Category Archives: 1:76

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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CMC Morris LD Van

By Maz Woolley

CMC plastic 1:76 model kits were only on the market for a relatively short time and were not widely seen even when in production. I have had their Morris J Van which I bought when the range was first sold which was an excellent model which made up reasonably easily for a multi-part kit.

I know that they also made a Morris LD and a Bedford CA and have kept my eyes open for them at toyfairs but have never seen any made or unmade until recently when I came across the LD. This was a bought from a toyfair made up and painted very poorly. I have taken it apart and over-sprayed it as I did not dare use paint stripper of any kind in case it attacked the plastic.

Like the Morris J, the CMC model is a fair representation of the real van though the paint coats needed to hide the original paintwork have rather smoothed out the sharper features.

All in all quite a nice model and unlike the Corgi Trackside to the correct 1:76 scale.

I shall keep looking for the Bedford CA and a better LD but it is a nice addition to my small scale range of commercials.


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Oxford Diecast Volvo 760

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by the Author.

Oxford Diecast continue to release the models promised for 2017. Here I look at a new 1:76 scale model diecast at Oxford’s Chinese factory for the UK.

76VO001 Volvo 760 Gold Metallic

This is the first time that we have seen this casting from Oxford and it captures the real car well. The wedge shape so fashionable in the early 1980s is well caught and the paint is a good representation of the popular metallic finish which can be seen on many photographs of the car.

Wherever you look there are impressive small details like the Volvo badging printed on the wings which is hardly noticeable without magnification but which is there as it should be.

I don’t think that the model is one of Oxfords best for a number of reasons. Firstly the rear light cluster looks like eight separate lights, see above, whereas on the rear car it was one continuous light with different colour sections and a silver trim horizontally in the centre. Secondly the tyres had to be taken off and refitted. If you look at the picture below you can see extra rubber sticking out and on other wheels the tyres did not actually reach the hub. All correctable but avoidable. The hubs themselves appear to be a bit vague and do not match the alloys that I can see on cars pictured on the web and have no Volvo badged centre cover.

The last issue can also be seen on the photograph above. Where are the mirrors? A large blank area of the door looks like the mirrors should have been fitted there. Indeed the picture Oxford provides of the next use of this casting shows mirrors drawn on, see below.

So my conclusion is that this is a good model without reaching the standards that Oxford can achieve. It is also good to have models from the early 1980s in affordable diecast ranges.


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Aussie Buses and other thoughts

By Mick Haven

During my first trip to Australia back in 1997, I paid little attention to their buses, although buses had played a major part in my life for at least the first third of it. Whilst it’s true that I would have seen plenty of them down there within the first day or two of my arrival, there are two which linger in the memory. The first one is the ‘Surfside’ Leyland National LWB on route number 1, showing the destination, Tweed Heads, a town in Surfers Paradise on Queensland’s Gold Coast. This is on the border with neighbouring New South Wales, a place where you can straddle the state border line, with one foot in Queensland and one in New South Wales. Why does the Surfside stand out? In reality it was no different to any other Leyland National, basically a long rattling tin box with very basic fixtures and fittings, not a patch on the old solid L.T.s, Leyland PDs and Bristols. Maybe it was because it was my first ride on an Aussie bus. Maybe it was due to the novelty of seeing and riding on a ‘British’ bus, one so familiar back home, yet eleven thousand miles away in a foreign town. I would ride the same service the following year. During those first trips down there, I had little or no knowledge of Australian models either, Elle MacPherson aside. I certainly had never heard of Trax or of its parent company, Top Gear Models. Once I did become aware of them, via computer and consequently, the internet, I began collecting models of the ubiquitous ‘Ute’, which is to Australians what pick-up trucks are to Americans. Over a period of time, about a dozen of them made their way north, not only by Trax but by Biante and Classic Carlectables, two other unfamiliar names back then. I was also fascinated by Trax commercial vehicles brand, Trux. In amongst them, all in 1/76th scale, was the Surfside, and I think also there was the same bus, but in the livery of buses plying their trade in Canberra and Tasmania. There were also double deck and single deck buses of a much older vintage. I began getting Trax new and current releases literature by post, and keeping up with them on the ‘net. This would have been around the end of the last century at a guess. I still get regular updates from them in both forms.

My collection of British bus models isn’t extensive, no more than in the low twenties. As, if for no other reason, I don’t see the point in having models of buses which have no relevance to me. Even that is only partially true because as well as buses, I grew up with many of the country’s well known national coach companies, e.g. East Kent, Southdown, Ribble, Royal Blue, Midland Red and so many others, long before they fell under the ‘National’ umbrella that we know today. For a coach spotter in the 1950s, London’s Victoria Coach Station was Mecca. To get models of them would run into hundreds. Consequently, I wouldn’t have the space to display them. So I only collect or have collected, models of buses I grew up with, I rode on or drove for a living, i.e. London Transports and Green Lines on Essex routes, Eastern Nationals and Southdowns.

I digress. Seeing the Surfside in updates from Trax meant that having ridden on one, I had to have the model, so one was ordered. An altogether far more satisfying purchase was to follow. During that same trip down under, I left the Gold Coast and went to Sydney for a couple of days. From there I had to get to Melbourne, where I had arranged to stay with friends. I had three choices of travel, train, plane or long distance bus. The first two were out of the question financially. I opted to go by road, and the method of transport I chose was operated by the ‘Firefly Express’ company who ran a twice daily service between Sydney and Melbourne, and a service between Melbourne and Adelaide. The Sydney/Melbourne service departed at 07:00 and 19:30. It took 12 hours! On arrival at the departure point, there was this splendid double deck bus, or is it a double deck coach? Whatever, it was a super vehicle. I used it there and back.

I had been back home awhile, and looked in on Trax on a regular basis. I had never forgotten the Firefly and thought that it would make an excellent model, so I e-mailed them to ask if they had plans to make one, and if not, could they consider it. An e-mail arrived within a day or so, advising me that by sheer coincidence, the release of one was imminent. It was. I ordered one straightaway, and it arrived within two weeks. My timing was perfect, because the production run was short lived. If ever there was a case of ‘now you see it, now you don’t’, this was it. I got lucky. There were one or two other models sharing the same body, but in the livery of other operators. The vehicle is a ‘Landseer’, by Australian coach builder, Denning, and has the almost mandatory ‘roo bars across the front, very necessary when crossing the outback in the middle of the night. This is a bus model I treasure. The Denning company also produced single deck interstate coaches, not dissimilar to classic American Greyhounds. These too were replicated by Trux. Pictures of many Australian buses and coaches, including Firefly’s, can be found on the Showbus Australia web site.

The Surfside model was cast for Trax by EFE The Firefly chassis has no manufacturers name. Was this a special commission by E.F.E. for the Australian market? That I don’t know, but like far too many EFE.s, neither of them have mirrors. However, I believe the giveaway is in the absence of them. I have never seen or heard it explained why so many EFEs didn’t have mirrors. What doesn’t make sense is that for all those that didn’t, many others did? No bus ever leaves the garage without mirrors, I know, I drove them for a living. The real Firefly had those long protruding affairs, seen on the vast majority of long distance coaches.

The third bus shown is of one operated by Sydney State Transit, and is by C.M.N.L. Northcord. For realism and minor details, including mirrors, it surpasses the other two by some distance. The bus featured is on a Volvo B12BLE CB60 chassis, on route 438 to Parramatta, one of many of the type in service at the time. While the models may look out of place with the London Transports, the Eastern Nationals and the Southdowns, they are nevertheless fine models in a small collection.

Two others which I would like to get my hands on, are a Sydney State Transit Mercedes on route 311 to Bondi, and a little twenty something seater? in service with the Sunbus company in and around Cairns in Far North Queensland. The latter was on a Mercedes chassis. There is a similar Mercedes model in the colours of Surfside, which is probably based on an EFE but that model has a folding door at the front only, where the Sunbus has a longer chassis, with one folding door at the front and one in the middle, so a conversion would only be for the very experienced modeller.

I seem to recall that C.M.N.L. may have produced the other Sydney bus, or one like it, but I can’t find either one anywhere, not even on eBay Australia. As the Firefly and the 311, if indeed one does exist, both date back nearly twenty years, finding a model of either is highly unlikely.

MAR contributors interested in unusual or ‘worldwide’ bus models may like to look in on eBay under ‘Australian buses’. There are a number of classic buses from Trux to be found, Leyland Atlanteans for example, and some even older. At the time of writing, I’ve recently received my regular Trax special offers literature. They are running a ‘Super Sale’, offering classic Holdens, Australian Fords and Chryslers, including some Utes at $23 each, reduced further if ordering more than one, and Trux buses at $30 each, also reduced further for multiple buys. One of those which made me smile was a half cab double decker 1949 AEC Regent. Why? Because the bus has folding doors at the front and an open platform at the rear. Yes, and? Much fuss was made with the introduction of the new ‘Bus for London’, ‘The New Routemaster‘, or even ‘ the Boris Bus’, as it was dubbed. This ‘new’ bus, shares the same configuration as a 1949 A.E.C. Information on the Firefly web site leads me to believe that the Landseer has long been phased out in favour of a single deck coach. Finding a model of one would seem to be harder than finding the real thing.


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D Di Mascio Ice Cream Van

By Maz Woolley

All photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author. With the exception of the drawing which is copyright of Oxford Diecast.

Oxford Diecast‘s recent release in 1:76 scale of a D. DiMascio Ice Cream van will strike a chord with anyone who grew up in the Coventry area in the 1950s through to the 1970s. So strong was the presence of this firm’s vans that for many Coventrians the words “D. Di” meant ice cream in the same way that Hoover meant a vacuum cleaner. A van would be parked outside the gates of my secondary school in spring, summer and autumn ready for “home time”. The phrase “I’ll have a D. Di on the way home” was a common one. Another Coventry habit was taking a bowl out to the D. Di van and they would  fill the bowl with ice cream for a suitable number of old pennies, I can remember my Mum doing that as a special treat for us in early 60s Cheylesmore. This is the second D. Di van in the Oxford range as they have previously modelled the “Little D. Di Ford Thames van.

Dionisio Di Mascio came from Cassino in Italy in the inter-war years and started his business in Coventry after working for his Uncle in Glasgow. Before the war the vehicles were limited and the business dominated by D. Di Mascio’s ice cream parlour. Sadly, their premises were destroyed in the blitz. With the huge post-war growth of Coventry and its  relative prosperity the firm grew quickly adding vehicles based on converted cars running two Rovers, six Standards and even an Austin. They also had some larger vehicles like an Austin K8 and Morris PVs.

As business grew D. Di started to standardise on BMC J type vans and soon a fleet of 24 J types was in use. For those of us growing up in the 1960s and 1970s these were the vans that we saw all the time and that is the type of van represented by the one modelled by Oxford Diecast. Sadly none of the vans is known to have made it into preservation. The van modelled is based upon WHP 881 which was registered on 1st August 1958 and driven by Marico.

The Oxford model captures the D. Di livery well and although D. Di vans were not all identically bodied the body is very close to several pictures that can be found on the web. Certainly close enough to make me wish that they made this model in 1:43 scale as well.

For those who want to know more about D. Di Mascio and their vans I can recommend “D. Di Mascio’s Delicious Ice Cream” by Roger de Boer, Harvey Pitcher, and Alan Wilkinson which has provided much information for this post.

I now live in the Northampton area where local ice cream sales are dominated by Gallones. I have recently found out that the current owner of Gallones is the grandson of Dionisio DiMascio which explains the fact that one Morris LD in the D. Di Fleet was ex-Gallone. Perhaps other vans went from D. Di to Gallones? I would certainly welcome a Gallones van from Oxford maybe based upon an LD or Commer van which would offer lots of other opportunities for other liveries like Mr Whippy and Mr Softee as well.


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Parker Models Standard Vanguard Phase II Saloon

By Maz Woolley

When listing my collection I realised that I had a missing Parker Model. Although released some time ago this model is  is still available from Parker Models so I obtained one to complete my collection.

The Standard Vanguard was launched in 1947 with a classic 1940s American Style “beetle back” which looked modern when seen alongside many of the warmed over pre-war cars being sold by most other carmakers. Although sales were initially good Standard’s one model policy meant that they needed the cars to sell strongly and sales started to fall off as others launched their new post war models. In 1951 Ford launched the new Ford Consul and Zephyr which aped US Fordor styles and Vauxhall launched the Velox E series with its Chevrolet influence. Both ranges were three box saloons based on contemporary American styling.

Standard’s response was the Vanguard Phase II model which had been re-styled in a three box “notchback” shape. The boot size increased by 50% and the larger rear window improved visibility. At the front a new wide grille was added. Under the skin the car had changed little with some modifications to the suspension and tyres and a slight increase in engine compression. A contemporary test by The Motor magazine, without the optional overdrive, recorded a top speed of 80mph. In 1954 Standard became the first British car maker to offer a diesel engine as a factory fitted option. The chassis was stiffened to take the weight of the heavier engine and performance suffered with only a 66mph top speed.

Parker Models are 1:76 white metal kits primarily designed for the railway modeller. The model consisted of: A body shell with all features moulded in; a chassis with wheels, bulkhead and seats cast in; a steering wheel, and a vacform. The casting was clean and the painting and assembly of the model is straightforward. As usual with Parker Models the model captures the original car very well.


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