happen we need your help. We need you to send us your favourite Corgi model nominations, including photographs if you possibly can. Sending your nominations could not be simpler – please send your e-mails to us at email@example.com, using Corgi Top Ten as your heading, via our Facebook and Twitter accounts using #CorgiTop10, or by posting on our special Corgi Forum thread. This will allow us to quickly access your votes and make sure they are added to the totals already received.
You've got until Wednesday 16th November to send in your suggestions - we will analyse the entries, whittle them down to the top 20, and then in that week's Die-cast Diaries we will open the voting to find 'The Ultimate Corgi Top 10'.
This is an opportunity for Corgi collectors young and old, active and lapsed to have their say in which models appear in our top ten list. It will also be interesting to see which of the model ranges we have produced over the years will prove to be the most popular – TV and Film, Aviation Archive, or Vanguards - it is time for Corgi collectors to have their say. To get things started, here are just a small selection of models that may well be suggested over the coming weeks.
This truly Fantasmagorical release is certain to receive a host of nominations in 'The Ultimate Corgi Top Ten’ poll. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has to be one of the most iconic vehicles to have ever appeared in the Corgi range and its popularity has seen various guises of the model released over the years. The classic release included figures of Caractacus Potts, Truly Scrumptious and Jeremy and Jemima, along with automatically deploying main wings and additional add on sails for the front and rear of the car. This model will have been enjoyed by generations of kids recreating scenes from this classic film and it will be interesting to see if any of our readers still have pristine examples of this highly prized model in their collections.
It is difficult to imagine a more appealing Corgi model than this absolute classic. Even if you are not a fan of The Beatles' music, the visual appeal of this unusual looking craft is just screaming to be played with and as someone who was never lucky enough to have one of these, I count myself particularly unfortunate. Produced to mark the 1968 release of The Beatles' animated musical comedy film ‘Yellow Submarine’, this superb model features the fab four as they battle to overcome the nasty Blue Meanies, who are clearly no fans of The Beatles themselves. This model has also been re-released on a number of occasions and will have wide appeal to both die-cast and music fans all over the world.
We have included two images of this particular Corgi model not because we want to give it an unfair advantage in our Top Ten poll, but because they were kindly sent in by two of our readers, who responded to a specific request – we are grateful to Michael Gosden and Stephen Jordan (via the DAF forum) for sending us their fantastic pictures.
Avro Lancaster B.I ‘S for Sugar’ AA32601 has to be considered as one of the most important die-cast model releases in the history of the hobby. Produced in 1/72nd scale, this was one of the most ambitious tooling projects ever attempted, when it first appeared in 2001 and paved the way for some of the impressive models we all enjoy to this day. When rumours began to circulate that Corgi were producing this model, many thought that it would not really be up too much and would probably be almost toy-like in its construction. When it was released, it proved to be a revelation and was probably the model responsible for introducing more collectors to the Aviation Archive range than any other – it is something of a die-cast aviation classic. The famous Lancaster on which this model is based is the pride of the RAF Museum collection at Hendon and will be an important exhibit in their 2018 RAF Centenary commemorations.
The Hauliers of Renown range of modern trucks can boast some hugely popular model releases in its back catalogue and it is really difficult to select one example to include in this list. We have gone for this Scania R Series Curtainside operated by the C.S Ellis Group, for obvious reasons. In July 2005, Corgi outsourced its warehouse and distribution operations to C.S Ellis, who had their head offices in Rutland. To mark this development, one of the company’s trailers was given a distinctive Corgi livery, including the company logo, website and a large Corgi dog. The rear doors of the trailer also included the rather tongue in cheek message ‘Who let the dog out?’.
This particular Corgi model never fails to raise a smile. In a desperate attempt to attract a higher class of clientele to Fawlty Towers, Basil Fawlty decides to host a gourmet evening at his hotel, with some of the local dignitaries as his guests. With his new chef drunk and incapable of working in the kitchen, Basil is forced to drive to a local restaurant to pick up the food, with the usual disastrous (for him), but hilarious outcome. As Basil’s Austin 1100 Estate breaks down on his way back to the hotel, it is given a damn good thrashing for its troubles. This really is one of the classic Corgi TV and Film model releases from previous years.
We hope that the classic models above will inspire you to get involved in our ‘Ultimate Corgi Top Ten’ feature and help to make the end of our 60th Anniversary year a die-cast success. We will bring you an update on how the model nominations are progressing in the next edition of Die-cast Diaries, but you have just seven weeks to register your vote for your favourite models.
So, send us your nominations at firstname.lastname@example.org, using Corgi Top Ten as your heading, via our Facebook and Twitter accounts using #CorgiTop10, or by posting on our special Corgi Forum thread. Let the Corgi die-cast battle commence!
Aviation Archive pays homage to a British aviation classic
Bristol Blenheim Mk.I L6739 basking in the sun at Duxford
Any trip to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford is always something to look forward to, but the opportunity to visit the Aircraft Restoration Company hangars at the eastern end of the airfield is an occasion to really raise the excitement levels. Accompanying the research team on their trip was one of the latest pre-production sample models to arrive on the Corgi development desk and we were very much looking forward to the rare opportunity to check this model against the actual aircraft it was based upon – one of the rarest historic WWII aircraft in the world.
Bristol Blenheim Mk.I L6739 (G-BPIV) is the only airworthy example of this significant British aircraft in the world, but despite the fact that it is obviously an extremely prized asset, is a regular and well-loved performer on the UK Airshow circuit. The Blenheim was such an important aircraft in the post war development of British aviation, that it really should be regarded in the same affection as the Spitfires and Hurricanes of the Battle of Britain, a struggle in which the Blenheim was fully involved. Unfortunately, despite many design qualities that made it one of the most advanced aircraft in the world at the time of its first flight, the pace of aviation development in the years leading up to WWII dictated that it had been outclassed by the latest fighter designs by the time conflict began.
Catalogue image of the forthcoming Blenheim Mk.I release AA38408
At the time the new Bristol Blenheim made its first flight at Filton aerodrome on 12th April 1935, it was faster than any fighter aircraft currently in service with the Royal Air Force. Initially developed as a private venture funded by Lord Rothermere, the owner of the Daily Mail Newspaper, the new aircraft set a new speed record for civilian aircraft and was donated to the Air Ministry for trials and evaluation. Clearly impressed with the capability of this advanced new design, the RAF immediately ordered a bomber version of the aircraft straight off the drawing board. Although the Blenheim would prove to be a significant step forward in aviation technology, it would also be used as a yardstick against which all other new designs would be judged - a new breed of fighter must outclass the Blenheim. Significantly, at the outbreak of the Second World War, the RAF had more Bristol Blenheims in service than any other aircraft and it was to see extensive service in the air battles to come.
As far as the Aviation Archive range is concerned, models of aircraft that can be seen performing at Airshows, or inspected at the various aviation museums across the country are always amongst the most popular releases in any catalogue. There is nothing like adding a model of your favourite Airshow performer to the display cabinet and our latest Bristol Blenheim announcement (AA38408) is something of a classic. Marking the last flying example of this beautiful aircraft, which served as a fighter bomber and coastal patrol aircraft during WWII, this latest release also marks one of the most popular Airshow performers in the country – it is already looking like being one of the highlights of the current Corgi catalogue.
Die-cast homage to a British aviation classic. Blenheim L6739 looks on with interest
On Thursday 20th November 2014, Bristol Blenheim Mk.I L6739 (G-BPIV) was pushed out of the Aircraft Restoration Company’s hangar at Duxford airfield and given a final engine test, prior to its first post restoration flight. Moments later, this extremely rare British aircraft took to the skies once more and immediately became one of the most important historic aircraft in the world – the only flying example of its type. Configured as a short-nosed Mk.I nightfighter version of the Blenheim, which saw service during the Battle of Britain, this magnificent aircraft was destined to become highly sought after during the 75th Anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Britain in 2015.
An airworthy Spitfire made a convenient base for our photoshoot
During our memorable visit to ARCo, we were extremely lucky to be allowed access to this magnificent aircraft, including the opportunity to photograph our pre-production sample model with the very aircraft it was intending to replicate. The image we have included which shows L6739 in the background was actually taken with our sample model sitting on the wing of a Spitfire, which was a completely surreal experience. We know that our pre-production models are quite unique, but this one literally had millions of pounds worth of historic aviation as its background props.
We were incredibly fortunate to be able to take this magnificent picture
Our extremely generous hosts at ARCo also offered to take the Blenheim outside the hangar, so that we could take further pictures on the airfield itself, which was basking under cloudless blue skies – we could hardly believe our good fortune. The second image we have included shows the sample model positioned on the tailplane of the Blenheim, which really does make for a unique image and one we could hardly have hoped to be allowed to obtain. This really was a unique opportunity for the research team and we would like to sincerely thank the Aircraft Restoration Company for their extremely generous hospitality during our visit and the time they spent making this such a memorable occasion. Our 1/72nd scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.lF L6739 (AA38408) is scheduled to be released in November, so if you have yet to reserve your example of this stunning model, you still have a little time to do so. For the latest release information and for more details of this particular release, please visit the Aviation Archive pages of the Corgi website.
Duxford BBMF Spitfire surprise
As if our visit to the ARCo hangars were not special enough, our attendance luckily coincided with another historic Airshow performer making a triumphant return to the air. As we were being shown through to the main hangar, we were followed by an extremely smart chap who was wearing the distinctive flying suit of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. As we were enjoying our time looking around the magnificent Blenheim, another aircraft was pulled on to the hard-standing in front of the hangar and it became clear what the pilot was here for. BBMF Spitfire PR Mk.XIX (PS915) had been undergoing a full ‘major plus’ refurbishment at ARCo over the previous few months and the pilot was here to take it on its first post refurbishment flight. What made the occasion even more special was the fact that the BBMF had taken this opportunity to give the aircraft a smart new colour scheme, which under the beautiful blue skies at Duxford looked absolutely magnificent.
A sight for sore eyes. BBMF Spitfire PR Mk.XIX being prepared for its first post refurbishment flight
Job done - this magnificent aircraft is now back with the Flight at RAF Coningsby
Aviation enthusiasts will be aware that from time to time, the BBMF like to present their aircraft in different colour schemes, but always chosen to commemorate a particular pilot or aircraft, as they continue to pay tribute to the men and machines that have previously served in the RAF. The latest scheme selected for Spitfire PS915 represents a photo reconnaissance Spitfire Mk.XIX (PS852) which set a world altitude record for a piston powered aircraft in February 1952. Flying with No.81 Squadron out of Kai Tak airfield in Hong Kong, Flight Lieutenant Ted Powles attained the incredible altitude of 51,550ft, which was both an altitude record for the Spitfire and single engine piston fighters, which still stands to this day. This magnificent new scheme marks the incredible achievement of this late mark Spitfire and the long service record of an aircraft that made its first flight in March 1936.
Corgi Spitfire release AA38706 marks the high altitude exploits of PS852
Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk.XIX (PS915) is now back with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at Coningsby and will hopefully be thrilling Airshow audiences all over the country during 2017. We have also included this picture of Flight Lieutenant Ted Powles Spitfire which was released in the Aviation Archive range not so long ago (AA38706) – it now seems certain that collectors with this particular Spitfire in their display cabinet will be viewing it with even more affection.
New Corgi Truck Evolution
Collectors of our 1/50th scale Hauliers of Renown series of modern trucks will be interested to see the fascinating image above, which has been put together by one of our talented graphic designers Michael Collins. Michael has taken a series of images that show the design evolution of a new truck tooling, from the assembled prototype resin sample model, through to the painted pre-production sample. It is almost like a die-cast time-lapse development image, which shows just how much work the Corgi team have to go through to bring us the models we love to collect. The first release from this new Volvo FH cab tooling is now available in the shops (CC16001) and marks a vehicle in the colours of H.D Ricketts Haulage Ltd, based in the West Midlands. In celebration of this new tooling release, we thought you might like to see this unusual image of its development – great work Michael.
Recently released Gunther Rall Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 (AA27106) in all its glory
This definitely seems to be the week for fascinating Corgi development images. Have you ever wondered how the models we all hold so dear are actually constructed? The picture above shows the recently released 1/72nd scale Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 ‘Black 13’ flown by the third most successful Luftwaffe ace of WWII, Gunther Rall. Always a popular subject with Aviation Archive collectors, this image of the production model certainly shows that this latest release will be a welcome addition to many collections, but despite the undoubted appeal of the picture, we think we have an even more interesting version for you.
Of interest to die-cast collectors of all persuasions, this unusual picture shows the fully painted Gunther Rall Messerschmitt model, but de-assembled into its component parts. When we take our latest model out of its box and place it into our display cabinets, we rarely consider the work that has gone into producing it and the dexterity of the factory workers in pulling everything together for our die-cast enjoyment. For most collectors, this image will be an interesting insight to this work and may actually leave some of us wishing we could have a framed deconstructed Messerschmitt in our own collections.
An unusual view of the latest Corgi Messerschmitt release AA27106
What’s on the desk?
The unique pack and certificate artwork of the Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary releases
We could not end this latest edition without taking our customary look at some of the latest pre-production models to have arrived on the development desk at Corgi HQ. As there has been a lot of information to cram in this week, we will keep this brief and look at the latest sample to arrive in the trio of Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary releases. We revealed the specially produced artwork for these models in the first birthday edition of Die-cast Diaries and we are pleased to say that these unique box presentations have gone down extremely well. With the artwork also carried across on to the limited edition certificate that accompanies each model, these really are a fantastic way for any die-cast aviation collection to mark this significant and extremely historic anniversary.
Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina AA36110 is the largest model in this series
The largest model of the three Pearl Harbor aircraft is the Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina AA36110 and this attractive aircraft is the latest to be received on the development desk. Rather than simply take images of the model on the desk as we would normally do, we took the opportunity to combine it with the box and certificate artwork, to give you a better idea of what these distinctive models will look like in model shops all over the world. Please remember that you are still looking at one of our pre-production sample models and not the final model – having said that, it is looking rather spectacular. Scheduled for release next month, you can find out all the details you need, including the very latest release information, by heading to the website.
Although the first of the Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary models has already been released and should not now be included in this section of our blog, we are including this image as it also shows the unique nature of this attractive release and is being exclusively revealed for the first time to our readers. AA33108 is a 1/72nd scale example of the feared Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero of the Imperial Japanese Navy and marks an aircraft that took part in the infamous Pearl Harbor raid on 7th December 1941. Flown by Takashi Hirano, this fighter was strafing USAAF aircraft at Hickam Field, when the pilot appeared to become disorientated and struck the ground. Ripping the belly tank from the aircraft and causing damage to the propeller and engine, the aircraft became unstable and crashed into buildings at Fort Kamehameha – it was the first Zero fighter to be brought down that day, even if it was as a result of pilot error. AA33108 is available now on the Corgi website and all good model shops around the world.
This attractive Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero is already available in model shops
That’s all we have for you in this latest edition of Die-cast Diaries. Please do support our Ultimate Corgi Top Ten feature and let us have your favourite model suggestions as soon as you can – this is your opportunity to make sure your particular favourites make it into our top ten list at the end of the year. Help us to mark our 60th Anniversary year in fine die-cast style – don’t forget, we need your pictures too.
As always, we are keen to hear your views on Die-cast Diaries and any ideas you may have for future blog 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 the discussions, or 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 hope you found an informative read.
The Corgi Team
© Hornby Hobbies Ltd. All rights reserved.