Category Archives: 1:76

Atlas BMMO D9 Bus

By Maz Woolley

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

Midland Red were a major bus group here in the UK serving the Midlands from 1905 until 1981. It was one of the largest groups in the UK covering a territory from Gloucester in the south-west to Derby to its North West and encompassing the industrial west and east midlands. It’s buses and coaches were a well known sight even in the cities where municipal operators dominated local services as Midland Red provided almost all the inter-urban routes and most of the local routes in smaller towns in the area.

One curious feature of Midland Red is that it made its own buses between 1923 and 1969 when it was swallowed by the National Bus Company. The combination of the solid red livery and its uniquely styled BMMO buses made Midland Red services stand out.

The BMMO D9 was introduced in the late 1950s and served the company well with the final examples leaving the works in the mid 1960s and being in service until the wholesale replacement with Leyland Nationals during the ownership of MIdland Red by the National Bus Company.  It was early to provide electric closing doors and disk brakes all round, though later models had drums fitted and these were also retro fitted to the earlier buses. This was because though the disks worked well the pads wore out extremely quickly and were worn before the standard service interval was completed. In other ways the D9 was the end of an era with its half cab for the driver and conductor operation at a time when municipal fleets were introducing one man operation and rear engined Leyland Atlantians and Daimler Fleetlines.

The model shown in this article is a model from the Atlas Great British Buses series sold in the UK which has now ended and surplus stock has now ended up in the hands of wholesalers. The base has Corgi printed on it which shows that Atlas had it made for them from Corgi dies. Corgi produced this model in their Original Omnibus range in Midland Red and West Midlands Public Transport Executive colours, WMPTE took over many Midland Red routes in the Black Country to the west of Birmingham  when the new West Midlands county was formed.  The Corgi Midland Red buses were on service D9 to Dudley, X35 Hereford to Ludlow, and the WMPTE one on service 130 Stourbridge to Halesowen.  When Atlas had their model made made they moved over to the over side of the MIdland Red operation with the 658 service to Leicester via Nuneaton which started its journey in Coventry at Pool Meadow Bus Station.

The Atlas model is fundamentally the same as the Corgi one and includes all the wing mirrors , blind winding handles, and grab handles  that were used on the OOC versions. It is a good model though the plastic front panel insert used to portray the BMMO radiator is not a complete colour match and tends to slide in its setting more than it should. The alloy framed windows are nicely printed and the rear sliding doors well made. The printed adverts are nice period touches too. All in all it captures well the buses that I saw when young sitting at Pool Meadow ready for the journey to Leicester surrounded by Coventry Transport Daimler Fleetlines doing the local journeys.


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Some small Oxford Diecast Releases February 2018

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Oxford Diecast‘s outstanding models from their last Release are now being sold. There must have been a rush to get them finished and onto a ship before the Chinese New Year holiday began which is when most workers living away from their home areas go on an extended holiday to visit their family.

Their 1:76 scale models are extremely popular sellers here in the UK. 1:76 scale used to be heavily tied to railway modelling circles but Oxford’s models have spread its popularity over a much wider collecting base here in the UK over the last few years. This post has a look at two of the latest releases: one a new casting, and the other the sixth release of a casting that has been around for some time.

76RRC001 Rolls-Royce Corniche

The first release in 1:76 scale of this vehicle. The same car UTU353 has already been seen in 1:43 from Oxford with its hood down and reviewed on this site, click here to see it. A 1:76 scale model with the hood down painted persian sand is due later in the year to complement this one. Editors correction: Reader Andrew Davies quite rightly points out that all the 1:76 scale Corniche models will be hood-up so the Persian Sand model will be Hood up again.

The 1:43 model was excellent and Oxford has made an excellent job of making this model in the smaller scale.  The imitation fabric roof has been nicely painted on and the lines of the framework well modelled.

At the front the radiator, lights and bumper assembly are all excellent. Even the RR logo is printed on the radiator. The Spirit of Ecstacy is a little oversize but that is necessary or it would be too frail.

From the side the very thinly cast pillars become obvious. These are wonderful and allow the printed on chromework round the windows to look accurate. This shows what Oxford can do which makes the very thick pillars on some of their other models, and their printed window surrounds which are a scale 3 or 4 inches proud of the windows, even more frustrating.

At the rear of the car the lights are nicely painted on and number plates, reversing lights, and badging are all neatly printed.

The wheels are a little over-simplified but do not let the model down.

On the debit side the hood (roof) painting could be more neatly masked in places and I did have to scratch off a little overspray of “chrome” above windows printed on roof. But these are very minor points. This is an excellent model.

76FB006 Vauxhall FB Victor

The sixth appearance of this casting, and to my eyes one of the best. The single tone paint and printing are beautifully applied.

Most of the previous FBs have been two-tone cars with the exception of a single tone red one. To my eyes the single tone cactus green used here really suits the casting and the period.

This is another model where Oxford has got nice thin pillars around the windows and where the printed chromework works well. From the rear the lights are neatly painted on and the “Deluxe” badge is printed very well.

At the front this casting captures the somewhat plain grille and lights accurately. The Vauxhall lettering on the bonnet and the Victor lettering on the wing are excellent too. The wipers are printed slightly too thick but it is not too obvious.

The number plates initially caused me to go online and ask why Oxford Diecast was using reflective plates as they were not fitted until 1968 by which time the FB has been out of production for four years.

Many people pointed out that lots of people fitted reflective plates when they were introduced on cars made in previous years to make them look more up to date. So before I wrote an indignant letter to Oxford saying the plates were incorrect I looked on the web and there was ABC958B fitted with reflective plates. So the Oxford model is true to how the car is today, and probably has been for some time, rather than to when it was first sold.

So to summon up another lovely model. And with new castings like the Heinkel Kabine and the Isetta to look forward to in the next release any sixties street scene will be easy to populate with models from Oxford.

And one final photograph shows how well the Oxford models, and particularly the FB Victor, fit into a diorama of period buildings.


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Oxford Diecast – Release One 2018

By Maz Woolley

 

Oxford Diecast announced their first release of 2018 to the press at the first day of the London Toy Fair. No photographs were released just design cells. Most of the models announced are re-colours on previously released castings but there are new castings across many ranges.  In 1:43 scale only one new casting appears, the AC Aceca. In 1:76 there are more new models like the Citroen H Van, a living wagon, a Scammel Highwayman tractor unit pulling a tanker, several Volkswagen Vans T1, T4, and T5 as well as a Land Rover Velar. In 1:!8 and 1:87 scale there are no new castings this time round. Finally in  1:148 scale there is a complicated new  Shelvoke & Drewry Freightlifter as well as a Green Godess.

Retail prices have crept up but the rises are still modest compared to many other companies recent increases.

1:18 Scale

18HE003 Heinkel Kabine Yellow

1:43 Scale

43ACE001 AC Aceca Vineyard Green
43AMDB2004 Aston Martin DB2 MkIII DHC Snow Shadow Grey
43AMDB9003 Aston Martin DB9 Coupe Cobalt Blue
43AMV003 Aston Martin Vanquish Coupe Quantum Silver
43ASV008CC Austin Seven Van Coca Cola
43EMP003 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud/Hooper Empress Black/Silver
43JAG5003 Jaguar MkV Closed Dark Blue/Tan
43JI009 Jensen Interceptor Mk1 Crystal Blue
43JM024 Morris J2 Van Skyways
43LAN188021 Land Rover Series I 88″ Hard Top RAF
43LRL005 Land Rover Lightweight Hard Top RAF
43R25003 Rolls Royce 25/30 – Thrupp & Maberley Black
43RRC003 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible MPW (Open) Georgian Silver
43RUB003 Austin Ruby Saloon Dark Green

Aircraft 1:72 Scale
72SW004 Supermarine Walrus Operation Torch -N. Africa 1942

Vehicles 1:76
76ATK004 Atkinson Borderer Low Loader NCB Mines Rescue
76AUS005 Austin 1300 Teal Blue
76BI004 Beadle Integral Southdown
76CA030 Bedford CA Ice Cream Hockings
76CAP008 Ford Capri Mk3 Signal Orange
76CFE007 Vauxhall Friary Estate Dusk Rose/Lilac Haze
76CHT004 Churchill Tank 6th Guards Brigade 1943
76CIT001 Citroen H Catering Van
76COM008CC Commer Commando Coca Cola
76CONT004 Container Samskip
76COR1009 Ford Cortina Mk1 Black Cherry
76COR2008 Ford Cortina Mk2 Ermine White/Sherwood Green
76COR3009 Ford Cortina MkIII Sunset
76CRE010 Vauxhall Cresta Moonlight Blue/Bermuda Blue
76CT007CC Citroen 2CV Coca Cola
76CWT004 Commer Walk Thru Scottish & Newcastle
76DAF004 DAF 85 Short Fridge Trailer Trevor Pye
76DEF015 Land Rover Defender LWB Hard Back RAC
76DIS005 Land Rover Discovery 4 Firenze Red
76DIS5002 Land Rover Discovery 5 HSE LUX
76DR005 Duple Roadmaster Ribble
76DSC006 Dingo Scout Car 5th RTR – 4th Arm.Brg -7thArm.Div. Libya 1942
76FCG005 Ford Cargo Box Van Parcelforce
76FDE010 Ford 400E Van Cargo Grey
76FT033 Ford Transit Mk5 AA
76FT1007 Ford Transit Mk1 Police Motorway Patrol (Gwent)
76FT1008 Ford Transit Mk1 Castrol
76HE002 Heinkel Kabine Spartan Red
76IR6004 Irizar i6 Galleon Travel
76IS002 BMW Isetta RAC
76J4002 BMC J4 Van British Rail
76JSS006 SS Jaguar Dark Blue
76LAN188023 Land Rover Series 1 88″ Canvas Marine Blue
76LAN2019 Land Rover Series II LWB Station Wagon Limestone
76LR2AS004 Hong Kong Police
76LR2S004 Land Rover Series II SWB Post Office Telephones (Yellow)
76LR2S005 Land Rover Series II SWB Hard Back Civil Defence
76LRFCA002 Land Rover FC Ambulance Nato Green
76LRFCG003 Land Rover FC GS
76LRFCS002 Land Rover FC Signals Nato Green
76LRL004 Land Rover Lightweight Berlin Scheme
76LW001 Living Wagon Maroon/Red
76MA006 Mercedes Ambulance East Midlands Ambulance Service
76MB008 Mercedes Actros SSC Tipper Ronnie S Evans
76MBC004 Messerschmitt KR200 Bubble Top Light Blue
76MCS003 Mini Cooper MkII Tartan Red/Black
76MFE005 MAN Pump Ladder Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue
76MGA005 MGA Dove Grey
76MGBGT003 MGBGT Glacier White
76MM060 Morris 1000 Van British Railways
76MMC006 Morris Minor Convertible Maroon B/Tan
76MN009 Classic Mini Tweed Grey/OEW
76MO007 Morris Oxford III Sage Green/Twilight Grey
76MW6004 Bristol MW6G Tilling Transport
76P38002 Range Rover P38 Monte Carlo Blue
76PAN008 Plaxton Panorama A. Timpson & Sons Ltd
76PD2006 Leyland PD2/12 Stratford Blue
76QLR003 Bedford QLR 8 Corps HQ – NEW
76RCL002 Range Rover Classic Darien Gap
76RRC002 Rolls Royce Corniche Persian Sand
76RRE002 Range Rover Evoque Coupe (Facelift) Fuji White
76RRS003 Range Rover Sport SVR Firenze Red
76SAL006 Scania ARP Scottish Fire & Rescue
76SB003 Saro Bus London Greenline
76SCT006 ECM
76SET53 5 Piece Triumph Set
76SET54 BMC Transporter & 2 Mini 1275GT Set British Leyland Nederland
76SFT005 Standard Flying Twelve Pastel Green
76SHT001 Scammell Highwayman Tanker Shell/BP
76SR007 Sunbeam Rapier MkIII Light Green Metallic/Embassy Black
76T4001 VW T4 Westfalia Camper Paprika Red
76T5C001 VW T5 California Camper Metallic Night Blue
76TAC005 TACR2 SFOR – Bosnia & Herzegovina 1997
76TIL011 Austin Tilly No.1 MTTC. Camberley 1945 (Subaltern Princess Elizabeth)
76TP006 Triumph 2500 British Racing Green
76TPU002 Ford Transit Dropside Network Rail
76TR7002 Triumph TR7 Convertible Persian Aqua Metallic
76TRF004 Thompson Refueller Silver City
76TS003 Triumph Stag Pimiento
76VEL001 Range Rover Velar Firenze Red
76VO003 Volvo 760 Blue Metallic
76VOL4007 Volvo FH4 (G) Nooteboom Semi Low Loader Cadzow
76VOL4008 Volvo FH4 GXL Walking Floor McBurney Transport
76VW029 VW Bay Window Auf Wiedersehn Pet
76VWB010 VW Beetle Pastel Blue
76VWS001 VW T1 Samba Bus Sealing Wax Red/Beige Grey
76VWY007 Vauxhall Wyvern Metallichrome Blue
76WFA007 Weymann Fanfare North Western
76WMB003 Willys MB US Army
76ZEP011 Ford Zephyr Bomb Disposal

1:87 Scale

87BC55005 Buick Century 1955 Black/White
87CI61003 Chevrolet Impala 1961 White/Roman Red
87CP65006 Chevrolet Stepside Pick Up 1965 Bell System
87OR50003 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Coupe 1950 Yellow/Black
87SET001 3 Piece Set Chevrolet Hot Rods

1:148 Scale

NCHT002 Churchill Tank 1st Canadian Army Brg. Dieppe 1942
NCOR3003 Cortina MkIII Sebring Red
NFDE008 Ford 400E Van Southdown
NFT012 Ford Transit Mk5 Stobart Rail Low
NGG001 Green Goddess AFS
NMB007 Mercedes Actros Curtainside McGawn Bros
NNR006 New Routemaster LT50 General
NSDF001 Shelvoke & Drewry Freightlifter British Rail (Western)
NSEA002 Burlingham Seagull Stratford Blue
NTCAB007CC Scania T Cab Box Trailer Coca Cola Xmas
NTRAIL004 Mobile Trailer Walls


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Hovercraft

By Robin Godwin

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

What could a hovercraft possibly have to do with an online site called Model Auto Review? While Saunders-Roe of the UK (which became a division of Westland Aircraft Limited around the same time) produced the first commercial grade test/evaluation vehicle, the SR-N1 (Saunders-Roe Nautical 1) in 1959, and later billed the hovercraft as a revolutionary transport vehicle, many others were wildly enthusiastic about the broad application of air cushion vehicle technology to everyday transportation. The enthusiasm was such that some envisioned a personal hovercraft sitting in our driveways, although by design, driveways would not have been required. If this had come to pass, this site might have been called Model Hovercraft Review. But the link to toys and models comes from Corgi Toys (perhaps noticing the enthusiasm surrounding this new machine) who introduced a model of the SR-N1 only a year after the prototype had flown. I bought my Corgi Major # 1119 as soon as it hit the shelves in Canada.

As an impressionable kid who loved cars and trucks, I was in awe of this potential revolution in transportation, even more so after attending a live demonstration of the large commercial SR-N2 sponsored by manufacturer Saunders-Roe (likely with a bit of UK government money). This was a world marketing tour with a stop in Montreal in April 1963, and yes, most of the ice is gone from the St. Lawrence River by then. It came ashore at the Dorval Yacht Club, a short bicycle ride from my house. This was an impressive demo, with a huge (70 feet long) noisy machine leaving the water and gliding up the shore without missing a beat. With collecting instincts already well established, I managed to pick up the demonstration pamphlets and hold on to them for the past 55 years.

History has proven that the hovercraft did not live up to its promise to transform transportation, but it did have considerable success in various specialised commercial and military applications. Perhaps the best known was the Hoverspeed English Channel Hovercraft (an SR-N4), which ran for over 32 years ferrying cars and passengers between Dover and Calais. That service terminated in October 2000, with the introduction of the Fast Ferry Cat and competition from Eurotunnel. I recall being strapped into my seat for an exceptionally harsh SR-N4 ride across the channel in the late 80’s, thinking when will that tunnel be done?

Sir Christopher Cockerell, of the UK, is credited with bringing the hovercraft concept to a commercial realisation in the late 50’s, however the principle is believed to have been invented by Charles Fletcher, United States Naval Reserve, during the Second World War. His designs were appropriated by the War Department before he could patent them and take them commercial. In essence, the vehicle rests on a cushion of air. The vehicle motor produces an airflow, either by a fan or an exhaust, that is directed underneath the craft. Rubber skirts contain most of the air, and pressure buildup floats the vehicle on the air cushion. Either an additional engine or high speed exhaust or fan air provides forward thrust and turning capability (as in the SR-N1). Early versions would have been difficult to control through three planes of motion, which may explain why they never became “daily drivers” for the masses.

Corgi #1119 H.D.L. SR-N1 was an exceptional reproduction of the development vehicle. (H.D.L. stands for Hovercraft Development Limited, a subsidiary of the UK National Research Development Council. SR-N1 was designed and built by Saunders-Roe in conjunction with H.D.L.).  The real machine was 29 feet long by 24 feet wide and able to operate at weights up to 7 tons. The model is to 1:76 scale, large enough to appreciate the casting detail. There are four main castings, the base, hull, superstructure and fan shroud. The detail of the superstructure shows the ducting that would direct fan air to both move the vehicle forward and allow turning through air vectoring. There are four plastic moveable rudders attached at the extremities of the ducting. But the interesting feature is three ball bearings with individual suspension to simulate a hovercraft in operation, or as Corgi advertising of the time said “ …giving the illusion of floating on air.” It can actually bump and slide realistically across the floor. Despite this being a superb model, it nevertheless sold poorly – only 76,000 examples over a two year production run. Perhaps it was a reflection of waning enthusiasm over the initial excitement of the new technology, or the simple fact that most kids would never have seen the real vehicle, despite the inevitable coverage that would have occurred in the UK press and hobby magazines of the time. After all, it was a prototype, and commercial services with larger models did not begin until sometime later. Airfix produced a 1:72 plastic kit of the SR-N1 and both Dinky and Matchbox produced models of later versions of Hovercraft, which may easily have outsold the Corgi, since they were models of actual in-service vehicles.

So while my visit to watch a live SR-N2 hovercraft demo did not relate to any specific model in my collection, the Corgi SR-N1 was certainly the inspiration and motivation to go and witness this revolution in transportation.

 

Leaflet from the SR-N2 Demo in Montreal,1963, with the Corgi #1119 SR-N1

The general SR-N2 brochure from the Westland factory

Superb casting detail evident. The blue casting represents air ducting from the main fan (in white) to provide forward propulsion and directional control. Rear yellow “rudders” would become more effective as speed increased

 

Minimal base detail but the three “suspension” ball bearings can be seen. They gave the model a bit of elevation to simulate sitting on an air cushion

 

Corgi apparently had the box artwork finished before the Westland acquisition of Saunders-Roe.

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Oxford Diecast – Small scale Rolls-Royce Phantom V and Rover SD1

By Maz Woolley

Oxford Diecast are quickly catching up with the models for Release 2 of 2017. The models shown have been diecast to 1:76 scale in Oxford’s Chinese facility for the UK.

76SDV001 Rover SD1 Targa Red

This is the first use of this casting in the Oxford range and I am sure that it will be around for a long time. The car was used by many UK police forces and there are many liveries it could be made in for just the Metropolitan Police let alone all the other forces who used them as motorway patrol cars.

It has been made initially in the Vitesse trim as is shown by the printed side marking. This was fitted with the Rover V8 engine and was the top of the range sporty model.

The SD1 replaced the Rover P6 series. Surprisingly the SD1 was only in production for 10 years from 1976 to 1986 from which date all large BL cars were based on Hondas. It even won European Car of the Year in 1977. Sadly though the car was not well made with even the press cars at the Launch having build issues. It also had issues with paint flaking and even rusting and tarnished Rover’s reputation for well made cars. The lack of a booted model also caused issues in the Executive Market which was more used to traditional booted vehicles like the Jaguar XJ or Ford Granada.

As is often the case from mid life onwards many of the early issues with the car were resolved and the build quality steadily improved. Had it been well built and finished from the start the car may well have sold better across the world and its eventual sale of about 300,000 cars might have been larger. Perhaps if an estate version had been introduced as well it would have taken a lot of the market that Mercedes and Volvo satisfied.

The model captures the SD1 shape well. It is long and low and the wheels examined closely are an excellent reproduction of the alloys fitted to the VItesse and the wheels are fitted with nice rubber tyres.

From the rear the huge rear window is well modelled and includes a wiper blade. The silver plastic in black plastic door handles are well represented as are the black rubber bumpers with silver embellishers. On thing to be careful of is the fragility of the door mounted mirrors. They are well scaled and look good but on my car one was so loose it fell out and was lucky not to be lost.

Looking at the front a few issues show up when examined closely. There is a strange silver strip over the passenger side light at a curious angle. The black grille area is not printed properly in the middle and the number plate is not fully printed. In addition the orange indicators have not been printed/painted on properly to the divider mark. On the positive side the Rover badge has been nicely printed and from a normal distance the faults on the front end are not so obvious.

The rear end is rather better than the front with the spoiler perhaps a little too large but acceptable at this scale. The printed badging is excellent and the lights though slightly exaggerated close up look good from a normal distance.

Although a lot of effort has been made to create a nice grey period moulded interior I was surprised whilst looking at it carefully for this review to find that the driver’s seatback was totally missing. Not just loose inside which I could correct but completely absent.  At the moment there is just the seat cushion fitted  whilst the passenger side has a full seat back. This shows poor quality control is still their even for the launch of a new casting.

Apart fro the completely missed seat back which is not acceptable I would other wise have said that despite a few issues with this car I would emphasise that looked at from a normal distance and handled carefully this is a good replica of the Rover SD1 which will I am sure go on to be seen in lots of liveries.

Rolls-Royce Phantom V

Already seen in the 1:43 range we now have this car “shrunk” to fit the 1:76 range. For many the first impression of this model is to remember the Matchbox model of the same car from their childhood.

The Phantom V makes a stunning model even in a small scale. The original car was in production from 1959 to 1968 retaining Silver Cloud underpinnings and a chassis at a time when the mainstream Rolls-Royce cars were built on the new monocoque Silver Shadow body. Only just over 500 of such cars were built and many went to heads of state apart from John Lennon’s spectacular “pop art” car.

The photograph above shows how well Oxford have masked the painting to give an excellent edge between the black and silver paint. Unlike their Phantom III which did not include the black circles on the wheel covers Oxford has printed them this time. Those on the side photographed are nearly centred correctly but one on the other side is printed well off centre ruining the effect.

One curious feature I did not notice on the larger car is that when looked at at an angle only part of the radiator grille darkens on each side causing a curious effect. I am not sure of the cause of this as the grille looks excellent otherwise.

Inside there is a nicely moulded cabin with the seats in blue leather effect and a wooden effect dashboard  though not door cappings. The painted on rear lights are crisp, correct and lined up correctly and the boot of the car with its GB markings and boot fittings is excellent.

The photograph above shows how much detail has been included on the front end with all the lights and ancilliary lights present on the full size car nicely reproduced.

The spirit of Ecstacy is nicely moulded if slightly large: forgiveable because this is probably to make it strong enough not to break when handled. And the RR marking on the radiator shell is there if so tiny the eye struggles to see it.

Again the bumper has the tiny RR log fitted and it is so small that without magnification you cannot see how well printed it is.

Other than the misprinted black circles on one wheel this model is excellent and I am sure that like the larger version it will now appear in a range of colours.


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Oxford Diecast Rolls-Royce Phantom III

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the author.

Oxford Diecast have now released the 1:76 version of their Rolls-Royce Phantom III Sedanca de Ville. This was released earlier in the year in 1:43 scale.

The model is based upon a real car auctioned in 2014. Registered in 1936 it has a 7.3 Litre engine. The chassis left Rolls-Royce’s factory in May 1936 and was bodied by H J Mulliner in Chiswick. It was delivered to  Lady Maud Buckland of Salisbury, took place on the last day of 1936. The total cost was around £2,600, about £1,500 for the chassis and £1,100 for the body.

Photographs of the real car show this model to be an excellent replica of the real car. The shape is excellent and the detailing very good too. There is not a single quality control issue on this model it is beautifully painted and detailed.

Looking at the front lights I was very surprised to see that they all have tiny lenses fitted and unusual level of detail for a 1:76 scale model. The radiator, horns and spirit of ecstasy mascot are very well modelled too.

Wheels are excellent and the contrast of the rubber tyres to the shiny wheel covers is excellent. The wheel centres appear to have the multi sided section moulded in but Oxford has not printed any of the detail which breaks up the silver section leaving it as a simple silver disk. The interior is simplified from the 1:43 version with a simple dashboard with moulded detail  and a simple one piece steering wheel.

The running boards runners are nicely modelled and printed and the rear end is neatly modelled with lights and number plate box all very well presented  Bumpers at each end are simplified from the 1:43 pattern as they need to be strong enough to with stand shocks. Finally the number plates are excellent with the characters all the correct shape.

I have recently found myself being critical of Oxford’s models for detail issues and faults which have not been caught by their quality control. This model is beautifully detailed and finished to a very high standard and yet sells for a very modest price. I can see many model railway layouts featuring one of these outside the Church and many more collected just because they are a fine model of an attractive vehicle.


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Oxford Diecast – Range Rover Classic

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author except for the picture of the real car whose copyright is recognised.

Oxford Diecast‘s models from the Second Release of 2017 are now starting to arrive thick and fast. This article looks at the first release of the Range Rover Classic, so called as it was built alongside its replacement for a period of time.  Most readers will be familiar with the fact that in the 1950s Rover developed a set of prototypes of an upmarket Land Rover estate car based on the P4 chassis but with the ability to be used on or off road. The programme got so close to release that Corgi had developed a Road Rover model of its own and when Rover decided it was not going ahead with the Road Rover Corgi had to scrap theirs too.

By the 1960s the agricultural nature of the Land Rover was allowing Japanese makers like Nissan and Toyota who offered 4x4s with options of civilised cabins with nice seats and a more car like ambience to attract customers tired of the hard ride, discomfort and rudimentary cabin on even the Land Rover Estate versions.  In the US the Jeep Wagoneer and other 4x4s were much less like a truck. To fight back against this Rover developed the Range Rover powered by the 3.5 Litre V8 and with full off road capacity. It was a much more comfortable vehicle but retained the go anywhere capacity. In its initial form it was fitted with an interior that could be hosed down, rubber matting and plastic seats but the requests for a less utilitarian interior lead to an interior that became more luxurious at each upgrade.

This Lincoln Green painted model is Oxford’s first Classic Range Rover and is diecast in Oxford’s Chinese facility to 1:76 for the UK.

It is a nice model with an excellent shape. The printing is well registered and the Range Rover black script is neatly done as are the side badges .

Some have commentated very favourably about the wing mirrors but I think that their shaft is so very over scale that they may have been better left off altogether. Not all pictures of the original have mirrors and those that do are on a very spindly shaft. I guess that some collectors would not agree with me and want mirrors and are happy to live with the overscale shafts needed to prevent the mirrors breaking off.  I also think that the black printed grille should actually run along under the lights and to the level of the bumper and not end at the bottom of the grille cutouts.

At the side the wheels are good  and the mudflaps good with an exhaust exiting at the correct place. The door lock should have a black rim printed round it as the silver “blob” looks much too large and flat.

Inside there is a good matt finish suitable for this first generation of Range Rover and the typical very long gear lever. Sadly there is not the additional small lever to select low ratios next to it but in this scale that is not as obvious as it would be in 1:43. At the passenger side of the luggage area the spare wheel hanger is moulded in but no spare wheel is fitted.

The rear is generally good with the lifting rear window convincingly moulded above the handle unit and the Land Rover badge printed well. I am unconvinced by the number plates. I don’t know what process causes it but the characters are too wide for their height. In addition members of modelling boards on the web have pointed out that the lights are incorrectly printed. Checking the real vehicle myself against the model shown above, this seems to be the case. A web picture of YCX 348K as shown below confirms this.

© Land Rover Centre Huddersfield.

Oxford Diecast has often listened to criticisms of minor issues with  their initial releases and sorted them out for later ones. I hope that they do as the model is excellent apart from a few details which could be easily fixed and I look forward to it in the mid-blue and yellow/beige so many were painted.


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Oxford Diecast Release 3 2017

By Maz Woolley

All photographs were provide by, and are copyright of, Oxford Diecast.

This article has been updated to include a model missed from Oxford’s website listing – 1:148 Cortina III re-colour in yellow.

Release 3 of 2017 has been announced by Oxford Diecast. It includes a wide variety of re-colours and several new castings.  Most of the models are illustrated by drawings but those where prototypes are shown are pictured below. Lists of the other releases are included below and they include amongst others a 1:43 Coach casting for the first time as an Oxford 25 years special.

The bulk of the releases are in 1:76 scale and there are fewer trucks than usual, however there are several interesting farming and construction releases. For classic car lovers the 1:76 scale original Ford Capri, Heinkel,  and  Austin Somerset will be of particular interest.

Although many models are re-colours in several cases we have yet to see the first release of the casting.

18HE002-Oxford-Diecast-Heinkel-Kabine-Spartan-Red

The second issue of this 1:18 scale model.

 

 

76FT029 Oxford Diecast Ford Transit Mk5 Lwb High Docklands Light Railway

The numbering suggests that this is the 29th Issue of the Mark V LWB High roof Transit.  This time as a Docklands Light Railway response vehicle.

76CWT002 Oxford Diecast Commer Walk Thru British Rail – Yellow

The second use of this casting and sure to be popular with railway modellers. Continues the use of the black linings for windows that just highlight the overscale depth of the casting.

 

76OWB013 Oxford Diecast Bedford OWB Belfast

Again the 13th livery for this 1:76 scale casting of the Bedford OWB. This time in Belfast livery. Belfast buses are famous for their Red livery but I expect that this blue livery must be authentic for the bus modelled.

76WMB002 Oxford Diecast Willys MB US Navy Seebees

A second release of the new 1:76 Jeep. The first release was as a Royal Navy beach master vehicle and now it is in US Navy colours.

NWFL001 Oxford Diecast Weymann Fanfare Southdown

This 1:144 scale model shows what Oxford can do in this scale. Seen already and sold out in 1:76 scale this model should be popular.

 

VF004-Oxford Diecast Vauxhall Firenza Sport Sunspot Yellow

The fourth use of this casting and in a very popular colour of the time.

New castings to be released

1:43

43JUP001 Jowett Jupiter SA Green
43WFA001 Weymann Fanfare South Wales – Oxford 25 Years Special B

1:76

76NQ2001 Nissan Qashqai J11 Storm White
76SOM001 Austin Somerset Black
76CHV001 Combine Harvester Red
76FCC001 Ford Consul Capri Lime Green/ermine White
76TPU001 Ford Transit Dropside Stobart Rail
76WOT001 Ford WOT1 Crash Tender Mickey Mouse (scampton)
76HE001 Heinkel Trojan Roman Blue
76JCB7001 JCB 776LRFCS001 Land Rover FC Signals Nato Green Camouflage

1:148

NWFL001 Weymann Fanfare Southdown

Aircraft

AC082 Brewster Buffalo USS Saratoga 1939
AC083 Henschel 123A Unit 3/SFGR 50 Lt. Hamann
72SW003 Supermarine Walrus N19 Irish Air Corps

Re-releases of existing castings in new colours and liveries.

1:18

18HE002 Heinkel Kabine Spartan Red
18MBC006 Messerschmitt KR200 Convertible Royal Blue

1:43

43AMVT003 Aston Martin Vantage S Sunburst Yellow
43JAG5002 Jaguar Mk V DHC Closed British Racing Green
43JAG8004 Jaguar MKVIII Carmen Red
43LRL004 Land Rover Lightweight Canvas Berlin Scheme
43R25002 Rolls Royce 25/30 – Thrupp & Maberley Two Tone Blue
43JSS007 SS Jaguar Gunmetal
VF004 Vauxhall Firenza Sport Sl Sunspot

1:76

76MN011 Austin Mini Cooper White Union Jack
76OWB013 Bedford OWB Belfast
76BD023 Bedford OYD 15th Scottish Infantry Div Uk 1943
76M3002 BMW M3 Coupe E92 Jerez Black
76CHT003 Churchill Tank 142 RAC Tunisia 1943
76COM007 Commer Commando Skyways
76CWT002 Commer Walk Thru British Rail – Yellow
76CWT003 Commer Walk Thru London Fire Brigade
76ETYP013 E Type Jaguar White
76FT029 Ford Transit Mk5 Lwb High Docklands Light Railway
76HST003 Humber Snipe Tourer Old Faithful – Tripoli 1943
763CX002 JCB 3CX Eco Backhoe Loader Union Jack Livery
76LRL003 Land Rover 1/2 Ton Lightweight RAF- Red Arrows
76LAN180006 Land Rover Series I 80 Hard Top RAC
76MCS005 Mini Hong Kong Police
76ME006 Morris Eight E Series Tourer Dark Blue
76MCS006 Pink Mini
76PAN007 Plaxton Panorama Ribble
76RRP3002 Rolls Royce Phantom III Fawn/black
76RRP5002 Rolls Royce Phantom V Burgundy/silver Sand
76SB002 Saro Bus Maidstone & District
76SCT004 Scania Car Transporter Green Tiger
76TCAB010 Scania T Cab Short Curtainside Stuart Nicol Transport
76TR6002 Triumph TR6 Signal Red
76VL002 Volvo 544 Yellow
76WMB002 Willys MB US Navy Seebees

1:87

87BC55004 Buick Century 1955 New York Taxi
87BS36004 Buick Special Convertible Coupe 1936 Balmoral Green
87CSD61002 Cadillac Sedan Deville 1961 Aspen Gold Met…
87CI61002 Chevrolet Impala 1961 Convertible Roman Red/white
87CN57004 Chevrolet Nomad 1957 Colonial Cream/india Ivory
87CP65004 Chevrolet Stepside Pick Up 1965 Red/white
87OR50002 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Coupe 1950 Crest Blue
87PB59002 Pontiac Bonneville Coupe 1959 Sunrise Coral

1:148

NAP004 Austin Princess (late) Black/Royal Claret
NCT006 Citroen 2CV Charleston Two Tone Grey
NDSC002 Daimler Dingo 10th Mounted Rifles
NDEF002 Land Rover Defender Royal Mail
NLRL002 Land Rover Lightweight Military Police
NMA002 Mercedes Ambulance London
NMGB002 MGB Roadster Pale Primrose
NNMN002 New Mini Pepper White
NCOR3002 Cortina Mark III Daytona Yellow

Specials and Sets

SP133 Xmas 2017 Albion
76SET58 RAF Centenary Set


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OXFORD MILITARY – Churchill Tank Mk III

By Robin Godwin

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The box reads “… not a toy. Collectors model not suitable for children under 14 years.” There is always a point of discussion between collectors with the addition of “toylike” features added to collectors’ scale models. For regular vehicles, this discussion usually involves opening features such as doors, bonnets and boots. I don’t consider these features toylike or gimmicks at all. If they are there on the real vehicle, then why not on accurate scale models? The argument that opening features ruin the lines of a vehicle with poor fit and large gaps is, unfortunately, sometimes true, and those manufacturers who don’t put the extra engineering effort into proper design/fit and actuation deserve criticism in the model press. In fact, perfection has been achieved by several manufacturers in 1:43 and even 1:50 scales (and is routine in the larger scale models, except in some of the cheaper ranges like the new Solido 1:18 scale VW Beetle with dog-leg door hinges) so it can be done.

With armoured, tracked vehicles the discussion usually centres on the tracks, their accuracy and whether or not they roll. Again, I prefer working features, so I really like my tank models with rolling tracks. Virtually all the partwork 1:72 tanks and their derivative ranges feature fixed rolling wheels and tracks. They are marketed as collectors’ items as well, and generally feature very accurate running gear, which is fine for display models. The Oxford Diecast Churchill in 1:76 scale, with working tracks, leaves me a bit flat, however. It is the method of execution that has been under-engineered for what is described as a collectors’ model. The effect is uncannily similar to the solution sought by Dinky Toys and Matchbox over 60 years ago – obviously dummy cast wheels which hide a roller system behind, giving a remarkably toy like appearance rather than a seriously modelled effort. If this is meant to be a display model, it doesn’t display as well as it should. Forces of Valor (Unimax) produced a much more accurate working system on their 1:72 Churchill Mk VII tank several years ago. The pictures below illustrate the differences (in reality, the differences between a Mk III and a Mk VII largely amounted to additional armour, and up-gunning). Surprising as well is that OD omitted separate plastic antennas and features a fixed non-elevating fragile plastic barrel. Although the plastic turret rotates, these obvious omissions would have enhanced display value.

A complaint I have had before with OD products is quality control. Only one of my tracks rolls freely, with the other jammed a bit by a bent mounting bracket for the return roller/idler wheel. Since the base is screwed on, I may remove it and attempt to straighten the bent metal bracket, but this may chip the paint.

On average, though, the model is a decent replica of a Mk III tank that fought at el Alamein in North Africa in 1942. It features a satisfying amount of metal in it’s construction with a subsequent hefty feel. To me, it sits a bit high compared to more accurate 1:72 scale models, and finish appears to be way too glossy. Although OD calls it a collectors’ model, it is very toy like in execution. Unless you collect all versions of Churchills, or specific campaign versions, or are locked into 1:76 scale (and need a tank for your Oxford Diamond T Tank Transporter model, also used in the African Desert), then I recommend acquiring one of the 1:72 scale partworks. They are more accurate and generally less expensive.

Illustrations

Zylmex earlier generation Churchill Mk VII, left, Oxford Diecast Mk III, middle, Forces of Valor (FoV) Mk VII, right. Note non-elevating barrel on OD

The Zylmex is obviously a toy with the incorrect number of road wheels, but actually a simpler and (likely) less expensive production method (plastic one piece wheel/axle arrangement running through slots in the chassis). Zylmex at least added antennae, and opened up an access panel in the front of the track guards (likely for cleaning and/or repair access). The OD does the same panel in tampo black

The FoV is way more accurate, but spoiled by toy standard requirements for the metal wire antennae. It has what appears to be a better “posture” than the OD

Another Mk VII, this time from the Combat Tanks partworks by PCT/Ixo. Non-rolling wheels/tracks, but a way better looking model at half the price.

Matchbox Centurion, left, showing similar engineering solution to rolling wheels/tracks from over 50 years ago – solid cast “fake” road wheels with rolling mechanism hidden behind

The OD solution to rolling tracks. Not counting drive and idler wheels, there are 11 metal axles with plastic sleeve rollers per side. This can’t be the least expensive option for manufacturing, nor is it the best looking effect. Note bent idler wheel bracket on left side of photo, which means my model does not roll. A QC issue

The FoV solution to rolling wheels/tracks. Two plastic friction fit pieces per “axle” fit into holes in suspension casting. A better engineering solution, and a much better looking model


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Atlas/Oxford Dennis F106 Fire Appliance

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by the Author.

Oxford Diecast has made several Fire Appliances to 1:76 scale. These are diecast in China in their own factory. Some of these models have been produced under contract for Atlas Editions and sold in their Fire Service Vehicles subscription series. It should be noted that even the models sold by Atlas have Oxford on their bases.

The Dennis F106, as modelled here, was made between 1963 and 1968. Ninety-nine vehicles were built. The version modelled is the rear pump variant with white tips to the roof ladders and an escape ladder that can be removed, though not extended, as shown below. The London Fire Brigade crest is printed  on the side lockers on both sides and a lot of detail has been printed on including climbing slots and the water hose attachment points.

The Oxford model is excellent and also appears in their own range with a different registration and without the bell on the cab roof.

The escape ladder fits neatly onthe vehicle by two pins inserted into slots in the roof.

The modelling includes printing on the visibility panel in the front cab doors. Although the flashing lights on the roof are painted the translucent blue over silver paint is very effective.

The wheels too are good moulded replicas of the full size ones with the silver hub caps on the front wheels well detailed.

The front of the vehicle has an excellent grille, well printed lights and a finely printed Dennis badge. Inside the cab a basic interior is provided and the chassis underneath is a flat largely detail-less plate.


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