Friday 18 October 2019

MGA colours, wheel and wings

The lovely old MGA is a very attractive model and, until now I had not thought that it had much by way of variety. There were green and red colours and wheels that could be either smooth or shaped but seem always to be fixed. Although I wouldn't catalogue it, there seem to be two types of screen too - early models having a smoky grey perspex and later ones a clear screen.

Recently I came across a paler metallic green variety. the colour is more noticeable from some angles than others but the seat colour is definitely different, being quite yellow on the pale coloured model and cream on the normal shade.

Now another difference has come to light. Later models have a ridge running along the top of the front wings, most noticeable on the off-side wing.

It is quite a clear difference and resembles what might have been intended to be a chrome strip except for the fact that the MGAs didn't have such a strip!

It appears to feature on all the models I have encountered with shaped wheels but I expect we will find, à la Thunderbird's 1959 plate, that there will be examples of either models with smooth wheels with the ridge or shaped wheels without it. Whichever occurs, and I doubt there'll be both, will be quite rare and worth looking out for.

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Land Rover Touring Secours

My German friend Andreas is particularly good at spotting interesting Land Rovers for sale, unearthing a lovely 438 in deep green with red seats a couple of weeks ago, and last week bringing to my attention what he described as a 406S with an aerial hole.

At first I thought it might just be a mark on the wing but, no, there was a neat hole where an aerial would have been fitted. then I realised that there was no spare wheel on the bonnet, nor sign of there ever having been one and the only Land Rover which doesn't have a spare wheel on the bonnet and with a aerial hole is the 416S. I then noticed that this was for sale in Belgium and the mystery is solved. This is a 416S Belgian rescue service Touring Secours edition, albeit in a bad way.

The windows were all badly broken, with holes not just cracks, and so I decided it would look better without any. I had been fooled by a Daktari Land Rover in an otherwise immaculate Gift Set 7 box which a customer sent me as part of his collection some years ago. That too had no windows and I didn't notice for some time. To be honest, this model's lack of protection from Belgian rain or wind is pretty obvious but I still maintain it looks better than it used to.

The interior survived the operation which was a relief as had that been split or broken then I would have had to take the thing to bits. As it is I am inclined to keep it intact. These models are very scarce and, although in very sad condition, with no hook and the wrong canopy, it is the only one I've had and am likely to have for many a year.

I can do something about the hook and I may be able to patch up the paintwork with the help of a friend who mixes pots of colours which seem to have no relation themselves to the desired colour and yet the result she achieves is perfect.

The windows will have to stay paneless and I would like to do something about that replacement aerial. I do wish Mr Flowers Model Supplies would stock some better aerials than the annoyingly inappropriate and odd-looking ones they supply at the moment. We need aerials for all sorts of models and a nice, finer design with a gentle curve would sell very well, I'm sure. Update: I have found a marginally better one and changed the photos here but it's till not very good.

Another update: I made some labels for the RADIO text and TS logo. They're accurate but the transparent film I have to use is a bit too thick and the paintwork doesn't exactly help to display them! The cab now has front windows too. As I'm unlikely to find any other in a hurry I have had to make the most of what I have! 

Ghia Gold

When this arrived I was convinced that I had found yet another colour Ghia L6.4. I even started writing about a honey-gold finish instead of the lemon-gold I knew about. But when I got out an example of lemon-gold that I had in stock it's clear that they're the same colour!

I had this trouble with some of the blue shades of this car but the worst problem was with the blue-green metallic Land Rovers. I have had several of these, purchased in the belief that this was a new shade I had not encountered before only to find that they were identical to all the others bought before! I managed to accumulate almost as many 438s as I did Renault Florides, indeed, still am accumulating, in my search for one without holes in the wing.

Anyway, this Ghia is quite a smart model and these later models even have suspension that has lasted - unlike their earlier cousins - by virtue of some better produced device in the chassis. The interior on this one has also turned tan. I guess this must be due to light exposure because the elements of the plastic section that can be seen in the boot and under the bonnet are still bright yellow. It did come with a box but I suppose it may well have been on display or the box has been added later. There is one difference, however, and that is the colour of the cast spoke-effect wheels. My previous example has the normal silver-grey colour but the latest model seems to have a distinct gold hue to the wheels.

So, whilst my addition of a honey-gold edition has been unnecessary (and I shall get around to deleting it sometime from the catalogue) I shall include the different wheels at least.

Thursday 10 October 2019

International Peace & Love

An old 1118 Army Truck arrived looking a bit shabby so I couldn't resist a conversion - in more ways than one! 

Thursday 3 October 2019

New arrivals

These days I tend to acquire just the more unusual editions and here are the latest since my last post on the topic.

311 Ford Capri

Although I'm not a fan of Whizzwheels, this was quite a decent model and these later red editions with a matt black bonnet are quite desirable and more realistic than the strange fluorescent orange versions issued initially. I wish this had kept the red spot wheels, though, but this is one of a few models which don't look too disastrous with the dotty pattern.

416S Land Rover RAC Radio Rescue

Whilst the 351S RAF version is one of the most searched-for models, there were not that many more of these sold but it has yet to acquire the same status. Examples like this - with a fine box too - are well worth hanging on to. Note the illustration is still of the Series 1 416 (and with a headboard).

Sort of Gift Set 2

I think all the early Gift Sets had the red Pony trailer but I like the way this goes with the early Land Rover so I'm selling the two together which are each surplus to requirements and a little worn. This trailer has a handle on the ramp. One without a handle is coming in soon.

303S Mercedes-Benz Roadster Open Top

There are very many editions to look out for. Here's another five that I needed!
White with a bright yellow interior (as opposed to a tan colour with a driver)
White with no stripe - an early edition with the blue interior from the 303 model
Blue with a bright yellow interior + driver
Blue with a white 303 type interior and free spinning smooth wheels - one of the very first editions fitted with suspension. This example has poor paintwork.
The last shown here is the very scarce type with wire wheels. I already had a super rare golden hue model with wire wheels. This is a 'normal' silver issued at about the same time as the Silverstone Racing Set.

300 Austin Healey

A fairly scarce example in cream with shaped wheels

313 Ford Cortina MkIII GXL

It's the export edition and this one has Right Hand Drive so I now have both LHD and RHD variations of this model. It isn't in great condition but these are terribly expensive in almost any condition.

300 Austin Healey

Finally I find not just one blue edition but two. Neither are totally original, unfortunately, with extra paint here and there but they did both start life as genuine blue editions before all the additional work.

251 Hillman Imp

Look - cast wheels! That's the first I've seen, presumably from a very late production, maybe for the last of the Transporter Sets (as for the Rover?)

252 Rover 2000

Also a first for me, with cast wheels. I advertised this one at too cheap a price as it sold within an hour!

215 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

Finally I find one with shaped wheels - not many around!

215 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

While looking for these, a colleague reminds me that there are editions without '1959' on the rear plate. So I had to go looking for one of these too. (The shaped wheel versions are all blank.)

214 Ford Thunderbird Hard Top

Even more difficult to find is this version of the Hard Top with shaped wheels, as that ceased production some time before the more popular convertible model. (I am still looking for a blank edition with smooth wheels)

258 The Saint's Volvo P1800

This was sold almost as soon as it came in - a tatty but much sought-after edition with a blue bonnet sticker.

315 Simca 1000

In blue. And in excellent condition. This will not be cheap.

226 Morris Mini-Minor

This is possibly one of the oddest models of all, which is saying something looking at what has come before! It's the normal maroon Mini that was the last before Whizzwheels and had a good life but I thought that life had always been with cast wheels. Here's one with normal wheels. It came from a chap in Eastern Europe so maybe some early export models were produced with normal wheels. I am surprised as cast wheels had been appearing already on the blue models. This is also a Type 2 body so a later type too.

Trophy Vanwall F1 Racing Car

It's the Corgi 152 with silver-gold plating and no transfers. 

207 Standard Vanguard III

A late edition with shaped wheels and no red pillars.

207M Standard Vanguard III

The quite rare Mechanical edition. Few survive without very obvious paint loss due to the colour but this is a little better than most.

324 Marcos 1800GT

This is the scarce edition with blue stripes, for export to Canada, which is where this one has come back from!

216 Austin A40

With shaped wheels. Nice.

216M Austin A40

The Mechanical edition. also nice. I like these a lot.

202 Morris Cowley

This shouldn't be this colour and certainly shouldn't have those wheels. The base, however, is firmly attached with original rivets so this is either a first class bit of later work by someone or some kind of production sample. Maybe "Let's see what the models look like with these new shaped wheels. . ."

267 Batmobile

I have tended to avoid these, (a) because I don't know enough about them to distinguish one model from another in what appears to be a complicated range spread over many years, (b) anything decent is usually very expensive and (c) I don't like them very much. However, I did tell myself to look out for the very first edition (well maybe not the matt black one but the next one) and just get that so that I wouldn't have a big gap next to this catalogue number. This came along and fits the bill very nicely. Just the aerial needed some repair.
(The gold-plated one didn't count really!)

More stock for The Avengers

Corgi Toys @ 60 : Missiles, Harvesters and Suspension

It's October 1959 and the shops get what I think is Corgi's biggest single item, a specially constructed vehicle to carry the massive Corporal missile issued in the summer. This vehicle doesn't just carry the thing, though, it also has nicely manufactured mechanisms by which you could transfer the missile to the launching ramp (if you had one handy) in a vertical position.

The photograph below, featured in The Great Book of Corgi, shows a number of Corgi personnel, including Marcel Van Cleemput (writing, with glasses,) and Percy Wilford (in a white coat to the right) the senior design and production engineers, making rapid sketches and notes when, we are told, the driver of an erector vehicle stopped near the factory in Northampton.

The result was an impressive  model, catalogued as a Corgi Major 1113 and sold with a missile.

The weight of the section carrying the missile produced some heavy forces acting on the gearing as it was manoeuvred into a vertical position - and probably often less than steadily so when in play - led to some of the cogs slipping over time and many examples have worn or broken teeth now.

The front wheels steered on the chassis and did so in a realistic way, although, without suspension one did have to encourage them to move one way or another. Nevertheless, here was the first Corgi model with steering!

It was expensive, though, and sales were not high of any of the military equipment. Good examples now, in the thick card boxes with packing pieces and instruction leaflets are now much sought-after by collectors, not just of Corgis but of military models generally, this being regarded as quite a 'classic' now.

The month also saw the previously issued Massey Ferguson tractor, trailer and Combine Harvester put together in Gift Set 8.

The third release in October 1959 is a notable event; the first Corgi with suspension. Termed Glidamatic and with 'Spring Suspension' on the box this made a big difference to your enjoyment when playing with the cars. The first was number 222, a Renault Floride. You could press down on the front to pretend you were braking hard, on the sides to whizz around corners (although the fixed wheels in the first models still made cornering tricky) and, of course, you could imitate zooming off with the rear being depressed as in the real thing.

Bumps on your layout could be driven over and the simple device of two pieces of wire providing resistance to the movement of the axles near the wheels was a great success. Even now, 60 years later, you'll find the Renault Floride suspension still sound and solid. 

The model itself was also a very attractive one, the real car being very pretty. First issues were in an olive green colour and would have had fixed smooth wheels and a red interior. Later models were produced in dark red and metallic blue. Bright yellow and cream interiors are found in the dark red models and the blue ones had either red or yellow.

As well as a few colour and interior variations to collect, early models had open vents in the rear wings, with the casting being punched through. Later models had the fin shapes still but no holes visible. This type seems to be quite hard to find and is not always very easy to spot in small illustrations unless the photograph has been taken at just the right angle. So far, I have bought three models which appeared to have 'closed' vents but which turned out to be 'open' on arrival!