Category Archives: Mini

Retromobile 2019

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Once again February brings us back to Paris, both for Retromobile, and for the traditional auctions of Artcurial, RM Sotheby’s and Bonhams, a visual overdose enriched by a certain elegance, even if you start to perceive some slight fogging due to the changing tastes of the public. On the other hand it is for the market to dictate the show and not our personal interests.

This year Paris greeted us with windy days, but fortunately without the snow of last year. Alas the defections of the big automakers continue from their previous showcase of the Champs Elysées. First Citroen, Mercedes and Toyota left, now Peugeot has left its showroom too, leaving only Renault in the place that was a symbol of French motoring. How much longer before there are no showrooms on the Champs Elysées?

As usual, the Parisian show has attracted fans from all over the world. It is rich in novelties, celebrations of anniversaries, and exhibitions dedicated to specific brands. Even here there were alternate presences and absences: FCA is back, the absence of Mercedes-Benz is alas confirmed. Brand and/or model clubs attend in abundance, although their grouping together in Hall 3 reduces their presence a little.

Big celebrations took place of the centenary of Citroen with a great review of cars and prototypes, unfortunately narrow corridors meant the exhibits were difficult to walk around. Peugeot was a little poorly represented , maybe we had become used to better shows in previous years, whilst Renault chose to devote itself entirely to the ‘Turbo Years’, with the result of a series of cars of relative ‘aesthetic’ interest.

The general impression was of a reduced presence of real “vintage” cars in flavor of newer ‘classics’, which are evidently the most requested by the public today. This is the market! Fortunately the Teuf Teuf Club and the Compiègne Museum exhibited a rich collection of De Dion Bouton vehicles, while a specific exhibition was dedicated to the Bédélia, a classic of French cyclecars.

Another ‘gem’ on show was the monstrous Berliet T100, a giant destined for the African deserts and whose journey from Lyon to Paris constituted an adventure, considering its dimensions are ‘out of the norm’.

A rich collection of motorcycles from Gnome & Rhone was on show, as well as a display of the Citroen DS Chapron, in all their variants. Honda was celebrating the twenty years of the S2000 (too new in the Author’s opinion to be at such a show). The long suspension bridge between Hall 1 and 2 housed the Mini exhibition, celebrating their 60 years. There was an interesting cutaway Mini, but perhaps they could have included more variants : the Moke and the Mini Marcos appeared a bit lonely. As usual, the Saumur museum presented two tanks, a Sherman and a Panzer IV.

After lookinmg at all the displays there were plenty of opportunities to spend your money. There were many Dealers with their “jewels” and of course scale models, spare parts, books, and accessories. Add to that the wide range of goods from the many artists and artisans.

Again a show not to be missed where there is so much on offer that everyone can find lots of interest. The photographs below show some of the highlights of the show.

Citroën – 100 Years Display


Citroen GS Camargue Bertone 1972


Renault 1000kg Voltigeur 1956


Delahaye 135 M Figoni Falaschi 1946


BMW 320 Group 5 Junior Team 1977


Alfa Romeo 750 Competizione 1955


Lancia Rally 037 1982


Abarth 1000 monoposto record 1960


Jensen CV8 Mark III 1965


Classic early Léon Bollée advertising material


Wolseley Hornet Mark III 1969


Gnome Rhone motorcycle and side car outfit


Bédélia BD2 1912


Tiffany Golden Spirit 1986


Alfa Romeo 8c 2900 B Berlinetta Touring 1939


Scale Models Club display on the theme – Peugeot


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London ToyFair 2019 Part Two

By Maz Woolley

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

This the second 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 Corgi. The first article can be found here.

The article today looks at the Hornby stand and in particular the Corgi Toys area. The largest displays on the stand are from Airfix,Hornby and Scalextric. There were both a railway layout with a Hogwarts theme and a racing track provided to show off the products. The Hogwarts rail layout featured the Wamping Willow from the Harry Potter films with an Oxford Diecast Ford Anglia in its branches showing the revived use of Oxford OO scale models in Hornby packaging.

Some Vanguards pre-production models were shown, though not the planned new casting of series two Jaguar XJ and Daimler Double-Six models or the VW Camper. Photographs of the models are shown below. These are all pre-production samples and will not fully reflect the final version as they are hand finished and some parts are 3D printed rather than moulded.

Red Arrows Van
RAF Station Commander
RAF Police Mini
Triumph Herald 13/60
Herald comes with hood up or hood down display options
Audi Quattro and Grampian Police Rover SD1
Don Hayter’s MGB V8 Roadster and a Morris MInor Convertible
Graham Hill Lotus Cortina with Ford Cortina Mark III in very period purple paint.
A pair of Ford Sierra Cosworths. Left the RS500 and on the right Sussex Police RS 4×4
3.0 Litre Cortina Mark IV on left and Ford Granada Mark II 2.8i Ghia
Escort Mark II Mexico

Other Corgi products were on display showing the range now available.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 2019 style

Corgi’s release of the classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will be notable for being the first for some time that features all the original features. Moulds have been located to allow them to make all the wings, figures and the full working mechanism. It is a shame that this could not have been released last year to tie-in with the 50th Anniversary but I am sure that it will sell well this year as will the James Bond model sets.

The photographs above show the models included in the RNLI Lifeboats release to supplement the models already available in this charity’s liveries. A donation to the charity will be made for the sale of each set.

The 50th Anniversary models for the Apollo 11 mission were on display in pre-production form. Although very simple models they will look very good in packaging when launched later this year.

The Paddington Bear TX4 taxi is a well made toy and is expected to remain one of the best sellers, particularly in London where the tourist market is substantial for such toys.

A substantial part of the stand was given over to the new Chunkies range, seen above in the dealer display packs Corgi hope to get into the shops. They are made to appeal to young buyers, and their parents. The models are very well made and finished and to my surprise cabs, chassis and some other parts are diecast and the plastic looks strongly moulded and well designed for play. Although the generic shapes may not appeal to collectors we hope that this range is a success, as if it is it will give the Corgi brand an injection of money for investment and get the Corgi brand made known to a new generation of potential model collectors.

Discussions on the Hornby stall last year suggested that that they were concerned that they needed more young collectors to build the collecting habit and brand loyalty. The Chunkies range is a sign that they are addressing this. Some more photographs of the individual models are below.

For older children Corgi have several tie-ins to the Harry Potter Films which will sell well at the Harry Potter Studio Tour store as well as in Hamleys and other large stores.

Over in the Hornby area the layout has Hogwarts Castle modelled in one corner but this appears not to be listed as an accessory on the Hornby site! But again it illustrates the intention to appeal to youngsters as do the basic layout sets featuring Thomas the Tank Engine and the budget priced Junior Express set.

Over on the Airfix stand they too are keen to bring in young modellers with a selection of the Quick Build models being expanded this year. A celebration of flower power! It will be interesting to see if any new vehicle types are produced in future years to expand the range.

Also seen on the Airfix stand was their nice 1:32 scale Jaguar E Type model, a perennial in the range but looking as well shaped as ever, as shown below. Much though many people would like many more of the 1:32 scale Airfix cars to be revived it would seem we will continue to be limited to just a few of them.

Airfix are not to be left out in celebrating the landing on the moon with a nice set which includes the lander, Astronauts in various positions, and moon buggy and other items landed on the moon.

On both Corgi and Airfix the 75th Anniversary of D Day was celebrated with both Corgi and Airfix showing D Day tie in aircraft. Some Corgi ones are shown below.


F-5E-2 Lightning 43-28619 ‘Rita/Ruth’, USAAF 27th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 7th Photographic Group, Eighth Air Force, Mount Farm Airfield, August 1944

Supermarine Spitfire XIV RM740, RAF No.322 (Dutch) Squadron, Deanland, August 1944

Hawker Typhoon Mk.IB MN625/MR-B, RAF No.245 (Northern Rhodesian) Squadron, Homesley South Airfield, Hampshire, June 1944

So what was missing? It would have been nice to see pre-production samples of the new Jaguar/Daimler Series II but as they are not scheduled for sale until Q4 of 2019 that is perhaps not surprising. Perhaps some first shots will appear at Nuremberg. I was very surprised though that having announced a significant number of military vehicles for 2019 in both 1:50 scale and in fit the box formats Corgi displayed none at London. But again perhaps we will see photographs from Nuremberg.


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Corgi – July/December Announcements

By Maz Woolley

Text by, and copyright of the Author. Illustrations provided by Hornby Hobbies.

Hornby Hobbies has recently announced the Corgi products for the second half of 2018. There are no new castings and little sign that any major changes being made by the new management team. Perhaps we will start to see those in 2019? Though the fact that prices are not being significantly increased shows that Hornby are finally realising that the market for their models is price sensitive.

Product Revivals

The sales of the film and TV tie-in products from Corgi are substantial and the products are carried by a wider range of retailers. Of recent years the emphasis has been on reproductions of earlier James Bond models but this time the models celebrate 50 year anniversaries of two films: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Magical Mystery Tour.

I am sure that Beatles fans the world over will buy the re-released models and that the Chitty will sell in respectable numbers as nostalgia for childhood and for the films of the late 60s is still strong.

03502CC Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 

 

05401CC Yellow Submarine 

42418CC Magical Mystery Tour Bus 

 

85925CC Paddington Bear Taxi

This will come in special packaging and will include a
Paddington Bear Figure. This will certainly be a good tie-in but Hornby need to be quicker with negotiiating deals like this Paddington 2 has already been released so the model is coming along a bit late to catch the maximum sales.

 

Aviation Archive

Here Corgi has created new liveries on castings which have already been seen in a variety of other liveries. Whilst the liveries are undoubtedly attractive ones one wonders how many versions of the same casting Corgi can sell. Looking on eBay many of the previous versions of these castings sell for considerably less than the latest models recommended price and only very popular and scarce ones attract a premium.

 

34018AA Consolidated B24H Liberator

‘Male Call’ of 453rd Bombardment Group 8th AF 1944
Jimmy Stewart

 

38109AA Sopwith F.1 Camel, No.3 Squadron RNAS

Lloyd S Breadner
Bray Dunes Aerodrome 1918

 

38808AA Do17Z-10 R4+LK I/NJG 2

Gilze – Rijen October 1940 – sadly the artwork from Hornby has a large watermark on it.

 

 

38906AA Fokker D.VII (OAW) 4649/18

‘Seven Swabians’ Alfred Bader Jasta 65 September 1918

Sadly the artwork from Hornby has a large watermark on it.

 

Original Omnibus

 

46514AOM Wright Eclipse Gemini 2,
Go-Ahead East London Transit
EL2 Ilford Station

46514BOM Wright Eclipse Gemini 2,
Go-Ahead East London Transit
EL1 Thames View Estate

46713AOM Wright Eclipse II (Single Deck),
Transdev The Shuttle 662
Keighley Bus Station via Crossflats

 

46713BOM Wright Eclipse II (Single Deck),
Transdev The Shuttle 662
Bradford via Bingley

 

Vanguards

At the risk of repeating myself we are seeing the same small range of castings again and again in different colours. Whilst some of the new colours are quite eye catching and may well persuade people to buy another version of the model the market for yet more of the same must be shrinking.

In many cases the castings are now looking old and basic. The Morris Minor for example has cast in window ventilators which are painted body colour, black printed line round the screen and a clumsy grille. Partwork models are superior to this in many cases.

The Land Rover in Military Police livery is different and will I suspect be a popular release as will the 1275 Mini in Special Tuning livery.

But taken as a whole the release is disappointing as it has been for about 3 years now.  I hope that this is just a  holding exercise before the new management re-launch Vanguards with some new castings.

 

VA02541 Austin Mini Cooper S Mk1, Almond Green

 

VA05212 Ford Granada Mk1 3.0 Ghia, Jade Green

 

VA05810 Morris Minor 1000Turquoise

 

VA06713 Triumph Spitfire, Mk3 Saffron

 


VA09524 Ford Escort Mk1 Twincam, Blue Mink

 

VA10111 Triumph Stag Mk2, British Racing Green

 

VA10509 Triumph TR7 FHC, Triton Green

 

VA10712 MGB Roadster, Acconite Purple

 

VA10818 Ford Capri Mk3 3.0S, Arizona Bronze

 

VA11117 Land Rover Series 1 80”, Military Police

 

VA11509 Triumph TR5, Jasmine Yellow

 

VA12612 Ford Escort Mk2 RS Mexico, Signal Yellow (Forrest Arches)

 

VA13507 Mini 1275GT Special Tuning, Press Launch Car,
Auto Car Magazine

 

VA13605 Volkswagen Golf Mk2 GTI


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Majorette Limited Edition

By Maz Woolley

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

Majorette are part of the SImba-Dickie group makers of Schuco and many other brands. Majorette toys are made to fit in the box like Matchbox or Hot Wheels and are aimed at the same customers. The current limited edition range caught my eye recently and it contains some nice models of cars in a mildy custom form.

Both models shown below are from Series 2 of the Limited Edition range which includes:

  • Audi R8
  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Citroën DS4
  • Ford Mustang
  • Lamborghini Aventador
  • Mercedes-Benz SLS
  • Mini Cooper
  • Porsche GT3 911
  • VW Golf VII GTI
#3 Citroën DS4 1:64

The DS range was created by Citroën to use its existing chassis to create distinctive premium cars to compete with Mini, Alfa Romeo and BMW. The DS4 was based on the C4 its competitor to the Focus and Golf.

The slightly wild colours on this model complement the DS which is often painted in strong colours and has a range of eye catching features. Here the rims are fitted with a nice reflective line echoing the paint work which is a matt type finish.

The model has neatly printed details, and unusual for a budget range separate clear light lenses on the front. A simple black interior has some details moulded in and the DS badging is neatly printed.

 

#7 Mini Cooper 1:57

Again we have a matt effect paint and some eye catching orange graphics including “Go faster” orange stripes. The Mini and Cooper badging is nicely printed albeit a bit over scale.

The front lights are again separate plastic items though blacked out to fit the theme as are the windows making the car far from street legal in the UK. The wheels with orange rim are again nice wild alloy replicas.

 

Although clearly made as toys both these cars have an appeal and look good on the shelf.


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