Thursday, 16 July 2015

Land Rover types

If you look at Corgi's Land Rovers for long you will soon see several differences in what might have seemed the same model. Because they kept the same number, 438, of course there will be plenty over its long life that are easily spotted but here I'll tell you about some that you may have missed.

Body types

By this I mean the main structure of the truck and, in particular, the area on the front edges of the window frame. In 406 there was a large triangle shape jutting out. In the first 438s this has a vertical edge. I thought this was the only variety but then I spotted some examples with something very much like the large triangle. I have seen red and green trucks with this type. Later models, the blue and metallic green ones, have a much smaller triangle there, making a third distinct type.

On the roof of the cab the first 438s all have what looks like a plate fitted and spanning three of the ridges. This is very raised on some and much less distinct on others but the quarter circle edges are nearly always visible in this type. Later, or at least I am assuming it was later, the cast was changed to removed this impression of a plate and the cab roof is smoothly rounded all across the front edge.

Then we have the matter of wheel arches. On the old 406 these were almost semi circles, being better displayed on 438s as less curved at the start but by the time of cast wheels and the blue and metallic green issues the rear wheel arches have a very clearly straight edge along the top and a more angular design. I haven't seen this on any of the earlier colours, dark green, brown or red with normal wheels, nor any of the US Army Weapons Carriers so it seems comparatively recent.

The rear window

Now you really would think that they'd all be pretty much the same, wouldn't you? No. There are two distinct types of window element and can be seen as either a clear window or as one with a sort of frame line running just inside the metal frame itself. This can be found from the very earliest days of 406 where I have seen a framed window on a green one but not on either the yellow/black or blue/white ones. Amongst the 438s the distribution is about equal with all colours showing one or the other type.

The tilt or canopy

Tilt had always meant an amount of leaning until quite recently when I found everyone describing the bit on the back of a Land Rover as a tilt. You'll know that the early ones were tin and there are only two places where you'd find them: a tan one on a green Land Rover in the Gift Set 2 with the horsebox (which is the only place the green 406 was available so, logically, all green 406s should have a tan tin tilt), the other being a 438, strangely enough, as the first Chipperfield Land Rovers had blue tin tilts for a year or two. Again, the Chipperfields Land Rover was only ever issued in one or other of a few Gift Sets so tin tilts would not have been the order of the day in normal boxed models at all.

438 came with a nice, detailed plastic canopy. Initially I think these were cream as I had one of the first but other experts seem to think it was grey first. Grey is a scarcer colour to find and, to date, despite accumulating an embarrassingly large number of these trucks I have yet to encounter a grey canopy! So the others may be right. There will be blue for the later Chipperfield Land Rovers and a darker blue for the RAC edition. There may be an RAF blue for 351S but I have yet to see one! It looks like that in the catalogue, though and I am sure I'll find one one day. The US Army editions used a sort of grey green and darker green-khaki and there was a white one of the blue Land Rovers pulling the Pony Trailer in Gift Set 15. There is also a strange orange colour on a late Whizzwheels one in bright pale green.

I think that's all the colours and you may well encounter all sorts of combinations which may not have ever been issued that way as over time people mix them up. I like to try to return them to their rightful bases and would urge you to do so as well before passing them on so maybe some order can be restored!

Something you may have missed, however, is that there are two varieties of the plastic canopy: one is very detailed, including, for instance, the tapes holding back the side pieces, whereas the other is much smoother, often shiny and much less distinct. The latter type also doesn't sit squarely either, with quite a bit protruding above the cab and at the sides whereas the detailed one fits beautifully. I have often wondered whether the smooth ones are, in fact, reproductions but I have a Chipperfields one that is smooth and the stickers look very original. So I am not sure yet. Maybe someone will know.

It would seem that the more detailed, and actually far nicer, canopies come on the earlier editions but, again, I don't have enough to be absolutely sure. I do have one of the very last ever 438s in a rainbow type box and that has a dark green shiny canopy so I think I'm right but we'll see. Again, you need to look out for the two types.

In similar vein, the breakdown trucks have similar variations but, thankfully, all the 417 models should have the twin pole affair at the back and one body type, window type etc., while the 417S models will have the closed, solid type of support and, whilst different body and window types to 417, they will be all the same. There are just two 477 types I've seen so far - the first type with large triangles on the front frame edges and the second type, possibly those with cast wheels, having the smaller triangles.

If you're lucky enough to find a 406S then I think you'll find there is only one type of that!

I have yet to examine the Whizzwheel types and other varieties like the Daktari and Longleat ones. I haven't got them all yet so that is a task to come another day. To be honest, I think that may be enough for now! A sheet listing the variations mentioned in this article is available below:

The sheet shows models that I either have in stock or know to exist having encountered them somewhere. There may well be more - if you know of further variations do let me know and I shall endeavour to make the lst comprehensive for future reference.

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