Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Boxes, a roof rack and other things...

Same car, new box

I missed the latest edition of the James Bond Aston Martin in the article I posted earlier this month. Not that anyone would really notice much difference, to be honest. In fact, this looks like Hornby really wringing the dosh out of all their Corgi customers.

The cars are, unless I have missed something, exactly the same as the two issued as 04203 (and again as 04204) over the last year or so. All that has changed is the box, now in blue and grey and with a '50th Anniversary' sticker commemorating Thunderball. Does that mean that this car is going to be reissued every time a Bond film anniversary comes along? Good grief, that will cost collectors who like to be really 'complete' a fortune.

Prices are all over the place at the moment. The crazy thing is that you can still buy the silver one at Corgi for £19.99 (or even less if you are a club member). The gold ones have sold out - it was a limited edition of 5000 - but they were only £19.99 as well. I have a feeling they will soon be appearing on the market for rather less than some of the silly prices we're seeing now. Heavens, it really is only a box that has changed.

Hopefully, the New Year will bring us something different to James Bond cars being recycled.

Roof rack blues

Other things to end the year with would include the story of my Austin Mini Countryman. I bought one without a roof rack that was otherwise in jolly decent condition. My idea was to get a new rack and sell it as the first one I had went very quickly indeed. Surfboards are easy to obtain and reproduction ones look fine. I really wouldn't get the strange-looking guy, though, unless I had the box to hide him in.

Anyway, getting back to the car, I have had excellent bits and pieces from a lady who makes parts out of metal rather than plastic and she had advertised the Countryman roof rack for a modest £3.75. It arrived and I thought it would be a simple case of plugging it in the four holes and maybe adding a little adhesive and away it would go. No luck. The posts on the casting were quite a lot out of line with the holes in the roof. I dropped the lady a line about this and she replied first to say the rack didn't need to fit into any holes but later realised that it did and suggested I filed the posts down! That wasn't quite what I was expecting but I had a go.

Eventually I managed to get the posts filed in such a way that they sort of fitted but by then the soft metal had got a bit bent in places. It does bend so easily. I was a bit worried about straightening bits too in case metal fatigue would lead to an arm just flying off. So I wrote again and basically said I'd had to give up. The lady, let's call her Cynthia, was very obliging and said she'd have a look at her casting design and also organise a full refund. I felt a bit of a nuisance over such a small thing but I am pretty sure this roof rack was actually designed for the Mini Cooper. The Countryman should have two gaps at the rear to take the surf board fins whereas this one is fully enclosed. The boards might slide through but I am not sure how far they would go.

The lady's other castings have been fine and I will use her again but now need to source a more accurately produced rack. I expect it'll have to be Mr Flowers but, with his high postage charge, I'll need to wait until I can build up a decent order to make that worthwhile.

The other problem with the metal casting was that it comes in a watery grey colour. If you scrub the metal with a rough brush it does get nice and shiny but I am not sure it looks right.

So the Countryman stays rackless for a while longer. I actually quite like it that way!

Same car, different box 2

A nice chap in Holland has been in touch with a query about a box he has for The Saint's Volvo P1800. Here it is:

He has spotted some green marks, mostly around the side of the Volvo but also near the bonnet and boot. At first I thought they were just smears that someone carelessly added later in the box's life but the chap insists that under magnification and very close inspection the green colour seems to have been printed at the same time as the rest. It also appears in the same places on the other side which rather throws my 'smear' idea into the dustbin.

I have enlarged the image using a good viewer but cannot really determine how 'original' it is but the assertion that it is the same on both sides does make me believe that it must have happened during the production of the box. I suggested a smear on the master for that image or similar accidental addition was more likely than this being some rare version of the box itself. My colleague is of the opinion that it could be a deliberate attempt at something like stripes to indicate speed that were later dropped. All copies of a #258 box I have seen - and #228 boxes too - have a clear yellow background around the car with no green marks to be seen.

So, over to anyone out there who might be able to suggest any better possible answer! If this image is not large enough then I can send you the original.

Where do all the models go?

A recent customer had an interesting address in Italy. I thought I would see where he lived and Google Maps do a marvellous job in this respect. It was nice to see where (in that instance, a good #300 Austin Healey) was going to. Since then I have been creating images of my cars parked outside the addresses they're being sent to and now have half a dozen which I shared on Facebook. People seem to really rather like them so I shall end 2015 by adding them as separate posts to this blog and I'll continue to add them as and when items get sold. Now, I know that not every one will be going to an attractive location but it will be a nice record and, hopefully, an interesting set of pictures will develop which will also see featured many models that might otherwise never have made these columns!

Here's a preview of a #204 Mini in Shropshire, England:

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