Category Archives: Readers Letters and Comments

Mick Haven’s memories of Robin Allen

Mick Haven is a member of SHMAC and contributor to MAR Online. Here are his thoughts after hearing that Robin Allen of the SHMAC club passed away on Saturday  23rd June.

It isn’t often I’m lost for a word or two, but in such circumstances it really is difficult and I know that other members of SHMAC will echo my feelings. Having only been a club member since 2005, it was a while before I knew of Robin’s standing and history with the club. Consequently, members of longer standing are better placed to write about him from that perspective.

Life can throw up some funny strange quirks, and it did so in my early acquaintance with him. At the time I joined, he wasn’t a regular attendee at our Monthly club night, so I didn’t get to know him that well at first. In 2009 I had started to work for the local car dealership which still gives me work. Unbeknown to me Robin worked as a vehicle inspector at what was then Portsmouth D.V.L.A. where he stayed until its closure in 2013.   One of the tasks that I undertook was to go to the D.V.L.A. for vehicle licencing matters. It was during one of these visits that I noticed a person at the back of the office who looked familiar. It was Robin. Unfortunately due to where he stood, behind a security window, I couldn’t attract his attention.

Subsequent visits would prove more fruitful and I would see him more often. If I’m honest, I never shared his passion for his 1 to 1 scale collection and I never saw his model collection which I believe was extensive to put it mildly. That doesn’t detract from the fact that both were absolutely amazing. At club nights, there was no telling what he would arrive in, it could be a Mercedes-Benz, or a D.K.W,, or a Beetle, including the one modelled by Corgi. All were immaculate.

As for his submissions at club nights where we take along monthly themed models for members to vote on, there was no telling what he would bring. Many were rarities, and he was a mine of information about all of them. His knowledge of his collection was top drawer.

His passing is a sad loss not only for his fellow club members but for the collecting fraternity as a whole, in which he had many friends.

R.I.P. Rob, it was good to know you.


Readers Letter – Greenlight Window fixings

Greenlight Window Fixings

What is your verdict on the way Greenlight has attempted to engineer flush side windows on the 1939 Chevrolet vans?

I don’t care for the engineering solution. Flush glazing yes, but not at the cost of overall appearance. Thinner wall castings getting windows closer to where they should be like Matchbox did some 55 years ago is still better in my mind!

Robin Godwin
via eMail

Editor: I didn’t mention this in the article on these models, to be found here, as I only looked closely at it when Robin drew it to my attention. But he is right the fixing is extremely clumsy and when the model is in a light colour it is also very obvious as shown in photographs below where arrows point to new fixings intruding visually. The flush fittings being increasingly used by PCT/Sonic and Oxford with the side glazing being fitted into side from inside with all frames printed on is vastly superior. Or as Robin says if the casting is fine enough then the gap is scarcely noticeable anyway. I hope GL find a better solution for future castings. What do you think?

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

MAR Magazine Collection on Offer

Offer made 15/3/2018

Simon Matthews has contacted us. He is moving house and would like to sell his collection of MAR magazines. He says that they are in excellent condition having been read and then stored in boxes.  He has issues 1-204 with the exception of issues 3,4,13 & 193.

Simon travels around the UK on business so it may be possible for him to meet any prospective buyer at a mutually convenient point to pass them on.

If you wish to talk to Simon about acquiring these magazines please send an email to or use our contact form from the menu bar and we will pass on your details to Simon.

Readers Letter: The Corniche is closed!

To the Editor: The Oxford Diecast 1:76 Corniche

I read somewhere that all the Oxford Diecast 1:76 scale Rolls-Royce Corniche models will be top-up, whilst the 1:43 scale versions will be a mix of top-up and top-down. The first two releases in 1:43 are top-down indigo blue and top-up persian sand.

Andrew Davies
By via Facebook

Editors note: When reminded I too seem to remember a comment somewhere that it was not worth tooling up to allow both versions to be made in 1:76. I would have thought that the plastic tops, as used in the coach models and elsewhere, would have been a practical way to achieve that with two different top inserts to allow top-up or top-down versions. The hood up version is certainly a single metal casting which does make it less likely that a top-down model will be made as it would need a second complete casting to be developed.

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

Readers Letter – re: DeAgostini Dinky Article

To the Editor: The next DeAgostini Model

The next model in the series will not be the Renault Dauphine that they showed on the back of the magazine and as you stated in your article. It will actually be a white Fiat 600 according to the addendum leaflet which was in the Magazine package with my XK120.

Incidentally, I still have my much loved and battered olive green Dinky Toys No157 Jaguar XK120 from Christmas 1954. No box of course. In the Mid 1980s I bought another mint unboxed XK120 to sit alongside it’s playworn ‘mate’.

I have to say that I probably won’t purchase any more of the series beyond the initial five which I’ve obtained from our local newsagent. The Bedford Kodak van was another memory jerker for me. My childhood Dinky Toys and Corgis all went at my mother’s suggestion(!) when I started work at the age of 16. Like others in similar circumstances I regret flogging off a really nice bunch of models.

Kind regards,

Ian Hunt
Redhill (By Email)

Editor: Thanks for drawing my attention to that Ian. I had not even noticed the paper which was inserted into my copy too. So collectors will have to wait for the Dauphine Minicab but will get a Fiat 600 instead in white/cream. That is interesting because it looks identical to the model issued by Atlas and DeAgostini have said they would not use the same colours as Atlas….  

Volkswagen Variations

By Mike Allen

Photograph by, and copyright of, the Author.

Whilst the UK the Atlas Dinky collection included a Volkswagen Beetle it was as a replica of 262 Swiss Postal Service. #181 did appear in a light blue with chrome spun hubs in the Atlas Dinky continental collection but not in the UK series.  DeAgostini are now selling number 4 in their new Dinky series here in the UK, and yet again #181 appears but this time in the standard cast hubs  as it appeared in Italy. My picture below shows the two versions of #181 Volkswagen together.

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Jello and Chips- Part Two

By Robin Godwin

Except where otherwise acknowledged all pictures are by the Author.

In January 2018, I wrote an article on General Foods CanadaFamous Car Picture Wheels” and mentioned that there was a second series of coins produced perhaps a year or two later – “Famous Aircraft of the World.” This series must have been produced in 1962 or 1963, as the last entries in the series are the De Havilland Trident and John Glenn’s Friendship 7 Mercury Capsule, both from 1962 (Glenn was the first US Astronaut to orbit the earth in Feb 1962).

The main difference with the aircraft series is that they are organized by role rather than era. The photos clearly show the roles represented, with role exceptions being the first 25 coins, called “Pioneers” which includes a bit of Greek mythology, and the final 25, called “Others” which includes missiles, gyroplanes and hovercraft. There are only a few helicopters that appear in the “Transports” section, but I’m surprised they didn’t warrant their own section.

The booklet was compiled and written by James A. Hornick, a noted Canadian Aviation journalist at the time. Illustrations were done by Don Watt.

The back of the Aircraft coins includes the Hostess (Chips) brand name, which was missing from the Car wheels (see photo in my earlier article).

Image from the Web

So this is another great little bit of nostalgic collectability from the 60s. If you are interested in seeing more coins you can “Google” “famous aircraft of the world jello coins” and look for the Google images.

The full carousel of 200 airplane coins, colour coded by role/theme. Note “partially cloudy” blue sky colour

Detailed 76 page booklet with descriptions and specifications for each coin. There is also a section at the back explaining aerodynamics, with some expanded detail on aircraft structures and engines. Booklet and carousel were mail-order items from General Foods

Initial coin for each role as identified at top of coin

Who would have known back in 1962 or 1963 when the author was 12 that he would serve in the Canadian Air Force for his whole career, and among others, fly each type shown here. The Link Trainer was in use when I went through pilot selection in Toronto in 1973. I’d like to say that these coins provided inspiration for my later career, but they had been in storage and forgotten in my parents attic for years when I joined the Air Force.

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

More Police Cars

By Peter Wyatt

In my previous post, I promised to show a few police cars from my collection. Except for one, they are all a nominal 1/43 scale.

The first one is a Corgi Mini van with dog and handler.

Corgi Vanguards Vauxhall Velox

Corgi Vanguards Triumph Dolomite

Dinky Humber Hawk. This car has the number plate of PC 49.

Corgi Zephyr Estate

Mersey Tunnel police Land Rover

Corgi Hillman Imp. As was common on some Corgi models, the rear suspension on this model is broken.

Metosul VW

Dinky Ford Zodiac

Morestone Wolsley police car. This one is the size of a Matchbox toy.

Vanguards Austin 1800 diplomatic protection unit

Corgi Riley Pathfinder

Dinky Range Rover

Corgi Chevrolet. This is my only American police car!

Finally, here is my Dinky police phone box.  I hope you enjoyed these photos.


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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.

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Two Favorites in One

By Frank Koh

Playlist for Tonight:
1. Sergio Mendes' Favorite Things, Atlantic Records, 1968.
2. T.N. Nomura Tin Battery-Operated "Bump 'n Go" 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS, Japan, 1968

For me, this 1968 Sergio Mendes solo album (sans Brazil 66) on the Atlantic Records label (not one of the more well-known A&M releases) is truly The Carefree Sixties on Vinyl. The upbeat title cut “My Favorite Things” and the sultry interpretation of “I Say a Little Prayer” are the best of the early works of Mr. Mendes. Arranged and conducted by Dave Grusin, I might add.

The T.N. Nomura bump-‘n-go tin Camaro is not only exceptionally realistic and well-scaled (close to 1/18) for a sixties tin toy, it is feature-packed as well. It’s got lights that actually work, and though the headlight doors don’t open like on the real car, they are actually “see-thru”, and that’s genuinely sixties-cool. It also has a horn that makes squeaking sounds like those silly toddlers’ shoes that annoy everyone within twenty feet of those little brats that love to wear them.

Why did I create this playlist?

I practically “grew up on a diet of Bossa Nova” and other wonderful types of music, and Sergio Mendes has always been a personal favorite. I have also loved first generation Camaros since they debuted during the 1967 model year. In fact, I have owned two of them.  So the year 1968 ties it all together!

Here’s my latest project car, a full scale 1968 RS/SS tribute car, which coincidentally, we shot in its original Butternut Yellow color.

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