Matrix October to December 2017

By Maz Woolley

Matrix have recently announced some new models. The release dates for these extend up to the end of the year. All the models of the prototypes shown will be made in resin to 1:43 scale in China for the Netherlands.

As has become usual these days for Matrix all the vehicles modelled are small volume coach built vehicles.

MX11502-051 Opel Admiral B LWB Miesen Ambulance beige 1970

Expected October

MX50102-061 Alfa Romeo 6C Berlinetta Sport Castagna grey 1939

Expected October

MX40406-031 Duesenberg SJ 533-2582 Town Car LWB Bohman & Schwartz black 1935

Expected November

MX41001-111 Jaguar MKII Country Estate black 1963

Expected November

MX41302-111 Mercedes-Benz 770 Cabriolet D (W07) 1938

No photograph available

Expected November

MX40406-041 Duesenberg SJ 544-2570 Bohman & Schwartz Convertible Sedan white 1936

Expected December

MX50402-031 Daimler Corsica Concept metallic bleu 1995

Expected December


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Atlas Dinky Toys – 543 Renault Floride

By Maz Woolley

Photographs by, and copyright of the Author.

The latest model sent to me by Atlas in the Dinky Toys series is another model originally released by Dinky France: 543 Renault Floride. Regular readers of MAR will have seen this model some time ago when the Author bought a copy from the Far East when it was released in the French Series from Atlas.

Atlas has chosen to reproduce the model in the rare white colour as it did in the French series. DINKYCOLLECT an expert on Dinky models says “The white Dinky Toys model was made specially to be given to some visitors of the Bobigny factory. A few were also sold through toy shops”.

The box shows the model in blue but no models in that colour are documented which is a shame as it looks good in that colour. Most of the models were in bronze, green, and gold metallic paint. All rather more interesting than the white chosen by Atlas however scarce the model is in this colour.

DINKYCOLLECT explains a little background to the car. “Designed by Ghia, the Floride like the Peugeot D3A van was not made by Renault. The body was pressed by Brissonaud et Lotz who also assembled the car. Today Brissonaud is part of Alstom and builds high speed trains and tram cars”.  The Floride was built in three variants a coupé, cabriolet and convertible, and Dinky chose to model the first. Later in the production the car was known as the Caravelle.

Based upon Dauphine, and later R8, mechanicals the Floride and Caravelle sold between 1958 and 1968.

As the Dinky Toys II collection has now started one wonders how long Atlas will prolong the original collection which now consists entirely of re-releases of French Dinkies in the same livery that they appeared in the French series.

As for the Floride, UK collectors will be more familiar with 222 Renault Floride from Corgi which models the same car but has an interior fitted.


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Hachette Italy – World Buses Part 7

By Fabrizio Panico

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Two more French buses and an interesting one from Hungary, all from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh by Ixo.

No. 19 (no. 32 in the French collection) Renault AGP Saharien 1937 – Renault is one of the oldest automobile manufacturer : established in 1899, already in 1903 began to manufacture its own engines and introduced in 1906 its first commercial truck. During the Great War they produced munitions, military aircraft engines and the revolutionary FT tank. A range of light/medium/heavy trucks named AGx was produced between 1937 and 1941, it included both conventional (AGC, AGT) and forward control (AGK, AGP, AGR) trucks. The AGP was a front engined, rear-wheel drive truck, with a 4-speed manual gearbox, assembled in Boulogne-Billancourt. The engine could be a 4-litre inline-four petrol unit or a 4.7-litre inline-four diesel (AGPD in this case), both with a 65 hp power output. In 1937, the Société Algérienne des Transports Tropicaux (SATT) commissioned a local coachbuilder to build a new AGP-based coach for its trans-Sahara passenger service to replace the heavier Renaults it was using before.

The van-like streamlined steel bodywork was insulated inside with cork, with a total length a little more of 7 metres. Usually it included seven seats for passengers in the front compartment, plus four more in the central one. At the rear there was space for goods and mail bags. More baggage could be stored in a compartment on the roof, covered by a simple tarpaulin, in this case they worked as a further insulator from the Sahara sun. Its could carry 400 litres of fuel, but on the desert trails it could need around 40 litres every 100 km. Each coach received its own number and name.

The scale model reproduces the SATT “Ligne du Hoggar” coach no. 64 “Guêpe” (Wasp) in its silver livery. The body is plastic, and the chassis is of diecast metal. Underneath, engine, rear axle and springs are all modelled in a basic manner, whilst the exhaust is an extra component like the front grille.

The two ladders needed to reach the luggage area on the roof are nicely modelled, as is the brown tarpaulin to cover the luggage area. There are no wipers, it never rains in the Sahara. On the sides of the vehicle the names of the main stops and the “Pullman” logo are printed. A correct registration plate is printed with the two letters code “AL” as Algeria was part of France until 1952.

There are no apparent differences to the French edition. This is quite a small vehicle, but is an interesting addition to the collection.


 

No. 20 (no. 12 in the French collection) SOMUA OP5-3 RATP 1955 – The origins of the French manufacturer Somua (Société d’Outillage Mécanique et d’Usinage d’Artillerie) date back to 1861, when Ethienne Bouhey started producing machine tools, very well regarded in France and abroad. Based in Saint-Ouen, a suburb of Paris, the company later was renamed Somua and during the Great War it became a subsidiary of Schneider-Creusot, already one of the companies providing buses to the Parisian STCRP. But between The Great War and the Second World War Renault became the exclusive supplier of Parisian buses, and Somua went back to producing trucks and military vehicles, like the S35 and S40 tanks. In 1946 the company presented the JL12, a truck equipped with a flex-fuel four cylinder engine under license from the Swedish Hesselman company. But the “Commission des plans de modernisation de l’automobile” (the famous “Plan Pons”) decided to merge Somua with Willème and Panhard to form a new company, the Union Française de l’Automobile (UFA).

Panhard directed UFA and only its engines could be used in trucks or buses, like the OP5. In the 50s, after leaving UFA, Somua suffered from a reduction in military orders and was forced to join Latil and the trucks division of Renault to counter Berliet : in 1955 LRS Saviem was born : Latil-Renault-Somua Société Anonyme de Véhicules Industriels et d’Equipments Mécaniques. Somua went on supplying the OP5 to the RATP for some more years, while Saviem was the brand for the new models.

The OP5 was the result of the project for a new generation of post-war Parisian buses, as requested by the CMP (Compagnie du Métropolitain, the future RATP): specifications required a closed body bus, with more comfort and a fixed place for the conductor. Somua produced the chassis and the engine/transmission unit, the bodies were assembled as a wooden frame covered with panels in Duralinox directly by the RATP for the first 100 “1950 Paris type” buses, while the 200 more “Banlieue type” buses were build as entirely metal structure in welded tubes by MGT (Million Guiet Tubauto). The diesel engine was in front of the chassis, with the batteries and fuel tank in the middle. But the presence of only two doors was an obstacle to the passengers movement and in 1955 the RATP ordered the new OP5-3, slightly longer than the OP5 to allow a third central door and with an all metal body by MGT. A very reliable bus, the OP5 modernised the Parisian fleet, slowly replacing the old open platform buses, and becoming a real Paris trademark.

The scale model of the OP5-3 is quite large, with a plastic body, a metal chassis and the classic green and cream livery. Underside details are sufficient, the exhaust is silver painted and there is a rear tow hitch. The destination plate reads “#56 – Pte de Clignancourt” and on both sides there are “Larousse” ads, while in the rear there is a “Chantelle” one, all very agreeable. Inside the seats are quite basic and there is the conductor’s place. The four-leaf doors are modelled well. Indeed it is a beautiful model. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.


 

No. 21 (no. 17 in the French collection) Ikarus type 66 1955 – In 1895, when Budapest was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Imre Uhri established a company focused on horse carriages. Later on it started producing bodies for buses, but the 1929 crisis forced its closure. In 1935 the company resumed production, building bodies for the MAVAG vehicles. After the Second World War it was nationalised and joined to Ikarus, an aircraft maker, and charged to build coaches and buses. These were widely used throughout the Comecon bloc, even in the Soviet Union. They were also exported to countries in Asia and Africa aligned with the Soviet Union.

Sales increased year-by-year and in 1971 over 100,000 buses were manufactured, and Ikarus was the largest bus builder in the Eastern Bloc. The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the loss of Comecon caused a collapse of orders. The company was privatised, and then sold to Irisbus which ceased vehicle production in 2003. An Hungarian entrepreneur re-started bus and trolleybus production in 2006, planning a second bus factory in the USA, while a third one is planned in Turkey.

The Ikarus 66 (and the 55, its Gran Turismo version) was a successful monocoque bus with a rear engine. This reduced noise levels, meant that no long drive shaft was needed, and maximized the interior space. The straight six diesel engine was a 145 HP Hungarian Csepel, at the start with a pneumatic clutch, but later on with a dry monodisc one. The presence of power steering was a plus and being a robust and powerful bus it was used in many countries. Over 16,700 Ikarus 55/66 were assembled, with over 8,500 going to  the DDR (German Democratic Republic), one of the most important trading partners for Ikarus.

The scale model has a plastic body and metal chassis, with a good level of detail. Many parts are added, like three rear view mirrors, the wipers, front and rear lights, front bumper, luggage rack and exhaust system. A correct registration plate for Dresden, the first letter “R” indicating the Dresden district, whilst on the sides there is the City’s Coat of Arms. Well reproduced interior features a well modelled drivers area complete with a nice dashboard. The cream livery is a bit dull but authentic. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice big model, very well executed.


 

The Fiat 418 AC/M Menarini 1975 (Trieste) which featured in  Part 5 of the Italian series has now been seen in the French collection as no. 68.


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Big Hand Crafted Four by Fours – Part Two

By Robert Gunn

Readers of MAR magazine will have been familiar with Robert’s contributions as an expert on pickup trucks. Since retirement he has been making a selection of 4×4 vehicles by hand which he will share with us over a series of articles. All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The Models

The models are hand made to 1:10 scale. Each is a unique creation and when finished is displayed on a modelled plinth in a clear cabinet. Here we look at the second of my models the Toyota Land Cruiser FJ25 from 1958.

How the models are made

All have a softwood chassis of pine or deal. Most body sides are tempered hardboard, as are the floors, but bonnet lids are metal – either aluminium or or nickel-silver sheet. Rounded corners are of timber beading, usually hardwood. Small details are made of anything which suits from my huge boxes of bits – parts of old pens, pieces of metal or plastic, nuts and bolts, tubes and so on. Sticks of solder are good to file into manifolds, carburetors and similar. Windscreen frames are either brass sheets and strips, or latterly in sheet polystyrene plastic.

Parts which I can’t make are brought-in, such as wheels, tyres, mirrors, lights, and badges.

Glues used vary from white PVA (Woodworking Glue) through super glue, Scotch glue and others. “JB Kwik” two pack epoxy is also very useful stuff – a combined glue and filler.

Part Two – Toyota Land Cruiser FJ25 1958

Like Rover in the UK Toyota were a company with a strong engineering heritage from power looms onwards. By the 1950s they too had seen the need for a sturdy utility vehicle with “go anywhere”  capabilities. Indeed they were asked to build some Jeeps for the US military during the Korean War. The Land Cruiser series were Toyota’s equivalent to the Land Rover built in various configurations to meet a multitude of requirements.

FJ 25 pedals and gear levers depicted in great detail.

Completed FJ25 model shown on a turntable diorama with Sarah the farm girl. The figure started life as Jennifer Lawrence as “Katniss” in the Hunger Games, re-clothed by the Author.

This is the basic body: tempered hardboard and sheet metal bonnet in nickel silver. The bonnet was very hard to make.

The windscreen frame: all made from brass.

Trial assembly painted with primer coat. As well as checking the fit of the parts test assembly helps keep up enthusiasm on a long and complex project.

Toyota rear bumper, bolted together just like the real (steel) one.

Toyota spare wheel carrier, pinned and screwed from solid brass.

Toyota seats – Imitation leather from a charity shop handbag stretched over wooden ‘cushions’ with frames made from coat hanger wire.

Dash and steering wheel of the Toyota. The glovebox opens on tiny hinges.

Frontal view of the completed Toyota.

Nearside view of the completed vehicle. 

Left hand side of the completed vehicle showing the 4×4 stance. 

Rear view of the completed Toyota. A specialist made me the ‘Toyota’ badges, and he did a fine job. Even getting the slightly greenish -cream enamel infill colour exactly right. Thanks, Gary!

Toyota bonnet badge was filed from two pieces of real silver bought as scrap pieces from a jeweller. Strip along the bonnet centre line is also made from silver. 

The Land Cruiser’s engine bay with detailed engine and ancillary parts.

The bonnet displayed opened.

I made a working, fully functioning screw-pillar jack for the Toyota. the Frame is bent from thick nickel silver bars and the rest is built of adds and ends. The jack can actually be used to lift the model!  

Sarah checking the radiator.

Loading animal feed. Showing the working drop down tailgate.


Future articles by Robert will cover the following vehicles: Datsun Patrol L-60 1965; and the Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition 2016.


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OXFORD MILITARY – Churchill Tank Mk III

By Robin Godwin

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The box reads “… not a toy. Collectors model not suitable for children under 14 years.” There is always a point of discussion between collectors with the addition of “toylike” features added to collectors’ scale models. For regular vehicles, this discussion usually involves opening features such as doors, bonnets and boots. I don’t consider these features toylike or gimmicks at all. If they are there on the real vehicle, then why not on accurate scale models? The argument that opening features ruin the lines of a vehicle with poor fit and large gaps is, unfortunately, sometimes true, and those manufacturers who don’t put the extra engineering effort into proper design/fit and actuation deserve criticism in the model press. In fact, perfection has been achieved by several manufacturers in 1:43 and even 1:50 scales (and is routine in the larger scale models, except in some of the cheaper ranges like the new Solido 1:18 scale VW Beetle with dog-leg door hinges) so it can be done.

With armoured, tracked vehicles the discussion usually centres on the tracks, their accuracy and whether or not they roll. Again, I prefer working features, so I really like my tank models with rolling tracks. Virtually all the partwork 1:72 tanks and their derivative ranges feature fixed rolling wheels and tracks. They are marketed as collectors’ items as well, and generally feature very accurate running gear, which is fine for display models. The Oxford Diecast Churchill in 1:76 scale, with working tracks, leaves me a bit flat, however. It is the method of execution that has been under-engineered for what is described as a collectors’ model. The effect is uncannily similar to the solution sought by Dinky Toys and Matchbox over 60 years ago – obviously dummy cast wheels which hide a roller system behind, giving a remarkably toy like appearance rather than a seriously modelled effort. If this is meant to be a display model, it doesn’t display as well as it should. Forces of Valor (Unimax) produced a much more accurate working system on their 1:72 Churchill Mk VII tank several years ago. The pictures below illustrate the differences (in reality, the differences between a Mk III and a Mk VII largely amounted to additional armour, and up-gunning). Surprising as well is that OD omitted separate plastic antennas and features a fixed non-elevating fragile plastic barrel. Although the plastic turret rotates, these obvious omissions would have enhanced display value.

A complaint I have had before with OD products is quality control. Only one of my tracks rolls freely, with the other jammed a bit by a bent mounting bracket for the return roller/idler wheel. Since the base is screwed on, I may remove it and attempt to straighten the bent metal bracket, but this may chip the paint.

On average, though, the model is a decent replica of a Mk III tank that fought at el Alamein in North Africa in 1942. It features a satisfying amount of metal in it’s construction with a subsequent hefty feel. To me, it sits a bit high compared to more accurate 1:72 scale models, and finish appears to be way too glossy. Although OD calls it a collectors’ model, it is very toy like in execution. Unless you collect all versions of Churchills, or specific campaign versions, or are locked into 1:76 scale (and need a tank for your Oxford Diamond T Tank Transporter model, also used in the African Desert), then I recommend acquiring one of the 1:72 scale partworks. They are more accurate and generally less expensive.

Illustrations

Zylmex earlier generation Churchill Mk VII, left, Oxford Diecast Mk III, middle, Forces of Valor (FoV) Mk VII, right. Note non-elevating barrel on OD

The Zylmex is obviously a toy with the incorrect number of road wheels, but actually a simpler and (likely) less expensive production method (plastic one piece wheel/axle arrangement running through slots in the chassis). Zylmex at least added antennae, and opened up an access panel in the front of the track guards (likely for cleaning and/or repair access). The OD does the same panel in tampo black

The FoV is way more accurate, but spoiled by toy standard requirements for the metal wire antennae. It has what appears to be a better “posture” than the OD

Another Mk VII, this time from the Combat Tanks partworks by PCT/Ixo. Non-rolling wheels/tracks, but a way better looking model at half the price.

Matchbox Centurion, left, showing similar engineering solution to rolling wheels/tracks from over 50 years ago – solid cast “fake” road wheels with rolling mechanism hidden behind

The OD solution to rolling tracks. Not counting drive and idler wheels, there are 11 metal axles with plastic sleeve rollers per side. This can’t be the least expensive option for manufacturing, nor is it the best looking effect. Note bent idler wheel bracket on left side of photo, which means my model does not roll. A QC issue

The FoV solution to rolling wheels/tracks. Two plastic friction fit pieces per “axle” fit into holes in suspension casting. A better engineering solution, and a much better looking model


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A look at the Neo Ford Zodiac III Estate Car

By Maz Woolley

Photographs by the Author.

This Neo was released some time ago but it is still on general sale. It is made to 1:43 scale in resin in China for Germany. The Ford Zodiac Mark III was the top model in Ford’s line up from 1962 to 1966. With many mechanical similarities to the Mark II it somehow seemed like a larger car with a more dominating appearance. Its designer Roy Brown was also responsible for the Edsel and the Ford Cortina. The estate cars were a conversion by Abbots of Farnham who had had a profitable relationship with Ford which came to an end later in the 1960s when Ford decided Estate cars sold in sufficient volume to build them themselves. The Zodiac was powered by the familiar straight six engine of 2.6 Litres which had been fitted to the Mark II before it.

The Neo model captures the size and shape of the Zodiac Estate well. Its profile being very good. The photoetch looks good at first sight but is a bit too shiny and is not always shaped to give a flush fit in the channels it fits in.

The front end with its twin headlights and large grille are well captured and the Zodiac badging correctly printed in gold.

The wing mirrors are perhaps a little large with overscale shafts but this is presumably to stop them becoming so fragile that they would be easily damaged.

The estate car was quite a handsome conversion of the saloon with a  roomy interior and huge luggage space. Many of these estate cars were destined to become police vehicles as they could carry lots of emergency equipment and still have a reasonable turn of speed for Motorway Patrols.

The rear view show that Neo has made a nice job of the rear lights, handles and other rear details. The twin rear exhausts are present and are for once not chromed which is excellent as few would have been in the Sixties.

 

All in all this is a nice model from Neo and a top of the line Zodiac saloon would be a nice companion.


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Neo Daimler DB18 Barker Special Sports

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by the Author.

The DB18 chassis was introduced in 1939 and lasted until 1953. Its 2.5 Litre straight six engine was shared with the Daimler Scout car which was built in considerable numbers during the war. Almost all DB18s were built after 1945 as production was halted as war was declared. Fitted with the characteristic pre-selector gearbox and fluid flywheel the cars were capable of reaching about 80mph which was respectable at that time.

The chassis  carried everything from formal six light saloons to low and sleek convertibles. Most formal bodies were built by Hooper and dropheads by Barker. The Neo model is of a Barker Special Sports of which about 600 were built post war. It is made in resin to 1:43 scale in China for Germany.

As can be seen in the photograph above the Daimler grille and lights with the typical Lucas details have been beautifully modelled. The wing top side lights are also very finely made and have lenses and are not just painted in.

The wheels are also very nicely finished with the body coloured rims and chrome hub cap with central area for the “D” badge in black.

The model has captured the flowing lines of the bodywork well, and has not missed the slight “nick” in the front wing behind the front wheel which is a feature of this car. The rear spats are well represented too.

At the back, the badging and Daimler logo are well printed and the lights neat with separate lenses.

The interior is well presented though the wood grain does seem to be a little larger than life. The side facing seat in the rear, which could be removed to allow a bigger luggage capacity, is modelled well. The steering wheel and printed instruments on the dash are all very nicely done.

Again another good model from Neo to complement the Daimler Majestic Major, Conquest, and Sovereign already in their range.


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Atlas/Oxford Dennis F106 Fire Appliance

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by the Author.

Oxford Diecast has made several Fire Appliances to 1:76 scale. These are diecast in China in their own factory. Some of these models have been produced under contract for Atlas Editions and sold in their Fire Service Vehicles subscription series. It should be noted that even the models sold by Atlas have Oxford on their bases.

The Dennis F106, as modelled here, was made between 1963 and 1968. Ninety-nine vehicles were built. The version modelled is the rear pump variant with white tips to the roof ladders and an escape ladder that can be removed, though not extended, as shown below. The London Fire Brigade crest is printed  on the side lockers on both sides and a lot of detail has been printed on including climbing slots and the water hose attachment points.

The Oxford model is excellent and also appears in their own range with a different registration and without the bell on the cab roof.

The escape ladder fits neatly onthe vehicle by two pins inserted into slots in the roof.

The modelling includes printing on the visibility panel in the front cab doors. Although the flashing lights on the roof are painted the translucent blue over silver paint is very effective.

The wheels too are good moulded replicas of the full size ones with the silver hub caps on the front wheels well detailed.

The front of the vehicle has an excellent grille, well printed lights and a finely printed Dennis badge. Inside the cab a basic interior is provided and the chassis underneath is a flat largely detail-less plate.


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Togi History – Part II

by Koen Beekmann and Karl Schnelle

In Part I of this series, we looked at the founding of Togi and its first 2 cars.   #1 Cursor and #2 Turbo Special were introduced around 1958.  NOTE: Koen Beekmann took all the photos unless otherwise noted.  He also did all the research which we are compiling here.

Here is a little more information on the Turbo Special. They are still made today and accompanied by a drawing in the box.  The current castings are diecast using zamac alloy, but the original ones were  aluminum or some other light-weight alloy. Two versions of the drawings are shown below with the different front steering mechanism. The curved arms are the earlier design on the left are Photoshopped from the original on the right.   To determine if the original design could easily fit into the newer drawing, Koen tried it (and it does)!

And here is the mold for the Turbo Special; it looks like the earlier casting before the wrap-around windshield and is from the original owner, Mr Lorenzini.


The rest of Part II will concentrate on the next two models that came out.

After the first two cars, Togi moved on to reproducing actual automobiles.  All were Alfa Romeos in 1:23 scale (except for a Lancia).  Perhaps to keep the cars in the same size range as the first two, Mr. Lorenzini  chose the unusual scale of 1:23.  In the late 1950’s, there weren’t any 1:24 or 1:25 scale cars, so why not 1:23?

Thus, the third model was a 1:23 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint. The development of this first Alfa model was delayed due to funding until 1959 or 60 and was finally on sale by 1962 (Rampini).  The earliest casting might not have Togi in the bottom and could in fact be a Trilor, Mr Lorenzini’s first company.  An Italian collector has one in his collection that he thinks is a Trilor (no name on the baseplate).   If this is the case, then Rampini could be mistaken and perhaps the first three cars were all made as Trilors first?   We may never know for sure…

Two generations of the #3 Giulietta Sprint are shown below.  The box calls it a Sprint Veloce (the higher horsepower version):

The first generation (in green on the left) has no interior, tight side windows, large wheels and metal headlights. The second generation (white) has interior, no side windows, silver lower side body trim, clear headlights, and smaller wheels with wheel nuts. Look and compare.  That beautiful box belongs to the old model.  Here is the green model again:

This first Alfa seems a little toy-like and rounder than it should be,  maybe that was the influence of their first two streamlined cars.  Here is a drawing included in the box of a later version:

The Giulietta Sprint was really not a very accurate model. Perhaps this was the best that Togi could do at the time.  The next Togi models will get better and better as they learned how to create more accurate model cars and still keep the toy characteristics (take-off wheels, suspension, and steering).  Togi was the abbreviation of Tonino GIocattoli  – Little Tony’s Toys –  after all!


According to Rampini, both the the 159 Formula One car and Giulietta SS  were introduced in 1962.  These two Alfa Romeos are beautiful model cars and a big improvement on the Sprint.  We will examine the 159 next.

The 159 ‘Alfetta’ raced in Formula One and a few other races during the 1951 season.  Coming out 11 years later did not matter, as this was an iconic race car.  However, Koen believes the #4 Togi 159 was developed earlier than 1962, sometime in 1959 or early 1960.  After the Corsar, the Turbo Special and the Giulietta Sprint, this was the fourth model from the Milanese manufacturer.

Simple spoke wheels were developed for this model, which were then carried over to the first two Togi’s.  Furthermore, it is still evident that it is just an old-style toy car: the design has been carried out very broadly, with some remarkable details such as operating steering wheel that moves the front wheels and working wing nuts on the wheels. The Togi, like the real 159, was only made in red, although the color differed over the years. The three 159’s below each have a different red color (and different wheels).

Like the other Togis, this Alfa was also available as a kit: nice for a model from the early 1960s but very simple as a kit!  What’s more fun than having a copy of the famous Fangio’s race car with racing numbers?  However, this model used fantasy race numbers, placed in the correct location on the body. The oldest versions are shown below:

The old 159 has never disappeared from the Togi range and is still being produced. Somewhere in the early 1970’s, the model was fitted with new open spoke wheels. These chrome wheels were still very simple and similar to the spoke wheels on Dinky’s at that time. In fact, the much nicer Revival race cars, from back then, still do not command the high prices that these Togi’s do now.  Here are closeups of the two older ones:

Apparently, Togi looked to see what low-cost improvements could be made to the 159.  A new perforated protective plate was added to the side exhaust pipes, but the metal exhaust was no longer chromed. The new spoke wheels were changed to black as well.  A unusual choice because the wheels of the real 159 were always silver.   Here is the newer version, bought in 1995 (photo by Karl):

Also, here is the original mold for the 159 from Mr Lorenzini; no reason for Togi to update that!

In 2011 or just before that, Togi announced a chrome 159, actually a nickel-plated model.    The prototype is shown below.

Several years later, it came to production and is listed on their website currently.  Three versions are shown: gold, ‘black’ nickel, and ‘white’ nickel.  This is a photo from Togi before it was released:

Many of the later Togi came with a plastic display case inside the outer box.  Similar to the Turbo Special,  a nice drawing was also included in the box, in case an enterprising kid wanted to take apart the 159 and hopefully put it back together:

Koen did an internet search and found at least five box types (not in any particular order):

  • nice red drawing of the 159 (original silver wheels)
  • color stripes on cardboard box (black wheel version)
  • yellow box with small window on the edge (silver or black wheels)
  • Styrofoam box with red/yellow sticker, inside is a clear plastic display box with brown base (black wheels)
  • Togi in white letters inside a red stripe on a sticker on a thin cardboard box (silver or black wheel versions)

Next time in Part III, we will continue the Togi story with the Giulietta SS.


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CMC Morris LD Van

By Maz Woolley

CMC plastic 1:76 model kits were only on the market for a relatively short time and were not widely seen even when in production. I have had their Morris J Van which I bought when the range was first sold which was an excellent model which made up reasonably easily for a multi-part kit.

I know that they also made a Morris LD and a Bedford CA and have kept my eyes open for them at toyfairs but have never seen any made or unmade until recently when I came across the LD. This was a bought from a toyfair made up and painted very poorly. I have taken it apart and over-sprayed it as I did not dare use paint stripper of any kind in case it attacked the plastic.

Like the Morris J, the CMC model is a fair representation of the real van though the paint coats needed to hide the original paintwork have rather smoothed out the sharper features.

All in all quite a nice model and unlike the Corgi Trackside to the correct 1:76 scale.

I shall keep looking for the Bedford CA and a better LD but it is a nice addition to my small scale range of commercials.


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