Friday 31 March 2017

Adventures with a can of white paint Pt 2

The Studebaker 211 (not M) replica worked out quite well although the rivets don't look right. I like this, though, so will probably keep it after all the trouble!

The 317 lamp stays in place now and the roof has been rescued. I visited another collector yesterday and he had this pretty poor box lying around. They seem made for each other! I wish I had a couple of replacement #37 transfers but never mind. someone might like it as it stands for a modest amount.

The Rover looks considerably better now without the chips all over the roof but there are still lots of touch-ins in the maroon area. I have to say to those who do these things: "If you're going to touch in paintwork for heaven's sake get the right colour!" I may try and redo them myself. The person I visited also, by pure coincidence, had a spare 322 box as well! It's almost complete but a bit messy in places. However it may help the Rover to sell now. I can't remember who made the transfers but you'll see from comparison with the lower (smaller) image of an original 322 that they really should have chosen the font a bit more carefully!

My last task was to finish the Emma Peel Lotus Elan. That was one of my better efforts which was a relief as I didn't have another to work with. I had not noticed, until I put it together, though, that I'd missed part of the base section. As it happens that ends up as the rear bumper and the grey-silver works just fine! I am now hoping that it reaches its destination in deepest Somerset intact. With the paintwork still quite fresh I could not wrap it in anything that would grip tightly but found a polystyrene container with a section cut out that was just the right size so it ought to make the journey OK.

The person I visited has his own little project of creating something similar to the white 322 Monte Carlo edition. I quite fancy that myself so the adventures with a can of white paint may well continue another day!

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Rover 2000TC varieties

If you'd thought that there was just the metallic grey-green model 275 then you will have to make three more spaces on the shelf now.

There are three variations of interior - white is the most sought after and, consequently. most expensive. At the time of writing there is one for sale at £225 and that is without a box! I may have to consider doubling the price I set for mine which looks pretty much as nice.

The second is red, which I have only seen one example of and that is another I have for sale (and maybe too cheaply!)

The normal colour is brown and that's invariably what'll you see out there and they're really quite inexpensive.

There is also a white painted edition, with the red interior, that looks splendid but is not that easy to find. I have one in stock and some lovely photos of an immaculate original I had a while ago.

All have the same, and quite accurate, take-off wheels using the Golden Jacks system. The chrome at the front is a really good example of this type of work that Corgi did and where there were Trans-o-lite headlights in the earlier 2000 models there are now jewels sparkling attractively.

There is also a chrome rear bumper. The bumpers do tend to get damaged and the chrome flakes off easily which can spoil the car's appearance. There isn't much by way of suspension but I have also not noticed any examples of broken suspension which is surprising so it must be sturdier than many of the era.

Because the wheels come off they do come off - and get lost! Both the models with the scarcer interiors had odd combination of wheels when I acquired them but now have the correct ones. Corgi sold spares but the packs are quite pricey unless you find an opened one. The best way to replace lost wheels is to buy a cheap wrecked model or two and steal its wheels. That is why the only normal 275 I have available at the moment has four Camaro wheels!

The most annoying problem, though, is the hinge on the spare wheel container. This is a very vulnerable bit of plastic and it really doesn't stand up to much opening and closing. So may models have an unattached top or no top at all. Replacement spare wheel holders can be bought but they don't look quite right and I am not sure whether they can be fitted to a model without taking it apart. It may just be glued to the boot - and the join not visible anyway.

Adventures with a can of white paint

It all started when I was looking for a decent Studebaker Golden Hawk with the Mechanical motor. I came across this odd model selling at nearly £500.  

It is claimed to be something Corgi did to make use of a pile of white 211 units when the Mechanical motor element was discontinued in 1959. They are supposed to have put the white 211 body on a 211S base and sent them off to foreign dealers in 211 boxes. This one had 'Blanche' written on the end of the box, ostensibly by the dealer on the basis that the seller says it was old stock from a French shop. The story sort of hangs together and gains extra creedence from QDT who have auctioned a couple of these in the past and their text includes a paragraph saying pretty much the same but without the writing on the box and introducing us to a store in Mexico where theirs was deemed to have originated.

Now, call me overly suspicious if you like, but I do have doubts about all this. Initially, the thickness of the paint and the use of a 211S base - yet stating that the model has no suspension - aroused my dubious mind. I decided at that time that someone was having us on and was looking for some rich collector in Dortmund or Denmark who might not miss £500 on a Thursday.

So I hatched a plan to create a near identical model and, using the same keywords, put mine on Ebay for £5 instead of £500 in the hope that people searching would find both mine and this other one side by side! If anything it might make others think twice and probably annoy the seller. I am not normally as devious or aggressive but the £500 price tag bothered me if it was a concocted model.

Finding the QDT models, though, made me think again and I calmed down a bit but I still decided to make my own model. I just wouldn't bother with the box, membership slip and all that jazz just yet.

I had an old Studebaker 211 model that I'd rescued and sprayed black a while ago so that was relatively easy to change into a much more attractive, as it happens, white. I struggled with the gold stripe a bit but it's not a bad effort. My hand isn't as steady as it used to be.

The windows were cracked so I bought a 211S for £2 and extracted the clear window unit from that. It cleaned up nicely but if ever you set about replacing Studebaker windows, take care. they are a tight fit and the rear window needs to snap into place correctly. The pressure can cause problems if you're a little over-enthusiastic at this stage! It's also a good idea to glue them into place too as the front can still slip and it looks horrible then. Anyway, so far, so good.

I also now had a reasonably decent 211s base which I could use. Well, could I? Er, the 211S has suspension. The wires are embedded and held in place by a riveted cross-piece of metal. Even if you break that off and take away the wires the axles would rattle up and down in their guides. The base is quite different from the 211. Even though the rivet holes are in the same places, the 211S base would need substantial adjustment to make it 'without suspension' as advertised. I cannot imagine why Corgi would have wanted to be bothered with all that. They could simply use the normal, non-Mechanical 211M base and all would be well with the world. Or simply dump the white bodies and get on with selling the new shiny silver and gold ones which are far more likely to be desirable anyway. It just doesn't make sense to me at all. 

So I can't copy the £500 affair after all. But I will continue to complete the 211 in white without a motor because I have all the bits and it will look lovely and much better than the black one did too. 

I will publish some photos when it's ready. In the meantime here's a reasonable 211M I have recently acquired.

There is an even better one on its way from the States as I write too. That'll give me three original and working editions of this pretty scarce model. But no, you don't get a discount for quantity!

Now, I'd bought the white paint and had lots left. Just as well, due to two mistakes I made this week...

The first one was to leave links to an old restored Lotus Elan in my Avengers section of the web site. These sell really quickly, either for sets or individually, and I had run out of the white version. I have a couple of the silver blue editions but only a couple of original 318 Lotuses in stock. On my web site, though, there was an old page advertising a restored white one for a mere £45. I've been selling them for £50 or more for ages. And the £45 includes postage, dammit. The buyer, clearly pleased to have found it, bought and paid for it through PayPal instantly and that's when I saw I had a problem.

I did think about making a refund but I have just had to repair my real car and could do with the income so I set about making another one just for this guy. Fortunately, I had a bit of a wreck that had arrived last week and I managed to find all the parts that seem OK too. It just needs spraying so that's where the next lot of white paint went. That's drying away nicely and I hope to get that in the post in a couple of days. I'll do a photo of that too.

The second mistake was to place a bid via Goofbid and forget about it. I know, that's the beauty of Goofbid. You can place a whole pile of bids on first glances at things and then go back and, if you see something bad, delete them. You can't do that with Ebay itself.  I'd spotted three Monte Carlo models - the Rover, Citroen and Mini. I knew they weren't perfect and the Mini was the wrong one for the Gift set too but I like the Rover and if that was in reasonable condition then the £29 bid would be worth it for that alone. And, of course, I expected someone else would bid a whole pile more than that anyway. Goofbid would remind me that someone else had outbid me and then I'd decide whether to go higher or leave it.

As it happened, and you've gathered, no-one else did bid and I completely forgot about it until I get the 'You've Won' email! The parcel arrived today and inside were three rather sad models. The Rover had chips on the roof that had been really badly touched in as well as a crack in the rear window - a common fault where the Trans-o-lite unit fits. The Citroen was missing its aerial as just about all are anyway so that was not a big deal but the paintwork was pretty chipped and it had lost all its jewelled fog lamps. The worst was the Mini which had a sort of chrome lump where the fog lamp should be. Around the hole were many signs of someone having scraped away to try to rescue the lamp and the white roof was in a sorry state. However, the windows and red paintwork were excellent, as was the suspension and wheel condition.

They all need new transfers too! I was a bit dejected as I would simply have to sell them as they were and hope I might get my money back on the Rover and Citroen  but the Mini was a bigger problem and my first thought was that it was heading for the spares department.

I stared at the Rover for quite a while. I like these 322 models very much. I had the transfers. It was just the roof that let it down really. The crack was not at all bad or obvious. Hmmm. I have white paint. Why not? I thought. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have never sprayed just a roof before. But I have lots of masking tape so I hid everything else on the car, sanded down the roof and sprayed it a nice white colour again.

I looked at the Mini. I fiddled with the bit of lamp that was visible. I twiddled it too. Ah, it began to emerge from the hole and with another tug and twist actually looked as if it were in about the right place again! The paint around the hole, though, was not good and I had contributed to the mess too. There were some other chips as well. OK, after the Rover practice I was feeling confident. Out came the sandpaper again and in a few minutes had a nice smooth surface. Masking tape everywhere, including a rather dainty job of covering the lamp without it falling back through and it was ready for the bathroom floor, covered in an old sheet, and the remnants of the spray can.

At this moment, the Rover and Mini look like extras on the set of The Mummy but the roofs do look smooth and, with a bit of luck, when the tape is removed, they'll be as good as new with a decent separation between red and white.

Again, photos will be coming soon.

The paint has now run out so this little story of my mistakes and attempts to cover them up as well as the Studebaker saga end too for the time being.

Saturday 25 March 2017

An Austin Seven 'Mini'

This 225 Austin Seven arrived today and it is simply so delightful I had to feature it. It is nothing very rare, just a really nice example. It has shiny wheels which you seldom see these days. I am sure there must be some wonderful polish available that would do the trick on our many rather dull wheels and if anyone knows what it is do please feel free to promote the product or, at least, tell me.

The paintwork is brilliant, not as thick as some paint can be, particularly on some blue Morris models and the silver paint is stunning. Whoever was on 'silver paint' duty at the Corgi factory the day this came down the conveyor belt deserves a medal.

This one also has free-spinning wheels, definitely fewer in number produced than the fixed wheels.

I shall not go on any more. Yes, one day I know I should list the many varieties but. for now, just gaze at this lovely model and it should bring a smile to your day.

More Bedford CA varieties

I needed to look again at the range of Bedford CA type models. I had put together a list some time ago but now it has to be updated because I missed a few!

Mainly, I have now seen examples now of straight and curved grills for almost all the Mk I types. One or two seem quite scarce but generally I have had to assume that they are distributed 50-50 for the purpose of wondering how scarce any particular model may be. The main two colour scheme variations for the 'Corgi Toys' 422 and 'Evening Standard' 421 are included. I know there is also a half and half version of the 'Corgi Toys' van which is pretty scarce but I have no idea yet of numbers for that one.

I am also assuming that the different bases on the M models which provide an open or closed front axle and different text layout are consonant with the grill types. If it turns out that each grill type could have a different base type then there will be some further subdivisions necessary! I am hoping this isn't the case or I shall have to find and purchase even more!!

Here are some photos ilustrating the differences:

So, for now, here is the updated listing for anyone interested. It is certainly a good guide to just how difficult some models may be to find and, possibly, prices although I doubt most sellers will look further than the overall total sales of a particular model or, more often the case, whatever price someone else happens to be selling theirs for.

Mini Marcos GT850 Parking in Moscow

Russia is about 70 times bigger than the United Kingdom but only has a bit more than twice as many people so you'd expect there to be plenty of space. Unfortunately, Moscow is just like most other cities and there isn't much so it's just as well the Mini Marcos GT850 is small.

Here is a very nice example in Raschupkina Street. No, not Rasputin Street. Rashchupkina Street.

Saturday 18 March 2017

Mini Van Doors

What is it with Mini van doors? So many not only fall off but then seem to disappear without trace. 

I now need a left Police van door, both Countryman doors and a right Mini van door. Whilst replacements are easy to buy they need painting and there's no way I can match the colours. the Countryman is also quite a difficult paint task too.

With a bit of luck there'll be some cracked window and dented wrecks available with just the right doors remaining. Let me know if you see any!

Monday 6 March 2017

Corgi Toys @ 60: The Jaguar 2.4 Saloon

March 1957 saw these two lovely models added to the Corgi list. They chose the Jaguar 2.4 litre which was the more modest-sized engine of the Jaguars available but the classic shape made a fine model and would have been a desirable item at the time.

It was one of only a few models produced in white by Corgi. This colour doesn't show off the silver items as well but it did suit the car. The Mechanical version was a lovely shade of metallic blue.

It seems to be closest to the darker car below, with its radiator grill having fewer, more widely spaced verticals. I am not sure what the white real car is - it may be a slightly later version of the Mk1 but not the 1961 MkII type which became the Jaguar 240.

I have always been a fan of the S Type Jaguar and had a lovely black 4.2 model myself until the gearbox threatened to cost me more than the car had done. So when I first saw these models I thought they looked a little short and higher than they should be but now I see that they were actually very close reproductions.