Category Archives: 1:76

A BKL PANTECHNICON

By David Wright with contributions from Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Authors unless otherwise stated.

David Wright tells us a bit about the first international swapmeet event in the UK and the shows us a Barry Lester model which was the first show special model in the UK.  Maz Woolley looks at his own model of the same subject made from a Barry Lester white metal kit.  

The International Swapmeet

Way back in the 1970s the collecting scene was in its infancy. There  were no swapmeets or toy fairs and clubs were small enough to meet in members homes. By the mid-1970s interest had grown and swapmeets were being held regularly across Europe. Those collecting specialists who had turned their hobby into a  way of life, also took to white metal casting and trading internationally. Mike Richardson, Adrian Swain, Barry Lester, Trevor Wright and Brian Garfield Jones have all told their stories of regular trips across Europe to trade in models.

Adrian Swain, pattern maker and  white metal caster, recalls travelling with Barry Lester of Auto Replicas,  and his wife to most of the new annual events in mainland Europe, organised by an informal group of white metal makers. He recalls that France was the first, in Poitiers in 1972. This was followed by  their attendance at similar events across Europe over the next few years.

Eventually Adrian and Barry decided that what was good for Europe was good for England, and the idea of a UK based International weekend swapmeet was born! Being from the central South Coast they settled on Bournemouth as the location, and the Heathlands Hotel as the venue. They followed much the same pattern as the European ones that they had already visited, with a swapmeet/show on the Saturday, followed by a dinner organised by Adrian and Barry in the evening. A day out followed for the regular visitor group on the Sunday before everyone went home. On this occasion, an open-top bus, hired from Bournemouth Corporation,  took twenty-five visitors to Beaulieu National Motor Museum, but alas the weather at that time was not in their favour, and only a few brave souls remained upstairs.

It appears that their idea of a promotional model for the show may have been the first in the UK, and Adrian believes in Europe, (Unless any readers know different!), and Adrian has confirmed that Barry made the master. The concept of being ‘on the move’ forwards resulted in a removal van being the subject, and as Barry Lester was very fond of Fiats, the grille and front end was intended to represent a Fiat  van. At the time, in 1975, Adrian was heavily involved in making patterns for 00 scale white metal model buses, and he thinks Barry may have used his 00 bus wheels to save making patterns for them. Adrian cast the white metal components and Barry was in charge of painting and assembly of finished ones. About 50 were made specially for the event and painted in the yellow of Bournemouth buses, but some were also sold as kits for collectors to assemble.  They were nominally to HO scale. 

The unusual etched panel used for the sign-writing on the side was found to be cheaper than creating waterslide transfers, there was no additional labour to put them on the van sides, and they could not rub off.  

The BKL Fiat Pantechnicon

The show model is an engaging little truck, built to about 00 (1:76) scale, with a one piece cast white metal body, and white metal baseplate, with Barry‘s initials, BKL cast into it.

The base gives the origins away, with Barry Lester’s initials Photo: John Wakley

The radiator grille is a separate casting, polished to represent chrome, and the wheels, indeed probably 00 scale model bus wheels, with doubles at the rear, are free rolling.

The Fiat origins are reasonably clear at the front . Photo: John Wakley

Hinges, door handles and locker box are all scribed on the body, and the overall paint finish is by hand.

BKL Model Pantechnicon – displaying its engraved signwriting Photo: John Wakley

The interesting part is the advertising panel on the sides. The engraving is very clearly worked, and is finished by hand, and reads –

Bournemouth International

               Exchange

heathlands hotel  oct. 11-12 1975

This one shown here was purchased by John Wakley, long time collector in Surrey,  when he visited the Fair back in 1975. He bought a kit, as he had hand painted many Dinky Toys in his early years, to a very high level of skill. While he has hand painted the main body grey with a black roof and side panel line, the advertising panel is pale blue.

In all, a neat, clearly presented, and solid model that would be equally at home on a 00 gauge model railway layout as in a display cabinet. This must be the fore-runner of all those Code 3 models produced for Modelex, and Toy Fairs around the country during the 1980s and 1990s.

The Editor’s example – Without Lettering

Sometime in the late 1980s I came across a number of Barry Lester Auto Replica models being remaindered in a model shop that was closing down. I bought all that I could afford and went away and made them up. Indeed one of the first items of mine seen in the printed MAR magazine showed made up and converted Auto Replica Models.

Front view with Martini decals from a rally car kit Photo: Maz Woolley

Included in the group was the rather curious Fiat truck that was rather out of place amongst all the ex-Waldorf Miniature castings made by Barry Lester of Ford Taunus, Porsche, and Triumph TR6. It did however have a simple period charm and was relatively easy to make up. For general release the side panels had been roughly filled in and the original inscription shown on the model above covered up.

Rear view and more Martini decals. Photo: Maz Woolley

The kit was very simple, containing few components. From memory I think that the body was in two parts but it glued together easily and being boxy was easy to line up. I chose to make mine up in a Martini livery over mid blue enamel paintwork which I thought caught the “swinging sixties” Italian feel. Indeed one would not have been surprised to see a truck like it stuck in the traffic in the film The Italian Job!

BKL inscribed in the base exactly the same on both versions of the model Photo: Maz Woolley

Since this time regular readers will be aware that I have collected and made up many 1:76 scale white metal models from later producers like John Day Vehicle Scenics and Rod Parker’s models but I still have a fondness for the BKL models which helped define and create the market for these small model kits of relatively modern vehicles. Not only under his own Auto Replicas brand in the UK but also through the sales of his models boxed as Walldorf MIniatures in Germany.


References

A History of White Metal Transport Modelling – Ray Strutt and David Wright


Acknowledgements

David Wright: Sadly, Barry Lester died in July 2010, so we were privileged to have obtained this history both from the History of White Metal Transport Modelling book, and also from his longtime friend Adrian Swain, and his encyclopedic memory!

Thanks also to John Wakley for the use of his model for this article, and his memories of visiting the Show.


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Converting a John Day Sunbeam Rapier

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

John Day Vehicle Scenics SRV24 Sunbeam Rapier has appeared before in the fomer printed MAR magazine. It is a fair model of a Series II though the side chrome is slightly incorrect lacking the twin lines forward of the tail section. A photograph of one that I made several years ago is shown below.

Recently whilst browsing pictures on the web I came across pictures of the Sunbeam Rapier Convertible with its hood up. I thought that it was an interesting variant so I set about making one based on the standard John Day casting.

The key differences between the standard car and the convertible were the rear side windows which were similar to the ones used on the contemporary Hillman Minx convertible and the rear window which is a small panel in the hood and not the wrap round shape of the hard top.

The hood was created by layering on Humbrol modelling filler and shaping it do represent the shape of a hood and filling in the original wrap round rear window. Once all was dry the hood was filed to represent creases and folds and the rear window was drilled out and shaped. The window was then glazed using Micro Kristal Klear.

The hood was painted in matt red to represent one of the colours which seems to have been an option on the original cars.

The profile of the rear side windows was reshaped using a file to remove the lower part of the rear edge which curves back on the hard top.

The model was painted in a dark grey often seen on Rootes cars at the time to contrast with the hood and all the chrome painted on using a Molotow chrome pen . For those wondering who made the garage behind it is a Dapol kit based upon the old Airfix railway accessories series model which is to the same 1:76 scale as the car and is very ‘period’. This model is still readily available through model railway shops and online. The John Day Rapier Kit is also available from John Day Models which may be found at johndaymodels.webplus.net/ though this site is being replaced shortly by one under development at www.johndaymodels.co.uk .

I will one day produce a hood down Rapier, though I may choose to base that upon an Oxford Diecast model as the John Day model has no dashboard or steering wheel which would be rather obvious on an open car!

As usual my modelling skills are rather rough and ready but I think that the result is an interesting addition to my collection of Sunbeam Rapiers.


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Oxford Diecast Preview Part Two

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

This is part two of our coverage of the Oxford Diecast Preview Day that I attended at John Ayrey‘s warehouse at Wimbourne. These days are intended to allow Oxford Diecast to preview samples to retail buyers and I was lucky enough to be allowed to attend as “press”.

A previous article covered the samples shown in 1:43, 1:72, and 1:148 scales. This article centres on the 1:76 scale models which form the core of Oxford Diecast‘s business. The samples shown are mostly due in Q3 2019, although one or two like the Jamie Oliver Citroen H Food van will be available shortly. Sadly no samples of the forthcoming Bentley models, which include Her Majesty’s State Limousine, were shown or the Austin Sprite or the Riley Elf.

Cars and SUVs

BMW Isetta Pink
Austin Maxi Damask Red

Austin A40 Mk II Maroon and Snowberry

Austin Atlantic A90 Ensign Red

Austin Seven Yellow/Black

Ford Capri III Peppermint Sea Green

Ford Escort XR3i Prairie Yellow

Jaguar F Pace Italian Racing Red

Jaguar F Type Project 7 Ultra Blue

Jaguar XF

F Pace Police

Triumph Mayflower Jade Green

Nissan Qashqai

Range Rover Series One Fire Control

Land Rover Defender 90 Station Wagon HK plates

Range Rover 3rd Generation Bonati Grey

Range Rover Velar Firenze Red

Riley Kestrel

Rover SD1 3500 Vitesse

Vans and Light Commercials and Utilities

Volkswagen T5 Transporter Coca-Cola

Land Rover Defender Post Office Recovery

Land Rover AA Service

Ford Transit Mark 5 Parcel Force

Ford Transit Mark 5 Post Office

Citroen H Catering Van Jamie Oliver Gatwick

Citroen H Catering Van Coca Cola

Leyland Sherpa Minibus

Military

Bedford MWD Captured Luftwaffe

Bedford QX Queen Mary Trailer RAF Blue

Churchill Tank 51st RTR UK 1942

Buses and Coaches

Leyland PD1
Plaxton Panorama NBC Ribble

Steam Haulage

Fowler B6 Road Loco Titan Spur Inman and Co Wakefield

Heavy Commercials

Scania Houghton Parkhouse Professional Livestock Transporter George

Although this is quite a long article there is a lot of Q3 releases which are not shown despite this being a relatively small release to allow the factory to catch up.

I was particularly impressed by some of the JLR vehicles, especially the Range Rover and Velar models which look really good when viewed at a normal distance. The re-coloured SD1 Rover is excellent too.

My thanks to Lyndon and Eloise as well as all at John Ayrey for hosting the preview sessions.


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Oxford Diecast Release #2 2019

By Maz Woolley

All text by, and copyright of the Author. Illustrations used are from Oxford Diecast.

Oxford announce three releases a year and these are linked to their catalogues. The latest release is release two 2019 and the catalogue is shown below. All models are made in China in Oxford’s factory. All but the 1:148 scale models are diecast. 1:148 generally have plastic bodies.

At a recent launch session on the Oxford Diecast Collectors Facebook page Lyndon and Eloise Davies explained that there would be fewer items in this release to allow them to catch up with the previously announced releases that have not yet been produced. Inevitably some collectors will be disappointed, especially if their scale, or theme, has little to offer in this release.

What appears to be troubling is that there seems to be a rise in emails to the team at Oxford Diecast with unpleasant and unhelpful criticism. It is fair enough to draw the team’s attention to issues or concerns but hostile or rude comments are uncalled for, and worse they may encourage the team at Oxford to be less open to comments. Here at MAR Online we often criticise products from makers but hope that we do so in a constructive and encouraging way.

So on to the new announcements.

1:43 Scale

Just one new casting in this scale, a Land Rover with a body by Tickford. The remaining two models are re-liveries. No new, or re-painted, 1:43 scale cars this release.

43TIC001 Land Rover Tickford Two Tone Green

43LR3S004 Land Rover Series III SWB Canvas Royal Navy

43CF003 Bedford CF Ice Cream Van/Morrison Mr Softee

1:76 Scale

Four new castings in this scale. Two of cars with one being the long awaited Bentley State Limousine. The other two are new items in the steam/agricultural ranges.

A substantial number of re-colours appearing in ranges of cars, vans, military vehicles, and lorries.

76BCGT001 Bentley Continental GT Sport 

76BSL001 Bentley State Limousine HM The Queen

76PL001 Fowler Plough Blue and Red

76WB001 Water Bowser Alan Sparkes

76BI005 Beadle Integral Thornes of Bubwith

76BR003 Burrell 8nhp DCC Showmans Locomotive No 2342 Vanguard

76CRE011 Vauxhall Cresta Versailles Green and Black

76DC003 Duple Commander II Neath and Cardiff

76FCC003 Ford Consul Capri Monaco Red and White

76FZ003 Ford Zodiac MkII Ermine White and Pink

76HE004 Heinkel Trojan Polar White

76JCX75003 Jaguar CX75 Caesium Blue

76XK005 Jaguar XK Stratus Grey

76JEN005 Jensen 541R Metallic Royal Blue

76MX003 Austin Maxi Harvest Gold

76RREC003 Range Rover Evoque Convertible Fuji White

76RRS004 Range Rover Sport SVR Fuji White

76VEL003 Range Rover Velar SE Silicon Silver

76SOM003 Austin Somerset Romney Blue

76ZEP012 Ford Zephyr Black

76FT035 Ford Transit Mk5 National Grid

76FT3009 Ford Transit MK3 Gentian Blue

76MM061 Morris 1000 Post Office Telephones Yellow

76CIT005 Citroen H Catering Van Fish and Chips

76PB009 Commer PB Van Pitchford and Miles

76SHP008 Leyland Sherpa Van Manweb Electricity

76VWS003 VW T1 Van Dove Blue

76VWS008CC VW T1 Bus and Surfboards Coca Cola

76T4004 VW T4 Van Black

76T5V003CC VW T5 Van Coca Cola

76WM007 Whitby Mondial Ice Cream Van Piccadilly Whip

76SCL004 Scania Crane Lorry Galt Transport

76TIP005 AEC Ergomatic Tipper London Brick Company

76TK016 Bedford TK Box Van Macbraynes

76LRFCA003 Land Rover FC Ambulance 24 Field Ambulance Bosnia

76LRL007 Land Rover Lightweight Canvas RAF Police

76TAC007 TACR2 Royal Navy RNAS Yeovilton

76SM004 Sherman MkIII 4th and 7th Royal Dragoon Guards France 1944

76WMB007 Willys MB USAAF Tunisia 1943

76WOT003 Ford WOT 1 Crash Tender RAF Bomber Command

1:72 Scale

AC095 Gloster Meteor 5897M RAF Hednesford Staffs

AC096 Focke Wulf TA152 Stab JG301

1:87 Scale

All models in this scale are recolours. Hopefully the first versions of these models, which are overdue, will appear over the summer.

87CE57002 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham 1957 Dakota Red

87CH63002 Chevrolet Corvair Coupe 1963 Riverside Red

87CV50002 Chevrolet Panel Van 1950 Washington DC Police

87PC54002 Pontiac Chieftain 4 Door 1954 Winter White/Maize Yellow

87SET002 3 Piece 1949 Mercury Set 70th Anniversary

1:148 Scale

All new colours and liveries in this scale. And all vehicles already seen in 1:76 scale.

NMOS006 Morris Minor Saloon Clipper Blue

NFDE011 Ford 400E Van Fordson Tractors

NFT024 Ford Transit MK5 Royal Mail

NMA004 Mercedes Ambulance Scottish Ambulance Service

NTRAIL010 Mobile Trailer AA

NTRAIL014 Mobile Trailer Southdown

NSDF002 Shelvoke and Drewry Freightlifter British Rail Crimson

NVOL4007 Volvo FH4 Semi Low Loader Cadzow

NVOL4009 Volvo FH4 Semi Low Loader G F Job


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Oxford Diecast Maxi 1750

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Here I look at the long awaited British Leyland Maxi 1750 from Oxford Diecast. The firs issue is painted Tara Green and is badged as an HLS version.

The Maxi fitted in the Austin and then British Leyland range between the 1300 and the 1800 saloon cars and was one of the first volume production hatchbacks made in the UK. It was the last car designed when Alex Issigonis was in charge of the design studio, and like other Issigonis cars little attempt was made to give it fashionable styling. Indeed the design had to be compromised to use the doors from the 1800 to save on tooling costs which dictated the side profile of the car. Early production of the 1500 gave the car a name for a poor gear change and some reliability issues so it never sold in the volumes it deserved as it was a comfortable and practical car. In twelve years of production, 1969 to 1981, only just under half a million were made. My wife’s first car was a 1750 HL and experience showed that it was a much better car then many said, though the wiring was of poor quality and we always carried a crimping kit to re-join failed connections, and needed it on at least two occasions. The five speed gearbox was a rarity at the time and made for very economical cruising on A Roads and Motorways.

There have been few models of the Maxi. When it was being produced Airfix made a nice 1:32 scale kit of the earlier version of the car which is now rare and expensive. A white metal model was made a number of years ago but that is virtually never seen now, and I did not buy one as it was costly and I did not think that it was a very good model. More recently Silas made excellent 1500 and 1750 models to 1:43 scale which was a model that did the car justice.

Photograph from Oxford Diecast’s website. Note the different treatment of the front grille here to the model as issued shown below.

So now to Oxford‘s new 1750 model to 1:76 scale which will undoubtedly be popular with railway modellers with layouts featuring the last decades of British Railways operation, as well as with general 1:76 scale model collectors.

I will get my criticisms out of the way first. The paint has metallic flakes which are much too large, though fortunately this is only very obvious when the model is lit for photography. The tyres/wheels are too big and hub caps do not quite match the 1750 HLS ones. The side windows are not deep enough, these are doors from the Austin 1800 after all! The number plates are too shallow for their width, and the light units under the front bumper should be spilt into amber and clear units not all amber. Whilst we are at the front the black printing on the grille just looks like two square blobs as they do not reach properly round the light fittings, in fact the model differs from the sample used to sell the model on the Oxford Diecast website shown above. Inside, the black tub unit includes a dashboard which resembles the earlier 1500‘s black plastic padded dash not the later 1750 wood trimmed full width flat dashboard, and it has a three spoke steering wheel which was again typical of the earlier 1500 whereas the later 1750 had a bar across the middle instead. Editor’s note: I have since discovered that a three spoke steering wheel is correct for a 1750 HLS which is how Oxford have badged this model, though not for lower trim levels in the 1750 range. So Oxford are correct and I am not on this point.

So in summary, about the level of inaccuracy and compromise that we have come to expect from Oxford Diecast 1:76 scale models in recent years, except for their Rolls-Royces and coaches.

Whilst I feel that Oxford could do better the model does capture the shape of the real car pretty well and looked at from a distance I guess that it is reasonably acceptable. For all my criticisms as it has never been made to this scale before, as far as I know, it is a welcome addition to the collection.


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Return of Road Transport Images

By Maz Woolley

Text copyright of Author and Graeme McQuaker. Graeme McQuaker took the photographs and his copyright is acknowledged.

Regular readers will remember that following the sudden passing of Frank Waller his family were seeking a new owner for his Road Transport Images (RTI) business which specialised in 1:76 scale cabs and body and chassis fittings to allow conversions of existing 1:76 scale commercial models or the building of vehicles not otherwise available.

We now have the good news that the RTI business has been transferred to Graeme and Lorraine McQuaker from Irvine in North Ayrshire. Graeme was a customer of Frank’s for many years, using his cabs to make many of his models of Scottish fairground transport.

The photographs above show models build by Graeme to a very high standard using many RTI components. His experience of building the products and his appreciation of the challenges that builders face should be a great help when he develops the range further.

Graeme had a lengthy journey to Seasalter in Kent to collect the stock, moulds, masters, and exhibition display from Frank’s daughter Diane. All is now safely transferred to Scotland to allow Graeme to relaunch RTI. The current challenge is to get the website up and running to make the range available to buyers again.

Graeme’s and Lorraine’s intention is to focus on getting the current range of cabs, vans, bodies, trailers, complete kits, wheels accessories and transfers available to modellers again. Further development of the range will follow on once the existing range is back fully available. Graeme says “Lorraine and I are indebted to Diane, Frank’s daughter, for all the help and support that she has given during transfer of the business and we are determined to maintain and expand Frank’s legacy, which is such an important asset to 1:76 modellers“.  

The new business address for RTI is 2 Macallan Place, Irvine, North Ayrshire, KA11 2DN. The website, once up and running, will continue at www.roadtransportimages.com.

To relaunch the range Graeme and his team will be attending a number of shows and exhibitions in 2019. The first two will be:

  • Classic and Vintage Commercial Vehicle Show, Gaydon 8th and 9th June
  • Perth Model Railway Show, Dewars Centre, Perth 29th and 30th June

The team at MAR Online hope that Graeme and Lorraine have the best of luck in reviving and developing this range which has been missed by many model builders during its absence.


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Recent Announcements May 2019

By Maz Woolley

All text by, and copyright of the Author. All photographs provided by the Manufacturer.

Matrix News

Matrix has announced a new model which has only been announced as it has become available to buy. This is in 1:43 scale resin made in China for the Netherlands.

MX41302-211 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Miesen Deutches Rotes Kreuz 2018

Maxichamps

Another revived mould diecast in China for Germany to 1:43 scale. Black is a good colour for this classic Mercedes-Benz and although derived from an old master this is still an excellent model of a popular car.

940034005 Mercedes-Benz 200 1968

Minichamps

Minichamps releases in 1:43 continue to arrive on sale. The models shown are all made in China for Germany. The releases continue to mix Grand Prix cars, racing cars, and cars. It is interesting to note that the revived 1:87 scale line appears to have stopped introducing models at the moment.

PORSCHE PANAMERA 4S DIESEL SPORT TURISMO – 2017 – ACHATGRAU-METALLIC
PORSCHE PANAMERA 4S DIESEL SPORT TURISMO – 2017 – BURGUNDER-ROT-METALLIC
PORSCHE 917/10 – VASEK POLAK RACING – JODY SCHECKTER – CAN-AM MOSPORT 1973
BRABUS 850 MERCEDES-AMG S 63 S-CLASS CABRIOLET – 2016 – GOLD

Not to be left out of the firms rushing to produce bigger and bigger models Minichamps are also issuing a significant number of models in large scales and a recent announcement was this diecast 1:12 scale Porsche, another must have for the Porsche collector?

PORSCHE 911 TURBO – 1977 – OLIVE

A TSM Land Rover

TSM produce many models for car companies to be badged as dealer promotional models. These may in time also turn up produced as TSM boxed products. Here we have a model of Winston Churchill‘s famous Land Rover moulded in resin in China for Europe. The model is to 1:43 scale. This model is due in August and is priced in the UK at around the same price as a Matrix model.


Northcord Model Company

The new Northcord operation seems to be recovering after the companies failure a couple of years ago. The new Enviro400 MMC model seems to be selling well and is now into a second release of the 10.5 metre single door casting of this modern double-decker. Here it is liveried in the Bournemouth Transport Yellow Buses livery as fleet number 200 (SN17 MTO) which joined their fleet in 2017.


Le Mans Miniatures

Although primarily known for their 1:32 scale slot car range of accurate historic racing cars they also make figures suitable to show with static models in several scales. Here we look at new models in 1:32 and 1:43 scales.

1:43 scale racing managers

Here we see models of Enzo Ferrari (Scudero Ferrari), Alfred Neubauer (Mercedes-Benz), John Wyer (Porsche) Norbert Singer
(Porsche).  

1:32 scale Gendarme

Here we have a model to the larger 1:32 scale which represents a patrolman on traffic duties in the uniform which was used between 1947 and 1965.

Oxford Diecast Ford Zodiac Mark II

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Oxford Diecast‘s Ford Zodiac Mark II has arrived on the market in a nice colour combination: Shark Blue and Pompadour Blue. Looking at the dashboard it appears to be a ‘highline’ model, the form that the car was launched in in 1956 replacing the original Zephyr-Zodiac, which was replaced in turn by the ‘lowline’ car in 1958. The clearest evidence of this is the rounded top of the speedometer as the ‘lowline’ had a modified dashboard with a flatter and wider speedometer cap as well as a lower roofline.

The Mark II Zodiac was a very comfortable car with a front mounted straight six engine of 2,533cc driving the rear wheels through a four speed gearbox. It was top of the Ford range of cars and came as standard with white sidewalls, gold Zodiac scripts, wheel embellishers, and two tone paint. It had unique chromework on the sides with the front wing having a line from the leading edge to the front wheel arch. A top speed of just under 90mph was recorded by testers but tuners like Raymond Mays threw away the standard exhaust system and replaced it with better designed piping, and with a few more tweaks, found it easy to push the car to over a hundred miles an hour.

The Zodiac was modelled by Matchbox as 33a with roof and 39a as a convertible. In 1:43 scale it was modelled as a Corgi Classic which went on the be used in the Vanguards range after the takeover of Lledo.

Here we look at Oxford Diecast 76FZ001 the first of many issues I am sure as there are quite a few paint schemes that could be used on this car, though as the Police bought the cheaper, but similarly engined, Zephyr it would not look very realistic as a patrol car. I had high hopes of this model as Oxford have shown how well they can make smaller cars recently with the Rolls-Royces and the range of US 1:87 scale models.

The casting is a nice one for the most part though the handling of the front indicators/grille could be better. The indicators stood within the grille with a clear grille line outside them all the way down their outer side which was well captured by Matchbox in the 1950’s and is not so well modelled by Oxford.

The grille itself could have done with a little more detail in the top section which on the real car has lots of small vertical bars, as shown on photograph below, on the model there is just a gap. The horizontal grille bars are well modelled, but on the car there are some vertical strips behind the grille that show through and make the grille look like it is divided so it does not capture the original 100% there either.

From a copy of the original Ford Brochure.

Staying at the front the front light prints are not central in the lighting cowl which gives a poor effect. Looking on the Internet and the brochure above the earlier Zodiacs do seem to sometimes have body colour headlight cowls so that is accurate.

To the rear the boot (trunk) opening button is missing off the lid altogether, something Matchbox included on their model in the 1950s.

Image taken from period Ford Brochure

The rear lights and rear chrome panel are also not as finely modelled as they could have been. The rear panel is all in ridged chrome which extends out to form the lower parts of the rear lights, see brochure illustration above. On the Oxford model this is just tampo printed flat silver with no texturing. The tampo printed rear lights are poorly applied not giving wide enough areas of amber or red which make the rear light chrome holders look much to large, in addition the reflector seems to be printed too low on the light fitting. The silver part of the rear light cluster looks to me printed too far back along the wing as well.

On the real car there is a small pressed curved line from the top part of the rear wing to the chrome line starting just above the name badge as shown in the brochure picture above. On the Oxford this has been entirely omitted

On the side the chrome trim is a correct shape but would have been more accurate and effective printed at about half the current width. The V shaped Ford badging on the front wing is a curious shape which seems to me like a round bump with a bit of a raised area above. The door handles are very simplified losing the button in the fitting beneath each handle and the circular door locks fitted below the handles on the front doors are mot printed.

At last Oxford has stopped printing chrome lines on the outside of the body shell a scale inches away from the windows they were meant to surround and the model looks a lot better for it. It could have done with the fillet of chrome on the C pillar though fitted to Zodiacs. The windscreen wipers are moulded into the front screen and then over printed. Sadly, the print bleeds out some way either side of the raised area which makes them look clumsy. The Zodiac badges are all printed in gold and over scale but for them to be visible some exaggeration is needed. The Zodiac letters printed round the grille are fine and all there but a magnifying glass is needed to really appreciate them.

There has been some frustration on Facebook pages about the wheels fitted to this car. The centres are just a simple dome and do not reflect the fact that the real cars had a wide flattened pressed circle in the centre which is completely missing. As already noted the cars came with whitewalls originally and the model does not have these. Some have drawn the attention to the fact that the faults on the wheels are identical to those on the old Corgi Classic! Finally the track of the car is much too narrow with the outside of the wheels being almost in line with the inner line of the headlights whereas in real life the outer edge of the tyres should line up with the middle of the side light/indicator unit and the middle of the headlamps. It is the same at the rear where the outside of the model’s tyres line up with the inside of the rear lights and not the centre line of the fitment.

In summary the car is well shaped and moulded for the most part and does look nice in the two tone finish. But is let down by a number of details which could have been better handled. As Oxford Diecasts are fairly inexpensive here in the UK it still offers value for money. Indeed, I am sure that most owners of the model will ignore, or not even notice, these issues. Personally, I think that Oxford could have done better as they have shown what they can do on other models that they make.


Intergranular Corrosion Again

By Maz Woolley

Photographs by Jane Jones, a member of the Oxford Diecast Collectors Facebook group. Text copyright of the Author and Jane Jones.

I make no apologies for returning to the subject of intergranular corrosion as it still seems to be affecting models from major diecast firms. Collectors looking at stored models have come across models falling to bits from time to time, The Corgi Vanguards Transit Castrol van has a tendency to self-destruct as shown in MAROnline previously by Dave Turner. Whilst Photoetched parts popping on resin models can usually be remedied with glue and care intergranular corrosion has no cure. Some people have stabilised the models by flooding them with super glue and other binders but that just holds together a failed casting it is no cure.

Intergranular corrosion of diecast models is commonly known by many descriptive names: Zinc Pest, Metal Fatigue, and Diecast Rot are some. It is a destructive intercrystalline corrosion resulting from the Mazak (Zamak) used to make diecast models being contaminated with other substances. It leads to castings swelling and becoming misshapen. In later stages the castings may craze or develop cracks, ultimately even disintegrating. This was quite common in pre-war toys like early Dinky Toys where lead used elsewhere in the factory got into the mixture but according to Wikipedia this should not happen to items from the 1960s onwards as manufacturing controls should guarantee the purity of the metal.

Impurities in metals used in current manufacturings could be caused by suppliers shipping metal which already contains impurities or contaminants, or it can happen in the plant where the metal for diecasting is melted and mixed and where impurities may be inadvertently introduced. It is impossible for us to determine whether it is poor raw materials or poor manufacturing processes that are the root cause as either end up with the model suffering in the same way. But as I read comments on the Internet that many model makers have suffered from this problem, including PCT Industries, Norev, Corgi and others, it clearly needs to be taken more seriously by people producing the castings.

I had previously heard that Oxford Diecast too had this problem but had never seen direct evidence that this was the case. However, a recent post on the Oxford Diecast Collectors Group on Facebook by Jane Jones shows a destructive case of intergranular corrosion as you can see from her pictures below.

Jane posted: ‘I made a worrying discovery today. I noticed that the rear of this GPO telephones Morris 1000 was bowed, and comparing it to other Morris 1000 vans, it as almost a mm longer. Closer examination showed that the offside was bowing out and beginning to crack . No other model that I have examined seems to have the same issue. Hopefully its an isolated case??‘.

Janes’ photograph is shown below with my added arrows highlighting the extensive areas of distortion.

Jane added: ‘Lookout for the rear distorting. That indicates that the body has elongated because the zinc rot causes microscopic cracks‘.

Sadly Janes’ second photograph shows the inevitable result when the corrosion is as bad as that shown above. Again my arrows have been added to highlight where the ‘bowing’ sections have broken away from the van.

So if you have this Oxford Diecast van it may well be worth checking it. I suspect that this is not an extensive problem for Oxford Diecast collectors or the internet would be full of many more comments. It is a great shame though for those who find their models like this as it inevitably takes several years to come to light and by then the manufacturer is in no position to replace clearly faulty goods.


London Toyfair 2019 Part Three

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

This the third 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 Oxford Diecast. The previous article about the Hornby stand can be found here.

This article shows some of the models displayed on the Oxford Stand. With so many models in production the stand has an impressive display of hundreds of models in various scales.

Last year I tried to photograph models through glass in the crowded display cabinets and the pictures were not very good. This year the Oxford representatives on the stand were extremely helpful and got out a number of items for me to photograph. Although I photographed quite a few models I did not capture all the novelties on display. A few have been photographed in the cabinets as there wasn’t time to get out every model that I would have liked to photograph.

It should be remembered that many of the models pictured are made up of a special light alloy used for trial shots and 3D printed fittings. These can only suggest what the final product will look like. Even the fully painted models of unreleased items are hand finished production samples used to confirm that the model is ready to put into production and may not fully reflect the models when they go into production.

So starting with 1:43 scale. Here there was a display of all the expected re-coloured models. but also pre-production casting of the Bedford CF Ice Cream Van as shown below. Adrienne Fuller who is responsible for selecting cars and other vehicles for Oxford explained that although this is a quarter without many new 1:43 models they are still expecting to produce two to three entirely new castings in this scale this year in addition to recolours.

This mould by Oxford has really caught the look of the CF well. It should make an excellent model when it appears. It will be appearing in classic Mr. Whippy livery first, then Hockings but I am sure there will be more liveries over time especially as so many of this type of van were brought secondhand by small local firms across the UK.

The 1:43 scale Morris J2 minibus in Skyways livery from the final release of 2018 was shown and looks like an impressive model. Seen to the rear is another of the final release in 2018 the Fred Dibnah Lightweight Land Rover in 1:43 scale.

And now on to some very large 1:43 scale models. The new Weymann Fanfare South Wales – announced as an Oxford special to celebrate their 25 Years trading. The model shown below is a pre-production item and is fitted trial plastic components – the broken horn will not feature on the production model! The model features a plastic upper section with a diecast chassis. It is a striking model with the very high level of moulded and printed detail they can achieve when using plastic.

The South Wales version is not to be the only use of this moulding. Oxford were showing a Southdown version which has been announced as part of release one 2019. With a destination board for Bournemouth this model suits the Southdown livery well.

Moving on to 1:76 scale there were some interesting recolours shown. Below is another version of the J4 this time as an Austin J4 in BMC Parts livery due for later release. This is a nice livery and the Austin version of the grille seems to be very well printed.

The forthcoming Volkswagen Transporter T4 Camper looks very good and will be a popular model.

Oxford’s Transporter T1 Camper and Samba Bus in 1:76 scale both showed up looking ready to be put into production. Photographs are shown below.

Another re-use of a casting is the relatively new Leyland Sherpa now seen in Egyptian telephone livery, as seen in a well known Bond film. This model is sure to be popular even without film themed packaging. I hope that this casting soon gets used to produce models of vehicles used by the UK utilities firms.

We also saw test shots for the Volkswagen T5 Transporter which will be seen in various forms and also in a set which includes one of each generation of the Transporter from T1 to T5. Below we have test shots of the California camper

Shown below are test shots of the T5 van which will appear in several liveries starting with that of the RAC. I am sure that this will be seen in a wide range of liveries for current users.

Oxford often show models in a very early stage of development before they are announced. The Volkswagen T1 camper with surf boards shown below does not seem to exist in any current release but I am sure that we will see it in the future.

The Volkswagen T1 van casting get another release this year in Coca Cola livery. The test shot below shows the roof display with an advertising bottle on the roof.

One of the model sets which created a lot of interest when announced in the last release of 2018 was the RAF Bloodhound missile set. This was released by Corgi in the 1960s and by Airfix too. Here we have the new 1:76 scale from Oxford. The accompanying Land Rover has been well finished in RAF blue and markings.

This will make an impressive set re-creating the Jet Age long before Cruise missiles and Polaris carrying submarines.

The Oxford 1:87 scale range of US vehicles has been a strong seller. And the display showed some due for early release and others in early pre-production form.

The new Chrysler 300 Convertible can be seen in the photographs below. This casting looks good in red and the printed silver and badging looks like it could be very well done.

The forthcoming Dodge Charger Daytonas were also shown and are impressive in this scale.

The ‘standard’ Dodge Charger was shown too and looks good. It is interesting that it has been modelled with the headlights showing as many models of this car have the headlights in their concealed position.

Another model close to release is the De Soto Suburban with its roof rack. This is a rather earlier car than many in this range so it will be interesting to see if models from this period sell well. A taxi version is expected later.

Another model due soon is the Dodge D100 Sweptside which is due for release soon. The model looked very well finished and US pickups make for popular models so I expect it may sell out quickly. It is interesting that the rear seems to be a separate moulding so we may well see more variations on the D100.

Here we see very early test shots of the 1954 Pontiac Chieftain with a siren fitted to the roof. The model has been announced for release 1 2019 in two tone blue as a standard sedan so presumably police and possibly fire versions will follow later in the year.

Another very early casting shot is the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham 1957 again announced in release 1 2019. Reminiscent of the contemporary Matchbox model this is slightly smaller but promises to be impressive even in this smaller scale.

Another announced recently as part of Release One 2019 is the Chevrolet Panel van. The model may be released as an Ambulance first but clearly a van will also be forthcoming and I expect this to appear in several classic american liveries.

The early shots below show that Oxford have captured this classic 1950s van very well.

The final test casting on display in this scale is the Chevrolet Corvair Coupe announced recently. Even though this is an early shot it shows the potential for this to be a really nice model. The coupe also came in some very nice paint finishes so hopefully Oxford will be able to release it in several different authentic versions.

Oxford’s 1:148 scale range is another with upper components made in plastic. On show were some pre-production trials. These are interesting as they are made in clear plastic with 3D printed parts as shown in the photographs below.

First we have the Land Rover Discovery 4.

Then the Shelvoke & Drewry Freightlifter which is to appear in British Railways Western livery in 2019.

Presumably the photographs below show the pre-production test for the recently announced Hants and Dorset Bristol MW6G.

And finally in this scale the Green Goddess fire appliance expected in National Fire Service livery.


Unfortunately although samples of the new Citroën H catering van were there I did not photograph them.

I would like to thank Oxford Diecast for sharing so many pre-production and test models with us, and for so patiently getting models in and out of cabinets to allow me to photograph them.