Friday, 21 July 2017

Rocket Age

1108 Bloodhound missile and launch ramp

1117 Bloodhound missile loading trolley

353 Decca Airfield Control Radar 424 Scanner

Gift Set 3

352 Standard Vanguard III RAF Staff Car

1109 Karrier Gamecock Decca Mobile Airfield Radar Truck

Rocket Age Gift Set No.6

Some very nice models arrived recently from Corgi's 'Rocket Age'. Let's start with the ultra rare Gift Set No. 6. This comprises the models shown above and in the box illustrated below.

This came out in September 1959 but had a short life, being withdrawn in 1960 sometime. In the box were most of the military models out at the time. The Land Rover and Thunderbird missile had been the first released in May 1958, with the Bloodhound missile and associated pieces coming out later that year.

It also included the two radar equipment models - a Karrier adapted with a scanner and aerial and in remarkable orange stripes on a cream body. There are variations of the number of stripes - some have four, some have five. The second was a box scanner device that just sat there. You could turn a knob on both items to twirl the scanner very quickly. I am surprised the box unit, which really did just sit there and do little other than twirl, sold even as many as the modest 57000! 

The Rocket Age Set itself only sold 10000 we're told. That is really not very many at all and accounts for this being one of the most sought-after sets of all. At 57/6d (nearly £3) it was the third most expensive model in the Corgi range, being exceeded only by the Silverstone and Garage Layout Sets (and inflation driving later model prices up, of course).

This is the first that I've seen and whilst the models are not particularly hard to find, even in good condition, it is the box that no-one will have these days. You could find the models in top condition, after a bit of searching, for under £500 without boxes. Here in the original box, however, they become worth well over three times that. £1000+ for a box must seem a bit strange but it is the same across the range; add a box and the price will at least double.

What this particular set will sell for I really have no idea. I think that collectors who can afford the sort of sums this will involve simply decide that they need to fill that blank space, or investors see the potential for something to earn more than ½% interest by this time next year.

I will include a Rocket Age leaflet and some instructions too which will have to be reproductions as the owner was unable to find the originals.

Looking at the individual components again, three have slight faults. The scanner has a replacement aerial. The original is in the box too and a new owner may prefer to re-affix that. The Bloodhound Missile Loading Trolley needs a little assistance to move when the handles are turned. The Bloodhound Missile Launch Ramp is missing a support piece at the bottom but it does stay in an upright position. It may be that I have to swap these three for totally original and properly working items as part of a deal.

As well as The Rocket Age Set there are more lovely items. A Gift Set 3, fine models in a slightly tatty box but still an original box.

These were more popular and sold fairly well and are relatively easy to find these days.

The UK edition of 1118 has a better box with little signs of wear. It is, however, another quite popular model and not difficult to find. The next ones, though, are more interesting. These are the Corporal Missile items.

1112 is the Corporal Missile on a launch platform. The little platform just manages to hold erect the massive white missile. It is really well-engineered; the wheels come off so that the four stabilisers can be folded out and then turned to ensure the missile stands perpendicular. This comes with a pretty good original box. The box has signs of wear but the Missile and Launcher are as new. 

Only 26000 of these were reported as sold. That is a very low number and this is an item that should make a good sum. Whilst the box will add considerably to the price again, in this case the missile itself is quite rare in this condition. It has its original metal nose which would have taken exploding caps. That nose was available as an accessory and later sold fitted to these Corporal Missiles. The red rubber had deteriorated, however, so I have replaced that but Model Supplies only do the all-over nose cone. I have cut this one to fit better but it is not quite right.

The other item is the truly enormous Corporal Missile Erector Vehicle. This is 1113 and, at 36000, another low seller. This may have been expensive and beyond most parents' means at the time but it is a wonderful model and a great example of Corgi engineering.

I have included Emma Peel here just to demonstrate the size of the vehicle. It must have the biggest wheels of any Corgi model.

There are knobs to turn that will open and close the two grips around the missile. There is another knob that will raise part of the vehicle plus missile to a perpendicular angle. Then there is a third knob that can be turned to lower the missile on to the Launching Ramp if you have one.

The box for 1113 is another scarce item and this one is complete apart from one end of the lid which has been repaired and there are some signs of wear too.

All in all, though, these four boxed items are fascinating, an opportunity to see the models in almost 'as new' condition and, hopefully, someone will take them and keep them safe for another 60 years.

These were all by way of British militaria for a long time. It would be 1973 before we get the British Tank Transporter! The US Army, however, are well represented with several items appearing from 1963. But that's another story.

The items illustrated are for sale. Offers invited for the Rocket Age set.

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