By Maz Woolley
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
This the second in a short series of articles based upon the Author’s recent visit to the London Toyfair, a large trade show featuring toys of all kinds, where vehicle models for the UK market are shown by wholesale importers as well as Hornby and Corgi. The first article can be found here.
The article today looks at the Hornby stand and in particular the Corgi Toys area. The largest displays on the stand are from Airfix,Hornby and Scalextric. There were both a railway layout with a Hogwarts theme and a racing track provided to show off the products. The Hogwarts rail layout featured the Wamping Willow from the Harry Potter films with an Oxford Diecast Ford Anglia in its branches showing the revived use of Oxford OO scale models in Hornby packaging.
Some Vanguards pre-production models were shown, though not the planned new casting of series two Jaguar XJ and Daimler Double-Six models or the VW Camper. Photographs of the models are shown below. These are all pre-production samples and will not fully reflect the final version as they are hand finished and some parts are 3D printed rather than moulded.
Other Corgi products were on display showing the range now available.
Corgi’s release of the classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will be notable for being the first for some time that features all the original features. Moulds have been located to allow them to make all the wings, figures and the full working mechanism. It is a shame that this could not have been released last year to tie-in with the 50th Anniversary but I am sure that it will sell well this year as will the James Bond model sets.
The photographs above show the models included in the RNLI Lifeboats release to supplement the models already available in this charity’s liveries. A donation to the charity will be made for the sale of each set.
The 50th Anniversary models for the Apollo 11 mission were on display in pre-production form. Although very simple models they will look very good in packaging when launched later this year.
The Paddington Bear TX4 taxi is a well made toy and is expected to remain one of the best sellers, particularly in London where the tourist market is substantial for such toys.
A substantial part of the stand was given over to the new Chunkies range, seen above in the dealer display packs Corgi hope to get into the shops. They are made to appeal to young buyers, and their parents. The models are very well made and finished and to my surprise cabs, chassis and some other parts are diecast and the plastic looks strongly moulded and well designed for play. Although the generic shapes may not appeal to collectors we hope that this range is a success, as if it is it will give the Corgi brand an injection of money for investment and get the Corgi brand made known to a new generation of potential model collectors.
Discussions on the Hornby stall last year suggested that that they were concerned that they needed more young collectors to build the collecting habit and brand loyalty. The Chunkies range is a sign that they are addressing this. Some more photographs of the individual models are below.
For older children Corgi have several tie-ins to the Harry Potter Films which will sell well at the Harry Potter Studio Tour store as well as in Hamleys and other large stores.
Over in the Hornby area the layout has Hogwarts Castle modelled in one corner but this appears not to be listed as an accessory on the Hornby site! But again it illustrates the intention to appeal to youngsters as do the basic layout sets featuring Thomas the Tank Engine and the budget priced Junior Express set.
Over on the Airfix stand they too are keen to bring in young modellers with a selection of the Quick Build models being expanded this year. A celebration of flower power! It will be interesting to see if any new vehicle types are produced in future years to expand the range.
Also seen on the Airfix stand was their nice 1:32 scale Jaguar E Type model, a perennial in the range but looking as well shaped as ever, as shown below. Much though many people would like many more of the 1:32 scale Airfix cars to be revived it would seem we will continue to be limited to just a few of them.
Airfix are not to be left out in celebrating the landing on the moon with a nice set which includes the lander, Astronauts in various positions, and moon buggy and other items landed on the moon.
On both Corgi and Airfix the 75th Anniversary of D Day was celebrated with both Corgi and Airfix showing D Day tie in aircraft. Some Corgi ones are shown below.
So what was missing? It would have been nice to see pre-production samples of the new Jaguar/Daimler Series II but as they are not scheduled for sale until Q4 of 2019 that is perhaps not surprising. Perhaps some first shots will appear at Nuremberg. I was very surprised though that having announced a significant number of military vehicles for 2019 in both 1:50 scale and in fit the box formats Corgi displayed none at London. But again perhaps we will see photographs from Nuremberg.