Sunday, 14 October 2018

Corgi Toys @ 60: Bloodhound Missile and an RAF Staff Car

October 1958 saw the arrival in the shops of the second instalment of RAF missiles. This must have seemed a very exciting and quite dramatic model when compared to the slightly tame looking Thunderbird that had preceded it.

Made by Bristol, this really must have looked the part, with its four detachable rockets with red outlet ends and bright yellow paintwork contrasting with the white main body. Although the vast majority in the field may well have been in khaki, some were, indeed in this or a similar colour and the whole model was so realistic as evidenced by comparison with the photo of a real thing below.

In this first appearance, the missile comes with the launch platform. Later, there will be a Gift Set to include a transport device for this and an RAF Land Rover to pull it along. In late 1959 you would also be able to purchase each component individually.

Bloodhound's longer range kept it in service until the threat of bomber attack by the Soviet Union disappeared with the dissolution of the union in 1991.

The other new model in this month was the final appearance of the Standard Vanguard III, now with a coat of RAF blue and either a solid black or grey base. As far as I can tell, each appears in roughly equal numbers. 

This model will appear in the Rocket Age Gift Set too and stays in production until 1962. That would imply that there might be some around with fixed shaped wheels. However, I have yet to find one so I imagine that, if they do exist at all, they'll be very scarce.

Monday, 3 September 2018

New arrivals in August

Gift Set 10 £TBA

1118 or 1133 (not sure now!) £TBA

1134 with 1135 cab! £TBA

418 late version with black steering wheel £40

Gift Set 19 £80

201M £65

Not a lot this month and really the only item acquired for re-sale is the Austin, a very nice example and a great improvment on the other one that came in last month.

The Rambler and Gift Set 10 items are awaiting a good box and missing elements. they are, though, in excellent condition and so this will make a good set for someone eventually. The two US Army items are not for sale at the moment. The truck is now confusing me as I realise now that it has text along the bonnet which makes it a 1133 but the flat roof on the canopy would have been a 1118, I think. And 1133s have stars on the doors. all in all, I am about to give up on these (for probably the third or fourth time since I started trying to list everything!) I need help with these.

The 1134/5 mix-up is weirdly fascinating but that's about all and I really don't expect that the other bits will be coming in any time soon so it'll be here on a desk for some years to come, I suspect!

The taxis are fun as there are so many small variations to collect. I thought I had this one but don't seem to. I do have a lot of deep maroon ones however that I shall probably never be able to sell for much more than a tenner. This does look pretty black which is a relief.

The Gift Set 19 is here merely because a customer wanted an original elephant. Now he doesn't. So I've added the cage and trailer I had to buy to get it to a nice red land Rover I had lying around and to that I can add either the plastic canopy shown here or the earlier tin blue canopy as required.

Corgi Toys @ 60: Bedford Machinery Carrier

From September 1958 we have another use for the 'Big' Bedford cab, now attached to a machinery carrier base and similar in many ways to the Low Loader issued earlier in the year. This has the same winch but in place of a ramp there is a detachable rear axle and two fold-down ramps of wheel width only.

You could have fun with this model, hauling whatever you could find on to the back, or driving other toys up the ramps and off again somewhere else on the carpet. Only certain shapes would work with the winch, though, and that handle was rather unrealistic and tended to spoil things a bit. I am sure that something more to scale would have still functioned as well.

Strangely, I have never had one of these 1104 models and so the illustration is with acknowledgements to QDT. It seems that all the 1104 models had a red cab with a black detachable rear axle. Some may have a matt black finish but the normal ones are gloss black.

This model has a long life and this gets extended yet further in 1963 when it gets the later TK style cab and a capstan affair with a couple of spare tyres replaces the winch.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Bedford Cabs

I couldn't resist buying this old Army Fuel Tanker that was going cheap and which had caught my eye because of the cab. As far as I know all the 1134 models have the old 'Big' Bedford cab.

Then I started to think about it a bit more and remembered that the other two uses of the tanker section were the Mobilgas and Milk editions, each of which gets issued with a new cab and, in those cases, a new number.

The US Army fuel tanker first appears in January 1965. But the Bedford TK style cab had been pulling the 1131 Machinery Carrier and the Low Loader in November 1963, more than a year earlier! Indeed, it is that TK cab that gets to pull the US Army Machinery Carrier issued as 1135 at the very same time as the 1134 Fuel Tanker.

Whilst I appreciate that the Mobilgas and Milk tankers didn't get new cabs until later in 1965, it does strike me as most odd that Corgi should have attached the old S type cab to the Tanker and the new TK one to the Carrier when the TK would have been then then 'current' cab for all these articulated models.

It is, therefore, entirely reasonable to see a 1134 with the TK cab but what I feel is that this is a combination by someone at some point in time and that somewhere in someone's loft lurk a khaki 1135 and an old S type cab in a similar colour. Whilst what I have bought is possible to have existed, I suspect it didn't really.

So now I am searching for old army trailers and khaki S Type cabs! Both 1134 and 1135 were produced in very paltry numbers, though, and had a lifespan of only a year or so at best. They're quite sought after now so my chances are pretty slim.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

New arrivals in July

317 £50

222 blue / lemon £45

208M £45

222 maroon / lemon £50

GS40 £160

462 £80 (reserved)

462 'Combex' £TBA

1106 £64

300 £54

159 £40

158 £36

155 £36

281 £85

406S £180

201M £55

273 boxed as new £300

Corgi Toys @ 60: Mercedes 300SL and Lucozade

Corgi's second European model appears this month in 1958 in the very attractive and accurate shape of the Mercedes 300SL.

You will find this mostly in white with a blue interior. The other colour scheme is blue with a cream interior. Neither are particularly scarce as this was a popular model and sold very well. The ones to look out for are those with shaped fixed wheels. In production until 1960, or possibly early 1961 when it was replaced by a version with suspension, it can only have been those produced late in the day that will have shaped wheels.

There are a few examples around which appear to be 'crossover' models where the white or blue body has a 303S chassis with suspension. So you cannot assume that if the model is white or pale blue it will be 303! The suspension is not always obvious on the later models, getting quite stiff in some cases, so sellers often make mistakes with listings. One thing seems certain: if it is shiny silver and/or has a strip then it is the later 303S.

Something else that people get wrong is the driver. The 303 models did not have one.

Corgi fitted quite a solid screen to these models, the front windscreen being supported by the fixed side windows and the perspex is rather thicker than was used for the earlier open top cars. This has helped a good number survive but if it does get damaged then, unlike the others, you cannot just slot of replacement screen in the hole. Perhaps with some care a replacement screen could be glued in place without being too obvious but it is otherwise a task that requires the base to be removed.

The other model fresh to the shelves in your local toy shop in august was another use of the Karrier bantam casting, now to produce this attractive Lucozade van. It has a nice vertical opening door at the side, a plastic element going up and across the inside of the roof most realistically.

This model can be found with fixed smooth or shaped wheels, the latter being less common but not hard to find as this stays in production through to 1962, a year or so longer than the Mercedes.

I often wonder whether Corgi received some payment for promoting the drink. This was only the second occasion in which a commercial product had been advertised on their models, the first being Moorhouses a few months earlier.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Corgi Toys @ 60: Lotus Eleven and Gift Set 3

July 1958 brought model number 151, a Lotus Mk 11 Le Mans Racing Car into the shops. This could be found in several shades of mostly pale blue, bearing racing numbers 1, 3 or 7. It is also available in silver and red. the red editions are scarce and I have yet to find one for myself!

It is an extremely simple model and seems very dated when compared to some of the other models it will have been next to on the shelves in 1958. That is, however, a fair representation of the real thing, designed for minimum weight and air resistance.

The Corgi model had a thick plastic screen and metal steering wheel and all these issues would have had smooth fixed wheels. I have no idea how anyone would be able to change the tyres on one of these! So, if you are thinking of buying one, check the tyres.

Below is a photograph of a real Lotus Eleven from the Lotus Eleven Register web site which has plenty of information about this model.

Try not to confuse this model with a later edition, 151A, which appears in September 1961 in a brighter blue with a stripe on the bonnet, slightly different screen design and a driver behind the wheel. The first issue did not come with a driver and if it has a stripe it will have been added later. Some sellers do get confused, however, and think they're doing a good job by adding these!

The other new item for July 1958 was Gift Set No. 3, featuring 350 and 351, the Thunderbird Missile on a trolley drawn by the RAF Land Rover, each having been released individually in May.