Saturday 22 February 2014

The Avengers - the real cars used

One of Steed's actual Bentleys in the colour filming of the series. Prior to this there were a number of others, also in green. So I can be reasonably 'accurate' with almost any of the Bentleys but the green with green wheels version may be the closest.

It seems that there were two Elans for Mrs Peel and, indeed, the first was white. 

HNK999C was an Elan S2.

Then came the colour series and the blue one - not in the pale colour I had thought, but in something very similar to the Corgi blue model.

SJH 499D was an S3, I am told. So a good model #318 without the Tiger In My Tank transfers would be ideal. That's quite a surprise.

So, that's a task for me - to create an 'accurate' set or two! 

And here are a few more photos I found of the real Lotus (except for the first which is a remarkable scale model).

00101 Bentley

In my haste to locate pictures of each of the Corgi Bentleys that could be suitable for John Steed in The Avengers Gift Sets the one I posted for the 1998 gift set was something that someone had made up. It's fair enough but not what was actually in the 1998 box. That had the excellent green car, as above and shown in the photo, with very nice wheels and a generally super quality all round but the figure is just Steed. In white metal and very accurately painted, this is a first class model. The only shortcoming is the way he clasps his brolly and appears to have bent it! I suppose he is also a big big for the car but no-one will try to sit him in it anyway.

This is the proper 'set'  that this version appears in, in its box. 

Clearly, the previous photo has reproduction models of Mrs Peel and Steed included with the 00101 Bentley. I will consider including this car in a reproduction Gift Set 40 box set just because it is so good - perhaps with a powder blue version of the Lotus for Emma. That's unlikely to happen soon, though, as virtually all the 00101 Bentleys are still wired in their boxes and selling for considerably more than the others. Lotus #318s are also holding their value well but if I can find some with poor paint and missing or damaged Tiger transfers at low prices then they would be worth buying as everyone will know they'll be restorations in the powder blue colour which was not produced by Corgi or, for that matter, anyone else I have seen to date.

Tuesday 18 February 2014

War Of The Worlds

My home-made device for holding cars for painting has a certain War Of The Worlds look about it!

Friday 14 February 2014

Bentley Part 2: The Avengers

Whereas there are just a couple of variants of #224, the Bentley Continental, I have been struggling with a whole load for the other Bentley - the 1927 4½ litre one - that was originally a Corgi Classic release and became well-known particularly for its inclusion (or not, as we'll see) in the Avengers Gift Set.

While the box shows Steed driving a green Bentley, most sets actually had the red one. That's just the start of confusion. Model numbers #9001 and #9002 were the ones around when the set came out first. But they had big hoods, a closed canopy. #9001 was green and had green mudguards like the picture but had a white suited racing driver and a strange number 3 drawn in white on the grill and on the back.

#9002 was red and had black mudguards, no driver, no number and. apart from the hood, was the one included. They made a folded black hood which fitted nicely on to the two lugs on which the big hood had rather strangely tilted. With a grey-suited Steed behind the wheel, this is the version that you should encounter in most original sets. It is what I had in mine.

This is #9001 with red wheels instead of steel colour and no racing number, the hood's been removed and the driver's swapped. You may even find this with green wheels and it would seem a genuine Steed car in the later sets.

The 'usual' #9002 with the roof replaced and Steed inserted is very common.

You will, though, also find #9004 sometimes. Now whether this is someone making up a set and using a not strictly correct item or Corgi, with that model now available, adding it in themselves. Short of someone having a genuinely untouched original we can open and look at, we may never know. #9004 was billed as the Bertie Wooster Bentley from another TV series and had much brighter red seats. It did have black mudguards like #9001 and a folded roof and, without numbers on the grill or rear, it was quite a simple task to swap Wooster for Steed and nothing else needed to be changed.

Some lazy sellers leave Bertie in the driving seat in his black suit and presumably hope we don't notice.

Sometime later in around 1985 the mould gets used again and surfaces as C861. This comes in two colours - a much brighter green and a distinct maroon. The green car has black seat and the maroon very pale tan seats. Both had ready folded-down hoods, much shinier wheels and brasswork, looking much fresher and that's not because they haven't been around so long.

Now these two came in their own boxes and were not in the original gift set (which had long stopped being produced). However, you will find examples of people putting them in with an Emma Lotus from time to time!

There was a new Avengers 'set' that came out in 1998. It had just the green Bentley, looking magnificent and almost too clean and shiny, with Emma Peel and Steed behind the driving seat. The two figures look remarkably similar to the originals. This is a lovely car and, whilst it is some 30 years or so behind the dating of the original gift set, you can hardly blame someone for including it. They're still quite expensive to buy too.

Lastly in the old Bentley saga, I mention this one - the Mobil item that Corgi produced. It is quite a bit different but may appear right at first glance. Look again and you'll see that it has no mudguards or rails and the chrome radiator surround and lamps are quite distinct. It's a cheap alternative, however - just don't let Steed, or worse, Mrs Peel see you using this!

Bentley Pt 1

Quite exceptional models now in stock in each of the two colour schemes released, black and grey and a pale green-cream and olive green. With the recent Buick and Ghia arrivals there is a serious collection opportunity growing for someone, or just me if I hang on to them as I am very tempted to do. In fact I would challenge anyone, even the buyer of that £500 model I wrote about a little while ago, to find a better looking one. 

Tuesday 11 February 2014

The Riviera Set

An immaculate #245 Buick Riviera in gold arrived this morning. This has to be one of the best I have seen and it even had an original box. That had a bite out of it where I suspect a mouse had been munching but nothing major! However, I suppose that might have put off the purists and enabled me to pick this up for a very reasonable price.

Although it does have a towbar I'd rather use the light blue version for the Riviera Gift Set 31s that I am planning to put together. That colour just looks right in that set. I guess there must have been gold ones but all the sets I have seen had the light blue. Even the darker metallic blue was seldom used. I was wondering why they bothered putting a towbar on all models but, of course, the Dolphin boat was available separately as #104 and that would have been quite popular as a cheaper alternative to the quite expensive Gift Set and there wasn't a great deal you could do with the girl on a surf board, the only addition for your money, either.

So I now have gold and metallic blue versions with boxes to add to the site. My original gold Buick has excellent paintwork but the chrome has disappeared leaving just toffee coloured plastic. If I can find some replacement chrome this could be a candidate for the 'black list' (models I have taken apart and put back together again so can't sell as originals). This car could look brilliant in black.

Monday 10 February 2014

Land Rover - the model that lasted

I now have 14 Land Rovers in stock! This is one of the nicest - #406 so one of the first type but unmarked - arrived today and will be on the site this week. 

The other colour available at the start was quite a bright yellow with a black roof. I am sure the AA and RAC had a part to play in those choices! Actually the RAC did get their own (in a slightly different shade).

There are two versions of the RAC model, with and without the headboard and each with a different transfer on the canopy.

The RAF Land Rover

A green 406 was featured in Gift Set 2 with a horse box and this had a tan tin canopy. The normal 406 release in a box did not have a canopy.

Type 2 is #438 and starts off in this lovely dark green with a cream canopy that looked great but probably didn't reflect reality! To distinguish #406 from #438 just look at the front bumper or at the side windows and door.

Next colour for #438 is a pale creamy brown teamed, again, with a cream canopy. Only released in Gift Set2 with a similar colour horse box.

Red models of #438 appeared in a Ferrari Racing Gift Set and in Chipperfields Gift Sets but never individually in boxes.

#438 Type 3 is the more recent version, not really seen much until the later 60s and it came with an odd khaki canopy more often than not. The shade is quite metallic and not really what you expect on a Land Rover. It'll be around for as long as the dark green, though.

An interesting variation with the later models having cast wheels a little before this too, ridiculously, went down the Whizzwheels road. It starts with a tin hook which is then replaced by a grey plastic variety.

Whizzwheels models will be blue for a Gift Set with a new horse trailer, darker blue for another Gift Set with an aircraft trailer and shades of bright apple green for the models sold as #438 in the box.

The Saint, black and blue.

Just £1200, well, £1440 including the massive premiums charged by auction firms, would have enabled you to put this Saint's Volvo 1800 on your shelf, as reported last week.

Fork out £8 for this model on Ebay as I write and, if you can find a blue decal or transfer, you can have two on your shelf. The neighbours would never be able to tell the difference.

What I find amusing is the description that the seller has added (not included in the illustration above). It says that this is a rare white version of the Volvo! Maybe without the plastic Roger Moore in the driving seat he could have got away with that. I am intrigued, though, that the original transfer does seem to have been removed without leaving obvious marks on the bonnet, assuming there was one there and it wasn't missed in production. 

So I shall pick up this one (unless there are silly bids offered!) and have a closer look. If it is possible to remove the normal transfer then we all need to be very careful when those rare blue ones appear.

I don't like giving money to idiots who try to fool people so won't be bidding very much.

Saturday 8 February 2014


Just to prove that I might know what I'm talking about :)
Thereagain, it was a long time ago...

Friday 7 February 2014

White Lotus Elan recipe

Remember the Lotus Elan that sold for £816? Here are its components if you want to make one.

The driver is just £1.45

Transfers have to come from the States at about £6

I shall carry on building honest Avengers Gift Sets but beware if you are looking at a white #318 with a dealer for £800+. It might have only cost £50 for the components! Only the transfer would be likely to give anything away as the originals seem to be less than transparent and a bit brown. But some tea can produce a similar effect I suspect.

Auction price updates for The Saint and others

Model Collector magazine reports some extraordinary prices being paid recently at auctions. Each is a model I have been recommending for a while but I hadn't expected that amount of interest in them. I just hope this doesn't make getting hold of a few even more difficult!

Funnily enough, I was thinking this week that I should have a green one in good condition. I have three back and grey, two with boxes, which are immaculate and, I believe, a better colour than the green. Now I am not sure my bids are likely to be successful for the two I am after! I'll know in a few days. Watch this space.

At first glance you might think this is Emma Peel's Lotus Elan. Basically it is - with a transfer on the back and someone else planted in the driving seat. Or should that be hers is #318 without the transfer and figure? I don't know which came first. £816 is an amazing price, though, and just shows how rare the white open top model is in this guise.

I have been buying quite a few of the white S2 without the transfer for the Avengers Gift sets I'm making up. However, it must be tempting for some less scrupulous people to stick transfers on. They're pretty easy to buy. The driver too. He looks like the usual suspect from several other cars.

The Saint's Volvo P1800 at £1200??!! Good grief. That's another that I would like a decent version of as my own one has suffered a bit. The box is still a round but is missing a flap or two. I actually prefer the original black on transparent backing transfer to this blue and white affair.

My last post talked about teh various Mini Coopers. I knew this had a fairly short life but had no idea it was £1200's worth of short life! 

Thursday 6 February 2014

Ghia #241 -see the real thing!

I have two blue versions and this green one. Looking for a good example of a gold model. I have one possible that I have bid for so maybe I will be able to add that here soon. This is a car that very few people will have seen in real life. Here's an example, looking excellent in black. I am planning to produce a number of models in black from those that will have to be repaired and so will be clearly 'restored'. By using a completely different colour no-one will accuse me off trying to pass off restorations!

Mini Coopers: a guide

One day you may need to look twice at your collection of Corgi minis. There are a lot more than you might have realised - and this post only deals with the Mini Coopers!

The story starts in 1962 when a Morris Mini Cooper was issued. This only came in pale blue or an almost white pale primrose. All had white roofs. I have some with white bonnets and some without. I am not sure whether both are original, though. They'll be numbers #1, #3 or #7 but as people can buy the decals and stick them on that's not a definitive guide. The colour should be enough but you'll find that this model had just two headlamp jewels and none in the radiator grill.

Next came 317 in 1964 - the Morris Mini Cooper S Rally Monte Carlo. This is always red with a white roof only and should be #37. It's pretty easy to spot this one! There's a chrome spot light on top. This one has no jewels in the radiator grill and no other minis have the light on top so this is a fairly safe bet identification-wise.

In 1965 things started to get complicated. I guess the mini won a rally and Corgi issued #321 Morris Mini Cooper S Rally Monte Carlo. This red with a white roof - no other colours or combinations, of course, as they're reflecting a real car. It should have #52 on the side and three jewels in the radiator. Look carefully and you will see that it is a different casting with two fog lamps just above the radiator, usually painted silver.

In 1966 I think a mini must have won the Rally again and there is a second version but still model number 321. This one has signatures on the roof (which look a bit strange) and it should have #2 on the side. Again it is only in red with a white roof. There is a second difference, though: surprisingly, this version has just two jewels in the radiator grill! And, unbelievably, it doesn't have the two cast fog lamps, being based on an earlier cast! That's really odd and I have only just spotted it, several months later!

Almost as an aside, there is the 1965 issue of a Mini Cooper with wickerwork panels but that is so different that it doesn't need much explaining! That's model number 249.

As if the 1966 change wasn't enough, there is another. Model 333 comes along - this time as a BMC Mini Cooper S 'RAC International Rally'. This is red with a white roof and should have #21 on the side in a strange-looking decal which has the black digits across a red disc on a white rectangle. Now this model has not two, not three but four jewels in the radiator grill! This is proving elusive so still no photo!

In 1967 model number 339 comes along - another red and white affair - and a repeat of the four jewels in the radiator but luckily this one has a massive roof rack so you'll not have to worry too much identifying that one!

You might have expcted 334 to be a variant of 333 but it is actually a completely different mould. It is still, allegedly, a Mini Cooper but comes with an orange stripey sunroof affair, opening everything and is called a BMC Mini Cooper Manifique. Two colours, a nice metallic blue or this green, and it was available from 1968 until 1970. No extra jewels, no numbers and all have louvred cast wheels.

There are, of course, Whizzwheel  versions of the Mini Cooper too.

This is 308 which you can see is really #339! This only appeared in yellow.

This is #208 and is #334 in disguise, with opening bits but no stripey roof. This only appeared in white.

I hope this helps someone! Soon I shall look at the 'normal' Mini.