Category Archives: Leyland

London Toyfair 2019 Part Three

By Maz Woolley

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

This the third in a short series of articles based upon the Author’s recent visit to the London Toyfair, a large trade show featuring toys of all kinds, where vehicle models for the UK market are shown by wholesale importers as well as Hornby and Oxford Diecast. The previous article about the Hornby stand can be found here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First we have the Land Rover Discovery 4.

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

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

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


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

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


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A Car Transporter Conversion

By Maz Woolley

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


Car transporter at Standard Triumph’s Canley Factory in Coventry in the early 1960s
Copyright owner unknown.

My conversion was inspired by finding the black and white photograph of a Progressive Deliveries transporter collecting Standard Triumph cars from the factory in Canley in Coventry shown above.

Car transporters are a good way to show off a group of models, especially if you collect 1:76 scale models. Collectors will be familiar with the EFE transporter, shown below, which was produced over many years in several liveries with either an Atkinson or Bedford TK tractor unit. Although slightly simplified the trailer does capture the look of period transporter trailers from Carrymore and others. A model like the one below provided the chassis of the tractor unit and the trailer.

Photograph by Hattons copyright acknowledged

My first challenge was finding a suitable Leyland cab unit to fit on the tractor unit chassis. Here I had the choice of two different 1:76 scale Leyland Comet cabs from small suppliers here in the UK. One from Langley in white metal and one from Road Transport Images (RTI) in resin. After careful comparison of the cabs and the black and white photograph I decide to use the RTI cab unit. This was a nice clean unit which came with a simple interior and vacform. I was lucky that I bought this cab several months before Frank Waller passed away. Since his death RTI products have not been available as his family has not yet been able to find someone to take the company on as a going concern.

The RTI cab is a 1:76 scale Leyland Comet short door LAD (Leyland/Albion/Dodge) cab from 1958 when it was introduced as the third geneneration of the Comet. This cab was made by Coventry Motor Panels for the truck makers and was styled slightly differently for each manufacturer.

Starting from a black and white photograph did not make things easy. My initial guess was that the unit could have been painted in yellow and black but a fellow member of CDMC (Coventry Diecast and Model Club) was kind enough to ask fellow modellers in the Coventry area and not only was the colour of the original livery identified but suggestions for suitable spray paints to match were supplied too!

The steps in the conversion process are described below. Unfortunately I didn’t think to photograph the work in progress.

  • EFE tractor and trailer stripped and completely disassembled
  • Front bumper cut off tractor chassis
  • Paint stripped from trailer and chassis
  • All spray painted in Acrylic grey primer
  • Repainted Cab in Ford Olympic Blue (Light blue)
  • Masked upper part of cab
  • Sprayed lower part of tractor cab with Ford Royal Blue Acrylic spray paint and removed masking.
  • Spray upper part of trailer in Olympic blue
  • Spray lower part in Royal Blue
  • Spray tractor chassis in Royal Blue
  • Cut dash and sterring wheel from Atkinson tractor unit interior to re-use
  • Glue Atkinson wheel/dash to the RTI cab interior
  • Spray RTI seats and cab interior in primer and then in satin black
  • Decals designed and printed on injet decal paper – clear for items on cab and upper part of trailer and printed on white backed decal for lower trailer as clear deacls with light blue lettering did not work.
  • paint lights and fill with acrylic to make main headlight lenses
  • Apply decals on cab and trailer and overspray with clear acrylic paint
  • Glue windows in Cab
  • Glue interior in cab
  • Cut plasticard packing to attach cab to chassis at correct height and spray black
  • Glue plasticard insert into cab chassis
  • Glue Cab onto plasticard insert in chassis
  • Re-assemble rest of components

The conversion went well though I did manage to break one of the small lugs that holds the folding rear ramp in place trying to get it back into place. It was finished in time for a chop night at CDMC and I was lucky enough to win one of the awards on the night for my efforts.

The car shown on the transporter is also a conversion. It started life as a John Day Vehicle Scenics Standard Vanguard Phase III. This has been altered to represent a Standard Ensign which used the Vanguard body but had a smaller four cylinder engine and much simpler grille as well as a more basic interior. They sold quite well to companies and to the Armed Forces where the Fleet Manager was happy with lower costs than the Vanguard but the same durability.

The conversion consisted of:

  • remove the Vanguard’s protruding grille unit
  • open out the grille area to create a flat recess and file off wing side light area
  • remove all overriders from bumpers
  • file off Triumph badge from bonnet
  • make a decal printed on ink jet paper of the ensign grille and badging from an image found on the web.
  • Clean and paint model
  • Highlight lights and sidelights in silver/silver/red, and white
  • Fit vacform glazing
  • Assemble model
  • Finish wheels off
  • Apply decals

So here we have a couple of models which display well together with a conversion I did of the John Day Vehicle Scenics Standard 9cwt van into a Standard Triumph Livery shown many years ago in the printed MAR magazine. This was also created from a black and white photograph and it is possible that the van should actually be in dark green rather than black.

Both the base John Day models shown in this article are still available from Daryle Toney who owns the John Day Vehicle Scenics range, his website can be found at http://johndaymodels.webplus.net/ . The EFE transporter model is not shown on the Bachmann website so is now presumably obsolete, but it is frequently available on eBay. For the moment the Langley X27 Leyland cab would have to be used to do a similar conversion as the RTI one is not currently available.

More googling has uncovered the Rootes Group transporters run for them by British Road Services and pulled by Commer tractor units. This will be my next challenge!


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A Cautionary Tale

By Robin Godwin

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

I don’t know if this has happened to anyone else, but thought I should bring it to the attention of collectors of the Atlas Dinky series. While putting my Leyland Octopus Flat Bed with Chains in a display cabinet, a rear wheel fell off. To my surprise, it turns out the axle is (partially) hollow and the wheel is retained in place by a press fit pin (no evidence of glue), visible in the pictures, designed to look like the spun axles of the original Dinkys.

It is not hollow all the way through, or at least I couldn’t push another pin any deeper than the allowance for the pin. I assume this must be a less expensive assembly method, or designed to reduce quality control rejects. In any event, I was lucky to find the small pin on the carpet, but losing a pin would be very frustrating to the collector. A spot of crazy glue will fix this, but handle your models with care in the meantime. I cannot tell if the opposite end of the axle is of the same construction, I tried to remove the head, but it would not come out. Similarly, I do not know if this method is also used for the cars and smaller vehicles in the series.

Ed: I am sure that all of us who have collected this series are grateful to Robin for the warning. It would be fascinating to know how widespread the use of these pins is across the Atlas Dinky range.


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Maestro Model in 3D

By Maz Woolley

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

3D printed parts are widely used for prototyping work by model makers and artisan railway scenics producers have developed a lot of 3D printed items to sell over the last few years. Bollards, speed bumps, security fencing and items like that are being made by several established and growing scenics producers like Scale Model Scenery and Shedring Railway. Of late Shedring has started to make vehicle fitments like lifting equipment for lorries and even whole vehicles for use in dioramas like the site dumper shown below.

Photograph by, and copyright of, Shedring Railways

An alternative way for 3D designers to get their products to the public is a company called Shapeways who are commercial 3D printers who run a site where designers can upload their designs and if anyone buys the item Shapeways print it and send it to the customer and pay the designer a royalty. This company appears to run both a US and a European printing operation so the site attracts designs posted from both sides of the Atlantic and usefully an American design can be printed in Europe for European customers. Their site contains many items for diorama makers and has a few models in 1:43, but more in HO (1:87), OO (1:76) and even N (1:148 and 1:160) scales. Sometimes the same model is available in multiple scales. Designs include scenic items, railway engine bodies and fitments to use as transkits on commercial chassis. More importantly for car and vehicle model collectors there are also some lorries, vans and cars available. A selection of these are shown below. Please note that most illustrations on the Shapeways site have been generated from the digital data and are not photographs of the actual product that you will get.

Bedford TJ design by coasters120 on Shapeways

The Bedford TJ (thanks to Brendan Leach for correcting my error in calling it a TK) flatbed shown above is to 1:76 and looks like a one piece print. It is an interesting model as there are currently few TJ models.

Bedford OL by Transport Models on Shapeways

1:43 scale models are few and far between but provide interesting variants which can often be mixed with bodies and wheel sets off commercial models. The few 1:43 scale models seem to be made of a greater number of parts. The cost of the 1:43 scale models when additional parts needed to finish them off are taken into account are considerably dearer than Oxford Diecast trucks.

MIni Estate by Digitawn on Shapeways

This is a typical OO 1:76 scale model from the Shapeways site. It produced as a solid model with separate wheels. In addition to Minis there are also Transits and other Fords available on the site. The Mini model is certainly more accurate than many ready made models are.

Mercury Montego by Madaboutcars on Shapeways

The Mercury model shown is a digital generation of a 1:87 scale model. It is one of many US prototypes designed by Madaboutcars. All the US models I have seen are solid and  in either 1:43, 1:87 or Continental N scale of 1:160.

The model that I would like to look at in detail today is a 1:76 scale Austin Maestro designed by Alternative Model Railways which is available in 1:87, 1:76, and 1:148 scales. The 1:76 is available with the metal bumper or the plastic bumper, the plastic bumper version being shown here. A 1:76 scale van is also available. Shapeways can print with a wide range of plastics but model designers restrict the materials that can be used for the model and the Maestro can only be purchased made of a high quality plastic which makes the kit quite expensive, it costs nearly as much as four 1:76 Oxford Diecasts or two of the cheaper John Day Vehicle Scenics kits. The justification for the use of the expensive matte translucent plastic is that it shows fine and intricate details better.

The Austin Maestro was codenamed LM10 and was a five-door hatchback produced at Cowley from 1982 to 1987 by British Leyland, and from 1988 until 1994 by Rover Group. It went on to be produced in China until 2007 using a Toyota engine. It shared its platform with the MG derivatives as well as the Montego saloon.  It replaced both the Maxi and the Allegro and was fitted with engines from 1.3 to 2.0 litres.

Models of later Leyland, and Rover group, vehicles are scarce with the only other Maestro models known to me being the contemporary Scalextric and Corgi models. I know of no Montego model or models of the next generation Rover 200, 400, and 600 series cars. These once common cars have all but vanished from the roads now but there are many who remember driving them or as their parents or grandparents car. This generation of UK made vehicles are an opportunity for a small scale producer to fill if Oxford do not do so.

The model supplied is much like the digital illustration below though transluscent. Parts are printed and placed into protective plastic bags with different parts in different bags. As the illustration shows there is no glazing supplied.

Alternative Model Railways Maestro Kit as shown on Shapeways.

Unusually the designer also has a simple assembly diagram on the web site something that few others seem to both with.

Alternative Model Railways Maestro Assembly schematic on Shapeways

So what was it like making this kit? The first thing to note is that it all fits together quite snugly. The surface finish on the roof and in other areas does show the printing artifacts with the roof in particular having distinct contours. In 1:76 scale or smaller this is not too obvious but in 1:43 it may be a considerable disadvantage.  The kit was very crisply printed and I have few criticisms of the accuracy and quality. As my modelling skills are basic the defects in appearance are mainly from my poor finishing.

The side view of the car has been very well caught. The 3D printing of the side strips, wheels arches and the side ‘scallop’ are all very accurate. As are the window frames, door handles and fuel cap. The very finely printed detail presents a challenge to the average kit maker as many kit designers will make details slightly over scale to make the easier to pick out. This is not the case here so painting side strips and window surrounds proved challenging.

The front view is good though there were some artefacts in the grilles particularly below the bumper. But overall quite an accurate reflection of the fairly plain Maestro front end. No attempt is made to model screen wipers.

At the rear the modelling is simple and no attempt at wiper is made, It is however quite a good shape. The rear lights are supplied as transluscent plastic which has to be painted and fitted into slots. The shape and fit are good but painting them is difficult to this size and a decal to overlay or making them in coloured plastic might be a better solution.

The model’s stance is good and the overall shape excellent. It would have been better if a vacform had been supplied as glazing it is a real challenge. My thanks to Daryle at John Day Vehicle Scenics for giving me some vacforms for lorry cabs to cut down for the front and rear screens which has worked quite well. The side windows have been been glazed using Kristal Klear and because of the size of the gaps it has not created the nice flat surface I had hoped for though it is flush glazed which is the effect I wanted.

Another view of the car shows that the wheels are well finished with the wheel cover often seen on the Maestro in body colour. Again fine rims made painting difficult as a more pronounced rim makes it easier to paint the tyre correctly.

Another unusual model to add to the collection, and an introduction to making 3D printed models. My personal feeling is that, at present, the high cost of models on Shapeways means that it is only really worth considering for models of vehicles that you cannot get in any other way like this Maestro. Perhaps if Shapeways could find a way of making vacforms and reducing cost then they might become more popular.


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Hachette Italy World Buses – Part 12

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Another lovely triplet of models from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French series “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo. This time a real icon from Renault, an ex-pat from Leyland and an almost unknown Belgian one.

No. 34 (no. 29 in the French collection) Renault TN6-C2 1934 – We have already met Renault and its AGP Saharien (see seventh part, no. 19), but the TN is really a must for everyone, usually identified with Paris and seen in every black and white French movie. From 1931 Renault delivered its new TN chassis’s to many French towns, at first with an on-line four cylinders front engine (TN4), and with a six cylinders from 1932 (TN6A).

The Parisian buses were bodied by the STCRP (Société des Transport en Commun de la Région Parisienne), using aluminium sheets over a wood frame, with an open rear platform for the town, and a closed body for the suburbs (nicknamed “hen cage”). Much more comfortable than the previous Schneider or Renault, they were the first to use pneumatic tyres, with double wheels at the rear axle. But the engine was a bit too fragile, and it was soon replaced by a new six-in-line, powered by a ternary fuel made of a mixture of one-third of alcohol, 1/3 benzol and 1/3 petrol (TN6-C). The last version is the TN6-C2, but the difference with the first generation is above all aesthetic, with “artillery” wheels with star branches and an enlarged windscreen. They were retired in 1969, after a very long service.

The scale model is the faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle, part of the “AMTUIR” collection (Association du Musée des Transports Urbains, Interurbains et Ruraux), its museum is now located in Chelles, Seine-et-Marne, part of the Parisian Region (see www.amtuir.org).

As usual there is a plastic multi-part body and a metal chassis. Classic green and cream livery is well reproduced with a nice advert for Canigou (pet foods). There is a basic interior with a very nice drivers cab. Many separate small parts are fitted. This is a a beautiful model rich in old-world charm, it is a pity that they used an unrealistic shiny metal support inside the rear platform. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.

No. 35 (no. 30 in the French collection) Leyland Victory Mark II 1979 – Leyland Motors Ltd was a British vehicle manufacturer of trucks, buses and trolleybuses, with a long history dating back to  1896 and the foundation of the Lancashire Steam Motor Company in the town of Leyland in North West England, They were renamed Leyland Motors in 1907 when they took over Coulthards of Preston. Between the Great War and the Second World War Leyland produced many different vehicles, from luxury touring cars to light utility cars like the Trojan. During the Second World War Leyland was involved in war production, building the Cromwell tank as well as medium/large trucks such as the Leyland Hippo and Retriever. After the war the Centurion tank (of Dinky fame) was made. Many trucks companies were incorporated in Leyland, like AEC, Albion, and Scammel. It diversified into car manufacturing with its acquisitions of Triumph (1960) and Rover (1967). In 1968 it merged with British Motor Holdings to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation, to become British Leyland after being nationalised in 1975, then simply BL, and in 1986 changed its name to Rover Group. Leyland Trucks depended on British sales as well as on its established export markets, mainly centred on commonwealth and ex-commonwealth markets.

In the early 1980s export sales were drying up in many places. The business was broken up and while Leyland Bus was bought by Volvo Buses in 1988, the original Leyland Trucks business eventually became a subsidiary of PACCAR. The Leyland name and logo continues as a recognised and respected marque across India, the wider subcontinent and parts of Africa in the form of Ashok Leyland. Leyland Motors established a number of milestones that set bus industry rends, like being one of the first manufacturers to design chassis for buses that were different from trucks, with a lower chassis level to help passengers to board, They created the Titan and Tiger ranges in 1927 that revolutionised bus design, and the trend-setting Atlantean rear-engined, double-decker.

The Leyland Victory Mark II was a front-engined, double-decker bus chassis manufactured between 1978 and 1981, developed from the Guy Victory J, and specifically designed to operate in Hong Kong mainly by Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) and China Motor Bus (CMB). The body was designed by Alexander, with a narrow entrance door and a central larger one, while the engine was a Gardner six cylinders with 180 CV. The Victory had a notorious reputation as an unsafe bus, mainly due to its soft suspension and high centre of gravity, which makes it prone to overturning. It was very popular in Hong Kong and also known as “chicken” because its soft suspensions made it behave like a chicken when accelerating or decelerating. Some of the ex-CMB Victory Mark IIs have been saved for preservation, mainly in Hong Kong, while one was donated to the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum.

The scale model is very likely based on one of the preserved buses, with a nice CMB livery in light blue and cream. It has a metal lower body, plastic upper body and chassis. A basic interior is fitted with a red ticket machine, and unfortunately the realism is affected by the use of un-prototypical shiny metal supports inside the body. Many small separate items are used, like lights, grille, mirrors and wipers. It has very nice wheels and side windows, though the windows are lacking horizontal bars, needed for safety reasons because of the sliding windows. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.

 

No. 36 (no. 28 in the French collection) Brossel A92 DARL 1962 – The Belgian automotive industry is often overlooked, but it is a thriving and dynamic one. In the past it could offer many revered brands, like Minerva, Imperia, Nagant, FN, Metallurgique, and Vivinus . After the Second World War domestic producers soon disappeared, but at the end of the century Belgium was one of the largest European automakers with an annual output up to 1.2 million from the assembly plants of brands like Opel, Ford, Audi, and Volvo. Its export-oriented auto industry has shrunk by half in recent years (to 500 thousand units) due to strong competition with imports from near and far Eastern producers, but today more than 90% of the vehicles produced in Belgium are still intended for export.

Brossel Frères SA was an old manufacturer of trucks, buses and autorails, based in Brussels from 1912 until its demise in 1968, when it was bought by British Leyland and its name disappeared the following year. At the end of the 1950s Brossel developed with the coachbuilder Jonckheere a high capacity urban bus powered by a rear mounted Leyland diesel engine. The French town of Lille, near the Belgian border, favoured them to replace its old Isobloc buses. Saviem (then the owner of Isobloc) wasn’t interested in the contract and Brossel won the order for more than 150 buses.

The A92 DARL (Diesel ARrière Lille) chassis was similar to the Leyland Panther one, with a considerable front level difference to reduce the height of the floor as much as possible. The double wheels on the rear axle offered excellent driving characteristics. Typical of the last DARL produced was the spherical cylindrical windshield, which reduced the light reflections experienced by the driver.

The scale model has the usual plastic body and metal chassis with  the exhaust is enhanced in silver. The destination board reads “Valenciennes” a town about 50 km from Lille, while the cream and olive green livery is that of the CGIT (Compagnie Générale Industrielle de Transports) of Lille. The registration plate is from Lille. Usual separate parts like mirrors, lights and bumpers. Very nice wheels, windows and doors. The interior is typical of the French standards in the 1960s, the few seats arranged like a sitting room, with almost all the platform left to the standing people. A nice addition of a not so common bus, only seen in France and Belgium. No apparent differences to the French edition.


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Atlas Dinky Trucks – 934 Leyland Octopus Wagon

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

This model is the last I will receive in the Atlas Dinky Trucks collection and they have saved a spectacular Dinky Supertoy for the end. The eight-wheeler Leyland Octopus was the first model in the collection as 943 a tanker in Esso livery  and to finish the collection we see the same chassis and cab used for 934 as a dropside wagon.

934 was released in two colour schemes: yellow and green as shown on the box and blue and yellow as Atlas has chosen to have the model painted. The blue and yellow version is considerably scarcer with a mint original likely to cost thousands at auction.

This model was issued in 1956 and was withdrawn in 1964. Like the 943 tanker the rear section of the toy had previously been seen on a Foden.

The bright red hubs are slightly different to original models I have seen on the web with the front wheel differing to the rear six wheels on this replica.

To the rear the tinplate hook and spare wheel are replicated.

The cab is well painted and replicates the original well.

This series started in early 2016 and has now ended nearly two years later. Many collectors seem to be waiting on the 942 Foden Regent Tanker issued in mid-2017 which was not sent to all collectors at that time. In my view this was one of the better series by Atlas with plenty of UK Dinky models replicated and where French models have been used some pretty interesting examples of those have been chosen.


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Oxford Beadle Integral East Kent

By Maz Woolley

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

Oxford Diecast continue to catch up with their release program. This article looks at the new 1:76 scale Beadle Integral 76BI001 which has just arrived in the shops. The first thing to note is that Oxford has made the whole bodyshell in plastic. Many recent Oxford coach/bus models had plastic uppers and metal lower sections but here only the base plate is diecast. I know that this will not please some collectors but when one sees the fine detail that has been incorporated and the absolutely flush glazing it offers in a thin walled bodyshell I am sure that most collectors will be happy for Oxford to continue down this path.

This coach dates back to the “make do and mend” period after the Second World War when new buses and coaches were a scarce commodity. During this time many coachbuilders built new bodies getting rid of the old-fashioned half-cabs and giving them up to date looks. J C Beadle of Dartford in Kent were such a company taking Leyland and AEC chassis and adding modern bodies. East Kent were one of several companies that were customers. The vehicle modelled by Oxford started life as a Leyland TD5 double decker and was rebodied in 1951 as a 35 seat coach. It was withdrawn from service in 1964 and after being in private hands it was acquired for preservation in 1972. At some point during its working life it had a white roof added offering Oxford the option to do another version of this vehicle.

I admire Oxford for making this unusual and attractive vehicle. Options for endless recolours are limited as Beadle seem to have changed the front end styling frequently so I hope that this model sells well to encourage Oxford to make more unusual models. A version in East Yorkshire colours is planned for later in 2017.

As to the model itself it is excellent. Comparison with the archive photographs available show it to be an accurate replica with all the salient styling features well captured. Some simplification has been made, the grille area is painted black whereas pictures show it to be textured and probably in body colour, and the destination, number, and fleet boards should all be slightly recessed. These minor points do not spoil the overall effect of the model.

Printing of the body mouldings with chrome surrounding cream centres of the body mouldings has been done accurately and gives an excellent appearance. The tiny operators script and passenger emergency door markings are all there and difficult to read even with a magnifying glass as they are to scale. The lighting and chrome front decoration is all very neatly moulded and highlighted. The rear small lower red lights could have been better centred when printing but as everything else is spot on it is acceptable. I am impressed with the number plates with the silver on black printing and the realistic size and spacing of the letters and numbers .

Most of my previous Oxford buses/coaches have had poorly aligned rear wheel sets but I have either been luck this time or Oxford are improving the quality of their fitting.

All in all an excellent model and great value for money at the price it sells for in the UK.


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Atlas Dinky Trucks – 935 Leyland Flatbed with Chains

By Maz Woolley

 

The latest release from Atlas makes use of the Leyland eight wheeler chassis again. This time it appears with a flat bed and chains. This has been diecast in China by Norev for Atlas.  Perhaps we will see this again as replica of 934 Leyland Octopus Wagon or even 944 the later tanker in Shell BP Livery.

935 Leyland Octopus Flat Truck

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This model was first issued in 1964 and the originals are scarce and expensive at auction ranging from several hundred pounds to well over a thousand UK pounds in first class condition. Originally available in two variations one with a baltic blue cab and the other, as modelled here, with a mid-green cab. The scarcity of this model is because it was only in the range for two years.

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The Atlas model is a good replica of the original down to the chains and posts. The box art work is reproduced well and the Atlas is certainly a “Supertoy” like the original.

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To the rear the spare wheel and tow hook are all present. The baseplate clearly states the Atlas and Mattel details so there is no mistaking this as an original.

Another good model in this series.


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Leyland Sherpa Conversions

By John Quilter

 

Leyland Sherpa Van - James Bond

John’s photographs of his conversions may be seen at the end of the article.

There was a partworks issue of vehicles in James Bond 007 movies and one of them was a circa 1980 Sherpa van in telephone service truck livery from the movie “The Spy that Loved Me” as seen above.   Since these are interesting diecast models in accurate 1:43 scale I have collected a number of them over the past years although they have to be purchased from Europe via EBay since the partworks series is not offered in the USA.  The Sherpa range was a product of British Leyland and was made in many versions for many years and in fact there is an Auto Review book on them by Rod Ward.  AUTO REVIEW AR61 The Sherpa Story.

There were minibus versions, a pickup plus others.   Since the partworks models are reasonably priced I acquired a few extras and converted one into a minibus and one into a pickup.   They were distributed by GE Fabbri Limited and these particular ones were made by Universal Hobbies although others are IXO products.    One of the things one has to consider with the this series is some come with “movie damage” and the Sherpa was one of these with a dented bonnet and right hand door as the picture of the unmodified van shown in the picture.   When I did the conversions I “repaired” this damage bringing the model to as new condition.   The minibus conversion required drilling out the side and plenty of filing the holes  into the correct shape windows.  The glazing was with clear plastic shaped to fit.  I was lucky to have a few Sherpa sales brochures to assist me in accuracy.   The interior needs to be modified to include some additional seats which I made out of styrene plastic.   Most of these 007 vehicles come with figures and if you are not using them in a particular project they make great additions to other models.

The Pickup required cutting off the upper rear body and fabricating a tailgate, bed floor and cab back.  So now I have three versions of the Leyland Sherpa small commercial vehicle to add to my British vehicle model collection.

1980 Sherpas #1e

1980 Sherpas #2e

1980 Sherpas #3e


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Atlas Dinky Supertoys – Leyland Octopus Tanker Esso

By Maz Woolley

Having recently posted the second model in this series from Atlas in the UK I thought that I would show pictures of the model which started the series. It was featured in MAR284 in June 2015, when we were part of the Zeteo web site. That was the time Atlas did a test marketing exercise for this series.

943 Leyland Octopus Tanker – Esso

This model used the tank from the previous Foden Tanker with an entirely new Leyland chassis and cab. Launched in 1958 this toy stayed in production until around 1964 by which time the Shell Tanker based on the same chassis and cab but with a more up to date style of tank had been introduced. A rare promotional model for CPC products was also produced using the same castings.

This is a large and impressive model and the quality of the casting, painting, Esso printing and tank fitments is first class. Indeed I suspect that the finish is rather better than that many of the original models enjoyed even when new.

 

Atlas Dinky Leyland Octopus Tanker Esso Atlas Dinky Leyland Octopus Tanker Esso Atlas Dinky Leyland Octopus Tanker Esso Atlas Dinky Leyland Octopus Tanker Esso

More in the series?

The accompanying leaflets suggests that the series will include British Supertoys, commercial vehicles from the standard range as well as some French Commercials that have already appeared in the Continental range. Those specifically mentioned are:

  • 920 Guy Van ‘Heinz’ which has already been shipped and which can be seen in a posting on this site.
  • 435 Bedford TK Tipper which has been advertised as the next to ship

Others mentioned in the publicity material are:

  • 512 Guy Otter Flat Truck
  • 34B Berliet Flat Bed container
  • 413 Austin Covered Wagon
  • 443 Studebaker ‘National Benzole’ Tanker
  • 586 Citroen 55 Milk Lorry

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