Category Archives: Editorial

Editorial March 2018

Model collecting is changing. Auctions of lifetime collections are being held with increasing frequency, toy fairs seem to have fewer and fewer stalls selling model vehicles, Atlas are winding up their subscription collections early across Europe, and Chinese firms are starting to sell new brands directly through online auction sites. At the same time the quantities and ranges of models in 1:18 scale and even in 1:12 scale are increasing, though production numbers are probably modest in most cases. The new generation of collectors seem to be mainly interested in smaller scale models, and in different subject matter. There is an increasing interest in more recent vehicles, especially commercial and working vehicles of all kinds, and in vehicles related to films and television.

I recently spoke to a senior sales manager from Hornby at the London Toy Fair. They recognise that the lack of younger collectors is because young people have not been collecting toys which would have drawn youngsters into collecting ranges like Vanguards. For many of us the model collecting habit is built on those early diecast models we were given as a child. It is surely not surprising that many people who grew up after the golden age of toy cars are much more likely to want to play games where they drive the car of their dreams rather than collect models of them.

For many years we have been wondering if 3D printing would revolutionise model-making for smaller producers. Though considerable progress has been made, and it is now widely used by industrial firms for pre-production proofs of concept, it is still not making a real impact on the hobby market. Shapeways is a website that allows designers to offer their wares, and the web host has 3D print centres which supply the end product to buyers as kits. It offers some vehicle models in various scales, but few of these are hollow printed and only the most expensive have smooth finishes. None is yet printed in colour, ready for construction and all are much more expensive than conventionally-produced white metal models. Despite this slow progress, things could change rapidly if step-changes in 3D printing capabilities take place.

Here at MAR Online we try to keep up with the twists and changes in the business, but our existing contributors cannot cover everything, so we are always on the lookout for people who can send us photographs and commentary on their interests. For example, If you are collecting the DeAgostini Dinky partwork in the UK, or any other partwork we do not regularly cover, we welcome your contributions, so that we can chronicle these ranges.

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

Club News February 2018

By Maz Woolley


Many thanks to all the clubs that share their newsletters with MAR Online. These are full of descriptions of club events as well as articles drawing on members interests and all the editors work hard to give members a great read. The first quarter of the year leaves clubs facing the need to review the cost of subscriptions and several clubs have had to put theirs up this year as costs have begun to rise often at the same time as the number of club members has fallen.

Wheel Bearings (Maidenhead Static Models Club)  tells us that their AGM in March is an important one as there will be a considerable number of vacant posts, including that of a new Newsletter Editor as the current editor Adrian Levano needs to step down due to other commitments. Adrian has produced an excellent publication and I was lucky enough to meet him when he dropped into the recent club night at Coventry.  I had hoped to meet other members of the club at their January club night but it could not take place as the venue was unable to open.  The club puts a lot of effort into running the Windsor Toy Fair. To soften the blow of the AGM paperwork the club night in March also features a competition: “Kit, chop and restoration” so life is not all admin!

Over at Wessex (WMTC) news arrives in the form of Wessex Smalltalk edited by Barry Lloyd. The club night in February is the one where they hand over a cheque to the charity that they have been supporting this year, the Bath Cancer Trust. Well done to WMTC as they will be handing over around £1,700. Pictures of the entries at their recent “little and large” night show some interesting model groupings. Their March club night will be a bit different as it features “Horses” and has a talk on Horse Drawn Trams.

Over at Western Australia Model Collectors Club (WAMCC) their Showcase club publication is full of adverts and news. This is another club that runs a Toy Fair as well as holding regular meetings. A secret santa session in December obviously pleased members who have show and tell sessions and themed club nights to look forward to in 2018. Their club news also includes jokes along the lines of:

I told my Girlfriend I had a job in a Bowling alley. She said “ Tenpin “ ? I said “ No Permanent “.

As ever Chris Derbyshire at  South Hants  (SHMCC) has packed the club magazine Wheel Nuts with news and articles. South Hants are having a debate about an additional charge to members wanting paper copies of the  Club Magazine, this is inspired by the steadily rising costs of sending these out. An issue many other clubs are concerned about.  The recent model of the month competition was won by…. a camel! The theme was Heroes and Lawrence of Arabia was to the fore.  Club night in February is the AGM and Awards night so another club that gives members an incentive to attend the AGM! Wheel Nuts is famous for printing some good jokes and witticisms like the one below.

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill

The large club in the Netherlands NAMAC continue to send us their professionally produced magazine which is a cross between a club magazine and a news stand magazine. Full of publicity photographs of models in all scales it is clearly an important source of information in the Netherlands on new releases. The club has separate groups in the various regions of the Netherlands and they seem to be very successful at getting firms like WSI to visit and show off their models as well as holding displays and other club nights and a large annual toy fair.

Dinky Collectors continue to get their regular magazine edited by Mike Forbes whose column looking over the Dinky product announcements and advertising is a very good read. Features focusing on particular models and themes  are very instructive. The club is selling some of the original Dinky Drawings it holds which will be very interesting to Dinky Collectors.

And finally, the club that I am a member of. Coventry Diecast and Model Club (CDMC) continues to enjoy the benefits of the hard work and flair of Will Roe the editor of the club magazine Wheelspin.  Not to be left behind on the animal front the last Wheelspin contains an article on the Settle to Carlisle line which also talks about the Appleby Horse Fair with a picture of a 1:1 scale horse.  Interesting member’s articles include one on Rover’s coaches of Bromsgrove by Roger Boer. We have club nights on the RAF’s 100 years and the 65th Anniversary of Matchbox to look forward to in the near future as well as the inevitable General Meeting looming.

I’ll be back in a couple of months time to look at what s going on around the club circuit. Any clubs which are not listed in MAR Online’s club page please get in touch as we like to let people know of the opportunity to meet with fellow collectors around the country.

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

More Colorful Model Car Brands … [corrected]

Dear Readers,

Alert reader Brendan Leach pointed out that the email version of this MAR Online article was corrupted. The actual blog post is fine.  I apologize for the inconvenience.

Please read the full story here:

Karl Schnelle
MAR Online US Editor

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at

Editorial February 2018

The annual International Toy Trade Fair at Nuremberg is under way as I post this. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the area devoted to model vehicles gets smaller each year. Many manufacturers or agents cannot afford to exhibit, so they invite buyers to see them at other sites outside the halls whilst the fair is on. The large number of companies selling model vehicles gives the impression of a growing and thriving industry, but the days when Corgi and Dinky sold millions of a single casting are long gone, and even large industrial firms can now only sell individual models in thousands, whilst specialist firms produce batches of fewer than a hundred models. So the industry is making the most of a declining customer base, that has accepted some significant price rises in the last year. But this situation is not sustainable in the long term, unless new buyers, especially younger people, begin to collect. But there seems to be little evidence that they are doing so in significant numbers.

The firms that are reaching younger collectors like Greenlight and Oxford Diecast, are doing so by producing models that fit in with their interests. Greenlight has done very well by developing movie and television tie-ins which sell to a much wider collector base, whilst Oxford seem to have hit on a new source of customers who love to collect 1:76 vehicles, including trucks and vans they have driven. Both of these manufacturers are also offering models of recent vehicles, which interest very few traditional collectors, but which many new collectors want. So it is possible that the areas of interest for traditional collectors (classic cars, competition cars etc) will get fewer releases in future, but there may be a lot more new trucks and delivery vans.

Readers will probably be aware that Atlas Editions have started to close  their partwork collections earlier than originally forecast. The Dinky truck series is a UK example of this happening, and in other markets their Police car series was terminated early as well. At the same time well-known UK wholesalers are stocking large quantities of models from current Atlas ranges, such as the British Touring Car series. It would appear that Atlas is being re-organised by DeAgostini, so that we may not see as many vehicle-based series launched in the future. How many of those Atlas collectors will switch from partworks to collecting models from such ranges as Norev, MInichamps or Oxford Diecast?

Thank you to our contributors for keeping the articles coming. Don’t forget you could write for us too. A few words and some photographs is all it takes to share your interest with other collectors.

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

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.

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

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.


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.


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.

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


Editorial January 2018

At the end of 2018 MAR Online will celebrate its fifth anniversary. We hope to see a continuing increase in the number of visitors and contributors to the site, so that we can share our passion for our hobby with even more like-minded collectors.

So what do I expect to see in 2018? I expect that there will be continued growth in sales of 1:76 and 1:144 scale models in the UK. These sectors have grown hugely over MAR Online’s lifetime. They seem to be drawing in whole new groups of collectors from children through to lorry drivers intent on owning a model of everything they have ever driven. Over in the USA I expect a similar growth in 1:64 scale models, as Walmart and hobby stores carry more special editions, and the premium producers make models designed to attract everyone from kids to grandparents. All around the world 1:18 scale seems to be growing at a spectacular rate and now offers models priced from the same as a 1:43 scale model up to thousands of GB pounds. 1:43 scale collecting seems to be at a crossroads at the moment. The collectors market seems to be able to support a range of firms selling premium-priced models and several new entrants have arrived this year, including Goldvarg. At the budget end of the market, however, there are fewer firms producing models, and even successful companies like Greenlight have used Ixo moulds originally made for partworks, Oxford Diecast have made some lovely Rolls-Royce models in this scale, but there has been no expansion in production of 1:43 scale models this year, as Oxford have chosen to put the effort elsewhere. If partworks and subscription series had not ordered models in such huge quantities, budget 1:43 scale models would be rather less common. One wonders how many of those folk who start collecting partwork models ever go on to buy more expensive 1:43 collectors models? If that number is small, then how will 1:43 scale remain vibrant in the future?

MAR Online would like to thank everyone who supplied articles and information in 2017 and looks forwards to lots of readers writing for us next year. Our special thanks to Hans-Georg, our German Editor, who finished his last set of articles despite having been rushed to hospital for emergency treatment. I am sure we all wish him well for a speedy full recovery to health.

All of the MAR Online team wish you a happy new year.

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

Editorial December 2017

We are pleased to say that 2017 has seen a continued growth in the number of MAR Online readers. We launched the current version of MAR Online in December 2015, and at that time we had around two thousand page hits per month. This has steadily grown and in October 2017 page hits had risen to over nine and a half thousand for the month. The number of subscribers to posts by email has also steadily increased and has grown to 122 subscribers, about 20% up on last year. The number of Facebook followers has also increased to around one hundred and thirty as I write this. Our site also seems to rank quite high in Google searches, which is a great way for new readers to discover us. I would like to thank my co-editors and all our writers who produce the content that people want to read.

We have re-introduced some features from the old printed MAR magazines this year. In particular brief news items when interesting events occur, and Club News. We run Club News every quarter and we urge clubs to let us know about what they are getting up to as entries on our club page and publicity for their events in MAR Online is completely free. If you have any ideas about things you think MAR Online should be covering, please get in touch, or even better why not write about new topics for us?

Here in the UK we were interested to see that Lyndon Davies, founder of Oxford Diecast, is now CEO of Hornby Hobbies. The controlling shareholders of Hornby were obviously impressed by Lyndon’s performance at Oxford, and needed his skills to turn round the struggling Hornby brands, including Corgi, Scalextric and Airfix, as well as the various model railway ranges. They were so impressed by Oxford that the majority shareholders in Hornby also acquired a minority shareholding in LCD Enterprises, the parent company of Oxford Diecast. The majority of LCD shares are still owned by the Davies family, and Lyndon’s daughter Eloise has taken over as CEO of Oxford Diecast. It will be fascinating to watch as the results of the current detailed reviews at Hornby start to emerge over the next few years. We at MAR Online wish Hornby Hobbies good fortune as the new team works towards building a new level of stability and profitability.

Changes are also happening at another UK model producer, Brooklin Models, where new ownership is dictating a new direction for the company with an “aspirational” website, products with added detail, and with expensive packaging under discussion. All this means that their models sell for very much higher prices, and there are rumours that the prices may increase again next year. In the meantime stocks of deleted models have been sold at heavily discounted prices, rather  like an end of season sale in the jewellery trade, and they even sold CSV models online at a heavy discount on Black Friday. We know that some Brooklin collectors have expressed unhappiness with the changes, but we hope that the management can address some of their concerns.

We at MAR Online would like to thank all our readers for their support as 2017 draws to a close and as is traditional here in the UK we wish you a “Merry Christmas”.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @

Atlas Dinky Collection is at an end

By Maz Woolley


Coverage of the Atlas Dinky Collection here at MAR Online has spanned almost all of the time that MAR has been online. I recently checked the status of the collection as I was expecting another model, based upon my understanding of a reply from Atlas Customer Services, but it is not to be the case. The Atlas computer system has now marked the collection as completed and the last item shipped was the French Dinky Peugeot Taxi 24 L recently reviewed in MAR Online.

If readers hear of any models being released after the Peugeot taxi in the original Dinky Collection please let me know what they are.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @

2017 Diecast Hall of Fame Winners

Back in April, MAR Online announced that our readers could vote for inductees into the Hall of Fame.   The ceremonies in Las Vegas are now over and the winners announced!  See the newest inductees here.  Also, some images of the event itself are at this link.

Congratulations everyone!

A lot of familiar names are on the list, plus some that have never appeared in MAR Online.  if you’d like more coverage of some of the winners, let us know!

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @