Sunday 30 April 2023

Hornby variations on the Corgi Model Club theme

Look what we can now add to our collections! No, these are not from the Corgi Model Club. It would appear that, after Blue DTC have underwritten most of the costs of getting the castings right, Corgi, as in Hornby Corgi, have seen a chance to re-use them and here are the first four models which are available to pre-order at

They are listed under the heading 'Vintage Corgi Toys' and the first one shown is the Land Rover Breakdown truck with suspension that was issued last year. I remember reviewing this and it was very good, although confusing for us all as the Model Club was issuing its 417 at the same time! Interestingly, there would not be a great deal of useful pre-production work for the 417 that Corgi could benefit from for the very different 417S whereas all these four new models are very much the Model Club revisited.

I had expected the Model Club to try and make some extra money by producing a metallic blue version of the E Type Jaguar. but Corgi appear to have stolen the march on that. This was a very fine model in red but the blue I always found a particularly attractive finish and I very much look forward to seeing this on my table later this year.

The Porsche Carrera reverts to the more common colour scheme in its Corgi re-appearance. It also has a driver who sometimes went missing with the original.

The Ford Mustang is something else. The Model Club produced the 325 Competition model but Corgi have catalogued this as a 320 and given it a remarkable gold finish with a black bonnet. I believe this might have been one of the sample colour schemes for the Mustang in the 1960s. it is quite impressive, although the illustration seems to show a rather high ground clearance and I am hoping that it has a better stance when it arrives. Retaining the 325 cast wheels with what look like wide tyres is a strange choice as they were never used on the 320 so this is a bit of an oddity but and interesting and possibly great addition none the less.

This requires a new box, of course, so it will be interesting to see how that is produced. The Jaguar and Porsche do not need need boxes so presumably the Model Club ones are used.

Lastly, for now, we have the Volvo P1800. This is, of course, the 258 model without Simon Templar and with a fresh coat of dark orange-red paint and a change of interior to make it pretty much a 228, as the box now indicates.

Unlike the Ford Mustang, this does seem to match an issued model, albeit in one of the scarce colours.

I can see these being very popular models. There is something about 'variations' that appeal to collectors. Most of my stock in my own business comprises variations of models that are a little harder to find and which collectors may not have been aware of. I love looking at the small differences and especially the different colours and shades. very much like the Machin stamps of the British definitive postage stamp issues which remained virtually unchanged in general design from 1967 to last year - with more than 1000 'variations'.

I am a little surprised that it has been Hornby Corgi rather than the Corgi Model Club that has produced these new models and it does beg the question as to whether we will see any such variations from the Club or will they simply create the single model and leave Hornby Corgi to take it further?

As long as Hornby Corgi do stay 'vintage' all should be well and I guess we are all hoping that the strange James Bond Aston Martin they brought out as their R26101 but which was not a reproduction of a 261 at all and which had a different size of box too, remains a one-off and is not associated with this new and quite exciting series.

Now, what else can we hope for? The Bentley in black and silver would be an obvious choice. As and when these start to arrive I will write more about what they're actually like.

Tuesday 18 April 2023

Corgi illustrations - maybe not what's in the box


I have been looking at the images on Corgi boxes and there are many where the colours shown on the box are quite different to those actually issued. The catalogues sometimes featured the same image and I imagine that this happened as a result of the artists being provided with some factory samples somewhat prior to the models being produced for sale. Naturally, the boxes would need to be ready before the models and catalogues always included a few available later models and it would have been expensive to change the illustrations too.

The MGC GT in blue and white I wrote about a few weeks ago. I have cheated here and used the Corgi Model Club's MGB GT above but, from this angle, it's not too obvious an error!

I add below a list of all the different box illustrations that are distinct from the issued models and may slowly try and recreate some of them. Here are a couple from the 214 Ford Thunderbird box!

There are, of course, also several illustrations where the artist appears to have been working on a quite different model - the Mercedes-Benz 220SE springs to mind - but that's for another day.

Monday 10 April 2023

The Corgi Model Club: MGB GT


This is good, very good. The devoted Corgi fans at the Corgi Model Club have excelled themselves, or, rather whoever is responsible for the production detail has, with this beautiful reproduction of the March 1967 original.

As should be clear from the photos above, showing the new issue and my somewhat well played-with example (genuinely mine from my own collection!), there is precious little to distinguish one from the other. I can detect only the slightly more defined vent - one of the few differences that was visible on the Buick too - and that is nothing really worth mentioning. Even the headlamps look OK on this, although they do still seem to be plastic rather than glass. I live in hope that they will spend a little more on this feature in forthcoming models.

The box is rather bright and shiny as always but the layout and text is accurate, with the usual necessary changes. In the box there is a piece of thin foam to protect the roof from rubbing.

The certificate refers to the suitcase being either brown or black with the original editions but I am pretty sure it was always only black with this model. The brown one came with the Jaguar Mk 10, Hillman Imp and later non-steering Mercedes 220SE. It also refers to the original having yellow jewelled headlights whereas I believe they were all white.

I am sure that we will see the slightly revised MGC GT version in due course too. I would be particularly keen to see that in the blue and white finish which Corgi showed in their 1969 catalogue!

Saturday 1 April 2023

Corgi Toys @ 60: a new Citroen and the Plymouth gets suspension


It's April 1963 and along comes a new Citroen, this time the ID19 Safari as #436. 

This was quite an exciting model with its opening rear hatch, making it the first car we could put things in or pretend to drive from the inside. The Ford Thames 'Airborn' Caravan had opening rear doors but this Citroen was more like a normal estate car. As well as a plastic luggage shape on the roof which could be detached, this has a very new feature - folding rear seats. You moved a small cog wheel near the rear wheel and the contrasting green seat would fold to make a usefully large and flat space at the back.

It had a Wildlife Preservation transfer across the bonnet to help register the 'Safari' title but mine spent all its days on my layout roads in Hertfordshire.

This Citroen would be a popular model and expect to see it again as Corgi revived the casting again and again right through to the early 1970s.

The other arrival on the shelves of your local toy shop was the second appearance of the big American Plymouth Suburban Sports Station Wagon, now as #443 with suspension and a new colour scheme of blue with a red roof.

Both the Citroen and Plymouth have free spinning shaped wheels.

Each of these models also had no variations issued, all having the same colour scheme and features throughout their production. I have often thought that there might have been some #219 models issued with suspension but I have never found any so I imagine they would only be factory samples if any did appear.