Category Archives: Austin

Corgi July to December 2017

By Maz Woolley

All pictures used to illustrate this article are from Corgi’s web site. Most are mock ups or 3D renderings rather than examples of the final models. 

Business Background

I make no apologies for starting this article with news about the Hornby Hobbies business as June is not only when they announce the second half models but it is also their financial year end.

Already this year we have seen the company drop its plans to build a visitor centre to replace the one lost when they sold their headquarters site. This was followed in April by a major shareholder,  New Pistoia Income Limited, calling for the removal of Roger Canham the Executive Chairman. Before the Annual Results New Pistoia decided to cut their losses and sold the 20% they held in Hornby hobbies for 32 pence a share to Phoenix Asset Management Partners the biggest shareholder who now have 55% and have now to offer to buy any other shareholders shares at 32 pence.

Whilst all this upheaval took place the annual results were announced and the CEO/Chairman Roger Canham’s resignation as well. A growing underlying pre-tax loss of over six million pounds was widely reported in the Financial columns. Whilst their cash situation has significantly improved this will still leave them little capital to invest in new products so only the fast selling products with the highest level of margin will get any investment. The shareholders have not had a dividend for several years now and the shares values have flat lined over the last year so they are all losing money on the shares which cannot go on for ever.

Why does this matter to collectors of model vehicles? Well Corgi is hardly mentioned in any discussions of Hornby at all and apart from the 1:48 Lightning model investments in new mouldings are non-existent apart from a single 1:50 truck not even listed in the second half release section of their web pages.  The company states that its turnround is well under way with a belief that all UK brands have been maintained despite all the cost cutting measures taken, lower sales, and restrictions in the sales channels they are servicing. I am not sure that that does not count as what are now known as “alternate facts”. Collectors are right to be uneasy when they see that the  Corgi brand is not mentioned once in the plans for the next stage of the turnround.

It is against this background that Corgi announced their July to December catalogue. Almost everything in it is a new version of a casting already used several times in the past. Some castings  like the Vanguards Morris Minors and Mini are now several generations old and simply not up to the standards of Oxford Diecast, or PCT made models for part works or ranges like Whitebox. Looking at the Corgi Forum the posts about the new releases are mostly negative which I know reflects several MAR Online readers views as well. Corgi have not even listed some models on their web site that Hattons has listed like the re-released Basil Fawlty Austin  or yet another Mr Bean Mini.

I believe that the situation is clear: Hornby has no intention of investing in any significant level of new tooling for the Corgi ranges. Their sole idea of keeping Corgi alive is to produce re-paints of old castings and hope that they sell enough to milk some contribution from the brand to their financial recovery. In my opinion Corgi is now a spent force and Hornby is deluding itself if they expect collectors to pay nearly thirty pounds for Vanguards models made from  ageing moulds when DeAgostini/Atlas and others offer more for less money.

Corgi 2017 Second Half Catalogue

The models listed below are those listed by Corgi on their web site for the second half of 2017. Their January 2017 announcement was already reported here.  When checking a supplier website there are models available to order that are not in the catalogue such as five re-released James Bond vehicles, Mr Bean’s Mini, and Basil Fawlty’s 1100. There is also a single 1:50 scale lorry, Scania R (Face Lift) Flatbed Trailer & Brick Load “Ian Craig Haulage Ltd, Falkirk, Scotland”,  claimed to be new tooling. If these are new it seems strange that Corgi did not include them on their website listing.

My observations on the models offered are:

  1. The Royal Wedding Anniversary models are crude and horrid and quite expensive for the type of souvenir shop likely to want to stock them. I can’t see collectors wanting them at all.
  2. I hope the metallic models are not made with reflective flakes the size showing in pictures
  3. How many times are they going to release that Mini casting – it was not good when first released and looks even worse now compared to modern models?
  4. Who lined up all that awful thick silver detailing on the Minor Police Car windows?
  5. Why are they using the same moulds used already for re-paints recently so soon like the Sunbeam Alpine?
  6. Why is an “export” Rover 3500 fitted with UK number plates?
  7. Why keep on flogging the “New London Bus” to death when the new Mayor has cancelled buying any more of them?
  8. Why keep on releasing Land Rovers when Oxford will be doing them and charging significantly less?
  9. Why bother with the Captain Scarlett car? It has now slipped out of fashion again.
  10.   Many earlier releases of the re-used castings are available on eBay and at Toy Fairs for much less money why buy a new one?
  11. How can anybody at Corgi say they are “proud to introduce the July to December 2017 Corgi range, featuring a host of new introductions

Aviation Archive

English Electric Lightning F6 XR728/JS , RAF Binbrook

 

Albatros D.Va D.7327/17, Lt. Lothar Weiland, Jasta 5, Seefrontstaffel 1

 

Fokker DR.1 Triplane 213/17 ‘K’, Lt. Friedrich ‘Fritz’ Kempf, Jasta 2

 

Sopwith Camel F.1 B6313, Major William George ‘Billy’ Barker RAF

 

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress 42-97880/DF-F ‘Little Miss Mischief’ USAAF

 

Panavia Tornado GR.4 ZA461, RAF No.15 Squadron, Special Scheme

 

Dornier Do17Z-2 U5-BH, 1./KG.2 ‘Holzhammer’ Operation Marita

 

Junkers Ju-88C-6 F8+BX, 13./KG40, Battle over the Biscay

 

Short Sunderland Mk.III W3999/ RB-Y No.10 Squadron RAAF, Early 1942

 

Blackburn Buccaneer S.2 XW538/S, RAF No.16 Squadron, RAF Gutersloh

 

Hawker Typhoon lB RB389/I8-P ‘Pulverizer IV’, No.440 Sqn RCAF

 

Messerschmitt Bf 110E-2 G9+LN, Oblt. Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer

 

Westland Puma HC.1 XW220/AC, RAF No.72 Squadron, Aldergrove, 1997

 

Hawker Hurricane Mk.1 N2359/YB-J, ‘Winged Popeye’, RAF No.17 Sqn

 

Gloster Sea Gladiator N5519/G6A, No,802 NAS, HMS Glorious, 1939

 

Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 ‘Yellow 1’ Oblt. Gerhard Schopfel, Battle of Britain

 

Curtiss Hawk 81-A-2 P8127 ‘White 47’, Robert ‘R.T’ Smith, 3rd Sqn AVG

 

North American P-51D Mustang 44-13586/C5-T ‘Hurry Home Honey’, USAAF

Vanguards

 

Volkswagen Beetle, Type 1 Export Saloon Horizon Blue

 

Land Rover Series 1 80” RAC Road Service Vehicle

 

Ford Escort Mk3 XR3 Prairie Yellow

 

Austin Se7en Deluxe, Vanden Plas ‘Mini’ Lord Austin’s Daughter Irene Austin, Princess Blue-Grey Metallic

Morris Minor 1000 The Lothians and Peebles Constabulary

 

Ford Cortina Mk3 2000E Automatic Sahara Beige

 

Ford Cortina Mk2 Twin Cam (Lotus) Red II

 

Rover P6 3500S Scarab Blue, Export Specification, RHD

 

Ford Escort Mk1 RS2000 Modena Green

 

Ford Sierra XR4i Strato Silver

 

Ford Capri 2300GT Mk1 1969 Tour de France Automobile

 

Ford Escort Mk2 RS1800 1979 Lombard RAC Rally of Great Britain

 

Sunbeam Alpine Series 2 Quartz Blue Metallic

 

Morris Minor 1000 Traveller Bermuda Blue

Original Omnibus

 

New Routemaster, Go-Ahead London, 88 Camden Town

 

New Routemaster, Go Ahead London, 88 Clapham Common

 

Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Shuttle Bus

Others

 

Paddington Bear New Routemaster

 

Captain Scarlet Classic Spectrum Saloon Car

 

70th Anniversary of The Royal Wedding – Classic Mini

 

70th Anniversary of The Royal Wedding – Classic Routemaster

Bloodhound SSC Super Hauler

 

Corgi Christmas Super Hauler

Closing thoughts

Long time MAR readers will know that I have been a collector of Corgi models in the past and have been getting more and more restive with each underwhelming release announcement. I know many of you feel the same. I think that the thing I find most insulting to collectors is the pretence that the Corgi range is active and vibrant. Some honesty and openness about the role Hornby think Corgi has going forward would be welcome. Some of us have been Corgi Collectors since our childhood.

What do you the reader think?

Last thought. If  Hornby can’t make anything of the range, it would surely be better to sell it to someone else who can?


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Mrs JoJo from Emmy Models

By Mario Marti

Mario Marti has been a long time friend of MAR and his Emmy models have appeared in the printed magazine as well as in MAR Online. He often donated prizes of his Emmy Models when we ran prize competitions. Emmy make small runs of models of vehicles chosen by Mario and have, most recently, made several inter-war racing cars. Here he brings us news of the latest model to be produced in his 1:32 scale range. All photographs and illustrations are supplied by Mario.

I am very pleased to inform you that Emmy Models of Switzerland have just released a model of an inter-war Brooklands racer: Mrs. JoJo.

Mrs Jo Jo is an Austin Seven-based special with an illustrious history which includes winning the President’s Gold Plate racing at Brooklands in its heyday. Its 747cc four cylinder Austin 7 engine has a supercharger reputedly raising its peak power to 60bhp. It is thought to be one of the most successful Seven specials of its time and it still exists today.

The Emmy model is to 1:32 scale. The model is deliberately simple to capture the form and spirit of the prototype. We believe the shape of the model is correct and captures the essence of the car. More photographs are available if you contact us using the contact form on our website www.emmy-mod.ch 

This model looks well with the previous 1:32 MG R and Austin Seven Ulster models from Emmy. These were made in white metal but Mrs JoJo has a body made in resin.

We sell the model for 50 GB Pounds and for a short time we will offer free postage (to European countries only) to readers and supporters of MAR Online if they make themselves known. The model can be ordered via our homepage: www.emmy-mod.ch


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Auto Cult May 2017

By Maz Woolley

 

Auto Cult has announced that they are supporting a Crowdfunding project for the reconstruction of a real Standard Superior Type I. This car was a precursor to the VW Beetle and highly influential in the Beetle’s development. This project will be started on the Indiegogo platform (www.indiegogo.com) and will be supported by Auto Cult with “Perks”.  Eligible funders will receive a unique set from Auto Cult made up of the following model cars in to 1:43 scale: Mercedes-Benz 120 (W17), NSU type 32, Standard Superior type II and a Tatra V570. This set will be probably be released in August 2017.

This months releases made in resin in China for Germany to 1:43 scale are shown below.


Past Brands series

#02011 Austin Healey Sebring Sprite (GB, 1960)

This model represents a works car built by Healey in Warwick in small numbers specifically for racing. Extensive use of aluminium and fiberglas as well as disk brakes and a heavily tuned BMC A series engine made it quite quick in the hands of talented drivers .

It spawned a whole industry in after market parts to allow the standard sports car to be turned int a “replica”.


Streamliner series

#04008 Maybach SW35 Stromlinie (D, 1935)

This streamlined prototype was shown at Motor Shows in 1935. The slogan used was  “ a fast car specially suited to the autobahn”. With styling influenced by Paul Jaray it was based on a chassis with a 3.5 Litre straight six engine of 140HP which could reach 160KPH which was a very high speed for its time. Two cars were manufactured by Karosseriefabrik Spohn in Ravensberg but series production never took place and sadly both cars were lost in the Second World War.

 


Prototypes series

VW Steyr Prototype

This curious “marriage” of this well engineered combination of a Steyr Type 50 or 55 car body with a Volkswagen Kubelwagen chassis remains a mystery of automotive history. There is no knowledge of who did the work or why and Auto Cult are seeking information from anyone who can add any knowledge about this vehicle.

 


Racing Cars series

Porsche 550 Durlite Spider

 

What do you do when you write of your Porsche 550? Well in 1958 American racing driver Bob Wedd had Durlite build him a new skin in aluminium with a very slippery shape including a steeply raked nose and a “Kamm Tail”. This produced a very aerodynamically efficient car with design features that would become standard on sports racing cars in the 1960s.

 


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Atlas Dinky Collection – Austin Atlantic Convertible and Ford Zephyr

By Maz Woolley

This article was originally written for the first MAR Online site in July 2014. It is one of the items which we have collected from the old site which is now turned off. It has been adapted to the new site. The models featured were issued some time ago.

These models are replicas, made under license from Mattel (the Dinky brand owners) and made in China (by Norev) for Atlas.

Two more replicas have been released in the UK Atlas Dinky Toys series since those featured in MAR 279. Both of them capture the original toys well.

106 Austin Atlantic Convertible

There have been questions about whether the colour used is genuine on the model when marked 106. Maybe a reader can confirm whether it is appropriate? It is certainly a good colour, unlike some of the toyish colours Dinky were using at the time, though either the black or blue colours shown on the box would have been good too.

162 Ford Zephyr Saloon

This model is in the authentic two-tone blue. Again this is a well-made replica of the original toy in an authentic box, which shows the cream and green and light blue and blue models on the side panels.


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John Day Models – 2016 releases

By Maz Woolley

 

Daryle Toney continues to gradually improve and develop the John Day Vehicles ranges. The standard range continues to get updated castings and even some new derivatives whilst the Post Office Range is growing too. All the latest releases have separate wheels, cleaner castings, and new improved vacforms which are thinner and clearer than before. These models are all designed and cast in the UK from White Metal and are only available as kits from the supplier by mail order or through the suppliers eBay listings. Daryle has a web site which shows what is currently available and details of how to order models at http://johndaymodels.webplus.net. Like Parker Models these kits are aimed primarily at railway modellers looking for something a bit different for their layout.

All models shown have been assembled and painted by the Author who has a very basic level of skill and would be even better made by a skilled model maker.

SRV112 Austin A70 Hereford Pickup truck

The Austin Hereford A70 pickup would carry a 15cwt load and had a bench seat to allow three to sit in the cab. There was no A70 van. At around £700 painted but with no extras it was not a cheap vehicle. Powered by a 2.2 litre four cylinder engine it was a powerful commercial vehicle though the high cost and high running costs would mean that it only had a small market compared to the A40. It was exported for local assembly in Australia where a large pickup like this would have been more appropriate. The A70 is a rare car now and only a very few of the pickups survive.

The John Day model is based on the A70 Countryman which is already in the range. It has been adapted by Daryle with a good representation of the rear of the cab and load bed. The rear end has also had a lot of work to represent the body mouldings, that drop down flap, and the scattering of lights and reflectors fitted by Austin.


GPO 03 Morris J4 Mail Van

Launched in late 1960 the J4 was a direct competitor to the Bedford CA and Ford Thames ranges. The Post Office were big users of this type of vehicle in many forms. This version from John Day has been finished with the type of security fittings on the rear door used for deliveries of higher value items to Post Offices. It also has the number plates fitted on the roof as was done with some, but not all Post Office Vans.

The effort to produce the Post Office specific details is excellent as the diecast makers have made plenty of 1:76 Postal Vans but none fitted with the security equipment.  Parker Models has already made a J4 Van but again that is standard van.

The decals provided with the kit are very fine and even include the details for the door and the number plates.


GPO 06 Standard 6cwt Utility

The Standard vans were based upon the Standard 8 and 10 saloons. The John Day range already includes a Standard 8 car and the Standard van and pickup. This model for the GPO range has has been updated to represent a linesmans van which was trialled by Post Office Telephones a similar van in red was trialled by the Post Office for postal deliveries. It should be noted that this van with ladder rack and ladders is also supplied as SRV114 with decals for a building firm.

The van was rejected after trials so no more Standards were bought and the Morris Minor Van continued to be the most widely used vehicle by the Post Office in this market sector.  Had Standard succeeded in breaking into the large public utility market it might have meant they stayed competitive in the smaller car sector but with limited sales the Standard Vans did not make a large contribution to company profits.

This model includes very fine decals for number plates as well as the crown symbols and Post Office telephone details on the door. The Standard Van casting has been tidied up considerably from its first releases in the standard range and the ladder rack and ladders are unbelievably fine castings.


Yet again a small UK artisan producer has filled in some gaps in the UK’s motoring history in miniature. The models are great fun to make up and look quite well displayed alongside Oxford Diecast models to the same scale.


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Rod Parker – Swallow and other new releases

By Maz Woolley

 

Rod Parker is one af a small number of UK Artisan producers of white metal models to 1:76 scale.  Primarily aimed at the railway modeller these kits are also of interest to the car collector since they include many interesting models which have not appeared in 1:76 scale before. As Oxford have generally moved forward in time with their 1:76 range Rod has begin to make models in this scale again.

The latest models are:

  • VE67 1935-37 Ford Model CX
  • VE68 1926-29 Austin Seven Swallow Saloon
  • VE69 1936-37 Wolseley Series II 10/40
  • VE70 1932 Morris 8cwt “Flatnose” light Van

VE68 Austin Seven Swallow Saloon

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This is the first of this release of model kits that I have made up. Rod Parker has seldom made models from the twenties before leaving it to DG Models and John Day to cover that period. I have previously made the DG 1930 Swallow kit shown below and found it rather easier to paint and finish as the wings and chassis which need painting a different colour are a completely separate part in the DG model making painting in two different colours easier.

DG Models SwallowDG Models 009 Swallow rear

The Parker model is of the original Austin Swallow from 1926 with the more sloped radiator grille and is neatly cast with the slightly exaggerated lines that make Parker models seem more “real” and easier to paint in duo tones. The Swallow company which produced these stylish bodies on the Austin 7 chassis was created by William Lyons who went on to make SS and then Jaguar cars.

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Although the models look a little crude when photographed and shown at twice their size on the screen they look rather more convincing in real life.

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DG models also model a 1930 Swallow roadster so I wonder if Parker Models will add a 1926 roadster to their range. As I finish the other models I will post them on this site.

 


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Atlas Dinky Trucks Collection – Austin Covered Wagon

By Maz Woolley

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The latest model in the Atlas Dinky trucks series is very considerably smaller than the first three. The Austin covered truck was produced by the simple expedient of taking the Austin Wagon 30j and adding a tin tilt to create 30s. #413 was created when Dinky renumbered the range in 1954.  A military variant of this model existed in green and was only sold in North America.

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Atlas have chosen to model this vehicle in light blue with yellow wheels and tilt which is one of the colour options produced by Dinky. This looks jaunty but most would have been painted in dark colours in real life.


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New Minialuxe 1:66 Models

By Robin Godwin

Minialuxe Volkswagen Beetle 1_66

Minialuxe were a classic brand of plastic model cars made in France which ended production in the later part of the 1970s.
The new Minialuxe brand is based in France but has models diecast in China. The output has a decidedly retro characteristic like Dan Toys or Atlas Dinky Collection. The Volkswagen Beetle models to 1:43 scale have already appeared in previous articles by the Author.

A new feature advertised heavily on their web site is the use of Swarovski crystals to form the lights.

Recently a range of 1:66 scale models has been introduced which is not even shown on the Minialuxe web site but which is already being sold through an eBay shop.  This range includes the following vehicles, photographs are shown in a gallery below:

  • Citroen DS19
  • Citroen DS21
  • Citroen 2CV
  • Mini
  • Renault R8 Gordini
  • Volkswagen Beetle
  • Volkswagen Transporter

The models seem to have a “Bub like” character with some heavy printing of chrome around some of the crystal lights with some alignment issues. Some may wonder why 1:66 and not 1:64. Well many European ranges of 1060s and 1970s were to 1:66. Schuco Safir, Norev, Politoys Penny Toys and others all made models in this scale.


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UK 1:76 scale White Metal kits

By Maz Woolley

Before Oxford Diecast started to make 1:76 scale models the only way that you could obtain models in this scale were to buy kits from a number of UK Artisan firms which produced models to that scale. Once Oxford’s cheap ready made offerings became available Artisan producers struggled to sell models and the market contracted quite quickly. Two who are still trading are John Day Models made by Daryl Toney and Parker Models made by Rod Parker.

Parker VE65 Austin Ten 1939/47

Another model that would look well on any UK Railway layout in the last days of steam. The Austin 10 stayed in service for a long time during the years after the Second World War when  cars were in scarce supply in the UK. The model is a nice representation of the real car though the radiator grille is difficult for someone with my limited skills to paint. Casting is clean and the Vacform fits well.

John Day Austin A70 Countryman 1950/54

This model has been seen in 1:43 scale from Pete Kenna. It was named Hereford succeeding the Hampshire that ran from 1947 to 1950.  This at a time when Austin cars were named after English counties. This is another model selected by Daryl Toney for re-mastering and is now a lot cleaner and sports the new style wheels which are separate rather than moulded into the base. The vacforms on the older John Day models were often poor fitting items but the new ones in these re-mastered models fit very well.

Parker VE62 Ford Pilot Estate Car 1947/51

This V8 Ford sold in relatively low volumes since it’s Canadian Bren Carrier derived side valve V8 engine attracted high vehicle tax rates and was not very economical either. The  Pilot was replaced by the Consul/Zephyr range which was a very much better seller. This vehicle is a must for any royal car collection in this scale since there is one in the Royal Collection. To replicate VUL 3 one would need to paint the model in dark green.

As usual the Parker model is a clean casting which captures the original well.


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Scalelink Standards

By Maz Woolley

Scalelink have been producing a wide range of white metal models and kits aimed primarily at the railway modeller in the UK for many years. Amongst this output is a range of 4mm, 1:76 scale, vehicles.  Models from this range can still be bought new from the manufacturers but they also turn up regularly at lower prices built, or unbuilt, on eBay and at swapmeets. The kits are constructed in a similar manner to John Day Vehicle Scenics or Parker Models and cover a wide range of largely pre-war vehicles to go with layouts modelling the “golden age of steam”.  If you want a model from the early days of motoring for your layout or collection Scalelink covers this period in 1:76 with vehicles like a De Dion Bouton Tourer from 1904, a Rover 6HP Tourer from 1906, a Renault AX Tourer from 1908 and an Aquila ‘Italiana’ from 1913. The newest vehicles in the series were introduced just before the Second World War like the Vauxhall 10 from 1939.

This article looks at two models of the Standard Flying 8 one a tourer and one a saloon. 8 horsepower saloons were popular in the pre-war period and the Standard was one of the dearer models in a marketplace. Other 8hp saloons included offerings from Austin (as modelled by John Day), Morris Series E (as modelled by John Day and Oxford Diecast), and the Ford Model Y (modelled by Scalelink and Varney). The Standard Flying 8 was introduced in 1938 and the initial version lasted until 1941. It was re-launched largely unchanged after the Second World War, losing the “flying” appellation, and lasted from 1945 to 1948.

The Flying 8 was the first small British car with independent front suspension and was well appointed. Two versions were available from the launch of the model: A two-door all-steel saloon, and a 2/4-seat open tourer. The former body was built for Standard by Fisher & Ludlow at a newly erected plant at Tile Hill, Coventry. This was not far from the Standard factory in Canley. The open tourer bodies were built by Carbodies at Holyhead Road, Coventry. The tourer featured cut-down door tops and a fold-flat windscreen. Both cars were capable of reaching 60 miles an hour and had a 1021cc four cylinder engine with a three speed gearbox. Total production of the vehicle is unknown due to loss of factory records from the pre-war period. Estimates suggest that around 25,000 may have been made in all including some sold as kits for export. Contrast that to the Morris Series E introduced at the same time which sold over 120,000 including the brief period it was sold post war.

Scalelink SLC081 Standard Flying 8 Tourer 1938

This model is supplied with two hoods one folded in the down position and one in hood up position. Unfortunately the windscreen tope edge does not fit to the hood well and would need careful “fettling” to achieve a reasonable fit. The folded hood is a rather better fit. The cut down sides have been modelled neatly.

All in all this is not a bad model not as well cast as Parker models but better in some respects that the older John Days which have not yet been upgraded.

Scalelink SLC082 Standard Flying 8 saloon 1939

Much the same standard of casting here. And it makes up into a neat model too. The bumpers on both models are often bent when the model arrives but can be carefully straightened as needed.

The model I received did not have a vacform and the windows had to be created with Kristal Klear in both vehicles and for the first time I have used this on the headlights too. It is certainly rather effective.


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