Category Archives: Universal Hobbies

Small French Cars from Universal Hobbies Part Two

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

This article is the second in a short series looking back at models UH made to 1:87 scale which were included in a French partwork: The Golden Age of French Cars which was produced in about 2009. The first part featured the Citroën Traction and can be found hereThis partwork had a case holding two 1:87 models of different versions of the same car.  These models were all diecast in metal in China for France and are fitted with a nice turning key type fixing that allows them to be easily removed from the case for display. The models from this series that I will look at in this article are Peugeot 204s.

Peugeot 204 1965

The first is a plain car from 1965 when the car was launched. Over one and a half million were produced by the time production stopped in 1976. From 1969 to 1971 it was the best selling car on the French market. The design by Pininfarina was a scaled down version of the larger 304. The end result is slightly “dumpy” which is not helped in the case of the model by fact the casting is lacking in crispness and the ride height is too high.

The chrome window surrounds accentuate the fact that the casting is quite deep and windows are not flush. A complaint often made on some of Oxford Diecast‘s models even today. The side trim is printed on in a slightly heavy manner and the white paint “splits” on the panel lines.

The front grille and the printed 204 are neat and the separate lenses for the lights is nice, but the lights are not always mounted straight as can be seen above.

The rather plain rear is well caught and the rear lights are nice little separate units.

The wheels are pretty good with rubber tyres and overall it is a good model that captures the original well but far from the best in the series.

Peugeot 204 1967 Esso

Here we have the same casting as an Esso Press Car in “tiger” livery.  Unlike the Citroëns featured in the last article both cars use identical castings this time.

The side view shows the printed markings and Press Marking.

The same front but straight headlights this time.

At the rear the printed badging is different reflecting minor changes between 1965 and 1967.

Somehow the disruptive visual effect caused by the striping makes this look a larger car than the plain one but it is an optical illusion.


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Small French cars from Universal Hobbies

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Universal Hobbies seem to be primarily known today for the production of scale models of Agricultural and Construction machinery. But in the past they were active in making models to be used in partwork series, many in the James Bond series were from UH as were many 1:43 scale French partwork models. Today their 1:43 scale tractors have been used in a recent tractors partwork as well as sold in UH Packaging They also make larger tractors in 1:32 scale to compete with Britains and others.

This article is the start of a short series looking back at models UH made to 1:87 scale which were included in a French partwork: The Golden Age of French Cars which was produced in about 2009. Partworks are traditionally based upon 1:43 scale models which  are large enough for the public to see them as worthy of the cover price and not to bulky for the newstrade and delivery firms to cope with. So this partwork with a cover case holding two 1:87 models of different versions of the same car was a novelty. Having two cars did address the issue of perceived value but perhaps it was not a success as it has not been repeated and the models are still available new in France without the magazine that once came with them.

These models were all diecast in metal in China for France and are fitted with a nice turning key type fixing that allows them to be easily removed from the case for display. The first models from this series that I will look at are the classic  Citroën Tractions.

Citroën Traction 7A 1934

 

The original Traction Avant was a small saloon car powered by a 1,300cc engine. It was designated 7A  and about 7,000 were made of this model with only one wiper and where all luggage had to be loaded  from the inside as there was no opening boot. The front doors were front hinged.

The model captures a car shown on the Internet in a car museum very well though that like that car the model has two wipers. Maybe that was an option or was fitted to some of the last 7As to be produced. The two tone grey and black colours are authentic and the grille and horns has been very well reproduced as have all the bonnet side fitments. The wheels are quite simple but so were the originals with a very small silver coloured hub cap contrasting to black wheel and tyre.

The rear is neatly finished with the two filler caps fitted until 1935 moulded in and highlighted in silver. The spare tyre cover is neatly painted in black with the small silver centre cap printed on. The rear lights are printed well capturing the slightly oval shape they had well.

Citroën Traction 11 légère FFI 1944

 

The 11 was built in two versions and the one that UH have modelled here is the 11BL (“légère”, or “light”), which was the same size as the 7 CV. Whilst it was similar to the 7A there were actually quite a few differences which means that UH had to produce two different castings. In 1935 the front grille was part painted and not entirely plated and the headlight covers were restyled. The changes at the back were more practical and involved an opening boot lid, re-positioned rear number plate and a single fuel filler cap. In 1936 the suspension was revised and rack and pinion steering fitted.

The UH model incorporates a new front bumper, and a  modified grille and wheels. The painting is the markings of the Free French who took over France as the allied invasion of Europe pushed the Nazis out of France. The 11 in this form has been modelled by others including Solido in 1:18 scale and Edicola, as well as UH, in 1:43 scale.

The modifications to the rear are all fully incorporated including the boot opening lines and handles and the relocated number plate.

Whilst the models in this series are not as finely moulded or detailed as Brekina or Herpa they are quite acceptable perhaps on a  par with an average Oxford Diecast 1:76 scale model.


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Leyland Sherpa Conversions

By John Quilter

 

Leyland Sherpa Van - James Bond

John’s photographs of his conversions may be seen at the end of the article.

There was a partworks issue of vehicles in James Bond 007 movies and one of them was a circa 1980 Sherpa van in telephone service truck livery from the movie “The Spy that Loved Me” as seen above.   Since these are interesting diecast models in accurate 1:43 scale I have collected a number of them over the past years although they have to be purchased from Europe via EBay since the partworks series is not offered in the USA.  The Sherpa range was a product of British Leyland and was made in many versions for many years and in fact there is an Auto Review book on them by Rod Ward.  AUTO REVIEW AR61 The Sherpa Story.

There were minibus versions, a pickup plus others.   Since the partworks models are reasonably priced I acquired a few extras and converted one into a minibus and one into a pickup.   They were distributed by GE Fabbri Limited and these particular ones were made by Universal Hobbies although others are IXO products.    One of the things one has to consider with the this series is some come with “movie damage” and the Sherpa was one of these with a dented bonnet and right hand door as the picture of the unmodified van shown in the picture.   When I did the conversions I “repaired” this damage bringing the model to as new condition.   The minibus conversion required drilling out the side and plenty of filing the holes  into the correct shape windows.  The glazing was with clear plastic shaped to fit.  I was lucky to have a few Sherpa sales brochures to assist me in accuracy.   The interior needs to be modified to include some additional seats which I made out of styrene plastic.   Most of these 007 vehicles come with figures and if you are not using them in a particular project they make great additions to other models.

The Pickup required cutting off the upper rear body and fabricating a tailgate, bed floor and cab back.  So now I have three versions of the Leyland Sherpa small commercial vehicle to add to my British vehicle model collection.

1980 Sherpas #1e

1980 Sherpas #2e

1980 Sherpas #3e


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