Greenlight – Hitched Homes

By Maz Woolley

The photographs included are by, and copyright of, the Author. Advertising Illustration is copyright of Greenlight.

Over the years many collectors have asked manufacturers to make Caravans (Trailers) to go with their cars and trucks. A few manufacturers have done so with variable results.  In one case a smaller maker of 1:43 models put a lot of effort into making some classic Caravans only to see cheap models of exactly the same subjects flooding out of China in various scales and even being adopted into some German diecast ranges. The suspicion was that the UK made models had been copied and that is unfair on the original maker. At one point a series of resin Caravans was proposed to cover popular UK brands such as Sprite but this did not “take-off”.

The success of the Caravans already issued in the Greenlight Hitch and Tow series like the Shasta Airflyte and Airstream Bambi no doubt encouraged them to make a new series of Caravans without any towing vehicle called Hitched Homes. Greenlight make Caravans in 1:24 but make more in 1:64 scale. Sadly there appears to be no prospect that they will be made in 1:43 scale too. In this article we look at the three caravans on the top row in the Hitched Homes publicity illustration above. All of which are new castings not seen in the Hitch and Tow range so far.

1958 Catolac DeVille Travel Trailer

British Caravaners in the 1950s would have been shocked by the bright colours of this caravan.  UK Caravans were generally painted in subdued colour schemes and awning would have been of green or brown canvas and not like an awning at an Ice Cream parlour.

DeVille trailers were manufactured by Catolac Corporation of California. and they made trailers from 1927 to 1970. The company slogan was “It’s not how many you make, But how well you make them” – That’s the Catolac way”.

 

The model reproduced by Greenlight is was a compact trailer, for the US, with all the usual features though it had no toilet fitted. The woodwork in the interior was of very good quality, birch panelling  whilst the outside was  made from 1 inch thick Mesa Deluxe sheets.

Whilst the windows are all painted on and whilst there is no interior the caravan does have an awning that clips into the main body and a blind for the front window to protect it when travelling and from the sun.  The usual screw is supplied to fit to the front of the trailer to allow it to stand or to be lifted for towing. These are now supplied as a separate part to fit yourself and great care needs to be taken when opening pack as they are  prone to dropping out.


1959 Siesta Travel Trailer

 

No awning supplied with this one and it looks a little plainer with only the red detailing and the fact it has a large fridge in it making it look different to European caravans of a similar age. No fold down flap to cover the front window on this one.

 

Sadly I cannot find any history of the makers of this caravan but from the number of pictures of renovations it must have been a popular one in its day.

1964 Winnebago 216 Travel Trailer

The name Winnebago to the British mind is synonymous with the huge RV vehicles the size of a British Luxury Coach but the company was only formed in 1959 and the first self powered RV was not launched until 1966.

Winnebago is the name of a native American tribe, and Forest City where Winnebago started is in Winnebago County, Iowa. John K Hanson a local funeral home manager liked camping and managed to convince Californian supplier Modernistic Industries, to open a manufacturing facility near the banks of the Winnebago River.  Unfortunately things didn’t prosper and in 1959 when Modernistic’s prospects were slim a group of local businessmen, led by Hanson, bought out the operation. He changed the company name to Winnebago Industries in 1960 and established the manufacture of dedicated components right down to furniture designed and built especially for the trailers. One Winnebago innovation was the “Thermo-Panel,” with insulating foam between an aluminum exterior sheet and inner paneling. It kept weight down and made the vehicle more like a home away from home.

The Greenlight model has the “W” logo nicely printed to the side, rear and front. Again the windows are printed black and there is no interior. The movable blind at the front was apparently an extra cost optional extra.


The remaining caravans in this release include a current Winnebago trailer which is new casting and one that will appeal to collectors of more modern US vehicles. The Shasta Airflyte that has already been seen in several colours in the Hitch and Tow series and the Airstream Bambi has also been seen in that series several times previously. Though the Bambi in the series does come with a new awning not seen before.

Greenlight are to be congratulated on these models which though basic in some ways do look good when hitched to a period US car.


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Atlas Dinky Trucks – 25JJ Ford Calberson

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The latest Atlas Dinky Truck series model to be sent to me is French Dinky 25JJ Ford Poissy in Calberson livery.  Dinky France made extensive use of this cab. originally as a flatbed with or without end boards, then as a truck, a tanker, a high sided truck, a tipper, a dustcart and a tow truck before making the covered truck with a liveried tilt in Calberson, Grand Moulins De Paris and SNCF liveries. The final version was as a Nestlé milk lorry fitted with churns like the Studebaker already seen in the Atlas series.

Calberson are now part of the major French logistics company Geodis Calberson.   They first started road haulage work in 1921 and by the end of the 1940s Calberson was set on expansion buying up smaller hauliers to grow the business. So in the early 1950s more and more vehicles would have been seen on French roads in the distinctive yellow with red grille and wheels.

25JJ was introduced in 1949 and deleted in 1952. Despite the short run multiple variations exist as the decals were changed several times. Dinky also made an articulated truck in Calberson Livery based upon the Panhard lorry.

Ford opened their Poissy plant in 1940 only for it to be taken over after the German invasion and for its output to be dedicated to the German war machine managed from Ford’s Cologne works. After liberation its output was then switched to supporting the Allies across Europe. Production of the 5 ton Ford F698W nicknamed “Poissy” started in 1946 . It was a development of the Matford  F917WS  trucks produced during the war.

The Atlas model has been nicely produced replicating the original well with an early version of the Calberson livery showing the outline of France with a train and lorry superimposed. The later liveries replace France with a globe with aircraft and ship images superimposed reflecting Calbersons livery changes as the company grew and became an international as well as a national carrier. The yellow paintwork with red contrasted grille and wheels has been well replicated and even the cast in tow hook is there at the rear.


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A Bond car with a difference

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author. The real cars are to be seen at the Bubble Car Museum in Lincolnshire.

The Bond three-wheeler is a long way from James Bond’s style of transport! Designed by Laurie Bond and built by Sharps Commercials Bond three-wheelers were made between 1949 and 1966. They grew in the climate of post war austerity and were intended to be more civilised than a motor bike and sidecar and cheaper to buy and than a full size car. By the end of production they were fitted with an 875cc Hillman Husky engine and were said to be frighteningly fast. In the early days a small Villiers motor cycle engine mounted on a swivelling front suspension unit powered the car via a chain drive.

The lightweight three wheeler was encouraged in the UK by the fact that if it had no reverse gear fitted it could be drive on a motorcycle licence and as it was taxed as a motorcycle combination it was a lot cheaper to tax than a car.

The kit that this post is looking at is by Tober Models which is sold by Kingfisher Models. It is a white metal kit made to 1:43 scale of a Bond Type D from 1958 and is listed as still available in their 2017 catalogue along with some other three-wheelers from BSA, Reliant, Messerschmidt and James. It is a simple kit which allows it to be displayed hood up or hood down.

The 1958 Type D was sold in four versions: the two/three seater Standard Tourer and Deluxe Tourer and the four seat (two adult front seats and two child-size inward facing hammock-style seats) Standard Family Safety and Deluxe Family Safety. The model is of the basic Standard Tourer. For the Type D  Villiers had upgraded the 197cc engine with a new four plate clutch and a heavier final drive chain with a higher top-gear ratio. This gave a cruising speed of around 45 mph and a top speed of 51 mph. 12 volt electrics were introduced allowing more powerful headlights with separate side-lights within the headlamp units. The standard model had to be manually started but the deluxe had a useful Dynastart as well as front wing chrome strips.

Although a simple kit the Bond is captured well and the utilitarian nature of the kit is in keeping with the original!

Although three-wheelers were a common sight on the UK roads there have not been any models from industrial manufacturers. Corgi‘s made a contemporary Bond Bug and a Reliant TW9 Commercial. Lledo/Corgi and others made a Reliant Supervan to allow a TV related Del-Boy “Trotters Traders”  version as seen in the popular UK TV programme “Fools and Horses“,  A series of all models of the Bond was sold by Rod Ward all now long sold out. A Reliant Regal Saloon was also made in his Bijou transkit range, again all long sold, to allow a Lledo Van to be made into a 3/75 Saloon. Jodie Models/Illustra made a rather clumsy Reliant Robin. In 1:76 Parker Models do the Reliant Supervan and Regal saloon, and Autosculpt do some solid Bond three-wheelers in varying small scales.

Three-wheelers were an important part of the UK motoring scene for two decades and it is a shame that models are scarce. One reason is perhaps because they held little international appeal which limits sales potential.


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The Ford in Miniature – Ford of Brazil

By David Turner

 

First of all, lets make it clear that my knowledge of this subject is at best sketchy, in fact the project has been started in the hope that feedback will correct/fill some of the many mistakes/gaps revealed.

Fords were imported into Brazil from 1904, then from 1919 Model T’s were made from imported kits. Manufacture proper came in 1957 with the F600 and subsequently F100 and F350 trucks. Ford took over Willys in 1967 continuing their Aero sedan that dated back to 1954 followed in 1967 by the Galaxie – employing the 1966 US body until 1983. The 1970 US Maverick was made in Brazil from 1974-79 while the Escort was made from 1983. Ford merged with VW in Brazil from 1987-94 which got them both through a difficult period in that part of the world and today the Ford line in Brazil contains various familiar worldwide models made either locally or in various overseas plants.

Simca in Brazil began in 1958 by assembling imported kits of parts, including those for the one time French Ford Vedette. In Brazil the Chambord name was continued, while from 1961 the upmarket Presidence with Continental spare wheel and ‘sporty’ Rallye were added. In 1962 the Jangada estate derived from the French Marly brake arrived and the old Ford side-valve V8 continued in these cars until 1966. Chrysler had taken a share of Simca in France in 1958 and total control in 1966 – a Ford component was then obviously not politically correct.

Searching for representative miniatures of vehicles made in Brazil that carried a Ford badge has proved interesting but frustrating. For example the Aero sedan that Ford inherited from Willys has been produced as a 1954 promo, obviously for Willys, and then finding models of the 1950s trucks has been almost a failure. The 1957 F600 proved impossible, the only ’57 truck models recorded were the F100 pick ups from Buby appropriately in Argentina. The closest found in the cabinets was extremely vague in the shape of a small Hallmark Cards Christmas Tree ornament from Tonka that very loosely resembled a ’57 Ford T Series (tandem axle). with a cement drum. A ’58 was no easier, a Japanese made tinplate toy tipper distributed by Arkin in Detroit could be regarded as a ’58 while we got reasonably close with a 1959 F250 from Road Signature.

Next, let’s re-run some of the various mentions of the subject that have already taken place in MAR, notably and more recently by John-William Greenbaum who obviously has a good all round grasp of the South American motoring scene.

Many Ford products that have emanated from South America will have been very similar or identical to a US subject albeit often a few years later, and they will have been, or will be, included in that particular small Ford review in addition to being included in the following.

Back in MAR 226 Graeme Ogg pictured a Brazillian bodied Galaxie Landau in 1:43 by Automodelli and this differed from the US version in a few subtle details while a much bigger subject, albeit in 1:50 scale was the D800 Fittipaldi F1 Team Transporter also from Automodelli in MAR 253. This looks very like the D Series that we are familiar with in the UK and came in three versions.

Coming to the first of John-William Greenbaum’s Brazilian entries, in MAR 277 we have the ’67 Galaxie 500 with its distinctively different grille from Ixo for Altaya/DeAgostini and a Simca Chambord from the same source and that looks just like the French home market issue. This partwork is said to have run to over 100 issues, very few of which were Fords.

A significant family of blue oval badged cars in Brazil began in 1967 when Ford Brazil bought Willys-Overland who were producing Renault designed cars for that market. A new car, the Corcel was based on the yet to appear new version of the Renault 12. Initially a 4 door saloon was made and then was joined in 1969 by 2 door coupe with subtle ‘pony-car’ looks, (Corcel is Portuguese for Stallion) Three door station wagons followed a year later called Berlina. For 1975 a facelifted version featured one-piece rather than separate circular tail lights and other subtle changes.

The Corcel 11 appeared for 1978 and a corresponding second generation Berlina was included while a new addition was the Del Rey in 1981 and that featured a slightly more formal upright character. with more than a hint of MK11 Granada in its lines. Just a year later the Pampa arrived and this, still based on the Corcel 11 was a Coupe Utility or ‘Ute even, but basically a pick up.

In MAR 277 the Ixo Corcel illustrated is the pre-facelift 1970 version while other Fords in the series that are shown include a 1980 Belina 11; 1982 Del Rey Ouro (Gold); 1979 F100 pick up looking like the 1970 US item and 1975 Maverick GT Coupe that also has its origins back in the 1970 US version. The review continued in MAR 280 in which the Ixo 1980 Corcel 11 was illustrated along with the 1990 Escort XR3, the latter exhibiting a few of the US versions features.

Moving on to MAR 282 in which the 1989 Pampa was illustrated as was the 1980 F75 pick up. The latter was simply a re-named Willys Pick Up that in 1972 took over from the discontinued Ford Rural, and that in turn had been a continuation of the Willys Rural when Ford took over from Willys in 1967. Yet another curiosity in that issue was the 1962 Simca Jangada which was an amalgam of the two generations of the French Simca Marly station wagon, itself descended from the Ford Vedette when Simca bought Ford France! Still in MAR 282, we can see the 1980 Ford Jeep CJ-5 that the partwork listed as a 1963 Willys Jeep CJ-5. Most of the last lot can also seen in the November 2015 archive.

Finding any of the above partwork subjects in the UK is quite unlikely, however as is the way lately, models sometimes re-appear under different labels. For example Ixo themselves have issued some of these under their own label while some others have been found under the Triple Nine and White Box names and at the same time some have Premium X, an Ixo brand, on their base.

While the Ixo based subjects are invariably 1:43, a few models in various scales of the same subjects appear to be more intended as toys to be played with as they feature opening doors (in the old lower half only style) and pull-back motors. Some came with Portuguese language booklets entitled “Carros Nacionais 2” with pictures of the twelve models in that series. The only Fords being the Del Rey and Belina 11.

Recently included in the MAR online Ford 1941/2 feature, the Minimac was produced in Brazil and depicts the civilian version of the CJ5 Jeep that was made locally by Ford from 1967 to 1983.

Model listing – Fords from Brazil
Automodelli Brazil 1976 Galaxie LTD Landau 1:43 handbuilt
Automodelli Brazil D800 Copersucar F1 Transporter 1:50 handbuilt
Ixo China 25 1967 Galaxie 500 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 10 1959 Simca Chambord 113mm 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 21 1969 Corcel 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 31 1980 Belina 11 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 16 1982 Del Rey Ouro 104mm 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 11 1979 F100 Pick up 114mm 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 1975 Maverick GT 106mm 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 49 1980 Corcel 11 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 53 1990 Escort XR 3 94mm 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 63 1989 Pampa 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 66 1980 F75 pick up 114mm 1:43 plastic
Ixo China 67 1962 Simca Jangada 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 68 1980 Jeep CJ-5 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 82 1971 Corcel GT 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 88 1962 Simca Rallye 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 94 1996 Fiesta 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 101 1977 Maverick Super Luxe 1:43 diecast
Ixo China 104 2000 F250 1:43 diecast
Carros Nacionals 1975 Corcel 114mm 1:39 diecast
Carros Nacionals 1980 Belina 11 114mm 1:39 diecast
Carros Nacionals 1982 Del Rey 116mm 1:39 diecast
Carros Nacionals 1979 F100 Pick up 108mm 1:45 diecast
Carros Nacionals 1975 Maverick GT 114mm 1:40 diecast
Minimac Brazil 1967 Jeep CJ5 76mm 1:43 metal
Tonka 1957 T600 Cement truck 80mm 1:83 diecast
Arkin Japan 1958 F series dump 199mm 1:25 tinplate
Road Signature China 1959 F250 4 x 4 pick up 289mm 1:18 diecast
Illustrations: Fords from Brazil

Arkin Distributing Co. 1:25 tinplate from Japan: 1958 F series dump. Lever at the side operates the tipping body, Flywheel motor on front axle.

Road Signature 1:18 diecast from China: 92318, 1959 F250 4×4 pick up, opening doors, hood and tailgate plus plenty of detail inside and underneath.

Tonka 1:83 diecast Christmas tree ornament: 1957 T Series cement truck, issued by Hallmark 2002, operating discharge chute at rear.

Triple Nine 1:43 plastic from China: 43050, 1980 F75 pick up, this was the Willys Pick up until 1972. Carries the Premium X logo on the base but came in a Triple Nine box.

Carros Nacionals 1:39 diecast: 1980 Belina 11, opening doors, pull-back motor on rear axle.

Premium X 1:43 diecast from China: 238, 1982 Del Rey Ouro, one example that was available generally under the Premium X name as well as in Brazil.

Carros Nacionals 1:39 diecast: 1975 Corcel, face lift version with one-piece tail lights, opening doors, pull-back motor on rear axle.

White Box 1:43 diecast from China: 096, 1990 Escort Mk1V XR3 another example available around the world but in this case on the White box label.

Carros Nacionals 1:45 diecast: 1979 F100 pick up, this is the 1970 US item, opening doors, pull-back motor on rear axle.

Premium X 1:43 diecast from China: 393 1980 F100 pick up, this is the 1970 US issue, has the same licence plate as the Brazilian partwork issue.

Carros Nacionals 1:39 diecast: 1982 Del Rey, opening doors, pull-back motor on rear axle.

Ixo 1:43 diecast: 1959 Simca Chambord, this one came in an Ixo box.

Carros Nacionals 1:40 diecast: 1975 Maverick GT, this is the 1970 US car, opening doors, pull-back motor on rear axle.

Premium X 1:43 diecast from China: 148, 1975 Maverick GT, this is the 1970 US issue.

Minimac 1:43 metal from Brazil: A-1, 1967 Jeep CJ5 made by Ford Brazil.


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Replica Märklins spotted

By Robin Godwin, Hans-Georg Schmitt, and Maz Woolley

Others copyright to all images shown recognised.

Every now and again items show up on eBay that surprise us. So it is with these replica Märklin models spotted recently on eBay by Robin Godwin. He spotted two models on offer: a Ford Capri and an Opel Manta A as shown in the photographs below.

Märklin 18103-02 Ford Capri

This is claimed to be 1:43 and appears to be available in Grey and Sapphire Blue on eBay currently


Märklin 18103-01 Opel Manta A

This can be seen on eBay in yellow and red on eBay


The Märklin brand is now owned by Schuco-Dickie and Hans-Georg was aware of Schuco-Dickie’s plans to  issue a model of the obsolete Krupp forward control lorry with drawbar from the 8000 range, as shown below, using the original tools. However he has not heard of any plans to remake any cars.

After a bit more web searching it turned out that these replicas are not recent releases as we thought but were produced before Märklin were taken over by Schuco-Dickie. It appears that they were originally sold only in a “one-off” set of 12 models shown below from an old Märklin website image. The set comprised of four different castings each in three colours made using the original moulds and all packed in “period style” cardboard boxes to add to the nostalgic feel:

  • Audi 100 Coupe
  • BMW 2002
  • Ford Capri
  • Opel Manta A

So the models currently being sold on eBay are almost certainly from this set. Having found this out it was possible to find pictures of the Audi 100 and BMW 2002 from this series.

Märklin 18103-03 Audi 100 Coupe

The Audi shows that all the original working features like bonnet, doors and boot are all reproduced on these models.

Märklin 18103-04 BMW 2002

 

The BMW box shown above suggests that only four boxes were made, one for each casting, with each having the colour of the model within manually marked.


 

Hans-Georg has made a detailed comparison of the photographs of the Ford Capri against an original model from his collection and he confirms that the replica matches the original casting though the wheels, which are said to be plastic on the re-issues, are different.

So Schuco-Dickie are not issuing replicas of the Märklin models but there seem to be plenty being made available from the sets made some time ago. Since they seem to be so freely available on eBay it may be that some unsold stock has been found in storage recently. If you collect Märklin cars, or just one of the four cars in the series, now would seem to be a good time to get the replicas if you do not already have them.


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1966 Ford Galaxie LTD

By John Quilter

All photographs by, and copyright of the Author.

In 1965 Chevrolet launched a new top of the line four door car one notch above the traditional top of the line Impala. This was the Caprice which in 1965 was only available in a four door hardtop and usually came with a black vinyl top. Engines ranged from the standard 283 CID V8 all the way up to the newly launched 396 CID big block which had as an option the new GM Turbo Hydromatic three speed automatic. Interiors were quite plush with a sort of nylon cloths upholstery.

Not to be out done in 1965, Ford, launched a subseries of the top of the line Galaxie line known as the LTD. Unlike the Chevrolet  this was launched as both a two door hardtop and a four door hardtop. Engines ranged from the “small block” 289 CID V8 to the 352 CID to the 390 CID and ultimately a massive 428 CID unit. Transmissions were usually the three speed Cruise-O-Matic. Common power accessories were power steering and brakes and interior features were often air-conditioning, power windows, and seats. Vinyl tops were popular as well. The LTD and Caprice and the VIP at Plymouth were all marketing effort to entice buyers to abandon the “traditional” top of the line model for a newer even more plush version of the big three’s full sized cars. Ford even ran an ad touting the LTD’s silence in operation comparing it to a Mark X Jaguar!

This 1:43 scale model of the 1966 Galaxie 500 four door sedan was one of the part works series of Mexican cars. Billed as a 1967 it was in reality a 1966, at least in the USA. The conversion I did was to take this pillared sedan, remove the window frames, add a vinyl top and extend the sill moulding to the rear quarter panel as was fitted to the LTD. I picked a dark metallic green colour representative of the mid 60s colours and added a black vinyl top. By repainting the model I was able to overcome the model’s error in that the front and rear scuttle are moulded in the white top colour when they should match the body colour.

To add white wall tyres which would have come on virtually all LTD cars, I made them up using a ring of thin wire painted white and glued to the tire. Attempting a white wall this thin with decals or my previous method of cutting them from adhesive backed white shelf paper is not possible when one wants a white wall as thin as was used in the mid-60s onwards. (note to whitewall tire decal makers: thinner white walls would be a good expansion of the product line). Finally I added bare metal foil wheel lip mouldings and gave the grill a black wash. The F O R D letter badging on the trunk and hood had to be approximated with small dots of silver paint.

One of my model suppliers show a yet to be launched on pre-order, 1966 Galaxie two door hardtop in light blue which should make a good companion for the four door sedan and LTD pillar-less four door hardtop, see here.

Note: the last photo shows the Ixo (??) unmodified model with the incorrect, non-matching scuttle and rear panel and the black wall tires.


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Bubblecar Museum, Lincolnshire UK

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by the Author, and copyright of Author. 

This unusual museum is housed in modern Industrial buildings in rural Lincolnshire. It is situated in what was known as “bomber country” due to the large number of USAAF and RAF airbases which took advantage of the flat landscape during the Second World War. It is only a few miles away from RAF Coningsby where the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is based and which is also an excellent place to visit when in this part of the UK.

Although called a Bubble Car Museum it has a range of Microcars as well as Motorbikes and Scooters.

The museum is mainly located on the ground floor with a smaller second floor with yet more vehicles. On entry to the collection you go past the classic bubble cars with Messerschmidt, Heinkel, and Isetta all on display.  The collection also includes several Bonds and Berkeleys.

The cars are all a little crowded together but a great deal of effort has been made to show the cars with accessories and other period items.

Displays of models, toys, and household items help bring the era alive and perhaps help add enjoyment to the visit for those who are not quite as interested in the cars.

I was very pleased to see an example of the Frisky which was modelled by Spot On in the 1960s.

Two Bond Bugs as modelled by Corgi are on display as well.

There are lots of more modern French Microcars as they survive there due to licensing allowing them to be driven by the young without tests.

And even an unusual UK made Cursor Microcar which never caught on.

There are several examples of the Bamby made in the UK in the mid 80s.

There is an excellent display of Scooters including rare ones from Iso, Heinkel, Zundapp, and even Bond.

There are also some utilitarian three wheelers from New Map Solyto and Piaggio’s ubiquitous Ape 50 as well as the unique disabled vehicle build by AC and provided under the National Health Service here in the UK to disabled people until it was done away with as dangerous in 2003. Ironically, the motability electric Scooters that have replaced them don’t seem any safer when they venture onto the road.

My post only gives a brief appreciation of what is there as the museum has well over 50 vehicles with most on display.

I hope that my pictures will encourage you to visit the museum if you are in the area. Note that at present it is only open three days a week and shuts over the winter months so do check the web site before you visit.  It is staffed by knowledgeable and friendly staff and has an excellent small cafe with value for money food and even has a camp site for those who are touring.

Those who want to find out more about this museum should visit their web site here. 


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Hachette Italy – World Buses Part 6

By Fabrizio Panico

All photographs taken by, and copyright of, the Author.

This time we have one more British bus, a French one and an Italian one, all from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French collection “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo.

 

No. 16 (no. 16 also in the French collection) AEC Regal III by Harrington 1950 – The Associated Equipment Company, or AEC, built buses and lorries from 1912 until 1979, when it was taken over by Leyland and its name disappeared. Indeed its origins are connected to the LGOC (London General Omnibus Company) which started producing its own motor omnibuses in 1909, the X-type and then the famous B-type : in 1912 LGOC was taken over by the Underground Group of companies, and as part of the reorganisation a separate concern was set up for the bus manufacturing, named Associated Equipment Company. During the First World War its assembly lines methods helped in producing large numbers of lorries. Easily associated with London’s Routemaster, AEC gained a high reputation for quality and reliability, supplying commercial vehicles around the world. From 1929, all the names of lorries began with “M” (Majestic, Mammoth, and so on), and all those of buses began with “R” (Regent, Regal, and so on). The AEC Regent III was a double-decker bus chassis manufactured by AEC, usually fitted with AEC’s 9.6-litre diesel engine at the front, ‘Wilson‘ preselective gearbox and air-pressure operated brakes, and available with bodies from Park Royal, Metro Cammell Weymann and so on. From the Regent, indeed only a development of a 30s chassis, AEC developed a single-decker one, named Regal, for use in the suburbs and in the country. Thomas Harrington & Sons Ltd was a coachbuilder from 1897 until 1966, beginning with the construction of horse-drawn carriages, then specialising in commercial vehicles, buses and coaches, and after the First World War concentrating on luxury coaches plus some single-decker bus bodies and other general coachbuilding activity.

After the Second World War demand for new buses and coaches was somewhat pent-up and Harrington was able to build a satisfactory export trade, particularly to South America and British colonies. Production ceased in 1966 and spares, stock and goodwill were purchased by Plaxton. Following its introduction in 1935, the ‘dorsal fin’ (no aerodynamic function, in reality it housed the air ventilation system) was available on many different coaches and became a real trademark of Harrington.

The scale model, metal diecast body and plastic chassis, is the faithful reproduction of one of only two known survivors : run by the Bevan Brothers of Soudley Valley (Gloucestershire), it sports an elegant red and bordeaux livery. Registered KDD38, it is a Regal III type 9621A and it has a Harrington FC33F body, complete with the famous dorsal fin.

Very nice wheels with the AEC logo, and neat shades over the side windows too. The driver’s area is separated from the passenger seats, all being well reproduced.

Nice front grille with the AEC logo. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.


 

No. 17 (no. 2 in the French collection) Isobloc 648 DP 1955Joseph Besset, a coachbuilder in Annonay (Ardèche), was one of the many specialised in buses and coaches, but was unsatisfied by the truck chassis then available : he acquired in 1937 a license from the American Gar Wood based on the principle of a welded tubes structure, which was rigid enough to avoid the use of a separate chassis, and founded Isobloc in Lyon to become a full manufacturer . To avoid the conflict of interest which would arise if his coaches competed with coaches from chassis makers using his bodybuilding facilities bodywork was no longer built for others.

The prototype was a success and in the post-war period it was so popular it reached almost 20% of the registrations in its class. The rear overhung engine, a petrol from Ford, was thirsty, and it was quickly replaced by a Panhard diesel. But Besset no longer had the means to develop his business and Isobloc was taken over by Saca and then by Saviem.

From 1959 there were no more Isobloc buses. The 648 DP was the final evolution of the Isobloc coach, powered by a Panhard 6.8-litre diesel engine, and fitted with a five speed gearbox, and air brakes. It was liked by the drivers as it was a real Gran Turismo coach, with plexiglass roof windows and lots of chrome.

The scale model has a metal body and a plastic chassis with basic details. It is finished in a cream and brown livery. It has no destination plate, but the registration is from the La Manche (English Channel) department. The seats and the driver area are well modelled. At the rear the luggage ladder is modelled, as is the luggage area on the roof, where trunks and suitcases have been included. Lights and bumpers are separate items as is the exhaust system. The large area of windows have been well modelled capturing the Isobloc look well. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.


 

 

No. 18 (no. 62 in the French collection) Fiat 626 RNL 1948 – The Fiat 626 was a medium truck built to the specifications of the Italian army and air force for military operations prior to the Second World War. It was the first Fiat truck with the advanced cabin and it replaced the models 621 and 633. The 626 N (N for nafta, Italian for diesel fuel) was the initial civilian version, followed by the NL (Nafta Lungo, or diesel long) with a longer wheelbase and the NLM (Nafta Lungo Militare) for the army. Production finished in 1948, after 10,000 Fiat 626 had been built.

In addition to the standard ones, Fiat put into production one more chassis, the 626 RNL (Ribassato Nafta Lungo, lowered long diesel) for the bus version, which was very common even in the postwar period. The engine was a 5.7-litre diesel six, a bit under-powered with only 70 hp, but it had the advantage of being easy to maintain. The bus version was adopted by the Italian air force, and often it is called “Aeronautica Italiana” type. The structure is typically pre-war, with a wooden roof covered by a waterproof canvas. It was homologated for 27 seats, plus 32 if drawing a special trailer.

The scale model is the faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle, part of the Politi collection, very likely one of the largest in Italy (see www.collezionepoliti.it), more than 600 buses, lorries and cars, many of which may be hired.  The registration plate, from Udine, is the original one, but the 626 was first painted in the classic medium blue-dark blue livery, but is now painted red and dark red.

As usual the model has a plastic body and metal chassis. The chassis is good and is fitted with nicely rendered classic “Trilex” wheels. Correctly a different type on front and rear.  The interior is rather basic but that reflects the fact that the original vehicle was very basic. Many separate items are fitted like the front and rear lights, both bumpers and the rear spare wheel door. A ladder is provided to the rear to reach the luggage area on the roof, but no baggage is fitted.

A neat front grille complete with the period Fiat logo finishes the model well. Again there are no apparent differences to the French edition.


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Togi History – Part I

by Karl Schnelle

All photos by Koen Beekmann, unless otherwise noted.

NOTE: Six years ago, I ran into a fellow Togi collector online and joined a conversation with him about the history of this small Italian toy car manufacturer.  As an Alfa Romeo fanatic, I discovered Togi many years ago because they mostly make Alfas, in a strange 1:23 scale. The fellow collector, Koen Beekmann, had amassed many of them and gathered their history.  That was a while ago, and he has since then sold off all his collection. So I thought it was time to gather together in English the history he had pieced together.  Most of the story was posted on alfabb, planet diecast, and in his native tongue, Dutch, on modelautoforum.nl.

In the 1950’s, Alberto Lorenzini was an engineer at Alfa Romeo in Milan, Italy.  He also started to make a  streamlined toy race car of his own design.  The company name for his futuristic model car was called Trilor, which is very rare today.  The well-known Italian collector, Rampinisays Trilor started in 1954.    Koen did find a photo of it online. Note the smooth wheels with take-off hubs!  Rampini also shows one with smooth hubs in his pdf book.  Then in 1958 or so, Lorenzini changed the name to Togi and modified this racer to be a Corsar, #1 in the Togi lineup.  The new Corsar now had a side exhaust and restyled windows.  Early ones are seen without the window glass. The name is a contraction of  Tonino (his nickname) and Giocattoli (Italian for toys)! He setup the company in Bareggio, an area just west of Milan center.   At some point, he must have stopped working for Alfa because many models were designed and sold after #1.

A yellow Corsar is shown below. (Photo by the author.)

From a Togi poster, this photo shows Mr. Lorenzini in the back of the workshop , circa 1970.

At some point in the late 1960s or 70s, the Corsar was discontinued. The tooling must have been lost or discarded at some point because, when Togi was sold to new owners in the early 1990s, the Corsar tools were not found (along with the Giulia Berlina).  The parts were cast for Togi by an outside company.  More on this in Part II.

Here is the Corsar in an undated Togi catalog. Most  if not all Togis came as factory-built or as kits, as illustrated by the two box types below.

The #2 Turbo Special came out soon after the Corsar.  This was  a similar streamlined race car but had a more detailed casting.  Both early Togi’s had the smooth wheels from the Trilor, which were improved upon to represent wire wheels around 1960.  Both models had front suspension and steering though!  No scales were mentioned for these two fantasy cars.

The red Corsair is on the left and the silver Turbo Special on the right. A typical box is shown.

Here are the two Turbo Specials with both smooth and later wire wheels.

In addition to the newer wheel style, the front suspension/steering was also redesigned on both the Corsar and the Turbo Special. The curved arms on the right are the older style, shown on the Turbo below.

The red Turbo below has the older smooth wheels below. The glass was broken in this example.

Finally at some point, the Turbo was modified slightly to give it a ‘modern’ wrap-around windshield and separate rear bumpers!  A 3rd wheel style was also produced. (photo by the author)

And here is a rear view with the added bumpers!

The revised Turbo also came with a driver, just visible through the windshield (above and on the left below).

This is only the beginning of the Togi story.  In Part II, we will begin to see their 1:23 Alfa Romeos appear!  Stay tuned.


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Heng Long joins the battle

By Robin Godwin

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The 1:72 military model market is very crowded with the likes of Dragon, Hobby Master, Easy Model and Model Collect producing original models, and of course the multiple partworks (usually sourced from IXO/PCT) are still available. There are derivative ranges sourced from the partwork models as well, such as War Master (including those sold in Solido boxes) and others. Ten years ago I reviewed the military model market in MAR issues 209, 211 and 221. At that time, I commented that the market was somewhat saturated and even suggested that some manufacturers might not survive based on their plans at the time. At least one, Admiral, went away. Dragon had already moved away from a high metal content to all plastic in their range, and Hobby Master was doing the same.

In light of this, I was surprised to see a new entrant into the 1:72 military market from Heng Long of China. Heng Long Plastic Toys Co. Ltd  is well known for its radio control vehicles, which are marketed under their own name and possibly also produced for other clients. This appears to be a recent baby step into the 1:72 display model market, as it doesn’t yet appear on the website. Model number 8802 is an Abrams M1A2 tank in desert camouflage. I’m not sure if there is a model #8801 – a different tank or perhaps just a colour variation on the Abrams.

I bought this model from a Chinese eBay vendor who advertised it as “diecast” and with rolling wheels. A quick comparison of the photos showed it to be different from the partworks Abrams I have in my collection. It turns out that this is a 100% plastic model (consistent with the company name) and although the road wheels and idlers rotate, they tend to fall off when rotated. The rear drive wheels do not rotate. Tracks are separate vinyl. I can understand the vendor’s confusion, since it is a very heavy model, at least as heavy as any of the metal partwork equivalents in the same scale. At first touch, I thought it might be resin with perhaps a solid cast base. However, the photo of the disassembled tank shows the largest diecast metal slug I have ever seen on a model and this is the source of it’s “heft.”

All-in-all, it is a very well done model with fine cast parts (and accessories that I did not include in the photos). The turret rotates, and the barrel elevates. It compares quite well with the Dragon (an early model with metal hull) in both scale and detail. Just out of curiosity, I compared it to the Waltersons 1:72 scale radio control (sold by IMEX in the US) and it is a completely different model. So, I’m disappointed that this is a plastic model, but pleased that it is an original product to display alongside my other Abrams tanks. Apparently, although box details are all in English, it is still only available through Chinese vendors.

 

Nice lines and crisp casting feature on the 1:72 Heng Long M1A2 Abrams. Missing are the separate accessories – two guns and one antenna

Heng Long cast into plastic base

#Chassis with large zamac slug to add weight. Double road wheels rotate but are two separate pieces press fit and not glued. Rotating dislodges the outer wheels in some instances

Dragon M1A2 left, a gold standard for 1:72 scale armour. The Heng Long compares well on scale, accuracy, and price

More typical Heng Long product is this 1:70 scale (although HL does mostly larger scale vehicles) radio controlled Tiger Tank. This was sold with an identical model as duelling tanks in what appears to be a “Flashing Combat tank” series. Heng Long branding appears on the outer box and base of the model

Classy packaging implies there is a series of tanks

Tank comes mounted to a plastic plinth with clear plastic cover and includes a separate plastic “sign” identifying the tank (not shown)


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