Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Corgi Toys @ 60: A ruddy great missile and the little Austin A40


In June 1959 the last of the Mechanical models was issued. It's the delightful little Farina designed Austin A40. The 216M models had a very short production life as it was later this year that the decision to drop the M models from the range would have been made. So there are not many of these red and black 216M models around and they fetch high prices whenever good examples do appear.

The 216 non-mechanical edition was usually blue and dark blue but a few escaped from the factory in red and black. they're definitely not easy to find these days!


You should also look out for the 216 with shaped wheels. These would have been fitted later in the model's production and are somewhat less common.




You need either to peer in through the window or look at the base to distinguish the 216 from the 216M in red and black!

The other new arrival on the shelves of your local toy shop would be the remarkable Corporal Missile on a launch platform as catalogue no. 1112.


This must have been a dramatic new toy to see and even now it stands out in any collection, simply by being so big - nearly a foot long - and just plain impressive. It first appears here with another clever piece of Corgi engineering. I can only imagine that there was this one chap working there who was brilliant at this sort of thing and was responsible for the whole range of military equipment loading and transport gear.


The two wheels can be detached so that the unit can be placed on the ground to receive the missile standing vertically. Four adjustment devices can be set to make it level on almost any surface and four shaped pins hold the bottom part of the missile in place whilst the base itself fits on the shaped platform centre.

Later in the year, an erector vehicle will come along which, with a few knobs being turned, moves the missile from horizontal into a vertical position to fit on the platform. However marvellous all this stuff was, though, sales were modest - the high price and, perhaps, a shrinking interest in all things military, meant that only 26,000 are recorded as sold, the lowest figure so far at that time.


There are no variations at the outset for this item but a replacement nose cone does come along later. That includes a metal section into which caps could be places so that we could make exploding bangs if the missile were thrown so that it landed on its top end. As a consequence, you may not find too many in great condition!




Thursday, 30 May 2019

Unusual arrivals this month Part 2!

May has certainly been a fascinating month for the items coming into the village. Today three more arrived and each is a little special! 

I'll start with the Riley Pathfinder. These are always wonderful models and this is the very rare 205M mechanical edition in red. 


I have had one for a while but it has lost a lot of its paint. This one is in very good condition but there is just one insurmountable problem! It didn't come with a rear axle! For the photos I dropped one in. Actually, I am somewhat heartened to find that the motor inside and the mechanism and base generally are pristine and barely used at all. I suspect the rear axle will have come off early in its life. If I can find another gear housing and axle (with crown gear affixed) then I think I should be able to make a decent repair of this. Normally the housing is attached by two long posts, sealed inside, but I am sure I can do something that will not look markedly different.

This will then, even as a repaired item, be worth a substantial sum.


The second item is this lovely little maroon 226 Morris Mini-Minor. Well, just as its maroon colleague, the Rover 2000, featured cast wheels yesterday this model reverses all that and, instead of what I thought all of them had, cast wheels, we have the earlier type.

I am really surprised to find this. I am not 100% convinced of its authenticity and that isn't just because it has come from Russia! Three wheels are marked - the rims dented or scratched in a way that you don't normally see on even much played-with models. One wheel also seems fixed to the axle too but I have not yet been able to ascertain whether it is some sort of glue or just corrosion.

The front axle seems fine, though and, unless it has been joined by a sleeve in the middle, I can't see how anyone could have simply replaced the wheels or, for that matter, why. I mean, I may find it intriguing but the seller did not receive any more for this than he would have done for a 'normal' maroon 226 with cast wheels.

So, I shall investigate this one a bit more closely. If it is original then it's the first one I have seen and won't be at all easy to find.


Lastly, my bank balance will be pleasantly enhanced should I ever find a buyer for this beautiful Simca 1000 in blue.



It is in A+ condition with no faults other than a small mark on the front bumper. Otherwise the paintwork is immaculate and the racing decals perfect. The windows are crystal clear and undamaged and this lacks only a box really. Serious collectors often have a space where this one should be and I sold a quite worn example with a cracked rear screen some time ago for about £150.

Although a blue 205M (not sure which blue) and a red and black 216M are on their way I think these will be in too good a condition for me to extract the bits I need. So I shall be looking around for a wrecked M model going cheap and, ideally, one with the right length back axle as well as a 315 box.




Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Unusual arrivals this month

From time to time I list some of the models that have arrived here in the village. Nowadays, having acquired most of the 'normal' models that I needed for the catalogue project, I tend only to buy items that are a little scarce and often more interesting.


The first is this lovely 252 Rover 2000 in maroon. Although I expect some reached shops in boxes, this colour was mostly only found in the Gift Set 41/48 with the 1138 edition Ford car Transporter. These were popular sets so the Rover in this colour is not particularly scarce but this is the first I have encountered with cast, spoke effect wheels.



This style of wheel was used across the range, including Land Rovers and commercial models, from around 1967 and the International Rally edition of the Rover issued in February 1967 only had the cast type of wheel. Most other models started with normal wheels and then had the cast type fitted at some later date which I've tended to regard as being around 1968 in most cases.

The make-up of the Transporter Set changed in early 1969 when a new Scammell cab was also issued. So there may have been a year when the cast wheels might have been fitted to this Rover but I suspect it will have been rather shorter a period, (simply based on my  never having seen any, which may, of course, be inaccurate!)


Next is the very scarce Citroen DS19 with fog lamps included in the casting (not jewels as in the Monte Carlo edition). This example had been sadly repainted and the base had been removed so there wasn't much I could do with it. I had intended to restore it but decided to stop at the shiny mazak stage which I feel is a nice way to display this unusual casting. 

I do have an issued and unadulterated red model with these lights too.


The Mercedes may look unexceptional at first glance but its free-spinning wheels caught my attention and it did, indeed, turn out to be one of the very first 303S models issued with suspension. The interior is the same as the 303 model - white with a black steering wheel. It was not long before this was replaced by a white model or silver plated with interiors in a different style.

This model fetches high prices when it does appear but mine is not in great condition, some corrosion having affected the top surfaces.


Here is something I had been looking for for years - a blue 300 Austin Healey. I had doubts about its existence for quite a while but eventually found evidence that it really had been made, with red seat inserts. This example had had a lot of extra paint applied by one of its past owners, presumably in an attempt to cover up chips and scratches. The colour used was not far off the original but it did look, on first glance, like someone might have started with a cream or red one and painted it blue. Looking underneath it is clear that it was originally blue and the base has never been removed so all is well. There is still work to do to remove some recent paint but that's a slow task.



The Bedford CA Van in Ambulance guise as 412 was a common little item with the split screen but this Mk II version was not referred to in the Great Book of Corgi or accompanying lists and so tends to be missed by people making lists based on that source. It is certainly not a common item and would not have had a long life. Indeed, it is likely that the 414 Military Ambulance would have been the intended 'replacement' and I don't think we'll find that many of these single screen 412s will be around.



It's not very scarce but I find it hard to resist nice examples of the 216 Austin A40 with shaped wheels. Such a pretty model.


This is scarce - the 324 Marcos 1800 with blue stripes is, I'm told the edition for export to Canada. We got green stripes. This is only the third I have encountered in many years. The first was, strangely, at a talk I gave to a Welsh Society meeting when someone in the audience who had worked with Messrs Marsh and Costin on the real cars took one out of his pocket, totally unaware of its value!


Lastly for now, it has taken a while to find this uncommon edition of a 214 Ford Thunderbird with shaped wheels. In reasonable condition, too, and this can only have been one of a very few late models made when this style of wheel was fitted just before the 214S replaced it.
 I am still looking for a decent 215 with shaped wheels. I have concluded that there will be none of the M models with them, but there is a slim chance of the two-tone issues of the Ford, Austin, Morris, Vauxhall, Rover and Hillman having them. I have the Standard and both Rileys with shaped wheels (the Standard, interestingly, also having a different red paint area!) and by the time the Jaguar was in production they were fairly common.

So it has been quite a month for the unusual!




Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Silverstone and Garage Layout Gift Set Characters

I had intended to write about the many characters who appear in the five packs which were available either separately or several were included with the big Silverstone Race Track and Garage Gift Sets. I was waiting until I had acquired them all but some are hard to find (at a modest price!) so I'll do what I can with what I have rather than delay any longer.

There are five sets of six characters. You might think that would be thirty in all but, strangely, one chap features in two sets!

1501 is  the set of pit mechanics and drivers.



The three missing characters are shown below.



1502 is the set of spectators



I have all of these.

1503 is the set of race track officials.

These are the most difficult to find intact. Most carry a post which gets broken or the paper flags get lost. There is also a broadcaster chap whose aerial usually gets broken. below are the ones I still need. There are two similar-looking chaps holding flags in black leather coats and blue trousers but one has a yellow tie and the other a red tie.



1504 is the set of press officials


There are three missing



You may see that this last odd-looking fellow is the one who appears in the garage attendants set below. Or maybe he has a twin.

Here is 1505, the set of garage attendant figures



With the 'twin' who seems only to have been added to make up the numbers, my set is complete.

I am not entirely sure which sets came with which Gift Sets. I had originally thought that the Silverstone Set came with all five but those I have seen for sale only have 1501, 1502 and 1503. I can't imagine that 1504 wouldn't have been included, though, as there is a Press Box kit in the big set. So I think it is only 1505 that was not included and, I think, you'll find that in the big Garage Gift Set.

The two chaps in blue overalls in 1505 also came in the box with the 1142 Holmes Wrecker model and the one who looks like he's changing a wheel also appears with some farm conveyor models.

If anyone reading this happens to have duplicates of any of the characters that I'm missing then do let me know. Otherwise I hope these illustrations help collectors figure out which they may need and who fits in where, and let's not worry too much about the ugly twins.


Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Corgi Toys @ 60: On the farm and the big International Truck


May 1959 brought a farm tractor and trailer to the toy shop shelves. The Tractor was a Massey Ferguson 65 model and first issues had metal wheels. You'll find the model with silver, cream or a scarcer red seat but all the examples I've encountered have had the same Massey Ferguson red bonnet and a slightly pinkish cream chassis. A driver was not included at this point. He comes later in gift sets or other versions.


The trailer has no manufacturer's brand but has the same Massey Ferguson red chassis and a bright yellow load section which lifts on a 'hydraulic' arm and has a hinged rear panel. Early editions had metal wheels. The trailer was around for a very many years and remained unchanged throughout that time apart from plastic wheels being fitted at some point.

These were the first of a good few models of agricultural implements which would be added to the range.

The military range was still being developed and May saw the introduction of the big International 6 wheeled truck, initially launched as an International 6 x 6 Army Truck.

A search of this blog will show you more detailed articles about this truck which still causes confusion with the different versions that exist in its chassis style, British and Dutch insignia, a US Army version and variations in where silver paint may or may not have been applied! As if that were not enough, 1133 is issued some time later as a US Army Troop Transporter!



The British and Dutch versions had the appropriate insignia on the front and rear and no stars. The US version of 1118 had a star on the bonnet and also on the flat roof of the metal canopy. (If the canopy has an indent for the star it is from a later 1133, which also had text along the bonnet and on the tailgate).


The difference in the two types of chassis can be seen when viewed from the side, one showing clear daylight above the chassis in places.

I don't know which came first or whether the US or Dutch versions were available this early and I think it is likely that the first editions would have been solely the British one.

None of these trucks had suspension - even later in life (although the Circus version with a crane did get suspension later). You could make an interesting collection just on the varieties of these trucks which confused me a great deal at the start - and even now I struggle for remember which US version is which sometimes, especially as many may have had canopies replaced or swapped over the years!

This International truck is a very heavy, solid model with massive wheels (and a loose spare behind the cabin which often goes missing). Look out for the tin hook at the back too which should be present. These didn't sell in vast numbers but many have survived as they could withstand being sat or trodden on pretty well!


Tuesday, 2 April 2019

2019 arrivals



Very early GS2 with a box and inner tray which displays the pony separately. Later editions had no holes for the pony, which was wrapped in card in the trailer. As seems appropriate, I have used a similarly rare and early trailer without a handle at the top of the ramp. It's not going to be cheap.


58 The Beast carrier with calves and the green mesh on top (although that's not shown here)


151 Scarce edition of the Lotus XI Le Mans in red with original screen


200 Ford Consul in mushroom brown. I though it was a cream one when I saw it advertised! I now have two of these to sell.


202M I also have two of these mid green Morris Cowleys with working motors


203M Vauxhall Velox with working motor



208 Nice Jaguar 2.4 with super original early box


208M Jaguar 2.4 with working motor


209 Riley Pathfinder Police Car lovely but missing the bell.


213 Jaguar 2.4 Fire Chief's Car - excellent and complete but missing a transfer



214 Ford Thunderbird (I bought this hoping it might have had shaped wheels).




231 Triumph Herald - very clean examples in each colour




234 Bentley Continental - superb examples in each of the main colours and one with a lovely original box too.



238 Jaguar Mk X in a really stunning deep cerise shade. I have two of these, equally good, one with an original box.



246 Chrysler Imperial with original box. All very good. I bought this for the golf caddy - the one sold with it is a replacement.


252 Rover 2000 in maroon with an odd wheel!



252 Rover 2000 in maroon with an original box.


318 Lotus Elan S2 - very scarce with cast wheels


323 Citroen DS19 Monte Carlo Edition with an original aerial!


384 The last 1:43 Corgi car. From 1977 a VW 1200 Rally Edition - only available for a short period.


508 Commer Holiday Bus with original luggage cover (but no cases)


These are all quite recent additions, listed in catalogue order. Please enquire for availability and price as there has been quite a bit of interest in some of these.