Tuesday, 5 October 2021

The Corgi 261 'reproduction': Bond neither shaken nor stirred.

 Here is my first look at the '261' reproduction - the 'Hornby' Corgi release, available from the Corgi website, not the Corgi model Club edition. That is also expected soon but, as you will see, this is not really a '261' reproduction at all and so the anticipated confusion may be somewhat diminished!

The box is pleasantly similar and weighty in one's hand and it is a much more 'normal' box than the other Bond issues from Corgi that we have had of late with their curious hinging and sliding. It is pretty much the same size as the original and has a similar tray inside on which an attractive gold Aston Martin sits. To get inside, though, you need to take great care and you may well have to find some suitable implements to assist in what should be a perfectly simple task but which is not.

All the recent issues from the Corgi Model Club have had the same problem and it is repeated here - small slits at each end of the hinge which, whilst holding the end flap in very securely, are not at all easy to open without damage. You really do not want to be in a hurry to see what's inside and no way should you give this to your son or daughter to open without adult supervision. That rather spoils the idea that many dads may have had for kids' birthdays or Christmas but never mind.

Once you have opened an end you'll find a piece of cardboard as a spacer and then, finally, you can slide out the familiar-looking tray.

The car is certainly attractive and shines far more than any 261 I have ever encountered. The wheels will immediately strike you as different, being solid chromed affairs with a wire wheel pattern, very much like Corgi have used on other models.

The other obvious difference is the inclusion of rotating number plates back and front. Whilst I do like these, they were a feature of the later 270 issue and not the 261 so this really cannot be described as a 261 'reproduction' or 'reissue' at all. That leaves the ground nicely clear for the Corgi Model Club. I get the impression that Corgi have just taken an existing issue and, with a few adjustments, repackaged it.

The bullet shield at the rear refuses to stay closed on my model, but then that problem I have experienced with many of its predecessors! It is a thin piece of silver metal, again as on the more recent issues from Corgi.

The roof comes sealed with a thin piece of clear film which is almost impossible to show in a photograph. I have not removed mine yet so I cannot report on whether the roof will stay closed in line with the body or not! There is no baddie in the car on arrival. That's a good idea as often the chap falls in a rather embarrassing way onto JB's lap in transit and that can also cause trouble if the ejector button is pressed before putting him in a less compromising position. I always wrap the baddie separately when supplying models like this.

An arrow at the back directs us to the 'Secret Compartment' where the 'Secret Instructions' can be found. Once more, this needs to be approached with considerable care and dexterity and I can see that boxes and trays remaining in A+ condition will have a distinct premium in years to come!

If you do manage to open it then the familiar envelope can be pulled out. Inside this is a badge, the instruction sheet and the baddie. It would seem that you don't get a spare baddie with this one so clearly Corgi are not expecting us to play with this model a great deal.

Apart from the 'Chinese' side the box is decently made and doesn't have that annoying shine which many other recent boxes have displayed. The card is a good weight and colour and the colours and design generally pretty acceptable. There are many differences between this and the original packaging but this still looks the part. It does, as I have said above, leave the ground clear for the Model Club to do this properly.

So far, so good and it feels like a model I'm happy to own. There is a problem, though. Quite a big problem for me as I do like to take models out of their boxes and, if not play with them, at least photograph them in various places and scenes. I had expected the car simply to lift off the tray but, no, it doesn't lift off the tray. It is apparently tied in position.

I have done my best to illustrate this and you may be able to make out the ends of some Chinese plastic-coated wire inside the 'Secret Compartment' wrapped around a piece, or possibly two pieces, of corrugated cardboard and the axle front (and, I think, back too). Not only does this strike me as overkill in preventing movement, catering as it seems, for heavy seas and possible confrontation as the container ships pass Taiwan in a few months time, but it is simply not something I wish to attempt to undo. My fingers are not enormous but I would have difficulty getting one in there and certainly not two to do the twisting. I am wondering if, perhaps, I have missed something obvious and there is a way to access the twist. The card construction of the tray is partially coming apart and I can see that, if it were possible to unfold it completely then the underside of the tray would become easy to get at. I'm pretty sure, though, that this was not the intention. It seems that the car is first secured in position and then the tray card glued, making it difficult for us to extract the car later.

I guess I could do it with a bit of poking but it would be very difficult to re-attach the wires. As I would prefer to keep this as original as possible, I have no option but to buy another which I can be less concerned about keeping as pristine, package-wise. When that arrives I will post some better photos of the car in action. Until then, as I suspect will be the case for many of these, the car stays in the box, the baddie in the tray and the roof firmly closed.

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