Category Archives: Corgi Toys

Corgi new for 2019

By Maz Woolley

All text by, and copyright of the Author. All photographs provided by the Manufacturer.

The day that Corgi announced its new models for 2019 their web site was unable to cope. Many people on bulletin boards and Facebook commented about this being unsurprising given Corgi’s recent history. The other comments again focused on being underwhelmed by the announcements.

Please note that all illustrations on this website have been provided by the manufacturer and may be computer generated impressions or pre-production samples which are not fully representative of the final product.

In summary they have expanded their generic toy ranges, produced a lot of D Day anniversary tie in items including military vehicles, re-introduced a couple of Steam vehicles, and produced a ‘new’ casting in the Vanguards range. However, as is usual the main focus seems to to be on Aircraft which form the bulk of the release. Original Omnibus and Truck ranges get no releases at all.

Readers will need to judge for themselves but some of the military models and toys look to me like they are probably bought in from Chinese contractors to fill gaps in the range rather than being designed by Corgi.

In parallel to the Corgi announcement Hornby announced a series of 1:76 scale models in their trains range:

  • A Ford Anglia
  • FX4 Taxi
  • Mini
  • Post Office Telephones Mini Van
  • Land Rover 109
  • Ford Transit Mark 1
  • Fowler Steam Roller
  • Fowler Ploughing Engine

All are clearly Oxford Diecast Models packaged as Hornby and sold at a higher price then the original Oxford models. This may make sense where it allows Hornby stockists who do not also stock Oxford to have a wider range of accessories.

Chunkies are a new toy range introduced by Corgi. At last years Toyfair a Corgi representative explained that they felt that the lack of toys to draw in young collectors to the brand would be damaging in the long term. Clearly this new range is meant to address this. All the vehicles are pocket money priced and in bright attractive colours and designed to have play value for children. The models are generic but the trucks all seem to be rather US styled to me. Pictures of a couple of these toys from the Corgi Catalogue are shown below.

A re-packaged James Bond Aston Martin DB5 will not come as a surprise given the fact that it still seems to sell steadily over 50 years after the original model was launched. To complement it it on the Movie tie-in front are the Harry Potter Night Bus and Ford Anglia as well as a static Hogwarts Express steam engine.

After a number of years of absence Corgi bring back two steam models.

  • CC20008 1924 Super Sentinel Steam Waggon, RS 5540, Tiger Engine No. 5260, The Aberdeen Coal & Shipping Co. Ltd
  • CC20311 1919 Garrett Showmans 4CD Tractor, AD 8787, Works No. 33486, ‘Queen of Great Britain’, Turner Brothers of Thormanby.

The catalogue pictures are of real vehicles and not pre-production models so it is not possible to determine whether these are new models based on existing castings previously seen in the Glory of Steam range or entirely new models.

The Corgi Showcase range of cheaper fit the box models has many models aimed at anniversaries due this year. Firstly a large number of military vehicles to tie into D Day anniversary.

  • CS90635 Panzer IV – SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend, France 1944
  • CS90630 M48 Patton Tank
  • CS90631 M3 A1 Half-Track 41st Armoured Infantry, 2nd Armoured Division, Normandy 1944 (D Day)
  • CS90633 Willys Jeep – SeeBees
  • CS90632 Sherman M4 A3 – US Army, Luxembourg 1944
  • CS90642 King Tiger – sSSPzAbt 501, France 1944
  • CS90641 M3 Stuart Tank
  • CS90640 M8 Greyhound – 14th Armoured Division, N.W. Europe
  • CS90639 Panther – 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards ‘Cuckoo’, Netherlands 1944/5
  • CS90637 Tiger I – German Army SpzAbt 502, Russia 1942
  • CS90638 Churchill MkIII – 6th Scots Guards Brigade 1943

A couple of examples of the illustrations of this range are shown. As these are ‘fit in the box’ ranges the models will be to a variety of scales.

There are also models to fit in with the Anniversary of man landing on the Moon which are again sized to fit the box

  • CS90647 Apollo Command Module
  • CS90646 Lunar Module

The Vanguards range gets a number of re-colours and a new tool. The new tool is for a Jaguar XJ Series 2. Corgi already have tooling for the original XJ6/12 so presumably this has been adapted to create the similar Mark 2 which differs mainly in the front end treatment and interior. The illustrations are of real cars so it is impossible to judge whether the mould is entirely new or modified.

The models to be sold based on this new tooling are:

  • VA13900 Daimler Sovereign (Series 2) Double Six Vanden Plas, Caramel (metallic)
  • VA13902 Jaguar XJ12 Series 2 LWB, Juniper Green.
  • VA13901 Jaguar XJ6 Series 2 4.2-litre, Avon & Somerset Constabulary

The recolours are shown below with the Corgi publicity photographs. Some need a considerable improvement to be acceptable, notably the hoods up Morris 1000 where the hood looks odd and certainly ill fitting.

Another well known collectors car is featured in the range this year. This time it is the MGB of Don Hayter who was instrumental in the design of the MGB and who has written about its birth.

VA11912 Ford Cortina Mk4, 3.0 Savage, Strato Silver

VA11706 Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth, Moonstone Blue

VA10014 Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth 4×4, Sussex Police

VA10313 Ford Cortina Mk3 2000E, Purple Velvet

VA04118 Ford Lotus Cortina Mk2 FVA, Group 5, Graham Hill. 1967 British Saloon Car Championship.

VA07105 Morris Minor 1000 Convertible, Maroon ‘B’

VA13005 MGB Roadster V8, Don Hayter’s car, Brooklands Green

VA07406 Triumph Spitfire (sic) Mk3, Saffron – Website describes as Spitfire but it is actually a Triumph Herald Convertible.

VA09013 Rover SD1 Vitesse Grampian Police

VA12906 Audi Quattro, Sable Brown Metallic

VA12413 Ford Granada 2.8i Ghia, Cosmos Blue

VA12615 Ford Escort Mk2 RS Mexico

VA01318 Austin Mini 850, RAF Police.

VA01427 Morris Mini Van, The Red Arrows.

VA01319 Austin Mini 850, RAF Station Commander

VA08102 Volkswagen Type 2 Camper, Sea Blue and Cumulus White

The repaints are quite attractive and I am sure collectors may pick up one or two that appeal but there is no compelling reasons for most collectors to buy them as they probably have one of the earlier releases. A new tooling is welcome and the Mark 2 XJ6/12 has not been modelled in a diecast range as yet. It has been seen in 1:43 scale by SMTS as an expensive white metal model and is scheduled to be released in resin by Ixo at some point but that will again be at a higher price point. It is nice to see Corgi filling in a missing link.

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

Corgi Morris 1800 World Cup Rally

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

One of Corgi’s latest releases in the Vanguards range shows that they can still turn out a really nicely made model even if only an adaptation of an existing casting. One wonders about the future of Vanguards range in the new Hornby as it is clearly now a minor sideline as it has had no investment in new castings for about four years.

This release is of a Morris 1800 VA08913 which ran in the 1970 London to Mexico, Daily Mirror, sponsored World Cup Rally. This was driven by Jean Denton, Pat Wright, and Liz Crellin and sponsored by Woman Magazine. The car came in in 18th position just behind the Moskvitch 412 entered by Avtoexport and ahead of a male crew in an Austin Maxi. 

The rally team was sponsored by Motorwoman – a section of then-popular Woman magazine. It was widely reported in Woman magazine and in contemporary motorsport titles.  Prepared by British Leyland Special Tuning on behalf of the privateer team, the car has been active in motorsport circles since, and has been fully restored. The photograph below shows it when recently auctioned.

Photograph Copyright of Anglia Car Auctions

The colour of the restored car is a different shade of blue to the Corgi model but some old pictures suggest the car might have originally been in the lighter blue – but old photographs from the internet make it difficult to judge.

The model is impressive and includes the full set of bull bars used on the World Cup rally which have been removed since. The model deviates from the real car in a few respects: the side indicators are still moulded in even if painted over and the grille may also be incorrect as all the photographs on the internet of period rallying 1800s have a simpler grille with less silver coloured parts. 

A large number of small separate parts have been used to replicate the rally kit including bullet shaped mirrors, handholds, additional lights, and spare wheels on roof.

To the rear the extra lights and handholds are continued. And a large rally fuel filler cap is fitted at the top of the wing. As the photograph below shows the pink painted corners used on the original rally car are all there to be seen. Sponsors adverts are neatly printed on the boot lid.

The wheels are also nice replicas of the alloy wheels used. The back standing plate is also well modelled as is all the badging.

The sponsorship adverts are all neatly printed on the sides. The driver’s window is in a partially opened position which gives a limited view of the interior which sadly has detail moulded in but none picked out at all. A dashboard of instruments would have been nice but the moulding does not seem to have been modified to include all the fittings and extra instruments a rally car would have had fitted. 

More surprising is the lack of any extra internal roll cage. Looking at pictures of the original car that is entirely correct and shows how much more dangerous Rally driving must have been at the time.

On last view of the front end shows how much effort has gone in to adapting this base casting and turning it into a rally car. One wonders if this model sells out whether  Vanguards Cortinas will be turned into Rally cars as they featured in many Rallies of the period.

All in all a decent effort by Hornby to use one of the Vanguards moulds in a creative way. If only Hornby would invest in some new moulds for this range.

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

Some preview samples from Corgi and Oxford Diecast

By Maz Woolley

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

John Ayrey is a major UK wholeseller and hosts open days for its trade buyers several times a year. I was lucky enough to get a press invite to their July session featuring Oxford and Corgi models. I even got to walk round their impressive warehouse which was full of models I wish I could afford!

All the models photographed are pre-production prototypes and may feature combinations of fittings which will not all appear in the same combination on the released models. Some of the models shown are just becoming available whilst others will ship over the rest of 2018.

We were lucky enough to have Lyndon Davies (Taff) at the event. It was fascinating to find out more about the development of Oxford’s models and how a lot of effort has to be expended at the CAD phase to make sure the engineers in China understand the need for certain body features to be created in a particular way to facilitate printing later.

Oxford are finalising models for two years ahead and if I interpreted Taff correctly we will begin to see the results of all the work going on at Hornby soon too.

Lyndon Davies (Taff) CEO/Chairman Hornby Hobbies, and Director at, and founder of, Oxford Diecast

N Gauge 1:148 scale


Oxford showed a small number of models at this scale. All the models shown are due in Q3/2018.

NMA002 Mercedes Ambulance London

NLR002 Land Rover LIghtweight Military Police

NCOR3003 Cortina Mark III Sebring Red

HO Gauge 1:87 scale

Samples were shown of the forthcoming new releases in the range of small US cars. The first two are recolours due soon.

87CI61003 1961 Chevrolet Impala White/Roman Red Q3/2018

87CSD61002 1961 Cadillac Sedan DeVille Aspen Gold Metallic

Test castings of new models were also shown

1961 Chrysler 300 Convertible (Closed)  – no production date for this version yet

87CC61001 Chrysler 300 Convertible (Open)  Mardi Gras Red Q3/2018

87DC68001 Dodge Charger Bright Red Q3/2018

87DD69001 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona black Q3/2018

87DS46001 DeSoto Suburban Noel Green Q3/2018 – NB Catalogue does not show luggage fitted.

De Soto Taxi not shown in catalogue yet.

87DP57001 1957 Dodge D100 Sweptside Pick up Tropical Coral/Glacier White Q3/2018

OO Gauge 1:76 Scale


76TCAB010 Scania T Cab short Curtainside Stuart Nichol Transport Q3/2018

76DAF004 DAF 85 Short Fridge Trailer Trevor Pye Q3/2018

76TPU002 Ford Transit Dropside Network Rail Q3/2018

76BR001 Burrell 8nhp DCC showman’s Locomotive and Caravan The Masterpiece (Dorset) Q3/2018

76JCX001 JCB 3CX Q3/2018

Combine Harvester – not shown in latest catalogue

763CX002 JCB 3CX Eco Backhoe Loader Union Jack Livery Q3/2018

76P38002 Range Rover P38 Monte Carlo Blue Q3/2018

76TR6002 Triumph TR6 Signal Red Q3/2018

76JSS006 SS Jaguar DArk Blue Q3/2018

76MGBGT003 MGB GT Glacier White Q3/2018

76CAP008 Ford Capri Signal Orange Q3/2018

76SOM001 Austin Somerset Black Q3/2018

76SOM002 Austin Somerset Buckingham Green Q4/2018

76BMO02003 BMW 2002 Taiga Green Q3/2018

76VW Could possibly be the pastel blue but very different shade to catalogue.

76FCC001 Ford Consul Capri Lime Green/Ermine White Q3/2018

76FDE010 Ford 400E Cargo Grey Q3/2018

76FT1008 Ford Transit Mark I Castrol Q3/2018

76RCL002 Range Rover Classic Darien Gap Q3/2018

Another sample I could not find in the catalogue of one of the later defenders with roof rack etc.

76LR2S004 Land Rover Short Wheelbase Post Office Telephones (Yellow) Q3/208

Land Rover not shown in Catalogue.

76LR2S005 Land Rover Series II SWB Civil Defense. NB Catalogue does not show luggage fitting on roof.

76LR3002 Land Rover Series III Hard Top AA Q3/2018

76LRFCS001 Land Rover FC Signals NATO Q3/2018

76CHT004 Churchill Tank 6th Guards Brigade 1943 Q4/2018

76TIL011 Austin Tilly No.1 MTTC Camberley 1945 (Subaltern Princess Elizabeth) Q3/2018

76WFA007 Weymann Fanfare North Western Q3/2018

76SB002 Saro Bus Maidstone and District

76PAN007 Plaxton Panorama Ribble Q3/2018

76IR6004 Irizar i6 Galleon Travel Q3/2018. Foreground is 1:148 Actros truck which I cannot find in the catalogue.

1:72 Scale Aircraft

72DV005 DH104 Devon WB534 RAF Transport Command

AC083 Henschel 123A Unit 3/SFGr 50 Lt. Hamann Q3/2018

1:43 Scale


43TX5001 LEVC TX Electric Taxi Black. Q3/2018

43LR3S002 Land Rover Series III SWB Hardtop AA Q3/2018

43R25002 Rolls Royce 25/30 Thrupp and Maberley Q3/2018

1:18 Scale


18MBC006 Messerschmitt KR200 Convertible Q3/2018

18HE003 Heinkel Kabine Yellow Q3/2018

Corgi Vanguards

Fewer samples to show here unsurprisingly. But we do get to see the two Minis to come this year.


VA13507 Mini 1275GT Special Tuning Press Launch Car

VA02541 Austin Mini Cooper S MK 1 1275cc Almond Green

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

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

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



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.

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

A Life of Police and Police Cars

By Peter Wyatt

I got this Corgi Toys Commer 464 police van in 1967 for my tenth birthday. The light flashed (still does), and from that day, my heart was set on becoming a police officer.

Having completed an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer, just in case I didn’t like being a police officer or, they didn’t like me, I became a police officer in England, which I did for thirty years until I retired seven years ago as a Detective Inspector. Thank you, Corgi, for helping me in my career path and for giving my family and me a great quality of life.

It also led me to become an avid collector of police vehicles which I still do to this day at the age of 60. I have also fine tuned my two grandsons, Harry and Noah, into the mindset of collecting die cast and to look after them as an investment. They do have cars to play with, but they love to see the collectible ones on display. I also collect other Corgi and Dinky Toys, but police cars have always been my main collecting theme.

All photos are my own apart from the Mark 2 Escort which is from the Trofeu site. I moved house recently, and all my cars are currently in the loft whilst I have a room converted to house them. I can’t find my own picture of that model.

I became a police officer in 1981. The very first police car I drove was a Ford Escort Mark 2. It went from 0-60 in about 2 hours, but I thought it was a fantastic car. In the early 2000’s, Trofeu brought out this 1/43 limited model of the actual car. I just had to have one!

It’s not my intention to chronicle my whole career, but I will share some of my scale model collection by different manufacturers.

The following is a Volvo V 70 traffic car based on a Schuco Volvo estate. A business called Paul Robson Models based in Cumbria UK personalised the Schuco model into actual Staffordshire police cars.

You will see that Paul placed a clipboard with my name on the dashboard. I never actually served as a traffic officer; twenty four of my thirty years were spent as a detective.

21 is the force code for my old force, Staffordshire Police, and the number is on the roof of cars to enable identification from the air.

In my next post, I will show a selection of images from my collection. Hope you will find some of them interesting.

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

Corgi – New for 2018

By Maz Woolley

All pictures taken from the Corgi Website.

The latest catalogue from Corgi shows that it is too early for the new regime at Hornby to have had an effect. There are a mere thirty eight items, excluding the catalogue itself. Thirty four if you discount the buses where two different models are sold of same casting and livery, identical but for the destination board. No new castings are introduced in any range, and some ranges, most notably trucks, yet again see no new releases.

Regular reader Andrew Davies points out that at least one of the Vanguards issues is not wholly new. The Triumph Herald police car casting was previously used as a Monmouthshire Constabulary car  in a Panda Car twin pack (PC2002) in 1998 during the Lledo era. The computer generated illustration of the new car in Monmouthshire Constabulary livery looks very little different to the old one.

Andrew also notes that the Magenta Stag announced for 2018 appeared in the 2016 catalogue along with a Triumph TR250 but neither was never produced, it is thought due to licensing issues at the time.

It is perhaps a good thing that almost all the models being produced are limited editions as I cannot see there being a strong demand for yet another version of what are now very elderly moulds in some cases. I hope that the next catalogue gets to see the result of the money that we are told is being made available for new tooling or it may be pointless issuing one.

A listing of the new releases follows:


  • Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 ‘Red 8’, Kurt Gabler, Mosquito Hunter, III./JG 300
  • Hawker Fury Mk.I, K2065, RAF No.1 Squadron, ‘C’ Flight Leaders Aircraft – 100 Years of the RAF
  • Hawker Hurricane Mk.I, V6799 / SD-X Pilot Officer K.W Mackenzie, RAF No.501 Squadron – 100 Years of the RAF
  • Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4, Wilhelm Balthasar, 1./JG.1, France 1940
  • Avro Lancaster B. Mk.III (Special) ED929 / AJ-L ‘Operation Chastise’ Dams Raid – 100 Years of the RAF
  • D.H Mosquito B.IV, DK296 / GB-G Flt. Lt. D A G ‘George’ Parry, RAF No.105 Squadron – 100 Years of the RAF
  • Panavia Tornado GR.4 ZA459/F ‘MacRoberts Reply’, 90th Anniversary Scheme – 100 Years of the RAF
  • Boeing Chinook HC.4 ZA683 RAF No.27 Squadron, ‘Special Centenary Scheme’ – 100 Years of the RAF
  • Focke Wulf Fw190A-8/R2 ‘Black 8’ Unteroffizier Willi Maximowitz, II Staffel (Sturm) IV/JG.3
  • BAe Hawk T.1 XX246 / 95-Y RAF No.100 Squadron, 95th Anniversary Scheme – 100 Years of the RAF
  • Eurofighter Typhoon T.3 ZK380 No.2(AC) Squadron – 100 Years of the RAF
  • SE5a F-904, Major C E M Pickthorn (MC), RAF No.84 Squadron France, November 1918 – 100 Years of RAF
  • Douglas C-47A Skytrain™ 315208 ‘Fassberg Flyer’, US Air Force, Berlin Airlift
  • Fokker DR.1 Dreidecker, 155/17 Lt. Eberhard Mohnicke, Jasta 11, von Richthofen’s Flying Circus
  • Westland Whirlwind HAR.1 XA868 Royal Navy, HMS Protector, 1963
  • Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IIa P7823 / TM-F ‘Down Belfast Telegraph Spitfire Fund’ – 100 Years of the RAF

Film and TV range

  • James Bond Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante ‘The Living Daylights’
  • James Bond AMC Hornet ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’
  • Mr Bean’s Mini

Original Omnibus

  • Bristol Lodekka FS6B, Wilts and Dorset, Cream and Maroon, 38A Bournemouth Limited Stop
  • Bristol Lodekka FS6B Wilts & Dorset, Cream and Maroon, 38A Salisbury Limited Stop
  • Guy Arab II Burton Corporation, Burgundy and Cream, Anglesy Road
  • Guy Arab II Burton Corporation, Burgundy and Cream, Calais Road
  • AEC London & Country, Two-Tone Green, Epsom
  • AEC London & Country, Two-Tone Green, Leatherhead
  • Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company, Tunbridge Wells
  • Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company, Brighton Marina & Queens Park


  • Triumph Herald 1200, Monmouthshire Constabulary
  • VW Beetle Type 1-11E, British Army, Royal Military Police
  • Ford Zephyr 6 Mk3, Spruce Green
  • Vauxhall Cresta PA, Alpine Green & Glade Green
  • Morris 1800 Mk2 1970 World Cup Rally, 2nd in Ladies’ Prize, 18th overall
  • Rover SD1 3500 V8 Vanden Plas, Opaline Green
  • Ford Escort Mk1 Mexico Sebring Red
  • Triumph Stag Mk2, Magenta
  • Ford Granada MkII 2.8i, Sussex Police
  • Ford Fiesta Mk1 1100cc ‘Sandpiper II’, Roman Bronze & Solar Gold
  • Ford Escort Mk2 1.6 Harrier, Strato Silver

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

Corgi’s latest Volkswagen Beetle

By Maz Woolley

Photographs of the model by, and copyright of, the Author. Photograph of the real car by, and copyright of, the Car’s owner Robin Allen. Design Cell copyright of Corgi.

From time to time one hears that a particular car has been chosen to be the basis of a model. In this case it was the Volkswagen Beetle owned by South Hants Model Auto Club member Robin Allen.  Corgi’s latest Volkswagen Beetle VA01208 is based upon his car shown in the photograph below.

Robin tells of the history of this attractive car.

‘The car was built in May 1957 and shipped directly to London where it was first registered in June 1957. Unfortunately there is no more early history with it, but DVLA records show that by 1966 it had moved to the Portsmouth area. I bought the car in 1989, and having a bit of spare cash from my redundancy at the same time, in 1990 I put it in to a VW specialist in Bournemouth for a bare metal strip and respray. When purchased it had been subjected to a poor repaint in a mid-blue colour although under the wings and interior were still in the original Horizon Blue. Having stripped the car I received a phone call saying “Do you realize how good this car is? There’s practically no rust at all. Can we spend a bit more and lift it off the chassis and clean and detail the underside too?” I agreed. Shortly before all this the engine suddenly began knocking badly and I sourced a spare to keep it going. During the rebuild in Bournemouth they pulled my old engine apart to discover the crankshaft had snapped. I had another spare engine from which the crankshaft appeared ok and my old one was rebuilt. Unfortunately the old engine continued to rumble a bit and leak oil everywhere. Even so I made trips to VW shows in Holland, Germany and around the UK, but the engine really wasn’t happy or as smooth as my other two Beetles’. I intended to get another engine for the car but then I received the “Birth Certificate” from Wolfsburg and was pleased to be told that the car was still running the original engine with which it left the factory in 1957.

Last month I finally took the plunge and sent it off to  under go a high quality engine rebuild. Stripped down, I received a call from them to go and have a look.”‘We really don’t know how this engine was still running” was their comment. The centre rib in the crankcase that supports the crankshaft had a huge crack and appeared to be just about to fall apart. The crankshaft had been hammering around with so much play that everything was getting damaged and worn. The sensible answer was to find another engine. The expensive answer was to have the crankcase repaired and machined by a specialist which would cost as much, if not more than the engine rebuild. Having a “matching numbers” car is highly sought after in the VW World and adds a bit to the desirability and value of the car, so I’m having it done. Let’s just hope the most expensive Beetle engine rebuild ever will prove worth it.’

Robin tells us about Corgi deciding to reproduce his car.

“When I was first approached for permission to make this model I was honoured with the idea – I still am. They had seen and photographed the car when it was on the Historic Volkswagen Owners Club stand at the NEC in November 2015, but only approached me about producing a model via the club at the beginning of this year.”

Corgi then carried out their measurements and produced a design cell which Robin has kindly copied for MAR Online and which is shown below.

Original discussions with Corgi indicated that they wished to replicate the blinds over the rear window that are fitted to Robin’s car but in the end these were not replicated. Commenting on the model Robin says:

‘…..the shape of the model isn’t too bad, the Beetle seemingly very difficult to replicate accurately.

Apart from the blinds which did not make it to the Corgi model other features are also missing, or not quite correct, as Robin points out:

(You would need to add) the side-mount radio aerial, the blinds and the centre part of the wheel hubs between hubcaps and rims which should be white. My car also has chrome rim embellishes so you can’t actually see much blue on the wheels on the actual car, unlike the model. The headlights on these Corgi Beetles are a bit disappointing, if you compare their plain chromed blob with the separate lens and rim on other models. My car also has headlight “eyebrows” but I wouldn’t expect anyone to try to model them.

Photographs of the model can be seen below. Please note that the photographs show the model slightly grey in colour, and less blue than it is.

Robin’s comments about the wheels are clearly demonstrated if you compare the photograph of his real car to the picture above.  My model also has an issue with the fitting of a hubcap which is far from central.

At the rear the blind is not modelled and the rear lights are pretty poor by today’s standards. A bump with a lick of red paint , rather than a fitted red lens, is now associated with budget models and part works not a full priced model.

The side view shows that Corgi has printed the stone guards fitted to Robin’s model. The rear view mirrors are incorrectly shaped with Robin’s being a rounded wedge shape and the Corgi’s being circular.

Looking inside the car the dashboard is the correct body colour and the steering wheel a nice period white. The cell produced by Corgi records a dark blue for the seats and doors but the seat/interior unit is actually black and the doors have no cards fitted and just show the horizon blue of the painted body shell.

From the front Robin’s criticism of the headlights is justified. Most partwork ranges now have separate headlight lenses as do the generally cheaper Oxford Diecast 1:43 models. It is nice to see that Corgi has printed air vents on the front wings even if they look a little too high to me.

From the rear the correct oval window and venting is modelled and the correct period number plate. The handle to open the engine cover is moulded in and highlighted.

So all in all although the Corgi is not an exact match it does capture the essence of the real car with the main details largely right. With a bit of added detailing I am sure that it will capture Robin’s car very well indeed.

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

Intergranular Corrosion

By Maz Woolley

Photographs by the Author of a model in Dave Turner’s collection of Fords in MIniature.

Integranular corrosion is better known to collectors as “metal fatigue” or “zinc pest”. The alloys used for diecast models (Mazak/Zamak) should be stable and models should remain fine for years unless impurities exist in the alloys. Many of us became aware of this phenomenon when collectors of early Dinky models watched their models disintegrating before their eyes. Since when the same has been seen in other ranges with pictures of broken and fatigued Saratov produced USSR models featuring on some bulletin boards for example.

Many collectors, including me, had believed that modern mainstream die casters quality control was a guarantee that such problems would not arise. But it isn’t true. The pictures below are of a Corgi model which is gradually failing but Corgi are not the only people whose models have issues, and the failure of the model below should not be taken as an indication that your stored Corgi models are any more at risk than other makes.

The Millionth Transit was a popular release from Corgi but as can be seen from the photographs below this one it is suffering so badly from the corrosion that the sides are bowing out and the bonnet and roof are wrinkled.

Things are a little complicated by the fact that it appears that poor preparation or paint issues by some makers may cause the paint to lift and craze whilst the casting below is still actually in good condition. However, as the pictures above show when the metal starts to fail the surfaces become “wavy” which means that it is not just a problem with paint.

Many collectors, myself included, have models stored in boxes. It may be worth your while looking over models that you have not looked at in a while to check that they are all OK. If you should find models with Intergranular corrosion please let us know by email or facebook or via the contact form on the website. It would be interesting to see pictures and perhaps do a round up of the wider experience of collectors at a later date.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page.