Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Purple Gang

A couple of nice Rover 2000s in the scarcer maroon colour have come in this week. These were mostly just found on a car transporter in one of the Gift Sets where they would also so often pick up chips from collisions with others on the top or bottom section or just falling off on corners.

This did get me thinking though about how fragile this brilliant colour has been in Corgi's paint history. Almost every one you'll encounter will be inclined to lose some paint if you do as much as wave a piece of paper at it.

I will start, though, with an impressive exception. The 322 Monte Carlo edition seems to have a much better coat than all the others. I have had a few of these and they may have had a chip or two but generally none seemed any worse or more prone to chips than other models in my collection.

The prize for worst culprit has to go to the last of the Rover 2000s, the quite rare Whizzwheels version, available for a very short time and now really quite valuable.  The purple metallic paint on this just seems to drop off if you're not very careful. It took me a long time and not a small amount of money to get this reasonable model.

One of the nicest applications of this colour was the amazingly deep and rich shade used for the strange Citroen DS Coupé. It really was, for collectors in those days, a most fabulous colour and a great finish. It was however, pretty vulnerable and just one chip would grow to a large slab of grey if you weren't careful.

In a slightly redder shade was the Mini Marcos with its Golden Jacks and wheels that could be removed. What we didn't realised, though, at the time was that the paint could also be easily removed. You may spot the large chunk missing near the headlamp on this one from my own original childhood collection.

The Chevrolet Sting Ray was a wonderful model and the pink shade of purple, usually called the more refined-sounding cerise, was the most common colour. It chipped very badly and very easily, though. Couple that with chrome that did the same and most of these are now covered in chips and showing yellow or cream bumpers and air intakes on the bonnet. Such a shame. Luckily, I have a few versions that have been well preserved and it is definitely not as bad a coat as some of the others here.

Its younger sister, the Corvette Stingray, came out some time later, right at the end of normal Corgi production, with Golden Jacks and this is a truly magnificent model. The paint on this is an extraordinarily beautiful mirror finish. It seems quite well-affixed too and doesn't chip anything like as much as the others, many of these models surviving still and looking marvellous.

Back to low production quality for the odd Whizzwheels Adams Probe. Mine is really good but I don't breath on it or let it sit near draughts.

Possibly a contender for the worst paintwork (in this colour, that is, the Mercedes CIII easily winning the overall prize) could be the Marcos Mantis. A Whizzwheels model again (and one where the scale inspectors had clearly lost their micrometers) not only did I have trouble finding one with decent paintwork but corrosion underneath is common too! It is a lovely colour but...

I think I have already awarded the worst prize to the Rover but this Renault ran it very close indeed. It is the pre-Whizzwheel version, not around for long and appeared in one of those big window-style boxes which offered next to no protection in the first place. This one has just about survived and that took a long time to find as every one I looked at closely was a mini disaster area paint-wise. the blue Whizzwheel one that follows is no better but that's another arti8cle.

There were a couple that did fare quite well for reasons I can't explain. I mean why didn't Corgi use the same paint for the others? First to come close to matching the 322 Rover finish was the purple mini, the last before Whizzwheels took over. There are lots and lots of these around and, naturally, there's a complete range of paint conditions but it is a pretty normal range that you'd expect with other colours.

The other model that also survive well was the massive Mercedes Pullman 600. Mine has been bashed a bit and, whilst the chips do show and seem bad I don't think the finish on this model was at all bad. It was one of the earliest to be released so maybe Corgi spent more time baking it or something. 

Have I missed one out? If I think of another then I will add it. I have also just noticed how many of the purple gang have yellow interiors! Bright yellow at that! It was the Sixties, I suppose.

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