Atlas Germany Ambulance Collection – Part Six

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Here are two more issues in the Ambulance cars series. They are to 1:43 scale 1:43

Volkswagen Transporter T1b Krankenwagen – 7 495 112

The Volkswagen Transporter T1a was launched in 1959, series production started on 8th March 1950 with ten vehicles per day. The first “factory made” Ambulance left the assembly line on 13th December 1951. It was developed jointly by the Volkswagen Works, the German Ambulance Service and the German Red Cross.

For the 1960 model year the transporters received “wart-shaped” indicators, which were changed two years later into bull´s eye shapes. This followed the changes to the Beetle. So the miniature is a vehicle from 1962. The body is an accurate shape with good paint finish and several small components moulded separately and inserted.

Front doors are printed with “German Red Cross – Readiness Hage”,. The registration plates are from region of Aurich in the North-West of Germany. The baseplate shows no special detail, except the exhaust system.

 

Citroen C25 Ambulance Heuliez – 7 495 113

According to the motto “One for All”, the manufacturers Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Citroen, Peugeot and Talbot offered in 1982 a van on the same platform. Best known was the Fiat Ducato, the most versatile one the Citroen C25. The C25 was built from January 1982 up to August 1990.

Short after the launch of the C25, the coachwork company Heuliez developed an ambulance car on its base. The roomy van offered space for the comprehensive equipment for the medical emergency service. The miniature comes as vehicle of the SAMU, Service dÁide Medicale Urgente.

The original vehicle was based in Rouen, department 76 Seine-Maritime, in North-West of France. The miniature is accurately shaped, well painted and printed with a livery that is true to the original. Some small parts are inserted separately like lights, aerials, and door mirrors which adds to the accuracy of the model.   A number of parts was separate inserted. The baseplate has basic details.


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Jello and Chips- Part Two

By Robin Godwin

Except where otherwise acknowledged all pictures are by the Author.

In January 2018, I wrote an article on General Foods CanadaFamous Car Picture Wheels” and mentioned that there was a second series of coins produced perhaps a year or two later – “Famous Aircraft of the World.” This series must have been produced in 1962 or 1963, as the last entries in the series are the De Havilland Trident and John Glenn’s Friendship 7 Mercury Capsule, both from 1962 (Glenn was the first US Astronaut to orbit the earth in Feb 1962).

The main difference with the aircraft series is that they are organized by role rather than era. The photos clearly show the roles represented, with role exceptions being the first 25 coins, called “Pioneers” which includes a bit of Greek mythology, and the final 25, called “Others” which includes missiles, gyroplanes and hovercraft. There are only a few helicopters that appear in the “Transports” section, but I’m surprised they didn’t warrant their own section.

The booklet was compiled and written by James A. Hornick, a noted Canadian Aviation journalist at the time. Illustrations were done by Don Watt.

The back of the Aircraft coins includes the Hostess (Chips) brand name, which was missing from the Car wheels (see photo in my earlier article).

Image from the Web

So this is another great little bit of nostalgic collectability from the 60s. If you are interested in seeing more coins you can “Google” “famous aircraft of the world jello coins” and look for the Google images.

The full carousel of 200 airplane coins, colour coded by role/theme. Note “partially cloudy” blue sky colour

Detailed 76 page booklet with descriptions and specifications for each coin. There is also a section at the back explaining aerodynamics, with some expanded detail on aircraft structures and engines. Booklet and carousel were mail-order items from General Foods

Initial coin for each role as identified at top of coin

Who would have known back in 1962 or 1963 when the author was 12 that he would serve in the Canadian Air Force for his whole career, and among others, fly each type shown here. The Link Trainer was in use when I went through pilot selection in Toronto in 1973. I’d like to say that these coins provided inspiration for my later career, but they had been in storage and forgotten in my parents attic for years when I joined the Air Force.


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More Jerry Broz creations

By Jerry Broz

OSCAR THE TRACK CLEANER TRUCK.

Twinn-K‘s famous, highly demanded “Oscar the Track
Cleaner”, a special HO slot car difficult to keep in stock.

Over forty five years ago, the well-known HO slot car and
accessories manufacturer Maurice Winn of Twinn-K fame
introduced, through its division AJ’s National Raceways, a new,
different, purpose-built track cleaning vehicle in HO scale.
It was the first of many design projects from Broz Engineering,
a design and development service. To facilitate removal of
oxidation from the track rails, I combined an abrasive rail
cleaner beneath the front of the car with a wick saturated with
cleaning liquid extending from the rear of the car. This unique
combination cleaned the tracks and picked up any remaining dust and a small particles lying the track, thus keeping the HO track in
excellent condition. An attractive body with a driver and cleaning
liquid tank, designed to snap on/off the completed the track
cleaning truck. This very successful and popular “Oscar the
Track Cleaner” (Patent #3,789,768) led to Twinn-K’s
HO “Fun” Vehicles.

Both, the “Oscar the Track Cleaner” and the “HO Fun Vehicles” were manufactured in Hong-Kong with a metal chassis having the swing drop part carrying the motor and two part pick-up and guide pin assembly. The vehicles featured Mabuchi SM-02 motors with metal (Track Cleaner) or plastic (Fun Vehicles) worm gear sets to achieve a realistic, track service vehicle speed. For long lasting performance, all trucks were furnished with SILIKONE hard wearing tires made from a heat treated tear proof silicone and bonded to a precision, polished, and  threaded aluminum hubs. The front and back wheels were secured to the threaded front axle and threaded and knurled back axle with four 0-80 brass jamb nuts.

The Twinn-K “Fun” vehicles, aesthetically appealing and
marketed as AJ’s Race Savers, became popular
additions to HO race track layouts. The advanced body
style and implied functionality made them the latest accessory
for realistic HO racing. The three AJ’s Race Savers were:

AJ’s SPEEDWAY HOSPITAL AMBULANCE. A must for track
safety, finished in white with Red Cross markings and red body
stripe. The truck had a working emergency red light on top of
cab when in service. This vehicle was an attractive addition
to any HO race track.

AJ’s INDY WRECKER/TOW TRUCK. The HO scale tow truck
was able to hook-up any HO car on the track and haul the car
back to the pits.The model was finished in bright orange with
a working emergency red light on top of cab when in service.
This vehicle made for a realistic addition to any HO race track.

AJ’s CRASH TRUCK. This emergency fire truck is necessary
when crashes occur. It was finished in fire red and equipped
with working emergency red light on top of cab when in service
and two fire extinguishers. This vehicle provided a final touch
of realism for any HO race track.

A proposal, concept, drawing of the AJ’s RACE CAR HAULER
TRUCK . This proposed HO Race Car Hauler Truck was
supposed to be the last in the line of AJ’s Race Saver vehicles.
Unfortunately, this attractive truck which was capable of
hauling any of the Aurora, Tyco, Riggen, Bachmann, Faller,
etc., HO cars, was never produced.

In all, Twinn-K (AJ’s division) produced (as AJ’s Race Savers)
the following trucks:
OSCAR THE TRACK CLEANER – 2 yellow versions.
OSCAR THE TRACK CLEANER SPIRIT OF ’76 – 3 versions
red, white & blue.
SPEEDWAY HOSPITAL AMBULANCE – white.
INDY WRECKER/TOW TRUCK – orange.
CRASH TRUCK – red.

The last picture shows the originally carded “Oscar the Track
Cleaner” and the “Speedway Hospital” ambulance in the
special container. With the introduction of the Twinn-K “Fun
Vehicles”, all trucks, including the Oscar the Track Cleaner”,
were sold in attractive Dome Cube Container as the “AJ’s
Race Savers”, and included, inside the box, the detailed
instructions on how to operate and care for each car.

In the ’60s and ’70s, Twinn-K (the manufacturer of the
famous “Oscar the Track Cleaner”) was the largest
producers of the slot car and RC racing tires. Over the
years, Twinn-K made tires for HO, 1/32, and 1/24 slot racing
cars along with RC tires of all scales. Twinn-K was the first
to manufacture precise, ground tires, to be mounted and
glued on threaded aluminum wheels for HO slot cars. All
Twinn-K tires were quality products, superior to any other
HO tires at that time. Later in life, Maurice Winn, the owner
of Twinn-K, suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and, in 1991,
his children sold Twinn-K to an investment group. In 1993,
the company moved to Cleveland, Ohio. By early 1996,
Twinn-K was shut down completely and Maurice Winn
passed away in October 2011.

I first met Maurice when I designed the “Oscar the Track
Cleaner” in the late ’60s and then on several occasions
afterwards. He was easy going, a pleasure to work with,
and a very out-going individual. In fact, my family and I
stayed at his Indianapolis home when we went to the
Indy 500 in 1970. Maurice was a great man and a credit
to the slot racing car industry.


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London Trade Toyfair 2018 – Oxford Diecast

By Maz Woolley

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

This post continues the coverage of my visit to the London Toyfair, and in particular the visit to Oxford Diecast‘s stand where I met Eloise Davies the Chief Executive of Oxford Diecast. The volume of models on show in the cabinets showed just how big the Oxford range is now. Whilst most were castings we have seen before, often in new colours, some were pre-release test models which give a glimpse at what is to come.

1:18 Scale

Starting of with the largest scale Oxford showed its Heinkel Trojan in red as well as the longer running Messerschmidt in the background. Also on the stand were models from Welly that Oxford distributes.

Heinkel Trojan
1:43 Scale

Quite a models not yet generally released or in pre-production trial form here. The Jaguar Mark V hood up and hood down both look to be really good models rather better than the Ixo one seen in the Atlas Jaguar Collection at first sight.

Jaguar Mark Vs
Jaguar Mark V Drophead open
Jaguar Mark V Drophead closed

The shelves of 1:43 models of all ages and eras were very impressive.

Mark Vs with other 1:43 scale models

Pre-production test shots of the forthcoming Jowett Jupiter appeared with hood up and hood down. This model looks like it will be good too.

Jowett Jupiter
Jowett Jupiter open.

New colours on the Rolls-Royce models were on display as was the new colour on the MG Magnette.

A trio of Rolls-Royces in front of the MG Magnette

And finally a pre-production test of the AC Aceca. Shown the model close up it looks to be fine model using the inset glazing Oxford are now using more widely at this scale. It should compare favourably to the Norev casting of the same car.

1:76 Scale

This is the real heart of the Oxford output with a wide range of models available.

Starting with some construction models we start with the awaited early JCB shown below

Oxford Diecast JCB Major Loader MK1 Excavator

The JCB was backed up by more modern excavation units in increasing sizes. This includes the JCB JS220 Tracked Excavator and the large Stobart Rail Excavator at the rear.

A full range of diggers

Many of the military and emergency vehicles were also on display with this fine group of TACR2 6×4 Military vehicles catching the eye.

TACR2 Range Rovers

The fine range of Bristol coaches using the new plastic upper castings which allow for finer details and all skylights accurately presented.

Bristol MW6G Coaches

The military range has grown rapidly in 1:76 scale and here World War Two era models sit alongside vehicles that would have seen service in Northern Ireland or abroad in the 1970s and 80s.

Daimler Armoured cars, Monty’s HUmbers, and FC Land Rovers on show with Dorchester to rear.

More military vehicles including the tanks which have been gradually introduced into the range.

Bedfords, Land Rovers and Churchill tanks on parade

The new Commer Walk thru was shown including a preview of the London Fire Brigades and Scottish and Newcastle models which have not yet reached the shops.

Commer Walk Thru

A little Morris Minor Van in GPO livery looked lonely in the corner!

Morris Minor GPO Van

The recently announced double cab Transit early casting test was shown. This model will appear in Eddie Stobart and Network Rail liveries and demand for this should be high as there is a lot of interest already from 1;76 scale modellers.

Ford Transit Double cab

Another test casting for a forthcoming model is this Morris J4 casting destined to be seen first in Post Office livery.

Morris J4

The larger 1:76 scale models were not neglected with the colourful new green tiger livery on the car transporter shown here.

Scania Car Transporter

Oxford showed several of their sets. Here is the Military Land Rover set with a British Rail set to the rear

Land Rover Military Set

A test casting of the forthcoming Nissan Qashqai J11 was on show with even the roof rails captured as well as the complicated front light and grille array.

Nissan Qashqai J11

And we are finally due to see the three wheelers already seen in 1:18 scale start making it into 1:76. Below is a pre-production test of the BMW Isetta.

BMW Isetta

A really lovely small test casting for the forthcoming Heinkel Kabine in 1:76 was on show. This should be a lovely little model. It appears first in red but I am sure a range of other colours will turn up in release 2 of 2018.

Heinkel Kabine
1:148 Scale

These models are tiny so many can fit on the same shelf.

All the 1:148

And finally some of the aircraft were shown with the Supermarine Walrus looking particularly impressive.

Eloise was welcoming and seems to relish the challenge of developing the Oxford brands further. It is clear from our discussion that Lyndon Davies is still very involved with setting the direction for Oxford though clearly he has less time to be involved with operations than he did before he became CEO at Hornby.


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Dinky Toys and H. Hudson Dobson (1891-1975) – Part II

By Terry Hardgrave

Continued from Part I.

Timeline

Henry and Helen Dobson lived out their remaining years in Elizabeth, New Jersey, with Helen passing away in September, 1967, followed by Henry Dobson in September 1975, and thus the end of a long era. Henry Hudson Dobson’s long association with Meccano stretched for nearly 47 years. I also noted that on one of the U.S. Census forms, it asked when he immigrated to the U.S. He answered in 1913…..the same year that Meccano set up an office in the U.S. So here is my overall assumption and summary of his career with Meccano Ltd.:

1913 He is hired by Meccano Ltd. on the pretense of agreeing to immigrate to the U.S. to open up and run an import office, which will be located in New York City. He apparently lives in New York until around 1921, when he relocates, with his family, to Elizabeth, New Jersey.

1917 Henry Dobson enlists in the Royal Flying Corps, in Toronto, Canada, on October 2, 1917

1918 Henry Dobson is discharged from the Royal Flying Corps, to accept a temporary commission in the Royal Air Force, on May 22, 1918. No other information, but WWI is over on November 11, 1918, so would assume he left the service around that time.

1922 Meccano Ltd. has decided to open up an manufacturing facility in the United States for the purpose of fabricating Meccano Construction sets, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Why New Jersey we do not know, as their office was in New York. By then, Henry is married and has started his family, and he has already moved to New Jersey and is involved in the operation there.

1928 Meccano Ltd. made a decision to sell or transfer the U.S. rights to the Meccano sets to the A.C. Gilbert Company, and abandons making the product in the U.S. Henry Dobson has a family to support, so shortly after finds employment as President of the Fleuron Pottery company, in North Tonawanda, New York. It is possible that he is still representing Meccano Ltd. in some lesser capacity.

1931 Henry Dobson applies for Naturalization, in New York, in 1931.

1933 Henry Dobson and his family leave North Tonawanda, New York, and return to Elizabeth, New Jersey, presumably to return working fulltime for Meccano Ltd., who are ready to introduce a new line of toys (Modelled Miniatures, and shortly later, Dinky Toys)

1935 Meccano Ltd. introduces Dinky Toys and they already have an office in New York City, called the Meccano Company of America, Inc. At least by 1933, H. Hudson Dobson has been back working for them, in the office in New York City, which is now importing the new toy lines. In 1937 he sails once again to England to meet with Meccano staff.

1938 or earlier. A decision has been made for Henry Dobson to form the H. Hudson Dobson Company, for the express purpose of being the sole U.S. distributor for Meccano Ltd. and Dinky Toys. It is not clear if Henry Dobson financed this venture himself, or if Meccano Ltd. owned a piece of it. Having a separate import agent will likely allow Meccano a wider distribution of Dinky Toys throughout the U.S. and also with someone who understand the retail marketing there. At some point in time, I am guessing after WWII, H. Hudson Dobson became a corporation.

1941-1945 During these war years, Meccano Ltd., and virtually all other toy manufacturers cease production, and instead, help with producing items vital for the war effort. There will be few toys to even sell. We have no idea what H. Hudson Dobson does during this time frame, or what his ongoing relationship with Meccano Ltd. consisted of.

1938 (or earlier)-1950 H. Hudson Dobson, Inc., is located in New York, New York.

1951-1952 H. Hudson Dobson, Inc., is located in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

1953-1960 H. Hudson Dobson, Inc. is located in Kenilworth, New Jersey.

1946-1959 The post war years were generally very good ones for Meccano Ltd. and H. Hudson Dobson, with sales particularly very good in the mid-1950’s. But by 1959, the market has changed considerably, with increased competition from many other toy manufacturers and Meccano is increasingly unable to adapt, and their market share and profit drops dramatically. Some toy stores in the U.S. are not selling Dinky Toys any longer and selling off their existing stock. Henry Hudson Dobson is now 68 years old, and his Dinky Toys importing business has fallen off the last two years. He sails to Liverpool one last time in January, to discuss winding down his affairs with Meccano Ltd. This will be the last year he is listed on the U.S. catalog, and my last piece of correspondence with H. Hudson Dobson is dated May, 1960.

So it appears that sometime in the latter part of 1960 his business relationship with Meccano Ltd. ends, and H. Hudson Dobson, Inc. ceases to exist.

Some Final Thoughts

The big surprise to me, at least, is that apparently he worked for or had an association with Meccano Ltd. for well over twenty years before Dinky Toys were even introduced. He also made fourteen trips by ship and one by airplane, to England, during his lifetime. I do not think many people in the Dinky Toys community had any knowledge of these facts.

Very telling is that Henry Dobson does not make any trips from New York to Liverpool between 1926 and 1937. This is a strong indication that after the Meccano operation closed in New Jersey, he had at best a minimal position with Meccano, and had to augment his income by working elsewhere from 1928 until 1933.

In addition to researching Henry Dobson, I also decided to take another look at the founder of Meccano Ltd., Frank Hornby. In doing so, I was astounded to discover that he also made many sailing trips to New York, starting in 1912 with the last being in 1930. There was another trip scheduled for 1935, but was cancelled, I am sure due to ill health, as he died shortly after. In all, Frank Hornby made sixteen trips to New York, mostly by himself, with his wife on a few, and son Roland on only one.

In preparing this, I was able to track down a descendent of Henry Dobson, a grand nephew, living in the U.S. He and others of his age knew of Henry Dobson and had visited at his home in New Jersey as a child, but knew nothing of the business, other than he had imported Dinky Toys. Sadly, only the one picture of him remains. Henry’s oldest son, Henry Hudson Dobson Jr., appears to have worked in some capacity in his father’s company, from 1951-1960, and later moved to Texas, where he died in 1999. The younger son, James Dobson, was listed in a New Jersey directory in the 1950’s as a salesman for H. Hudson Dobson, Inc. He died in 1975, and did not appear to be much of a factor in the business. Sadly, none of Henry Dobson’s three children are living to help uncover more of this story.

Most of this, the timeline portion, is based on known facts, but what exactly happened and why is based on assumptions that make sense to me. It would be great if others have facts or information to either add to or refute what I have found. Other catalog references or pre-war boxes that can add information to this are most welcome. The Dinky Toys or Meccano archives in Liverpool would be wonderful to research to see if there is any mention of H. Hudson Dobson and his role with Meccano. For a man who spent most of his life associated with the company, there is precious little left to share.

Sources and Acknowledgments

Ancestry.com U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Provo, UT., USA. Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2005

Ancestry.com 1920 United States Federal Census. Provo, UT., USA. Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2012

Ancestry.com 1930 United States Federal Census. Provo, UT., USA. Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2012

Ancestry.com 1940 United States Federal Census. Provo, UT., USA. Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2012

Ancestry.com New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1960. Provo, UT., USA. Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2010

Ancestry.com 1911 England Census. Provo, UT., USA. Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2011

Ancestry.com U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. Provo, UT., USA. Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2011

Ancestry.com U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Provo, UT., USA. Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2011

usmecanno.com website titled “Meccano in the United States”

Dinky Toys catalogs and original H. Hudson Dobson correspondence from the personal collection of Terry Hardgrave

Fold3.com U.K., Royal Air Force Airmen Records 1918-1940

Fold3.com New York Western-Naturalization Index

Several newspaper clippings discovered on the internet, by Skip Johnson and myself, related to Henry Hudson Dobson……thanks for any and all contributions.


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Mikansue La Salle

By John Quilter

Photographs taken by, and copyright of, the Author.

A number of years ago Mikansue produced a range of white metal kits of American cars under their Americana label. I was recently able to obtain one of these on eBay and set about building it. La Salle was made for a number of years in the 1930s as a sort of entry level Cadillac. Their last year of production was 1940 and they produced two series in that year the Series 50 and 52. This model is of a four door sedan Series 52. They used a side valve V8 engine of somewhat lesser displacement than the same year Cadillacs.

This kit contains a body, base plate with bumpers, wheels, vacuform windows, and a seat insert and fascia. My example which was likely typical of these early white metal kit efforts was not a perfect casting and took a fair amount of finishing work to improve it for paint and assembly. These were sort of cottage industry kits so some modelling skills are needed to produce a nice end result. I also opted to make some changes now that really great photos are easily available of the actual cars on Google images. These were certainly not an option for the maker of the kit back in the early 1980s in distant England where viewing an actual La Salle was highly unlikely.

I relocated and re-scored the boot opening grooves, changed the location of the tail lamps, created a new fascia, and used some Brooklin whitewall tires instead of the hard plastic black wall tires that came in the kit. I also was able to obtain some parts from a 1939 La Salle such as the boot hinges, boot handle and badge and license plate, plus the bonnet ornament all of which enhanced the end result.

After much sanding and smoothing both outside and inside I primed the model and the sprayed it with a medium metallic blue colour which was close to a factory colour in that year. In fact when I was a small boy a neighbour had this exact four door sedan in this colour. The front grille is a bit off, being that it should be of equal width top to bottom but I saw no easy way to alter that. I added a robe cord to the back of the front seat and door and window interior handles although they are barely visible. I also upgraded the headlamps with small clear jewels and encircled them with chrome rings made from stainless wire. Getting the ride height correct took a bit of extra work as well.

I think the end result turned out well and this is a car that no other model maker produces to my knowledge, though Brooklin did produce a somewhat similar 1938 Cadillac 60 Special sedan and phaeton. From my collection I note that Mikansue’s Americana series also included a 1951 Henry J and a 1937 Cord Beverly sedan. I’m sure there were others as well.


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London Trade Toy Fair 2018 – Hornby Hobbies

By Maz Woolley

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

The changing nature of the toy trade means that the London trade toy show held in January is no longer as interesting to the modelling press. Hornby and Oxford Diecast both have stalls, and models from other firms may be seen at distributors stalls. I attended the event for the first time this year and although the stalls with model vehicles were limited there were some lovely toys for children and even an Irish firm showing new Architectural modelling sets which I thought would look nice as backdrops to models.

I create a series of photo essays of my day at the fair with a few early shots of models to come.

Hornby Hobbies

Hornby featured models from all their ranges at the show though the ones of interest to me were largely those sold as Corgis. Though it  should be noted that Airfix are launching snap together self coloured 1:32 vehicles which may be popular for some. The initial release plays it safe with a Volkswagen Beetle and a Volkswagen Transporter T1 Camper. The unusual feature of this new Quickbuild range is that it is manufactured in the UK!

Corgi had a small corner of the large display

The Paddington Bear branded merchandise was presented and will hopefully appeal to young collectors.

Vanguards

The new Vanguards releases are shown below “in the metal”. Although underwhelmed by the release when announced I have to admit that they look quite nice in the hand. I particularly like the 1800 in rally livery.

Talking with one of the Hornby staff they recognise that their inability to develop new moulds has really held back this range and they are hopeful that the big changes taking place mean that they will be able to develop things further.

Triumph Herald
Ford Zephyr III
Ford Escort Mark 2
Ford Granada Police Car
Ford Fiesta Mark One
1800 Rally Car
Rover SD1
Ford Escort 1
Triumph Stag
James Bond

Nothing really new here but these models sell well in the general market and make a big contribution to Corgi’s income.

Other Tie-ins

Thunderbirds and Captain scarlet still have a strong market appeal and Corgis models still sell well. They also make Thrust promotional models and and seasonal products as shown below

Although unable to fund new tractor units the Eddie Stobart related models are still widely sold.

And the tourists still buy the taxis, buses, and minis sold to the souvenir trade.

Corgi Aviation had a new casting at the end of last year: The English Electric Lightning as shown below. An impressively large model it would look much more spectacular in the polished metal finish it wore in some roles.

EE Lightning

A Dakota in the range makes an impressive display.

Dakota

The ME109 has been made in many guises by Corgi and this is the latest.

ME 109

Models from the First World War are still popular with the celebrations of the ending of the war later this year keeping the conflict in the spotlight.  This Fokker DR.1 Dreidecker is from the latest Catalogue.

Fokker DR.1 Dreidecker

Although Westland Helicopters are no longer trading models of their helicopters are still very popular and this is the recolour from the latest catalogue with its impressive folding rotor blades.

Westland Whirlwind HAR.1 XA868

For the 100 years of the RAF celebrations come some new versions of existing service aircraft like this  Panavia Tornado GR.4 ZA459/F

Panavia Tornado GR.4 ZA459/F

And this Eurofighter Typhoon T.3 ZK380

Eurofighter Typhoon T.3 ZK380

Another model from the latest catalogue shown was this Boeing Chinook HC.4 ZA683 of RAF No.27 Squadron.

Boeing Chinook HC.4 ZA683

More models re-liveried for the 100 years of the RAF are shown below starting with this Mosquito

D.H Mosquito B.IV, DK296 / GB-G

And this Hawker Hurricane

Hawker Hurricane Mk.I, V6799

None of the Original Omnibus models from the new catalogue were on show so their production is probably going to be later in the year than some of the other models.

The next photo report will look at Oxford Diecast.


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Oxford Diecast – Release One 2018

By Maz Woolley

 

Oxford Diecast announced their first release of 2018 to the press at the first day of the London Toy Fair. No photographs were released just design cells. Most of the models announced are re-colours on previously released castings but there are new castings across many ranges.  In 1:43 scale only one new casting appears, the AC Aceca. In 1:76 there are more new models like the Citroen H Van, a living wagon, a Scammel Highwayman tractor unit pulling a tanker, several Volkswagen Vans T1, T4, and T5 as well as a Land Rover Velar. In 1:!8 and 1:87 scale there are no new castings this time round. Finally in  1:148 scale there is a complicated new  Shelvoke & Drewry Freightlifter as well as a Green Godess.

Retail prices have crept up but the rises are still modest compared to many other companies recent increases.

1:18 Scale

18HE003 Heinkel Kabine Yellow

1:43 Scale

43ACE001 AC Aceca Vineyard Green
43AMDB2004 Aston Martin DB2 MkIII DHC Snow Shadow Grey
43AMDB9003 Aston Martin DB9 Coupe Cobalt Blue
43AMV003 Aston Martin Vanquish Coupe Quantum Silver
43ASV008CC Austin Seven Van Coca Cola
43EMP003 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud/Hooper Empress Black/Silver
43JAG5003 Jaguar MkV Closed Dark Blue/Tan
43JI009 Jensen Interceptor Mk1 Crystal Blue
43JM024 Morris J2 Van Skyways
43LAN188021 Land Rover Series I 88″ Hard Top RAF
43LRL005 Land Rover Lightweight Hard Top RAF
43R25003 Rolls Royce 25/30 – Thrupp & Maberley Black
43RRC003 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible MPW (Open) Georgian Silver
43RUB003 Austin Ruby Saloon Dark Green

Aircraft 1:72 Scale
72SW004 Supermarine Walrus Operation Torch -N. Africa 1942

Vehicles 1:76
76ATK004 Atkinson Borderer Low Loader NCB Mines Rescue
76AUS005 Austin 1300 Teal Blue
76BI004 Beadle Integral Southdown
76CA030 Bedford CA Ice Cream Hockings
76CAP008 Ford Capri Mk3 Signal Orange
76CFE007 Vauxhall Friary Estate Dusk Rose/Lilac Haze
76CHT004 Churchill Tank 6th Guards Brigade 1943
76CIT001 Citroen H Catering Van
76COM008CC Commer Commando Coca Cola
76CONT004 Container Samskip
76COR1009 Ford Cortina Mk1 Black Cherry
76COR2008 Ford Cortina Mk2 Ermine White/Sherwood Green
76COR3009 Ford Cortina MkIII Sunset
76CRE010 Vauxhall Cresta Moonlight Blue/Bermuda Blue
76CT007CC Citroen 2CV Coca Cola
76CWT004 Commer Walk Thru Scottish & Newcastle
76DAF004 DAF 85 Short Fridge Trailer Trevor Pye
76DEF015 Land Rover Defender LWB Hard Back RAC
76DIS005 Land Rover Discovery 4 Firenze Red
76DIS5002 Land Rover Discovery 5 HSE LUX
76DR005 Duple Roadmaster Ribble
76DSC006 Dingo Scout Car 5th RTR – 4th Arm.Brg -7thArm.Div. Libya 1942
76FCG005 Ford Cargo Box Van Parcelforce
76FDE010 Ford 400E Van Cargo Grey
76FT033 Ford Transit Mk5 AA
76FT1007 Ford Transit Mk1 Police Motorway Patrol (Gwent)
76FT1008 Ford Transit Mk1 Castrol
76HE002 Heinkel Kabine Spartan Red
76IR6004 Irizar i6 Galleon Travel
76IS002 BMW Isetta RAC
76J4002 BMC J4 Van British Rail
76JSS006 SS Jaguar Dark Blue
76LAN188023 Land Rover Series 1 88″ Canvas Marine Blue
76LAN2019 Land Rover Series II LWB Station Wagon Limestone
76LR2AS004 Hong Kong Police
76LR2S004 Land Rover Series II SWB Post Office Telephones (Yellow)
76LR2S005 Land Rover Series II SWB Hard Back Civil Defence
76LRFCA002 Land Rover FC Ambulance Nato Green
76LRFCG003 Land Rover FC GS
76LRFCS002 Land Rover FC Signals Nato Green
76LRL004 Land Rover Lightweight Berlin Scheme
76LW001 Living Wagon Maroon/Red
76MA006 Mercedes Ambulance East Midlands Ambulance Service
76MB008 Mercedes Actros SSC Tipper Ronnie S Evans
76MBC004 Messerschmitt KR200 Bubble Top Light Blue
76MCS003 Mini Cooper MkII Tartan Red/Black
76MFE005 MAN Pump Ladder Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue
76MGA005 MGA Dove Grey
76MGBGT003 MGBGT Glacier White
76MM060 Morris 1000 Van British Railways
76MMC006 Morris Minor Convertible Maroon B/Tan
76MN009 Classic Mini Tweed Grey/OEW
76MO007 Morris Oxford III Sage Green/Twilight Grey
76MW6004 Bristol MW6G Tilling Transport
76P38002 Range Rover P38 Monte Carlo Blue
76PAN008 Plaxton Panorama A. Timpson & Sons Ltd
76PD2006 Leyland PD2/12 Stratford Blue
76QLR003 Bedford QLR 8 Corps HQ – NEW
76RCL002 Range Rover Classic Darien Gap
76RRC002 Rolls Royce Corniche Persian Sand
76RRE002 Range Rover Evoque Coupe (Facelift) Fuji White
76RRS003 Range Rover Sport SVR Firenze Red
76SAL006 Scania ARP Scottish Fire & Rescue
76SB003 Saro Bus London Greenline
76SCT006 ECM
76SET53 5 Piece Triumph Set
76SET54 BMC Transporter & 2 Mini 1275GT Set British Leyland Nederland
76SFT005 Standard Flying Twelve Pastel Green
76SHT001 Scammell Highwayman Tanker Shell/BP
76SR007 Sunbeam Rapier MkIII Light Green Metallic/Embassy Black
76T4001 VW T4 Westfalia Camper Paprika Red
76T5C001 VW T5 California Camper Metallic Night Blue
76TAC005 TACR2 SFOR – Bosnia & Herzegovina 1997
76TIL011 Austin Tilly No.1 MTTC. Camberley 1945 (Subaltern Princess Elizabeth)
76TP006 Triumph 2500 British Racing Green
76TPU002 Ford Transit Dropside Network Rail
76TR7002 Triumph TR7 Convertible Persian Aqua Metallic
76TRF004 Thompson Refueller Silver City
76TS003 Triumph Stag Pimiento
76VEL001 Range Rover Velar Firenze Red
76VO003 Volvo 760 Blue Metallic
76VOL4007 Volvo FH4 (G) Nooteboom Semi Low Loader Cadzow
76VOL4008 Volvo FH4 GXL Walking Floor McBurney Transport
76VW029 VW Bay Window Auf Wiedersehn Pet
76VWB010 VW Beetle Pastel Blue
76VWS001 VW T1 Samba Bus Sealing Wax Red/Beige Grey
76VWY007 Vauxhall Wyvern Metallichrome Blue
76WFA007 Weymann Fanfare North Western
76WMB003 Willys MB US Army
76ZEP011 Ford Zephyr Bomb Disposal

1:87 Scale

87BC55005 Buick Century 1955 Black/White
87CI61003 Chevrolet Impala 1961 White/Roman Red
87CP65006 Chevrolet Stepside Pick Up 1965 Bell System
87OR50003 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Coupe 1950 Yellow/Black
87SET001 3 Piece Set Chevrolet Hot Rods

1:148 Scale

NCHT002 Churchill Tank 1st Canadian Army Brg. Dieppe 1942
NCOR3003 Cortina MkIII Sebring Red
NFDE008 Ford 400E Van Southdown
NFT012 Ford Transit Mk5 Stobart Rail Low
NGG001 Green Goddess AFS
NMB007 Mercedes Actros Curtainside McGawn Bros
NNR006 New Routemaster LT50 General
NSDF001 Shelvoke & Drewry Freightlifter British Rail (Western)
NSEA002 Burlingham Seagull Stratford Blue
NTCAB007CC Scania T Cab Box Trailer Coca Cola Xmas
NTRAIL004 Mobile Trailer Walls


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Hovercraft

By Robin Godwin

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

What could a hovercraft possibly have to do with an online site called Model Auto Review? While Saunders-Roe of the UK (which became a division of Westland Aircraft Limited around the same time) produced the first commercial grade test/evaluation vehicle, the SR-N1 (Saunders-Roe Nautical 1) in 1959, and later billed the hovercraft as a revolutionary transport vehicle, many others were wildly enthusiastic about the broad application of air cushion vehicle technology to everyday transportation. The enthusiasm was such that some envisioned a personal hovercraft sitting in our driveways, although by design, driveways would not have been required. If this had come to pass, this site might have been called Model Hovercraft Review. But the link to toys and models comes from Corgi Toys (perhaps noticing the enthusiasm surrounding this new machine) who introduced a model of the SR-N1 only a year after the prototype had flown. I bought my Corgi Major # 1119 as soon as it hit the shelves in Canada.

As an impressionable kid who loved cars and trucks, I was in awe of this potential revolution in transportation, even more so after attending a live demonstration of the large commercial SR-N2 sponsored by manufacturer Saunders-Roe (likely with a bit of UK government money). This was a world marketing tour with a stop in Montreal in April 1963, and yes, most of the ice is gone from the St. Lawrence River by then. It came ashore at the Dorval Yacht Club, a short bicycle ride from my house. This was an impressive demo, with a huge (70 feet long) noisy machine leaving the water and gliding up the shore without missing a beat. With collecting instincts already well established, I managed to pick up the demonstration pamphlets and hold on to them for the past 55 years.

History has proven that the hovercraft did not live up to its promise to transform transportation, but it did have considerable success in various specialised commercial and military applications. Perhaps the best known was the Hoverspeed English Channel Hovercraft (an SR-N4), which ran for over 32 years ferrying cars and passengers between Dover and Calais. That service terminated in October 2000, with the introduction of the Fast Ferry Cat and competition from Eurotunnel. I recall being strapped into my seat for an exceptionally harsh SR-N4 ride across the channel in the late 80’s, thinking when will that tunnel be done?

Sir Christopher Cockerell, of the UK, is credited with bringing the hovercraft concept to a commercial realisation in the late 50’s, however the principle is believed to have been invented by Charles Fletcher, United States Naval Reserve, during the Second World War. His designs were appropriated by the War Department before he could patent them and take them commercial. In essence, the vehicle rests on a cushion of air. The vehicle motor produces an airflow, either by a fan or an exhaust, that is directed underneath the craft. Rubber skirts contain most of the air, and pressure buildup floats the vehicle on the air cushion. Either an additional engine or high speed exhaust or fan air provides forward thrust and turning capability (as in the SR-N1). Early versions would have been difficult to control through three planes of motion, which may explain why they never became “daily drivers” for the masses.

Corgi #1119 H.D.L. SR-N1 was an exceptional reproduction of the development vehicle. (H.D.L. stands for Hovercraft Development Limited, a subsidiary of the UK National Research Development Council. SR-N1 was designed and built by Saunders-Roe in conjunction with H.D.L.).  The real machine was 29 feet long by 24 feet wide and able to operate at weights up to 7 tons. The model is to 1:76 scale, large enough to appreciate the casting detail. There are four main castings, the base, hull, superstructure and fan shroud. The detail of the superstructure shows the ducting that would direct fan air to both move the vehicle forward and allow turning through air vectoring. There are four plastic moveable rudders attached at the extremities of the ducting. But the interesting feature is three ball bearings with individual suspension to simulate a hovercraft in operation, or as Corgi advertising of the time said “ …giving the illusion of floating on air.” It can actually bump and slide realistically across the floor. Despite this being a superb model, it nevertheless sold poorly – only 76,000 examples over a two year production run. Perhaps it was a reflection of waning enthusiasm over the initial excitement of the new technology, or the simple fact that most kids would never have seen the real vehicle, despite the inevitable coverage that would have occurred in the UK press and hobby magazines of the time. After all, it was a prototype, and commercial services with larger models did not begin until sometime later. Airfix produced a 1:72 plastic kit of the SR-N1 and both Dinky and Matchbox produced models of later versions of Hovercraft, which may easily have outsold the Corgi, since they were models of actual in-service vehicles.

So while my visit to watch a live SR-N2 hovercraft demo did not relate to any specific model in my collection, the Corgi SR-N1 was certainly the inspiration and motivation to go and witness this revolution in transportation.

 

Leaflet from the SR-N2 Demo in Montreal,1963, with the Corgi #1119 SR-N1

The general SR-N2 brochure from the Westland factory

Superb casting detail evident. The blue casting represents air ducting from the main fan (in white) to provide forward propulsion and directional control. Rear yellow “rudders” would become more effective as speed increased

 

Minimal base detail but the three “suspension” ball bearings can be seen. They gave the model a bit of elevation to simulate sitting on an air cushion

 

Corgi apparently had the box artwork finished before the Westland acquisition of Saunders-Roe.

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Dinky Toys and H. Hudson Dobson (1891-1975) – Part I

By Terry Hardgrave

Most American boys who collected Dinky Toys in the 1950’s had seen the name H. Hudson Dobson Inc., either on the front of catalogs, or printed on the side of Dinky Toys boxes. Many probably just assumed that was the name of a company, without any regard of who H. Hudson Dobson really was. There are two H. Hudson Dobson’s…..the company, last located in Kenilworth, New Jersey, and the man it was founded and named for……also H. Hudson Dobson.

Trying to find out much about either the company or the man is somewhat difficult, both due to the passage of time, but also just the fact that scant information survives. For someone who had a history with the parent company, Meccano Ltd., of Liverpool, England, for about 40 years, it is both odd and strange almost nothing of him is even mentioned in books written about Dinky Toys, leaving us to piece together the history from extant records and documents that survive.

From England to New Jersey

Henry Hudson Dobson was born on April 9, 1891, in Liverpool, England. His father passed away when he was a young boy, and by the 1911 British Census, he is listed as working as a “ledger clerk” for a photography supplier (likely Eastman Kodak, as was later learned). The very next record of him is arriving on a ship in 1913, in New York City, as a “commercial traveler”. This is followed by another arrival in New York City in Sept. 1914, also listed as a traveler, but with a destination of Chicago. Then, a big break, as in August 1916, he again arrives, but this time his occupation is listed as “Secretary”. I was then left to wonder what “Secretary” meant for a young man?

Then another clue came when in June of 1917, he registered for the U.S. military draft, due to World War I. This document asks for much more specific information on each individual, so now he lists his occupation as “Secretary/Treasurer”, and his employer as “Meccano Incorporated”. So now we know he has been working for Meccano Ltd. since at least 1916, and Secretary or Secretary/Treasurer is normally an officer position within a company…..interesting!

A brief interlude from his employment at Meccano Ltd., was his enlistment in the Royal Flying Corps, in Toronto, Canada, on October 2, 1917. He was then discharged on May 22, 1918, to accept a commission in the Royal Air Force. No other information was found on his service, and World War I ended on November 11, 1918, so would assume he left the service around that time.

In the 1920 U.S. Census, he is listed as living in New York City, single, and working as a “Sales Manager for Toys”. Shortly after this, he marries Helen Fowler, an American born woman, working as a secretary….did he marry someone from their office? Then, in short order, he starts a family, with son Henry Hudson Dobson Jr. born in 1921, followed by daughter Marian Barbara Dobson in 1923, and finally son James Dobson, born in 1935. All of the children were born in New Jersey, so he has moved from New York, to New Jersey by 1921.

Meccano and the Start of Dinky Toys

In the meantime, I have found out that the Meccano Company of America Inc. was formed in 1913, in New York, but not producing anything, just an office and warehouse that also imported Meccano Construction sets (Meccano Construction sets are very similar in design and purpose to the American Erector Sets). Then in 1922, Meccano set up a factory in Elizabeth, New Jersey, for the express purpose of manufacturing Meccano construction sets in America. So it now appears that H. Hudson Dobson was initially involved with the New York office, then likely was instrumental in setting up and managing the factory in New Jersey, and this also explains his move from New York to New Jersey. Around 1928, Frank Hornby (founder and owner of Meccano Ltd.) made a decision to sell or transfer the American production rights for Meccano to A.C. Gilbert (the American manufacturer of Erector Sets, and later, American Flyer trains), so that plant was not used by Meccano after that, but Gilbert did for some time, then moved his operation to Connecticut.

This likely explains why the 1930 U.S. Census shows H. Hudson Dobson as President of a pottery works named Fleuron Pottery, located in Tonawanda, New York. A newspaper article from North Tonawanda in 1933 states that his family is now moving back to New Jersey, where apparently he is once again either working for or representing Meccano Ltd. During this period from 1928 to 1933, there were no Dinky Toys yet, and Meccano construction sets were no longer being manufactured there, so apparently, he had to temporarily find employment elsewhere. In 1937, he again sails to England, now listed as Toy Manufacturer. Since Dinky Toys were introduced around 1934-1935, it would be natural for him to manage the imports to the U.S.

The first recorded instance of there being an H. Hudson Dobson Co., is in the 1938 Meccano catalog, where that name is shown on the front cover, but my assumption is he was back with Meccano Ltd around 1933, as new products were being rapidly developed, and they would need his services again. So I am also guessing that around that time, he ceased being just an employee of Meccano, and started his distribution company, H. Hudson Dobson, based in New York City. A newspaper article from May, 1939, states that, as a member of the Volunteer Speaker’s Committee of the New York World’s Fair, he will speak before the Rochester Ad Club, his topic “The World’s Fair—Its inner significance”. This article also states that he was educated at Stonyhurst College, in Blackburn, England, and had previous business experience with Eastman Kodak Company in London, and Meccano Ltd. in Liverpool, and had served in the Royal Air Corp in England.

From 1940 through 1959, he will make seven trips by ship and one by airplane, to visit Liverpool, England, presumably to visit Meccano Ltd. and discuss or plan business operations. On one of those trips, in 1956, he took his wife along, but normally he traveled alone, and was gone 4-6 weeks each time. His very last recorded trip to England was in January, 1959, and by then, Meccano was already beginning to experience sales problems with all of their products, including Dinky Toys, Hornby model trains, and the Meccano Construction sets, which ultimately led to their demise only a few years later. At this time, Henry Dobson was about 68 years old, and for those times, an old man indeed. We can only guess that this trip was likely about him winding down his business with Meccano and retiring, but there is no written record of what actually transpired as to closing his business.

There are surviving letters from his firm dated in mid to late 1960, so my guess is that H. Hudson Dobson, Inc., ceased to exist by the end of 1960. Further proof of this is the fact that the 1959 U.S. Dinky Toys catalog was the last one listing him as the distributor. Just a few years later, in 1963, the A.C. Gilbert Company is briefly listed as the new distributor. But we do not really know exactly when the business was closed, or the exact reason. Another newspaper clipping concerning his oldest son, H. Hudson Dobson, Jr., mentions that he “ran” his dad’s company from 1951-1960, which leads one to wonder why this son did not continue the company, even if his father was ready to retire. A possible reason was that H. Hudson Dobson, Inc., with declining Dinky Toys sales, really was not doing that well by the end of 1960, and closing it the only option. One another note, we also do not really know the exact relationship between Henry Dobson and Meccano Ltd. It is very possible that Meccano Ltd. owned part of H. Hudson Dobson, Inc., meaning decisions could have come from Liverpool, England and not just New Jersey.

Please continue reading the rest of the story  in Part II.


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