Category Archives: Corgi Toys

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.

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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.

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A Pair of Old Corgi Race Cars

By Harvey Goranson

Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author. Click on them to enlarge.

Every once in a while I stumble across an old diecast or two that I missed out on back in the days before anyone conceived of 1:43 white metal and resin. For some time now I have wanted earlier versions of my Corgi Toys 150S Vanwall and 152S BRM Formula 1 racers (the ‘S’ denoting suspension), since the red and turquoise colors are basically horrid.

Recently I spotted more proper early green versions at a UK auction site and won them. I also tried for an early Lotus 11 in silver but missed out on the hat trick. These original castings have no suspension, nor are driver figures supplied. Boxes were stained, worn, and marked on, but complete.  My new acquisitions are pictured below on the right.

Corgi 150 represents the Type VW 5 from 1957. Some were even made as Sir Stirling Moss’s winning car from the European GP at Aintree that year, with white No. 20 on nose and sides.

Per Marcel Van Cleemput’s tome, The Great Book of Corgi, No. 150 was introduced in July 1957; 317,000 were made before withdrawal in 1961.

Corgi 152 is the BRM P25, 195,000 of which were made from 1958 to 1961.

The BRM’s Green may be more of a “David Piper” green than BRG, but still better than the later 152S.

Moss almost won the F1 drivers’ championship in 1958, but Vanwall grabbed the constructors’ championship. This might explain why more Corgi 150s were sold compared to 152. And why Dinky, Solido, and even Crescent wanted one for their ranges.

In September of 1961 the garish suspended versions appeared, with Corgi attempting to get more life out of the castings before kids caught on to the fact that front-engined F1 cars were becoming as extinct as dinosaurs. Corgi’s designers were probably already then working on No. 154, the rear-engine Ferrari 156.

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1/43 Vanguards History

by Karl Schnelle

Bob Neumann of the Illinois Matchbox Collectors Club (USA) just passed this information on to me.  I have some old Corgi Toys and a few Lledo’s in my collection, but I do not follow the modern stuff.  So I had not seen the new Corgi blog!   Their blog or Diecast Diary has come out every month and since it is written by “The Corgi Team” includes new releases and information that Corgi wants their customers to know about.

The last five articles have had a series on the history of Vanguards and how they passed from Lledo to Corgi ownership.  Two of the driving forces (men) behind them are also discussed.  I always enjoy reading about the history of our hobby and the people behind it.  So I thought our MAR Online readers would too!  For a company blog used for sales and marketing, there is a lot of information in this series.

Click on the menu on the right and read all five articles.  The fifth one is this link.  Scroll down the page until you see the Vanguards banner: some fascinating background from the designer as well as photos of some pre-production models are there.

Here is one of the early Vanguards (a small, fit-the-box, 1953 Pontiac) that are mentioned in the blog; my Mother bought it for me many years ago!

The second blog article mentioned that the Lledo factory was “established on Woodhall Road in Enfield”.    Wasting time on the internet, i did find a Woodall Road in Enfield.   The funny thing is that when you zoom in to it on google maps, the label Gilbow Holding shows up on one of the buildings!   I recognized that as the holding company for EFE (recently acquired by Bachmann).  The EFE History page says they moved to Enfield in 2002, and Lledo was bought by Corgi in 1999, when they downsized everyone, and moved all the tools to China (according to these Corgi articles)!   A very ‘small diecast world’!  

Maybe that is common knowledge for UK collectors, but that was interesting news for me!

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Corgi July to December 2017

By Maz Woolley

All pictures used to illustrate this article are from Corgi’s web site. Most are mock ups or 3D renderings rather than examples of the final models. 

Business Background

I make no apologies for starting this article with news about the Hornby Hobbies business as June is not only when they announce the second half models but it is also their financial year end.

Already this year we have seen the company drop its plans to build a visitor centre to replace the one lost when they sold their headquarters site. This was followed in April by a major shareholder,  New Pistoia Income Limited, calling for the removal of Roger Canham the Executive Chairman. Before the Annual Results New Pistoia decided to cut their losses and sold the 20% they held in Hornby hobbies for 32 pence a share to Phoenix Asset Management Partners the biggest shareholder who now have 55% and have now to offer to buy any other shareholders shares at 32 pence.

Whilst all this upheaval took place the annual results were announced and the CEO/Chairman Roger Canham’s resignation as well. A growing underlying pre-tax loss of over six million pounds was widely reported in the Financial columns. Whilst their cash situation has significantly improved this will still leave them little capital to invest in new products so only the fast selling products with the highest level of margin will get any investment. The shareholders have not had a dividend for several years now and the shares values have flat lined over the last year so they are all losing money on the shares which cannot go on for ever.

Why does this matter to collectors of model vehicles? Well Corgi is hardly mentioned in any discussions of Hornby at all and apart from the 1:48 Lightning model investments in new mouldings are non-existent apart from a single 1:50 truck not even listed in the second half release section of their web pages.  The company states that its turnround is well under way with a belief that all UK brands have been maintained despite all the cost cutting measures taken, lower sales, and restrictions in the sales channels they are servicing. I am not sure that that does not count as what are now known as “alternate facts”. Collectors are right to be uneasy when they see that the  Corgi brand is not mentioned once in the plans for the next stage of the turnround.

It is against this background that Corgi announced their July to December catalogue. Almost everything in it is a new version of a casting already used several times in the past. Some castings  like the Vanguards Morris Minors and Mini are now several generations old and simply not up to the standards of Oxford Diecast, or PCT made models for part works or ranges like Whitebox. Looking at the Corgi Forum the posts about the new releases are mostly negative which I know reflects several MAR Online readers views as well. Corgi have not even listed some models on their web site that Hattons has listed like the re-released Basil Fawlty Austin  or yet another Mr Bean Mini.

I believe that the situation is clear: Hornby has no intention of investing in any significant level of new tooling for the Corgi ranges. Their sole idea of keeping Corgi alive is to produce re-paints of old castings and hope that they sell enough to milk some contribution from the brand to their financial recovery. In my opinion Corgi is now a spent force and Hornby is deluding itself if they expect collectors to pay nearly thirty pounds for Vanguards models made from  ageing moulds when DeAgostini/Atlas and others offer more for less money.

Corgi 2017 Second Half Catalogue

The models listed below are those listed by Corgi on their web site for the second half of 2017. Their January 2017 announcement was already reported here.  When checking a supplier website there are models available to order that are not in the catalogue such as five re-released James Bond vehicles, Mr Bean’s Mini, and Basil Fawlty’s 1100. There is also a single 1:50 scale lorry, Scania R (Face Lift) Flatbed Trailer & Brick Load “Ian Craig Haulage Ltd, Falkirk, Scotland”,  claimed to be new tooling. If these are new it seems strange that Corgi did not include them on their website listing.

My observations on the models offered are:

  1. The Royal Wedding Anniversary models are crude and horrid and quite expensive for the type of souvenir shop likely to want to stock them. I can’t see collectors wanting them at all.
  2. I hope the metallic models are not made with reflective flakes the size showing in pictures
  3. How many times are they going to release that Mini casting – it was not good when first released and looks even worse now compared to modern models?
  4. Who lined up all that awful thick silver detailing on the Minor Police Car windows?
  5. Why are they using the same moulds used already for re-paints recently so soon like the Sunbeam Alpine?
  6. Why is an “export” Rover 3500 fitted with UK number plates?
  7. Why keep on flogging the “New London Bus” to death when the new Mayor has cancelled buying any more of them?
  8. Why keep on releasing Land Rovers when Oxford will be doing them and charging significantly less?
  9. Why bother with the Captain Scarlett car? It has now slipped out of fashion again.
  10.   Many earlier releases of the re-used castings are available on eBay and at Toy Fairs for much less money why buy a new one?
  11. How can anybody at Corgi say they are “proud to introduce the July to December 2017 Corgi range, featuring a host of new introductions

Aviation Archive

English Electric Lightning F6 XR728/JS , RAF Binbrook


Albatros D.Va D.7327/17, Lt. Lothar Weiland, Jasta 5, Seefrontstaffel 1


Fokker DR.1 Triplane 213/17 ‘K’, Lt. Friedrich ‘Fritz’ Kempf, Jasta 2


Sopwith Camel F.1 B6313, Major William George ‘Billy’ Barker RAF


Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress 42-97880/DF-F ‘Little Miss Mischief’ USAAF


Panavia Tornado GR.4 ZA461, RAF No.15 Squadron, Special Scheme


Dornier Do17Z-2 U5-BH, 1./KG.2 ‘Holzhammer’ Operation Marita


Junkers Ju-88C-6 F8+BX, 13./KG40, Battle over the Biscay


Short Sunderland Mk.III W3999/ RB-Y No.10 Squadron RAAF, Early 1942


Blackburn Buccaneer S.2 XW538/S, RAF No.16 Squadron, RAF Gutersloh


Hawker Typhoon lB RB389/I8-P ‘Pulverizer IV’, No.440 Sqn RCAF


Messerschmitt Bf 110E-2 G9+LN, Oblt. Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer


Westland Puma HC.1 XW220/AC, RAF No.72 Squadron, Aldergrove, 1997


Hawker Hurricane Mk.1 N2359/YB-J, ‘Winged Popeye’, RAF No.17 Sqn


Gloster Sea Gladiator N5519/G6A, No,802 NAS, HMS Glorious, 1939


Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 ‘Yellow 1’ Oblt. Gerhard Schopfel, Battle of Britain


Curtiss Hawk 81-A-2 P8127 ‘White 47’, Robert ‘R.T’ Smith, 3rd Sqn AVG


North American P-51D Mustang 44-13586/C5-T ‘Hurry Home Honey’, USAAF



Volkswagen Beetle, Type 1 Export Saloon Horizon Blue


Land Rover Series 1 80” RAC Road Service Vehicle


Ford Escort Mk3 XR3 Prairie Yellow


Austin Se7en Deluxe, Vanden Plas ‘Mini’ Lord Austin’s Daughter Irene Austin, Princess Blue-Grey Metallic

Morris Minor 1000 The Lothians and Peebles Constabulary


Ford Cortina Mk3 2000E Automatic Sahara Beige


Ford Cortina Mk2 Twin Cam (Lotus) Red II


Rover P6 3500S Scarab Blue, Export Specification, RHD


Ford Escort Mk1 RS2000 Modena Green


Ford Sierra XR4i Strato Silver


Ford Capri 2300GT Mk1 1969 Tour de France Automobile


Ford Escort Mk2 RS1800 1979 Lombard RAC Rally of Great Britain


Sunbeam Alpine Series 2 Quartz Blue Metallic


Morris Minor 1000 Traveller Bermuda Blue

Original Omnibus


New Routemaster, Go-Ahead London, 88 Camden Town


New Routemaster, Go Ahead London, 88 Clapham Common


Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Shuttle Bus



Paddington Bear New Routemaster


Captain Scarlet Classic Spectrum Saloon Car


70th Anniversary of The Royal Wedding – Classic Mini


70th Anniversary of The Royal Wedding – Classic Routemaster

Bloodhound SSC Super Hauler


Corgi Christmas Super Hauler

Closing thoughts

Long time MAR readers will know that I have been a collector of Corgi models in the past and have been getting more and more restive with each underwhelming release announcement. I know many of you feel the same. I think that the thing I find most insulting to collectors is the pretence that the Corgi range is active and vibrant. Some honesty and openness about the role Hornby think Corgi has going forward would be welcome. Some of us have been Corgi Collectors since our childhood.

What do you the reader think?

Last thought. If  Hornby can’t make anything of the range, it would surely be better to sell it to someone else who can?

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

Britain’s Toy Car Wars: A Book Review

By Karl Schnelle

Giles Chapman has written a book on his childhood toy cars combined with a fascinating history of ‘the big three’ in the Golden Era of British Toy Cars. The three British toy car companies are the obvious ones listed on the cover (below), and the Golden Age was the 1960’s, as the author calls it. Mr. Chapman is a well-published author, so he brings a good perspective.

This new book is the same format as his previous books like 100 cars that Britain can be proud of and  My Dad had one of those.  His books are known for a sound coverage of the subjects and some well chosen and presented pictures. Chapman has written over 40 books and is a well known motoring journalist and author in the UK; he has now turned his attention from real cars to model cars.

Britain’s Toy Car Wars might be the first book that tries to tie the big three together in a historical and toy collector context. Many books have been written about the copious output of each company, so do not expect a review of their entire toy car production. I was expecting some side-by-side comparisons and timelines of who did what when, or who came out first with a certain feature and how did the others react. There is some of that, but mostly it is the author’s reminiscing about his childhood toys and then explaining the background of the company that produced them. In fact, many of the nice photos are of play-worn cars, which reinforces the readers’ nostalgia for their childhood.

If you are a specialist collector of Dinky, or Matchbox, or Corgi, then you will get a better understanding of the other two companies.  As a kid, I collected all three and have read a lot about their history since then.  So I did not learn a lot of new information about them, but several interesting facts did pop out from Chapman’s research.

I had realized that Meccano was much older and more conservative in their approach to selling Dinky Toys, but I did not know that Dinkys were sold in only 6000 approved stores while Matchbox and Corgi were everywhere, in more than 20,000 shops.  Chapman portrays Smith and Odell as the ‘young guns’: they disrupted Meccano’s domination with Dinkys by selling pocket toys at a much cheaper price, available all over Britain at the time.

There has been a lot written about Hornby, Smith, and Odell, but this book also includes some history of the people at Mettoy.    Van Cleemput is already well-known and is covered here.  However, I learned a lot about the Ullmann and the Katz families and their involvement with the success of Corgi Toys.  In fact, Giles Chapman wrote Arthur Katz’ obituary for the Independent (1999).

If you would like the read about all three companies and their high-level rivalries, please read this book.  The author writes in a very engaging style and brings both the history and nostalgia into the story.

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Corgi 2017 – Reader’s Response

From Andrew Davies

From his Facebook post

My response to the Editor’s posting on Corgi’s 2017 Announcement


Correct, the 1:48 scale English Electric Lightning is the only new tooling announced in the Corgi ranges and by rights it shouldn’t even be in this catalogue as it has a due date of Q4 2017, i.e. within the scope of the next catalogue. The last new tooling in the Vanguards range was VA13800 released in June 2015, (Ed as shown above) , so it will be a gap of at least two years between new tooling in the range assuming that we see some in the announcements for the second half of 2017. Sad.

Unfortunately, according to Hornby PLC’s beancounter turned CEO, new tooling spend across the group is being cut to a third of previous levels (and Hornby Trains & Airfix will be first in the queue for what there is). Only model lines that meet a defined level of profit contribution will continue to be produced in the foreseeable future (see Hornby PLC 2016 annual report) hence the discontinuation of the Haulier range and the older buses. Ed – of course recoloured models from existing moulds give a higher contribution to profits as there is no tooling cost but only as long as anyone wants to buy them.

Just to show how out of touch they are, they will produce Vanguards models using Lledo 1990s tooling (Anglia, Mini, Beetle, Imp) with its moulded-in detail like tail lights, door handles, etc., and expect collectors to pay £28 to £30 for them! It is sad to think about the money Corgi wasted in recent years by investing in tooling for the Formula One cars, the Lotus cars, the Bentley cars, and the oddly-scaled static trains, all of which were remaindered and discontinued. That money could have been spent on new tooling in the core ranges for a far greater return.

Maz. I just hope the last line of your introduction does not turn out to be prophetic …

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A look at the Corgi models for 2017

By Maz Woolley


All pictures used were produced by Corgi. Many are computer generated images and not pictures of prototype or finished models.

There is no way to disguise the disappointment many collectors will feel when looking at the Corgi Announcements for 2017. The only model shown that I believe to be a new casting is the 1:48 scale English Electric Lightning in the Aviation  Archive range. All the others are re-colours or variations produced from existing castings.

There are few Original Omnibus releases and it is noticeable that Corgi’s catalogue includes no lorries at all even re-finished ones, nor as we are now used to any new Steam powered vehicles.

For a long time collectors have privately discussed the failure of Hornby to invest in new castings for Corgi ranges. They have waited patiently for Hornby to turn round and start developing the Corgi ranges again. Many had hoped that last years major re-finance would allow Corgi to invest in a few new castings and start to develop again.  Collectors now feel let down as no investment has been forthcoming and critical comments have now started to appear in the press as patience has run out.

Without new castings interest in the Corgi brand will continue to decline. The large increases in prices continues which will again deter buyers as some competitors are trying to restrict the size of their price rises. Hornby needs to focus on investing in new product for the second half of 2017 and on re-building excitement for collectors or the Corgi brand will become irrelevant.

Aviation Archive


The English Electric LIghtning has been modelled by Corgi already in 1:76 scale but the 1:48 model announced appears to be a new casting.  It will be a very impressive model in this scale but also an expensive one. The rest of the models would be a good supporting cast if there were more entirely new models to interest the collector.


Hawker Hurricane Mk.I, P3576 (GN-A), Flight Lieutenant James Brindley Nicolson (VC)


North American P-51D Mustang, 44-14733/CS-L ‘Daddy’s Girl’, Capt. Ray Wetmore


Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4, W.Nr. 3579 ‘White 14’, Fahnrich Hans Joachim Marseille


Curtiss Tomahawk IIB, AK402, P/O Neville Duke, RAF No.122 Squadron


English Electric Lightning F6 XR728/JS , RAF Binbrook

Westland Sea King HC.4, ZA290/VC, No.846 Naval Air Squadron



Vickers Wellington 1C, R1162 / AA-Y ‘Y for Yorker’, No.75 (New Zealand) Squadron



North American B25 Mitchell, 40-2249, “Hari Kari-er”, Doolittle Raid, 1942 1:72


Messerschmitt Me 262B-1a/U1, W.Nr 110635 ‘Red 10’, Oberleutnant Kurt Welter


Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4, ZJ950/C ‘Charity’, RAF No.29 Squadron


Westland Wessex HC.2, XV721/H ‘Heart’, RAF No.72 Squadron


SPAD XIII, S2445, Major Francesco Baracca, 91st Squadriglia, Italian Air Force, April 1918


Douglas C-47 Dakota, ZA947, ‘KWICHERBICHEN’, The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight


Panavia Tornado F.3, ZG797/D ‘Desperation’, RAF No.29 Squadron, 1435 Flight



Again there is nothing wrong with the re-colours here. It is nice to see the Durham Constabulary Mini made much more accurately than its original release in a set with a Jaguar Mark II many years ago. But why is the Escort Mexico twice the price that the similar anniversary edition car was last year?

As back up to a few new castings this would be fine on its own it lacks any “punch”.


Ford Anglia 105E DeLuxe, Pompadour Blue & Shark Blue

VW Beetle, Coral Oval Rear Window Saloon

Mini Cooper S Mk1, Tartan Red & Black

Austin Mini Cooper S Durham Constabulary

Hillman Imp Mk2 Super, Grasshopper Metallic

Suneam Alpine, Seacrest Green, Pre-Production Prototype, XRW302

Wolseley Six, Rheingold Metallic

Vauxhall Viva GT (H), Elkhart Yellow

Ford Escort Mk1 Mexico, Electric Monza Blue

Leyland Princess 2200 HL, Sandglow

Ford Capri Mk3 1.6 Calypso Cardinal Red & Strato Silver

Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth, Black

Ford Fiesta Mk1 Supersport, Sunburst Red

Ford Escort Mk2 RS1800 (Forest Arches), Diamond White

Austin Morris Mini Clubman 1100, Reynard Metallic

Original Omnibus


Little needs to be said here. Basically two models each with two blind variations, and neither a new casting. The “Boris Bus” is now an obsolete vehicle as Transport for London have announced that no more are to be ordered.  Bus collectors interested in fleets away from the South East will find nothing of interest here.

At a time when EFE output is disrupted as Bachmann take over the company Corgi should be looking to fill the gap and not fading away themselves.


Wright Eclipse Gemini 2, Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company, Mile Oak 1

Wright Eclipse Gemini 2, Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company, White Hawk 1A

New Routemaster, Stagecoach, 8 Bow Church

New Routemaster, Stagecoach, 15 Trafalgar Square

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Corgi 2017 – Police Mini Cooper

By Maz Woolley



VA02540 Austin Mini Cooper S, Durham Constabulary

Corgi have announced another “new model” for May 2017 to follow the ‘recycled’ Sunbeam Alpine. Yet again it is a re-used casting, this time of the Mini Cooper S .

Far from being a new model the Durham Mini Cooper was made by Corgi Classics some time ago in a box set with the Jaguar Mark II used by Durham’s Motorway Patrol. However, the sample picture of this new issue does seem to have more realistic speaker and bell fitments rather than the rally style spotlights of the original and it has ordinary wheels rather than alloys too. Looking at the sample there are few other updates to bring the model up to date. The interior has no door cards just a painted metal shell and the front indicator and rear lights are just painted on.  In fact this model is no better than the average part work issue, and poorer than many. All of which might not matter if the Corgi pre-order price was not so high, it will cost substantially more than a more detailed Oxford Diecast Rolls Royce Model for example.

Whilst we wish Corgi well at MAROnline but we don’t think that the way to succeed is to re-use old castings that are already long in the tooth and then claim that they are “new”. If these are being trailed as their exciting releases for 2017 then in our view Corgi will fall even further behind the competition.

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Corgi 2017 First News

By Maz Woolley


Corgi  has announced a 2017 release at the 2016 Classic Motor Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre. It is scheduled to be released in March 2017 so the picture shown is of a pre-production sample.


This model is based upon the Sunbeam Alpine pre-production prototype XRW 302. This is painted in seacrest green and bears the registration numbers on the real car as shown at the Classic Car Show.

The “series” Sunbeam Alpine was a two-seater sports drophead coupé. It was built by the Rootes Group from 1959 to 1968 and early cars were assembled at Armstrong Siddeley factory as Rootes had no room in their own factories.   The name Alpine was used following the earlier Sunbeam-Talbot’s success in the Alpine Rally during the early 1950s.

The car modelled  by Corgi is the third and only surviving prototype, making it the oldest Alpine in existence. It survived because, rather than being thrashed to breaking point in testing, it was allocated to the company’s design department to be used in the development of new styles and trim.

The car was sold in 1961 to Rootes’ development engineer Bernard Unett, who’d worked on the Alpine programme and wanted to go racing. He debuted the car at Silverstone in September 1961.  After its racing career the car passed through several owners before finally being acquired by its current owner, John Willshire, who has shown the car at events such as the Silverstone Classic meeting, the Goodwood Revival and the Classic Motor Show where the car was awarded runner-up in ‘Classic Car of the Year’.

Looking at the photograph of the pre-production sample of this car Corgi has not taken steps to uprate this now long in the tooth casting yet. I do hope that before they launch the production model next March they invest some time  to make sure that it has the correct colour interior trim, correct colour tonneau cover and better wire wheels.

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