Category Archives: Oxford Diecast

Oxford Diecast Volvo 760

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by the Author.

Oxford Diecast continue to release the models promised for 2017. Here I look at a new 1:76 scale model diecast at Oxford’s Chinese factory for the UK.

76VO001 Volvo 760 Gold Metallic

This is the first time that we have seen this casting from Oxford and it captures the real car well. The wedge shape so fashionable in the early 1980s is well caught and the paint is a good representation of the popular metallic finish which can be seen on many photographs of the car.

Wherever you look there are impressive small details like the Volvo badging printed on the wings which is hardly noticeable without magnification but which is there as it should be.

I don’t think that the model is one of Oxfords best for a number of reasons. Firstly the rear light cluster looks like eight separate lights, see above, whereas on the rear car it was one continuous light with different colour sections and a silver trim horizontally in the centre. Secondly the tyres had to be taken off and refitted. If you look at the picture below you can see extra rubber sticking out and on other wheels the tyres did not actually reach the hub. All correctable but avoidable. The hubs themselves appear to be a bit vague and do not match the alloys that I can see on cars pictured on the web and have no Volvo badged centre cover.

The last issue can also be seen on the photograph above. Where are the mirrors? A large blank area of the door looks like the mirrors should have been fitted there. Indeed the picture Oxford provides of the next use of this casting shows mirrors drawn on, see below.

So my conclusion is that this is a good model without reaching the standards that Oxford can achieve. It is also good to have models from the early 1980s in affordable diecast ranges.


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D Di Mascio Ice Cream Van

By Maz Woolley

All photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author. With the exception of the drawing which is copyright of Oxford Diecast.

Oxford Diecast‘s recent release in 1:76 scale of a D. DiMascio Ice Cream van will strike a chord with anyone who grew up in the Coventry area in the 1950s through to the 1970s. So strong was the presence of this firm’s vans that for many Coventrians the words “D. Di” meant ice cream in the same way that Hoover meant a vacuum cleaner. A van would be parked outside the gates of my secondary school in spring, summer and autumn ready for “home time”. The phrase “I’ll have a D. Di on the way home” was a common one. Another Coventry habit was taking a bowl out to the D. Di van and they would  fill the bowl with ice cream for a suitable number of old pennies, I can remember my Mum doing that as a special treat for us in early 60s Cheylesmore. This is the second D. Di van in the Oxford range as they have previously modelled the “Little D. Di Ford Thames van.

Dionisio Di Mascio came from Cassino in Italy in the inter-war years and started his business in Coventry after working for his Uncle in Glasgow. Before the war the vehicles were limited and the business dominated by D. Di Mascio’s ice cream parlour. Sadly, their premises were destroyed in the blitz. With the huge post-war growth of Coventry and its  relative prosperity the firm grew quickly adding vehicles based on converted cars running two Rovers, six Standards and even an Austin. They also had some larger vehicles like an Austin K8 and Morris PVs.

As business grew D. Di started to standardise on BMC J type vans and soon a fleet of 24 J types was in use. For those of us growing up in the 1960s and 1970s these were the vans that we saw all the time and that is the type of van represented by the one modelled by Oxford Diecast. Sadly none of the vans is known to have made it into preservation. The van modelled is based upon WHP 881 which was registered on 1st August 1958 and driven by Marico.

The Oxford model captures the D. Di livery well and although D. Di vans were not all identically bodied the body is very close to several pictures that can be found on the web. Certainly close enough to make me wish that they made this model in 1:43 scale as well.

For those who want to know more about D. Di Mascio and their vans I can recommend “D. Di Mascio’s Delicious Ice Cream” by Roger de Boer, Harvey Pitcher, and Alan Wilkinson which has provided much information for this post.

I now live in the Northampton area where local ice cream sales are dominated by Gallones. I have recently found out that the current owner of Gallones is the grandson of Dionisio DiMascio which explains the fact that one Morris LD in the D. Di Fleet was ex-Gallone. Perhaps other vans went from D. Di to Gallones? I would certainly welcome a Gallones van from Oxford maybe based upon an LD or Commer van which would offer lots of other opportunities for other liveries like Mr Whippy and Mr Softee as well.


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Oxford Diecast – Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn

By Maz Woolley

 

The latest Rolls-Royce from Oxford is now being distributed. It is a Silver Dawn which was a stablemate to the very similar Bentley Mark VI already included in the Oxford range.

Traditionally, most Rolls-Royces had been large and imposing limousines. But the post war years were a period of rationing and austerity and Rolls-Royce wanted to offer a car that was in keeping with the times. Thus the Silver Dawn was a compact Rolls-Royce, based on the standard steel body produced by Pressed Steel Fisher for the Bentley and fitted with a slightly less powerful engine. It was targeted at owners who also drove themselves.

The Oxford model is every bit as good as their Bentley Mark VI which was itself an excellent model. A first class paint job with great masking between the two colours is complemented by the flush fit windows with finely printed quarter light surround. The trafficators, door handles and bonnet catches are all nicely moulded and picked out with printed silver.

To the rear the boot handle and registration plate holder are nicely modelled too as well as the limited rear lights and reflectors which are printed on but are very effective. Even the spats fasteners are picked out in silver on the rear wings. Inside, the seats and door cards are all painted tan coloured with fittings picked out in silver. The door cappings and dashboard are in a darker “wood” shade and the instrumentation and switches are printed on. All is accompanied by a large steering wheel and column though this is without the gear change lever I might have expected to see.

To the front the radiator is excellent as are the lights. The flying lady mascot is typically slightly overscale for strength but is nicely moulded. Sadly the air intakes have been fitted wrongly. The line in the middle should be vertical and not horizontal other buyers may be luckier perhaps. Such issues are fairly common on Oxford models and I think that Oxford should design such fittings with a slot and peg so the parts cannot be fitted wrongly.

The wheels are moulded nicely and painted well but the centres seem round rather than hexagonal and I cannot see a printed RR in the centre which is clearly there on a  picture of the real car taken in 2010. Another curiosity is the aerial which was a thin silver coloured item in 2010 and not a thick black object which looks more like it is designed to fly a flag.

All in all this is an excellent model of the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn and better than resin kits costing very much more money. Oxford should be applauded for making this model as it was neglected even by the contemporary diecast firms.


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Oxford Beadle Integral East Kent

By Maz Woolley

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

Oxford Diecast continue to catch up with their release program. This article looks at the new 1:76 scale Beadle Integral 76BI001 which has just arrived in the shops. The first thing to note is that Oxford has made the whole bodyshell in plastic. Many recent Oxford coach/bus models had plastic uppers and metal lower sections but here only the base plate is diecast. I know that this will not please some collectors but when one sees the fine detail that has been incorporated and the absolutely flush glazing it offers in a thin walled bodyshell I am sure that most collectors will be happy for Oxford to continue down this path.

This coach dates back to the “make do and mend” period after the Second World War when new buses and coaches were a scarce commodity. During this time many coachbuilders built new bodies getting rid of the old-fashioned half-cabs and giving them up to date looks. J C Beadle of Dartford in Kent were such a company taking Leyland and AEC chassis and adding modern bodies. East Kent were one of several companies that were customers. The vehicle modelled by Oxford started life as a Leyland TD5 double decker and was rebodied in 1951 as a 35 seat coach. It was withdrawn from service in 1964 and after being in private hands it was acquired for preservation in 1972. At some point during its working life it had a white roof added offering Oxford the option to do another version of this vehicle.

I admire Oxford for making this unusual and attractive vehicle. Options for endless recolours are limited as Beadle seem to have changed the front end styling frequently so I hope that this model sells well to encourage Oxford to make more unusual models. A version in East Yorkshire colours is planned for later in 2017.

As to the model itself it is excellent. Comparison with the archive photographs available show it to be an accurate replica with all the salient styling features well captured. Some simplification has been made, the grille area is painted black whereas pictures show it to be textured and probably in body colour, and the destination, number, and fleet boards should all be slightly recessed. These minor points do not spoil the overall effect of the model.

Printing of the body mouldings with chrome surrounding cream centres of the body mouldings has been done accurately and gives an excellent appearance. The tiny operators script and passenger emergency door markings are all there and difficult to read even with a magnifying glass as they are to scale. The lighting and chrome front decoration is all very neatly moulded and highlighted. The rear small lower red lights could have been better centred when printing but as everything else is spot on it is acceptable. I am impressed with the number plates with the silver on black printing and the realistic size and spacing of the letters and numbers .

Most of my previous Oxford buses/coaches have had poorly aligned rear wheel sets but I have either been luck this time or Oxford are improving the quality of their fitting.

All in all an excellent model and great value for money at the price it sells for in the UK.


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Oxford Diecast 1:43 scale June 2017

By Maz Woolley

 

Oxford are now starting to catch up with models remaining from release 1/2017. The two featured in this post are new Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin castings. These models have been diecast in Oxford’s Chinese factory to 1:43 scale.

43EMP001 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Hooper Empress

 

The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud was available to coach-builders as a long wheelbase chassis. In this case that car was built by Hooper on a 1957 chassis fitted with the final version of the straight six designed by W O Bentley. It was in the Empress style that they had used on Silver Wraiths and Daimlers previously. This time the front wings came to a peak to give the body a more up to date look than the earlier models.

Only 18 Cars were built by Hooper in this style on the Silver Cloud LWB chassis. It is one of the last creations made by the Hooper Coachbuilding Company before they ceased coach building in 1959.

This style of bodywork was captured by Quaralu, a French company in the 1960s in a diecast mode that has since been reproduced as a replica. Until now I believe that only ATC have produced it to modern standards in a rather more expensive resin model.

The Oxford model just shows how well they make this type of car. The flush fit windows are excellent as is the grille and all the separately fitted light lenses.

The wheels are good as are all the lovely tampo printed coachlines, badging and number plates. there is even a modest level of detail; on the baseplate. Inside there are wood effect dash and door cappings, a good steering wheel, and printed instrumentation and door fittings. The chrome fittings are excellent too. Bumpers, interior and exterior mirrors, number plate surrounds, grille and even the Spirit of Ecstacy are all neatly moulded and “plated”. The mascot may be a little overscale but this is common on models as otherwise it becomes vulnerable to breakage.

The colours it is painted are accurate for the car as it can be seen on the Internet, but for those who  do not like brown this car will be part of Release 2017/2 in two tone blue.

In summary an excellent model from Oxford at a very competitive price.


AMZ001 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato 2 VEV

 

The only way most of us will ever be able to own a DB4GT Zagato will be to buy a model. The last one sold at auction sold for over nine million UK pounds. An excellent return on investment as the car cost  £5,470 when new.

The DB4/GT was originally built to allow Aston Martin to take on Ferrari in the World Sports Car Championship, but with its Italian rival having a competitive edge Aston sent its car to Carrozzeria Zagato, with the instruction to maximise its performance. Ercole Spada at Zagato lead the work to lighten and streamline the car.  In search of weight reduction many steel components were replaced by aluminium parts and all non-essential elements like bumpers were removed. It was 100 pounds lighter, more aerodynamic and was fitted with a highly tuned engine and could reach around 153mph. 19 DB4/GTs were created by Zagato. The best known DB4 GT Zagatos are affectionately known by the registration plates they share, of ‘1 VEV’ and ‘2 VEV’. These were raced under the John Ogier’s Essex Racing Stable with assistance from the Aston Martin factory. Both the Zagatos raced in the 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans. However a repeat of the 1959 Le Mans victory was not to be, with both cars retiring. In July 1961 at a British Grand Prix Support race the Zagato had its first victory. With ‘2 VEV’ taking the last lap lead from a Jaguar E Type. ‘2 VEV’, which is modelled here by Oxford, crashed heavily at Spa in 1962 and had to be rebuilt and was modified in the process however that process was reversed when after a road accident in 1993 it was returned to 1962 specification.

Examining pictures on the Internet Oxford seem to have captured the profile of the car extremely well. I am particularly impressed by the lovely windows again flush fitted and with printed frames. The lights are all separate plastic inserts other than some small printed reflectors at the rear and are all nicely done. The grille and the tiny printed badging again deserves praise.

However, I have to point out three areas where I think that the model is not as good as it could be which lets down the otherwise lovely model. The first is the printed chrome surround for the headlights. As can be seen in the photograph below the printed line is actually quite some way from the plastic lens that the chrome is supposed to surround on the lower inner section and it is overscale as well which merely brings attention to the issue. Some Oxford publicity pictures showed the model without the printed chrome and that looks much better.

The second is that the model sits too high at the rear giving a “jacked up” stance as can be seen in the photograph below.

The third is the wheel rims which have bits of silver finish missing on one wheel which really needs to be resolved as this is not the first time I have seen this on an Oxford model.

My conclusion is that the faults mean that this model though still value for money is not as good as it could have been. It could have been as good as the Rolls-Royce with a little more care and attention.


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Oxford Diecast Release 2 2017

By Maz Woolley

 

Oxford Diecast has announced their second release programme for 2017. These models can be expected to reach us starting later in 2017. As ever there is a significant amount of new tooling announced in this release as well as some nice new colours and liveries on existing models. At present only drawings are available of these models which I have not included here but which may be seen on the Release 2017/2 area of the Oxford website https://www.oxforddiecast.co.uk

Please note that we have yet to see all of the models from release 2017/1 yet but the models outstanding are expected in the near future.

1:43 Scale

Release 2017/1 had a lot of new 1:43 scale models included so  it is no surprise that there are fewer new castings but there is a new TX5 Taxi which will be popular with tourists as well as collectors. The Ford 400E will be on its 17th release but the livery this time is authentic and attractive as it is Lotus Racing Services. It will be a fine model to place alongside old Formula One cars.

43AK017 Austin Threeway Van Civil Service Stores
43AMZ003 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Red
43ASS006 Austin Seven RN Saloon Light Grey
43EMP002 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud/Hooper Empress Two Tone Blue
43FDE017 Ford 400E Van Lotus
43LR3S002 Land Rover Series III SWB Hard Top AA
43RSC002 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I Black
43RSD002 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Two Tone Grey
43RUB002 Austin Ruby Saloon Dark Blue
43TX5001 TX5 Taxi Black

1:72 Scale

Oxford produces several ranges of aircraft models with different degrees of detail and price. The Twin Beech is a new casting and should make a fine model.

72BE001 Twin Beech G-BKGM – Bristol Airways
72DR015 DH89 Dragon Rapide X7454 USAAF – Wee Wullie
72DV005 DH104 Devon WB534 RAF Transport Command

AC079 Mustang P51D Sweet Arlene – 2nd Lt Arthur Reed Bowers
AC080 Arado AR196 D-IHQI Prototype 1938
AC084 Me163b Komet White 54 – 14JG 400 Niemcy 1945
AC085 Junkers Ju87 T6+DP 6 St.G2 Immelmann Libya 1941
AC086 Spitfire 1A N3277 Luftwaffe

1:76 Scale

Oxford has again released new castings in this scale. This scale covers several different ranges. Fire, Police and Ambulance vehicles are now to be combined into a single Oxford Emergency range going forward.

New castings include three cars: BMW Isetta, BMW M3 Coupe E92, and a Triumph TR7 roadster. In vans we get a Morris J4 Post Van. Construction gets a JCB 3CX which should be a very popular seller for diorama builders. A Leyland Octopus lorry with articulated box trailer in vintage Tesco markings is a new Lorry in this scale. Finally we will see the first two releases of the new Sherman Tank here in regimental markings. Interestingly the Sherman being produced as a load for an Oxford Rail wagon is unmarked and has a wooden box on its rear.

Quite a range of models for just one part years release.

76ACC007 Pallet/Loads Reckitts Starch * 4
76ACC008 Pallet/Loads Pratts Motor Oil * 4
76AH3005 Austin Healey 3000 Metallic Golden Beige
76AMDB9003 Aston Martin DB9 Coupe Cobalt Blue
76AMV003 Aston Martin Vanquish Coupe Quantum Silver
76ASS006 Austin Seven Saloon Light Grey
76ATKL004 Atkinson Cattle Truck J Haydon & Sons
76BED007 Bedford J1 Ambulance Dundalk Fire Service
76BI003 Beadle Integral East Yorkshire
76CAV003 Vauxhall Cavalier China Blue
76CDS005 Citroen DS19 Monte Carlo Blue/Aubergine
76COR1008 Ford Cortina MkI Lombard Grey/Red
76COR3008 Ford Cortina MkIII Strato Silver
76CRE009 Vauxhall Cresta Venetian Red/Polar White
76CT006 Citroen 2CV Charleston Cormorant Grey/Midnight Grey
76DT006 Diamond T Ballast Wynns
76DXF002 DAF XF Euro 6 Curtainside Wrefords
76DXF003 DAF XF William Armstrong Livestock Trailer
76ETYP010 Jaguar E Type Coupe Bluebird Blue (Donald Campbell)
76FB006 Vauxhall FB Victor Cactus Green
76FF006 Ford Fiesta Mk1 Terracotta
76FSR005 Fowler Steam Roller No.18873 City of Truro
76HI003 Hillman Imp Firebrand Red
76IR6003 Irizar i6 The Kings Ferry
76IS001 BMW Isetta Signal Red
76J4001 Morris J4 Van Royal Mail
76JCX001 JCB 3CX (1980s) JCB
76LAN180003 Land Rover Series I 80″ Open Top AA
76LAN2017 Land Rover Series II LWB Hard Top RAC Radio Patrol
76LO001 Leyland Octopus Box Trailer Tesco
76LRD008 Land Rover Discovery 3 Rimini Red Metallic
6M3001 BMW M3 Coupe E92 Mineral White
76MGB008 MGB Roadster Mineral Blue
76MM059 Morris 1000 Van British Rail
76MN008 Mini Surf Blue/Old English White
76MWD007 Bedford MWD 2 Corps 1/7th Middlesex Regiment France 1940
76QLD006 Bedford QLD Wiltshire Fire Brigade
76S94004CC Scania 94D 6 Wheel Curtainside Coca Cola
76SET07B Triple Morris Minor
76SET10B Triple Tractor Set
76SET14A 5 Piece Jaguar Collection
76SET17E Land Rover 5 Piece Set
76SET35A VW Bay Window Set Van/Bus/Camper
76SET51 3 Piece Rolls Royce Set
76SET52 5 Piece Volvo Set
76SHP005 Sherpa Van RAF
76SHP006 Sherpa Minibus Wynns
76SM001 Sherman Tank MK III 10th Armoured Division 1942
76SM002 Sherman Tank MK III Royal Scots Greys Italy 1943
76TAC004 TACR2 RAF St.Mawgan
76TP005 Triumph 2500 Russet Brown
76TR4003 Triumph TR4 New White
76TR7001 Triumph TR7 Convertible Triton Green
76VW027 VW Bay Window Camper Savannah Beige/White
76VW028 VW Bay Window Bus/Surfboards Lime Green/White
76VWB008 VW Beetle Lotus White
76VWY006 Vauxhall Wyvern Metallichrome Green
76WO005 Wolseley 18/85 Black/Ivory
76ZEP010 Ford Zephyr Purbeck Grey

1:87 Scale

All models released are re-colours of the models first released earlier this year.  The Highway Patrol model is a nice addition.

87BC55003 Buick Century 1955 California Highway Patrol
87BS36003 Buick Special Convertible Coupe 1936 Cardinal Maroon
87CN57003 Chevrolet Nomad 1957 Surf Green/India Ivory
87CP65003 Chevrolet Stepside Pick Up 1965 Maroon Metallic

1:148 Scale

Oxford has gone into overdrive producing models to this scale. Introductions include the Churchill Tank, Ford 400E, Hillman Imp,  Lightweight Land Rover, Jaguar XF, and Burlington Seagull,

NBSA008 Motorbike & Sidecar RAF Blue
NCHT001 Churchill Tank Kingforce
NFDE001 Ford 400E Van British Rail
NFT022 Ford Transit Mk5 Network Rail Response Unit
NHI001 Hillman Imp Willow Green
NXF001 Oxford Jaguar XF Carnelian Red
NLAN188020 Land Rover Series I 88″ Canvas REME
NLRL001 Land Rover Lightweight United Nations
NMB006 Mercedes Actros Curtainside Sparks
NNR005 New Routemaster Propercorn
NPB008 Commer PB Royal Mail
NSEA001 Burlingham Seagull Wallace Arnold
NSFE007 Scania Pump Ladder Surrey F & R
NSHL03TK Scania Highline Tanker Eddie Stobart
NTCAB005 Scania T Cab Tipper Tinnelly
NTRAC004 Fordson Tractor Matt Grey
NTRAIL006 Mobile Trailer Buns on Wheels
NVOL4003 Volvo FH4 Curtainside Knowles

Oxford Structures

Bachmann and Hornby already make 1:76 scale buildings in painted resin for railway modellers and Oxford has decided to join them with a range of railway structures based on structures of the Great Western Railway. In addition a range of shops, houses and a Church will also be made.

This is an interesting venture from Oxford and I suspect that its success will depend upon whether they sell them for a lower price than the equivalents from Bachmann and Hornby.

 


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Oxford Firenza 1800SL

By Maz Woolley

 

Oxford Diecast have now launched a Vauxhall Firenza 1800SL to 1:43 scale to complement the 2300SL which appeared a few months ago. Although the models are very similar the 2300SL had additional instruments on the dashboard. The SL was the highest specification available initially until the “droop snoot” appeared in Magnum form.

The Firenza (Florence) was a two door coupé built on the chassis of the HC Viva and was also assembled in South Africa as the Chevrolet Firenza.  It was a conventional four cylinder inline rear wheel drive car and the British equivalent of the Opel Kadett Coupé.

 

Like the previous blue 2300SL the car is very neatly painted and finished with badging and chrome nicely printed. Grille and lights are excellent all round. There is no photo-etch and some items like door handles are moulded in but at Oxford’s retail prices one would not expect anything else.

The wheels fitted to the real car are again well done and the rubber tyres are excellent.

So are there any criticisms: only that the left hand rear light cluster could be straighter. All in all a very good model and I hope that Oxford are set up to produce a “droop snoot” at a later date and a Viva HC.


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Oxford Diecast DB2 Mark III DHC

By Maz Woolley

 

Oxford Diecast‘s Aston Martin Drop Head Coupe to 1:43 scale has now reached the shops to complement the model already seen in 1:76 scale. This model has been made in Oxford’s Chinese factory. The DB2 Mark III Saloon with its hatchback has already been issued in 1:43 by Oxford.

The Aston Martin DB2 Mark III was made between 1957 and 1959 and used the straight six engine originally designed by W O Bentley for Lagonda developed by Tadek Marek.  Capable of around 120MPH it was a fast and beautifully built sports car with a price which ensured that only the wealthy could afford one.

The Oxford model is beautiful capturing the stance of the original and the racing green paint is even and glossy. The plastic hood is a good matt finish and all the tampo printing and badging is neat. Oxford number plate s often have strangely compressed letters and numbers but those on this model look authentic. The interior has wood effect dash board and printed instrumentation which suggests that we may see on open convertible at some point.

The grille is excellent and captures the original car’s fine mesh well. The wire wheels are Oxford’s paint on a clear disk which looks convincing when viewed at a slight angle.

Regular reader’s will be aware of my frustration with some of Oxford’s recent releases but here I find no fault. This modestly priced 1:43 scale model is as good as many in ranges costing very much more.


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Land Rover Lightweight – The Compact Land Rover

By John Quilter

All photographs by the Author except for the photograph of the real vehicle. 

 

By Dennis Elzinga (Land Rover Lightweight) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Land Rover enthusiasts may be unaware of a somewhat obscure, at least in the USA, Land Rover known as the Lightweight or AKA, Air Portable. Back in the early 1960s the British Army was using Westland Wessex helicopters often based on commando carriers. Their need was for a 4×4 vehicle that could be carried slung on a pallet underneath these helicopters. The early helicopters weight carrying capacity was rated at 2500 pounds. That was less than the existing Series II 88 inch wheelbase Land Rovers. So the diligent Land Rover engineers set about getting the weight down to tap into this new market niche. This was accomplished by narrowing the body and chassis by 4 inches and fitting narrower axles front and rear. The engine remained the trusty 2.25 litre petrol or diesel four cylinder. The diet consisted of redesigned front fenders which along with the doors, hood, windscreen, tilt hoops and upper sheet metal were removable. What exactly was done with the removable panels when the vehicle was in use is unclear. The best efforts of the LR engineers was able to get the weight down to 2650 pounds, still too heavy but luckily by then the Wessex helicopter rated carrying capacity was increased to accommodate this figure.

Initial production began in November 11, 1968. These were the Series IIA versions with a typical mesh grill. The front fenders and hood were the most notable styling differences. The entire concept put this Air Portable version much closer to the old WWII American Jeep. Width was five feet and the tires were either 6.50 X 16 or 7.50 X 16. The electrical system was 24 volt. Many were sold to NATO and were used in non RHD territories so some were made as LHD and some were even specified with the Land Rover 2.25 diesel, particularly but not exclusively the Dutch ones. In total the military in over 20 countries used these unique Land Rovers.

After about 1,500 to 2,000 were made the standard Series IIA was superseded by the Series III in 1972 and the Lightweight followed suit with some upgrades. Most notable is the use of the trapezoidal shaped plastic grill which also probably saved another pound or two. These units got the new advanced gearbox with synchromesh in second, third and fourth gear and some, particularly those used for radio communications tasks, were fitted with 24 volt electrics with alternators. In around 1980 the engine got two more main bearings bringing it up to modern standards.

As an interesting note, back in about 1965 the British Motor Corporation launched the Austin Mini Moke, a sort of utility version based on the ubiquitous Austin Morris Mini. This vehicle was offered to the UK military, and even to the US Army, as a helicopter portable vehicle. At less than 900 pounds it was well within the air portable weight limits. In fact, carrying two would be quite possible. Unfortunately, this micro sized utility vehicle was only 2 wheel drive and with only 10 inch tires was sorely lacking in ground clearance. Of course at only 900 pounds, four beefy solders could probably boost it out of any mired in the mud situation. Nevertheless, when the military took issue with the lack of four wheel drive, BMC pressed on by designing the Twini, which was a twin engined version, one engine in front and one in the rear thus achieving the 4 X 4 requirement albeit with considerably more complexity. Still, the UK and US Army did not buy it, but for students of British Leyland history one of the prototypes is carefully preserved at the British Motor Heritage Museum at Gaydon in the UK.

Now to accommodate collectors of really miniature Land Rovers in 1:43 scale, two scale model makers have introduced replicas of these Lightweights. For those unfamiliar with 1:43 scale it is, in this writers opinion the gold standard of miniature vehicle collecting largely because of the incredible variety of vehicles replicated in this size. These two Lightweights measure about 3.37 inches in length. Not one, but two separate model makers are now producing these. Best of Show (also known as BoS) a brand name of Model Car World based in Florsheim, Germany (www.BoS-Models.de) make the dark green Series III shown which has a hardtop in cream to match the wheels.

This version appears to be a civilian version as there are no military markings or extra external equipment fitted. Given its “light weight” this item appears to be made in resin, now a common modelling material used by many of the Chinese makers of scale models. As with all the Lightweight Land Rovers the spare tire is on the bonnet held in place with three straps. The grille is the Series III plastic type and the head lamps are mounted outboard on the wings along with the side and indicator lamps.

A glance at the undercarriage shows front and rear axles on half elliptic leaf springs, and two propshafts and an exhaust system with a transverse rear silencer and tail pipe exiting on the left rear. There are seats for three across in the front with the driving position being RHD. The rear could accommodate another four on inward facing seats. This item is sold under the product code BOS43670.


Now moving on to the other version made by Oxford Diecast of the UK (www.oxforddiecast.co.uk) this is in United Nations livery in olive drab color with a lighter green fabric tilt. This is a Series IIa and clearly a military type with a shovel attached to the rear. Again, RHD but with only two individual seats in the front and no apparent seats in the rear. Union Jack decals appear on the bonnet and tail panel plus UNITED NATIONS and their logo on the flanks. The registration plate 5412 FL 91, is part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

Judging by Oxford Diecast’s prior business practices, over time they make many versions of a given model cleverly using the base casting but with many colors, liveries and differing features. This United Nations one is just one of many that are planned, this one is marketed under their product code Product Code: 43LRL001. The tooling for this model, will be used to produce it with a Canvas back and also a hard back with and without side windows. The version without side windows will have a full rear door but the one with side windows has a tailgate and half door. Oxford have also produced a large number of extra parts – signs, battery boxes, beacons etc to enable them to release the model in a number of different liveries.

The subject of this report is the first model of this type produced by Oxford and is in a UN livery. Check the Oxford Diecast website for future versions later this year and in 2018. Indications are that this will be followed by two hard back models in Military Police and the RAF Red Arrows livery. Images can be found on the internet by model number 43LRL001/2/3 etc.

Building a collection of miniature Land Rovers can be almost as much fun as collecting the 1:1 versions and best of all, they require no registration or insurance and generally don’t need the mud washed off.

Editor: For anyone who is interested in Lightweight Land Rovers and who hasn’t the space for the 1:43 versions Oxford are also producing UN and Military Police versions of this in 1:76 scale these are scheduled for release in the first half of 2017.


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Oxford Diecast – TR4 and Super Imp

By Maz Woolley

 

This post looks at two new 1:76 scale diecast models made by Oxford Diecast in their Chinese factory for the UK.

76TR4001 Triumph TR4

This is the first release of this casting and Oxford have captured the car really well. Particularly good are the front grille and the printed Triumph logos and badges. The silver finisher on the top of the front wings is well printed as are the rear lights. Inside the dashboard is painted wood coloured and has some moulded features but no printed instruments.  The wheels are solid but the moulded in wires are more convincing than on some Oxfords, and with a black wash added may be very respectable.

If I have one criticism it is of the front headlights which appear over large, probably because the rims are not inscribed and I think that they should be more deeply recessed too. Otherwise a very acceptable model.


 

76HI002 Hillman Imp

This second Imp model from Oxford is modelled as the later Hillman Super Imp launched in 1965 and produced up until the end of Imp production in 1976. This car had a slightly improved upholstery and interior and more rubbing strips on the outside as well as a different front and rear moulding.  The Oxford catches all the extra external detail well with lovely badging but it falls down in some areas. First the wheels are too far apart and hence stick out from the body. Secondly they need white painted rims as these seem to feature on most of the cars shown in period photographs. Readers please note that the white rims shown on the model photographed have been added by the Author and are not present on the model as shipped by Oxford. The final issue is the placement of the front moulding which is printed much too high completely spoiling the effect. The top of the moulding should stop half way up the headlights not three-quarters of the way up.

I find it very frustrating that Oxford’s nice print of the front moulding has been positioned too high. A little more care and attention to detail in the factory would have made this model one of my favourites rather than one that is “nearly right”.

 


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