Saturday, 30 November 2019

New arrivals and vive la difference!

One of the most beautiful Corgi models, in my opinion, is the 1970 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Stealing the Austin Healey's catalogue number of 300, it was the last of the Golden Jacks issues and only available for a short period during 1970. It still sold well, issued in two bright liquid metallic colours, red and green. These seem to be sold as fast as they arrive so I guess this won't be around long although I am tempted to add this particularly fine example to my own collection.

Also arriving this month was the Whizzwheels replacement in pink. As well as saving money on the paint, Corgi also abandoned the idea of take-off wheels and this gets the same nasty plastic design as everything else at the time. They did keep the pop-up jewelled lights at the front but, at the back, filled the holes for the jewels with blobs of mazak! These models are scarce and, despite not looking as good, are quite a lot more expensive.

Next is something very special that I shall not be keen to part with, having taken several years to find. It looks like the 205M Mechanical edition of the Riley Pathfinder but doesn't have the motor. It is just an ordinary 205. Whilst I have seen a few of the mechanical editions in red, this is the first non-mechanical in dark blue that I've seen.

So far I have found examples of the 203 Vauxhall Velox in red, 211 Studebaker in white and the 216 Austin in red and black. the 205M in red is the only example, so far, I have found of the 'normal' model getting the 'M' colour. All are very scarce and it is exciting to find another. I can imagine that it would be a relatively simple thing to happen at the factory and I'm surprised that we don't see more of these reversed combinations of top and chassis.

Two normal 216Ms make the total that I now have to nine! I do find these difficult to resist. One is in really nice condition and the other still reasonable and both have working motors.

The next item was a bit more expensive but still cost me a lot less than it should have. It's the rare export edition of the Graham Hill Ford Cortina MkIII GXL in pretty good condition, with a box and Graham too. I had both the left- and right-hand drive versions in beige advertised on Ebay but they were not in particularly nice condition. A lady wrote to me to say that there was a boxed edition of the left-hand drive one listed at less than I was asking for mine. I think she may have been suggesting that my prices could be a bit high and I did expect to see the common bronze car which, in some photos can look paler.

When I did see this, though, I bought it straight away and replied to thank the lady as, even with a chip here and there, these make several hundred pounds and it was most definitely under-priced rather than mine being over-priced.

I has a 2000GT version (quite rare, too) in a pale beige but with a brown roof in 1973. and no, no relation to Graham!

Continuing the list of things that are very hard to find, here is a lovely Ghia 5000 Mangusta with an aerial! It didn't come with a box, though so I also bought another with a damaged aerial but which did have a box and swapped the cars.

I had not noticed before but there are two colours of metal used for the engine block on the detachable chassis. This one has a gold colour of metal whereas the other I bought (not illustrated) had plain steel colour. In some previous articles I have written about this model I also used to remark on how sad it seemed that Corgi didn't add suspension to this model, slightly reminiscent of the 319 Lotus Elan. Rather late in the day, however, I have now realised that the chassis does have suspension provided by the chromed metal elements. I can't imagine how I've missed that in the past but I did!

I do have an original Avengers Gift Set 40, with an original box and plinth available which seems to have escaped mention in last month's list. This month I have created several more sets in the marvellous reproduction boxes that I have. The boxes are really the very best I've encountered and far superior to either the DRRB or Mr Flowers' productions.

I have still not found a correct reproduction of the Steed character so can only make these sets when I manage to find enough originals. I refuse to use the annoyingly repainted Jeeves type that seems to be all that is offered. In contrast, the Mrs Peel characters available are generally not too bad at all, although the paintwork on her face can be a bit dire sometimes.

I have two or three of the classic red Bentley and white Lotus sets now.

I also put together, from time to time, an alternative set which, whilst not as issued, is closer to the vehicles that featured in the series from Series 2 when it came in colour. Mrs Peel's first Lotus was white but in the second and subsequent series she had a later silver-blue model. Steed never had a red Bentley but one of quite a few green ones! Sometimes they even moved the registration plates from one to the other but, more often than not, they varied from episode to episode. But they were never red.

This set has a really attractive Bentley that I made using the chassis from a 9002, the body from a 1985 re-issue (with lovely bright chromework) and 1985 re-issue bright silver wheels on the chassis. This was not as simple as it may seem, however, as the 1985 edition has a black interior into which Steed simply doesn't fit. So that need to be changed and I used an original brown interior and also a brown original dashboard.

The Lotus also deserves a mention. A colleague and font of substantial knowledge of matters diecast, with whom I correspond from time to time, suggested I use some Power Fairy liquid to remove the transfer from the Lotus boot. What I did not realise was that it also changed the colour of the paintwork if I left it soaking for too long! As a consequence this set has a particularly rich metallic blue Lotus Elan!

Another source of interesting variations can be the bases of Earlier Corgi models. As well as finding different text or information on them you will also find some of the models fitted with the thicker plastic base may have black or grey bases. I have mentioned before the Jaguar 2.4 Litre Mechanical edition and it seems that the grey base is very scarce for that. For the Standard Vanguard RAF model the black and grey seem to be more evenly available.

I need to do more research on these base types one day.

I have managed to accumulate all the elements for a Daktari Gift Set 7 now, with the arrival of reproduction stethoscope and glasses (as originals were proving impossible to find!) The box is original and, although a bit worn, complete. I am, however, trying to make a complete Daktari Set 14 as I have the Truck, a grey adult elephant and Giraffe Transporter + giraffes. All that is missing is the little elephant - a dark blue plastic model that is proving elusive. And a box. No-one seems to make the box. So I am not sure what to do. I think I shall probably hang on to everything and hope to come across a box and little elephant one day as that bigger set is worth so much more. I could probably fill the Gift Set 7 box again without too much trouble.

For a long time I have had a Land Rover Public Address model but without the girl assistant. Finally one came along that was damaged but it did have an original girl so, once I have some better stickers, this can be advertised.

The same colleague who provided the Power Fairy advice also has a Public Address model with yellow seats (they're usually red) and that is something I am also looking out for. Land Rovers with red seats have always been something I have looked out for - well, those that should have yellow seats normally, that is. Here is a first - the Corgi Flying Club Gift Set 19 Land Rover with a red interior! I have a Pony Club Land Rover with Whizzwheels and this interior and a deep green (normal wheel type) edition too.

My German collector friend, Andreas, let me have a fawn and cream Pony Trailer so I have been able to put a late Gift Set 2 together with an original pony too. "Why would he give me a Pony Trailer?" you may ask . . .

Here is the reason. He already had plenty and it came with something else a bit special that he bought from someone who wouldn't post to Germany. So I was lucky to have this for a while and get some photos. It is a very rare example with lemon interior instead of the normal red. It is a pity that the model is not in the best of condition and I had to repair the centre strut for the windscreen which had disappeared. It is, however, one of those models that are worth getting hold of in almost any (original) condition.

It does seem to have been a month of interesting variations. The other additions are three 'normal' models. 

I had not had a Joe's Diner Karrier Van before to look at closely and this was a most pleasant surprise. The Trans-o-lite system is put to great effect to light up the sign at the front and the orange roof seems to make the interior seem lit too. This model has already been sold. Clearly I didn't have it priced high enough as it went in a matter of days!

The 322 Monte Carlo Rover 2000 is one of those models I find hard to resist when they're in good condition and seem very reasonably priced. If I can find two decent Minis I'll have enough for two very nice Gift Set 38s.

Finally for November, a reasonably good old 206M Hillman Husky with a good friction motor. These old originals with the motors did not sell well but they have so much charm and I am slowly making my own collection of these, improving the models s and when I can.

Some of these models will be available to buy so if you would like to reserve anything just get in touch.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

New arrivals last month

I am pleased to have available another all original Gift Set 40 for The Avengers. Apart from the brollies. The outer box is missing a small flap but is otherwise good and with little damage.

Acquired for a friend, this Fiat 1800 in mustard was thought by the seller to have been a repaint! It's actually one of the best examples of this harder to find colour that I've seen.

The Mustang with a red stripe on the sills is quite scarce. Someone with a red felt tip pen can make a pretty good effort at replicating it but this one is genuine.


Again something acquired for a friend, the little blue Mini Magnifique looks lovely when it has all its paint and chrome intact. This one is also the edition with a wider bands on the  sliding roof section. From my observations, the narrow bands are the far more common.

Another late edition Citroen with fog lamps in the casting but also another with poor paintwork. This also has the free-spinning shaped wheels, the model being one of only a few which can be found with all three of the earlier types of wheel - smooth fixed, shaped fixed and the free-spinning type.

The scarce Whizzwheels Rover does look glorious in its deep purple finish but the paint seems to chip off so easily that examples like this one are really few and far between. I have some others in stock but all have a chunk of paint missing at some place or another which does spoil the overall appearance considerably. This one, however, is the first I've seen outside auction web sites with no damage at all. 

A VW Military Personnel Carrier came along in really bad condition so it got the same treatment as an International Truck did earlier last month. This one isn't finished, though. The flowers around the headlights need more definition and I've just noticed that the interior has not been fitted correctly.

Another wreck got the white paint treatment but I decided against covering this one with flowers and just added transfers instead.

Corgi Toys @ 60: The Corporal Missile Set

Just one release in November 1959; the Corporal Missile, Launching Ramp, Erector Vehicle with an International Troop Carrier Truck packed together in Gift Set 9.

Sales were low, only 14,000. With so many complex mechanical components to go wrong, finding one that has these both in top condition and also working as they should is not easy at all.

The poor sales led to the missile, ramp and vehicle being withdrawn in 1962. The Launching Ramp was sold on its own in a box a year later as catalogue number 1124 and is possibly the item with the lowest sales of all at just 4000. 

Friday, 18 October 2019

MGA colours, wheel and wings

The lovely old MGA is a very attractive model and, until now I had not thought that it had much by way of variety. There were green and red colours and wheels that could be either smooth or shaped but seem always to be fixed. Although I wouldn't catalogue it, there seem to be two types of screen too - early models having a smoky grey perspex and later ones a clear screen.

Recently I came across a paler metallic green variety. the colour is more noticeable from some angles than others but the seat colour is definitely different, being quite yellow on the pale coloured model and cream on the normal shade.

Now another difference has come to light. Later models have a ridge running along the top of the front wings, most noticeable on the off-side wing.

It is quite a clear difference and resembles what might have been intended to be a chrome strip except for the fact that the MGAs didn't have such a strip!

It appears to feature on all the models I have encountered with shaped wheels but I expect we will find, à la Thunderbird's 1959 plate, that there will be examples of either models with smooth wheels with the ridge or shaped wheels without it. Whichever occurs, and I doubt there'll be both, will be quite rare and worth looking out for.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Land Rover Touring Secours

My German friend Andreas is particularly good at spotting interesting Land Rovers for sale, unearthing a lovely 438 in deep green with red seats a couple of weeks ago, and last week bringing to my attention what he described as a 406S with an aerial hole.

At first I thought it might just be a mark on the wing but, no, there was a neat hole where an aerial would have been fitted. then I realised that there was no spare wheel on the bonnet, nor sign of there ever having been one and the only Land Rover which doesn't have a spare wheel on the bonnet and with a aerial hole is the 416S. I then noticed that this was for sale in Belgium and the mystery is solved. This is a 416S Belgian rescue service Touring Secours edition, albeit in a bad way.

The windows were all badly broken, with holes not just cracks, and so I decided it would look better without any. I had been fooled by a Daktari Land Rover in an otherwise immaculate Gift Set 7 box which a customer sent me as part of his collection some years ago. That too had no windows and I didn't notice for some time. To be honest, this model's lack of protection from Belgian rain or wind is pretty obvious but I still maintain it looks better than it used to.

The interior survived the operation which was a relief as had that been split or broken then I would have had to take the thing to bits. As it is I am inclined to keep it intact. These models are very scarce and, although in very sad condition, with no hook and the wrong canopy, it is the only one I've had and am likely to have for many a year.

I can do something about the hook and I may be able to patch up the paintwork with the help of a friend who mixes pots of colours which seem to have no relation themselves to the desired colour and yet the result she achieves is perfect.

The windows will have to stay paneless and I would like to do something about that replacement aerial. I do wish Mr Flowers Model Supplies would stock some better aerials than the annoyingly inappropriate and odd-looking ones they supply at the moment. We need aerials for all sorts of models and a nice, finer design with a gentle curve would sell very well, I'm sure. Update: I have found a marginally better one and changed the photos here but it's till not very good.

Another update: I made some labels for the RADIO text and TS logo. They're accurate but the transparent film I have to use is a bit too thick and the paintwork doesn't exactly help to display them! The cab now has front windows too. As I'm unlikely to find any other in a hurry I have had to make the most of what I have! 

Ghia Gold

When this arrived I was convinced that I had found yet another colour Ghia L6.4. I even started writing about a honey-gold finish instead of the lemon-gold I knew about. But when I got out an example of lemon-gold that I had in stock it's clear that they're the same colour!

I had this trouble with some of the blue shades of this car but the worst problem was with the blue-green metallic Land Rovers. I have had several of these, purchased in the belief that this was a new shade I had not encountered before only to find that they were identical to all the others bought before! I managed to accumulate almost as many 438s as I did Renault Florides, indeed, still am accumulating, in my search for one without holes in the wing.

Anyway, this Ghia is quite a smart model and these later models even have suspension that has lasted - unlike their earlier cousins - by virtue of some better produced device in the chassis. The interior on this one has also turned tan. I guess this must be due to light exposure because the elements of the plastic section that can be seen in the boot and under the bonnet are still bright yellow. It did come with a box but I suppose it may well have been on display or the box has been added later. There is one difference, however, and that is the colour of the cast spoke-effect wheels. My previous example has the normal silver-grey colour but the latest model seems to have a distinct gold hue to the wheels.

So, whilst my addition of a honey-gold edition has been unnecessary (and I shall get around to deleting it sometime from the catalogue) I shall include the different wheels at least.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

International Peace & Love

An old 1118 Army Truck arrived looking a bit shabby so I couldn't resist a conversion - in more ways than one!