Category Archives: Morris

Intergranular Corrosion Again

By Maz Woolley

Photographs by Jane Jones, a member of the Oxford Diecast Collectors Facebook group. Text copyright of the Author and Jane Jones.

I make no apologies for returning to the subject of intergranular corrosion as it still seems to be affecting models from major diecast firms. Collectors looking at stored models have come across models falling to bits from time to time, The Corgi Vanguards Transit Castrol van has a tendency to self-destruct as shown in MAROnline previously by Dave Turner. Whilst Photoetched parts popping on resin models can usually be remedied with glue and care intergranular corrosion has no cure. Some people have stabilised the models by flooding them with super glue and other binders but that just holds together a failed casting it is no cure.

Intergranular corrosion of diecast models is commonly known by many descriptive names: Zinc Pest, Metal Fatigue, and Diecast Rot are some. It is a destructive intercrystalline corrosion resulting from the Mazak (Zamak) used to make diecast models being contaminated with other substances. It leads to castings swelling and becoming misshapen. In later stages the castings may craze or develop cracks, ultimately even disintegrating. This was quite common in pre-war toys like early Dinky Toys where lead used elsewhere in the factory got into the mixture but according to Wikipedia this should not happen to items from the 1960s onwards as manufacturing controls should guarantee the purity of the metal.

Impurities in metals used in current manufacturings could be caused by suppliers shipping metal which already contains impurities or contaminants, or it can happen in the plant where the metal for diecasting is melted and mixed and where impurities may be inadvertently introduced. It is impossible for us to determine whether it is poor raw materials or poor manufacturing processes that are the root cause as either end up with the model suffering in the same way. But as I read comments on the Internet that many model makers have suffered from this problem, including PCT Industries, Norev, Corgi and others, it clearly needs to be taken more seriously by people producing the castings.

I had previously heard that Oxford Diecast too had this problem but had never seen direct evidence that this was the case. However, a recent post on the Oxford Diecast Collectors Group on Facebook by Jane Jones shows a destructive case of intergranular corrosion as you can see from her pictures below.

Jane posted: ‘I made a worrying discovery today. I noticed that the rear of this GPO telephones Morris 1000 was bowed, and comparing it to other Morris 1000 vans, it as almost a mm longer. Closer examination showed that the offside was bowing out and beginning to crack . No other model that I have examined seems to have the same issue. Hopefully its an isolated case??‘.

Janes’ photograph is shown below with my added arrows highlighting the extensive areas of distortion.

Jane added: ‘Lookout for the rear distorting. That indicates that the body has elongated because the zinc rot causes microscopic cracks‘.

Sadly Janes’ second photograph shows the inevitable result when the corrosion is as bad as that shown above. Again my arrows have been added to highlight where the ‘bowing’ sections have broken away from the van.

So if you have this Oxford Diecast van it may well be worth checking it. I suspect that this is not an extensive problem for Oxford Diecast collectors or the internet would be full of many more comments. It is a great shame though for those who find their models like this as it inevitably takes several years to come to light and by then the manufacturer is in no position to replace clearly faulty goods.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

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.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

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.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

Corgi Morris 1800 World Cup Rally

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

One of Corgi’s latest releases in the Vanguards range shows that they can still turn out a really nicely made model even if only an adaptation of an existing casting. One wonders about the future of Vanguards range in the new Hornby as it is clearly now a minor sideline as it has had no investment in new castings for about four years.

This release is of a Morris 1800 VA08913 which ran in the 1970 London to Mexico, Daily Mirror, sponsored World Cup Rally. This was driven by Jean Denton, Pat Wright, and Liz Crellin and sponsored by Woman Magazine. The car came in in 18th position just behind the Moskvitch 412 entered by Avtoexport and ahead of a male crew in an Austin Maxi. 

The rally team was sponsored by Motorwoman – a section of then-popular Woman magazine. It was widely reported in Woman magazine and in contemporary motorsport titles.  Prepared by British Leyland Special Tuning on behalf of the privateer team, the car has been active in motorsport circles since, and has been fully restored. The photograph below shows it when recently auctioned.

Photograph Copyright of Anglia Car Auctions

The colour of the restored car is a different shade of blue to the Corgi model but some old pictures suggest the car might have originally been in the lighter blue – but old photographs from the internet make it difficult to judge.

The model is impressive and includes the full set of bull bars used on the World Cup rally which have been removed since. The model deviates from the real car in a few respects: the side indicators are still moulded in even if painted over and the grille may also be incorrect as all the photographs on the internet of period rallying 1800s have a simpler grille with less silver coloured parts. 

A large number of small separate parts have been used to replicate the rally kit including bullet shaped mirrors, handholds, additional lights, and spare wheels on roof.

To the rear the extra lights and handholds are continued. And a large rally fuel filler cap is fitted at the top of the wing. As the photograph below shows the pink painted corners used on the original rally car are all there to be seen. Sponsors adverts are neatly printed on the boot lid.

The wheels are also nice replicas of the alloy wheels used. The back standing plate is also well modelled as is all the badging.

The sponsorship adverts are all neatly printed on the sides. The driver’s window is in a partially opened position which gives a limited view of the interior which sadly has detail moulded in but none picked out at all. A dashboard of instruments would have been nice but the moulding does not seem to have been modified to include all the fittings and extra instruments a rally car would have had fitted. 

More surprising is the lack of any extra internal roll cage. Looking at pictures of the original car that is entirely correct and shows how much more dangerous Rally driving must have been at the time.

On last view of the front end shows how much effort has gone in to adapting this base casting and turning it into a rally car. One wonders if this model sells out whether  Vanguards Cortinas will be turned into Rally cars as they featured in many Rallies of the period.

All in all a decent effort by Hornby to use one of the Vanguards moulds in a creative way. If only Hornby would invest in some new moulds for this range.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

BMC outside the UK

By John F. Quilter

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

Editors Note: John wrote this in response to the recent article posted on the Siam Di Tella which was a BMC hybrid made in Argentina. The article can be found here.

Here’s a little info on two BL products not made in the UK.

British Leyland and its predecessor BMC had many overseas operations over the decades. Here are two products of their overseas affiliates. The BMC J4 van, which was also badged as a Morris and Austin in the UK, was made in Spain by their operation there known as Sava.

This operation also made many of Leyland larger trucks as well. The J4 van, and there was a pickup and mini bus versions as well came after the J2 and before the Sherpa. Much of the sheet metal on the Sherpa was carried over but the engine was moved forward under a short bonnet rather than being between the seats as it was in the J4. The engine was BMC’s 1622cc petrol engine or a 1500cc diesel. Both part of BMC’s “B” series four cylinder engine range. This van is apparently made by Ixo and mine is done in a BMC service livery from a dealer in France. There are other liveries showing up on eBay as well. The J4 makes a good shelf item along with my Sherpa van (plus pickup and mini bus custom creations) and J2 by Oxford Diecast.

The second vehicle is from TRAX in Australia, a Morris Major Elite. This unique to Australia car, was essentially the centre section of a Riley 1.5 or Wolseley 1500 but Leyland Australia added a longer boot for more capacity and a longer front clip perhaps to balance off the look. It also used the 1622cc engine which was a step up from the UK produced Riley and Wolseley. The model is in TRAX’s limited range and is in resin. Available in two colours, the blue and white being one often seen back when the cars were new. The photo below shows the Elite along with its cousins the Wolseley and Riley both done in Brooklin’s Lansdowne range.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

Bijou Transkits

By Maz Woolley with Rod Ward

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

Looking in a dictionary “Bijou” means something small but desirable. At one time Estate Agents in the UK used it to describe very small and expensive residences in desirable locations, especially in London. Rod Ward chose it as a name of one of his model ranges which consisted of a variety of models and transkits.

Rod remembers that sales of the early Bijou models were brisk, but that the last dozen or so sold really slowly. He says that the white rubber moulds for the resin castings lasted for about 60 shots, and that they did not make a second mould for anything after BJ014. With such low sales of the later models Rod stopped production, and sold the remaining stock over a period of time. He sold the last he had left with the closure of Model Auto and now the only way to obtain them is on the secondary market.

Many of the kits were transkits providing parts to adapt an existing model to create a new version and Rod says that he didn’t think that British collectors understood the transkit ethos.  Of course with the cost of the base model and the Bijou kit the end model was fairly costly, but on the other hand it was of a model that was otherwise unobtainable. In other cases the models were “orphans” from other ranges. In some cases the models could be obtained from Rod’s Model Auto shop as finished models

The listing below has been provided by Rod Ward and gives the full detail of the Bijou range.

BJ001 Vespa parascooter as used by the French Army, fitted with a bazooka. 1:30 scale white metal KIT (based on Scottoy Mercury copy Vespa, with UK-made white metal additions)
BJ002K Bugatti T52 Baby white metal KIT or handbuilt made for us by Auto Replicas to 1:43 scale
BJ003K Austin ‘Pathfinder’ pedal car white metal KIT 1:43 scale – adapted from a plastic original
BJ006M London E1 double deck tram, 1:100 scale diecast by Herbert Kees ‘Model Auto Show 1995’ promo livery
BJ006T London E1 double deck tram, 1:100 scale diecast by Herbert Kees ‘Typhoo Tea’ original livery
BJ007 Rigid Inflatable boat with outboard motor, plastic made in Portugal
BJ009 Triumph Herald estate 1:43 scale resin transkit to convert Vanguards Triumph Herald saloon (base model not included) WB
BJ010 Triumph Courier van 1:43 resin transkit to convert Vanguards Triumph Herald saloon can come with Whitbread or Standard Triumph decals (base model not included) WB
BJ011 Reliant Regal saloon 1:43 resin transkit to convert Vanguards Reliant 3-wheel van (base model not included) WB
BJ012 Austin A35 Pickup 1:43 resin transkit to convert Vanguards Austin A35 saloon (base model not included) WB
BJ013K AOMA trailer caravan 1920s-30s timber-frame style (ex Sun Motor Co 202) 1:43 scale resin Kit ex-Dahinden (France)
BJ014K Rex trailer caravan, curved shape 1930s-40s (ex Sun Motor Co 203) 1:43 scale resin KIT ex-Dahinden (France)
BJ015 Curtiss Aerocar artic trailer caravan 1930s 1:43 scale resin KIT mastered by John Roberts
BJ016 Curtiss Aerocar artic ambulance trailer 1930s 1:43 scale resin KIT mastered by John Roberts
BJ017 Curtiss Aerocar artic hotel bus trailer 1930s 1:43 scale resin KIT mastered by John Roberts
BJ018 Packard tow car for BJ015, BJ016, or BJ017 (1:43 scale resin transkit body only for Solido Packard, base model not supplied) mastered by John Roberts
BJ019 M8 Greyhound armoured car (ex Sun Motor Co 331, 1:50 scale resin transkit for Solido M20 scout car, base model not supplied) WB
BJ020K Sales trailer: Chips, ice cream,Refeshments, booking office, recruiting office etc (ex Sun Motor Co 204) 1:43 scale resin KIT adapted from BJ013
BJ021 Austin A60 Estate.  1:43 resin transkit to convert Vanguards Austin A60 saloon (base model not included) WB
BJ022. Vauxhall Victor Estate.  1:43 resin transkit to convert Vanguards Victor saloon (base model not included) WB
BJ023. Austin Allegro Estate.  1:43 resin transkit to convert Vanguards Austin Allegro saloon (base model not included) WB
BJ024. Hillman Husky Estate.  1:43 resin transkit to convert Vanguards Hillman Imp saloon (base model not included) WB
BJ025. Commer ‘Cob’ Van.1:43 resin transkit to convert Vanguards Hillman Imp saloon (base model not included) WB
BJ026. Morris Marina Estate.  1:43 resin transkit to convert Vanguards Morris Marina saloon (base model not included) JQ
BJ027. Morris Marina Pick-up.  1:43 resin transkit to convert Vanguards Morris Marina saloon (base model not included) JQ
BJ028. Morris Marina Van. (‘Wimpey’ decals) 1:43 resin transkit to convert Vanguards Morris Marina saloon (base model not included) JQ
WB – the master was made for Model Auto by Bill Barnes of Tober Models
JQ – the master was made for Model Auto by John Quilter

The models which caught my eye at the time were the transkits. And this article shows the three I have made up, and the parts of a fourth which I have yet to paint and assemble. The kits are supplied are designed to make it quite straight forward to make up the model without too much “kit bashing” involved. Though sometimes parts from the original Vanguards model need to be cut to fit to the new model.  Care is needed though when stripping parts from the donor car such as the jewelled lights, headlight surrounds, wing mirrors etc.

BJ009 Triumph Herald Estate Car

Here the donor was easy to find as there are lots of cheap Vanguards Herald saloons as they sold them in a plain box for a cheaper price for a time. As can be seen mirrors, lights, bumpers, rear light cluster and base and wheels all come from the donor car. Inside the interior is re-used.

 

BJ011 Reliant Regal saloon

Here we have a kit to convert the Reliant Supervan made in Lledo Vanguards series into a Reliant Regal saloon. These cars were produced in significant numbers in the 1960s when their cheap tax was appealing. Always slightly dearer than the base Mini the attraction of their cheaper tax was lost on many. However, they did last well as the Fibreglass body was fairly robust, the simple chassis sturdy, and the small lightweight engine powerful enough to move the light car as quickly as was safe!

The lights, interior and base and wheels had to be swapped from the original model and a new body and vacform completed the model.

BJ024. Hillman Husky Estate.

A donor Vanguards Hillman Imp or other Imp based car is needed. From this jewelled headlights, wipers, part of interior tub, bumpers,  base and wheels are taken.  In this case the base, which also forms the cars sills and front valance, may need to be resprayed to match the new  body shell making this one of the trickier conversions. That means the steel wheels also have to be repainted in body colour.

It is always a good idea to find a donor car where the wing mirrors have not been fitted as removing them can be problematic though spares can be bought if needed.

The Husky was quite scarce so any model of this is welcome.

The Comer Cob would be identical though with blanked out rear side windows and a slightly different interior arrangement.

BJ028. Morris Marina Van

This kit was obtained on eBay in the recent past and is complete with its original Wimpey details, Wimpey are now part of Taylor Wimpey but they were previously a large general builder dealing with everything from Industrial plant to housing estates. As can be seen the kit provides a new body, interior, dash, and vacforms. To make it you need to retain the base and wheels, grilles bumpers and lights, mirrors and windscreen wipers from the donor.

The Marina van sold extremely well and was widely used. It was always a wonder why Lledo never made one originally as they could have sold it in many liveries. I look forward to making the kit up when the weather allows outside spraying again.


 We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

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


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

Oxford Diecast J4 Postal Van

By Maz Woolley

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

 

The Oxford Diecast 1:76 scale Post Van first seen as a casting at the London Toyfair is now on sale. I am sure that this is the first of many variants that will be sold by Oxford over the next few years.

The J4 van was marketed first as both a Morris J4 and an Austin J4 and even fitted with badges saying Austin-Morris at some points. Following the formation of the British Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968, into which British Motor Corporation (BMC), by then a subsidiary of British Motor Holdings, had been absorbed, the van was branded as the BMC J4.  It was built between 1960 and 1974 with two mild facelifts. The Royal Mail and Post Office Telecoms were at one time the biggest fleet operator in the UK until privatisation and outsourcing split them up into smaller and smaller units. J4s  formed a substantial part of both Post and Telephones fleets so we will no doubt see a green PO Telephones one at some point.

Oxford has based their model on an early version in the Royal Mail livery used from 1962-1965. During this early period vans had glazed and grilled rear windows and even registration plates fitted in a  low position as modelled by Oxford. 348 DXV can be seen in a very dilapidated state on the web and shows the clear rear windows and no cab rear wall – one was frequently fitted to mail vans – but with the high level number plates. Maybe the high plates were fitted later in its life? What we cannot see on the picture of the original is whether it was fitted with the special locking bar fitted to the rear of most postal vehicles. The Oxford does not have one modelled which may be accurate for some vans but most had locking bars fitted.

Picture by Scouse73 on Flikr all rights acknowledged

Sadly the photograph doesn’t allow us to see any interior details to see if the model’s internal black and cream finish is accurate. I would have thought that the interior would be red and black or largely black except for red metal surfaces, but I may be wrong. Maybe a reader can tell us?

The Oxford model shows it as fleet numbered 73185 operating from the Matlock Post Office depot in Derbyshire.

So what of the Oxford model itself? My first observation is that the fineness of the casting which can be seen above has been rather lost by a heavy coat of red paint which overfills many of the panel lines. My second observation is that PO vehicles very rarely had any hub caps fitted and though some wheels were painted black many were I believe a silver sprayed steel finish though 348 DXV  shown above is so rusty and dirty it is difficult to determine which it had fitted originally. I certainly think bare steel wheels black or silver would be more accurate. The front headlights are modelled as simple raised areas with no trim rings moulded in and this rather spoils the look of the front.

The mould is fitted with sliding doors which were often fitted to the PO purchases and the printed chrome trim round the side windows is more acceptable than on many Oxfords as this has a nice thin casting. Hopefully Oxford has constructed the mould to also make it with standard doors as J4 minibuses, campers and most delivery vans came with a standard door.

To the rear the grilles over the rear windows have been printed on and are quite acceptable. Again a nice Morris badge to the rear as well as nicely printed number plates even if the placing may not be accurate. Sadly the printing of the rear lights is not very good on my example with a run of sliver paint under the lights – something to watch for as others I have seen do not suffer with the same issue. The front end also has some nice printing of the Morris and BMC Diesel badges. The grille is printed on to a raised panel and has the correct number of bars but I am not sure that it flares out enough on the sides. Unfortunately the lack of texture seems to be rather obvious.

All in all this model is a decent one for its price point and its intended market as well as the need to keep the casting generic enough to issue it in other liveries and body styles. A diecast model of a J4 in this scale is long overdue and will I am sure prove a big seller. Many Oxford Collectors have been enthusing over it on Facebook pages and I am sure many railway modellers with 1960s layouts will want one too. I just wonder how good it could have been if the same care and attention to detail had been paid to its creation that the US 1:87 cars have had?

To provide a contrast the pictures shown below show a John Day Vehicle Scenics  J4 Mailvan. This has been painted by the Author to his usual limited standard and the wheels are again painted silver and fitted with hubcaps which was not usually the case. It shows the type of features that a more typical mail van enjoyed like high level plates, metal panels in rear windows, and locking bar. This white metal kit is still available from John Day Models who have a website and an eBay presence.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

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.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page.

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.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.