Thursday 20 March 2014

My kangaroo is missing

Tomorrow I shall be adding photos of some of the most remarkably good Corgi Toys I have ever seen - totally immaculate models that seem to be straight from a shop or factory. I bought them at auctions in Australia and USA in February and they've finally arrived.

One reason for paying a bit over the odds for one lot was to get  #302 which is pretty rare, not just in such condition and without having had the stickers applied but with the original kangaroo. The kangaroo usually goes missing when kids have played with this - and after over 45 years that's not surprising! But when I unpacked everything there was no kangaroo. Looking again at the illustration I can see that it isn't in its normal place in the box but I had assumed it had merely rolled away in the photo, as the text does say quite clearly with kangaroo.

So I have had to write to the auction people in the States asking for either a kangaroo or money towards one! I felt a bit strange writing about a lost kangaroo but I was just so relieved that I hadn't bought this from the other auction - the Australian one!! No way would they have taken that seriously!

Hopefully the Americans will.

And if you think what I paid was crazy, by the way, here's one for sale here today.

That's $289. But it does have a kangaroo :)

Wednesday 19 March 2014

The Avengers Gift Set 40

With more great Gift Set 40 boxes I have been able to make up another 4 Avengers Gift Sets, three with a red Bentley and one with a green one. Most have almost totally original components apart from the umbrellas and one or two Emmas. They are pretty much indistinguishable from the originals though so no-one should be too worried about that.

It's quite difficult to find both cars now in first class condition. The Bentleys are easier as, although they usually have more things missing or broken, they can be repaired without any obvious sign of interference. A Lotus with a broken screen or poor paintwork, though, cannot really be used in original sets. I shall be making some more sets with repainted Lotuses in white or silver-blue to make best use of those less than perfect models and then, as I have mentioned before, I will be looking at a totally fresh set featuring the later Bentleys and Vitesse Lotus. That should be much cheaper to buy too. For now, though, these original sets can be bought for £250 - £300 each.

The tale of two trailers

Another very nice Ferrari Racing Set arrived today with an outside box but no internal platform piece. It's still a first class and quite rare item that will be on the main site soon. When I looked at this against the other set that had come a few days ago and was still lying around it was obvious that the trailers were different.

One is slightly longer and has wheel 'stops' set in at the front which are absent from the other. Underneath there is no different text. As far as I can tell the yellow trailer has only ever appeared in GS17 sets. There is red version in other sets involving a Maserati and the Lotus Racing Set but no other yellows. So, during what was quite a short life anyway for this set, a change must have been made. The longer one does hold the racing car better but the balance of the smaller one seems to ensure it stays attached so they each have their merits!

If anyone has more background about this do let me know.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

A very clean red Land Rover

I got this curious Land Rover yesterday. It is probably the cleanest, least marked I have ever seen, the lovely red paintwork totally smooth and unblemished. The windows are clean and even the towing hook is clean and bright black painted metal.

There are no signs of repainting and the rivets appear unmarked. The inside, viewed from beneath, shows that it was originally this colour too. An aerial has been added, as has a row of chrome lights in front of the radiator grill. Although the aerial itself is a bit odd it has been well fitted.

The white canopy is what I assume would have come with the Ferrari Gift Set 17 but they can also be obtained as spares anyway. It had K.L.G. Plugs on a transfer on each side of the canopy but that transfer belongs on the 1950s Bedford van.

So it looks like someone has made it up, taking what must have been an immaculate GS17 Land Rover, or possibly a Circus one with a new canopy and sticking extra lights on the front. Quite what the purpose of the aerial is, which would have taken some careful drilling and some time, I don't know. The transfers probably started to crack on the uneven and flexing surface which is why they're mostly missing.

I just need to satisfy myself that KLG Plugs didn't have this particular model made for them by Corgi as a gift for customers or staff. That would be nice if it were the case but otherwise, and I doubt it is anything other than a private job, I shall tidy up the canopy by losing the transfers and replace the aerial with a decent one and add it to my collection of oddities.

Monday 17 March 2014

Making progress with the Blacklist models

Four examples of my Blacklist collection. I had some silver-blue which I'd bought for the Emma Peel Lotus version 2 sets. It has worked very well on the Bentley, Aston and a few others too.

I think I've done enough Bentley Continentals now - or I will have done once the last two are complete, making five in all - they do look lovely, especially in black but they're a pain. The boot needs a small piece of metal to be attached to the replacement boot and bumper unit but the parts I have had so far leave the spring bit too low and it is very difficult to attach strongly enough. In a way, that's not that important but the boot may not stay in position and if it were to fall inwards then the whole thing has to be taken apart again. The other annoying bit is fiddling around with the rear lights. The replacement units need the tiny red jewels to be added. I'd thought they would arrive ready made but that wasn't the case. Instead you have to try and place those really small jewels into the holders the right way round and not get covered in glue. Not easy and then you have to wait until they're set before adding the units to the car. Far too risky to try adding the jewels to the placed units on the car.

The Mercedes looks great, almost exactly as new, in black and the paint I've been using is perfect and easy to get a good finish as well with just a single coat or two at the most. That's an easier car to do so I may try a few more of those. 

I was using some resin-type glue to fix the bases back on but it is impossible to manage and you get thin wispy bits hanging from the applicator which often descend where they're not wanted and can ruin everything. It could have worked, resembling the metal rivets quite well had it been possible to apply just a small round blob but I couldn't find a way to do that safely. The stuff went hard so quickly too and I wasted ten times more thn I actually used each time! So I abandoned that product and now have been using Gorilla glue in a thickish form which is really easy to apply and doesn't go anywhere that it shouldn't. When it sets it seems to be quite clear or, at any rate, quite unnoticeable. There is a sort of gap where the rivet(s) ought to be but I much prefer that to the messy results I had with the other stuff.

I am much happier now selling the Blacklist range and they're almost too cheap at the £29 I am advertising them at. They'll be £39 including the best reproduction box and UK postage.

A very messed up #230 which had been carmine red originally, then black and then blue with Dinky tyres

The same model after a bit of attention.

Thursday 6 March 2014

Silver, black and gold, or red perhaps

While I am on the subject of colours, some Corgi Toys are particularly hard to find in certain colours. The #230 Mercedes 220SE looks best in black but most were cream or red. The colour does show the knocks and scratches, though, as this picture shows. Sitting here on my desk it looked great and very respectable and I had saved it from the Black List where it has originally been going. I was not so sure when I first published this but, looking at the photo again, I see red! That is surely a remarkable restoration as the rivets look just as they should be, presumably old heads stuck on as they appear worn and the general pattern of silver looks exactly as others I have and the quality of the paint is superb, albeit knocked. Only on a tiny section of the rim of the boot is it clear that there is red beneath the black and the small dots you can see in the photo that I'd thought were overspay from something else must be beneath after all. It is an easy car to take to pieces and put back together again and I have a couple undergoing Black List treatment so this will join them now after all. I do have a black one in similar condition - but definitely original - in my own collection that I have had since the 1960s.

Had I not written this and attached the photo I may well have not noticed, kept this one in the box I have mine in and sent my own original into the acid bath! That was close.

I finally tracked down a gold Ghia L6.4 and, of course, two came along. Unbelievably, neither cost more than their postage - I really did strike lucky there. One is a bit scrappy but worth retaining as an original but this one illustrated above is near perfect, a lovely example of this strange-coloured model.

Another rare colour I have been looking for has come along too - the #310 Chevrolet Stingray in silver. This has excellent chrome too - something that usually turns yellow as the chrome flakes off. Not a mark anywhere and this will be added to the site Stock List soon. It won't be cheap. I have another in pieces that I shall try in black and I do also have several beautiful original crimson cars. This silver one and at least two of the crimson ones also have original boxes in good condition.

Lotus Elan by Vitesse

Now I know this isn't a Corgi Toy and some readers will be frothing at the mouth that I am even featuring this but it is quite remarkable and not at all expensive. About £15 buys this Vitesse model of a white Elan with extraordinary detailing. It's metal, 1:43 and feels much like its Corgi equivalent but there is no suspension and the wheels are fixed to the axles. It actually comes in a perspex display box and claims to be number 0128 of 2872 - that's a surprise as I had just written to the manufacturer to ask whether I could buy some direct but clearly it is a limited edition and the other 2871 are circulating somewhere. So they'll think I am a bit mad.

One screw detaches it from its base and you have a respectable model that can be used in a simple alternative Avengers set. I am waiting for a cheap green Bentley to see how I can put the two together somehow and charge a little less than the £350+ for the Corgi original. 

Another couple of screws also enable the whole thing to come apart. That's great and allows things like the sticking pop-up headlamps that this model has to be fixed without drilling, glue and all that jazz that spoils the originals. I may also make one of these in the right shade of blue for Emma's second car - it looks as though all the things like wipers and door handles are not painted but minute plastic moulded items that, with care, could be removed and refitted without anyone knowing. Some, though, look just too tiny but I can see me having a go before too long!

There is a hardtop version and the open top - each appearing in several colours so if I can't find any more white I shall have to learn how to do the repaint. The hard top doesn't really suit the set but is another model worth taking a looking at.

Shades of Aston Martin

The middle one arrived and its brick red shade was immediately obviously different to the two I had already - and they were pretty different! This one only cost a few pounds and I had intended to add it to the Black List to take apart and repaint. However, it is very clean, has virtually no paint loss and I can't discern any evidence of interference. I am it is original. The thought did occur to me that it had changed shade after being left in the sun but the interior shows none of the fading that would have happened in such a case.

That did get me looking closer at the other two as well and I am now sure that the lovely bright red one with the cast wheels has to be a restoration. An extremely good one, mind. 

This also came in  for less than its postage and was expected to go to the Black List but, again, is far too good and definitely all original. Apart from some chips around the headlamps there isn't a mark on it. I always find that yellow a strange colour but at least the shade seems consistent!

There was, well is I suppose, another yellow one that was probably red originally and had this really thick coat of paint that had cracked like earth in a drought. That spent a day in a strong acid bath and emerged completely unscathed! Goodness only knows what sort of paint that is! I think I'll have to abandon it and just use some bits for spares.