Saturday 11 March 2023

The Corgi Model Club: Buick Riviera


Here is the Model Club's latest issue, the beautiful Buick Riviera, first seen in June 1964. 

Once again, this is a superb reproduction and I struggled to find any difference other than the shade of paint and the slightly larger and very bright axle ends, which were all I could see at first. In the box there is now a piece of thin foam which should protect the car from rubbing in the box, a problem which several people have mentioned happening to some earlier models left free to wobble around on their way from China. There is also a useful chunk pf foam that is shaped to prevent the hook damaging the end flaps. As well as the certificate, you also get a reproduction of the small illustration of how the 'lights' work, something which is invariably missing from originals these days.

On closer inspection it dawned on me that the air vents at the rear of the bonnet are much more clearly defined than on the original models. Most of mine have paint that is thicker and does not show the separate grille elements at all. One or two pale blue models do have the feint indications of a grille but nothing like the preciseness of the new one.

Everything about this model seems right. It was a delight to own back in '64 and I am just as pleased now. It was always one of my Corgi favourites. The suspension seldom caused any trouble, the super spoked wheels were something special - the Buick Riviera was the first  model that we would have had them on - and, of course, we could have fun with the lights not only at the front but at the back too. (The Chevrolet Sting Ray did have spoked wheels but they came after it had been out for a while with shaped wheels. The Buick had them from the start.)

Congratulations and thanks again to the Corgi model Club team for a splendid production. I had told them about the tyres being technically wrong as editions with wire wheels would have had the earlier 'pre-1967' style but I have to say that I didn't notice when it arrived so it is hardly a matter for complaint and, of course, it is simple to change them if I really feel like it. But then this would no longer be the 'original' reproduction, if that makes any sense! No, I'll leave them as they are.

Saturday 4 March 2023

The Saint Returns


The Corgi Model Club issued their version of the 258 Volvo P1800 in 2021 and, in an attempt to match the original as closely as possible, they made the background to the Saint motif a pale cream colour. That's a bit like it appears on our 1965 models as the transfer did not remain clear for very long.

It appears that the people who own the Saint franchise were not particularly happy about the latest use of their emblem, however, and seem to have insisted that the Club have another go as well as noting their interest with some additional text on the base and box.

So, in a few weeks, we will be seeing a second re-issue of the 258 model, now with a very clear emblem on the bonnet and a different base and box. Production of the first re-issue has ceased and the Club are selling their remaining stocks. They say that they will retain a 'finite' amount for future membership orders. By that I think they mean people who have signed up recently will get the old one but those who sign up after the new issue becomes available will get the later one.

Whilst this will not be as scarce as the 'matt finish' James Bond Aston Martin, it would appear that production ceased at 15000 and this will be harder to find in future years and could become somewhat more valuable than most other issues. They can still be purchased direct from the Club but perhaps for not much longer.

Wednesday 1 March 2023

Corgi Toys @ 60 : An Elephant, Land Rover, Ferrari and Ice Cream


Mr Softee was a well-known brand back in the 1960s and Corgi used this brand for their first ice cream van. You can get a set of replacement transfers and stickers to convert it to another brand, Mr Whippy, from the Model Supplies people and I have seen many of this 428 model in pin and white with the different brand too. There was, however, just the one original issue and, as far as I can tell, all these models had free spinning shaped wheels with suspension. The same van is used later in khaki and army decals for a Military Field Kitchen.

Also issued in March 1963 was the Elephant and Cage kit #607. The cage looks the same as the one in the Gift set 19 issued in the previous year but the elephant is different, coming in two parts and in brown plastic.

The last new item for March 1963 was the splendid Gift Set 17 combination of a red Series II Land Rover pulling a yellow Racing Car Trailer with the 154 Ferrari (amusingly with its driver still in place!)

The first editions of this set would have the Land Rover with a 'frame' in the rear window, the window unit fitting to provide a flush rear surface with the back of the cab. As this set ran through to 1967 later examples will not have this window unit but whether a later casting with different vent levers was used I am not sure. They will all have had cream plastic canopies and shaped wheels.

As I have mentioned in another recent article, the Ferrari was a long-running model which outlasted the set. There are two types of casting and I believe these match the different style of transfer characters too. Both appear with the shaped wheel editions. Unlikely to have been in a set would be the cast wheel editions, although it is virtually impossible to know now whether a set advertised with one is genuine as it is simple just to swap them over.