Sunday 14 July 2024

One more Qualitoys model. Two to go. Maybe.


I've found another Qualitoys item from the 1971 release group. It's a Jumbo loader with Scoop. I may or may not be successful in buying it so all I have is this picture for now.

Here is a table I have put together based on the information I've found to date:

I have also added a live table to the Corgi Catalogue website at this address.

So, assuming the Little Red Book is correct, (which, as we know, is not always the case but what else can we do?) and there were six models released in 1971 there are still two to find. If we regard the Fire Hose Trailer as a 1971 issue, however, then there would only be one but that would mean a gap in the numbers. Now, gaps in the numbers are all too familiar to Corgi Toys collectors! So anything is possible. We'll find out eventually. Maybe.

My guess is that the Fire Hose Trailer came out at the same time as the Truck and that the two 'sets' also came out with the first batch. That is because I see many of them for sale but I most definitely do not see many of the 1971 releases around anywhere.

I appreciate that all this about Qualitoys is not what many of you wish to read and so be reassured that I shall return to the main theme again soon. At least you've been spared the 1;36 scale models.

Tuesday 9 July 2024

Corgi Lists Ten Years After

Google have just informed me that one of my most popular pages on this appears to be one that I wrote 10 year ago when I was attempting to start a list of Corgis. I do hope that people who landed up there didn't follow the link to my first attempt that was included there as it took them to a very old site and a list which I haven't kept up-to-date. With a bit of luck they'll have spotted the MODEL LIST link in the menu for this blog.

While I was looking around I noticed a few other lists which I've made over the years, some of which got published here, some maybe not. I've brought them all together so they can be found more easily in a box on the right of this blog in normal screen view. Quite where it goes in a phone view I'll have to check and advise later.

These include:

  • M model colours
  • Models with jewelled lights
  • The Gift Set 2 variations
  • Land Rover variations
  • Box illustrations
  • Whizzwheels models

I have many more and will add those that might be useful as and when I find them.

Corgi Qualitoys: the Water Truck


This is my first Corgi Qualitoys model. Firstly, they're a lot bigger than I had expected, more like 1:36 although a scale isn't possible because there is no such thing as the real brand in 1:1. 

The brand is called Turbine Trucks and this is inscribed on the base along with Qualitoys by Corgi
 and  Made in Gt. Britain. Note that this is a different brand to Benbros Qualitoys which had been produced from the early 1950s to 1965. The Turbine Truck models have a TT logo as you can see on the front of this one.

This model is a Water Truck but I have no idea what its catalogue number is and it is not one of the first eight issued in 1969 but one from the second batch in 1971. As they were discontinued shortly afterwards these late models seem quite scarce and I have no clue as to the production quantities but I can't imagine they were very big numbers.

I had noticed in pictures what looked like a plug at the top but I don't see how that can be removed. It rotates, however, and you can align two small holes which would allow water to be drained without causing a vacuum inside.

There is a larger plug underneath where it looks like you would fill the green plastic container if you wished. Now that would be great fun and, although these were supposed to be designed for younger children than the normal Corgi range, I don't recall any of the main range that could be filled with water and driven around! (OK, there was a Dolphinarium and a big Fire Truck but I think these were a bit later.)

It's interesting to see the screw holding the plastic container in place. I have not tried to undo it and wonder whether the container can be simply removed. The construction is otherwise two rivets and a metal twist retaining the cab element in place. The plastic interior also provides the red (in this case) horizontal decoration line around the cab.

The white cab and yellow chassis appears the same as for the Horse Transporter and the Breakdown Truck.

These are very simple items and I won't claim to be madly enthusiastic about them but they do have a certain charm and I shall continue to acquire the whole set, once I have figured out just what the whole set should be! As I have said previously, part of the reason for my interest is the lack of information about the series that I have been able to unearth so far. That, plus what appears to have been a pretty short production life for all of them, but especially the last few, makes them worth a closer look.

Thursday 4 July 2024

Corgi Qualitoys: the odd ones

There are some curious additions to the Corgi range in September 1969. Several models based on a 'Turbine Truck' with its double T logo were issued, seemingly eight all at once, with some sold together in packs too. They were simple toys, said to be sturdy and designed for younger children to play with. They all had free-spinning wheels with 'pneumatic' hollow tyres and identical cabs but different treatment at the rear and it appears that each model had just the one colour scheme. They had interiors but no suspension. Despite being supposedly 'simple' some had some quite impressive features or fittings. 

701 is the basic Truck and could also be bought in a pack with the matching 708 Trailer.

702 is the Truck with a Side Tipper. The rear section has a hydraulic arm that allows it to be tipped.

Here is 702 in its original packing - a bubble pack with descriptions of some others in the series on the reverse.

703 is a Breakdown Truck with a working winch, operated by a handle on the other side, not visible in this picture.

704 is a Tower Truck with a plastic cage-like structure that can be raised and rotated.

705 is a Horse Transporter, with a white pony included.

706 is a Giraffe Transporter. Corgi seemed to be keen on giraffes! The box, however, is different to their 508 model.

707 is a Fire Truck. the ladders strapped to the side and poles can be attached to each other to create a long-reach device. It is illustrated here with 712, a Fire Hose Truck which has a retractable rubber hose. These two would be available together in pack 750.

708 the Truck Trailer

This one is a bit of a mystery, being a Water Truck. I have seen this referred to in some other research but I don't know which number was allocated to it or whether it was a later issue. It looks like one could actually add water through a cap at the top. I have yet to discover! 
[Update: yes, it can be filled, but through a plug underneath.]

Another mystery is this Dumper Truck. At first I thought that someone had simply put a Corgi Dumper rear section on to an old TT chassis but I now see it has a hydraulic attachment and is all original as far as I can tell. There has been a reference to a Dumper Truck model too but, again, when this was issued I have no clue.

I have, however, just noticed that the Little Red Book accompanying the Great Book of Corgi refers to 'the last six Qualitoys being issued during the year' in 1971. It does not, though, tell us what they were. So one may be the Water Tanker, another the Dumper Truck and there is also a Bulldozer, no.715.

This one is the first I've found which isn't based on the TT Truck. So there remain three, apparently. I wonder whether they might be sets? I know of  two packs - 750 for the Fire Truck and Trailer and there is one that I don't know a number for containing the matching 701 and 708. That still leaves one. Or maybe still three other models, although I would have expected to have found some reference to at least one different model had there been one.

From what I can gather, there are not that many of these around and the series was not particularly popular. Prices, though, are cheap at the moment and so I shall try to get hold of the whole series while I can see some available at reasonable prices. Most do seem plentiful but you need to look for the better condition models and many have scuffs or scratches in the front window which is vulnerable. Nevertheless, I don't mind a few scratches. 

And, yes, you'll have noted that I decided not to go after the 1:36 series. These Qualitoys were a cheaper and better bet, in my view, and a little mysterious still.

Late model differences


A 413 Mobile Butchers Shop came this week and prompted me to write about the small but important differences that you may find in models issued at the very end of their production period. The Karrier is a great example as it must have looked so dated on the shelves in 1964 and to discover that there was actually one of these old things with suspension was quite a surprise a year or so ago when I first found one. I now see that there is a reference to 413S in some Corgi documents although the boxes still read 413. This is certainly a rarity.

Another scarce one is this 210S Citroën DS19. It seems that Corgi decided to continue to produce these after having adjusted the casting for the 1965 Monte Carlo version to provide holes for the four small jewelled fog lamps. Instead of fitting jewels, though, we get some bright metal blobs instead. I have seen these fetch £150 or more at auctions but they do seem to appear regularly and maybe are not as scarce as I had originally thought. I now have four in stock although this latest addition is by far the best. Interestingly, only these models with the fog lamps have free-spinning wheels.

Free-spinning wheels are the difference on this late edition 223 Chevrolet Impala. It was a popular model, the very first Impala issued, in fact. and stayed in production for a long time before being sliced in half for the MkII version. Shortly before that some models got free-spinning wheels fitted but these are not at all as common as you might expect.

Corgi started fitting the shaped wheel in place of the smooth wheel in 1961 and some of the later editions of the 207 Standard Vanguard had them fitted. They also made another change that people may not have noticed, however, and that was in how the red paint now only covered the roof, not the pillars. Although shaped fixed wheels are less common on many models from this period (205, 209, 213, 214, 215 and 216 can be found, and 210 is common) only the 207 had this additional change.

Whilst late Buick Rivieras with cast wheels in metallic blue are quite common, and you find a few gold versions too, the pale blue Buick with cast wheels is very rare.

Wheels, again, are the thing to look for on the innocent and ancient-looking Jeep FC-150. This long-running model first appeared with fixed smooth wheels and the vast majority that you'll come across will have fixed wheels of one type or the other. Very few do exist, though, with free-spinning wheels and are worth picking up when you do see them as it is not something that sellers will realise is rare at all.

The last one for now is the maroon Rover 2000 with cast wheels. Together with the equally rare gold Hillman Imp with cast wheels, it was produced for a Car Transporter Gift Set 41/48 which also featured the more common grey Ford Cortina Estate, Morris Mini Minor and Mini-Coopers all with cast wheels. Incidentally, a blue Cortina with cast wheels is also a desirable model.

There are, of course, many more models I could write about in a similar vein. I may return to this topic in another post. If you have any particularly interesting and rare late variations do let me know.

Shades of Mercedes-Benz


This lovely Mercedes-Benz 600 pullman arrived this morning. It is in the deep, dark crimson shade which I remember having as a child. Although it was not an easy model to play with (the length of the car and its fixed rear wheels made corning almost impossible) it did look lovely. I think I actually preferred the fact that the rear windows slid up and down to the working windscreen wipers and I always had my doubts about that really being by repeated requests but never mind.

I am pretty sure that the early models all had this delightful deep shade and that it was a little later that the brighter crimson models started to appear. there is quite a big difference between the two and this is the first opportunity that I have had to put two very nice examples next to each other.

They are both very recent arrivals and each has an original box too in very good condition, one has the original instruction sheet / membership form too. Most importantly, each has the radiator emblem, so often missing from otherwise nice examples. 

Monday 1 July 2024

Corgi Toys @ 60 : Gift set 35 and an old Daimler

 It's July 1964 and our local toy shop gets a Daimler to add to the shelves. I had hoped at the time that it might be a Daimler Dart or something I could play with but, no, it was the third 'Classic' old timer model in the shape of a 1910 Daimler 38HP, no 9021.

With a chauffeur at the wheel and three passengers it is a busy model. There are three horns along the bottom of the windscreen and two gigantic headlamps either side of the radiator with a nice emblem on top. I had always thought that colours in the early 20th Century were drab but here we have a bright red car with bright yellow wheels!

It is well-made and very detailed and a credit to Corgi's production at the time but not for their marketing sense as, like the other 'Classics', sales were not great. You just couldn't play with these models. Without suspension, they were awkward to steer round corners and lots of bits were vulnerable to breaking. As a consequence, many seldom left their boxes and can now be found easily - with excellent examples for very small prices.

Something that can't now be found so easily is the Gift Set 35 - the 'London Passenger Set' which was also issued at this time.

This featured the 418 Austin Taxi but with two differences - it now had a driver and it now had free-spinning wheels. Although one has recently come to light*, every other example of the 418 prior to Whizzwheels had fixed wheels, smooth or shaped but always fixed.

The driver would be the old chap in a uniform at first, actually the Cato character re-employed from the 269 Green Hornet. Later he will be replaced by a Fred Housego character looking much more relaxed and very much like the Thunderbird driver of old.

The bus was the usual 469 model with a Corgi Toys banner in early editions, later changing to Outspan Oranges.

There is also a policeman on point duty, rotating on a white plastic podium. This part is very difficult to find now so making up a set is not an easy task, even if you do manage to find a good reproduction box.

With the rather different scales of the bus and taxi, this set does look a bit strange on display. Not very many were sold and now complete sets in original boxes are valuable items.

*Discovered by my collector friend, Andi, in France. We think that it may have been a model intended for a Gift Set but the driver was accidentally missed at the factory. It is feasible that free-spinning wheels could have been fitted to the normal 418 but one would have expected many to be available if that were the case.