A tribute to Robin Allen

By Mike Neale

Mike is a member of SHMAC who knew Robin well and his tribute will also appear in the SHMAC club newsletter.

 Robin Allen, 1949-2018.

I first met Robin over 30 years ago, back in the mid-1980s, thanks in fact to the SHMAC, when he was displaying some of his models alongside other club members.  I would regularly see him at shows such as Modelex and The Classic Car Show at the NEC. I’ve found one old photo from a bit after then, when a group of SHMAC members and I had a stall at a swapmeet at the old Coventry Transport Museum (long before they built their shiny new one).

We instantly bonded due to our shared interest in the ‘grey porridge’ British and European saloon cars of the fifties and sixties, both as real cars and in model form. He was very interested in my conversions of old Dinky & Corgi toys into more accurate representations of the real vehicles, as this was something that he too liked to do. At that time he was editor of the model page for Classic Cars magazine, and in the December 1990 issue he actually wrote an article about me and my model conversions.

I loved going down to his house and seeing what real cars he had each time, as quite often there would be some new classic car acquisition replacing one that he had decided to sell. I could also spend hours looking at the model collection.

One real car that was always there from fairly early on was of course his beloved 1952 Standard German-market VW Split Window Beetle. He had bought this rare car in 1970, saving it from being cut up into a Baja Bug, and had run it as a daily driver, but in 1976 he reluctantly sold it to fund a house purchase. He asked the new owner to give him first refusal if he ever wished to sell the car. It went up to Scotland and the owner began to dismantle it to start a restoration, but that was as far as he got, and the car stayed in his garage. In 1990, true to his word, he phoned Robin and offered to sell the car back to him, with almost the same mileage on the clock as 14 years earlier. Robin had the car restored and vowed never to sell it again. I’ve included a photo of him next to the car just after that 90s restoration had been finished, before he had got the proper German-style number plates made up.

He would go out of his way to help people too. I remember once when my partner and I had met up with him at Amberley Classic Car Picnic and we needed to get back to London to see a show at the theatre that evening. We had gone down by train that day but when we tried to come back our return train had been cancelled (I should have known not to rely on Southern Rail) and the next one was an hour away, too late to get to the theatre. Robin insisted on driving us all the way up to Gatwick airport to catch a train so that we could make it in time. Actually, at first he had suggested driving us all the way back to London, but I couldn’t let him do that. That was just the sort of person he was.

Another 90s photo shows Robin watering his NSU Prinz, presumably trying to grow it into a Chevrolet Corvair.

Over the years I must have attended dozens of classic car shows and model swapmeets with Robin. One of the most memorable trips was to Techno Classica in Essen, Germany, a show that completely blew me away. Robin was in his element amongst all of the German cars in particular, as he had spent a few years in Germany during his childhood, as his father was posted there with British Forces Germany. On the way back we diverted to take a look at the old army barracks where his dad had been based.

A car show that we both liked and visited many times over the years was the Amberley Classic Car Summer picnic. That is where we are both seen standing next to (someone else’s) Jaguar XK150.


On Drive-It Day this April, I drove down to Romsey in my Morris Minor to meet up with Robin, who was out in his Mercedes-Benz 220S Ponton saloon, which he is pictured next to.  I have tried to recreate the scene in model form, alas without a miniature Robin.

Robin had been suffering from cancer for several years and had been through a lot of unpleasant treatment, which had at least for a while seemed to be effective. However more recently it had spread almost everywhere. His descent from that April Drive-It day was sadly quite rapid.

Having had a fall at home, no doubt caused by the strong painkillers that he was on, he was admitted to hospital. For a while it seemed like he was making a bit of a recovery and might make it back home. Sadly this was not to be and he finally passed away on Saturday 23rd June in Portsmouth Queen Alexandra hospital, aged just 69. I was at his side along with his closest family and friends.

The funeral date has yet to be arranged. I do know that he left instructions for the funeral car to be a vintage Rolls Royce – that’s very Robin!

It is the end of an era. I will certainly miss him a lot.


Corgi – July/December Announcements

By Maz Woolley

Text by, and copyright of the Author. Illustrations provided by Hornby Hobbies.

Hornby Hobbies has recently announced the Corgi products for the second half of 2018. There are no new castings and little sign that any major changes being made by the new management team. Perhaps we will start to see those in 2019? Though the fact that prices are not being significantly increased shows that Hornby are finally realising that the market for their models is price sensitive.

Product Revivals

The sales of the film and TV tie-in products from Corgi are substantial and the products are carried by a wider range of retailers. Of recent years the emphasis has been on reproductions of earlier James Bond models but this time the models celebrate 50 year anniversaries of two films: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Magical Mystery Tour.

I am sure that Beatles fans the world over will buy the re-released models and that the Chitty will sell in respectable numbers as nostalgia for childhood and for the films of the late 60s is still strong.

03502CC Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 


05401CC Yellow Submarine 

42418CC Magical Mystery Tour Bus 


85925CC Paddington Bear Taxi

This will come in special packaging and will include a
Paddington Bear Figure. This will certainly be a good tie-in but Hornby need to be quicker with negotiiating deals like this Paddington 2 has already been released so the model is coming along a bit late to catch the maximum sales.


Aviation Archive

Here Corgi has created new liveries on castings which have already been seen in a variety of other liveries. Whilst the liveries are undoubtedly attractive ones one wonders how many versions of the same casting Corgi can sell. Looking on eBay many of the previous versions of these castings sell for considerably less than the latest models recommended price and only very popular and scarce ones attract a premium.


34018AA Consolidated B24H Liberator

‘Male Call’ of 453rd Bombardment Group 8th AF 1944
Jimmy Stewart


38109AA Sopwith F.1 Camel, No.3 Squadron RNAS

Lloyd S Breadner
Bray Dunes Aerodrome 1918


38808AA Do17Z-10 R4+LK I/NJG 2

Gilze – Rijen October 1940 – sadly the artwork from Hornby has a large watermark on it.



38906AA Fokker D.VII (OAW) 4649/18

‘Seven Swabians’ Alfred Bader Jasta 65 September 1918

Sadly the artwork from Hornby has a large watermark on it.


Original Omnibus


46514AOM Wright Eclipse Gemini 2,
Go-Ahead East London Transit
EL2 Ilford Station

46514BOM Wright Eclipse Gemini 2,
Go-Ahead East London Transit
EL1 Thames View Estate

46713AOM Wright Eclipse II (Single Deck),
Transdev The Shuttle 662
Keighley Bus Station via Crossflats


46713BOM Wright Eclipse II (Single Deck),
Transdev The Shuttle 662
Bradford via Bingley



At the risk of repeating myself we are seeing the same small range of castings again and again in different colours. Whilst some of the new colours are quite eye catching and may well persuade people to buy another version of the model the market for yet more of the same must be shrinking.

In many cases the castings are now looking old and basic. The Morris Minor for example has cast in window ventilators which are painted body colour, black printed line round the screen and a clumsy grille. Partwork models are superior to this in many cases.

The Land Rover in Military Police livery is different and will I suspect be a popular release as will the 1275 Mini in Special Tuning livery.

But taken as a whole the release is disappointing as it has been for about 3 years now.  I hope that this is just a  holding exercise before the new management re-launch Vanguards with some new castings.


VA02541 Austin Mini Cooper S Mk1, Almond Green


VA05212 Ford Granada Mk1 3.0 Ghia, Jade Green


VA05810 Morris Minor 1000Turquoise


VA06713 Triumph Spitfire, Mk3 Saffron


VA09524 Ford Escort Mk1 Twincam, Blue Mink


VA10111 Triumph Stag Mk2, British Racing Green


VA10509 Triumph TR7 FHC, Triton Green


VA10712 MGB Roadster, Acconite Purple


VA10818 Ford Capri Mk3 3.0S, Arizona Bronze


VA11117 Land Rover Series 1 80”, Military Police


VA11509 Triumph TR5, Jasmine Yellow


VA12612 Ford Escort Mk2 RS Mexico, Signal Yellow (Forrest Arches)


VA13507 Mini 1275GT Special Tuning, Press Launch Car,
Auto Car Magazine


VA13605 Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTI

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

News from the Continent June 2018- Conrad

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

Text by, and copyright of the Author. All photographs supplied by the manufacturer.

Here are some models recently announced by Conrad. These are all diecast for Germany for the small family run company and are to 1:50 scale.

Art.No. 2210/0 KOBELCO SK500LC-10

Crawler excavator in Kobelco Livery


Art.No. 2211/0 MECALAC 15MC

Crawler excavator: fitted with an offset two-piece boom attachment and liveried in “Communal” markings


Art.No. 2212/0 MECALAC 15MWR

This is similar to the previous model but this time it is a wheeled excavator with the same offset two-piece boom attachment


Art.No.2453/0 Liebherr L 509 

A  twin wheel loader in the manufacturers livery


Art.No. 2768/0  MECALAC 6MDX

A site dumper again liveried in maunufacturer’s finish.


Art.No. 77235/0 MAN Euro 6 TGS CIFA Energya E8-E9

A  four axle concrete mixer with CIFA livery


Art.No. 2117/0 GROVE GRT8100

This is a very substantial telescopic crane developed for use on rough terrain.


ArtNo. 2202/07 CASE CX250D

This is a CASE liveried crawler excavator


ArtNo. 2968/01  POCLAIN TY2P

Wheeled crane with crane boom in the manufacturers colours


ArtNo. 2925/0  POCLAIN TY45

A hydraulic excavator with shovel in the manufacturers colours

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.


Mick Haven’s memories of Robin Allen

Mick Haven is a member of SHMAC and contributor to MAR Online. Here are his thoughts after hearing that Robin Allen of the SHMAC club passed away on Saturday  23rd June.

It isn’t often I’m lost for a word or two, but in such circumstances it really is difficult and I know that other members of SHMAC will echo my feelings. Having only been a club member since 2005, it was a while before I knew of Robin’s standing and history with the club. Consequently, members of longer standing are better placed to write about him from that perspective.

Life can throw up some funny strange quirks, and it did so in my early acquaintance with him. At the time I joined, he wasn’t a regular attendee at our Monthly club night, so I didn’t get to know him that well at first. In 2009 I had started to work for the local car dealership which still gives me work. Unbeknown to me Robin worked as a vehicle inspector at what was then Portsmouth D.V.L.A. where he stayed until its closure in 2013.   One of the tasks that I undertook was to go to the D.V.L.A. for vehicle licencing matters. It was during one of these visits that I noticed a person at the back of the office who looked familiar. It was Robin. Unfortunately due to where he stood, behind a security window, I couldn’t attract his attention.

Subsequent visits would prove more fruitful and I would see him more often. If I’m honest, I never shared his passion for his 1 to 1 scale collection and I never saw his model collection which I believe was extensive to put it mildly. That doesn’t detract from the fact that both were absolutely amazing. At club nights, there was no telling what he would arrive in, it could be a Mercedes-Benz, or a D.K.W,, or a Beetle, including the one modelled by Corgi. All were immaculate.

As for his submissions at club nights where we take along monthly themed models for members to vote on, there was no telling what he would bring. Many were rarities, and he was a mine of information about all of them. His knowledge of his collection was top drawer.

His passing is a sad loss not only for his fellow club members but for the collecting fraternity as a whole, in which he had many friends.

R.I.P. Rob, it was good to know you.


Obituary – Robin Allen

One of the nicest people I have met through this hobby of ours passed away yesterday. Robin Allen, lover of old German cars, model collector, and founder member of the South Hants Model Auto Club  lost his battle against cancer.

Robin supported Model Auto Review from its earliest days with his articles and comments. These were frequently on the subject of Volkswagens, which he was an authority on, both modelled and real. Readers may remember that Corgi modelled one of his Volkswagen’s last year and Robin shared the design cell and the story of the model creation with us.

I met Robin just once when I gave a talk at SHMAC last year and he treated me to a tour of his model collection and capped it all by taking me for a ride in his beautiful 1957 Mercedes-Benz. His enthusiasm and willingness to share his knowledge and love of collecting was infectious.

I hope that at some point in the future one of his friends from SHMAC will contribute a fuller tribute. My commiserations to his friends and family for their great loss.


Atlas Dinky Deluxe – #528 Peugeot 404 Cabriolet

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Atlas continues to send models in the Deluxe Dinky series here in the UK. The latest to arrive with me is #528 Cabriolet 404 Peugeot Pininfarina. This was released by Dinky France in 1966 and was sold in cream, metallic blue, and white until 1971. Dinky France covered most of the 404 range as the also made a saloon and break .

There were only just over seventeen thousand of the cabriolet, and the related coupe, bodyshells made by Pininfarina making it a scarce car.  A mere ‘drop in the ocean’ in the 2.8 million 404s of all types that were made during its lifetime.

The driver is the same moulding used in the UK Triumph Spitfire though here she has no seat belt, the belt would have been handy as the doors on this model flop open very easily. Opening doors and bonnet, a folding passenger seat back, and the fitted driver complete the play items.

The Atlas model is in white which was a common colour on the real car. Apart from the very loose fitting doors, the passenger seat back also has issues staying vertical. However, I could be persuaded that such things plagued the original models too.

The model featured jewelled headlights and these have been reproduced nicely as has the jewelled sidelights. Neat silver painted grille with Peugeot shield but no logo on it.

To the rear just a stroke of red paint for lights, not even properly covering the light moulding, and a yellow plate which seems to have lost the upper part of its print.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.


Model Auto Review 1989 – Part One

By Maz Woolley

All text by, and copyright of the Author. Artwork from Model Auto Review copyright of Rod Ward.

This is the ninth in a series of articles looking at each year’s output of the original Model Auto Review magazine.   This time we look at the first half of 1989.  We show you the  colour pages and contents to give a flavour of what the magazine looked like. 

What was happening at MAR in 1989?

1988 had seen an increase in the number of pages in MAR including the inclusion of colour centre pages and MAR was to continue in that format right through 1989. Many expert contributors continued to record what was happening in their specialist area were now contributing regularly and the magazine was developing a very international outlook with writers from round the world.

As Rod Ward pointed out in the first editorial in the year model sales had increased ten fold in recent years and new players kept coming into the market so this was a very buoyant time for model collectors.

1989 in general

1989 was an important year for me. I had recovered my childhood toys and was buying battered Dinkys, Corgis, and Spot Ons for restoration. I had discovered Model Aut Review and subscribed and though I admired the many kits and hand builts available bought very few. Suddenly Mattel’s Dinky and Corgi Classics were producing models of the cars of my childhood at a reasonable price and I was hooked.

The biggest events of the year were undoubtedly the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tiananmen Square Massacre, and the terrorist destruction of a British Airways Jumbo jet in Scottish skies. But it was also a year when we had a major plane crash at Kegworth in the East Midlands and the sinking of a pleasure boat on the Thames.

In the Cinema Little Mermaid and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade made there first appearance. On UK television we were all watching Fools and Horses and January saw the episode featuring Del Boys casual falling through the bar – one of the comic TV moments frequently voted as one of the best comic scenes of all time.

#36 Winter 1989


An arty cover started the year, something that was to be come quite a feature as the year went on.

Many well known names wrote in this edition which was also full of the new for 89 features.

Inside Front Cover

Inside Colour Pages

with New Dinky prototypes.

And here are Corgi Classics models.

Inside rear had Model Road and Rail Vauxhall Victor amongst exotica from France and Italy.

#37 Spring 1989


Another artistic interpretation of the MAR logo on this cover.

An interesting range of articles but fewer colour pictures this time as Catalogues from Shinsei filled the centre spread.

Inside Front Cover

Inside rear cover

Rear Cover


#38 Summer 89


Another completely different approach to the front cover.

Again a list of contributors who were hugely expert in their fields or becoming so!

Centre Pages

Inner rear cover

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Dinky Toys Triporteur

By Terry Hardgrave

Both the French and English Dinky Toys factories make a huge variety of models right before and after WWII.  Many of these were somewhat unusual. This is an example… this is neither a car nor a motorcycle, but a unique little vehicle called a Triporteur.

These were quite popular in France before the war, for use in the cities, for small delivery items. First made by the French Meccano factory in the late 1930’s, then made after the war until 1952.

The hinged lid is often missing, as it is held in place by a very thin metal pin.  This view below shows the hinged storage lid.

This Dinky was made in France from 1935-52 in a variety of colors and is numbered 14.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

News from the Continent April/May 2018 – Norev

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All text by, and copyright of the Author. Photographs all provided by the manufacturer.

This article covers two sets of news from NOREV. Unless otherwise stated all models are diecast in China for France.

April 2018

1:18 Scale

181622 Citroen Dyane 6 1977 “Caban”


181650 Citroen C4 Cactus 2014 – Hello Yellow & Black Airbump


181651 Citroen C4 Cactus 2014 – Pearl White & Chocolate Airbump


181660 Citroen C4 Cactus 2018 – Emeraude Blue & White deco


183455 Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6,9 saloon 1976 – green metallic This model sold out on pre-orders before even being released to the shops.


184881 Peugeot 309 Gti16 1991 – Miami blue


185242 Renault 4 Parisienne 1964 – black & red


185225 Renault Megane R.S. 2017 – Tonic orange

1:43 Scale


820313 DKW 3=6 Coupe 1958 – black

1:18 Scale MAXIJET


182056A Motobecane AV 65 1965 – blue


Peugeot 103 L 1972 – Orange

Minijet “3 inches” – made to fit box


310611 Citroen C3 2016 – Red & Black


310901 Renault Megane RS 2017 – Sirius yellow


310903 Renault Megane RS 2017 – Orange

May 2018 Announcements ‘Norev stay in the Race !’

1:18 Scale


181630 Citroen C3 WRC 2017 – Official Presentation Version


182719 Ford Capri Mk. III 2,8 Injection 1982 – chrystal green metallic


183452 Mercedes-AMG GT R 2018 – red


183635 Opel Manta A 1970 – Lemon green metallic


185226 Renault Megane R.S. 2017 – Sirius yellow


Scale 1:43


830027 Audi 80 quattro saloon 1985 – blue metallic


820302 Dkw f89 Delivery van “German Post”


517961 Renault Trezor Salon de Paris 2010


840095 Volkswagen Scirocco GT 1981 – Anthracite grey metallic

1:18 Scale MAXIJET


182065A Solex 1966 – black

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

Togi History – Part VIII

by Karl Schnelle and Koen Beekmann

In Part VII of this series, we looked at the  Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider and Kamm-tail Spider.    Now, we will examine two Togi show cars from the early 1970s.

In a recent article, the American magazine Autoweek said these ’70s concept cars were all about “decadence and design”.   We believe it and these two Togi’s prove it.  The Carabo was introduced by Togi in 1970 and the Montreal in 1971,  (Photos by the authors, unless otherwise noted.)


In 1968,  Bertone presented their design concept at the Turin auto show, the Carabo, which was based on the Alfa Romeo 33 race car,  Several other automobile design firms also showed studies there based on this racing car. The Carabo was designed by Marcello Gandini, who was employed at Bertone at the time, and was the first car with upward hinged, or scissor, doors.  We know them now mainly because of the Lamborghini Countach; that is no coincidence because Gandini designed that car also.

The name Carabo was based on the name for a bright green beetle that inspired Bertone’s use of the iridescent color for the car.  The color and wedge design was at that time very progressive and seemed to come from another planet.  The car was also equipped with reflective safety glass with a golden mirror surface.

The actual car is now at the Museo  Storico Alfa Romeo in Arese.  The first author was very excited to see it a few weeks ago!

This concept car inspired many model car brands to bring out their own versions:  just think of Dinky Toys, Mercury, Politoys, Solido, Verem, Matchbox, Hotwheels, and later Spark (and there are even more out there).  Togi also got into the mix with their 1/23 version, probably the most expensive Carabo model back in the early 1970s.  However, the Togi was probably not the best scale model,  due to its poor proportions and very simple design.  Even other Togis had better proportions and details at that time.  Many other Carabo toy models from that time look better in scale: for example, the 1/43 Solido or the 1/25 Politoys.

As with most Togis, there was a kit and a factory built version, shown in this old catalog page.

On this model, everything can be opened: the doors hinge upwards, the rear trunk opens, and the flip-up headlights are opened with an ingenious mechanism that works by pushing the steering wheel towards the dashboard. Unfortunately, the Togi uses ordinary flip-up headlights while the real Carabo had 3 slats that rotated up.

The instruction for opening the headlights is stamped on the box insert.

There seems to be two versions of the wheel design on the older models; we are not sure which came first.   One version has flat wheels,  the same wheels that later came on the 2000 Berlina and the Giulia GTA.  The two versions are evident on the black-green car with flat wheels in the front right and the gray-green car with hollow (recessed) ’33 style wheels’ behind on the left  (photo Benjan Spiele).

It seems pretty remarkable that Togi decided to completely change the wheel design, unless it was a cost cutting measure.  The hollow wheels are much closer to those of the original than the flat wheels.  But the hollow version has other differences: the color of the rear is brighter  (closer to the real one, so that’s a good adjustment) and the black plastic pieces have been replaced by dark gray, while the actual concept car is  black.    So better wheels but less realistic color choice – why?

The different colors and wheels are clearly visible in the photo below. The gray version has no side windows.  This is not an error on this one copy because it is seen often like this. (photo Benjan Spiele)

Below is an old Togi flyer, with the Carabo shown with a complete cardboard kit box. That cardboard box dates this flyer because in the early seventies they replaced it with a plastic inner box.  Frustratingly, we can’t see which wheels are on the model and so the mystery remains: which wheel came first.

The Carabo has not always been in Togi’s range if we believe the catalogs.  After 1995 and the takeover by FongalTogi, this model came back again, but with a big difference: the headlights can no longer be opened and closed. They are cast with the bodywork. It is unclear whether this adjustment had been carried out before 1995, or only afterwards. Togi catalogs can lead you down the wrong track and are often of no help, because they sometimes re-use very old photos.

The newest version with molded in headlights and side windows is shown below. . It is cast in zamac and quite heavy, like all the recent Togis. The older versions are made of light alloy, probably aluminium.  These hollow wheels have larger wheel nuts here and are darker in color, which makes them look different.

Here is a close-up of the newest wheel design, with the real one below it.

Also, there is less red on the rear of this latest  Togi version! Compare to the full size rear below!

An interesting side-note is that an American toy car magazine published an article on the Carabo kit shortly after it came out.  Car Model in December 1971 reviewed the Carabo kit and factory-built Giulia GT. At that time in the US, Togi were not imported so the reviewer relied on a friend to carry them back from Italy.


A year before the introduction of the one-off Carabo, Gandini also penned the Montreal for Expo 67 in Montreal, Canada.   The concept car was updated and upgraded and introduced as a low volume production car in 1970.  Alfa produced the chassis and mechanicals and then sent it to Bertone for the bodies.   The white one below is the prototype in the Museo – notice that it has 7 slots behind the door.  Production versions had 6!

Less than 4000 were made before being discontinued in 1977.  The two below were seen by the first author in Italy this summer, the orange in the Museo and the red in a private collection!

The authors have not researched the Togi Montreal in depth so we are unsure if there are multiple versions or variations.

The original Togi is made of light alloy and always in orange, and the newer FongalTogi is made of heavier zamac in several colors. Also the newer one is recognizable by its nickle colored wheel nuts instead of chrome ones.  Both doors and the hood open on this one!

This post-1997 example came in a plain white box with this sticker on top.

Please let us know if you have any other Togi versions of these two  supercars!  So now this series of Togi articles is well into the 1970s.  Thus, in Part iX, we will look at all their 2000 Berlina variations!

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.