Thursday, 29 April 2021

More new old Corgis

You may remember the issue of a reproduction 474 Ford Thames Ice Cream Van (the one with musical chimes) way back in January 2020. My article is here if you have forgotten.

The COVID-19 virus interrupted production in China and we had been hoping that what appeared to be a well-intentioned project would get going again. Earlier this year promotions started to appear once more in magazines and the original web site offered the Ice Cream Van once more. There would appear to have been very many more of these issued than first time round - tens of thousands rather than a mere 1000 or so, according to some estimates I have read. The firm managing the project do seem to have got things moving again. They have a strict 'one model per household' rule and so I was unable to get hold of another Ice Cream Van but other people are reporting that the model itself appears identical but with a different box and different paperwork coming with it. In particular, the Certificate now specifies a number and has a different design to the first issue.

Bearing in mind that no payment was required for the first model (if one ordered the next issue) and, even if someone did pay for it the price was a mere £1.99, I think we were all surprised to see these selling for £100 or more back in early 2020 but put it down to life in an Ebay world. I have to say now that £100 may have been a bargain if the buyer also received the bits and pieces as well, as there will not be many of those around.

Finally, rather later than some of my colleagues, I have received the second model in the series, the 339 BMC Mini-Cooper S 1967 Monte Carlo Winner. There were two versions, the early one had shaped wheels but this is the later issue with cast wheels.

That's the original. Below is the Chinese reproduction.

It's very good, with a very well-matched paint. I understand that the people doing this consulted Corgi for things like the colour reference to ensure that was right. (I am intrigued that there were records to consult and do wonder what else might be in the archives that Hornby acquired, but that's another story!)

The first thing that strikes me and one or two colleagues is the 'soft', almost plastic look to the jewelled lights. Whilst getting the headlamps white and fog lamps yellow as in the issued model, the inserts used seem a little cheap.

The RN177 decal is pleasantly 'yellowed' and not bright white as all the reproduction transfers seem to be but, unlike most of them, it does have the right font. The spacing and size of the digits isn't quite right but that is a minor criticism.

The most annoying fault for me is the rear number plate which has an odd spacing for the characters and looks significantly less deep than the original. The Rally stickers are also small, as you can see from comparison with the original below.

The roof rack is a splendid copy, as are the spare wheels and pins attaching them.

It's nice to see the base reproduced nicely, with the original style of text and layout retained but, of course, featuring Made in China now.

The box is very similar on four of its six sides. The original had different illustrations on opposite sides but this has the same scene printed twice. Otherwise only minor text differences are made and the obvious difference is the side that displays all the production and legal stuff. Luckily, that can sit at the bottom when the box is displayed in a cabinet.

The card itself is the right weight but the printing process used and/or card coating create a very shiny finish which is not particularly pleasant. I also found the changed design of the flaps on the ends very annoying, making them extremely difficult to open without causing a tear. Perhaps this prevents accidental opening and damage en route but I do think they should have taken a chance and left the flaps as they were. This is a most frustrating design and I now leave one flap permanently open to avoid more trouble.

Overall, this is an excellent reproduction and I admire the effort that seems to have been put in to this project and the prinicpals involved do seem to care about getting things right. I believe they have experience from Atlas and their excellent Dinky reproductions and the whole thing has a very similar feel to it, with the planned future issues, lots of goodies issued at the start and options to stop any time. I shall be continuing with this and wish them well.

Next, I believe, is The Saint's Volvo P1800. I hope they use better jewels this time but cannot imagine there is much else to go wrong there.


  1. Out of curiosity, Where would one order one?

    1. The Corgi Model Club have a page but orders are apparently restricted to one per UK address.

    2. That is disappointing. This just encourages people to buy local through various means and eBay them for profit. The collector's club is losing sales.